(Exodus 21:1-24:18) Week 18
MISHPATIM: Rules or Ordinances (MISHPATIM Lists 53 of the 613 Torah rulings)
Civil law, criminal law, ritual law, financial law, family law!
BEIN ADAM L’CHAVERO: Laws between man and his fellow man
SHAPHAT: To Judge
EVED: Slave, referring to an indentured Servant
NEFESH TAHAT NEFESH: ‘Life for a Life’ interpreted to mean the repayment of a financial loss caused by: attack, loss of revenue, loss of property, or loss of life.
GER: Foreigner or Non-Jew (Jethro from the last Parashah, was honored as Ger-Tzadik)
PIDYON HA’BEN: Redemption of the First-Born son, with a payment of the silver Temple shekels
TISHMOR: To keep or scrupulously observe, as with a military Soldier guarding his post
MO’ED: A determined or set aside time, describing a holy rendezvous set apart by Adonai, so we may draw near to Him
SHEMA: Hear and Obey!
SHEMITTAH: The 7-Year Cycle of resting the land and the farm animals, according to the command of Adonai.
The land lays FALLOW; the farm animals are not YOKED, but allowed to rest with the land on the 7th year, after six years of producing! This mirrors the Sabbath. (Shabbat) The Shabbat mirrors Creation!
Adonai ceased from creating after six days, and rested on the seventh day. This Shemittah rest produces trust in the Torah observant land owners. The land lays fallow, and what springs up voluntarily from the ground is for the poor to glean from, which helps them ascend out of poverty! The farm animals are not yoked for service or work, but allowed to run free, graze the land, and cease from producing for the land owner.
The SHEMITTAH rest brings beauty and rejuvenation to God’s creation, and those created in His image!
The Three Festival Pilgrimages called the MO’EDIM, established by Adonai are:
- Passover & The Feast of the Unleavened Bread: Lasts 8 days (Month of Nisan, the first month of the Hebrew Spiritual Calendar)
- Pentecost, The Feast of First-fruits (Month of Sivan)
- Sukkot, The Feast of Tabernacles (Month of Tishri)
THE BOOK OF THE COVENANT:
After the giving of the 10 Words or Mitzvot the Lord promised Moses that His angel (The pre-incarnate Christ) would guard and protect Israel until they arrived in the land of Canaan, under the condition that Israel would obey the voice of His Angel. Yeshua ha Mashiach would protect and claim the victory over all the enemies of the Nation of Israel, if they were obedient. Moses wrote in a special book called, The Book of the Covenant, all the words of the Lord and His Mitzvot and how the people responded, with this exclamation…
“All the words which the Lord has said we will do!”
SEFER TORAH: The Torah Scrolls
TORAH SHE-BEKHTAV: The Written Torah; the first FIVE books of Moses (Pentateuch is the Greek translation) taken from the Torah Scrolls
TORAH SHEB’AL PEH: The Oral Torah, or Word of Mouth Learning of Torah. God gave the Oral law first, to Moses. Moses responded by repeating everything orally to the people as commanded, but also writing everything down as a scribe, in The Book of the Covenant.
THE TALMUD: The original Oral Torah was written down in approximately 200 AD and is 50 times the size of the Written Torah. Torah she-bikhtav includes Rabbinical Commentary, called GEMARA.
The Mishnah has two types of literature:
- Halakha: Legal literature from the word halakhot, meaning to walk. It interprets the written Torah, seeking evidence in all facets of law.
- Aggadah: Consists of wise sayings or interpretations of the sages, including ancient parables, stories, ethical statements and homilies.
As we read through these 50+ laws or rulings from God, given by Moses to the nation, we will have questions surrounding ancient civil practices which we find barbaric today; such as indentured servitude and the enslavement of weaker nations.
The Creator’s appearance intersected humanity and history, exactly where they were on His blueprint, in order to unveil Himself to a lost world. The outworking of His revelation is still taking place moment by moment, today!
The Hebrew nation had been enslaved for 430 years and were likely to enslave their own nationals had they not been interrupted and pulled out of Egypt by Adonai! These were barbaric times of sinful cultural practices, polytheistic worship (many manmade gods) and the cruel domination of weaker nations by stronger ones.
The laws given to Moses by Adonai during this time in history were aimed, launched, and released into the heart of the Hebrew Nation, exactly where they were, on the blueprint continuum. The entirety of historical civilization has been an abomination, or a profane attempt at life in the light of God’s perfect holiness! We all have fallen short of the glory of God!
Adonai’s rulings or Mitzvot were like boundary fences, and judgements of truth, pertaining to mankind’s response to God, and of man’s response and treatment of other humans. The laws we have in our courts today began with the revelation at Mt. Sinai, from the Creator and His ‘way to go’ so that all would go well with the people!
Torah truth illuminates this thought provoking sentence: “Without the law there is NO trespass”.
Adonai saved an enslaved, barbaric people who were the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to become His own adopted ‘first born son’. Adonai’s plan for His new nation was to legally adopt them through a binding Covenant.
The Nation of Israel was chosen to inherit the King’s Kingdom. This new nation had to be introduced their new King Adonai, and to learn of His moral and ethical code for His Kingdom people!
There were no clear-cut laws before Mt. Sinai. If we consider each one and its impact upon society at large, we will find:
- Protection of vulnerable, disenfranchised people and nations (Guard Life!)
- Protection of personal property, boundaries for land and water rights, honoring the rights of others (Respect others!)
- New laws instituted for indentured servants, ensuring noble lives of service, until redemption into freedom was earned!
- The protection of personal free choice, as it pertained to living humbly and justly, within the boundaries of God’s law.
Questions arise related to this historical time and place during the Exodus of the Nation of Israel. Look with Ayin Tovah or Good Eyes, into the progressive state of bondage and slavery, versus the progressive state of gaining personal freedom through Torah instruction! The Torah of Adonai propelled the advancement of slavery into freedom, under the covering of the new instruction from the Creator.
SIN IS PROGRESSIVE! SANCTIFICATION IS PROGRESSIVE!
HAFTARAH (Old Covenant) READING: Jeremiah 34:8-22, 33:22-26
“When I brought your ancestors out of the land of Egypt, where they lived as slaves, I made this covenant with them: ‘At the end of seven years every one of you is to set free his brother Hebrew who has been sold to you and has served you six years. You are to let him go free from you.’ But your ancestors did not listen to me or pay any attention. Now you repented, and did what is right from my viewpoint when each of you proclaimed freedom to his fellow; and you made a covenant before me in the house bearing my name. But then you changed our minds. You profaned my name when each of you took back his male and female slaves.”
*I will make you an object of horror to all the kingdoms on earth
*I will proclaim you a freedom for sword, plague, and famine
*I will hand them over to their enemies and those who seek their lives
*Their corpses will become food for birds in the air and wild animals
*I will give the order (to Bavel) to return to this city, capture it, and burn it to the ground
*I will make the cities of Judah desolate and uninhabited
In Jeremiah, admonitions from Adonai are given to Israel, who had become slave owners of their own nationals. This was rebellion against God’s Covenantal Laws.
We see the promise by Adonai of judgement upon this rebellion. It is a Mishlei or Comparison of His Covenantal Promises for obedience, performed out of their love for Adonai. Obedience born out of legalism will never last!
Obedience born out of our adoration for the Lord will take us all the way to the end of the journey, and into his eternal arms!
Some Chapters in the Bible have parallel verses in the Haftarah and Brit Chadashah which reinforces God’s truth. Some have the Mishlei or opposing verses which clarify and drive home the beauty of God’s will for us. He refers to His Will as His DELIGHT!
“In Him there is no darkness at all!”
BRIT CHADASHAH (New Covenant) READING Matthew 5:38-42 and 17:1-11
“You have heard that our fathers were told, “Eye for eye and tooth for tooth. But I tell you not to stand up against someone who does you wrong. On the contrary, if someone hits you on the right cheek, let him hit you on the left cheek too!”
“You have heard that our fathers were told, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I tell you, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!”
Jesus teaches the ‘eye for an eye lesson’ in the fullness of His deity as the Messiah! Jesus supersedes Moses in this teaching by explaining a new way in the new and better Covenant!
The New Covenant is rooted in the living sacrifice of Se Ha Elohim or Lamb of God! Because of His grace and obedience to the Father, we too, when filled by His Spirit, may extend a grace that covers all sin, under the shadow of His prayer shawl!
May we be so filled with His grace that we can extend the grace of Messiah to others, all of our lives.
Interestingly, Moses did actually enter Canaan, the Promised Land in the verses in Matt. 17:
As Yeshua stood on the Mt. of Transfiguration, Moses and Elijah joined with him at his side!
When Peter made overtures to honor all three persons in that mystical moment, he heard the voice of the Father say:
“This is my beloved Son with whom I am well pleased, listen to Him!”
Consider how the Father assured Peter that His Son the Messiah was the plumb-line of that mystical moment!
The Son was the VOICE to be obeyed, and Moses and Elijah disappeared!
This ancient biblical scene brings ultimate clarity to the prophets under God’s direction.
Even though there was supernatural anointing on the prophets from the Ruach Hakodesh, we are to worship the ONE TRUE GOD and give HIM all our adoration and praise.