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Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Lessons from the Wilderness - A special epistle

…Lessons from the Wilderness: A Special Volume… [1] [2] [3] [4]


     I write this today as an answer to a recent post on Facebook. As this post concerned how we should look at Yeshua's Torah observance, I had to take the time to respond. I wish no ill will on anyone, so the name of the group where this was posted will be blacked out or altered, as so will the name of the original poster. But we, as a community, must take a stand - do we or are we willing to defend the Word of G-d or not? May my words in response be not taken as a harsh rebuke, but as one who seeks to correct in love. 

Here is the original post: 

“…When we make, as a focus of our ministry, Messiah's Torah keeping, we are elevating a background piece of information to precedence over the work that God was doing through Him on the earth. Yes, of course, He kept Torah - and so did His audience. It's good that we see this small piece of background information, but it only rises to the level of adding to our overall understanding of the life He (and everyone else) lived, not His overall mission. His Torah-keeping does serve to highlight and illuminate elements of His teachings, and why He was doing this or that, talking about this or that - but Yeshua didn't come to this world to keep Torah, that wasn't His overall Mission. Yeshua came to die at the hands of the greatest Empire the world had ever seen so that God could make a spectacle of overcoming the powers and principalities of this world, prove that death no longer had any sting, and thereby draw all people to Himself through His One Unique Son. Messiah came so that God could become King of the entire world, now, through Messiah. When we elevate His Torah-keeping, we tend to lose the actual message that the Gospel writers, and later the men who wrote the epistles, were trying to communicate. Yeshua didn't come for the purpose of keeping Torah perfectly, even though He did do that, or even primarily for the purpose of showing us how to keep it perfectly, even though He did that too - He came to become King of the world through the inauguration He performed on the Cross by defeating the existing rulers of the world.
When they threw their worst at Him, taking His life and His honor through crucifixion, and He came back for round two - they had no more fight left in them, they had no response. They were done, finished - to anyone who believed in Yeshua, there could be no more fear of death, which was the only thing Rome could truly mete out. They could take this life away, that was all they had, it was the worst they could threaten. Once the fear of death was gone, Caesar was no longer their king, but instead God, who they believed in for eternal citizenship in the world to come. That knowledge changed the world, and we see polytheism crumble within the next few hundred years in the western world. The testimony of Yeshua, over the last 2,000 years, even when co-opted by governments and twisted, still worked His will upon the earth, spreading the Kingdom of Heaven to the four corners, and that work is still being done.
Christianity changed the world, the message of Yeshua - hospitals were built for the first time, orphanages, abandoned babies adopted by families who had very little themselves, people sold their land and all they had in order to care for the poor they didn't even know, world aid organizations, missionary organizations, slavery abolished, workhouses closed, animal cruelty banned - it happened slowly but surely - the testimony of Yeshua changed the world from a brutally cruel place beyond our imagining to a better one. There have been terrible hiccups of brutality, but in the end, the attitude of most of the world is entirely changed from "might makes right" to "Christ makes right."
Messiah's legacy is changed people, whether we have all the details right or not. That's the fruit of Messiah, even when twisted and misunderstood, His fruit is better than anything else. We need to make sure that we don't lose that by elevating part of the backstory. He is the answer to everything in the Scriptures - else we are left with the tragic tale of the birth of a nation, it's fall, exile, and then more failure. With Messiah, we see the King of the Jews rising to become the most prominent figure in history, bar none - not because He kept Torah, though He did, or showed us how to live it, which He did, but because He alone defeated the Empires of earth and the power they had over men to destroy. He made a spectacle of that destruction and launched a Kingdom that had no reason to fear anything, save God…”
[Here is my response:]

Where do I start? First, to Lxxxxx; thank you for posting this, a beautifully written piece. I can feel the love of Messiah in Txxxx’s message, so please, I pray that one doesn’t view my response as an attack or a criticism upon Tyler, upon you for posting this, or as a polemic against Christianity (defined as the system of religion based upon Jesus Christ) for it isn’t. But let us be honest with one another: this group is called “xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx ”. As a teacher of the Hebraic Perspective, and a follower of Messiah Yeshua AND the Torah, it would be amiss if I did not respond. Hopefully, I choose my words carefully, in love and respect, and all who read will be able to see this. If I fail, then it is upon me.

Yes, in some respects, there are those within this move of G-d as He restores the Torah to a place of honor, that it can seem that Torah is elevated over Messiah. I see this in a lot of different places, namely groups that associate themselves with the Messianic movement. Most (but not all) within this movement have come into it from a Church up-bringing, and have come into the Hebraic Perspective because they felt something was lacking in what they were being taught. For whatever the reason or reasons they had/have, the Messianic movement with its call to return to the Jewish roots of our faith, appealed to them and in the re-discovery of the Torah, they found a purpose and a direction that had been missing from their time in the traditional Christian Church. When they also re-discovered that Yeshua was indeed a Torah observant Jew, this fed their zeal to know more. For some, the zeal for Torah seems to outweigh or overshadow the message of Yeshua – at least this is the appearance.

Let us look at what the writer of this beautifully heartfelt statement had to say, and why, in my opinion, it not only is misguided, but once again it completely strips Yeshua from His roots and from His people. Allow me please, in love, to explain why.


“……When we make, as a focus of our ministry, Messiah's Torah keeping, we are elevating a background piece of information to precedence over the work that God was doing through Him on the earth. Yes, of course, He kept Torah - and so did His audience. It's good that we see this small piece of background information, but it only rises to the level of adding to our overall understanding of the life He (and everyone else) lived, not His overall mission. His Torah-keeping does serve to highlight and illuminate elements of His teachings, and why He was doing this or that, talking about this or that - but Yeshua didn't come to this world to keep Torah, that wasn't His overall Mission…”


To say that the Messiah’s Torah keeping is just a “background piece of information” is to say that G-d’s words are simply “background information”. We can then ignore them, or call them outdated, or say they no longer have any relevance in our lives. Why would we need this “background information” at all? We have Yeshua – that is all we need. We need not study to show ourselves approved anymore – we have Yeshua. We need not know anything about the heart and nature of the Father – we have Yeshua. We can ignore all the yet to be fulfilled prophecies concerning the land of Israel and the Jewish people – we have Yeshua! As a construction worker, I don’t need the “background information” as to why someone wants to build a building, just hand me the blueprints and I’ll build: but if I truly want to give the client the best I can give them, it helps me to understand their motivation to build, and who will occupy the building. If I then take this information and insert myself into it, then I will construct the building as if my loved ones would be in it – and thus I’ll do all I can to insure that my work is above reproach, that all of my integrity and skill will go into the job I am doing. In short, that “background information” inspires me to do my best.

The same is in understanding what drove and inspired Yeshua. He did not live His life in a vacuum – and neither did His Apostles. They lived for one thing – the knowledge of the Living G-d of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob/Israel. The Jewish people are G-d’s chosen. The entire Bible is Jewish centered, and the Gospel message is about the restoration of all things: the nation of Israel, the Throne of David, the Torah and the redemption of the Jewish people and all of humanity to the Kingship and Lordship of Yahveh Himself, through His Messiah Yeshua. This is not “background information”. This is the only plan that is out there – G-d’s plan “A”, for there has never been a Plan “B”. Yeshua ha’Mashiach is the cumulation of this plan – the restoration of all things. He is the Living Word, the Living Torah of G-d.

Now, what I am going to say is where I am today – what I believe. If I am wrong, may the Ruach ha’Kodesh correct me and teach me. In Psalms 2, the word says:

Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against Yahweh, and against his anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: Yahweh shall have them in derision. Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure. Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion. I will declare the decree:
Yahweh hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.
Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel. Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth. Serve Yahweh with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him. (Psa 2:1-12)

G-d early on promised a kinsman redeemer, a savior. Throughout the Tanakh (the Torah, Nevi’im [the Prophets]and the Kethuvim [the Writings]) G-d continually promises the Messiah shall be born – and He fulfilled it by begetting Yeshua, by bringing into existence His Word; thus we see in John 1:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (John 1:1)

And again, in John 1:14:

(John 1:14) And the Word became flesh, and tabernacled among us. And we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and of truth.

                The Word was G-d, it was always with G-d, it was always G-d. By His promises of a redeemer, He made His word flesh – and Yeshua was begotten. Even later Yeshua Himself said this:

(John 14:6) Jesus sayeth unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

What does Scripture say about the way, truth and the life?

What is that way?
Psalms 119:1 Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law(Torah) of the LORD.

And what is the truth?
Psalms 119:142 Thy righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, and thy law(Torah) is the truth.

And what is life?
Proverbs 13:14  The law(Torah) of the wise is a fountain of  life, to depart from the snares of death.

This is not “background information”. This is truth, this is life, this is the way we are to walk. Yeshua walked this way – for even He said:

And He said to all, If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me. For whoever will save his life shall lose it, but whoever will lose his life for My sake, he shall save it. For what is a man profited if he gains the whole world and loses himself, or is cast away? For whoever shall be ashamed of Me and of My Words, the Son of Man shall be ashamed of him when He shall come in His own and in His Father's glory, and that of the holy angels. (Luke 9:23-26)

I can do nothing of My own self. As I hear, I judge, and My judgment is just, because I do not seek My own will, but the will of the Father who has sent Me. If I bear witness of Myself, My witness is not true. There is another who bears witness of Me, and I know that the witness which He witnesses of Me is true. (John 5:30-32)

How can you believe, you who receive honor from one another and do not seek the honor that comes from God only? Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father; there is one who accuses you, Moses, in whom you trust. For if you had believed Moses, you would have believed Me, for he wrote of Me. But if you do not believe his writings, how shall you believe My Words? (John 5:44-47)

They did not understand that He spoke to them of the Father. Then Jesus said to them, When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you shall know that I AM, and that I do nothing of Myself, but as My Father has taught Me, I speak these things. And He who sent Me is with Me. The Father has not left Me alone, for I always do those things which please Him. As He spoke these words, many believed upon Him. Then Jesus said to the Jews who believed on Him, If you continue in My Word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. They answered Him, We are Abraham's seed and were never in bondage to anyone. How do you say, You will be made free? Jesus answered them, Truly, truly, I say to you, Whoever practices sin is the slave of sin. And the slave does not abide in the house forever, but the Son abides forever. Therefore if the Son shall make you free, you shall be free indeed. I know that you are Abraham's seed, but you seek to kill Me because My Word has no place in you. I speak what I have seen with My Father, and you, then, do what you have seen with your father. (John 8:27-38)

Philip said to Him, Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us. Jesus said to him, Have I been with you such a long time and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father. And how do you say, Show us the Father? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father in Me? The Words that I speak to you I do not speak of Myself, but the Father who dwells in Me, He does the works. Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the very works themselves.
(John 14:8-11)

Jesus answered and said to him, If a man loves Me, he will keep My Word. And My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him. He who does not love Me does not keep My Words, and the Word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father's who sent Me. (John 14:23-24)

There are many more scriptures which can be sited, but the point is clear: Yeshua spoke and did only what His Father told Him to say and do. He spoke consistently about the Torah – about how it is to be are way to walk. He obeyed Torah, for if He didn’t, He could not be King of the Jews. He is coming back to rule and reign from the heart of Jerusalem, as King of the Jews, as King of kings and Lord of lords. He will reinstitute the Temple services and the Law (Torah – teachings) shall go forth from Zion. To try to separate Yeshua from what He lived, what He taught and how He was raised is again replacement theology, supersessionism, anti-Judaism and an affront to G-d Himself.

Yes, there are things the Messianic community needs to dial down – one of them is the bashing of our brothers and sisters in the Christian community. What we don’t need is to whitewash the evil and cruelty that makes up most of Christian history. To call the blood of an untold number of souls “terrible hiccups of brutality” is callous and cold. These “terrible hiccups of brutality” are responsible for the pogroms, for slavery, for widows and orphans, for the Holocaust, for the subjugation of countries and indigenous people in the name of empires and colonialization. The early Church ‘fathers’ are responsible for the Inquisition, which lasted roughly 700 years – no mere “hiccup”. Martin Luther penned the blueprint for Hitler’s Final Solution. John Calvin can only be described in today’s terms as a murderer and a serial killer. The list can go on, especially as regarding the people of G-d, the Jews: one only has to research the writings of Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Tertullian, Eusebius, Constantine, St. Jerome and John Chrysostom to find hatred and loathing for the brethren of Messiah  – not the love of Christ.

It is the message of Messiah that has changed the world, not the Christian church. Men and women have transcended religion and walked as their G-d commanded with true love and mercy. There is good in Christianity; there is good in Judaism. We would not have the moral system of law we have today if not for the moral system of the Torah and Judaism. The teachings of G-d have not failed – men fail G-d by substituting their own teachings and making G-d’s “background information”.

I mean no one any harm in this rebuttal, and I see the love of Messiah in Txxx’s message. Any forum that calls itself a study group for Torah though should think before  posting anything that waters down the heart of G-d – which the Torah is responsible for showing us. Without the Tanakh, there is no New Testament; there is no knowledge of G-d and His nature, and no knowledge of Messiah and His mission – which incidentally was only to the lost house of Israel (Matthew 10:6 and 15:24).  Yeshua’s mother and step-father: they loved and obeyed the Torah. Yeshua loved the Torah, for He spoke only what His Father told Him to do. The disciples loved the Torah for they observed it, lived it, taught it as Yeshua had taught them and by Yeshua’s teachings of the Torah, changed the world.

Background information? No – only truth, only the way to live and serve G-d and one another. May it always be so, for I follow the Living Torah, the Living Messiah; I need all the background I can get.

If I offended anyone, I apologize, but this needed to be addressed.

Shalom to all, and may His love shine brightly in all our lives, amein and amein.










[1] Authors note: Use of information from Jewish-themed websites should not be construed as these sites endorsing or confirming any thesis introduced by the author of this epistle. I present the information from their respective sites for instructional purposes only and/or to aid in the readers understanding of the subjects discussed. The inverse is also true – by using these sites in no way confirms or denies that this author holds to all things found on these sites – but brethren, we all can learn from one another, Jew and Gentile; may it be so in shalom and love and respect.
[2]  Author’s note:  Throughout this study I’ll be using the Net® Bible and the Net® Notes: within the notes you’ll see symbols like this: ( א B Ψ 892* 2427 sys). These are abbreviations used by the NetBible© for identifying the principal manuscript evidence that they (authors and translators of the NetBible©) used in translating the New Testament. Please go to  https://bible.org/netbible/ and see their section labeled “NET Bible Principals of Translation” for a more complete explanation on these symbols and other items pertinent to the way the NET Bible uses them.
[3] Author’s Note: In these studies, I have used the notes that come along with the passages I cite from the sources that I cite: these need a bit of a disclaimer though. As in all things, not everything that is footnoted is something that I necessarily agree with, especially if it contradicts what I believe pertains to any matters of the Torah or the commandments of G-d. I give you the notes as they are written by the authors of the material I cite from, so that you can see the information contained within them. It truly is not my place to edit or correct them; if they state anything that is in opposition to what I teach, then so be it. I will address these issues if requested, but for the sake of brevity (as if any of these posts of mine are brief I) insert them and let them stand as they are. If I don’t agree with them, why do I include them you might ask? I don’t believe in censuring anyone’s opinions or scholarship; as I would not want mine censured, so I will not do to that to another. As Rabbi Hillel once stated, “What is hateful to you, do not do to another. That is the whole Torah. Go and learn it.” Torah leads me to respect others, even if I disagree; it leads me to present both sides of the coin, even if it could mean I’d lose part of the argument. That is not to say I should not challenge something I believe contradicts the truth of G-d’s word; that I will do in the main body of my epistles; that is where my gentle dissent belongs. Most (but not all) of the differences will come when I quote from the NET® Bible (but not exclusively); it has a decidedly Western/Greek mindset to it, but as a wise man once said “How do you eat chicken? Swallow the meat and spit out the bones…” I do though want to present the NET® notes because there is a wealth of information and research contained within them that I hope you find helpful.
[4] One may wonder why I omit the “o” when I write the title “G-d”. While there are many who say that to leave out the “o” is a sign of being under the influence of the Rabbis who forbid saying the name of Yahveh, I say, one must conclude on their own and do as their heart convicts them (within the bounds of G-d’s word of course). I believe in the power of the name of the Most High – the name of Yahveh – and in uttering it in awe and reverence, yet find no contradiction in my soul for the hyphenated title “G-d”. I have written it both ways – stopped doing it, and now I have returned to the practice – as I said, one must follow the conviction of their heart. I do not disrespect anyone else’s opinion on this matter, and regardless if you think it wrong or right, I ask for the same respect. Let each be fully persuaded in their own mind and heart – and let G-d sort it out with each believer. For now, this is right for me, till the Father corrects - or confirms; I am after all, a work in progress. Shalom.  (Appended note: The main reason I use “G-D” is nao as a name – but a reminder that His name is holy.His name is not to be carelessly written or tossed about, defamed or misused; His holy name is never to be blotted out or destroyed as are the names of the false “gods” of this world (see Deut. 12:3-4 – reading varies by translations). Never is His name or  any title that describes Him to be used in a manner that brings shame upon His reputation – that is why it must be honored and used circumspectly.)

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

We have returned! Let us continue then in our study on the Avinu prayer, Part Five. Be blessed and shalom.

…Lessons from the Wilderness Volume Fifteen… [1] [2] [3] [4]
Avinu shebashamayim …
Part Five
Tavo malkhutekha ye’aseh r’tsonekha ba’arets ka’asher na’asah vashamayim. [5]

Avinu shebashamayim, yitkadash shemekha.
Tavo malkhutekha ye’aseh r’tsonekha
ba’arets ka’asher na’asah vashamayim.
Ten-lanu haiyom lechem chukeinu.
u’selach-lanu et-ashmateinu
ka’asher solechim anachnu la’asher ashmulanu.
Ve’al-tevieinu lidei massah,
ki im-hatsileinu min-hara.
Ke lakha, hamamlakha, vehageverah, veha tiferet l’olemei ‘olamim.
Amein.

Matthew 6:9–13 (NASB95)
aPray, then, in this way:
‘Our Father who is in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
10 ‘aYour kingdom come.
bYour will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.
11 ‘aGive us this day 1our daily bread.
12 ‘And aforgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 ‘And do not lead us into temptation, but adeliver us from 1bevil. 2
[For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.]’[6]


I posed the question in Part Four of this series:

“So, a quick look for the word “come” as it is used in the traditional translation has an eschatological [7] meaning to it, as in a kingdom yet to come or appear. But is this true? Did G-d relinquish His control over mankind, over the affairs of men and so to speak, take his bat and ball and go home?” [8]

If any of you have been following recent events, especially here in the United States, you might be asking yourselves the same question. I have my own politics – and they shall remain my own – for no matter what I say – someone will be offended. I’ll make no bones about it though: I am pro-life, pro-small government, I support all of the safeguards found in  Bill of Rights our founders put into place for this nation. That said, democracy happened, the republic of America still stands, and I accept and am satisfied with the results of this tumultuous election season. To me, G-d is still on the throne.

But the question remains: in this world of contrasting themes, of beauty and terror, did G-d simply step aside and let man flounder his way through, making a mess of everything till He must step back in to keep us from destroying ourselves? Or has He always been in charge, directing and guiding the pieces on the chess board, regardless of the results? This begs the question: do all the ills we face in this world, from sickness, poverty to unrestrained evil, do these things come from G-d, or are they just the collective manifestations of our sins, of our rejection of Him? What is the truth?


Figure 1: Matthew 6:9-10 from "The Hebrew Gospel of Matthew", translated by George Howard, ©1995 Mercer University Press
 [Transliteration]:
Ve-yeet-ba-rekh mal-khoot-kha
Re-tson-kha yee-he-ye a-sui ba-sha-mai-yeem u-va-arets [9]
“May Your kingdom be blessed, Your will shall be done in heaven and earth”[10]

Now, a note here. There are some who may or will come against me for even quoting from not only Nehemia Gordon but also from George Howard’s book “The Hebrew Gospel of Matthew”. Howard’s book is an examination of a fourteenth century Jewish polemical[11] treatise entitled Even Bohan (“The Touchstone”) by Shem-Tob ben-Isaac ben-Shaprut (a.k.a. Ibn Shaprut). [12] Both authors’ works are judged by many to be not only problematic, but controversial. I am not trying to build a case for or against the respective works; what I am trying to present is a different viewpoint from which we may examine the “Avinu shebashamayim”. This is also not an attempt to infer doctrine from these sources. To delve into the textural criticism surrounding both the works of Shem-Tob AND the accepted canonical version of Matthew is far outside the range of this series. One only needs to look at the controversy surrounding the fact that some early manuscripts omitted the phrase “For yours is the kingdom, the power and the glory forever. Amen”; or one can look to the strange ending of the book of Mark – there is ample evidence that the beloved passages of Mark 6:9-16 are in fact “bogus” as one scholar writes. [13] So, we who are exhorted by Scripture to “give due diligence”[14] to show ourselves approved unto G-d, should endeavor to seek and search out through many sources that which helps us to get a sense of who our Father truly is – and see Him as Yeshua did.

In 2 Timothy 2:15, the King James says to Timothy:

2 Timothy 2:15 (KJV)
15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed,
rightly dividing the word of truth. [15]

                Most later versions translate “study” in a more accurate manner as “…be diligent…”(NASB); “…Do all you can…” (JNT); “…do your best…” (NRSV); “…Make every effort…” (LEB); “…Earnestly seek…” (WNT), but even these miss the greater meaning of “to treat seriously or respectfully.” [16] or “to hasten”[17]that which is “noble, worthy, good or upright”.[18] We are to hasten our knowledge, to find the good and the noble, to learn and show ourselves approved to handle the Word of G-d as referred to in the NET Bible’s rendering of 2 Timothy:

2 Timothy 2:15 (NET)
2:15
Make every effort to present yourself before God as a proven worker who does not need to be ashamed, teaching the message of truth accurately.28 ([19])
I understand that it may seem I’m getting off base hear – a run-down the rabbit trail if you may – but this is just to show you we can find answers through unconventional sources as well as those “acceptable” sources. I just hope that you can avail yourselves of these as well.

The question remains: after the fall of man in the garden due to the deceit of ha’satan and the weakness of the human mind and heart, was Elohim’s authority over this world diminished? Did He take His “bat and ball and go home”? Let us look at the fall again:
Genesis 3:1-7 (NET)
3:1 Now1 the serpent2 was more shrewd3 than any of the wild animals4 that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Is it really true that5 God6 said, ‘You must not eat from any tree of the orchard’?”7 3:2 The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat8 of the fruit from the trees of the orchard; 3:3 but concerning the fruit of the tree that is in the middle of the orchard God said, ‘You must not eat from it, and you must not touch it,9 or else you will die.’”10 3:4 The serpent said to the woman, “Surely you will not die,11
3:5 for God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will open12 and you will be like divine beings who know13 good and evil.”14
3:6 When15 the woman saw that the tree produced fruit that was good for food,16 was attractive17 to the eye, and was desirable for making one wise,18 she took some of its fruit and ate it.19
She also gave some of it to her husband who was with her, and he ate it.20 3:7 Then the eyes of both of them opened, and they knew they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves. ([20])

It was what Chuva[21] saw, and what she desired that caused her to disobey, thus the weakness of mind and soul. Then Adam ate also. Willingly. Besides the challenge to the Father’s integrity from ha’satan was the challenge to His authority from the man and woman. His Law, His Torah was disobeyed, the covenant of Torah was broken by the act of desire, of coveting.

In judgment, G-d responds.  There is a literary style used here, a writing style called a chiasm. A chiasm is a repetition of similar ideas in the reverse sequence.[22]  The chiastic structure is usually seen best in the Hebrew Scriptures -in Hebrew; the reason for this is the subtle play on words, the “puns” if you will and the repeating structure or outlines. One of the greatest chiasms in the bible is the story of creation -through the story of Noach. The parallels are remarkable. While it is not within our scope here to explore these, I would like to direct you to where you can find a greater study on this theme and others: https://www.alephbeta.org and the teachings of Rabbi David Fohrman. But for our study – the basic chiasmic structure is this:

The man is questioned…
         The woman is questioned….
                                  The serpent is cursed…
         Sentence is passed on the woman…
Sentence is passed on the man….

Now how does this tie into our question? It fits by showing that G-d’s kingdom was not diminished: in fact, the kingdom of G-d is intact. In the legalistic view – G-d serves as prosecutor, questioning the co-defendants. After His successful prosecution, He passed judgment on the main perpetrator, the main defendant - the serpent or ha’satan. Then He sentences the co-defendants, in reverse order of how they were questioned. So the main question of whether or not by disobedience G-d’s kingdom was wrenched from Him by the sin of Adam and Chuva is answered. He is still in control.

A careful study of Scripture reveals G-d is always in control. That is hard for us to see in this world today. What do we see? Governments out of control – financial systems out of control. We see social structures being torn up by dissent and anarchy. We see war and sickness, depravity and cruelty; we also see the chiasmic reverse of this, by acts of mercy, sacrifice and kindness. Love, hate, hate, love. The whole world is a chiasmic mix of emotions and actions.

Now take the two different translations of the Avinu shebashamayim.

“…Thy kingdom come, thy will be done in heaven on earth as it is in heaven…”
 Or
“…May your kingdom be blessed, Your will shall be done in heaven and earth…”

                         Are we not talking about two different views of the Kingdom of G-d? Doesn’t the idea of “Thy kingdom come” seem to say that G-d’s kingdom is not yet here or perhaps has been delayed - that there has been a shift of control from the Creator and Master of the creation. Has His rule, His kingdom, been somehow shunted aside due to sin and rebellion and someone else has taken control over His creation? What is the ongoing implication of that?

Well, we see it every day. There is no fear of G-d in mankind, no fear of the consequences of sin, of harming His creation and the destruction of all that is sacred and holy. G-d is viewed as aloof if He is even seen at all. Even the church has no fear of G-d anymore – they regularly discount His word in favor of a “social justice”, in favor of “alternate lifestyles”, in favor of the whims and the mores of a society driven by instant gratification of the base urges of man or mob. If His kingdom is to “come”, then party like hell till the party is shut down; that is if He even exists at all in the minds, hearts and soul of the majority.

The Bible shows a clear pattern of events in the past in which G-d was involved or even interfered in the affairs of man.[23] It even speaks of a day in the future when He will return to His created and set up via His Son the kingdom without end. [24] But what of the present? Is Yehovah[25] present and with us today?

Luke 17:20-21 (NET)

17:20 Now at one point59 the Pharisees60 asked Jesus61 when the kingdom of God62 was coming, so he answered, “The kingdom of God is not coming with signs63 to be observed, 17:21 nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is64 in your midst.”65 ([26])

Also from the Net® Bible are the following examples:

 Luke 6:20
Then he looked up at his disciples and said: ​​​​​​“Blessed are you who are poor, for the kingdom of God belongs to you…”

Luke 11:20
“…But if I cast out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has already overtaken you…”

Luke 17:37
Then the disciples said to him, “Where, Lord?” He replied to them,
“Where the dead body is, there the vultures will gather.”

In these passages we see just a few examples where Messiah Yeshua talked of the kingdom of G-d in ALL time – past, present and future. For any to think that Father is not involved with this world today is to misread all the signs that He has been sending.

Therefore, I, in my opinion in conjuncture with that of others, truly believe that the proper rendering of the Avinu prayer should be:


“…Ve-yeet barekh mal-khoot-kha re-tson-kha yee-he-ye a-sui ba-shami-yeem u-va-a-rets…”

“…May your kingdom be blessed, Your will shall be done in heaven and earth…”

Again, I must emphasis that there is considerable disagreement about Shem-Tob’s Hebrew Matthew, both in the literary sense and the textural criticism associated with it (let us not forget those that speak out against Nehemia Gordon also; I'll address these concerns in a later post). These are not matters to be taken up by this series. All I am focused upon here is the Avinu prayer. There will also probably be conversation or criticism concerning my take on the kingdom of G-d. But this is what I think today – that Yehovah through Yeshua is active in the affairs of man today. 
That Yehovah through Yeshua is setting the stage for the greatest cosmic event in all history. That Yehovah through Yeshua is continuing what He started in the past, is ever in the present today and will fulfill all that has been spoken and promised throughout the Tanach, the Torah and the B’rit Hadashah about His Kingdom on some future date. 
That is why instead of wishing for His kingdom to come – we need to be blessing Him and thanking Him that the kingdom is here today, near to us, in our hearts, souls and minds.

Today is the day when we must bow our knees and confess with our mouths that He is
KING of kings and LORD of lords.”

Today is the day we must acknowledge that every knee shall bow before Him one day.

Today is the day we need to repent, to t’shuvah – return to Yehovah through Yeshua, to praise Him,
to bless His people Israel and declare Yerushalayim His throne.

Today we must say:
“…Ve-yeet barekh mal-khoot-kha re-tson-kha yee-he-ye a-sui ba-shami-yeem u-va-a-rets…”

Today we must bless Avinu shebashamayim, our Father in Heaven.

Today.

The Kingdom of Yehovah is here brethren, even if we cannot see it or understand it. Remember the chiastic sequence: 

There was the creation: and it was good…
         There was the fall: and it demanded a response…
                                  There came the Son of Man: He was the response…
         There will be judgment: to finally correct that which the fall has wrought…
There will be a new heaven and new earth: and it will be good…

Even if we cannot see the kingdom today, amidst all the evil, all the suffering, all the tragedies that try to overcome us; even so, know that He is active – for in His patience, in His withholding of the justice we all deserve, He is working us all toward an end – one not for evil, but for good. Today  while we still have a chance, bless Him, bless His kingdom and show Him you love Him with your obedience.

Today.
May Avinu richly bless you all, my beloved, Amein.



[1] Authors note: Use of information from Jewish-themed websites should not be construed as these sites endorsing or confirming any thesis introduced by the author of this epistle. I present the information from their respective sites for instructional purposes only and/or to aid in the readers understanding of the subjects discussed. The inverse is also true – by using these sites in no way confirms or denies that this author holds to all things found on these sites – but brethren, we all can learn from one another, Jew and Gentile; may it be so in shalom and love and respect.
[2]  Author’s note:  Throughout this study I’ll be using the Net® Bible and the Net® Notes: within the notes you’ll see symbols like this: ( א B Ψ 892* 2427 sys). These are abbreviations used by the NetBible© for identifying the principal manuscript evidence that they (authors and translators of the NetBible©) used in translating the New Testament. Please go to  https://bible.org/netbible/ and see their section labeled “NET Bible Principals of Translation” for a more complete explanation on these symbols and other items pertinent to the way the NET Bible uses them.
[3] Author’s Note: In these studies, I have used the notes that come along with the passages I cite from the sources that I cite: these need a bit of a disclaimer though. As in all things, not everything that is footnoted is something that I necessarily agree with, especially if it contradicts what I believe pertains to any matters of the Torah or the commandments of G-d. I give you the notes as they are written by the authors of the material I cite from, so that you can see the information contained within them. It truly is not my place to edit or correct them; if they state anything that is in opposition to what I teach, then so be it. I will address these issues if requested, but for the sake of brevity (as if any of these posts of mine are brief I) insert them and let them stand as they are. If I don’t agree with them, why do I include them you might ask? I don’t believe in censuring anyone’s opinions or scholarship; as I would not want mine censured, so I will not do to that to another. As Rabbi Hillel once stated, “What is hateful to you, do not do to another. That is the whole Torah. Go and learn it.” Torah leads me to respect others, even if I disagree; it leads me to present both sides of the coin, even if it could mean I’d lose part of the argument. That is not to say I should not challenge something I believe contradicts the truth of G-d’s word; that I will do in the main body of my epistles; that is where my gentle dissent belongs. Most (but not all) of the differences will come when I quote from the NET® Bible (but not exclusively); it has a decidedly Western/Greek mindset to it, but as a wise man once said “How do you eat chicken? Swallow the meat and spit out the bones…” I do though want to present the NET® notes because there is a wealth of information and research contained within them that I hope you find helpful.
[4] One may wonder why I omit the “o” when I write the title “G-d”. While there are many who say that to leave out the “o” is a sign of being under the influence of the Rabbis who forbid saying the name of Yahveh, I say, one must come to a conclusion on their own, and do as their heart convicts them (within the bounds of G-d’s word of course). I believe in the power of the name of the Most High – the name of Yahveh – and in uttering it in awe and reverence, yet find no contradiction in my soul for the hyphenated title “G-d”. I have written it both ways – stopped doing it, and now I have returned to the practice – as I said, one must follow the conviction of their heart. I do not disrespect anyone else’s opinion on this matter, and regardless if you think it wrong or right, I ask for the same respect. Let each be fully persuaded in their own mind and heart – and let G-d sort it out with each believer. For now, this is right for me, till the Father corrects - or confirms; I am after all, a work in progress. Shalom. 
[5] Inspiration for this series of teaching comes with thanks and in part from the work of John J. Parsons, Hebrew for Christians and his article at http://www.hebrew4christians.com/Prayers/The_Lord_s_Prayer_1/the_lord_s_prayer_1.html  (© by John J. Parsons, all rights reserved; used with permission), and the work of Nehemia Gordon and Keith Johnson and their book A Prayer to Our Father. One plants, another waters…
a  Matt 6:9–13: Luke 11:2–4
a  Matt 3:2; 4:17
b  Matt 26:42; Luke 22:42; Acts 21:14
a  Prov 30:8; Is 33:16; Luke 11:3
1  Or our bread for tomorrow
a  Ex 34:7; Ps 32:1; 130:4; Matt 9:2; 26:28; Eph 1:7; 1 John 1:7–9
a  John 17:15; 1 Cor 10:13; 2 Thess 3:3; 2 Tim 4:18; 2 Pet 2:9; 1 John 5:18
1  Or the evil one
b  Matt 5:37
2  This clause not found in early mss
[6]  New American Standard Bible: 1995 update. (1995). (Mt 6:9–13). LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.
[7] Eschatological: adj. (Theology) pertaining to eschatology; pertaining to any doctrine pertaining to the end of the world. Babylon Translation Software, ©Babylon Software Ltd.
[9] Nehemia Gordon and Keith Johnson. A Prayer To Our Father. 2nd Revised Edition. www.HilkiahPress.com, 2010. Pg. 175
[10] …Ibid… pg 175
[11] A polemic is a contentious argument that is intended to support a specific position via attacks on a contrary position. [Definition from Babylon Software, ver. 10.5.0 r (4)]
[12] George Howard. The Hebrew Gospel of Matthew: Revised Edition of The Gospel of Matthew, according to a Primitive Hebrew Text. Mercer University Press, Macon Georgia, USA,©1995, second edition. From the introduction on page 6.
[14] From 2 Timothy 2:15: the word in Greek that is translated as “Study” is the word [Strong’s G4704, TDNT (Theological Dictionary of the New Testament] 7:559 (Volume 7, pg 559) has a deeper meaning than just “study”.
[15]  The Holy Bible : King James Version. 1995 (electronic ed. of the 1769 edition of the 1611 Authorized Version.). Bellingham WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
[16] Geoffrey W. Bromiley, “The Theological Dictionary of the New Testament – Abridged in One Volume” authors Gerhard Kittel and Gerhard Friedrich.  Copyright © 1985 by William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, all rights reserved. pp1069.
[17] …Ibid…
[18] …Ibid…
·          [The following notes are taken from the NET Bible® footnotes, copyright (c) 1996-2006 by Biblical Studies Press L.L.C. All rights reserved. Used by permission from www.bible.org. Numbering system is unique to NET® Notes..  For more information see footnote #2 and 3.]
28 sn Accurately is a figure of speech that literally means something like “cutting a straight road.” In regards to the message of truth, it means “correctly handling” or “imparting it without deviation.”
·         End “NET®” notes
[19]  Biblical Studies Press. (2006; 2006). The NET Bible First Edition; Bible. English. NET Bible.; The NET Bible. Biblical Studies Press.
·                        [The following notes are taken from the NET Bible® footnotes, copyright (c) 1996-2006 by Biblical Studies Press L.L.C. All rights reserved. Used by permission from www.bible.org. Numbering system is unique to NET® Notes..  For more information see footnote #2 and 3.]
1 tn The chapter begins with a disjunctive clause (conjunction + subject + predicate) that introduces a new character and a new scene in the story.
2 sn Many theologians identify or associate the serpent with Satan. In this view Satan comes in the disguise of a serpent or speaks through a serpent. This explains the serpent’s capacity to speak. While later passages in the Bible may indicate there was a satanic presence behind the serpent (see, for example, Rev 12:9), the immediate context pictures the serpent as simply one of the animals of the field created by God (see vv. 1, 14). An ancient Jewish interpretation explains the reference to the serpent in a literal manner, attributing the capacity to speak to all the animals in the orchard. This text (Jub. 3:28) states, “On that day [the day the man and woman were expelled from the orchard] the mouth of all the beasts and cattle and birds and whatever walked or moved was stopped from speaking because all of them used to speak to one another with one speech and one language [presumed to be Hebrew, see 12:26].” Josephus, Ant. 1.1.4 (1.41) attributes the serpent’s actions to jealousy. He writes that “the serpent, living in the company of Adam and his wife, grew jealous of the blessings which he supposed were destined for them if they obeyed God’s behests, and, believing that disobedience would bring trouble on them, he maliciously persuaded the woman to taste of the tree of wisdom.”
3 tn The Hebrew word עָרוּם (’arum) basically means “clever.” This idea then polarizes into the nuances “cunning” (in a negative sense, see Job 5:12; 15:5), and “prudent” in a positive sense (Prov 12:16, 23; 13:16; 14:8, 15, 18; 22:3; 27:12). This same polarization of meaning can be detected in related words derived from the same root (see Exod 21:14; Josh 9:4; 1 Sam 23:22; Job 5:13; Ps 83:3). The negative nuance obviously applies in Gen 3, where the snake attempts to talk the woman into disobeying God by using half-truths and lies.
sn There is a wordplay in Hebrew between the words “naked” (עֲרוּמִּים, ’arummim) in 2:25 and “shrewd” (עָרוּם, ’arum) in 3:1. The point seems to be that the integrity of the man and the woman is the focus of the serpent’s craftiness. At the beginning they are naked and he is shrewd; afterward, they will be covered and he will be cursed.
4 tn Heb “animals of the field.”
5 tn Heb “Indeed that God said.” The beginning of the quotation is elliptical and therefore difficult to translate. One must supply a phrase like “is it true”: “Indeed, [is it true] that God said.”
6 sn God. The serpent does not use the expression “Yahweh God” [Lord God] because there is no covenant relationship involved between God and the serpent. He only speaks of “God.” In the process the serpent draws the woman into his manner of speech so that she too only speaks of “God.”
7 tn Heb “you must not eat from all the tree[s] of the orchard.” After the negated prohibitive verb, מִכֹּל (mikkol, “from all”) has the meaning “from any.” Note the construction in Lev 18:26, where the statement “you must not do from all these abominable things” means “you must not do any of these abominable things.” See Lev 22:25 and Deut 28:14 as well.
8 tn There is a notable change between what the Lord God had said and what the woman says. God said “you may freely eat” (the imperfect with the infinitive absolute, see 2:16), but the woman omits the emphatic infinitive, saying simply “we may eat.” Her words do not reflect the sense of eating to her heart’s content.
9 sn And you must not touch it. The woman adds to God’s prohibition, making it say more than God expressed. G. von Rad observes that it is as though she wanted to set a law for herself by means of this exaggeration (Genesis [OTL], 86).
10 tn The Hebrew construction is פֶּן (pen) with the imperfect tense, which conveys a negative purpose: “lest you die” = “in order that you not die.” By stating the warning in this way, the woman omits the emphatic infinitive used by God (“you shall surely die,” see 2:17).
11 tn The response of the serpent includes the infinitive absolute with a blatant negation equal to saying: “Not – you will surely die” (לֹא מוֹת תִּמֻתען, lo mot témutun). The construction makes this emphatic because normally the negative particle precedes the finite verb. The serpent is a liar, denying that there is a penalty for sin (see John 8:44).
sn Surely you will not die. Here the serpent is more aware of what the Lord God said than the woman was; he simply adds a blatant negation to what God said. In the account of Jesus’ temptation Jesus is victorious because he knows the scripture better than Satan (Matt 4:1–11).
12 tn Or “you will have understanding.” This obviously refers to the acquisition of the “knowledge of good and evil,” as the next statement makes clear.
13 tn Or perhaps “like God, knowing.” It is unclear how the plural participle translated “knowing” is functioning. On the one hand, יֹדְעֵי (yodée) could be taken as a substantival participle functioning as a predicative adjective in the sentence. In this case one might translate: “You will be, like God himself, knowers of good and evil.” On the other hand, it could be taken as an attributive adjective modifying אֱלֹהִים (’elohim). In this case אֱלֹהִים has to be taken as a numerical plural referring to “gods,” “divine beings,” for if the one true God were the intended referent, a singular form of the participle would almost certainly appear as a modifier. Following this line of interpretation, one could translate, “You will be like divine beings who know good and evil.” The following context may favor this translation, for in 3:22 God says to an unidentified group, “Look, the man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil.” It is probable that God is addressing his heavenly court (see the note on the word “make” in 1:26), the members of which can be called “gods” or “divine beings” from the ancient Israelite perspective. (We know some of these beings as messengers or “angels.”) An examination of parallel constructions shows that a predicative understanding (“you will be, like God himself, knowers of good and evil,” cf. NIV, NRSV) is possible, but rare (see Gen 27:23, where “hairy” is predicative, complementing the verb “to be”). The statistical evidence strongly suggests that the participle is attributive, modifying “divine beings” (see Ps 31:12; Isa 1:30; 13:14; 16:2; 29:5; 58:11; Jer 14:9; 20:9; 23:9; 31:12; 48:41; 49:22; Hos 7:11; Amos 4:11). In all of these texts, where a comparative clause and accompanying adjective/participle follow a copulative (“to be”) verb, the adjective/participle is attributive after the noun in the comparative clause.
14 sn You will be like divine beings who know good and evil. The serpent raises doubts about the integrity of God. He implies that the only reason for the prohibition was that God was protecting the divine domain. If the man and woman were to eat, they would enter into that domain. The temptation is to overstep divinely established boundaries. (See D. E. Gowan, When Man Becomes God [PTMS], 25.)
15 tn Heb “And the woman saw.” The clause can be rendered as a temporal clause subordinate to the following verb in the sequence.
16 tn Heb “that the tree was good for food.” The words “produced fruit that was” are not in the Hebrew text, but are implied.
17 tn The Hebrew word תַּאֲוָה (taavah, translated “attractive” here) actually means “desirable.” This term and the later term נֶחְמָד (nekhmad, “desirable”) are synonyms.
sn Attractive (Heb “desirable”)…desirable. These are different words in Hebrew. The verbal roots for both of these forms appear in Deut 5:21 in the prohibition against coveting. Strong desires usually lead to taking.
18 tn Heb “that good was the tree for food, and that desirable it was to the eyes, and desirable was the tree to make one wise.” On the connection between moral wisdom and the “knowledge of good and evil,” see the note on the word “evil” in 2:9.
sn Desirable for making one wise. The quest for wisdom can follow the wrong course, as indeed it does here. No one can become like God by disobeying God. It is that simple. The Book of Proverbs stresses that obtaining wisdom begins with the fear of God that is evidenced through obedience to his word. Here, in seeking wisdom, Eve disobeys God and ends up afraid of God.
19 tn The pronoun “it” is not in the Hebrew text, but is supplied (here and also after “ate” at the end of this verse) for stylistic reasons.
sn She took…and ate it. The critical word now discloses the disobedience: “[she] ate.” Since the Lord God had said, “You shall not eat,” the main point of the divine inquisition will be, “Did you eat,” meaning, “did you disobey the command?” The woman ate, being deceived by the serpent (1 Tim 2:14), but then the man ate, apparently willingly when the woman gave him the fruit (see Rom 5:12, 17–19).
20 sn This pericope (3:1–7) is a fine example of Hebrew narrative structure. After an introductory disjunctive clause that introduces a new character and sets the stage (3:1), the narrative tension develops through dialogue, culminating in the action of the story. Once the dialogue is over, the action is told in a rapid sequence of verbs – she took, she ate, she gave, and he ate.
·         End “NET®” notes
[20]  Biblical Studies Press. (2006; 2006). The NET Bible First Edition; Bible. English. NET Bible.; The NET Bible. Biblical Studies Press. 
[21] Eve.
[22] See article by Thomas B. Clarke at http://www.bible-discernments.com/joshua/whatisachiasm.html Also, for an extended look at the chiastic structure found in the Hebrew, go to https://www.alephbeta.com .
[23] See for example the following:  Exod. 14:13-14; Josh. 10:14; 23:3; Judg. 4:15; 2 Chron. 20:15 . This list is not meant to be exhaustive.
[24] See Zechariah, chapters 1:3; 9; 10:4-5; 12:1-9  and chapter 14:1-21
[25] My writing out the name of G-d is not done lightly, nor is my intent to offend any. For why I use the name of G-d please see my previous post in this series http://www.asearchformessiah.net/2016/09/part-four-of-our-journey-through-lords.html
·         [The following notes are taken from the NET Bible® footnotes, copyright (c) 1996-2006 by Biblical Studies Press L.L.C. All rights reserved. Used by permission from www.bible.org. Numbering system is unique to NET® Notes. For more information see footnote #2 and 3.]
59 tn The words “at one point” are supplied to indicate that the following incident is not necessarily in chronological sequence with the preceding event.
60 sn See the note on Pharisees in 5:17.
61 tn Grk “having been asked by the Pharisees.” The passive construction has been translated as an active one in keeping with contemporary English style, and the direct object, Jesus, has been supplied from the context.
62 sn The kingdom of God is a major theme of Jesus. It is a realm in which Jesus rules and to which those who trust him belong. See Luke 6:20; 11:20; 17:20–21.
63 tn Or “is not coming in a way that it can be closely watched” (L&N 24.48). Although there are differing interpretations of what this means, it probably refers to the cosmic signs often associated with the kingdom’s coming in the Jewish view (1 En. 91, 93; 2 Bar. 53—74). See D. L. Bock, Luke (BECNT), 2:1412–14, also H. Riesenfeld, TDNT 8:150.
64 tn This is a present tense in the Greek text. In contrast to waiting and looking for the kingdom, it is now available.
65 tn This is a far better translation than “in you.” Jesus would never tell the hostile Pharisees that the kingdom was inside them. The reference is to Jesus present in their midst. He brings the kingdom. Another possible translation would be “in your grasp.” For further discussion and options, see D. L. Bock, Luke (BECNT), 2:1414–19.
·         End “NET®” notes
[26]  Biblical Studies Press. (2006; 2006). The NET Bible First Edition; Bible. English. NET Bible.; The NET Bible. Biblical Studies Press. 
[27] George Howard. The Hebrew Gospel of Matthew: Revised Edition of The Gospel of Matthew According to a Primitive Hebrew Text. Mercer University Press, Macon Georgia, USA, 1995.