What Is the Torah Portion & Haftarah About?

Did you know when Jesus / Yeshua read Isaiah 61 in the synagogue on Shabbat (Sabbath/Saturday), which we can read about in Luke 4:16-30), He was reading from that specific week’s “Haftarah” portion? For thousands of years, those of the Judaism faith have read from the Torah and Haftarah. A major part of the Jewish worship service since the days of escaping Babylonian captivity (see books of Ezra & Nehemiah), is the public reading of the Torah.For the Jewish people learned the hard way while under Babylonian captivity to forsake God’s instructions will inevitably lead to physical and spiritual bondage. The Torah is the first five books of the Bible, also known as the Law, or God’s instructions for life. Each week, in today’s congregations of Judaism, Messianic Judaism, and many Hebrew Roots’ congregations read a certain portion of the Torah in their services. So the whole world (of those groups) is studying the same portions in unity. However, many years ago, circa 175 BC, when Antiochus Epiphanes conquered the temple, he outlawed the public reading of the Torah, replaced the holy artifacts with pagan gods within the temple, slaughtered pig, an unclean and abomination according to Leviticus 11, Deut 14, and Isaiah 65-66, as a means to mock God’s ordained sacrificial system, and even tormented and killed Jews for holding to their belief in the one true God and their desire to adhere to His laws. All of this was an “abomination of desolation”, which will happen again according to prophecies found in the Books of Daniel, Matthew, and Revelation. Consequently, the rabbis of those days researched and prescribed related passages of the Torah found in the Prophets to be read each week instead of the Torah during that tumultuous time. This became known as “Haftarah”, which means “conclude”. After that horrific time, the practice of reading from the Prophets stuck so today, passages called portions from the Torah and the Haftarah, which are related are read. In Messianic Judaism (and possibly Hebrew Roots too), related portions from the Brit Chadesha (Renewed/New Covenant) are read as well. This photo captures this week’s. The Torah portion’s title is selected from the first few words of the passage. You will notice all of these passages have to do with sending out (i.e. spies & apostles). I hope you had a peacful, wholesome #Shabbat!

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What Exactly Did You Repent From?

https___darrellcreswell.files.wordpress.com_2010_10_repent4Many are familiar with the term “repent” particularly us Christians. We’ve heard the term “repent” preached by men behind pulpits or declared from various signs. Many even know repentance means to turn away or to change one’s mind. But what exactly did you repent from, dear Christian?

Those of the Christian faith would proclaim they have repented of their sins. In fact, one classic verse found in the Book of Acts sums up the gospel in one straightforward verse:

“Then Peter said unto them, ‘Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.'”  Acts 2:38 (NKJV)

Likewise, the well-known evangelistic tool, ‘Roman’s Road’, famously outlines verses explaining the need to repent from one’s sins. Several verses found in the Book of Romans essentially state that we all are ‘sinners’ who fall short or miss God’s glorious mark (Romans 3:23). But what is God’s mark and what is this so-called sin we are repenting from in order to experience God’s amazing grace?

What is God’s Mark?

TORAH, which are the first five books of the Bible, in Hebrew means ‘to hit the mark’ or put another way, the ‘instructions’ for life. So to miss the mark is to not honor our Heavenly Father’s instructions found in His Torah. In a different article to come, we can compare God’s mark verse the ‘mark of the Beast’ referred to in the Book of Revelation.

What Is Sin?

According to the inspired word of God, sin is defined as breaking God’s commands…breaking His law…not practicing His ways or being without His laws.

  • “Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness.” I John 3:4 (NKJV)
  • “All unrighteousness is sin, and there is sin not leading to death (unintentional sin).” I John 3:17 (NKJV)
  • “In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother.” I John 3:10 (NKJV)
  • “Then it will be righteousness for us, if we are careful to observe all these commandments before the LORD our God, as He has commanded us.” Deuteronomy 6:25 (NKJV)
  • “And what other nation is so great as to have such righteous decrees and laws as this body of laws I am setting before you today?” Deuteronomy 4:8 (NIV)

–> Sin = Without God’s Laws // Sin = Lawlessness // Sin = Not Practicing God’s Laws// Sin = Unrighteousness // Righteousness = God’s Laws // Righteousness = Keeping God’s Laws <–

According to Romans 3:20, God’s laws provide us with the knowledge of what is sin. In other words, the laws or commandments of God teach us what is evil. Not that His law is evil, as many have been erroneously led to believe, but breaking His law, His commands is what is evil and likened to rebellion, stubbornness, idolatry and even witchcraft (see 1 Samuel 15:23)! If that isn’t enough to alarm you perhaps the fact that the Anti-Christ or Anti-Messiah is labeled as ‘the lawless one’ will get your attention as to the importance of God’s laws. Also, notice in Matthew 7, believers cried out to the Lord for they prophesied, cast out demons, and did other miracles in His name, and yet the failed to obey God’s laws and were rejected by Jesus. More as to why below…

  • “Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin” Romans 3:20 (NKJV).
  • “Rebellion is as sinful as witchcraft, and stubbornness as bad as worshiping idols.So because you have rejected the command of the Lord, He has rejected you as king.” I Samuel 15:23
  • “The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan…that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness (sin/lawlessness).” 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12 (NKJV)
  • “Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’” -Jesus, Matthew 7:23-24 (NKJV)

http___slideplayer.com_9333856_28_images_24_O.T.+Archery+Terms+Torah+from+Hebrew+word+yareh+which+is+an+archery+term+to+aim+an+arrow+to+hit+a+mark.The following sample of verses tell us God’s laws not only define what God considers evil and those who fail to observe His way/His law as  the lawless or sinners, but the law also teaches us what is good…what is right and is designed for our own benefit.

  • “Therefore, the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good.” Romans 7:12
  • “Oh, that they had such a heart in them that they would fear Me and always keep all My commandments, that is might be well with them and with their children forever.” Deuteronomy 5:29 (NKJV)
  • ” ‘And the LORD commanded us to observe all these statutes, to fear the LORD our God, for our good always, that He might preserve us alive, as it is this day. Then it will be righteousness for us, if we are careful to observe all these commandments before the LORD our God, as He has commanded us.’ ” Deuteronomy 6:24-25 (NKJV)

Scripture goes on to tell us God’s laws are not only instructing us as to what is evil verse good, but the laws of God are spiritual whereas mankind is carnal, fleshly, and rebellious to God’s laws. Scripture even defines ‘saints’ as those who not only believe in Jesus, but who keep God’s commandments/laws.

  • “For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin.” Romans 7:14 (NKJV)
  • “and know His will, and approve the things that are excellent, being instructed out of the law..” Romans 2:18 (NKJV)
  • “For I give you good doctrine: Do not forsake my law.” Proverbs 4:2 (NKJV)
  • “Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those, who are in the flesh cannot please God.” Romans 8:7-8 (NKJV)
  • “Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith in Jesus.” Revelation 14:12 (also see Rev.12:17)

So, again, I ask, dear Christian, what exactly did you repent from? If you repented, that is changed your mind and lifestyle by turning from sin, then that would mean you changed your mentality, your heart, soul and consequent lifestyle from breaking God’s law.  HalleluYAH!

The Apostle Paul, the author of the Book of Romans, pens these words:

“Do we, then, nullify the law by this faith? Not at all! Rather, we uphold the law.” Romans 3:31 (NIV)

happypassover (1)Therefore, we can conclude that our faith in Jesus/Yeshua, as the perfect, sinless Passover lamb of God, bled to death on a cross to pay the debt or wages of our lawlessness. As we discovered through various Scriptures, we learn repentance means to stop breaking God’s law…to stop sinning for our circumcised, grateful hearts full of God’s gift of grace will WANT to obey the law, which are God’s commands not suggestions (Deuteronomy 10:12-17; 30:6-10; Romans 2:28-29).

  • “And the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live…And you will again obey the voice of the LORD and do all His commandments which I command you today.” Deuteronomy 30:6-8 (NKJV)
  • “but he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, not in the letter; whose praise is not from men but from God.” Romans 2:29 (NKJV)
  • “Oh, that they had such a heart in them that they would fear Me and always keep all My commandments, that is might be well with them and with their children forever.” Deuteronomy 5:29 (NKJV)
  • “And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require of you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the commandments of the LORD and His statutes which I commanded you today for your good? Therefore, circumcise the foreskin of your heart and be stiff-necked no longer.” Deuteronomy 10:12,13,16 (NKJV)

–> Circumcised Heart = To Love God With All Your Heart = Keeping God’s Laws <–

http___3.bp.blogspot.com_-2WIEVeMF7R8_UJhPOfSZoOI_AAAAAAAAGPs_0gMdfZdX96Q_s1600_heart.from+stone+to+flesh.circumcised+heart.gifBut by embracing God’s laws of love found throughout the Torah and repeated in the prophets and demonstrated by Jesus,the lawful one (see Matthew 5:17-19), and later proclaimed by the Apostles, our obedience to Abba Father does not save us or put another way, justify us for we are justified by God’s grace through the gift of His Son’s death and resurrection (Romans 3:24; Ephesians 2:8).

However, our failure to obey, our rebellion, our idolatry, or our witchcraft towards our Heavenly Father’s instructions for life does in fact reveal the condition our diseased hearts. For a heart refusing to cheerfully give of themselves to the mark or way of God by submitting to Abba’s authority found in His Torah (and all of His word) after they have been shown such critical truth, reveals that they have not truly accepted the costly gift of grace or not  comprehended or carried the weight of the authority of God’s grace and justice through the blood stained cross (1 John 3:7,10,24; Matthew 7). Whereas a circumcised, repentant heart in process has not been made aware of such important truths just yet is unintentionally sinning or unknowingly breaking God’s laws (I John 5:16-17; for most of us were not taught such things, but just to say “the sinner’s prayer” and live as before).

Furthermore, upon our heart’s circumcision, or perhaps better described as part of the process of our heart becoming circumcised,  Scripture reveals God will write His Torah, His law on our ever-repentant hearts causing us to WANT to obey Him as His Spirit reveals more and more of His truth.

  • “Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah- not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they did not continue in my covenant, and I disregarded them, says the LORD, for this is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people” Hebrews 8:8-10 (NKJV)

Friends, Jeremiah 31:31-33 says the exact same thing as does Ezekiel 36:27(NKJV):

  • “I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.”
  • “that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh (sin/lawlesness) but according to the Spirit.” Romans 8:4 (NKJV).
  • “My son, keep my words, and treasure my commands within you. Keep my commands and live, and my law as the apple of your eye. Bind them on your fingers; write them on the tablet of your heart.” Proverbs 7:1-3 (NKJV)
  • “Now he who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. And by this we know that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us.” I John 3:24 (NKJV)

–> To Have The Holy Spirit = Spirit of Holiness = Holiness = Righteousness = Torah On Our Hearts = Obeying God’s Laws = Abiding in Him <–

So you see when we have a truly repentant heart and embrace God’s Spirit of Holiness, also commonly known as the Holy Spirit or Spirit of Grace, His Spirit dwelling within us will cause us to keep His holy laws as He makes us more and more aware of His mark , of His truth (John 14:15-18; 1 John 2:24-27). Incidentally, what does God define as ‘truth’?

  • “Your righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, and Your law is truth.” Psalm 119:142 (NKJV)
  • All your words are trueall your righteous laws are eternal.” Psalm 119:160 (NIV)
  • “My son, do not forget my law, but let your heart keep my commands; for length of days and long life and peace they will add to you. Let not mercy and truth forsake you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart, and so find favor and high esteem in the sight of God and man. Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding…” Proverbs 3:1-5 (NKJV)

–> Truth = God’s Eternal Laws = Righteousness <–

If our heart’s have repented of our lawless, evil deeds, we will indeed turn from breaking God’s heart by rejecting His commands and abusing His grace (Hebrews 10:26-39). Instead, our hearts will be made more and more whole, clean, sanctified as we cooperate with God’s Spirit of Grace (Hebrews 10:29; Zechariah 12:10), His Spirit of Holiness as He longs to blot out our stains, sins, our pain, and suffering with the washing of His Word…His Torah (John 1:1; 17:17; Ephesians 5:26).

In summary, hopefully, we have repented from breaking God’s word, His Torah, for He gave His Living Torah to die for us so we can have the Spirit of Torah, the Spirit of Grace, the Spirit of Holiness scribed in our hearts for all the world to read. If this is the first you are hearing such heart transforming truth, understand it’s a process as He makes all things beautiful in His time. Moreover, Jesus wasn’t interested in making converts; He was, however, interested in making disciples. It’s not too late to repent and more accurately follow Him as He and His Spirit teach you how to hit the mark!

“Bind up the testimony, seal the law among my disciples.” Isaiah 8:16 (NKJV)

“But be doers of the word (Torah), and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.” James 1:22; 2:14,17 (NKJV)

Shalom and Amen.

Carrie R Turner,

eve of Passover, 4.18.19