Parashat Nitzavim (standing) Deuteronomy 29:9-30:20
Haftarah: Isaiah 61:10-63:9
This Shabbat is the Shabbat prior to Rosh Hashanah; therefore parashat Nitzavim is always read. The prophetic reading tells of Judgment, because the rabbinical theme of The Day Of The Sounding Of The Shofar (the Biblical name for this festival) is judgment. The final portion of the prophetic reading deals with the coming of the Messiah. This picture that Isaiah presents of Messiah’s coming wearing blood-stained garments (See Isaiah 63:1-4) is very similar to what one reads in the book of Revelation chapter 19:11-16, for in both of these passages Messiah Yeshua is spoken of as trampling the grapes of the wrath of G-d in the wine vat of G-d’s anger.
It is also very important that one notices that this section reveals that once again the recipient of G-d’s wrath is Edom. Edom represents the descendants of Esau who dwelt in what is today Jordan. The city of Bozrah is mentioned which was one of the major cities of the Edomite empire. This prophecy is in total agreement with the prophecy of Obadiah who also reveals that prior to the establishment of the Kingdom of G-d there will be a war between the sons of Jacob (today the Israelis) and the sons of Esau (today the Palestinians). If one does his prophecy homework properly he will find that many nations will join with Edom to make war with Israel. In fact some prophecies allude to all the nations of the world joining with Edom and attacking Israel in the battle that the New Covenant calls Armageddon. We all know how this battle turns out.
The final point that I would like to make is found in the ninth verse of Isaiah chapter 63. Most English translators translate this verse in the following manner,
“In all their affliction He was afflicted…”KJV
Many scholars see this verse as speaking to the sufferings of Messiah; when He suffered on the cross for our sins. Although I of course agree that Messiah Yeshua did indeed suffer on the cross for the sins of humanity, there is a problem with using this verse to speak to this Biblical truth. The problem is this—the verse actually says,
“In all their affliction He did not afflict…”
If one checks the Hebrew, he will notice that before the phrase, which could indeed be translated He was afflicted, the word “no” or “not” appears. The message of the verse is not “He was not afflicted”, but rather, “He did not afflict” them. In other words, when one is suffering a difficult time in his or her life, one should not say, “Why, G-d are you afflicting me,” for HaShem is not the source of the afflicting; but rather the affliction is from our enemy—Satan. HaShem is the One Who sent the Angel of His Presence (Messiah) Who saves us in His love and with His mercy He redeems us. The entire ninth verse reads,
“In all their affliction He did not afflict, but the Angel of His Presence saved them and in His love and with His mercy He redeemed them and He accepted them and forgave them all the days of eternity.”
The word that was translated “forgave them” actually means “to lift up” as in to lift up the burden of sin. Some translations translate this as “carried them” which is a possible rendering. The last phrase “all the days of eternity” may be an idiom which speaks to the Kingdom of G-d.
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