Parashat Ki Tavo (When You Come)
Devarim (Deuteronomy) 26:1–29:8

I closed my last blog entry, Parashat Ki Teitzei (When You Go Out), with two verses from Galatians 3:13–14:

Messiah redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us — for it is written, “CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO HANGS ON A TREE” — in order that in Messiah Yeshua the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

I wrote that Yeshua is the fulfillment of the Torah (law) and the Prophets! He took upon Himself our curse (Isaiah 53), and through faith in Him, we can all — Jew and Gentile alike — be restored to the Father. This is the GOOD NEWS of Messiah!

There is a direct connection to this week’s reading portion as it deals with God’s very specific instructions for Israel for when they would enter the Land of inheritance. As I was reading this week’s portion, I found it interesting that there are 14 verses (28:1–14) that speak of the blessings of obedience and that there are 54 verses (28:15–68) that speak of the curses resulting from disobedience.

How can we understand this? I believe God wants to get our attention by stressing the importance of obedience and disobedience. I also believe that God wants to ensure that we understand the byproduct of disobedience, which is the curse. The reason for this is prophetic, in my opinion, further cementing the fulfillment of the amazing work that Yeshua did for each person who chooses to accept it. He became the “curse” for us so that we could be free from it!

So, what does knowing this mean for me? For you? This is a personal question each follower of Messiah must answer.

God brought Israel from slavery in Egypt, into the Land of promise for a very specific reason:

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. You have today declared the LORD to be your God, and that you would walk in His ways and keep His statutes, His commandments and His ordinances, and listen to His voice. And the LORD has today declared you to be His people, a treasured people (nation), as He spoke to you, and that you should keep all His commandments; and that He shall set you high above all nations which He has made, for praise, fame, and honor; and that you shall be a consecrated (holy) people to the LORD your God, as He has spoken.

(Deuteronomy 26:16–19)

God chose Israel to be His people – a treasured people, a holy people – not for their sake, but for HIS! Through Israel, the glory of God Almighty was to be revealed to the nations.

My dear brothers and sisters, we must understand that being chosen by God for a specific task is something that also applies to us as believers today. We have all been called to a life of holiness (obedience) and have been warned of the perils of disobedience. Again, this is not so that we are free to do whatever we please, but to live for Him:

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Messiah Yeshua; who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.

(Titus 2:11–14)

As I have written many times before, the result of our understanding the fact that Yeshua took upon Himself the curse that was meant for us (Isaiah 53), and through faith in Him, we can all – Jew and Gentile – be restored to the Father, is living a life which is separated for Him and for His Glory.

But you are A CHOSEN people, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God’s OWN POSSESSION, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; for you once were NOT A PEOPLE, but now you are THE PEOPLE OF GOD; you had NOT RECEIVED MERCY, but now you have RECEIVED MERCY.

(1 Peter 2:9–10)

Let us not take this for granted! Does your life reflect this great truth?

Shabbat Shalom!
Moran
Parashat Ki Tetzei (When you go out)
Devarim (Deuteronomy) 21:10–25:19

As I was reading our portion this week from Deuteronomy 21:10–25:19, two verses “jumped out”, causing me to pause and reflect upon them a little longer. These verses can really shed more light on the events surrounding the death of our Messiah; once again, I am both amazed and blessed by the price that He paid for me/us!

And if a man has committed a sin worthy of death, and he is put to death, and you hang him on a tree, his corpse shall not hang all night on the tree, but you shall surely bury him on the same day (for he who is hanged is accursed of God), so that you do not defile your land which the LORD your God gives you as an inheritance.

(Deuteronomy 21:22–23)

As we can see in these verses, some sins were worthy of death. These included, for example, sins of the wayward and rebellious son (Deuteronomy 21:18–21) and idol worshiping (Deuteronomy 17:1–6).

An interesting point that we find in Deuteronomy 17:6 is the way a fair trial should take place and the condition required to put someone to death:

On the evidence of two witnesses or three witnesses, he who is to die shall be put to death; he shall not be put to death on the evidence of one witness.

How does this connect to Messiah Yeshua? The books of Matthew and Mark describe the unfair trial that Yeshua faced. Specifically, they both tell of the way that two witnesses were not able to give the same testimony (since they were false witnesses). However, in both accounts we see that the turning point took place once the High Priest approached Yeshua with a question:

But Yeshua kept silent. And the high priest said to Him, “I adjure You by the living God, that You tell us whether You are the Messiah, the Son of God.” Yeshua said to him, “You have said it yourself; nevertheless I tell you, hereafter you shall see THE SON OF MAN SITTING AT THE RIGHT HAND OF POWER, and COMING ON THE CLOUDS OF HEAVEN.” Then the high priest tore his robes, saying, “He has blasphemed! What further need do we have of witnesses? Behold, you have now heard the blasphemy; what do you think?” They answered and said, “He is deserving of death!”

(Matthew 26:63–66)

Again the high priest was questioning Him, and saying to Him, “Are You the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?” And Yeshua said, “I am; and you shall see THE SON OF MAN SITTING AT THE RIGHT HAND OF POWER, and COMING WITH THE CLOUDS OF HEAVEN.” And tearing his clothes, the high priest *said, “What further need do we have of witnesses? You have heard the blasphemy; how does it seem to you?” And they all condemned Him to be deserving of death.

(Mark 14:61–64)

As we know, Yeshua was put to death – He had to be since He is the ultimate fulfillment of God’s Word. However, the way in which He died was very different from the way the Torah commands it to be done. In the Torah, the guilty person must be put to death first (mainly by stoning them), and then is to be hanged on a tree as a form of shaming. However, Yeshua was put to death in a Roman (gentile) way when He was crucified on the Tree (Cross). The Romans would put the person on the tree while still alive so that he would suffer a slow and torturous death, and then leave the body on the tree so that it would rot, or for the birds to eat.

Note that in the Biblical instructions, the person’s corpse should not hang all night on the tree, but rather the body should be buried the same day before sundown. This explains the multiple accounts in Matthew 27:50–60, Mark 15:37–46, and John 19:30–38, in which once Yeshua’s death was confirmed, Joseph of Arimathea asked to bury His body before sundown.

In closing, I want to point us to the book of Galatians, in which Rav Sha’ul (the Apostle Paul) references Deuteronomy 21 when he explains the incredible significance behind Yeshua’s death on a tree:

Messiah redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us — for it is written, “CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO HANGS ON A TREE” — in order that in Messiah Yeshua the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

(Galatians 3:13–14)

Yeshua is the fulfillment of the Torah (law) and the Prophets! He took upon Himself our curse (Isaiah 53), and through faith in Him, we can all — Jew and Gentile alike — be restored to the Father. This is the GOOD NEWS of Messiah!

Shabbat shalom!
Moran
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