Parashah Studies

Nitsavim

Parashah 51: Nitsavim “you are standing”

D'varim (Deuteronomy) 29:10-30:20 Psalm 65 Yesha'yahu (Isaiah) 61:10-63:9 Yochanan John 15:1-11

This parashah is read with parashah 52 in regular years, separately in leap years according to the Jewish religious calendar. This Jewish calendar is lunar, whereas the Gregorian calendar in general use is solar. In order to synchronize the two, about seven times every nineteen years an extra month of 30 days is introduced. This is why Jewish holidays come “early” some years and “late” in other years.

Deuteronomy 29 9 (10) There is a difference in verse numbering in various Bibles. The verse and chapter numbers were added many years after the Word of God was written in order to help us read along with others, to reference a specific verse or passage, etc. There is no claim to their being uniquely inspired by the LORD. This also helps us understand why many of the parashah readings begin and end “in the middle of a chapter.” Parashahs are based on spaces in the text of the original manuscripts. 9 Today you are standing, all of you, before Adonai your God – your heads, your tribes, your leaders and your officers – all the men of Isra'el, 10 along with your little ones, your wives and your foreigners here with you in your camp, from the one who chops your wood to the one who draws your water.

• God's people have always been called to stand

◦ to stand before the LORD our God

▪ to stand for the LORD

• to stand up, to take a stand for the LORD and the things of God

• and to stand for Him, as in being an accurate representative, ambassador, and emissary

◦ to stand with the people of God

▪ regardless of background

▪ regardless of how far along we are in our individual walk with Yeshua

◦ to stand against the devil, the adversary ( הַשָּׂטָן [ha-sah-tahn] – הַ being the definite article (“the”) + satan)

▪ to stand against the schemes, tricks, and snares of satan

• Finally, grow powerful in union with the Lord, in union with His mighty strength! 11 Use all the armor and weaponry that God provides, so that you will be able to stand against the deceptive tactics of the adversary. 12 For we are not struggling against human beings, but against the rulers, authorities and cosmic powers governing this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realm. 13 So take up every piece of war equipment God provides; so that when the evil day comes, you will be able to resist; and when the battle is won, you will still be standing. 14 Therefore, stand! Have the belt of truth buckled around your waist, put on righteousness for a breastplate, 15 and wear on your feet the readiness that comes from the Good News of shalom. 16 Always carry the shield of trust, with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 And take the helmet of deliverance; along with the sword given by the Spirit, that is, the Word of God; 18 as you pray at all times, with all kinds of prayers and requests, in the Spirit, vigilantly and persistently, for all God's people. 19 And pray for me, too, that whenever I open my mouth, the words will be given to me to be bold in making known the secret of the Good News, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may speak boldly, the way I should. (Eph 6:10-20)

◦ One of “the deceptive tactics of the adversary” is “divide and conquer.” It has been used as a successful military strategy millennia.

▪ Just as there are many different types of cells in the human body, and some with very different purposes and functions, so there are many different types of “cells” within the Body of Messiah – some are very different!

▪ Rabbi Sha'ul touches on this idea in 1 Corinthians 12 leading into his description of Godly love in chapter 13.

• Whether we are a blood descendant of Isra'el or graphed in (Rom 11), male or female, leader or follower, young or old, if we have entered into the covenant of Adonai through Yeshua, we are called to stand together before the LORD our God.

• “stand” here is the Niphal (verb form) participle of נָצַב [nah-tsahv] meaning

◦ Strong's: to station, in various applications (literally or figuratively) ◦ BDB: to station oneself, to take one's stand; to stand, to be stationed; to stand, to take an upright position; to be stationed, to be appointed; deputy, prefect, appointed, deputed (substantive); to stand firm

11 The purpose is that you should enter into the covenant of Adonai your God and into His oath which Adonai your God is making with you today, 12 so that He can establish you today for Himself as a people, and so that for you He will be God – as He said to you and as He swore to your ancestors, to Avraham, Yitz'chak and Ya'akov.

• However, and from wherever the LORD has called us to Himself, “the purpose is that you should enter into the covenant of Adonai your God”

◦ “covenant” here is בְּרִית [beh-riyt] meaning ▪ Strong's: a compact: -confederacy, [con-] feder [-ate], covenant, league ▪ BDB: covenant, alliance, pledge • between men: a treaty, an alliance, a league (man to man); a constitution, an ordinance (monarch to subjects); an agreement, a pledge (man to man); an alliance (used of friendship); an alliance (used of marriage) • between God and man: an alliance (used of friendship); a covenant (divine ordinance with signs or pledges)

▪ The LORD established His covenant • with Noah (Gen 6, 9) • with Abraham (Gen 15, 17) • with Isaac (Gen 17) • with Jacob (Ex 2, 6) • with the people of Israel (Ex 19) which included a mixed multitude; those who joined themselves to Israel (see Ex 12:38) • with David (2 Sam 23) • with all who were thirsty, listened diligently, inclined their ear, and came near to Him (Isa 55)

• and in Jeremiah 31 the LORD says, “Here, the days are coming,” says Adonai, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Isra'el and with the house of Y'hudah. 32 It will not be like the covenant I made with their fathers on the day I took them by their hand and brought them out of the land of Egypt; because they, for their part, violated My covenant, even though I, for My part, was a husband to them,” says Adonai. 33 For this is the covenant I will make with the house of Isra'el after those days,” says Adonai: “I will put my Torah within them and write it on their hearts; I will be their God, and they will be My people.”

◦ The term “new covenant” is found nowhere else in the Tanakh. The word “new” here is חֲדָשָׁה [khah-dah-shah], the feminine singular form of חָדָשׁ [khah-dahsh] which comes from חָדַשׁ [also khah-dahsh, but in the second syllable the vowel sound is slightly shorter]. ▪ חָדַשׁ means • Strong's: to be new; causatively, to rebuild • BDB: to be new, to renew, to repair ▪ חָדָשׁ means • Strong's: new • BDB: new, a new thing, fresh ◦ the Ruach HaKodesh further clarifies this idea through the words of Yeshua during His last earthly Pesach with His talmadim: He did the same with the cup after the meal, saying, “This cup is the New Covenant, ratified by My blood, which is being poured out for you.” (Luke 22:20) ▪ the word “new” here that the Ruach HaKodesh had Luke use comes from καινός in the original Greek of this book, meaning: ▪ Strong's: new (especially in freshness; while νέος [neh-os] is properly so with respect to age) ▪ Thayer's: new – as respects form; recently made, fresh, recent, unused, unworn – as respects substance; of a new kind; unprecedented, novel, uncommon, unheard of ◦ By and through the blood sacrifice of Yeshua, the LORD did something new, something unprecedented. Yeshua fulfilled and completed the Law on our behalf, because it is humanly impossible to perfectly fulfill every aspect of the Law all the time, which is God's standard.

▪ Under the old covenants people of faith found life by believing in the one true God and obeying His commandments: • You are to observe My laws and rulings; if a person does them, he will have life through them; I am Adonai (Lev 18:5) • For the goal at which the Torah aims is the Messiah, Who offers righteousness to everyone who trusts. 5 Moshe writes about the righteousness grounded in the Torah that “the person who does these things will attain life through them” (Rom 10:4-5)

▪ Under this New Covenant, because of all Yeshua accomplished, we enter into a saving covenant relationship with the LORD through Him, and by faith become “seed of Avraham and heirs according to the promise” (Gal 3:29) • Yeshua was Adonai's perfect sacrifice (Heb 9:14) • He is the Mediator of the New Covenant (Heb 9:15)

• Thus, on the one hand, the earlier rule is set aside because of its weakness and inefficacy 19 (for the Torah did not bring anything to the goal); and, on the other hand, a hope of something better is introduced, through which we are drawing near to God. 20 What is more, God swore an oath. For no oath was sworn in connection with those who become cohanim now; 21 but Yeshua became a cohen by the oath which God swore when He said to Him, “Adonai has sworn and will not change His mind, 'You are a cohen forever.'” 22 Also this shows how much better is the covenant of which Yeshua has become guarantor. (Heb 7:18-22, emphasis original)

• But now the work Yeshua has been given to do is far superior to theirs, just as the covenant He mediates is better. For this covenant has been given as Torah on the basis of better promises. 7 Indeed, if the first covenant had not given ground for faultfinding, there would have been no need for a second one. 8 For God does find fault with the people when He says, “'See! The days are coming,' says Adonai, 'when I will establish over the house of Isra'el and over the house of Y'hudah a new covenant. 9 It will not be like the covenant which I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by their hand and led them forth out of the land of Egypt; because they, for their part did not remain faithful to My covenant; so I, for My part, stopped concerning Myself with them,' says Adonai. 10 'For this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Isra'el after those days,' says Adonai: 'I will put My Torah in their minds and write it on their hearts; I will be their God, and they will be My people. 11 None of them will teach his fellow-citizen or his brother, saying, “Know Adonai!” For all will know Me, from the least of them to the greatest, 12 Because I will be merciful toward their wickednesses and remember their sins no more.'” 13 By using the term, “new,” He has made the first covenant “old”; and something being made old, something in the process of aging, is on its way to vanishing altogether. (Heb 8:6-13, emphasis original) 13 But I am not making this covenant and this oath only with you. 14 Rather, I am making it both with him who is standing here with us today before Adonai our God and also with him who is not here with us today. • “also with him who is not here with us today” ◦ Rashi, Nachmanides: i.e. future generations (The Soncino Chumash, p 1138)

◦ Sforno: therefore you have the duty to inform your children that the possession of the land is contingent upon obedience to the covenant (ibid.)

◦ Keil and Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament This covenant Moses made not only with those who are present, but with all whether present or not; for is was to embrace not only those who were living then, but their descendants also, to become a covenant of blessing for all nations (cf Acts 2:39, and the intercession of Christ in John 17:20).

15 For you know how we lived in the land of Egypt and how we came directly through the nations you passed through; 16 and you saw their detestable things and their idols of wood, stone, silver and gold that they had with them. 17 So let there not be among you a man, woman, family or tribe whose heart turns away today from Adonai our God to go and serve the gods of those nations. Let there not be among you a root bearing such bitter poison and wormwood.

• turning away from the LORD = equals = serving other gods, and allows a root to grow that bears fruit, but the end result is not good

◦ bitter poison: רֹאשׁ [rōsh] = head, top, summit, leader; “a poisonous plant, probably the poppy (from its conspicuous head); generally poison (even of serpents)” [Strong's]; also translated as “gall,” “bitter,” “hemlock,” poison,” and “venom”

◦ wormwood: לַעֲנָה [la-a-nah] = wormwood; bitterness (metaphorical) ▪ wormwood: 1) a woody shrub with a bitter aromatic taste, used, esp. formally, as an ingredient of vermouth and absinth and in medicine; 2) a state or source of bitterness or grief [from computer onboard dictionary]

• anything that is not of God, is by default of the flesh, the world, or satan: any of which can easily lead us: in other words, become a god in our lives • we really need to know the LORD; we need to have a personal, vital, saving relationship with HaShem through Yeshua Mashiach, and be students of His Word ◦ not taking anyone's word for what Scripture says – check it out for yourself ▪ then, if there is something you don't understand or don't see the same way • take your Bible with you and talk with rabbi, pastor, or whoever was teaching ◦ understanding that with some things there can be different opinions and that's okay ◦ but, if it's a matter of clear Scriptural teaching, examining the context, and seeking the counsel of the whole Word of God, then it's a matter of safety for everyone involved

▪ we all need to be “biblically literate” and comfortable with the whole Word of God • otherwise our theology and our lives will be out of balance, and • it is too easy for things to be taken out of context

◦ always remember, the first three rules of Bible study are ▪ context, ▪ Context, and ▪ CONTEXT

◦ I have long heard that “text without context is pretext,” or ◦ as a pastor friend put it, if you take the “text” out of “context” what you're left with is a “con”!

18 If there is such a person, when he hears the words of this curse, he will bless himself secretly, saying to himself, 'I will be all right, even though I will stubbornly keep doing whatever I feel like doing; so that I, although “dry,” [sinful,] will be added to the “watered” [righteous].' 19 But Adonai will not forgive him. Rather, the anger and jealously of Adonai will blaze up against that person. Every curse written in this book will be upon him. Adonai will blot out his name from under heaven. 20 Adonai will single him out from all the tribes of Isra'el to experience what is bad in all the curses of the covenant written in this book of the Torah.

• since the garden of Eden human nature has wanted the good things of God “even though I will stubbornly keep doing whatever I feel like doing” • how many think “it won't happen to me” (in this case the curses), while at the same time setting themselves up for judgement • the LORD of all, Who holds our very atoms together, knows how to separate out and deal with every individual: good and bad • the Sovereign King and Master of All has determined that certain things will be “totally dedicated”: ◦ some to Him such as the gold, silver, bronze, and iron from Jericho, and the service of the Levites and priests ◦ some to total destruction such as the demonic gods of the Canaanites and all their artifacts – and therefore, their practices ▪ if we choose to hold on to something destined for destruction, we should not be surprised if we face destruction along with it

21 When the next generation, your children who will grow up after you, and the foreigner who arrives from a distant land, see the plagues of that land and the diseases with which Adonai has made it sick, 22 and that the whole land has become burning sulfur and salt, that it isn't being sown or bearing crops or even producing grass – like the overthrow of S'dom, 'Amora, Admah and Tzvoyim, which Adonai overthrew in His furious anger – 23 then all the nations will ask, 'Why did Adonai do this to this land? What is the meaning of such frenzied, furious anger?' 24 People will answer, 'It's because they abandoned the covenant of Adonai, the God of their fathers, which he made with them when he brought them out of the land of Egypt. 25 They went and served other gods, prostrating themselves before them, gods they had not known and which he had not assigned them.'

• it is the people who leave, abandon, and forsake the LORD and his covenant, not the other way around, as we read throughout Scripture: HaShem is faithful. E.g.: ◦ Deut. 31:6 Be strong, be bold, don't be afraid or frightened of them, for Adonai your God is going with you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you. ◦ Deut. 31:8 But Adonai – it is He who will go ahead of you. He will be with you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you, so don't be afraid or downhearted. ◦ Josh. 1:5 No one will be able to withstand you as long as you live. Just as I was with Moshe, so I will be with you. I will neither fail you nor abandon you. ◦ Heb. 13:5 Keep your lives free from the love of money; and be satisfied with what you have; for God Himself has said, “I will never fail you or abandon you.” 6 Therefore, we say with confidence, “Adonai is my helper; I will not be afraid – what can a human being do to me?” 26 For this reason, the anger of Adonai blazed up against this land and brought upon it every curse written in this book; 27 and Adonai, in anger, fury and incensed with indignation, uprooted them from their land and threw them out into another land – as it is today. • Don't think to yourself, after your God has pushed them out ahead of you, 'It is to reward my righteousness that Adonai has brought me in to take possession of this land.' No, it is because these nations have been so wicked that Adonai is driving them out ahead of you. 5 It is not because of your righteousness, or because your heart is so upright, that you go in to take possession of their land; but to punish the wickedness of these nations that Adonai your God is driving them out ahead of you, and also to confirm the word with Adonai swore to your ancestors, Avraham, Yitz'chak and Ya'akov. 6 Therefore, understand that it is not for your righteousness that Adonai your God is giving you this good land to possess. (Deut 9:4-6) 28 Things which are hidden belong to Adonai our God. But the things that have been revealed belong to us and our children forever, so that we can observe all the words of this Torah. • there are some things that man will never understand; they belong to the LORD • the things that God has revealed and allowed mankind to understand, now “belong” to us • the phrase “so that we can observe” in this verse is from the one Hebrew word: לַעֲשׂוֹת ◦ לַ is a prefix meaning “to the” or “for the ◦ עֲשׂוֹת is the infinitive (or “-ing”) form of עָשָׂה which means “to do,” “to fashion,” “to accomplish,” “to make” => “doing,” “fashioning,” “accomplishing,” “making” ▪ an infinitive is a word that indicates action without a time frame: without end (or as Buzz Lightyear from Toy Story might say, it goes “to infinity, and beyond!”) ▪ understanding this, we could render this sentence: “But the things that have been revealed belong to us and our children forever, for the on-going doing / accomplishing of all the words of this Torah.” • Good things as read in Ephesians 2:8-10: For you have been delivered [saved] by grace through [faith] trusting , and even this is not your accomplishment but God's gift. 9 You were not delivered by your own actions; therefore no one should boast. 10 For we are of God's making, created in union with the Messiah Yeshua for a life of good actions already prepared by God for us to do [them]. (Words in red bold italics are strongly emphatic in the original Greek of the New Covenant writings. See Discovery Bible New Testament.) Deuteronomy 30 (slightly shortened) 1 When the time arrives that all these things have come upon you, both the blessing and the curse which I have presented to you; and you are there among the nations to which Adonai your God has driven you; then, at last, you will start thinking about what has happened to you; • “When” not “if” ◦ The L-RD knows us and our bent toward evil, but still loves us enough to warn us and provide us a way back if we will come to our senses (cf Lk 15:11ff) 2 and you will return to Adonai your God and pay attention to what He has said, which will be exactly what I am ordering you to do today – you and your children, with all your heart and all your being. • “pay attention to” here comes from the Hebrew שָׁמַע [shah-mah] meaning ◦ Strong's: to hear intelligently (often with implication of attention, obedience, etc.; causatively, to tell, etc.) ◦ BDB: to hear, to listen to, to obey 3 At that point the LORD will reverse your exile and show you mercy; He will return and gather you from all the peoples to which Adonai your God scattered you. 4 If one of yours was scattered to the far end of the sky, Adonai your God will gather you even from there; He will go there and get you. • The L-RD knows where we are spiritually, mentally, emotionally, physically, and He wills to bring us back to Himself: we need only be willing. • Adonai, You have probed me, and You know me. 2 You know when I sit and when I stand up, You discern my inclinations from afar, 3 You scrutinize my daily activities. You are so familiar with all my ways 4 that before I speak even a word, Adonai, you know all about it already. 5 You have hemmed me in both behind and in front and laid Your hand on me. 6 Such wonderful knowledge is beyond me, far too high for me to reach. 7 Where can I go to escape Your Spirit? Where can I flee from Your presence? 8 If I climb up to heaven, You are there; if I lie down in Sh'ol, You are there. 9 If I fly away with the wings of the dawn and land beyond the sea, 10 even there Your hand would lead me, Your right hand would hold me fast. 11 If I say, “Let darkness surround me, let the light around me be night,” 12 even darkness like this is not too dark for You; rather, night is as clear as day, darkness and light are the same. (Ps 139:1-12) 5 Adonai your God will bring you back into the land your ancestors possessed, and you will possess it; He will make you prosper there, and you will become more numerous than your ancestors. • In His foreknowledge G-d knew the Israelites would rebel and He would have to discipline them; but He would draw them back to the Land He had given them. 6 Then Adonai your God will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your children, so that you will love Adonai your God with all your heart and all your being, and thus you will live. ◦ and I will give them unity of heart. “I will put a new spirit among you.” I will remove from their bodies the hearts of stone and give them hearts of flesh; 20 so that they will live by My regulations, obey My rulings and act by them. Then they will be My people, and I will be their God. 21 But as for those whose hearts go after the heart of their loathsome things and disgusting practices, I will bring [the consequences of] their ways on their own heads,' says Adonai ELOHIM.” (Ezek 11:20) ◦ I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit inside you; I will take the stony heart out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 I will put My Spirit inside you and cause you to live by My laws, respect My rulings and obey them. (Ezek 36:26-27) 7 Adonai your God will put all these curses on your enemies, on those who hated and persecuted you; • Those who had cursed will be cursed. ◦ G-d's laws apply to the godly and the ungodly alike; in this case the law of sowing and reaping. ▪ Don't delude yourselves: no one makes a fool of God! A person reaps what he sows. 8 Those who keep sowing in the field of their old nature, in order to meet its demands, will eventually reap ruin; but those who keep sowing in the field of the Spirit will reap from the Spirit everlasting life. 9 So let us not grow weary of doing what is good; for if we don't give up, we will in due time reap the harvest. 10 Therefore, as the opportunity arises, let us do what is good to everyone, and especially to the family of those who are trustingly faithful. (Gal 6:7-10) 8 but you will return and pay attention to what Adonai says and obey all His mitzvot which I am giving you today. 9 Then Adonai your God will give you more than enough in everything you set out to do – the fruit of your body, the fruit of your livestock, and the fruit of your land will all do well; for Adonai will once again rejoice to see you do well, just as He rejoiced in your ancestors. 10 However, all this will happen only if you pay attention to what Adonai your God says, so that you obey His mitzvot and regulations which are written in this book of the Torah, if you turn to Adonai your God with all your heart and all your being. • Forgiveness and blessings come with obedience. • The way we can be sure we know Him is if we are obeying His commands. 4 Anyone who says, “I know Him,” but isn't obeying His commands is a liar – the truth is not in him. 5 But if someone keeps doing what He says, then truly love for God has been brought it its goal in him. This is how we are sure that we are united with Him. 6 A person who claims to be continuing in union with Him ought to conduct his life the way He did. (1 John 2:3-6) 11 For this mitzvah is not too hard for you, it is not beyond your reach. 12 It isn't in the sky, so you need to ask, 'Who will go up into the sky for us, bring it to us and make us hear it, so that we can obey it?' • Following the tradition of the sages of looking at the letters, Rabbi Roi shared this thought: “Who shall go up for us to heaven” in Hebrew is מִי יַעֲלֶה־ לָּנוּ הַשָּׁמַיְמָה ◦ the LORD was just talking about circumcised hearts and then here the question is raised, “Who shall go up for us to heaven?” Taking the first letter of each of these words in the Hebrew we find the word מִילָה (miy-lah = circumcision) [Hebrew reads right-to-left.] ▪ this could indicate that the answer comes to those who cut away the things of the world, the things of the flesh, and allow the LORD to circumcise their hearts ▪ looking at this same question in the Hebrew, the answer that is returned to us, taking the last letter of each word, is that as we go through God's מִילָה , the One Who will ascend for us, reveal His Word to us, and help us walk in His ways is יהוה Himself! • In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 All things came to be through Him, and without Him nothing made had being. 4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of mankind. … 14 The Word became a human being and lived with us, and we saw His Sk'khinah, the Sk'khinah of the Father's only Son, full of grace and truth. (John 1:1-4, 14) 13 Likewise, it isn't beyond the sea, so that you need to ask, 'Who will cross the sea for us, bring it to us and make us hear it, so that we can obey it?' 14 On the contrary, the word is very close to you – in your mouth, even in your heart; therefore, you can do it! • Following the L-RD and obeying His Word can seem difficult at times as the draw of the world, satan and the flesh can be strong. • But these influences have nothing on the Holy Spirit, so it is by His Spirit that we overcome and are able to walk in the ways of the L-RD. 15 Look! I am presenting you today with, on the one hand, life and good; and on the other, death and evil – 16 in that I am ordering you today to love Adonai your God, to follow His ways, and to obey His mitzvot, regulations and rulings; for if you do, you will live and increase your numbers; and Adonai your God will bless you in the land you are entering in order to take possession of it. 17 But if your heart turns away, if you refuse to listen, if your are drawn away to prostrate yourselves before other gods and serve them; 18 I am announcing to you today that you will certainly perish; you will not live long in the land you are crossing the Yarden to enter and possess. • The choice should be obvious, but too often we get short-sighted and allow ourselves to be distracted. 19 I call on heaven and earth to witness against you today that I have presented you with life and death, the blessing and the curse. Therefore, choose life, so that you will live, you and your descendants, 20 loving Adonai your God, paying attention to what He says and clinging to Him – for that is the purpose of your life! On this depends the length of time you will live in the land Adonai swore He would give to your ancestors Avraham, Yitz'chak and Ya'akov. • Heaven and earth will be able to witness against us if we do not follow all of the L-RD's commandments. ◦ Thankfully, in Messiah, there is hope on this account too: ▪ For, look! I create new heavens and a new earth; past things will not be remembered, they will no more come to mind. (Isa 65:17) ▪ For just as the new heavens and the new earth that I am making will continue in My presence, says Adonai, so will your descendants and your name continue. (Isa 66:22) ▪ But we, following along with His promise, wait for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness will be at home (2 Pet 3:13) ▪ Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had passed away, and the sea was no longer there. (Rev 21:1) • The old “witnesses” (heaven and earth) had “passed away” and can no longer testify against us.

• Individually and corporately, how well we try to follow G-d's way, G-d's Word, will determine “the length of time you will live in the land” He gives us.

The Haf-ta-RAH for Ni-tza-vim is Yesha-yahu (Isaiah) 61:10 to 63:9 As every parashah includes readings from the Navi'im (prophets) we understand that this was the Shabbat that Yeshua was in the synagogue in Nazareth, because this was the parashah being read that day. The sages tell us that the first nine verses of Isaiah 61 are reserved for the Messiah, and so normally the public reading would begin with verse ten. In Luke 4, however, Yeshua begins reading from verse one: Yeshua returned to the Galil in the power of the Spirit, and reports about Him spread throughout the countryside. 15 He taught in their synagogues, and everyone respected Him. 16 Now when He went to Natzeret, where He had been brought up, on Shabbat He went to the synagogue as usual. He stood up to read, 17 and He was given the scroll of the prophet Yesha'yahu. Unrolling the scroll, He found the place where it was written, 18 “The Spirit of Adonai is upon Me; therefore He has anointed Me to announce Good News to the poor; He has sent Me to proclaim freedom for the imprisoned and renewed sight for the blind, to release those who have been crushed, 19 to proclaim a year of the favor of Adonai.” [Isa 61:1-2a, 58:6b] 20 After closing the scroll and returning it to the shammash, He sat down; and the eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fixed on Him. 21 He started to speak to them: “Today, as you heard it read, this passage of the Tanakh was fulfilled. (Luke 4:14-21, red bold words are emphatic in the original) • “Today” was the Shabbat before Rosh HaShana. • As Yeshua is the Word (John 1), the word was very close to them, as Deut 30:14 says. One of the suggested B'rit HaDashah readings for this parashah is Romans 9:30-10:13 [bold red words are emphatic in the original; bold red italicized words are strongly emphatic] Romans 10 Brothers, my heart's deepest desire and my prayer to God for Isra'el is for their salvation; 2 for I can testify to their zeal for God. But it is not based on correct understanding; 3 for, since they are unaware of God's way of making people righteous and instead seek to set up their own, they have not submitted themselves to God's way of making people righteous. 4 For the goal at which the Torah aims is the Messiah, who offers righteousness to everyone who trusts. 5 For Moshe writes about the righteousness grounded in the Torah that the person who does these things will attain life through them. [Lev. 18:5] 6 Moreover, the righteousness grounded in trusting says: “Do not say in your heart, 'Who will ascend to heaven?'” – that is, to bring the Messiah down – 7 or, “'Who will descent into Sh'ol?'” – that is, to bring the Messiah up from the dead. 8 What, then, does it say? “The word is near you, in you mouth and in your heart.” [Deut. 30:11-14] – that is, the word about trust which we proclaim, namely, 9 that if you acknowledge publicly with your mouth that Yeshua is Lord and trust in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be delivered. 10 For with the heart one goes on trusting and thus continues toward righteousness, while with the mouth one keeps on making public acknowledgement and thus continues toward deliverance. 11 For the passage quoted says that everyone who rests his trust on him will not be humiliated. [Isa. 28:16] 12 That means that there is no difference between Jew and Gentile – Adonai is the same for everyone, rich toward everyone who calls on him, 13 since everyone who calls on the name of Adonai will be delivered. [Joel 3:5] • Many claim that the “Old” Testament as a whole is old, done away with, obsolete. How many of them study their “New” Testament that quotes freely from and upholds the validity, authority, and timelessness of God's whole Word? ◦ This brings the validity, authority, and timelessness of the Tanakh (the Older Covenant) into the era / timeframe / period of the B'rit Hadashah (the New Covenant). This should not be surprising. The LORD is, after all, ▪ eternal & immutable (not bound by time, unchanging, and unchangeable) [cf Ex. 3:14; Neh. 9:5; Ps 90:2, 102:24f, 119:142; Isa. 9:6, 40:8, 28; Mal. 3:6; Heb. 1:10, 13:8; Jm. 1:17; Rev. 15:7] ▪ omniscient (all knowing) [cf Job 37:16; Ps 139:2-4, 147:5; 1 Jn. 3:30] ▪ omnipotent (all powerful) [cf Gen. 1:1-3; Job 42:2; Nah. 1:3f; Rev. 4:8] ▪ omnipresent (everywhere present) [cf Deut. 4:39; Ps 139:7f; Jer. 23:23-24] • Attributes of every creation hint at attributes resident in the creator, and attributes of any creator will be reflected in their creation. How much more so with God and His Word?! ◦ Just from Ps 19:7-11 we can see a number of attributes shared by the LORD and His Word: ▪ vs 7 perfect, soul-restoring, sure, and able to make even the simple wise ▪ vs 8 right, causing our heart to rejoice, pure, and enlightening ▪ vs 9 clean, everlasting, true, and righteous ▪ vs 10 more desirable than much fine gold, sweeter than honey ▪ vs 11 they warn us, turning us from harm, and very rewarding to follow Deuteronomy 30 15f God sets before us the choices of • loving and following Him, which lead to life, good, increase, and blessing; or • not, which lead to the opposites … but the choice is ours. As the philosopher wrote: Watch your thoughts; they become words. Watch your words; they become actions. Watch your actions; they become habit. Watch your habits; they become character. Watch your character; it becomes your destiny. Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu • life is a series of choices, big and small, that add up over a lifetime: and God honors our choice Pastor / author Max Lucado writes: How could a loving God send people to hell? That’s a commonly asked question. The question itself reveals a couple of misconceptions. First, God does not send people to hell. He simply honors their choice. Hell is the ultimate expression of God’s high regard for the dignity of man. He has never forced us to choose him, even when that means we would choose hell…. No, God does not “send” people to hell. Nor does he send people to hell. That is the second misconception. The word “people” is neutral, implying innocence. Nowhere does Scripture teach that innocent people are condemned. People do not go to hell. Sinners do. The rebellious do. The self-centered do. So how could a loving God send people to hell? He doesn’t. He simply honors the choice of sinners. Max Lucado, When Christ Comes, (Nashville: Word, 1999) cited in Grace For The Moment; Inspirational Thoughts for Each Day of the Year, (Nashville: J. Countryman, Nelson, 2000,) 182. 19 I call on heaven and earth to witness against you today that I have presented you with life and death, the blessing and the curse. Therefore, choose life, so that you will live, you and your descendants, 20 loving Adonai your God, paying attention to what he says and clinging to him – for that is the purpose of your life! On this depends the length of time you will live in the land Adonai swore he would give to your ancestors Avraham, Yitz'chak and Ya'akov. • Choose life, for that is the purpose of your life! • The choices we make determine how long we will live in the blessings of God Torah service readings for Nitzavim, Deuteronomy 29:9 to 30:20 Nitzavim (נִצָּבִים [ni-tzah-vim]) means, “standing.” In Nitzavim we read of  Moshe telling the people not to worship idols and that God would punish them for idolatry.  The things God has revealed belong to those who follow Him.  When the people repent, God will bring them back to their land and God will circumcise their hearts.  The law is not too hard for them.  They should choose life and cling to God; that is their purpose. In Hebrew we will read Deuteronomy 29:13-14 וְלֹא אִתְּכֶם לְבַדְּכֶם אָנֹכִי כֹּרֵת אֶת־ הַבְּרִית covenant do cut I alone with you And not הַזֹּאת וְאֶת־ הָאָלָה הַזֹּאת׃ this oath and this כִּי אֶת־ אֲשֶׁר יֶשְׁנוֹ פֹּה עִמָּנוּ עֹמֵד הַיּוֹם לִפְנֵי before today stand with us here that are that but יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵינוּ וְאֵת אֲשֶׁר אֵינֶנּוּ פֹּה עִמָּנוּ הַיּוֹם today with us here are not that and with our God Adonai In English we will read Deuteronomy 29:9-14 (CJB) 9(10) Today you are standing, all of you, before Adonai your God – your heads, your tribes, your leaders and your officers – all the men of Isra'el, 10(11) along with your little ones, your wives and your foreigners here with you in your camp, from the one who chops your wood to the one who draws your water. 11(12) The purpose is that you should enter into the covenant of Adonai your God and into His oath which Adonai your God is making with you today, 12(13) so that He can establish you today for Himself as a people, and so that for you He will be God – as He said to you and as He swore to your ancestors, to Avraham, Yitz'chakk and Ya'akov. 13(14) But I am not making this covenant and this oath only with you. 14(15) Rather, I am making it both with him who is standing here with us today before Adonai our God and also with him who is not here with us today. The Haf-ta-RAH for Nitzavim is Isaiah 61:10 to 63:9 We will read Isaiah 62:1-7 For Tziyon's sake I will not be silent, for Yerushalayim's sake I will not rest, until her vindication shines out brightly and her salvation like a blazing torch. 2 The nations will see your vindication and all kings your glory. Then you will be called by a new name which Adonai Himself will pronounce. 3 You will be a glorious crown in the hand of Adonai, a royal diadem held by your God. 4 You will no longer be spoken of as 'Azuvah [Abandoned] or your land be spoken of as Sh'mamah [Desolate]; rather, you will be called Heftzi-Vah [My Delight Is In Her] and your land Be'ulah [Married]. For Adonai delights in you, and your land will be married – 5 as a young man marries a young woman, your sons will marry you; as a bridegroom rejoices over the bride, your God will rejoice over you. 6 I have posted watchmen on your walls, Yerushalayim; they will never fall silent, neither by day nor by night. You who call on Adonai, give yourselves no rest; 7 and give Him no rest till He restores Yerushalayim and makes it a praise on earth. One of the suggested B'rit HaDashah readings for this parashah is Romans 9:30-10:13 We will read Romans 10:1-13 [red bold = emphatic; red bold italics = strongly emphatic in original] Brother, my heart's deepest desire and my prayer to God for Isra'el is for their salvation; 2 for I can testify to their zeal for God. But it is not based on correct understanding; 3 for, since they are unaware of God's way of making people righteous and instead seek to set up their own, they have not submitted themselves to God's way of making people righteous. 4 For the goal at which the Torah aims is the Messiah, Who offers righteousness to everyone who trusts. 5 For Moshe writes about the righteousness grounded in the Torah that “the person who does these things will attain life through them.” 6 Moreover, the righteousness grounded in trusting [in faith] says: “Do not say in your heart, 'Who will ascend to heaven?'” – that is, to bring the Messiah down – 7 or, “Who will descend into Sh'ol?” – that is, to bring the Messiah up from the dead. 8 What, then, does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart.” – that is, the word about trust which we proclaim, namely, 9 that if you acknowledge publicly with your mouth that Yeshua is Lord and trust in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be delivered. 10 For with the heart one goes on trusting and thus continues toward righteousness, while with the mouth one keeps on making public acknowledgement and thus continues toward deliverance. 11 For the passage quoted says that everyone who rests his trust on Him will not be humiliated. 12 That means that there is no difference between Jew and Gentile – Adonai is the same for everyone, rich toward everyone who calls on Him, 13 since everyone who calls on the name of Adonai will be delivered. Blessing after the B'rit Hadashah reading: Blessed are You, LORD our God, King of the universe (/ eternity), Who gave to us the Word of Truth and planted everlasting life in our midst. Blessed are You, LORD, Giver of the New Covenant.

by Messianic Teacher Dr. Daniel Boley

Parashah Schedule

To view the current week's reading, view the schedule.

What's a Parashah?

Parashah is a Hebrew word that means portion. 

Synagogues around the world read the same parashah each Shabbat. The Torah is divided into 54 weekly portions so that the whole Torah is read annually. Selections from the Haftarah (Prophets) are also read each week, and in Messianic congregations, selections from the Brit Chadashah (New Testament) are included. Holiday selections are also listed for the Feast Days.

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