Monday, June 17, 2019

Shabbat Service 6-15-2019

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 MoedMinistries.com) and be ready to join in the discussion on Shabbat.  We live stream our service on the home page of our website, Livestream.com and on our Moed Ministries International Facebook page.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

The Angel of the LORD Appears


By Dan & Brenda Cathcart
The video version of this teaching is available at: https://youtu.be/OnAaJ5ClV04
The scripture reading is Judges 13:2-25
In this week’s Haftarah, we encounter an Angel of the LORD who appears to the wife of a man named Manoah. She is barren, having no children. The angel has a special message for this woman; she is to have a son.  This would not be just any son, but would be a special son, set apart for a special purpose.
Judges 13:2-5 NKJV 2 Now there was a certain man from Zorah, of the family of the Danites, whose name was Manoah; and his wife was barren and had no children. 3 And the Angel of the LORD appeared to the woman and said to her, "Indeed now, you are barren and have borne no children, but you shall conceive and bear a son. 4 "Now therefore, please be careful not to drink wine or similar drink, and not to eat anything unclean. 5 "For behold, you shall conceive and bear a son. And no razor shall come upon his head, for the child shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb; and he shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines."
This special son is none other than Samson who’s name is not mentioned until the very end of chapter 13. But there are some interesting things in this Haftarah that are worth exploring.  Why were Manoah and his wife chosen to bring forth this miraculous child?  But most importantly, who is this Angel of the LORD?
Before we explore the identity of this angel, lets look at the context of this story. Verse one of chapter 13 tells us that once again the Children of Israel were doing evil in the sight of the LORD and they were under the control of the Philistines.
Judges 13:1 NKJV 1 Again the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, and the LORD delivered them into the hand of the Philistines for forty years.
In these opening verses we see a pattern of repeated evil in the sight of the LORD. The word evil in this verse is the Hebrew word “Ra” number 7451 in the Strong’s Concordance meaning affliction, bad, calamity, distress or evil. The same word is used in Genesis to describe the time of Noah.
Genesis 6:5 NKJV 5 Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
Another connection with Noah is the name of the “certain man” named in verse 2, Manoah. Number 4494 meaning rest.  The letter mem at the beginning of his name adds the meaning “from.” Manoah literally means “from rest”, or “from Noah”. And like Noah, Manoah was a righteous man before God in a time of rebellion and evil.
The actions of the children of Israel and the presence of the name Manoah take us to a time like that of Noah. Noah’s generation was the tenth generation from Adam and completed the pre-flood era, a time of great evil. Noah found grace in God’s eyes in his generation bringing forth new life after the flood. In the time of Manoah, we see again an evil generation that refuses to repent of its actions.  As a result of their evil, the Children of Israel had come under the oppression of the Philistines for forty years. Yeshua, in His time, said that the Scribes and Pharisees are an “evil and adulterous” generation. Also the time of Yeshua’s return will be like the days of Noah.
Matthew 24:37 NKJV 37 "But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.
The Philistines always seem to be lurking in the background in the pre-Davidic Israel.  The actual meaning of the name “Philistine” is unclear, but is sometimes translated as “strangers, or foreigners” as found in the Septuagint. In our modern culture, when we describe someone as being a philistine, we are describing them as crude or uncultured.  But the ancient Philistines, although rather war-like and a constant thorn in the side of the people of Israel, are anything but uncultured as recent archeological evidence has revealed.
As we continue, verse 5 of our reading indicates that this special son to be born of the barren wife of Manoah will be a Nazarite. The associated Torah Portion for this week, Numbers 4:21 through 7:89, contains the teaching about the Nazarite vow. From even before birth the woman’s son will be a Nazarite and will be dedicated for a great purpose of God. After the angel appeared to her, bringing her news of this miraculous birth, the woman went to tell her husband about the experience.
Judges 13:6-7 NKJV 6 So the woman came and told her husband, saying, "A Man of God came to me, and His countenance was like the countenance of the Angel of God, very awesome; but I did not ask Him where He was from, and He did not tell me His name. 7 "And He said to me, 'Behold, you shall conceive and bear a son. Now drink no wine or similar drink, nor eat anything unclean, for the child shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb to the day of his death.'"
One of the outstanding Biblical reasons for a visitation of an angel is to announce the birth of someone important.  There are several examples of this. An angel appeared to Hagar, also to Sarah, Rebecca, and Hannah! In addition, the Angel of the LORD also appeared to Zachariah who’s wife Elizabeth was barren. Elizabeth gave birth to John the Baptist. The angel also appeared to Miriam, the mother of Yeshua.
Luke 1:26-31 NKJV 26 Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin's name was Mary. 28 And having come in, the angel said to her, "Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!" 29 But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was. 30 Then the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 "And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS (Yeshua).
The text of our Haftarah tells us that Manoah’s wife was barren.  There are several such barren women who are granted the gift of bearing a son, such as Sarah, Hannah, and Elizabeth. Each of these were godly women, yet barren. The Expositors Bible Commentary points out:
“Since the Israelites considered children as a gift from God they viewed barrenness as a mark of divine disfavor. To die childless was tragic indeed.”[i]
The angel appearing to Manoah’s wife brought two messages to her. First was the future birth of a son. Also, one must note that there is no rebuke for her. She had done nothing wrong to cause her barrenness.
The second thing the angel tells her is that this son will be a Nazarite from birth, and even before birth! This would require that she would become a Nazarite as well.
The word Nazarite comes from the Hebrew word nazir, number 5139 meaning separate or consecrated. One who takes a Nazarite Vow is totally dedicated or consecrated to God for a special task. First Fruits of Zion in their work Torah Club, Volume 3 explains the primary requirements of the Nazarite.
“In order to accomplish this dedication, the Nazarite was required to observe three things: 1)total abstinence from grapes or all grape products, 2)refrain from cutting his hair during the time of the vow, 3)avoid coming near a corpse. Any breach of these stipulations nullified the period of consecration and a new beginning had to take place.”[ii]
There are only a few references in scripture of a person or persons having taken a Nazarite vow. One that stands out the most is recorded in 1st Samuel where Elkanah and his entire household take the vow!
1 Samuel 1:20-21 NKJV 20 So it came to pass in the process of time that Hannah conceived and bore a son, and called his name Samuel, saying, "Because I have asked for him from the LORD." 21 Now the man Elkanah and all his house went up to offer to the LORD the yearly sacrifice and his vow.
Another prime biblical example of those taking a Nazarite vow is recorded in the book of Acts concerning the apostle Paul.
Acts 21:22-24,26 NKJV 22 "What then? The assembly must certainly meet, for they will hear that you have come. 23 "Therefore do what we tell you: We have four men who have taken a vow. 24 "Take them and be purified with them, and pay their expenses so that they may shave their heads, and that all may know that those things of which they were informed concerning you are nothing, but that you yourself also walk orderly and keep the law… 26 Then Paul took the men, and the next day, having been purified with them, entered the temple to announce the expiration of the days of purification, at which time an offering should be made for each one of them.
There is no specific provision for a person to be a Nazarite from birth. This child, to be born of Manoa’s wife was to be unique. Verse 5 give us a hint to the special task set aside for this child. He is to “deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines." It was an important enough task that Manoah and his wife were told what the task would be even before the child was born.
Manoah listened to his wife’s account of the visit of this angel and prayed seeking additional knowledge about this special child they were to be blessed with.
Judges 13:8 NKJV 8 Then Manoah prayed to the LORD, and said, "O my Lord, please let the Man of God whom You sent come to us again and teach us what we shall do for the child who will be born."
In his prayer, Manoah calls this visitor a “Man of God” clearly recognizing him as being in human form. The angel or man again appeared to Manoah’s wife while in the field and she quickly goes to retrieve her husband.
Judges 13:9-11 NKJV 9 And God listened to the voice of Manoah, and the Angel of God came to the woman again as she was sitting in the field; but Manoah her husband was not with her. 10 Then the woman ran in haste and told her husband, and said to him, "Look, the Man who came to me the other day has just now appeared to me!" 11 So Manoah arose and followed his wife. When he came to the Man, he said to Him, "Are You the Man who spoke to this woman?" And He said, "I am."
The Angel of the LORD relays to Manoah the same instruction that he had earlier given to Manoah’s wife. In verse 15 Manoah implores the man to stay and eat with them. We see a situation very similar to this with Abraham when he is visited by three strangers in Genesis 18.
Genesis 18:1-5 NKJV 1 Then the LORD appeared to him by the terebinth trees of Mamre, as he was sitting in the tent door in the heat of the day. 2 So he lifted his eyes and looked, and behold, three men were standing by him; and when he saw them, he ran from the tent door to meet them, and bowed himself to the ground, 3 and said, "My Lord, if I have now found favor in Your sight, do not pass on by Your servant. 4 "Please let a little water be brought, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree. 5 "And I will bring a morsel of bread, that you may refresh your hearts. After that you may pass by, inasmuch as you have come to your servant."…
In Manoah’s case the angel refused to eat with them. In the near Middle-East culture of the day, this would normally be considered an insult. But Manoah begins to realizes that this visitor is no mere man when he is instructed to instead sacrifice a burnt offering to the LORD.
Judges 13:15-16 NKJV 15 Then Manoah said to the Angel of the LORD, "Please let us detain You, and we will prepare a young goat for You." 16 And the Angel of the LORD said to Manoah, "Though you detain Me, I will not eat your food. But if you offer a burnt offering, you must offer it to the LORD." (For Manoah did not know He was the Angel of the LORD.)
The gift of hospitality which Manoah directed to the Angel of the LORD, was instead redirected by instruction of the Angel to God! But there is more to be gleaned from this Haftarah about this Angel of the LORD. Manoah further questions him, asking his name.
Judges 13:17-18 NKJV 17 Then Manoah said to the Angel of the LORD, "What is Your name, that when Your words come to pass we may honor You?" 18 And the Angel of the LORD said to him, "Why do you ask My name, seeing it is wonderful?"
As we have seen on many occasions in our studies, in the Bible the names of people are very important and more often than not reflect some aspect of their life. Did Manoah think that perhaps this angel’s name went hand in hand with his ability to predict this future son? Would such a name be an additional source of assurance to Manoah that the angel’s words would come to pass? The angel answers saying, "Why do you ask My name, seeing it is wonderful?"
The angel avoids a direct answer very similar to what the angel did in dealing with Jacob in Genesis 32:29.
Genesis 32:29 NKJV 29 Then Jacob asked, saying, "Tell me Your name, I pray." And He said, "Why is it that you ask about My name?" And He blessed him there.
In Manoah’s case, what was it that was “wonderful?” Was it the work that the angel performed in predicting Manoah’s future son? Or was the name of the angel too “wonderful” for Manoah to know?
The Hebrew word translated as wonderful in verse 18 is “pilee,” number 6383 meaning remarkable, secret, or wonderful. It is from the primitive root word “pawlaw” which means difficult or hidden. It would more likely be an attribute or characteristic of the Angel of the LORD rather than a direct name. The same word is used by Isaiah in reference to the Messiah.
Isaiah 9:6 NKJV 6 For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
As we read on in our Haftarah, we see that Manoah did indeed make a burnt offering to the LORD and Manoah and his wife witness something extraordinary.
Judges 13:19-21 NKJV 19 So Manoah took the young goat with the grain offering, and offered it upon the rock to the LORD. And He did a wondrous thing while Manoah and his wife looked on- 20 it happened as the flame went up toward heaven from the altar-the Angel of the LORD ascended in the flame of the altar! When Manoah and his wife saw this, they fell on their faces to the ground. 21 When the Angel of the LORD appeared no more to Manoah and his wife, then Manoah knew that He was the Angel of the LORD.
So, who is this Angel of the LORD?  Was he the same angel who visited Jacob? Was he the angel who visited Abraham in Genesis 18?  Was he the angel who again visited Abraham on Mount Mariah when Abraham was about to sacrifice Isaac? Was this the same angel who appeared to Moses at the burning bush? But with many of these instances, as well as others, the scriptures say that it was the LORD himself who spoke. Was Manoah actually speaking with the Holy One?  How about Abraham and Moses?
It doesn’t take long before we get the impression that the “Angel of the LORD” is indeed some kind of appearance of the Holy One Himself! Perhaps this Angel of the LORD is the Memra, or word as John puts it in his Gospel.
John 1:1-2 NKJV 1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God.
Both Menoah and his un-named wife were convinced that they had been visited by the Holy One himself. When they witnessed the Angel of the LORD ascend to heaven on the flame of their burnt offering they immediately fell on their faces on the ground and believed without reservation.
In conclusion, there is one other aspect of the word translated as “wonderful” in verse 18 that we should consider. The same root word is used in this week’s Torah Portion in Numbers chapter 6 to introduce the teaching about the Nazarite.
Numbers 6:1-2 KJV 1 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 2 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When either man or woman shall separate themselves to vow a vow of a Nazarite, to separate themselves unto the LORD.
The term “shall separate” is also the Hebrew word pawlaw. Perhaps when Manoah heard the Angel of the LORD respond to Manoah’s question about his name, Manoah understood a deeper implication of the word pawlaw!
At the conclusion of the Haftarah we learn that the child of this promise is none other than Samson.  The LORD blessed him and when he became an adult, the spirit of God was with him.
Judges 13:24-25 NKJV 24 So the woman bore a son and called his name Samson; and the child grew, and the LORD blessed him. 25 And the Spirit of the LORD began to move upon him at Mahaneh Dan between Zorah and Eshtaol.
Manoah and his wife were always faithful to God in a time when the people did great evil in the sight of the LORD. They knew that Samson would be a special son because of the miracle of his birth which was predicted by the Angel of the LORD. They knew that God would carry out the promise that Samson would do a mighty work for the LORD.  Like Messiah to come, described by Isaiah as the wonderful, Samson would deliver his people from those who oppressed them!
Study Questions:
1. Discuss the connection of this teaching to the Torah Portion Naso, Numbers 4:21-7:89.

2. Why would Samson have to be a Nazarite? What is the significance or purpose for a person taking a Nazarite vow?  

3. Discuss the similarities and differences between Samson and the other children born of a barren woman in the Bible such as Samuel and John the John the Baptist?  How about others?

4. How is Samson’s birth and life a shadow of the Messiah? (Hint: You have to read further)

5. Can a person take a Nazarite vow today, following the guidelines found in Leviticus?

6. What new insight did you gain from this teaching? How do you respond to this new insight? How will you realign your life based on this new understanding?

© 2019 Moed Ministries International. All rights reserved.




[i] Herbert Wolf, “Judges” from the Expositors Bible Comentary “”EBC”), vol.3,ed. By Frank E Gaebelein, p.461.
[ii] FFOZ Torah Club, Vol. 3 The Haftarah, p. 539

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Great Will be the Day of Jezreel


By Dan & Brenda Cathcart
The video version of this teaching is available at: https://youtu.be/s3LWC0nfReM
The scripture reading is Hosea 1:10-2:20
God uses two metaphors interchangeably in His message to Israel in this Haftarah. The first is a marriage and family relationship. Woven through this metaphor is an agricultural metaphor of planting and harvesting. God instructs Hosea to marry Gomer, a woman of dubious character. The firstborn son of this union is Jezreel because judgment will fall on Israel in the Valley of Jezreel, the site of bloodshed caused by Kings Ahab and Jehu.
Hosea 1:3-4 NKJV 3 So he went and took Gomer the daughter of Diblaim, and she conceived and bore him a son. 4 Then the LORD said to him: "Call his name Jezreel, For in a little while I will avenge the bloodshed of Jezreel on the house of Jehu, And bring an end to the kingdom of the house of Israel.
However, the name Jezreel, number 3157 in Strong’s Concordance, means God will sow. The meaning of Jezreel’s name brings in the deeper metaphor of sowing and harvesting. In both of these metaphors, Jezreel represents Israel. What is God’s message to Israel through Hosea’s son Jezreel? What do these metaphors tell us about redemption and God’s plans for His people? Finally, how does Yeshua fulfill these plans?
Hosea prophesied in the time of King Jereboam the Second of Israel. God told Hosea to marry a woman who was a harlot. From his marriage, he had three children. The oldest one as we said was named Jezreel. The next child was a daughter whom God told Hosea to name Lo-Ruhamah meaning no mercy or compassion. The third child was another son whom God told Hosea to name Lo-ammi meaning not my people. The message was that God would sow judgment on the northern tribes of Israel, particularly on the king Jereboam of the house of Jehu. He would not have compassion on them. They were no longer His people, nor was He their God.
However, as soon as these words of judgment were spoken, God promised that His judgment, His turning away of compassion, and His rejection, would not be complete nor would it last forever.
Hosea 1:10 NKJV 10 "Yet the number of the children of Israel Shall be as the sand of the sea, Which cannot be measured or numbered. And it shall come to pass In the place where it was said to them, 'You are not My people,' There it shall be said to them, 'You are sons of the living God.'
This promise begins by restating God’s promise to Abraham at the place where Abraham brought Isaac to be sacrificed. The Angel of the LORD called out to Abraham stopping his hand and promising that Isaac would indeed live and through him, his descendants would be as many as the sand of the sea.
Genesis 22:16-17 NKJV 16 "By Myself I have sworn, says the LORD, because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son - 17 "blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies.
The promise continues that this would happen “in the place” where God had earlier withdrawn His compassion and rejected His people. The phrase “the place” is used over and over again in the account of Abraham bringing Isaac to Mount Moriah to be sacrificed as related in Genesis twenty two. We know that Mount Moriah is the place that David would purchase to build the temple of the LORD. Yeshua’s sacrifice was accomplished in view of this temple. More broadly, “the place” refers to the place where God would place His name; that is wherever He manifests His presence.
Exodus 20:24 NKJV 24 'An altar of earth you shall make for Me, and you shall sacrifice on it your burnt offerings and your peace offerings, your sheep and your oxen. In every place where I record My name I will come to you, and I will bless you.
The children of Israel were to seek out that place and bring their offerings there.
Deuteronomy 12:5 NKJV 5 "But you shall seek the place where the LORD your God chooses, out of all your tribes, to put His name for His dwelling place; and there you shall go.
In the presence of God, Israel was judged and set aside. In the presence of God, Israel will be restored and taken again as His people. The children of Israel are to seek for that place and go there to meet God.
When God takes them again as His people, the split between Judah and Israel would be healed and the two nations would be joined together as one.
Hosea 1:11 NKJV 11 Then the children of Judah and the children of Israel Shall be gathered together, And appoint for themselves one head; And they shall come up out of the land, For great will be the day of Jezreel!
Judah and Israel together will come out of the land where God had driven them and live under the rule of one king. This verse ends with the words “For great will be the day of Jezreel.” Remember, Jezreel means that God will sow or plant. We can read this last phrase as “Great will be the day that God sows.” God promised that this day would be a day that Israel would be planted in their land and never again be uprooted.
Amos 9:14-15 NKJV 14 I will bring back the captives of My people Israel; They shall build the waste cities and inhabit them; They shall plant vineyards and drink wine from them; They shall also make gardens and eat fruit from them. 15 I will plant them in their land, And no longer shall they be pulled up From the land I have given them," Says the LORD your God.
The day that God will plant them in their land once again will be a truly great day! On that day God will show them mercy and take them as His people.
Hosea 2:1 Say to your brethren, 'My people,' And to your sisters, 'Mercy is shown.'
However, that day is not yet on us and Hosea was not yet finished describing both the judgment on Israel and the conditions of its return. Jezreel is instructed to bring charges against his mother, Hosea’s wife.
Hosea 2:2 NKJV 2 "Bring charges against your mother, bring charges; For she is not My wife, nor am I her Husband! Let her put away her harlotries from her sight, And her adulteries from between her breasts;
Not all the children of Jezreel’s mother would be the people of God. Hosea’s children Jezreel and his brother now called Ammi, and his sister, now called “Rehumah,” are Hosea’s children not born of harlotry. Hosea’s name, by the way, means deliverer or savior! However, there seems to be other children born to Hosea’s wife Gomer.
Hosea 2:4-5 NKJV 4 "I will not have mercy on her children, For they are the children of harlotry. 5 For their mother has played the harlot; She who conceived them has behaved shamefully. For she said, 'I will go after my lovers, Who give me my bread and my water, My wool and my linen, My oil and my drink.'
It takes more than a physical relationship to be the “sons of the Living God.” Yeshua refers to this spiritual relationship in His discussion with some of the Pharisees at the temple at the place where God’s name dwelled. These Pharisees sought to kill Yeshua because they rejected His words of freedom. They claimed that because they were descendants of Abraham, they were free.
John 8:39-41 NKJV 39 They answered and said to Him, "Abraham is our father." Jesus said to them, "If you were Abraham's children, you would do the works of Abraham. 40 "But now you seek to kill Me, a Man who has told you the truth which I heard from God. Abraham did not do this. 41 "You do the deeds of your father." Then they said to Him, "We were not born of fornication; we have one Father--God."
If they were Abraham’s children by more than just the flesh, they would do as Abraham did. They would have the faith of Abraham who believed God when He told him that He would have a son of his own flesh to inherit the promises God had given him.
Genesis 15:5-6 NKJV 5 Then He brought him outside and said, "Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them." And He said to him, "So shall your descendants be." 6 And he believed in the LORD, and He accounted it to him for righteousness.
Yeshua goes on to explain that, though they deny it, these Pharisees are the children of fornication or harlotry, and that their father is the accuser.
John 8:44 NKJV 44 "You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.
Paul writes of the rejection of Israel and the salvation of the remnant-those who are the children of the promise through faith.
Romans 9:6-9 NKJV 6 But it is not that the word of God has taken no effect. For they are not all Israel who are of Israel, 7 nor are they all children because they are the seed of Abraham; but, "In Isaac your seed shall be called." 8 That is, those who are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God; but the children of the promise are counted as the seed. 9 For this is the word of promise: "At this time I will come and Sarah shall have a son."
Hosea pronounces judgment on his wife and lists the ways in which she has been unfaithful and ungrateful. The words of judgment from Hosea are in reality God’s words of judgment against Israel who went after other gods and attributed the gifts God gave to Israel as coming from the other gods. 
Hosea 2:12-13 NKJV 12 "And I will destroy her vines and her fig trees, Of which she has said, 'These are my wages that my lovers have given me.' So I will make them a forest, And the beasts of the field shall eat them. 13 I will punish her For the days of the Baals to which she burned incense. She decked herself with her earrings and jewelry, And went after her lovers; But Me she forgot," says the LORD.
Even in her fornication, God was not done with Israel; nor was Hosea done with Gomer. God would instruct Hosea to take his wife back.
Hosea 3:1 NKJV 1 Then the LORD said to me, "Go again, love a woman who is loved by a lover and is committing adultery, just like the love of the LORD for the children of Israel, who look to other gods and love the raisin cakes of the pagans."
God, also, loves Israel. He says that He will speak words of comfort to her heart.
Hosea 2:14 NKJV 14 "Therefore, behold, I will allure her, Will bring her into the wilderness, And speak comfort to her.
God would take from her all remembrance of the other gods she went after, and take Israel as His wife once more.
Hosea 2:19-20 NKJV 19 "I will betroth you to Me forever; Yes, I will betroth you to Me In righteousness and justice, In lovingkindness and mercy; 20 I will betroth you to Me in faithfulness, And you shall know the LORD.
The word “betroth” in this passage is “aras,” number 781 in Strong’s Concordance meaning to engage for matrimony. It seems strange that God would betroth Israel to Him forever. In the context of this passage, Gomer was already married to Hosea, and God is already married to Israel. In our culture, a betrothal or engagement is just a promise to marry without any legal bindings to ensure the marriage actually occurs. In the ancient cultures, a betrothal was just as binding as a marriage. In the betrothal process, the actual legal documents about the terms of the marriage are negotiated and signed. This includes how the groom will take care of and provide for his wife and the price he will pay to obtain his wife. The Complete Word Study Dictionary: Old Testament comments on the word aras.
The betrothed was usually accompanied with a bride price.[i]
Still, we ask, how is a betrothal relevant to an already established marriage? First Fruits of Zion in Torah Club Volume Three: The Haftarah explains:
In a sense, Israel was already God’s possession. However, practically, He did not have their loyalty, their hearts, their love and devotion. Here, God says that He will pay the price to gain what was rightfully His.[ii]
At the time that God pays for what is His, Israel will know the LORD. The word “know” is “yada,” number 3045 in Strong’s Concordance, with a wide variety of meaning, but in its use in the context of marriage, it means to have a sexual relationship. This is a deep and intimate knowing of the other person-the coming together in one flesh.
It will be on that glorious day of rejoicing in the marriage of the bride and groom, that even the heavens and the earth will respond.
Hosea 2:21-22 NKJV 21 "It shall come to pass in that day That I will answer," says the LORD; "I will answer the heavens, And they shall answer the earth. 22 The earth shall answer With grain, With new wine, And with oil; They shall answer Jezreel.
The response of the heavens and the earth is “Jezreel, God will sow!” The passage concludes where it began in Hosea 1:10-11 with God sowing mercy on those who had not received mercy and taking those who were not His people as His people.
Hosea 2:23 NKJV 23 Then I will sow her for Myself in the earth, And I will have mercy on her who had not obtained mercy; Then I will say to those who were not My people, 'You are My people!' And they shall say, 'You are my God!'"
Paul writes about the wrath and mercy God poured out on Israel as that of God making known His power and sovereignty. It is not only the children of Israel who will receive that mercy and become His people. Paul applies this verse to all those whom God calls paraphrasing the beginning and end of this passage from Hosea.
Romans 9:22-26 NKJV 22 What if God, wanting to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, 23 and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory, 24 even us whom He called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles? 25 As He says also in Hosea: "I will call them My people, who were not My people, And her beloved, who was not beloved." 26 "And it shall come to pass in the place where it was said to them, 'You are not My people,' There they shall be called sons of the living God."
In the place where God’s name dwells and He answers those who seek Him, Jews and Gentiles alike will be called the sons of the Living God.
Galatians 3:26-29 NKJV 26 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.
The spiritual promise is being fulfilled today and has been ongoing since Yeshua died paying the betrothal price. Israel has been betrothed to God forever. Yet, not all Israel has received the promise nor will all Israel receive the promise. Paul’s heart was that all Israel would be saved, but he quotes Isaiah explaining that only a remnant will be saved.
Romans 9:27-28 NKJV 27 Isaiah also cries out concerning Israel: "Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, The remnant will be saved. 28 For He will finish the work and cut it short in righteousness, Because the LORD will make a short work upon the earth."
Hosea goes on to explain that Israel will be many days without king, prince, sacrifice, temple, or priest. But afterward, they would seek God!
Hosea 3:4-5 NKJV 4 For the children of Israel shall abide many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or sacred pillar, without ephod or teraphim. 5 Afterward the children of Israel shall return and seek the LORD their God and David their king. They shall fear the LORD and His goodness in the latter days.
The children of Israel are even now returning to God. They are seeking Him and finding Him through Yeshua their Messiah. More and more of the Jewish people are returning to the land acknowledging that God has visited His people! On that day, God will gather together all of His people and bring them to the land.  Those of us who belong to God through Yeshua our Messiah will be among those God returns to the land. There we will be planted never to be uprooted. Great will be the day of Jezreel!
Study Questions:
1. Discuss the connection of this teaching to the Torah Portion Bamidbar, Numbers 1:1-4:20.

2. How is the place where God places His name both physical and spiritual? What are some of the places God places His name?

3. The Jezreel Valley is at the foot of the hill of Megiddo (Armageddon). What are some of the ways God has sown or planted in the Jezreel Valley? How does this connect with Revelation 16:12-16?

4. How does Romans 9:6-33 connect to this haftarah?

5. Yeshua had a lengthy discussion with some Pharisees about what makes someone a true son to his father in John 8:12-56. What additional insight does this teaching about the children of Gomer shed on this discussion?

6. What new insight did you gain from this teaching? How do you respond to this new insight? How will you realign your life based on this new understanding?

© 2016 Moed Ministries International. All Rights Reserved.




[i] The Complete Word Study Dictionary: Old Testament. Warren Baker, D.R.E. Eugene Carpenter, Ph.d. AMG Publishers.©2003. Page 101.
[ii] Torah Club Volume Three: The Haftarah. First Fruits of Zion, Inc. ©1999. Page 529.

Monday, June 3, 2019

Shabbat Service 6-1-2019

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 MoedMinistries.com) and be ready to join in the discussion on Shabbat.  We live stream our service on the home page of our website, Livestream.com and on our Moed Ministries International Facebook page.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

I Will Cause Them to Know


By Dan & Brenda Cathcart
The video version of this teaching is available at: https://youtu.be/0WYTet0mFa0
The scripture reading is Jeremiah 16:19-17:18
Over the last several weeks and months, as we have examined the prophecies and writings of the prophet Jeremiah, we have seen a continual pattern of judgment and redemption.  Our Haftarah portion this week, Jeremiah 16:19 through 17:14 is no different with one key exception. Unlike most of the book of Jeremiah, this section is in a poetic form.
Contained within this Haftarah are some often quoted verses, many of which are quoted by Yeshua as well as the disciples in their writings and letters.  Virtually every verse in this Jeremiah passage is also found in the Psalms.
This section of scripture contains the usual identification of the sins of Israel and Judah along with a promise of a future redemption.  But what is so special about this prophecy of Jeremiah?  And why was it so important to Yeshua and the disciples?
To understand this poetic prophecy from the viewpoint of the people of Jeremiah’s day, we have to read it in a broader context. God gave Jeremiah specific instructions about his own lifestyle and how he was to conduct himself. Jeremiah was to be a living example or sign to the people of Judah and Jerusalem.
Jeremiah 16:1-4 NKJV 1 The word of the LORD also came to me, saying, 2 "You shall not take a wife, nor shall you have sons or daughters in this place." 3 For thus says the LORD concerning the sons and daughters who are born in this place, and concerning their mothers who bore them and their fathers who begot them in this land: 4 "They shall die gruesome deaths; they shall not be lamented nor shall they be buried, but they shall be like refuse on the face of the earth. They shall be consumed by the sword and by famine, and their corpses shall be meat for the birds of heaven and for the beasts of the earth."
Jeremiah was not to take a wife or to raise a family in this place because of the coming invasion by Babylon.  And the reason was that this invasion and judgment of God would be incredibly brutal. The people who are not taken in exile to Babylon would die a horrible death at the hands of the Babylonian army.  Those left alive would not even be able to follow the Torah statutes regarding the treatment and burial of the dead. Because of this, Jeremiah was also not to practice the mourning rituals, even for family members.
Jeremiah 16:5-8 NKJV 5 For thus says the LORD: "Do not enter the house of mourning, nor go to lament or bemoan them; for I have taken away My peace from this people," says the LORD, "lovingkindness and mercies. 6 "Both the great and the small shall die in this land. They shall not be buried; neither shall men lament for them, cut themselves, nor make themselves bald for them. 7 "Nor shall men break bread in mourning for them, to comfort them for the dead; nor shall men give them the cup of consolation to drink for their father or their mother. 8 "Also you shall not go into the house of feasting to sit with them, to eat and drink."
God was soon to show the people of Judah and Jerusalem the power of His judgment.  They would be unable to receive His lovingkindness and mercies. Their population would be decimated, and their cities ravaged.  The LORD says that the people would come to Jeremiah wondering why he pronounced such an awful judgment against them.
Jeremiah 16:10-11 NKJV 10 "And it shall be, when you show this people all these words, and they say to you, 'Why has the LORD pronounced all this great disaster against us? Or what is our iniquity? Or what is our sin that we have committed against the LORD our God?' 11 "then you shall say to them, 'Because your fathers have forsaken Me,' says the LORD; 'they have walked after other gods and have served them and worshiped them, and have forsaken Me and not kept My law.
Even though they may not accept Jeremiah’s words of judgment, the reasons are clear.  They have a covenant with God to obey His commandments and they have continually ignored it and severely broken it, and it was time for judgment.
Leading up to the scripture of our Haftarah reading, Jeremiah speaks of a restoration of Israel.
Jeremiah 16:15 NKJV 15 "but, 'The LORD lives who brought up the children of Israel from the land of the north and from all the lands where He had driven them.' For I will bring them back into their land which I gave to their fathers.
The actual Haftarah reading for this week begins with Jeremiah 16:19-21
Jeremiah 16:19-21 NKJV 19 O LORD, my strength and my fortress, My refuge in the day of affliction, The Gentiles shall come to You From the ends of the earth and say, "Surely our fathers have inherited lies, Worthlessness and unprofitable things." 20 Will a man make gods for himself, Which are not gods? 21 "Therefore behold, I will this once cause them to know, I will cause them to know My hand and My might; And they shall know that My name is the LORD.
Verse 19 starts out with a near quote of Psalm 18.
Psalms 18:2 NKJV 2 The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my strength, in whom I will trust; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
Jeremiah 16:19-21 also speaks of the Gentiles coming to the LORD out of their idolatry. They will come seeking the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The Gentiles will seek the very thing which the Jewish people have been rejecting! This may be a prophetic hint of the time after Messiah Yeshua when the Gentiles answer the call to repentance and receive salvation.
Acts 11:1 NKJV 1 Now the apostles and brethren who were in Judea heard that the Gentiles had also received the word of God.
Beginning with chapter 17, Jeremiah takes an abrupt turn, speaking again of the sins of Judah and the punishment. As we have seen, the more Jeremiah tries to get through to the people, the deeper into sin they seem to sink. The opening statement is rather strong and suggests that they are now beyond the point of no return or repentance.
Jeremiah 17:1-2 NKJV 1 "The sin of Judah is written with a pen of iron; With the point of a diamond it is engraved On the tablet of their heart, And on the horns of your altars, 2 While their children remember Their altars and their wooden images By the green trees on the high hills.
Iron tools and diamond scribes are the instruments of carving into and shaping stone. Jeremiah is telling them that they have hearts of stone. Their sins are now indelibly inscribed on their hearts for all to see. Because of this state, is repentance now impossible for them? God does not leave living, breathing human beings without hope and the ability to repent, to change, and be forgiven.  In a Jewish midrash, this issue is addressed in a hypothetical conversation between the people and God.
“When Israel stood before God for judgment, they said before Him: ‘Master of the Universe, the heavens and earth testify against us regarding our sins… God replied: ‘I shall remove them’ Israel responded: ‘But still, our name is associated with disloyalty to You.’ To which God answered: ‘I will give you a new name.’ Again. Israel said: ‘But, You will remember!’ God retorted: ‘I will forget your earlier sins.’ Israel answers: ‘In Your heart, you will remember.’ God responds: ‘I will not take it to heart’. Israel responded [with the verse from out haftarah]: ‘But it is written before You, as it is written: The guilt of Judah is written with a stylus of iron.’ God responds: ‘Things that are written can also be erased and since I wrote it, I can also erase it!”[i]
Jeremiah goes on to describe what happens to their land after they are exiled to Babylon. The Promised Land, their heritage and inheritance will become plunder and treasure for their enemies.
Jeremiah 17:3-4 NKJV 3 O My mountain in the field, I will give as plunder your wealth, all your treasures, And your high places of sin within all your borders. 4 And you, even yourself, Shall let go of your heritage which I gave you; And I will cause you to serve your enemies In the land which you do not know; For you have kindled a fire in My anger which shall burn forever."
This one last warning about their impending exile is immediately followed by a reminder of perhaps why they faced this exile.  In Whom are they placing their trust?  In man or in God!
Jeremiah 17:5-8 NKJV 5 Thus says the LORD: "Cursed is the man who trusts in man And makes flesh his strength, Whose heart departs from the LORD. 6 For he shall be like a shrub in the desert, And shall not see when good comes, But shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, In a salt land which is not inhabited. 7 "Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, And whose hope is the LORD. 8 For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, Which spreads out its roots by the river, And will not fear when heat comes; But its leaf will be green, And will not be anxious in the year of drought, Nor will cease from yielding fruit.
Verse 8 is a paraphrase from Psalm 1:3
Psalms 1:3 NKJV 3 He shall be like a tree Planted by the rivers of water, That brings forth its fruit in its season, Whose leaf also shall not wither; And whatever he does shall prosper.
The sages say that the heart is the first to stray from the LORD.  Once the heart departs from the ways of God, the rest is sure to follow. The LORD is our source of nourishment and water, the necessities of life. When we follow the ways or desires of our flesh, the life-giving water is sparse like a desert. The LORD knows the heart. He sees through the facade of our lives to the truth within us.
Jeremiah 17:9-10 NKJV 9 "The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it? 10 I, the LORD, search the heart, I test the mind, Even to give every man according to his ways, According to the fruit of his doings.
David also speaks of God testing the hearts of men in Psalms7:9
Psalms 7:9 NKJV 9 Oh, let the wickedness of the wicked come to an end, But establish the just; For the righteous God tests the hearts and minds.
The apostle Paul addresses this very thing in his letter to the Romans.
Romans 2:3-7 NKJV 3 And do you think this, O man, you who judge those practicing such things, and doing the same, that you will escape the judgment of God? 4 Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance? 5 But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, 6 who "will render to each one according to his deeds": 7 eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality;
This same judgment will be seen again at the end of the age. God will again search our hearts.
Revelation 2:23b NKJV 23b "… and all the churches shall know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts. And I will give to each one of you according to your works.
We must come before God in all humility and sincerity. King David wrote in Psalm 139:23-24
Psalms 139:23-24 NKJV 23 Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; 24 And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting.
Jeremiah’s next statement seems to be addressing their corrupt financial dealings and dishonest gain.
Jeremiah 17:11 RSV 11 Like the partridge that gathers a brood which she did not hatch, so is he who gets riches but not by right; in the midst of his days they will leave him, and at his end he will be a fool.
At the end of Psalm 55, David speaks of the deceitful hearts of men that will cause their lives to be cut short.
Psalms 55:23 NKJV 23 But You, O God, shall bring them down to the pit of destruction; Bloodthirsty and deceitful men shall not live out half their days; But I will trust in You.
This speaks of rampant covetousness. Merrill F. Unger in his commentary on Jeremiah 17 writes:
“She (Judah) is compared to a partridge who “gathers a brood which she did not hatch”. For a little while she struts in great pomp with her illegitimate brood, but the fledglings soon desert their foster mother at the very time she needs them most to foster her ego. She is left looking like the fool she is.”[ii]
In much the same way Judah’s ill-gotten wealth will be taken from them in exile.
The Haftarah closes out with a profound warning about those who forsake the LORD.
Jeremiah 17:12-13 NKJV 12 A glorious high throne from the beginning Is the place of our sanctuary. 13 O LORD, the hope of Israel, All who forsake You shall be ashamed. "Those who depart from Me Shall be written in the earth, Because they have forsaken the LORD, The fountain of living waters."
Again, we see the allusion to the life-giving water which the LORD provides. This passage, in particular verse 13, is strongly suggested that this is the very scripture which Yeshua actually wrote in the ground when he was confronted by the Scribes and Pharisees when they brought to him a woman, whom they say was caught in the act of adultery. Since Yeshua actually stooped down to write something in the dust of the ground not once but twice, He may have also written the names of these Scribes and Pharisees!
John 8:3-6 NKJV 3 Then the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him a woman caught in adultery. And when they had set her in the midst, 4 they said to Him, "Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act. 5 "Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do You say?" 6 This they said, testing Him, that they might have something of which to accuse Him. But Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger, as though He did not hear.
This is a story which we have taught on before with an entire study lesson in our book “Shadows of the Messiah in the Torah, Volume 1.” In essence, the corrupt Scribes and Pharisees confronting Yeshua on this day were not so innocent themselves.  They had forsaken God and had deceitful hearts just as Jeremiah described in our Haftarah reading. Like the people of Jeremiah’s day, many among the Jewish leadership and the people in Yeshua’s time were also corrupt, with hearts of stone, and not following the Torah.
Our haftarah this week ends at verse 14 but it would be good to continue to the end of the poetic passage.
Jeremiah 17:14-18 NKJV 14 Heal me, O LORD, and I shall be healed; Save me, and I shall be saved, For You are my praise. 15 Indeed they say to me, "Where is the word of the LORD? Let it come now!" 16 As for me, I have not hurried away from being a shepherd who follows You, Nor have I desired the woeful day; You know what came out of my lips; It was right there before You. 17 Do not be a terror to me; You are my hope in the day of doom. 18 Let them be ashamed who persecute me, But do not let me be put to shame; Let them be dismayed, But do not let me be dismayed. Bring on them the day of doom, And destroy them with double destruction!
Jeremiah prays for his own deliverance and for the deliverance of all of Israel.  In this prayer Jeremiah says that through all the persecution, he has remained faithful to God. He has been a good shepherd, faithful to all that the LORD has given him. We too are given a task to perform. We are called to be not only disciples of Yeshua, but also apostles, which simply means “sent ones.” Whatever task we are sent to do, the lesson we can learn from Jeremiah is to always be faithful to God; To not let our hearts stray away from the LORD and His ways. He is always faithful to keep His covenant with us and will always be ready and willing to accept our repentance.
Study Questions:
1. Discuss the connection of this teaching to the Torah Portion Bechukotai, Leviticus 26:3-27:34.

2. Jeremiah says that Judah had forsaken the LORD in Jer. 16:11. In what way was that generation written in the Earth as described in Jer. 17:13-14? How does this compare to the scribes and Pharisees that brought the woman caught in adultery to Yeshua to be judged?

3. Compare the description of the man who trusts in God with Jude’s description of those who “have crept” into the body of believers unnoticed.  What do we need to watch for?

4. What are some of the other Psalms or scriptures that are quoted or paraphrased by Jeremiah? Why do you think he quoted these Psalms?

5. This teaching quoted a Jewish Midrash about a conversation between God and Israel. In what way do we have similar “conversations” with God? What can we learn about this tendency in ourselves and people in general?

6. What new insight did you gain from this teaching? How do you respond to this new insight? How will you realign your life based on this new understanding?

Bonus: Why do you think Jeremiah used a poetic form in this haftarah?

© Moed Ministries International. All rights Reserved.


[i] Midrash Tanaim 32:1 Hoffman edition pp. 180-1
[ii] Unger’s Commentary on the Old Testament, AMG Pub. P. 1391