In studying the Scriptures, little gems of great spiritual value can be found among some of the more tedious and seemingly uninteresting places; and such is the case in this study. Jesus [Yeshua] said in John 5: 39, 46 “You search the Scriptures [TANAKH], for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me.” “For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me.” There are many devout Orthodox, Reform, and traditional Jewry who are zealous for the Law [“Torah”] of God [HaShem] delivered to Moses from Mount Sinai/Horeb on Shavuot (6 Sivan), but they do not receive the written testimony about the “Redeemer” who was to [has already] come. Pastor Art Palacek of El Shaddai Ministries taught the Torah portions for today [8 Iyyar 5770] on Behar (“On Mount Sinai”) and Bechukotai (“In My Statutes”), and pointed out in the lesson that under the Law [“Torah”], only a Jew could redeem another Jew but such a provision did not apply to a foreigner who was the bondservant [slave] of a Jew; and such a person could be kept in that condition indefinitely, or be passed down as an inheritance along with the person’s family as well and there was absolutely no ‘right of redemption’ available to someone that is a foreigner (Cp. Leviticus 25: 45-46).
Pastor Art beautifully introduced the story of Ruth into the lesson and it was quite appropriate and necessary to illustrate a profound Truth for Jews and Gentiles alike. Ruth was a Moabitess (non-Jew) who, again, married into a Jewish family; that of Boaz, who was a relative of Naomi’s deceased husband Elimelech (Cp. Ruth 1: 1-3; 2: 1). In these short four chapters of the Book of RUTH is a powerful example of divine mercy [chesed] and grace. It may go unnoticed for the most part but God brings things about much like the terms contained in a legally-binding contract or in a business transaction of some sort. Once Ruth became part of Israel, she was entitled to all the rights, privileges and benefits as one of God’s chosen people. The key point is this: The Savior and Redeemer of the world had to become a near-kinsman in the legal and technical sense [like Boaz], to Jews and Gentiles in order to save both nations of people. It should therefore, come as no big surprise that Ruth is included in the lineage of King David (Cp. 4: 9-10, 14-22), from whom God is to raise up the “One” [Jesus of Nazareth] who is to be Ruler and King over Israel, from the seed of King David (Cp. Psalms 132: 11; Micah 5: 2b; Isaiah 11: 1-2, 10; John 1: 45; 4: 25-26; 11: 27).
To those Jewish friends who still aren’t quite ready to accept Jesus [Yeshua] as the Messiah, more Scriptures are included, as below:
Acts 2: 29-34
"Men and brethren, let me speak freely to you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. “Therefore, being a prophet, and knowing that God has sworn with an oath to him that of the fruit of his body, according to the flesh, He would raise up the Christ ["Mashiyach"] to sit on his throne, "he, foreseeing this, spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ ["Mashiyach"], that His [not David's] soul was not left in Hades, nor did His flesh see corruption. "This Jesus God has raised up [from the dead] of which we are witnesses. "Therefore being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He poured out this which you now see and hear. “For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he says himself: The LORD said to my Lord, sit at My right hand, till I make Your enemies Your footstool (Cp. Psalms 110: 1)."
Acts 13: 22-25
"And when He had removed him, He raised up for them David as king, to whom also He gave testimony and said, "(Cp. Psalms 89: 20a; I Samuel 13: 14b)." From this man's seed [King David], according to the promise, God raised up for Israel a Savior ["Messiah"]Jesus [Yeshua]-"after John had first preached, before His coming, the baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel. "And John was finishing his course, he said, 'Who do you think I am? I am not He. But behold, there comes ‘One’ after me, the sandals of whose feet I am not worthy to loose.' "
John 8: 32-34
“And you shall know the ‘TRUTH’ and the truth shall make you free. They answered and said to Him, “We are Abraham’s descendants, and have never been in bondage to anyone. How can you say, ‘You will be made free’?” Jesus [Yeshua] answered them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin.”
Romans 3: 23-26, 31
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus [Yeshua Moshiach], whom God set forth as a propitiation [mercy seat] by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one [anyone] who has faith in Jesus [Yeshua] (Cp. Galatians 3: 24b). Do we then make void the Law [Torah] through faith? Certainly not! On the contrary we establish the Law [Torah].
Galatians 3: 13a
Christ [Moshiach] has redeemed us from the curse of the Law [Torah]. . .
NOTE: This statement by the Apostle Paul [Rav Shaul] does not mean that the Law is a bad thing (Cp. Romans 7: 14), also Psalms 19: 7; but rather it pronounces condemnation upon anyone who doesn’t keep all of its precepts (Cp. Galatians 3: 10; Deuteronomy 27: 26).
Galatians 3: 24
Therefore the Law [Torah] was our tutor to bring us to [the knowledge of] Messiah [Christ], that we might be justified by faith (Cp. Romans 3: 31).
Hebrews 10: 4, 6
For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins. In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin You [HaShem] had no pleasure (Cp. Psalms 40: 6-7).
Hebrews 9: 12-15
Not with the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifying for the purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ [Moshiach], who through the Eternal Spirit cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? And for this reason He [Yeshua Moshiach] is the Mediator of the New Covenant [Brit Hadashah], by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.
Romans 5: 6
For when we were still without strength [to redeem ourselves], in due time, Christ [Moshiach] died for the ungodly [us].
2 Corinthians 3: 11-16
For if what is passing away [the sacrificial system, but not Torah] was glorious, what remains is much more glorious. Unlike Moses, who put a veil over his face so that the children of Israel could not look steadfastly at the end of what was passing away [the sacrificial system, but not Torah]. But their minds were [are] blinded; for until this day in the reading of the Old Testament [Torah scroll and TANAKH], because the veil is taken away in Christ [Moshiach]. But even to this day, when Moses is read [the Torah], a veil lies on their heart. Nevertheless, when one turns to the LORD [HaShem], the veil is taken away.
COMMENTARY: Since the Temple was destroyed by the Roman soldiers in 70 AD, this ended the sacrificial system with the burnt and peace offerings, and especially the holiest celebration of all, YOM KIPPUR (“Day of Atonement”), so how do the Jews address the issue of having their sins forgiven by God [HaShem]?
Doubtless, the rabbis who composed the Oral Torah over the centuries have devised ingenious ways to compensate for the loss of the Temple services as a way to appear to expiate sins that were committed unintentionally, for the most part (Cp. Hebrews 9: 7b), but that still leaves the question of how to avert God’s wrathful justice when it comes to punishing sin and iniquity? Acts of charity, piety, and benevolence just won’t cut it; so what does one do? Rejecting the rabbi Jesus the Nazarene Jesus as the Messiah is accompanied by some disparaging commentary in Jewish religious literature and tradition, but it is not so easy to explain away Isaiah 53: 1-12, because if these passages do not refer to the Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth, then about whom are they written?
Acts 8: 26-31a, 32-35, 37b-39
Now an angel of the LORD [HaShem] spoke to Philip, saying, “Arise and go toward the South [NEGEB] along the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” (This is desert). So he arose and went. And Behold (Hinei), a man of Ethiopia, a eunuch of great authority under Candace, the Queen of the Ethiopians, who had charge of all her treasury, and had come to Jerusalem for to worship, was returning. And sitting in his chariot he was reading Isaiah the prophet. Then the Spirit said to Philip, “Go near and overtake this chariot.” So Philip ran to him, and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah, and said, “Do you understand what [about whom] you are reading?” And he said, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” The place in the Scripture [TANAKH] which he read was this: “He was lead as a sheep to the slaughter, And as a lamb before his shearer is silent, So He opened not His mouth (Cp. Matthew 27: 11-14; Mark 15: 2-5; John 19: 9). In His humiliation His justice was taken away, And who will declare His generation? For His life is taken from the earth.” So the eunuch answered Philip and said, “I ask you, of whom does the prophet say this, of himself or of some other man?” Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning at this Scripture (Cp. Isaiah 53: 7-8), preached Jesus [Yeshua Moshiach] to him. And he [the eunuch] answered and said, “I believe that Jesus Christ [Yeshua Moshiach] is the Son of God.” So he commanded the chariot to stand still. And both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and he baptized him [the eunuch]. Now when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the LORD caught Philip away, so that the eunuch saw him no more; and he [the eunuch] went on his way rejoicing.
Lastly, the sentiments of the Apostle are a most fitting conclusion.
Romans 10: 1-4
Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God [HaShem] for Israel is that they might be saved. For I bear them witness, that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge [understanding the Torah, Psalms and the Prophets]. For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness [through HALAKAH and Oral Torah], have not submitted to the righteousness of God. For Christ [Yeshua] is the end [focal point] of the Law [Torah] for righteousness to everyone who believes.
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May 8, 2010