Sunday, December 30, 2018

Shabbat Service 12-29-2018

Join us each Shabbat at 10:00 am Pacific time for our weekly service.  Watch our midweek video teaching on Wednesday nights, download the discussion questions from our midweek teaching (available from our website at and be ready to join in the discussion on Shabbat.  We live stream our service on the home page of our website, and on our Moed Ministries International Facebook page.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Jacob Will Take Root in God's Vineyard

By Dan & Brenda Cathcart
The video version of this teaching is at:
The scripture reading for this teaching is Isaiah 27:6-28:18, 29:22-23
Isaiah was a prophet to the kingdom of Judah during the reigns of four kings, Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah. During the seventy or so years that Isaiah prophesied in Judah, Judah was at odds with Israel. In the kingdom of Israel, Jeroboam the second ruled when Isaiah began to prophesy. At the time of Isaiah’s prophecies in chapters 27 and 28, Israel still existed as a nation, but judgment was quickly coming. In the midst of prophesying about judgment, Isaiah brings God’s words that judgment won’t be forever; restoration will come.
Isaiah 27:6 NAS95 6 In the days to come Jacob will take root, Israel will blossom and sprout, And they will fill the whole world with fruit.
But this restoration was for a future time and Isaiah turned his attention to what was going on in Israel and Judah in the present. We know that the kingdom of Israel from the time of its inception under Jeroboam did evil in God’s sight. They continued to do so during the time of Isaiah. But what about the kingdom of Judah; were they following in the ways of David or doing evil like the kingdom of Israel? In what way did Isaiah chastise Judah in this passage What judgment was in store for Judah?
Of the four kings of Judah that reigned during the period of Isaiah’s prophecies, all but Ahaz are recorded as following in the way of their father David. Ahaz reigned in Judah for only sixteen years, yet during those years, Ahaz brought about calamity in both Israel and Judah as recorded in second Kings Chapters 15 and 16. Israel, who was already paying tribute to Assyria, allied with Syria to defeat Judah. This is like a fish gobbling up a smaller fish even as a bigger fish is ready to devour him! Judah, like a smart little fish, saw the big fish Assyria coming, and approached Assyria promising to be the servant of Assyria if Assyria would take care of both Syria and Israel. Through Ahaz’s actions, the eye of the mighty empire of Assyria fell on the lands of Israel, Syria, and Judah!
Assyria set about the defeat of Syria and the captivity of the tribal land of Naphtali which reached from the town of Dan in the north along the entire western shore of the Sea of Galilee. But, Assyria, also, had the land of Judah in its sights.
2 Chronicles 28:21 NAS95 21 Although Ahaz took a portion out of the house of the LORD and out of the palace of the king and of the princes, and gave it to the king of Assyria, it did not help him.
Now, we turn to Isaiah’s words as we examine them in this historical context. This section of the haftarah focuses on Israel or Jacob as a nation. Although Isaiah relayed God’s promise to firmly plant Jacob in the land, this would not occur until after God struck them in judgment.
Isaiah 27:7 NKJV 7 Has He struck Israel as He struck those who struck him? Or has He been slain according to the slaughter of those who were slain by Him?
These two rhetorical questions demand a vehement “no” answer. God has not and will not strike Israel as He struck or will strike the nations that seek to destroy Israel. Any judgment falling on Israel will not totally destroy the house of Israel. Amos writes that although the nation will be destroyed, the people will survive in the nations where God scatters them.
Amos 9:8-9 NKJV 8 "Behold, the eyes of the Lord GOD are on the sinful kingdom, And I will destroy it from the face of the earth; Yet I will not utterly destroy the house of Jacob," Says the LORD. 9 "For surely I will command, And will sift the house of Israel among all nations, As grain is sifted in a sieve; Yet not the smallest grain shall fall to the ground.
Jeremiah tells us that the nations where God scatters his people will be totally destroyed, but Israel’s exile is not to destroy them, but to punish and correct them.
Jeremiah 30:11 NKJV 11 For I am with you,' says the LORD, 'to save you; Though I make a full end of all nations where I have scattered you, Yet I will not make a complete end of you. But I will correct you in justice, And will not let you go altogether unpunished.'
Isaiah frames his pronouncement of judgment and restoration in terms of God’s vineyard. The promise in verse 6 is that in the days of restoration, Jacob will take root. In the verses leading up to this, we learn that Jacob will take root in God’s vineyard.
Isaiah 27:2-3 NKJV 2 In that day sing to her, "A vineyard of red wine! 3 I, the LORD, keep it, I water it every moment; Lest any hurt it, I keep it night and day.
But, before Jacob takes root, he is first driven away. The vineyard is destroyed by the strong destructive east wind common in the region leaving only the roots behind.
Isaiah 27:8-9 J.P Green Interlinear 8 You will contend with her by driving her away, by sending her away. He shall take away by His harsh wind, in the day of the east wind. 9 By this, then, the iniquity of Jacob will be covered, and this is all the fruit, to take away his sin; when he makes all the stones of the altar as chalkstones that are beaten in pieces; Asherim and sun-pillars shall not rise.
The result of Jacob’s punishment is atonement for his sins. The word for “covered” is the Hebrew word “kaphar”, number 3722 in Strong’s Concordance meaning to cover or make atonement. This is the same word used for the blood of the sin offering making atonement for the people. Returning to the imagery of the vineyard, the fruit of this atonement and taking away of Jacob’s sin is that all the altars to foreign gods would be removed from Israel.
Isaiah describes the state of God’s vineyard before bringing destruction. Instead of bearing good grapes to produce the red wine described in verse 2, the vineyard produced only worthless grapes.
Isaiah 5:1-2 NAS95 1 Let me sing now for my well-beloved A song of my beloved concerning His vineyard. My well-beloved had a vineyard on a fertile hill. 2 He dug it all around, removed its stones, And planted it with the choicest vine. And He built a tower in the middle of it And also hewed out a wine vat in it; Then He expected it to produce good grapes, But it produced only worthless ones.
The literal translation of the Hebrew word translated as “worthless ones” is actually a much harsher indictment of the vines in God’s vineyards. The Hebrew word is b’oo-sheem, number 891 in Strong’s Concordance meaning poison berries. The root word means to stink! The grapes are not just worthless, they are poisonous!
In our haftarah portion, Isaiah goes on to describe the judgment of Jacob in terms of the destruction of the vineyard.
Isaiah 27:11 NKJV 11 When its boughs are withered, they will be broken off; The women come and set them on fire. For it is a people of no understanding; Therefore He who made them will not have mercy on them, And He who formed them will show them no favor.
The boughs, withered by the strong east wind, die and break off. They are burned as part of the cleaning out process of the vineyard. Isaiah, then, looks ahead to “that day” when Jacob will be restored.
Isaiah 27:12-13 NKJV 12 And it shall come to pass in that day That the LORD will thresh, From the channel of the River to the Brook of Egypt; And you will be gathered one by one, O you children of Israel. 13 So it shall be in that day: The great trumpet will be blown; They will come, who are about to perish in the land of Assyria, And they who are outcasts in the land of Egypt, And shall worship the LORD in the holy mount at Jerusalem.
Yeshua refers to this day when He describes the time of His second coming.
Matthew 24:31 NKJV 31 "And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
The next section of the haftarah portion focuses on the leaders of Israel as they sit in the vineyard getting drunk on the wine. Remember, Isaiah prophesied in Judah not the northern kingdom of Israel, and that there was enmity between the two nations. King Ahaz thought he had an agreement with Assyria that Assyria would destroy Israel and Syria for him. Isaiah may have been addressing a gathering of Judah’s leaders to celebrate that agreement! Isaiah gets the attention of his audience by starting off talking about the leaders of the northern kingdom not the leaders of Judah.
Isaiah 28:1-3 NKJV 1 Woe to the crown of pride, to the drunkards of Ephraim, Whose glorious beauty is a fading flower Which is at the head of the verdant valleys, To those who are overcome with wine! 2 Behold, the Lord has a mighty and strong one, Like a tempest of hail and a destroying storm, Like a flood of mighty waters overflowing, Who will bring them down to the earth with His hand. 3 The crown of pride, the drunkards of Ephraim, Will be trampled underfoot;
Isaiah is pretty clear; the northern kingdom of Israel, represented by Ephraim, will be trampled underfoot! It seems that King Ahaz’s appeal to Assyria is working in his favor. Isaiah seems to be confirming that Assyria will take care of Judah’s enemies. Once again, Isaiah uses the imagery of destruction of the vineyard by natural forces. This time, it is a great storm with hail and flood waters. Those who exploit the vineyard, drinking excessively from the fruit produced will be destroyed in the storm.
Isaiah reassures his listeners that restoration follows judgment. The crown of pride is replaced by God’s crown of glory, and exploitation is replaced by true justice.
Isaiah 28:5-6 NKJV 5 In that day the LORD of hosts will be For a crown of glory and a diadem of beauty To the remnant of His people, 6 For a spirit of justice to him who sits in judgment, And for strength to those who turn back the battle at the gate.
But Isaiah is not finished. Just when the leaders of Judah relax because Isaiah is not talking about them, Isaiah shifts the focus directly onto them!
Isaiah 28:7-8 NKJV 7 But they also have erred through wine, And through intoxicating drink are out of the way; The priest and the prophet have erred through intoxicating drink, They are swallowed up by wine, They are out of the way through intoxicating drink; They err in vision, they stumble in judgment. 8 For all tables are full of vomit and filth; No place is clean.
Now, Isaiah is speaking about the prophets and priests of Judah! Not only are the leaders of Ephraim drunkards; so are the prophets and priests of Judah! They are exploiting the fruit of the vineyard drinking up all the wine and hoarding it for themselves! Like any drunkard, their judgment is severely impaired! The prophets don’t “see” correctly and the priests don’t rule correctly in judicial matters.
The prophets and priests take issue against the words of Isaiah and assert that they are not babies who don’t understand the Torah! Who is Isaiah to be teaching them knowledge?
Isaiah 28:9 NKJV 9 "Whom will he teach knowledge? And whom will he make to understand the message? Those just weaned from milk? Those just drawn from the breasts?
Isaiah answers them with words indicating how superficial their actual understanding is.
Isaiah 28:10 NKJV 10 For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept, Line upon line, line upon line, Here a little, there a little."
First Fruits of Zion in Torah Club Volume Three examined the Hebrew behind this verse and explain that Isaiah’s condemnation of them is even more severe—they don’t understand the Torah at all!
“While some of these syllables might be translatable, for the most part, they are not words, but simply untranslatable sounds, like the sort of verbal sounds that a baby or young child would make.[i]
Isaiah, then, gets more sarcastic with them, telling them if they won’t listen to a message directly from God, God would send them a message they would listen to.
Isaiah 28:11-13 NKJV 11 For with stammering lips and another tongue He will speak to this people, 12 To whom He said, "This is the rest with which You may cause the weary to rest," And, "This is the refreshing"; Yet they would not hear. 13 But the word of the LORD was to them, "Precept upon precept, precept upon precept, Line upon line, line upon line, Here a little, there a little," That they might go and fall backward, and be broken And snared and caught.
The word translated as “stammering” is the Hebrew word “la-ayg” number 3934 in Strong’s Concordance. It comes from the word “law-ag” number 3932 meaning to deride, mock or scorn. These stammering lips were lips that mocked and scorned Jacob. The NKJV Study Bible comments on these verses explaining the judgment that was to come.
“The stammering lips were those of the Assyrians, who would become the teachers of Israel because of Israel’s own failed leadership… The word of the LORD would take the shape of discipline in the form of foreigners with stammering lips teaching their morals to Israel, who should have learned from God.[ii]
Second Kings Chapter 18 records the mocking and scornful words of Assyria as they attempted to take Jerusalem! Moses prophesied about God allowing Assyria to attack Israel even before the children of Israel entered the Promised Land.
Deuteronomy 28:49 NKJV 49 "The LORD will bring a nation against you from afar, from the end of the earth, as swift as the eagle flies, a nation whose language you will not understand,
Because Judah would not hear the words of God through Isaiah and the other prophets, God sent them a message they would understand—destruction and captivity! However, when Assyria confronted Judah with mocking words at the gates of Jerusalem, they were met with a king who listened to God and His prophets. King Hezekiah tore his clothes and covered himself in sackcloth and ashes before the LORD.
2 Kings 19:1 NKJV 1 And so it was, when King Hezekiah heard it, that he tore his clothes, covered himself with sackcloth, and went into the house of the LORD.
Because of Hezekiah’s faithfulness and the heart of the people to follow Hezekiah, Judah was not destroyed by Assyria. However, judgment did eventually fall on Judah at the hands of the Babylonians, the empire that replaced Assyria. The haftarah reading, then, skips over more of Isaiah’s words indicting Judah for not listening to God. The portion ends as it began, with the promise of restoration.
Isaiah 29:22-23 NKJV 22 Therefore thus says the LORD, who redeemed Abraham, concerning the house of Jacob: "Jacob shall not now be ashamed, Nor shall his face now grow pale; 23 But when he sees his children, The work of My hands, in his midst, They will hallow My name, And hallow the Holy One of Jacob, And fear the God of Israel.
The LORD redeemed Abraham by taking him out of the Ur of the Chaldees and bringing him into the land He had promised to give to Abraham and his descendants. So, also, God will redeem Jacob. After being scattered to the nations, Jacob will see God working in their midst. Perhaps this work is the restoration of the nation of Israel going on now and God’s miraculous hand in the protection of the nation. Perhaps, this work is those of the Jewish people who are finding their Messiah and eagerly sharing it with their families and others in their Jewish communities.
Although the haftarah portion ends with verse 23, the next verse takes us back to the leaders of Judah.
Isaiah 29:24 NKJV 24 These also who erred in spirit will come to understanding, And those who complained will learn doctrine."
The leaders of the Jewish people that Isaiah had chastised for not hearing God’s word will come to understanding and will learn from the prophets like Isaiah. They will receive understanding and instruction!
Isaiah used the analogy of a vineyard being pruned down to the roots to illustrate the upcoming judgment on Israel and Judah. Paul used the analogy of an olive tree to symbolize the same thing. The Jewish people who refused to hear the words of Yeshua and rejected His identity as Messiah were pruned out of the olive tree. However, those who were pruned out can be grafted in again.
Romans 11:24 NKJV 24 For if you were cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and were grafted contrary to nature into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these, who are natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree?
Isaiah said that Jacob would be gathered again and take root in God’s vineyard. Paul says they will be grafted back into the olive tree. Isaiah says that Israel will fill the whole world with fruit. Paul says that the restoration of Israel will be life from the dead.
Romans 11:15 NKJV 15 For if their being cast away is the reconciling of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?
The Jewish people have been in exile for a long time. We can see the signs that God is beginning to gather His people. We see the signs that Jacob is beginning to hear the words of their Messiah and turn to God in greater numbers. May God continue to turn the hearts of His people, both Jew and Gentile, back to Him, and may they see their Messiah.
Study Questions:
1. Discuss the connection of this teaching to the Torah Portion Shemot Exodus 1:1-6:1?
2. How are all the judgments God makes against His vineyard in Isaiah 5:1-7 reversed in Isaiah 27:2-6? King Ahab seized a vineyard owned by Naboth in 1 Kings 21. How is this account a metaphor for God’s vineyard?
3. How does Yeshua use the imagery of the vineyard in John 15:1-11? What is Yeshua’s role in God’s vineyard?
4. Paul quotes Isaiah 28:11 in 1 Corinthians 14:21. In context, Isaiah 28:11 is about sending a message through destruction and captivity that the leaders of Judah would have to listen to because the words of the prophets that God sent were merely gibberish to them. What, then, is Paul really saying to the Corinthians when he uses this verse.
5. Isaiah 29:23 says Jacob would hallow God’s name. Yeshua instructed us to pray that God’s name be hallowed in the LORD’s prayer in Luke 11:1-4. How did Isaiah describe Jacob as hallowing God’s name? How do we hallow God’s name?
© 2018 Moed Ministries International. All rights reserved

[i] First Fruits of Zion Torah Club: Messianic Commentary on the Parashot HaShavuah. Volume Three: The Haftarah. ©1999 First Fruits of Zion. P222.
[ii] NKJY Study Bible. General Editor Earl D. Radmacher, Th.D.©1997,2007 Thomas Nelson, Inc. P 1080.

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Shabbat Service - 12-22-2018

Join us each Shabbat at 10:00 am Pacific time for our weekly service.  Watch our midweek video teaching on Wednesday nights, download the discussion questions from our midweek teaching (available from our website at and be ready to join in the discussion on Shabbat.  We live stream our service on the home page of our website, and on our Moed Ministries International Facebook page.

Innocent Until Proven Guilty - Part 3

This is the final part of our three part study titled, "Innocent Until Proven Guilty."  It is from our Bible study book "Shadows of the Messiah in the Torah, Volume 4" available on

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Keep the Charge of the LORD Your God

By Dan & Brenda Cathcart
The video version of this teaching is available at:
The scripture reading is 1st Kings 2:1-12
David was arguably the greatest Israelite since Moses, yet his passing is barely mentioned in the Book of 1st kings. In this week’s haftarah reading we see that David is about to die and we read of David’s last words to his son Solomon whom he had chosen as his successor.
David reigned over a unified Israel. But that unification didn’t come without a price. David’s struggles for the nation of Israel are well documented, primarily in the books of Samuel and Chronicles.  His battles include victories, defeats, and challenges from his own family and close associates. At first David’s kingship only included the tribe of Judah and he reigned from the city of Hebron for seven and a half years. But the entire nation was eventually unified under one king, David who reigned from Jerusalem for the next 33 years.
Through all of David’s struggles, his victories, his defeats and his personal triumphs and failures, David had a heart for God and a deep desire to serve the LORD in spirit and truth. As he reached the end of his life, David desired to pass on this great legacy to Solomon; to see that his covenant with God would continue through his chosen heir, and that there would always be a Son of David on the throne of Israel.
Almost all of what we know about King David is recorded only in the scriptures and other Jewish writings.  Secular history has very little to no mention of king David.  In years past, many scholars, not willing to accept the scriptural references as being entirely historically accurate, assumed that the Biblical chronicles of David were much like the legends of King Arthur; at the most a composite of many kings and leaders, and at the least a total fiction; A kind of cultural legend that serves to unify a society and preserve a culture.
That all changed with the rebirth of the nation of Israel in 1948 and when archeological evidence began to surface. Scholars discovered artifacts and other direct evidence of the reign of king David in exactly the places the scriptures spoke of.
When we take a closer look at the chronology of King David and compare it to what is found in other secular histories and writing from other Middle Eastern kingdoms of the time, we find corroborating evidence. First Fruits of Zion in their work, “Torah Club, Volume 3, The Haftarah Portions” quotes from the Expositor’s Bible Commentary.
“… these sources (the secular sources) provide a fairly accurate time sequence for dating events of the ancient (middle) East, particularly so for the period of the Kings… the general timeframe of much of the period from Solomon to the fall of Jerusalem (the siege and destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians) can be acknowledged as rather well established. Hence we can say with a great deal of certainty that the year when David passed on the throne to Solomon was either 970 or 971 BCE”[i]
At the time of David, Israel was about to reach the pinnacle of their power and the furthest reach of their territory. It would be a time of relative peace for the nation of Israel. Other Middle Eastern nations were rather inactive.  The Assyrians were barely a blip on the radar and the Egyptians, although displaying some aggressive activities, were never a serious threat to Israel. After David, Solomon, in one of his first acts as king, formed a political alliance with Egypt.
1 Kings 3:1 NKJV 1 Now Solomon made a treaty with Pharaoh king of Egypt, and married Pharaoh's daughter; then he brought her to the City of David until he had finished building his own house, and the house of the LORD, and the wall all around Jerusalem.
Also, Solomon fulfilled David’s desire to build the House of God on the plot of land that David had purchased.
2 Samuel 24:20-21 NKJV 20 Now Araunah looked, and saw the king and his servants coming toward him. So Araunah went out and bowed before the king with his face to the ground. 21 Then Araunah said, "Why has my lord the king come to his servant?" And David said, "To buy the threshing floor from you, to build an altar to the LORD, that the plague may be withdrawn from the people."
The Haftarah portion for this week is rather brief but contains the important last words of David as he gives charge to his son Solomon. David’s words to Solomon can be broken down into basically three areas that we will take a closer look at.  David tells Solomon to guard his life, guard his Torah, and guard his realm.
David’s first words to Solomon as David is about to die are about guarding his life.  David had the right to name Solomon his successor. But Solomon’s three older brothers were not happy with their father’s choice. Amnon, Absalom and Adonijah were spiritually and morally bankrupt. Solomon, on the other hand, had a willing and humble heart and found grace in David’s eyes. Given that his older brothers were blinded by their own corruption and ambition, Solomon had to keep a special watch over his own life.
David opened his words of wisdom to Solomon with an admonition to be strong and be a man.
1 Kings 2:1-2 NKJV 1 Now the days of David drew near that he should die, and he charged Solomon his son, saying: 2 "I go the way of all the earth; be strong, therefore, and prove yourself a man.
David wasn’t giving this advice to Solomon out of some macho considerations. In a previous teaching, we learned that Solomon may have been as young as twelve years old at the time of his coronation according to Jewish tradition. David realized that, while Solomon was very young and perhaps too young and inexperienced to be king over all of Israel, Solomon none the less had to function as a grown man.  David would not be at his side to guide him on this path.
Solomon had to be strong, mature, and grow up fast! David was not referring to a physical strength in this charge to Solomon.  Solomon would have armies at his command to exercise physical strength and power.  David was speaking of spiritual and moral strength which comes from the LORD and he wanted Solomon to seek out God’s strength first.  This is evident in David’s next few words to Solomon.
1 Kings 2:3-4 NKJV 3 "And keep the charge of the LORD your God: to walk in His ways, to keep His statutes, His commandments, His judgments, and His testimonies, as it is written in the Law of Moses, that you may prosper in all that you do and wherever you turn; 4 "that the LORD may fulfill His word which He spoke concerning me, saying, 'If your sons take heed to their way, to walk before Me in truth with all their heart and with all their soul,' He said, 'you shall not lack a man on the throne of Israel.'
In David’s words to Solomon, I am reminded of God’s encouragement of Joshua as he took over the leadership of the Children of Israel and led them into the Promised Land following the death of Moses. 
Let’s focus for a moment on the opening phrase of verse 3, “keep the charge of the LORD…”. This is not the literal translation of the Hebrew text, which would not make much sense in English. Looking at the Hebrew text will give us a deeper understanding of David’s words. The Hebrew phrase would translate, “and guard the protective guards.” This context reveals that David was referring to the Torah! Solomon was to protect and guard God’s Torah because that is what provides his guard and protection. Deuteronomy chapter 17 speaks specifically about the duty and responsibility of kings.
Deuteronomy 17:18-20 NKJV 18 "Also it shall be, when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write for himself a copy of this law in a book, from the one before the priests, the Levites. 19 "And it shall be with him, and he shall read it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the LORD his God and be careful to observe all the words of this law and these statutes, 20 "that his heart may not be lifted above his brethren, that he may not turn aside from the commandment to the right hand or to the left, and that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he and his children in the midst of Israel.
Perhaps David was reminding Solomon of this very passage of the Torah. Or perhaps reminding him of Abraham’s life and how it reflected this concept as well.
Genesis 26:4-5 NKJV 4 "And I will make your descendants multiply as the stars of heaven; I will give to your descendants all these lands; and in your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed; 5 "because Abraham obeyed My voice and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws."
Further in verse three of our Haftarah reading, David gets more specific about what those guards are and what actions Solomon should take.  David referred to ways, statutes, commandments, ordinances, and testimonies. Let’s look at two places in Deuteronomy where these same words are used. First is Deuteronomy 6:17
Deuteronomy 6:17 NKJV 17 "You shall diligently keep the commandments of the LORD your God, His testimonies, and His statutes which He has commanded you.
The other is Deuteronomy 26 verses 16 and 17.
Deuteronomy 26:16-17 NKJV 16 "This day the LORD your God commands you to observe these statutes and judgments; therefore you shall be careful to observe them with all your heart and with all your soul. 17 "Today you have proclaimed the LORD to be your God, and that you will walk in His ways and keep His statutes, His commandments, and His judgments, and that you will obey His voice.
Would it have not been sufficient for David to just simply say “keep my commandments”, or “stick to the Torah?” But each of these words have specific meaning and are important.
The word for ways is “derekhim”, it is from number 1870 in the Strong’s lexicon meaning “a course of life or mode of action.” Solomon was to literally stick to the Torah!  The Torah is God’s instruction in righteous living.  The word implies a lifestyle choice.
The word for Statutes is “khok” number 2706 meaning an enactment, appointment, something bound or covenant.
The word for commandment is one we are probably most familiar with, “mitzvot.”  It is the plural for of “mitzvah.” Number 4687. It literally means commandment, law, or ordinance.  We also understand it to mean “good deed.”
The word for Judgements (some translations use the word “ordinances”) is “mishpatim” number 4941 meaning verdict, sentence or formal decree. This word would refer largely to the legal aspects of the Torah.
The last word used is testimonies.  It is “ay-dooth” number 5715 meaning testimonies or witness. The Torah was to give testimony to or bear witness to a righteous life.
All of the words refer to specific categories of instruction found in the Torah.  David was being very specific in his charge to Solomon. David clearly understood and was familiar with all of these aspects of the Torah and wrote extensively in the Psalms about how these applied to his life and reign as king. Psalm 119 is one such example.
Psalms 119:1-8 NKJV 1 ALEPH. Blessed are the undefiled in the way, Who walk in the law of the LORD! 2 Blessed are those who keep His testimonies, Who seek Him with the whole heart! 3 They also do no iniquity; They walk in His ways. 4 You have commanded us To keep Your precepts diligently. 5 Oh, that my ways were directed To keep Your statutes! 6 Then I would not be ashamed, When I look into all Your commandments. 7 I will praise You with uprightness of heart, When I learn Your righteous judgments. 8 I will keep Your statutes; Oh, do not forsake me utterly!
David’s third charge to his son Solomon was to guard his realm. In 1 Kings 2 verses 5-9, David is instructing Solomon on some specifics about keeping his kingdom and throne secure. In this passage, David tells Solomon what kind of people to watch out for going forward.  Two of them are negative influences and one is positive.  In our day we might recognize David’s words as an application of the adage “keep your friends close and your enemies closer.”  The 1st person David mentioned is Joab.
1 Kings 2:5-6 NKJV 5 "Moreover you know also what Joab the son of Zeruiah did to me, and what he did to the two commanders of the armies of Israel, to Abner the son of Ner and Amasa the son of Jether, whom he killed. And he shed the blood of war in peacetime, and put the blood of war on his belt that was around his waist, and on his sandals that were on his feet. 6 "Therefore do according to your wisdom, and do not let his gray hair go down to the grave in peace.
Joab was a thorn in the side of David.  He was one of those people who could be a great asset in time of need but Joab was always looking out for his own interest and would quickly become an enemy should the circumstances require it. Joab was very loyal to David but only to the point that it served his interest.
After the death of Saul, Abner, then the commander of Saul’s army waged a war with David and Judah.  Abner, finding war with David fruitless eventually entered into a covenant of peace with David, there by unifying all the tribes into one kingdom. Joab didn’t trust Abner and eventually murdered him contrary to David’s wishes. This incident was relayed to Solomon in David’s words in verse five “he shed the blood of war in peacetime.”
In another incident, David was faced with a rebellion by his own son Absalom. David gave instruction that Absalom was not to be harmed but Joab took matters into his own hands by subsequently murdering Absalom. David left it up to Solomon to handle the matter of Joab, using his own wisdom and judgment with the condition not to let Joab die in peace.
Next David tells Solomon to give special attention and care to the sons of Barzillai who assisted David in his time of need during Absalom’s rebellion.
1 Kings 2:7 NKJV 7 "But show kindness to the sons of Barzillai the Gileadite, and let them be among those who eat at your table, for so they came to me when I fled from Absalom your brother.
Through this example, David was showing Solomon how to treat the righteous people in the kingdom.  Solomon was to recognize and remember the kindness of such acts as those of Barzillai.  David said that they should eat at the king’s table.  What does it mean to “eat at the king’s table?”  A commentary by D.J. Wiseman explains:
“To eat at the king’s table was equivalent of having a pension, the beneficiary receiving a regular royal allowance of food and clothing, with a house and land to support him and his family.”[ii]
Another troublemaker that David leaves for Solomon to handle is a man by the name of Shimei, grandson of Saul who confronted David at the time David fled Jerusalem during Absalom’s rebellion.
1 Kings 2:8-9 NKJV 8 "And see, you have with you Shimei the son of Gera, a Benjamite from Bahurim, who cursed me with a malicious curse in the day when I went to Mahanaim. But he came down to meet me at the Jordan, and I swore to him by the LORD, saying, 'I will not put you to death with the sword.' 9 "Now therefore, do not hold him guiltless, for you are a wise man and know what you ought to do to him; but bring his gray hair down to the grave with blood."
Cursing the king was clearly a violation of the Torah.
Exodus 22:28 NKJV 28 "You shall not revile God, nor curse a ruler of your people.
For whatever reason, known only to David, he allowed this descendant of Saul to continue his bad-mouthing of the king even though such cursing was a capital offence.  In his last words to Solomon, David considered Shimei a danger to Solomon’s reign. But given that David had allowed Shimei to live, Solomon would have to handle him in a different way.
David was giving some very sound advice to Solomon. Solomon needed to protect his realm by eliminating all the troublemakers who would threaten his reign and the stability of the kingdom. At the same time David instructed Solomon that he was also to protect and provide for those who were good influences. David gave examples of these two different kinds of people and it was up to Solomon to discern the difference.
Sometime after David finished speaking with Solomon, he died. It is amazing that the writer of the Book of Kings gives so little mention of the actual death of David, the greatest king in the nation of Israel.
1 Kings 2:10-12 NKJV 10 So David rested with his fathers, and was buried in the City of David. 11 The period that David reigned over Israel was forty years; seven years he reigned in Hebron, and in Jerusalem he reigned thirty-three years. 12 Then Solomon sat on the throne of his father David; and his kingdom was firmly established.
David was a true and faithful servant of the LORD.  He was also a man with many flaws and he had many personal doubts and fears. David poured out his heart to God and some of His prayers and songs are recorded in the Psalms.
Solomon took the charge from his father David to heart and among his first acts as king was to pray for the spiritual wisdom to handle the tremendous task of leading the people. Solomon would be a just king and ruled the nation with fairness and dignity. And we too can learn from David’s final words to Solomon.
God promised that a son of David would reign from Jerusalem forever.  Solomon was but the first.  Messiah Yeshua, a son of David as well, will one day return to His rightful place as the king of a united Israel and reign with wisdom and justice from Jerusalem.  Someday, perhaps in our lifetime we can say once and for all, “Come let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob!” He will teach us His ways and we can learn at His feet.
Study Questions:
1. Discuss the connection of this teaching to the Torah Portion Vayechi Genesis 47:28-50:26? 
2. 1st Kings 2:5-6 describes how Joab used his armor, putting blood on his belt and sandals. According to Ephesians 6:10-18, how are we to use our armor?  What does this say about Joab? 
3. Using the Psalms of David as a guide, how did David view and apply the 5 aspects of the Torah outlined in this teaching?

4. Why do you think the account of David’s death is so brief?  Including other accounts such as the one found in Chronicles 29:23-30 
5. By digging deeper and reading further about Solomon’s reign as king, what was Solomon’s solution to the troublemakers, Joab and Shimei?

© 2018 Moed Ministries International. All rights reserved

[i] Frank E. Gaebelein, gen ed. The Expositor’s Bible Commentary (“EBC”), vol. 4, p.11.
[ii] D.J. Wiseman, 1 & 2 Kings (TOTC), P.77.

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Shabbat Service 12-15-2018

Join us each Shabbat at 10:00 am Pacific time for our weekly service.  Watch our midweek video teaching on Wednesday nights, download the discussion questions from our midweek teaching (available from our website at and be ready to join in the discussion on Shabbat.  We live stream our service on the home page of our website, and on our Moed Ministries International Facebook page.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Reunited with the House of David

By Dan & Brenda Cathcart
The video version of this teaching is available at:
The scripture reading for this teaching is: Ezekiel 37:15-28
Ezekiel was a priest who was taken into captivity with the first wave of captives as Babylon began the takeover of Judah. He prophesied during the entire time of the fall of Judah with his final prophecy fifteen years after the fall of Jerusalem. As a prophet among the captives, God sent Ezekiel to warn the children of Israel about the coming destruction of Jerusalem, to exhort them to repent of the acts that led to their exile, and to encourage them that God had not abandoned His people. The subject of this passage in Ezekiel, chapter 37 verses 15 through 28, is the reunification of Israel and Judah under one king of the lineage of David.
At the time of this prophecy, the northern tribes of Israel had been in captivity for over one hundred years, and the city of Jerusalem had recently been taken. The nation of Israel was no more; their leaders had failed them! However, God assured His people through Ezekiel that He still cared for them.
Ezekiel 34:11-12 NKJV 11 'For thus says the Lord GOD: "Indeed I Myself will search for My sheep and seek them out. 12 "As a shepherd seeks out his flock on the day he is among his scattered sheep, so will I seek out My sheep and deliver them from all the places where they were scattered on a cloudy and dark day.
What did the future hold for the children of Israel? How could this deeply divided people become a nation once more? Who could they trust to lead them?
The division of Israel began in the time of David’s grandson Rehoboam. King Rehoboam declared that he would make the taxes and required service to the king more onerous than his father Solomon.
1 Kings 12:13-14 NKJV 13 Then the king answered the people roughly, and rejected the advice which the elders had given him; 14 and he spoke to them according to the advice of the young men, saying, "My father made your yoke heavy, but I will add to your yoke; my father chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scourges!"
According to Jewish tradition, Jeremiah, a contemporary of Ezekiel, wrote the books of Kings. He recorded that the rebellion against the house of David continued after the fall of the northern tribes and was still evident as the kingdom of Judah was taken captive.
1 Kings 12:19 NKJV 19 So Israel has been in rebellion against the house of David to this day.
The division between Israel and Judah was still evident even after both the northern kingdom of Israel and the southern kingdom of Judah had gone into captivity. The situation must have seemed as bleak as it did for Jacob’s sons when famine struck the Promised Land in the Torah portion that corresponds to this passage. Judah and his other brothers had sold their brother Joseph into slavery dividing the family. God used the famine to reunite the brothers. How would God use the exile of the children of Israel to reunite Israel and Judah? This is the subject of Ezekiel’s prophecy in this passage.
Ezekiel 37:15-16 NKJV 15 Again the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 16 "As for you, son of man, take a stick for yourself and write on it: 'For Judah and for the children of Israel, his companions.' Then take another stick and write on it, 'For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel, his companions.'
Even though the two nations were split, God saw them both as being part of Israel. Judah’s companions are described as the children of Israel while Ephraim’s companions are described as the house of Israel. The word companion is translated from the Hebrew word “chaber,” #2270 in Strong’s Concordance, meaning an associate. It comes from the word “chabar,” #2266, meaning to unite or join. The companions of Judah and Joseph are those who joined with them. What is the difference between the phrase “the children of Israel, the companions of Judah” and the phrase “the house of Israel, the companions of Joseph”? Let’s go back to the Torah portion in Genesis 44 through 47 where we read about the situation with Joseph and his brothers. Joseph, a child of Israel, was torn away from his family; he lived away from the house established by his father Jacob. Judah and his brothers continued to live in the house of Israel. With the kingdoms of Israel and Judah, the rolls are reversed. Judah’s companions were those torn away from their houses. They consisted of the tribes of Benjamin and Judah, but they also consisted of those of the other tribes who chose to follow the way of righteousness. The Levites were the first to abandon their houses and flee to Judah.
2 Chronicles 11:14 NKJV 14 For the Levites left their common-lands and their possessions and came to Judah and Jerusalem, for Jeroboam and his sons had rejected them from serving as priests to the LORD.
Those who sought to worship God in truth soon followed.
2 Chronicles 11:16 NKJV 16 And after the Levites left, those from all the tribes of Israel, such as set their heart to seek the LORD God of Israel, came to Jerusalem to sacrifice to the LORD God of their fathers.
Judah’s companions were those who chose to leave their land behind and join themselves to those who continued to follow the worship set up by Moses in the wilderness.
Joseph’s companions were the established houses of Israel. They are those who chose to join their land and inheritance with the cause of Jeroboam. They pledged the allegiance of their entire households and tribes to the cause of Jeroboam.
1 Kings 12:16 NKJV 16 Now when all Israel saw that the king did not listen to them, the people answered the king, saying: "What share have we in David? We have no inheritance in the son of Jesse. To your tents, O Israel! Now, see to your own house, O David!" So Israel departed to their tents.
This was not the first time that the house of Israel had rejected David as being their king. After Saul’s death, Israel refused to acknowledge David as their king even though Samuel had already anointed him and all of Israel knew that he was the anointed king! Only David’s own tribe of Judah accepted him as king!
2 Samuel 2:10-11 NKJV 10 Ishbosheth, Saul's son, was forty years old when he began to reign over Israel, and he reigned two years. Only the house of Judah followed David. 11 And the time that David was king in Hebron over the house of Judah was seven years and six months.
Notice that David is described as the king even though only Judah accepted him in that position. He ruled from the city of Hebron whose name comes from the word “chabar” which, as we learned, means companion! David’s only companions were from his own tribe. The whole house of Israel chose Saul’s son, here referred to as Ishbosheth, as king over Israel. The name Ishbosheth, #378 in Strong’s Concordance, means “man of shame.” However, in 1 Chronicles 8:33, the son of Saul is called “Eshbaal, #792, meaning man of Baal. This word play with the name of Saul’s son whom Israel chose over David emphasizes the shame of the house of Israel. This son of Saul is the man of Baal and, thus, the man of shame.
Ezekiel refers to the whole house of Israel, those who rebelled against the house of David, as being dry bones without any hope or life in them.
Ezekiel 37:11 NKJV 11 Then He said to me, "Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They indeed say, 'Our bones are dry, our hope is lost, and we ourselves are cut off!'
The house of Israel had followed the wrong king! Time after time they made the wrong choice. They chose Ishbosheth over David and chose Jeroboam over the house of David. At the time of Ezekiel, Joseph and his companions, the house of Israel had already gone into captivity. With the exile of Judah of which Ezekiel was a part, the children of Israel who had been forced to abandon the houses of their fathers in the northern tribal land, now, were torn from the land completely. They were scattered among all the nations as God had spoken through Moses.
Ezekiel writes of the time when those of the house of Israel realize that they have no hope and have been cut off from God. At that time, God will restore them.
Ezekiel 37:12-14 NKJV 12 "Therefore prophesy and say to them, 'Thus says the Lord GOD: "Behold, O My people, I will open your graves and cause you to come up from your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. 13 "Then you shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O My people, and brought you up from your graves. 14 "I will put My Spirit in you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land. Then you shall know that I, the LORD, have spoken it and performed it," says the LORD.'"
God will bring the house of Israel back to the land and place His spirit in them. This prophecy is both physical and spiritual. He will physically bring them back to the Promised Land. Those who are spiritually dead will receive life! The dry bones would live again! This can only be attained through acceptance of Yeshua as their Messiah. Yeshua explained that it is only through belief in Him, the one sent by the Father, that they would attain everlasting life.
John 6:40 NKJV 40 "And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day."
Ezekiel goes on to explain that God would once more reunite Judah and Joseph into one nation. God tells Ezekiel to take the two sticks that he had written on and join them together.
Ezekiel 37:17 J.P. Green 17 And draw them one to one for yourself, into one stick. And they shall become for oneness in your hand.
Did you notice how many times the word “one” was used in this verse? The word for “one” is the Hebrew word “echad” #259, meaning united as one. There are four uses of the word “echad” in this verse! The number four, representing God’s sovereignty over creation, indicates that God is in the midst of joining Joseph and Judah together under His sovereignty! God tells Ezekiel to explain the meaning of the two sticks.
Ezekiel 37:19 MKJV 19 Say to them, So says the Lord Jehovah: Behold, I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel, his companions, and I will put them with him, with the stick of Judah, and will make them one stick, and they shall be one in My hand.
God is the one who will take the stick of Joseph and join it to the stick of Judah! Both sticks are in God’s hand! Jacob prophesied that the rightful king would always come from the tribe of Judah.
Genesis 49:10 NKJV 10 The scepter shall not depart from Judah, Nor a lawgiver from between his feet, Until Shiloh comes; And to Him shall be the obedience of the people.
God will gather the children of Israel, who have been in exile, scattered throughout the nations and bring them back under one king, the rightful king from the house of David.
Ezekiel 37:21-22 NKJV 21 "Then say to them, 'Thus says the Lord GOD: "Surely I will take the children of Israel from among the nations, wherever they have gone, and will gather them from every side and bring them into their own land; 22 "and I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king over them all; they shall no longer be two nations, nor shall they ever be divided into two kingdoms again.
The two kingdoms were formed along lines of faith. Those who sought after God chose to live in the kingdom of Judah under the authority of the kings of the house of David. Those who were fine with worshiping any old god, chose to live in the northern kingdom of Israel. When God brings back the children of Israel, it will be to a kingdom that has been cleansed of all their sins.
Ezekiel 37:23 NKJV 23 "They shall not defile themselves anymore with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions; but I will deliver them from all their dwelling places in which they have sinned, and will cleanse them. Then they shall be My people, and I will be their God.
There is a Hebrew word play evident in this verse with the word translated as dwelling places. The NKJV Study Bible explains:
The Hebrew word translated dwelling places is backsliding in other ancient manuscripts. In Hebrew, the two words differ in the placement of one letter.[i]
Their dwelling places were places of backsliding! The house of Israel, represented by the stick of Ephraim, chose to dwell in their houses and defile themselves with idols under the leadership of Jeroboam and the kings who followed after him. Every king of the northern kingdom of Israel is described as following after Jeroboam who caused Israel to sin. The prophet Ahijah describes what would happen to Israel because of Jeroboam’s sin.
1 Kings 14:15-16 NKJV 15 "For the LORD will strike Israel, as a reed is shaken in the water. He will uproot Israel from this good land which He gave to their fathers, and will scatter them beyond the River, because they have made their wooden images, provoking the LORD to anger. 16 "And He will give Israel up because of the sins of Jeroboam, who sinned and who made Israel sin."
When God brings the house of Israel back to the Land, they will no longer worship the idols that they worshipped under Jeroboam and the kings who followed after him. The rebellion against the house of David will finally cease.
Ezekiel 37:24 NKJV 24 "David My servant shall be king over them, and they shall all have one shepherd; they shall also walk in My judgments and observe My statutes, and do them.
When David was king, God said that He would establish David’s house forever.
2 Samuel 7:16 NKJV 16 "And your house and your kingdom shall be established forever before you. Your throne shall be established forever."'"
Instead of dwelling in their sin and shame, they will dwell in the land that God gave to Jacob and the forefathers.
Ezekiel 37:25 NKJV 25 "Then they shall dwell in the land that I have given to Jacob My servant, where your fathers dwelt; and they shall dwell there, they, their children, and their children's children, forever; and My servant David shall be their prince forever.
Once again, we see that David is described as God’s servant. This phrase “My Servant” is recognized as being a title for Messiah. Luke records the priest Zacharias prophesying about the birth of this servant, from the house of David.
Luke 1:68-69 NKJV 68 "Blessed is the Lord God of Israel, For He has visited and redeemed His people, 69 And has raised up a horn of salvation for us In the house of His servant David,
When God brings Israel back to the land, God will make a covenant of peace with them.
Ezekiel 37:26-27 NKJV 26 "Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them, and it shall be an everlasting covenant with them; I will establish them and multiply them, and I will set My sanctuary in their midst forevermore. 27 "My tabernacle also shall be with them; indeed I will be their God, and they shall be My people.
The establishment of the covenant of peace takes us back to Aaron’s grandson Phineas with whom God made the first covenant of peace. God describes Phineas as being zealous in defending the sanctity of God’s house when the children of Israel sinned by worshipping Baal Peor in the camp of Israel at the door of the tabernacle of meeting!
Numbers 25:10-12 NKJV 10 Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying: 11 "Phinehas the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, has turned back My wrath from the children of Israel, because he was zealous with My zeal among them, so that I did not consume the children of Israel in My zeal. 12 "Therefore say, 'Behold, I give to him My covenant of peace;
Phinehas destroyed the worship of the false god and returned the camp to purity before God! When God once again makes a covenant of peace with the children of Israel, the camp will be holy to the LORD. The word “peace” is #7965, “shalom” which means safe, well, happy, friendly, peace, prosperity and over all well-being. Israel will dwell safely; they will be prosperous in their land and there will be an overall state of well-being. God will set His dwelling place in their midst. When all this happens, the nations will surely know that the LORD is holy and that His holy place is in Israel!
Ezekiel 37:28 NKJV 28 "The nations also will know that I, the LORD, sanctify Israel, when My sanctuary is in their midst forevermore."'"
Isaiah tells us that all those who live in Jerusalem at this time will be holy or set apart to God.
Isaiah 4:3 NKJV 3 And it shall come to pass that he who is left in Zion and remains in Jerusalem will be called holy-everyone who is recorded among the living in Jerusalem.
It is God alone who can and will heal the deep divide between His people and make them one nation once more. It is God alone who can and will raise up a leader that they can trust to lead them. This leader is the Messiah Yeshua, the Son of the house of David! The future is bright for the children of Israel. They will remember God in all the nations where God has scattered them. God will open their eyes and they will recognize their Messiah, then God will bring them home and Yeshua will reign on the throne of David forever!
Study Questions:
1. Discuss the connection of this teaching to the Torah Portion Vayagash Genesis 44:18-47:27?

2. What does the term “house” mean when we talk about the “house of Israel” and the “house of David?” 1 Samuel 7 connects the establishment of the “house of David” with building the “house of God.” Describe why and how they are connected.

3. Using the pattern of God establishing a covenant of peace with Phinehas in Numbers 25:10-12, what has to happen before God makes a covenant of peace with the children of Israel?

4. Compare this passage with the New Covenant as described in Jeremiah 31:31-40.

5. Compare this passage in Ezekiel with Yeshua’s prayer for His followers in John 17.

© 2018 Moed Ministries International. All rights reserved

[i] NKJV Study Bible. General Editor Radmacher, TH.D. ©2007 Thomas Nelson, Inc. P. 1315.