B’resheet – In the Beginning

Torah Portion: Genesis 1:1-6:8
Haftarah Portion: Isaiah 42:5-21
New Testament Portion: John 1:1-14, Colossians 1:1-22, Hebrews 1:2, 8-10, 11:13

bereshitIt is, at best, a daunting task to put together a commentary on B’resheet, let alone attempt to do it in one day, having just returned from the Feast of Sukkot.  The opening portion of the annual Torah cycle not only gives us the Creation story, the fall of Adam and Eve, and approximately 1000 years of history of mankind, it contains the seeds of the most important themes in Scripture. 

No doubt, some of you who read this have also just returned from spending a week camping in the woods or mountains, and, in the process, experienced a fresh touch from the Most High God and find yourselves now hungrier than ever to begin this Torah cycle.  I know I am.

Walking in Torah in the Wilderness

Almost every day, it poured rain in Mount Airy, NC.  We sloshed around in the mud during the day; but Abba kept us cozy, warm, and dry in our tent at night.  We chose to praise Him for the prolific showers, though worship activities were hampered. Even so, the bond with our fellow sojourners was strengthened by the challenges of frequent downpours.

Opportunities for being our brother’s keeper arose almost as frequently as the showers.  In our case, it was our sister’s keeper, being ensconced in a covey of tents for single women of all ages, including one with severe back/hip issues and another in a wheel chair.  But, the Spirit of the LORD hovered over us, and, thank God, there were more praises than complaints, even though two tents sprung leaks and had to be adjusted.

In the midst of the cloudbursts, the 2008 film, “Defiance,” starring Daniel Craig, came repeatedly to mind. Based on the true story of three brothers whose parents were murdered by the Nazis, the Bielski brothers were forced to hide in the deep forests of Belarus and were ultimately joined by some 1200 other Jewish souls, some infirm and weak. The film depicts the manner in which the group coalesced into a society and governed themselves.   Craig’s character was thrust unexpectedly into a difficult and dangerous leadership role; the very survival of the group rested on his shoulders. Each person in the camp was assigned tasks according to ability and everyone had to cooperate in order for the group to survive. The search for food consumed much of their time and energy; they often were rewarded only with empty stomachs and cold rain. In addition to the enemy without, there were rebels within who had to be dealt with, as well as stupid mistakes to be atoned for. But, in the end, by sheer determination, diligence, and self-control, the resisters were rewarded with life and freedom.

Creation

Rav Chanoch Waxman, in his commentary “And God Saw That It Was Good,” notes that concerning the creation of man, there is no mention of “good.”   Says Waxman:

“(A)ltogether the term “good” [describes] God’s work seven times throughout the chapter, thereby highlighting this as a key term and generating a parallel between the seven “goods” and the seven days of the creation process. No more need be said. Chapter One of [Genesis] teaches not just of God the creator, but also of the good things He has made…”

“In addition, the chapter closes with the phrase, “And God saw everything that he had made, and, behold it was very good” (1:31). The placement of the term “good” (tov) at the end of the chapter…and the expansion of God’s vision to include “everything that He had made” all serve to emphasize the point made above. God’s world and the things He has made are good.”

We would expect, therefore, that the making of man should in the very least be said to be “good”, if not “very good.”  Is not the breathing of life into clay the crescendo of the creation narrative?  Especially when we see that Elohim declares His intent to make man in His own image?

And God said, Let Us make mankind in Our image and likeness and they will have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, the cattle and over all the earth and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth. So God created Mankind in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. And God blessed them… (Gen 1:26-28)

He blessed them; but He did not “see that it was good.” Waxman observes that we are left with the apparent conclusion that while all else in God’s world is [indeed very] good, man is apparently not. Waxman further observes that a short detour to the end of the parsha tells the rest of the story, where the text reports,

“The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the LORD regretted that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. ” (Gen. 6:5-6)

Sin Enters the Picture

How, in a period of 1000 years, did humankind grow from being innocent to so wicked?  Actually, it occurred almost overnight.  Don’t forget about Cain, who murdered his brother.

In the course of time Cain brought to the LORD an offering of the fruit of the ground, and Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat portions.  And the LORD had regard for Abel and his offering, but for Cain and his offering he had no regard.  So Cain was very angry, and his face fell.  The LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen?  If you do well, will you not be accepted?  And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.”  Cain spoke to Abel his brother.  And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel and killed him.  Then the LORD said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?”  He said, “I do not know; am I my brother’s keeper?”  And the LORD said, “What have you done?  The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to me from the ground. (Gen. 4:3-10)

The concept of sin is thus introduced in the opening Torah portion.

John the Apostle succinctly defines sin for us.

“Everyone who sins breaks God’s law, because sin is the same as breaking God’s law.” (1 John 3:4 CEV)

The ESV calls sin ‘lawlessness.’

“Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. “ (1John3:4 ESV)

The King James Version states it another way.

“Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.” (1John3:4 KJV)

Any way you slice it, sin is disobeying God’s instructions and is therefore lawlessness.

Yeshua had something to say about lawlessness.  At the conclusion of the Sermon on the Mount, He warned His followers to love one another, keep to the Torah, and to avoid false prophets and ravenous wolves.

“So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.  Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many.  For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.  Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.  You will recognize them by their fruits.  Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?  So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit.  A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit.  Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.  Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.  Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.  On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’  And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’” (Mat. 7:12-23)

narrow gateGod’s instruction for the “life and life more abundantly” (John 10:10) that Yeshua came to reveal is found in His Father’s Torah.  It is the narrow way.”

In the book of Leviticus we first receive the command to “love your neighbor as yourself.” (Lev. 19:18)  Yeshua is repeating His Father’s instruction, demonstrating how to live it by the Spirit.  Yeshua stated that He and the Father are One (John 17:11, 22), that the words He speaks are not His words but are the words of the Father (John 14:24). It is preposterous to think that He came to deliver a different set of instructions, to start a new religion.

Instruction in Righteousness

Torah means “instruction in righteousness.”  Righteousness is simply what is right in God’s eyes, though not necessarily in man’s.

The first five books [Genesis through Deuteronomy] are properly called the Torah and, yes, the entirety of the Word is God’s instruction for righteousness.  However, the first five books are the foundation for the rest of Scripture; the writings of the apostles must be viewed in that light.  A close reading reveals that the disciples and apostles kept Sabbath and the Feasts of the LORD.  The controversy that Yeshua (and Paul) had with the religious leaders was over doctrines and traditions of men—not the instructions given to Moses by God on Mount Sinai.

During the years between the close of the Tanach writings and the advent of Yeshua, laymen rose up to fill the gap left by a corrupt priesthood. These men were sincere, no doubt, and studied the Torah diligently.  Soon, they became recognized as experts of the Torah and were sought out to make decisions as to how to walk out God’s instructions.  They became known as rabbis and Pharisees.

The short version of the story is that, ultimately, their rules became so burdensome that no one could keep them.  Further, they did not understand that Israel was designated to be a light to the world so that the nations would desire entrance into the Kingdom of God. Instead, they made the requirements almost impossible for a gentile to become a proselyte.  These are the issues that Yeshua addresses in Matthew chapter 23 when He says over and over “Woe to you scribes and Pharisees….”  These religious leaders had elevated their rulings above the Torah given to Moses. They were therefore producing “bad fruit” and causing the people to produce “bad fruit.”

If it is true that God only calls “good” that which produces the fruit He has determined, then any other fruit, no matter how good man may call it, is in His eyes “bad” and comes from a tree that is “diseased” and, thus, will be cut down and thrown into the fire according to Yeshua’s own words (Mat. 7:19)

Torah Reveals Sin

Getting back to Cain’s sin problem, we can surmise that God must have given clear instructions from the beginning as to how to offer sacrifices to Him [love God] as well as how to be our brother’s keeper [love our neighbor as ourselves]; otherwise, how could He warn Cain that sin was crouching at the door?  If there was no Torah, Cain could not be warned of sin, for Torah defines sin.

Paul, agreeing with this principle, writes,

“through the law [Torah] comes knowledge of sin.” (Romans 3:20) “What then shall we say? That the law is sin? By no means! Yet if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin. For I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.” (Romans 7:7)

We should stop here to state emphatically that Torah is not now nor has ever been for the purpose of salvation.  Entrance into the Kingdom of God has always been by grace through faith. It was true for Abel, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, as well as for the children of Israel who painted the blood of the lamb on their doorposts and walked out of Egypt. The blood of bulls and goats were only offerings designed to draw the individual or the nation of Israel closer to God; some were for sin, some for rejoicing. The sin offerings were only a shadow of the ultimate sacrifice of Messiah.

The Mercy and Grace of God

The purpose of Torah is fourfold:

1) To introduce God to His creation;

2) To demonstrate the state of mankind without Torah (lawlessness);

3) To define righteousness and unrighteousness;

4) To bless for obedience and to curse for disobedience.

The latter is a measure of grace designed to bring the disobedient to repentance and restoration.

We who believe that Yeshua is Messiah have gained entrance to into the Kingdom of God by the blood of the Lamb.  But that is only the beginning.

Like any earthly Father, Abba has the right to tell His children how to live in His House [Kingdom].  We are former aliens and strangers who have been adopted by grace through faith by the King of the Universe. But, it doesn’t stop there. We have the responsibility to educate ourselves in Kingdom rules and protocol. We are expected to grow, produce good fruit, and sow seeds.

To put it another way, if someone from China, or Peru, or Australia becomes a citizen of the United States of America, they are obligated to learn and follow the laws of the USA so they can thrive and become productive, thereby benefiting the nation and her citizens.

Cleansed of our sin, believers in Yeshua are no longer “separated from Messiah, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Messiah Yeshua you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.” (Eph 2:12-13) Therefore, we are obligated by love for the Father and His Son and our fellow citizens to learn keep the rules of the Kingdom. To do so is to bear good fruit.

Seeing ‘Good’ as Father Sees it

very-goodWe have noted that the term “good” was used seven times in relation to the creation narrative.  We might be tempted to assume that each of the seven days was “good” in God’s eyes. Indeed, light appeared on Day One and “God saw it was good.” However, on Day Two, God did not “see that it was good.” It was only when the firmament was separated to reveal Heaven and Earth, and the seas were separated to reveal the dry land, from which, at God’s command, sprung forth grasses, shrubs, herbs, and trees—all being fruitful and yielding the seed that He purposed—on the third day—that “God saw it was good”! (Gen. 1:11-12).

As an aside, there is a principle in Scripture that “with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.” (2 Peter 3:8)  Peter taught this and there is plenty of evidence that the early church understood this as well.  So, if a “day” equals 1000 years, then Yeshua died two “days” ago.  Could it be that the Father did not “see” that the Second Day was good because, instead, He was “seeing” His Son’s suffering on Calvary?

new-beginnings_t_nvAlong those lines, the prophet Hosea informs us, “After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will raise us up, that we may live before him.” (Hosea 6:2)  Currently, 2000 years after the death of Messiah, He is indeed reviving us, teaching us His Torah, causing us to see the sin that separates us from Him, and writing His instructions upon our hearts.  Soon, in the third day after His suffering, which is actually the seventh millennium, He will resurrect the dead and take the Bride home to live with Him.

So, to briefly review, it was the appearance of light that caused God to “see that it was good.”  But, this light did not come from the sun, moon, and stars which were created on the fourth day. This “light” was the Word of God, His Torah, which emanated from Messiah.

“Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.” (Psalm 119:105)

“The unfolding of your words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple.” (Psalm 119:130)

“For the commandment is a lamp and the teaching a light, and the reproofs of discipline are the way of life.” (Prov. 6:23)

The second time God “saw that it was good” was when vegetation had sprung forth yielding the fruit and seed that He purposed.  So, from these verses, we can surmise that “good” in God’s eyes means being a light in the darkness, applying the principles of Torah and bearing much fruit from that light, as well as sowing seed so that others will bear good fruit.

Good fruit is therefore equated with deeds that are in alignment with His Torah.  The bad fruit is equated with doctrines and traditions of men that make the words of God of no effect (Mat. 15:3-6).

And that is what went wrong with Creation.  Men sought to do things their own way and bore bad fruit.

— Cain sought to bring his own idea of a sacrifice in contrast to Able’s sacrifice that pleased God.  If we examine Cain’s offspring, we see the result of the seeds that were sown. Cain’s son Enoch [not to be confused with the righteous man of the same name who was translated to heaven in 5:24] built the first city (4:17) in response to God’s command to be fruitful and populate the whole earth.

— Enoch’s great-great grandson, Lamech, was the first in Scripture to take not one, but two wives (4:19).  One of them gave birth to Tubal-Cain, who was the inventor of weapons of war (4:22).

The iniquity of the fathers was being visited upon the children to the third and fourth generation, just as stated in Exodus 20:5.

“Wide is the way and easy the path that leads to destruction.” (Mat. 7:13)

We Have Come Into His Marvelous Light

It has been suggested that within the depths of mankind is the same void, darkness, and formlessness over which the Spirit of God brooded on Day One of Creation.  Most certainly, those of us who know Messiah can relate to the great void that He has filled in our hearts.  But, those of us who have also embraced the Torah can also testify to coming out of the darkness of pagan traditions and dying to the ways of the world.  He has infused us with His marvelous light and we are being conformed, little by little to His image.

Once we understood who we are in Him – full citizens of Israel the overcomer, the Kingdom of God – with great delight we forsook the doctrines and traditions of men and embraced His holy days and holy ways.  With enthusiasm we said “Yes!” to His proposal of being His “am segulah” [treasured possession] (see Ex. 19:5, 1 Peter 2:9) and recognized that we are the most blessed people who have ever lived on the planet!

Well, maybe the most blessed since Adam and Eve in the garden.  They never knew evil until the serpent deceived them.  So innocent, so vulnerable.  Such easy bait.  And yet, they were warned.  If only they had listened to God’s instruction.

But, God knew, and the plan for redemption was in place; the Lamb was slain from the foundation of the world (Rev. 13:8).

Yeshua Messiah – Creator Redeemer

So, in the beginning, before God spoke to the light and the light appeared; before He spoke to the waters and they separated; before Passover Lamb 2sun, moon, and stars; trees, grasses, shrubs, and herbs; before animals appeared—before anything else, the Lamb was slain.  God is outside of time; He rules over all.   The Lamb was slain.  And once the Lamb was slain, He was given authority to speak into being the Creation that His Father had planned and, with His Bride, to be the light of the world to a dark world.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. (John 1:1-5)

Giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authoritiesall things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. (Col. 1:12-20)

But in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. (Heb. 1:2)

But of the Son he says, “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, the scepter of uprightness is the scepter of your kingdom. You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions.” And, “You, Lord, laid the foundation of the earth in the beginning, and the heavens are the work of your hands.” (Heb. 1:8-10)

By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible. (Heb. 11:3)

Yeshua is the Creator. It was the Father’s plan; but the Son, the Word of God (Rev. 19:13) was the ordained builder.

Psalm 148 exalts the Creator!

Praise the LORD! Praise the LORD from the heavens; praise him in the heights!
Praise him, all his angels; praise him, all his hosts!
Praise him, sun and moon, praise him, all you shining stars!
Praise him, you highest heavens, and you waters above the heavens!
Let them praise the name of the LORD! For he commanded and they were created.
And he established them forever and ever; he gave a decree, and it shall not pass away.

The prophet Isaiah proclaims the secret of the Creator:

Do you not know? Do you not hear? Has it not been told you from the beginning? Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth? It is he who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers; who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them like a tent to dwell in; who brings princes to nothing, and makes the rulers of the earth as emptiness. Scarcely are they planted, scarcely sown, scarcely has their stem taken root in the earth, when he blows on them, and they wither, and the tempest carries them off like stubble. To whom then will you compare me, that I should be like him? says the Holy One. Lift up your eyes on high and see: who created these? He who brings out their host by number, calling them all by name, by the greatness of his might, and because he is strong in power not one is missing. Why do you say, O Jacob, and speak, O Israel, “My way is hidden from the LORD, and my right is disregarded by my God”? Have you not known? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. (Isaiah 40:21-28)

I am the LORD, and there is no other, besides me there is no God; I equip you, though you do not know me, that people may know, from the rising of the sun and from the west, that there is none besides me; I am the LORD, and there is no other. I form light and create darkness, I make well-being and create calamity, I am the LORD, who does all these things. Shower, O heavens, from above, and let the clouds rain down righteousness; let the earth open, that salvation and righteousness may bear fruit; let the earth cause them both to sprout; I the LORD have created it. “Woe to him who strives with him who formed him, a pot among earthen pots! Does pottery1the clay say to him who forms it, ‘What are you making?’ or ‘Your work has no handles’? Woe to him who says to a father, ‘What are you begetting?’ or to a woman, ‘With what are you in labor?'” Thus says the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, and the one who formed him: “Ask me of things to come; will you command me concerning my children and the work of my hands? I made the earth and created man on it; it was my hands that stretched out the heavens, and I commanded all their host. (Isaiah 45:5-12)

Who is This God?

Commentators have been puzzled for millennia over the fact that the creation narrative begins with a less than perfect scenario:  The Holy Spirit broods over a dark, void, and formless watery world/universe.  They have noted that certain things were present at this beginning: Heaven, world, Torah, water, depths, darkness, for certain, say the rabbis. Angels, too, they speculate, noting the curious plurality of the title Elohim and His injunction, “Let US make man in OUR own image.”  Some have postulated that another world had been created previously and destroyed for its wickedness before this beginning. Maybe. We do not have access to this information. “The secret things belong to the LORD our God.” (Deut. 29:29)

But, perhaps, Rav Waxman suggests, our blessed Heavenly Father who is so loving and tender and merciful, is more interested in introducing Himself as Redeemer, Reconstructor, Shaper, Molder, and Conqueror of Chaos than the All-Powerful, All Knowing, Most High God who created everything from nothing.  Maybe He wanted us to know that He broods over every soul in darkness.  Maybe He wants us to know that He cares about every heart that has been wounded to its depths and that He has the power and desire to transform any worthless, formless thing into “life and life more abundantly.”

muddy bride
Muddied by the cares of this world…

Could it be that He wants us to know that He grieves over His Bride who, seeing herself as “formless,” has tried by every means to create herself according to the world’s standards, resulting only in pain, frustration, and misery?  Could it be that He aches over those in danger, those who suffer, physically, mentally, and spiritually and that He longs to perform reconstructive surgery?   Is it possible that He so longs to comfort, to provide love and peace and safety that He willingly associated Himself with something so terribly IMPERFECT from the beginning?  Could it be that the first thing He wants us to know about Him when we open our bibles is that He is the agent of OUR restoration?

My mind goes back to the movie “Defiance.”  Twelve hundred people, some young, some old, some rich, some poor, some talented, some not.  Caught between the Nazis and the Russian army in the bitter cold winters and thick forests of Belarus, every odd against them.  What enabled them to survive?

My dear children, it was the Torah.  Though they were as imperfect and dysfunctional as any group you will find, ultimately it was the idea of loving your neighbor as yourself, recognizing God in the midst of their trials and offering sacrifices of thanksgiving to Him that enabled them to rise above the circumstances.  It was in keeping His commandments that the group was knit together. It was in discerning and following the God-appointed leadership, flaws and warts notwithstanding, and humbling oneself under that authority.  It was in dying to self and being united as one man for one purpose: having a job and doing it well for the sake of the body.  It was not being overcome by evil, but overcoming evil with good.    It was in producing good fruit.

Haftarah

The Haftarah this week also comes from Isaiah. The Creator promises to take His people by the hand, to protect them, to give them as a light for the nations, to open the eyes of the blind, to set the captives free, and to release the prisoners from darkness.   It is about re-creating the earth through His people.

Thus says God, the LORD, who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and what comes from it, who gives breath to the people on it and spirit to those who walk in it: I am the LORD; I have called you in righteousness; I will take you by the hand and keep you; I will give you as a covenant for the people, a light for the nations, to open the eyes that are blind, to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, from the prison those who sit in darkness. I am the LORD; that is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to carved idols. Behold, the former things have come to pass, and new things I now declare; before they spring forth I tell you of them.” sing_a_new_song2Sing to the LORD a new song, his praise from the end of the earth, you who go down to the sea, and all that fills it, the coastlands and their inhabitants. Let the desert and its cities lift up their voice, the villages that Kedar inhabits; let the habitants of Sela sing for joy, let them shout from the top of the mountains. Let them give glory to the LORD, and declare his praise in the coastlands. The LORD goes out like a mighty man, like a man of war he stirs up his zeal; he cries out, he shouts aloud, he shows himself mighty against his foes. For a long time I have held my peace; I have kept still and restrained myself; now I will cry out like a woman in labor; I will gasp and pant. I will lay waste mountains and hills, and dry up all their vegetation; I will turn the rivers into islands, and dry up the pools. And I will lead the blind in a way that they do not know, in paths that they have not known I will guide them. I will turn the darkness before them into light, the rough places into level ground. These are the things I do, and I do not forsake them. They are turned back and utterly put to shame, who trust in carved idols, who say to metal images, “You are our gods.” Hear, you deaf, and look, you blind, that you may see! Who is blind but my servant, or deaf as my messenger whom I send? Who is blind as my dedicated one, or blind as the servant of the LORD? He sees many things, but does not observe them; his ears are open, but he does not hear. The LORD was pleased, for his righteousness’ sake, to magnify his law [Torah]and make it glorious. (Isaiah 42:5-21)

In view of those who claim the Torah has been done away with, we must ask: Is it possible that the LORD who “changes not” (Mal. 3:6) was once pleased to make His Torah “glorious” and then did away with it when His Son came?

Most English bibles close the Tanach with the book of Malachi, where the prophet exhorts the people of God,

“Remember the law [Torah] of my servant Moses, the statutes and rules that I commanded him at Horeb for all Israel.” (Mal. 4:4)

Isaiah prophesies,

“Many peoples shall come, and say: “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob, that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths.” For out of Zion shall go the law [Torah], and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. (Isaiah 2:3)

This prophecy is repeated word-for-word in Micah 4:2.  Zechariah foretold,

10
A reference to the 10 Tribes scattered among the nations…?

“Thus says the LORD of hosts: In those days ten men from the nations of every tongue shall take hold of the robe of a Jew, saying, ‘Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you'” (Zech. 8:23).

Jeremiah was shown that the gentiles would come from afar and confess their deception.

“O LORD, my strength and my stronghold, my refuge in the day of trouble, to you shall the nations come from the ends of the earth and say: “Our fathers have inherited nothing but lies, worthless things in which there is no profit.” (Jer. 16:19)

These are unfulfilled prophecies! These things must yet occur!

There is no place in the Torah or prophets that even hints that the Torah [Word of God] will ever be done away with.  To the contrary, repeatedly the Torah promises blessings to those who will keep and guard Yahweh’s commandments. Peter exhorted the flock by quoting from Isaiah 40:

“All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls; but the word of the Lord remains forever.” And this word is the good news that was preached to you.” (1 Peter 1:24-25).

The good news of the gospel of Messiah is that “whosoever believes in Him” is welcome into the Kingdom of God. To believe in Him is to hear and obey the One who Sent Him. Yeshua made it plain that He did not come to abolish His Father’s commandments.

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Mat. 5:17-20)

Come, Let us Go UP!

Come let us go upThis year, as we go through the Torah together, let us seek as never before to know our assignments and to do them with our whole heart for the sake of the body. Let us “see” our individual weaknesses and failures, the besetting sin that so easily overwhelms us, as well as our seeming helplessness to overcome it—and let us humbly invite the One who transformed a dark, formless, watery chaos into a bright, blooming, beautiful, prolific garden to do it again for each of us and for kol Israel.   May we individually and corporately surrender our terribly imperfect self to Him so that He can complete His objective of making us in His own image.  Amein!

Until next week, Shabbat Shalom!

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