Torah Commentary – B’har (On Mount Sinai), B’chukotai – The Heart of the Matter – SCRIPTURES FOR May 20, 2017

Torah Commentary
B’har (On Mount Sinai), B’chukotai
Leviticus 25:1-26:2; 26:3-27:34
Jeremiah 32:6-27; 16:19-17:14
2Corinthians 7-13
 The Heart of the Matter
For our culture, many of the instructions of Leviticus seem quite foreign to us. There is even a debate whether most of these Scriptures pertain only to the time when we have entered the Land. “Buying and selling of crops, allowing the land to rest on the seventh year and redeeming our poor relative from slavery”, you have to admit, are not things most of us spend our waking thoughts pondering today. When it comes to food storage many people consider storing food for the winter. Wrap your head around storing supplies for three years to take your family through the Jubilee. Due to the difference in culture, we can get lost in the relevance of these verses for our day and read through them way to fast. A quick glance may cause us to miss the heart of the Scriptures.
Torah is about relationship with HaShem, family and the people we are called to interact with on a daily basis. The mysteries and wonders of Torah are awesome, but if we miss the theme of relationship, we miss the heart of the matter. Torah is teaching us through practical day-to-day life instructions how to love our Creator and how to treat one another. This principle is brought out again in Leviticus 25:14-17. Here Scripture speaks of selling property to a neighbor while considering the amount of how many years remaining until the Jubilee and the return of said property.  On the surface we do not see the point of the instruction, because in our society when we sell an item to someone, we do not expect him or her to bring it back in seven years. All transactions are typically final.  What can we learn in this instruction? The heart of the instruction is in verse 17, which tells us not to take advantage of one another in our transactions.
Let us put some flesh on this principal. Back in the days when I sold real estate, I did not like to sell property to or for friends. Sadly, more often than not, it turned out to be a disaster. I found that no matter how hard I tried, the “friend” was much harder to work with than a stranger off the street. They usually wanted special favors and in the end could not believe why I did not turn my entire commission over to them and call the transaction a favor based on friendship. This was an example of taking advantage of a friendship, which is what Leviticus warns us against. (Click to Article)

Torah Commentary – Emor (Speak) – “Small Matters” – Day 15, Month 2, 5777; 11 May 2017

Torah Commentary
Emor (Speak)
Leviticus 21:1-24:23
Ezekiel 44:15-31
Matthew 5:38-42
Galatians 3:26-29


“Small Matters”
The Book of Leviticus is devoted to the subject of what is clean and what is not clean. Simply put, we should desire to live our lives pursuing that which Yah calls clean and stay away from what He calls unclean. In doing so, it is not only so we can live a life of blessing and closeness to Him, but so we may also show forth His holy character to others.
In this Torah portion His name, YH VH, is used 81 times. We see a summary of instructions for His Feasts. We also find something I want to draw attention to. The word profane is used 12 times. We find Webster’s dictionary defines the word profane as “irreverence for that which is sacred.” Strong’s Concordance has many definitions, one of which is to “make common.” These definitions supply descriptions that may differ from what we would normally consider profane to mean.
Consider it this way. For most of us, trees in our living rooms and decorated eggs hidden in the yard are practices that have become distant memories. We would look back to those practices and call them unclean. Now we have the blessing of celebrating Feasts that have been called clean by our King. However, is it possible to observe the Feasts clearly taught in Scripture and make them unclean? Go back to the definition of Webster, “irreverence for that which is sacred.” His Feasts are sacred, if we do not reverence them in Light of Him, we can make them unclean in His sight. Read Amos 5:21“”I hate, I utterly loathe your festivals; I take no pleasure in your solemn assemblies.” The people were “doing” the Feasts, but in such a way that Yah not only said He hated them, but He no longer called them His.
How do we keep from making the same mistakes of our ancestors? Take a moment to reflect on your last Shabbat, Passover, Unleavened Bread, New Moon, the current counting of the Omer. Without looking at a sheet of paper or a calendar, what day is it on the counting? What was the Torah portion for last Shabbat? Do you recall its overall theme? Did you even bother to read it? Are you napping through Leviticus? Can you tell what phase the moon is in right now?
Do I need to go on? Consider your answers to the above questions. Answer truthfully. In the eyes of Yah, was your last Shabbat clean or unclean? Was your celebration of the last New Moon more “common” than sacred? How many days of counting the Omer have you missed?
In Luke 16 we read about faithfulness. Verse 10 says, “Someone who is trustworthy in a small matter is also trustworthy in large ones, and someone who is dishonest in a small matter is also dishonest in large ones. ” How are we doing in the “small matters” like counting the Omer? Is our reverence or lack of reverence in what many would call a small matter affecting the weightier matters? I can only answer for myself on this one. Today we are in the middle of the Counting of the Omer. Though we do not have a place in Jerusalem to take an offering to and perform our daily counting, Scripture still tells us to count. How we do so may be as simple as acknowledging a number or adding Scripture readings and prayer. Question is, “How important is the counting to us?” Is it something we are looking forward to every day or do we let a few days go by and realize we have forgotten? Are we allowing the counting to become common? (Click to Article)


Torah Commentary – Acharei Mot(After the Death), K’doshim(Holy Ones) – Searching For Life – Day 8, Month 2, 5777; 4 May 2017

Torah Commentary
Acharei Mot(After the Death), K’doshim(Holy Ones)
Leviticus 16:1-18:30; 19:1-20:27
Ezekiel 22:1-19
Romans 3:19-28; 9:30-10:13
1 Corinthians 5:1-13
2 Corinthians 2:1-11
Galatians 3:10-14
Hebrews 7:23-10:25
Searching For Life
Life is an interesting word. The dictionary defines it as,”The condition that distinguishes animals and plants from inorganic matter, including the capacity for growth, reproduction, functional activity, and continual change preceding death.” According to this definition life is just going through motions which will allow someone to know if we are an animal, plant or just a rock. Simply put, if it moves, grows and reproduces, it has life, if not, it’s a rock. Another definition for life is, “The period between the birth and death of a living thing.”
As I consider these definitions in light of the words in Leviticus 18:5, which explains we will have life through obedience to Torah, the dictionary definitions appear to pale in comparison of how I feel our Creator desires us to have life. If we throw into the mix the words of Yeshua in John 10:10, “I have come that you may have life, life in its fullest measure,” the definitions really lose value.
What is the difference between the book definitions of life and what most of us desire as the Scriptural definition of life? I believe it comes down to one word, purpose. Consider the word purpose for a moment. Is it possible for us to have life, but never find purpose? We all know the answer is a resounding “yes”!
When we reflect on an example of life without purpose our minds may envision a homeless person on a street corner. He or she wakes up in the morning the same as the rest of us, breathes the same amount of air as we do and in truth goes through many of the same motions to sustain a level of life. Is simply sustaining life all that our Creator intended? Obviously, not! Would you say, when compared to the homeless person on the street corner, we have achieved the Scriptural definition of life in its fullest measure by reading the Torah each week, eating clean and observing the Feasts? I’m not sure I would.
Ask an honest question of yourself. Do you feel you are walking in the Scriptural definition of life? Now I am going to go where only the truly insane go. Comparing your life of Torah today with your life in a church in the past, do you feel you have more life now or just more knowledge? I wish I could get a show of hands here.
If my conversations with people through the years are any indication to the answer of the above question I would say most of us feel we have more knowledge than life. If you are the exception, please do not become offended. Maybe you have found the keys to abundant life and should be the one writing instead of me. For all the rest, please read on.
Leviticus 18 promises we will have life through observing His laws and rulings. Yeshua says we will have abundant life through Him. Is the key to life in joining these two verses together? If so, is there a verse which combines their meaning? Look at Psalm 40:7, “In the scroll of the book it is written about Me.” This verse is our key to the equation. It is all about Him. (Click to Article)

Looking Back To Look Forward – Torah Commentary – Pesach “Passover” – Day 17, Month 1, 5777; 13 April 2017

Torah Commentary
Pesach “Passover”
Exodus 33:12 – 34:26
Numbers 28:16-31
Ezekiel 36:37 – 37:14
John 17-21


Looking Back To Look Forward
Another Passover is behind us and is now a memory. Our observances may have been practiced in different style and manner. My prayer is our hearts were as one, focused on Messiah. It is quite obvious by the fact that I was able to share this commentary and you are reading it, that when you opened the door, during your seder, there was not a man with a long gray beard beckoning you to follow him into the Wilderness of the Peoples this year! We begin another Biblical year. May our hearts be completely prepared to embark on this New Year set on Messiah. Let us look back for a moment just to make sure we are ready!
We will reflect on the first week of our ancestor’s journey out of Egypt. Daily life activities had totally changed. Slaves were now free men and women pulling wagons overflowing with Egyptian luxuries. Possessions of gold, silver, expensive clothing and everything their hearts ever desired. They no longer had to punch a time clock in Egypt or be responsible to the taskmasters. Israel was free! What a dramatic change. They saw a sea split before them and crossed its bed, not through muddy sludge, but on dry ground. Not to mention the miracles of bread from the sky and trials of bitter waters. Much took place that first week. What lay before Israel? They did not know, nor would they have been able to comprehend it if told. Change and a new way of life had begun! 
Fast forward many centuries to a group of men from differing walks, all called by one Man to follow Him. Every day of their lives with Him was a new adventure as they saw water turned to wine, dead people raised, blind men see and amidst the miracles, listened to profound teaching like nothing taught by any other prophet or teacher. These men were riding on top of the world with dreams of a coming Kingdom and a close relationship with the One who would rule over it. Then there was that infamous night. One would betray Him, one man would deny Him while many scattered. Only one would be found standing close. All would watch their dreams die before them. Their next days would be filled with questions of pondering how they had been tricked and deceived. This One appeared to be genuine. Then the news, His tomb was found empty. Could it be? Now, almost a week after Passover, there they were, sitting on the shore of the Galilee eating fish with the resurrected Messiah! (Click to Article)

Torah Commentary – Tzav (Give an Order) – Nothing Held Back – April 7, 2017

Torah Commentary
Tzav (Give an Order)
Leviticus 6:1-8:36
Jeremiah 7:21-8:3; 9:22-23
Mark 12:28-34
Romans 12:1-2
1Corinthians 10:14-23
Nothing Held Back
This week we look at the offerings in more detail. Each one has specific meaning and differs in some nature. They all have one thing in common; they are to be an act of worship unto the Holy One. A fact which has been misunderstood, is there is not an offering for intentional sin listed here. I thought intentional sin is what got us here in the first place, so why no sacrifice listed?
To understand this principle we must understand what Leviticus is and what it isn’t. Leviticus is not a book given to redeem, but rather instructions on how a redeemed people are to worship the One who had redeemed them. We will come back to that statement in a moment. 
“Where then,” we ask, “is the offering for intentional sin”? Let us travel back to Egypt and the Passover sacrifice. A lamb was brought into the house on the tenth of the first month and slaughtered the evening of the fourteenth. This was the sacrifice pointing to intentional sin! What sin had the Hebrews in Egypt committed? First we must reflect on why the Hebrews are in slavery and bondage to begin with. After so many years in a foreign land living among an idol worshiping nation, you might consider it had some effect on the belief system of the Hebrew people. Could the sin Israel committed have something to do with forgetting who they were and the calling they had been given? Let me explain.
Where was the first intentional sin committed? In the Garden of Eden, correct? After Adam and Eve’s devastating decision, Elohim slaughtered an animal and made coverings for them. Please consider that offering as a shadow of the offering of Messiah. The understood purpose of this offering was passed down generation to generation. Abraham had been taught of this offering, which is wrapped up in the account of taking Isaac to the mountain. Isaac then passed this offering to his son Jacob who passed it to his twelve sons. Each of these people would come to “Faith in Elohim” based upon faith in a sacrifice for intentional sin. This faith would then lead them to a life of offerings of worship unto Yah. I will share more on this in a moment.
What is the intentional sin of the Hebrews in Egypt which caused them to be in slavery? They had forgotten they were a people called to accept and proclaim the way of redemption prophesied in the garden. Many of them took on the pagan ways of the people group around them and were assimilated. To make these statements personal for me and you, when you or I forget who we are in Him and take on the pagan ways of this world, we are destined to travel down the briar filled path toward slavery and bondage. (Click to Article)

Torah Commentary – Vayikra (He Called) – Take Possession

Torah Commentary
Vayikra (He Called)

Leviticus 1:1-5:26
Isaiah 43:21-44:23
Romans 8:1-13
Hebrews 10:1-14; 13:10-16
Take Possession
This week we begin the Book of Leviticus. For many people it is a book of meaningless details, but in truth it is a glimpse into the Father’s Heart. In order to grasp Father’s Heart we must first open our hearts to Him. Let us stop now to invite Him to reveal Himself to us through the entire book of Leviticus. May we not rush through the verses, but meditate on Father’s purposes. As a royal priesthood let us ask, “Is there something more for us written between the lines?”
In Jeremiah 17:9 we read that Father knows our hearts better than we do and declares it to be a very dark place. From previous week’s teachings, we have found this word heart to not be the organ in our chest, but rather our inward man, that part of us which makes us…well, us.
In order to cleanse this inner man an offering was brought to the Tabernacle and presented to the priest. We would understand this as a substitution sacrifice pointing to the complete work of Messiah. Notice in chapter one, verse 4, that the person presenting the offering did not simply leave his sacrifice at the “drop off” door of the Tabernacle. Instead the person brought it to the door for inspection, then led it to the Altar of Sacrifice and laid his hands upon it. He was to cut the throat of the innocent animal, skin it and cut it into pieces. You may wonder what the priest’s role was during that time. They were there to assist, if the person could not go through with the bloody procedure.
What is the message here? Why could the man not just let the priest do the work? After all, that is what they were getting “Paid” to do. It was their “Job.”
In order for sins to be atoned for the man had to own up to his sin and take possession of it. He could not simply present the offering out of some duty or instruction. Rather, in the act of placing his hands on the animal, he acknowledged it was personal. On a side note, it is recorded that many men could not follow through with the task. When they came to the understanding the guiltless animal was being put to death in their place, reality set in. The priest would then have to intervene and finish the task.  (Click to Torah Reading)

Torah Commentary -Sh’mot (Names) -The Ultimate Oxymoron – Day 21, Month 10, 5777; 19 January 2017

Torah Commentary
Sh’mot (Names)

Exodus 1:1-6:1
Isaiah 27:6-28:13; 29:22-23
Matthew 22:23-33; 41-46
Acts 3:12-15
Hebrew 11:23-26


The Ultimate Oxymoron
Before I get to what, in my opinion is the ultimate oxymoron, I have a question. Can anyone find a shadow of Messiah in this Torah portion? (Jeopardy theme song playing in background) The answer is pretty obvious on this one. Answer: Who is Moshe! Let’s dig a little deeper. Moshe was actually prophesied in last week’s portion. To see this we will need to look at gematria, the use of letters having numeric meaning. For those whose blood pressure rises with the mention of something like this, not to worry your computer is doing this very thing right now. 
Last week we read the “Blessings” given to the twelve sons of Israel. To Judah, he spoke of a staff and one called Shiloh. Literally it says “Yavo Shiloh” or Shiloh will come. These words, as well as the word Messiah, have a numeric value of 358. If we take out the word Yavo and just look at the word Shiloh, it and the word Moshe have a numeric value of 345. From a gematria standpoint, this links Moshe as a type of deliverer foreshadowing the ultimate deliverance in Shiloh or Messiah Yeshua.
Now that we all see Moshe is a shadow of Yeshua through gematria, I have two questions. First question, “Why do the people of Israel need to be delivered?” Second question, “Why are they in bondage?” The tribes of Israel are slaves! In my book Israel as slaves is the ultimate oxymoron. (Click to Article)

Torah Commentary -Vayechi (He Lived) -The Multiple Faces of Yeshua -Day 14, Month 10, 5777; 12 January 2017

Torah Commentary
Vayechi (He Lived)
Genesis 47:28-50:26
1Kings 2:1-12
Hebrews 11:21-22
1Peter 1:3-9; 2:11-17

Jesus scriptures temple2

The Multiple Faces of Yeshua
I was in a meeting recently with a number of people who varied in their level of Torah knowledge and observance. Some of these folks had years of experience and had fully embraced the walk, while others had just begun to get their feet wet. Some were were still considering the dangers of the deep end of the pool. During our meeting I asked how many were interested in joining a new denomination or organization. Not a single hand went up! By the looks on their faces I could see that my question had probably struck a few nerves. I then asked if anyone was interested in being a part of a family. The atmosphere changed. Smiling faces responded favorably.  
This week we read the ever important sought after “blessings” spoken by Israel over his sons. Notice Israel’s words do not include Levi’s descendants becoming the Southern Baptist denomination, nor does he tell Asher that his tribe will end up being the Charismatic’s. Israel’s words are calling the sons to be a family, not an organization. The family will have a variety of cultural characteristics that do not require them to dress the same or talk the same. They are not to be clones of each other. Each tribe is a family of individuals building relationships while they work toward a common goal of building a house for the family to dwell together to worship our King. 
The reason I drew attention to the word blessing by putting it in quotation marks is a key to understanding my direction in the paragraph. As we read these words of Israel to his sons we find that not all of his words are “blessings” in what we normally consider as the definition of the word. Many of the words are of correction. Consider, before we go on that at the proper time the greatest word of blessing we can receive from a person is a word of correction. This is the reason the hard words of Jacob are still considered blessings.  (Click to Article)

Torah Commentary -Mikketz (At the end) -Prison to Palace and Back Again -Day 29, Month 9, 5775; 29 December 2016

Torah Commentary
Mikketz (At the end)
Genesis 41:1-44:17
1Kings 3:15-4:1
Acts 7:9-16


Prison to Palace and Back Again
The life of Joseph is filled with ups and downs; up with favor, down to the pit. This week we read of his final release from prison, the stage being set for Joseph’s dreams to come to pass and the real purpose for his life to unfold.
I’m certain Joseph was quite surprised to hear his prison cell door open, not to embark on his daily routine, but because he is summoned by Pharaoh himself. Questioning why Pharaoh would summon him, Joseph wondered if his fate would be that of the baker or the cupbearer. He does not know that the page is being turned in the book of his life and the real reason he was born is about to be revealed. What Joseph does know is prison life has transformed his character. He is not the man who was sold into Mitzraim. He has learned humility preparing him for this very day.
We all know the account well. Joseph will interpret the dreams of Pharaoh. Pharaoh will make him second in command over all of Egypt and Joseph will begin to store grain for a famine which is to come. Many would say the story is simply a prophecy for us today that we should focus on earthquakes, storms, FEMA camps and End Times, then with that fear engraved on our hearts we should now exhaust our finances storing resources like beans, bullets and band-aids. Once our checklist is accomplished we should hide out in our isolated fortresses in the Montana forests waiting for Messiah to return. Is that where I am going with this? You know me better than that! (Click to Article)

Torah Commentary -Vayeshev (He Continued Living) -Learning Communication -Day 22, Month 9, 5775; 22 December 2016

Jesus scriptures temple2

Torah Commentary
Genesis 37:1-40:23
Amos 2:6-3:8
Acts 7:9-16
Vayeshev (He Continued Living)
Learning Communication
The life of Joseph shows us multiple layers of prophetic shadows. We look at the account of his life to begin to see the concept of two messiahs; Messiah ben Joseph, the suffering servant, and Messiah ben David, the conquering king. This concept has been taught in Judaism for centuries. Over the past few decades, those of us who have been studying from a Hebraic mindset have had the opportunity to look at this concept at one level or another. Many people involved in modern day Christianity, may have never heard of the concept of two messiahs. This is not a dig at our Christian brothers and sisters, but rather an observation to help explain why Christians and Jews have difficulty communicating with or understanding one another regarding the messiah. It is very important to educate ourselves in terminologies and beliefs. In doing so, we can better converse with one another respectfully to avoid offense and more clearly to overcome confusion. (Click to Article)