Torah Portion: Vayetze (Gen. 28:10-32:3)

God gave Jacob a vision, then gave him four wives! Wait, What?!

Sure to spark real discussion and digging in the Scriptures, this week’s portion discusses the importance of vision for every man and the family he leads, as well as going where most are terrified to tread…. What God says about family structure.

This short (if you can call it that) commentary is not meant as a final authority as there is simply too much in this portion related to headship, patriarchy and family structure to cover it all. However, this is a great place to begin the discussion with a number of linked resources for further research. The key is to pursue truth and shed tradition and false doctrine.

Download in multiple formats or read online on our Torah Portion Series page.

Shabbat Shalom.

Difficult verses in the ‘Christmas’ story, p.4

in the beginningIn the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men.

No reading of the ‘Christmas’ story is complete without John 1, yet these verses pose a sizable challenge to Christian theology if we stop and really take a look at them.

Have you ever considered the implication of these verses?  Jesus, or by His Hebrew name, Yeshua, was with God in the beginning and was (is) God.  Easy, right?  Not so fast, my friend!

What are the implications of the Messiah being present from the beginning? Continue reading “Difficult verses in the ‘Christmas’ story, p.4”

A few more ‘Memra’ verses in this portion….

Yesterday, I posted a Scripture image from my YouVersion account demonstrating an example of the use of ‘Memra’ from Deuteronomy.  We have argued on this blog before for the presence of Yeshua in the Torah, one example of which is the ‘Memra.’  Read up on that to better understand the next few verses.

NOTE: Deuteronomy 26:17 also has an alef-Tav as this image demonstrates....
NOTE: Deuteronomy 26:17 also has an Alef-Tav as this image demonstrates….

Certainly, Yeshua, the Memra, stood on Mt. Sinai!

Well, here are a few more ‘Memra’ verses from this portion that are fascinating and again compel us to ask, “When Yeshua (Jesus) says, ‘If you love me, then keep my commandments,’ what are his commandments?”  (Answer to the question at the end of the post…)

Picking up with yesterday’s verses, these almost have a story line as they are interspersed through Deuteronomy 26-28,

Deu. 26:16 “This day the Lord your God commands you to do these statutes and ordinances. You shall therefore be careful to do them with all your heart and with all your soul. 17 You have today declared the Memra de Yeya to be your God, and that Continue reading “A few more ‘Memra’ verses in this portion….”

‘from the midst of the fire…’

Originally published 8/11/14, but again brought to mind in my studies. Very important and interesting…

There have been a few thoughts from this week’s Parsha, Va’etchanan (and I pleaded), running through my head that I want to share in a rough format.  Hopefully, someone will find these nuggets useful to chew.

‘from the midst of the fire…’

Mountains 6This portion, Deuteronomy 3:23-7:11, encompasses some of the most important parts of Moshe’s message to the children of Israel as they prepare to enter the Land.  As I read, there were a few words and phrases that were of particular interest.  One such phrase, ‘from the midst of the fire,’ repeated at least eight times in chapters 4 & 5 was of particular interest!

Moshe is recounting the original giving of the Torah at Horeb/Sinai and to set the stage and remind them of the awesomeness of the Living God and the momentous event, he repeats this phrase multiple times.  See 4:12, 15, 33, 37; 5:4, 22, 24, & 26!!  Very interesting!

It immediately reminded me of Exodus 3 and the Angel of Yehovah appearing to Moshe in the burning bush and Yehovah speaking to Moshe from the fire.  In one sense, it made me think of Moshe’s private encounter with a voice from the flame and then Israel returning to the same mountain for a corporate encounter.  An interesting difference is that Moshe saw the Angel of Yehovah, where Israel “did not see any form, only a voice.”  (4:12, 15)

In the connection between the Angel of Yehovah and the giving of the Torah, something we have explored more than once on this blog, Was Jesus on Mt. Sinai? being one, it is interesting to note that where the Memra is not mentioned very often in the Targumim, He shows up five times in this same group of verses:  3:22; 4:24, 33; 5:5 & 25.  Notice the clear connections between the Memra [see brackets below] and the fire in these verses: Continue reading “‘from the midst of the fire…’”

Did Jonah Meet Yeshua??

So, I’m studying and preparing to teach a segment on the Memra to a group during their Sukkot gathering.  It is an invitation I am excited about, particularly because they asked me to briefly share on one of my favorite topics, the Memra, and because at least half of the guests are NOT Messianic, but from local churches!  What an opportunity to display the Messiah through Judaic eyes to potential seekers.  May their eyes be opened!

Anyway, I had my whole powerpoint presentation finished and was doing some random browsing in Scripture when I was drawn back to a passage I read a few days ago.  Then something popped off the page!

Jon 1:1 Now the word of Jehovah came unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying,
Jon 1:2 Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me.
Jon 1:3 But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of Jehovah; and he went down to Joppa, and found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of Jehovah.

WOW!!  Did that just say what I think it said??

The word of Jehovah‘ said….  And then Jonah flees from ‘the presence?!?’

We know that there are so many other places in Scripture where the Angel of the Lord comes and speaks the words of the Father, and we know that there are dozens and dozens of places in the Targumim where personifications of Yehovah are translated as ‘the Word of the Lord.’

Did Jonah speak with and run from the physical presence of pre-incarnate Yeshua?

What are your thought?

His Tender Mercies… Ha’azinu

This week’s Torah portion (Ha’azinu, Deu. 32) has been particularly interesting to study with it yielding a number of heretofore unseen gems.  I don’t really have the motivation to share all I learned, though I filled several margins of my Bible with notes.  I do want to share an item or two regarding the Memra and Moshe.

As many here recall, I have really enjoyed reading/studying the ‘angel of the Lord’ passages which led to me reading and searching the Targumim for the translator’s understanding of the presence of the Memra.  Now, if you are not familiar, the crash course is simple:  During the intertestamental period between the Babylonian exile and the destruction of the Temple, several authoritative Aramaic translations of the Torah were composed.  What makes them of particular interest is that they are dynamic equivalent translations allowing the translators to interject some of their theological understanding, thus giving us an avenue into the minds of some some Second Temple thought.

The part that has been most fascinating to me is the use of ‘the Word of the Lord,’ or ‘the Memra d’Yah,’ as a personification of YHVH working in the affairs of men.  Here is a basic article with additional pingback links in the comments.

With this fascination, I often search the Targumim in certain Torah portions to see what they yield, and this one was special.

Yeshua’s Presence is clearly visible, even without the Memra additions, as we see four significant uses of ‘the Rock,’ which Rav Sha’ul definitively connects to Yeshua in I Cor. 10:4.  Besides the ‘Rock’ references, I want to share a few ‘Memra’ occurrences as well as a few thoughts…

32:6-7  Can you indeed so requite the Name of the Word of the Lord, O foolish people, and receive the law, yet not be made wise? Is He not your Father who bought[2] you, who created you and established you?

Moshe is relating future prophecy to Israel.  Through the chapter we see many events that happened later, however there are a couple yet future events.  In the above quoted paraphrase from Targum Pseudo-Jonathan/Yonatan, we see the prophecy that Israel ‘repays’ the Word of the Lord wrongly by acting corruptly.  Continue reading “His Tender Mercies… Ha’azinu”

An update and a couple nuggets from Ki Tavo

Before sharing a couple (Ki Tavo, Deut. 26:1-29:8)  nuggets from last week’s Parsha, I wanted to give a quick update and prayer request fro friends and family who read my blog.

Several weeks ago the house we were renting was sold and we were given a 20 day notice to be out.  Due to our having livestock (dairy goats) and MAJOR construction project in the area sucking most all rentals off the market, we have been ‘homeless.’  One family from our fellowship has taken us in while we hunt housing, however, an approaching major surgery for one of them will cause us to move to stay with another dear family.  The situation has radically challenged all of us in terms of space, harmony, etc.  But, stretching is good, even if uncomfortable for the moment.

While we search for a house, we are praying several things:  Buy?  Rent?  Go mobile?  Honestly, we are open to anything, but need Abba to give us some clear direction as to HIS will.  This has been a good time of ‘soul searching’ and surrender.  Please pray with us for HIS clear direction and answer to one of several ‘fleeces.’

One of the negatives of this whole situation is that I am staying considerably farther from work for my twice a day commute, and my eldest is farther from college, meaning we both spend a lot more time in the road as well as my wife and I house searching, etc…  Therefore, I have not had time to write and at time not even had the focus to read or write, but the passion is still very much there!  My desire is to regain stability so I can better focus and rededicate to the passion of studying and sharing what I am learning.  Thanks for your prayers.

On to the parsha.

While I plan to share more deeply in another post, this first thought, here is a basic sketch that jumped off the page at me…  On several occasions in the past I have read an interesting phrase in Scripture that recently has taken a turn in meaning.  Here is a verse with the phrase, Continue reading “An update and a couple nuggets from Ki Tavo”

‘the word of the Lord came to me…’

Lately I have felt so overwhelmed by a number of things that it has been hard to sit down and write.  There are a number of articles brewing, but distractions and rabbit trails have been an impediment.  Here is one item I’ve been pondering that is entirely incomplete, but I need to get it off my plate and would value some input/insight.

A phrase caught my eye about a year ago while doing some studying in Genesis,horses_003

After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision, saying,

“Do not fear, Abram,
I am a shield to you;
[a]Your reward shall be very great.”

Abram said, “O Lord [b]God, what will You give me, since I [c]am childless, and the [d]heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” And Abram said, “[e]Since You have given no [f]offspring to me, [g]one born in my house is my heir.” Then behold, the word of the Lord came to him, saying, “This man will not be your heir; but one who will come forth from your own [h]body, he shall be your heir.” And He took him outside and said, “Now look toward the heavens, and count the stars, if you are able to count them.” And He said to him, “So shall your [i]descendants be.” Then he believed in the Lord; and He reckoned it to him as righteousness.

I had always read that phrase to mean ‘God, the Lord, speaking…,’ yet in an instant it seemed to be personified as if ‘The Word of the Lord’ was doing the speaking.  Continue reading “‘the word of the Lord came to me…’”