Our final Torah portion of the year is an emotional one because we see Israel about to enter the Promised Land without Moshe, their precious and courageous leader who had, through direct contact with YHWH, taught them the will, desire and commands of YHWH for 40 years. We close this Torah cycle with the blessings that Moshe spoke over the people of Isra'el just before his death:
Deuteronomy 33: 1 This is the blessing that Moshe, the man of God, spoke over the people of Isra'el before his death: 2 "ADONAI came from Sinai; from Se'ir he dawned on his people, shone forth from Mount Pa'ran; and with him were myriads of holy ones; at his right hand was a fiery law for them. 3 He truly loves the peoples -all his holy ones are in your hand; sitting at your feet, they receive your instruction, 4 the Torah Moshe commanded us as an inheritance for the community of Ya'akov. 5 Then a king arose in Yeshurun when the leaders of the people were gathered, all the tribes of Isra'el together. 6 "Let Re'uven live and not die out, even though his numbers grow few."
7 Of Y'hudah he said: "Hear, ADONAI, the cry of Y'hudah! Bring him in to his people, let his own hands defend him; but you, help him against his enemies."
8 Of Levi he said: "Let your tumim and urim be with your pious one, whom you tested at Massah, with whom you struggled at M'rivah Spring. 9 Of his father and mother he said, 'I don't know them'; he didn't acknowledge his brothers or children. For he observed your word, and he kept your covenant. 10 They will teach Ya'akov your rulings, Isra'el your Torah. They will set incense before you and whole burnt offerings on your altar. 11 ADONAI, bless his possessions, accept the work he does; but crush his enemies hip and thigh; may those who hate him rise no more."
12 Of Binyamin he said: "ADONAI's beloved lives securely. He protects him day after day. He lives between his shoulders."
13 Of Yosef he said: "May ADONAI bless his land with the best from the sky, for the dew, and for what comes from the deep beneath, 14 with the best of what the sun makes grow, with the best of what comes up each month, 15 with the best from the mountains of old, with the best from the eternal hills, 16 with the best from the earth and all that fills it, and the favor of him who lived in the [burning] bush. May blessing come on the head of Yosef, on the brow of the prince among his brothers.
17 His firstborn bull - glory is his; his horns are those of a wild ox; With them he will gore the peoples, all of them, to the ends of the earth. These are the myriads of Efrayim; these are the thousands of M'nasheh."
18 Of Z'vulun he said: "Rejoice, Z'vulun, as you go forth, and you, Yissakhar, in your tents. 19 They will summon peoples to the mountain and there offer righteous sacrifices; for they will draw from the abundance of the seas and from the hidden treasures of the sand."
20 Of Gad he said: "Blessed is he who makes Gad so large; he lies there like a lion, tearing arm and scalp. 21 He chose the best for himself when the princely portion was assigned. When the leaders of the people came, he carried out ADONAI's justice and his rulings concerning Isra'el."
22 Of Dan he said: "Dan is a lion cub leaping forth from Bashan."
23 Of Naftali he said: "You, Naftali, satisfied with favor and full of blessing from ADONAI, take possession of the sea and the south."
24 Of Asher he said: "May Asher be most blessed of sons, may he be the favorite among his brothers and bathe his feet in oil. 25 May your bolts be of iron and bronze and your strength last as long as you live. 26 "Yeshurun, there is no one like God, riding through the heavens to help you, riding on the clouds in his majesty. 27 The God of old is a dwelling-place, with everlasting arms beneath. He expelled the enemy before you and he said, 'Destroy!' 28 So Isra'el lives in security; the fountain of Ya'akov is alone in a land of grain and new wine, where the skies drip with dew. 29 Happy are you, Isra'el! "Who is like you, a people saved by ADONAI, your defender helping you and your sword of triumph? Your enemies will cringe before you, but you will trample down their high places."
Note that Moshe said all the aforementioned things to his people, knowing that he himself would never see the Promised Land - the place he had been looking forward to seeing, ever since he had led the Iraelites out of Egypt. Why didn't he get to the Promised Land? (1) Because he had broken the first set of tablets containing the Ten Commandments; and (2) because he had failed to "speak to the rock" as commanded by YHWH; and (3) pride and arrogance.
Let's take a look:
Numbers 20: 8 "Take the staff, assemble the community, you and Aharon your brother; and before their eyes, tell the rock to produce its water. You will bring them water out of the rock and thus enable the community and their livestock to drink." 9 Moshe took the staff from the presence of ADONAI, as he had ordered him. 10 But after Moshe and Aharon had assembled the community in front of the rock, he said to them, "Listen here, you rebels! Are we supposed to bring you water from this rock?" 11 Then Moshe raised his hand and hit the rock twice with his staff. Water flowed out in abundance, and the community and their livestock drank.
Notice in verse 10 he said "WE"? What's this WE business? Now, based on what Moses has just done and said, who do the people believe brought the water from the rock, YHWH or Moses? How can they tell? Do they put their trust in YHWH or in man? Of course, there is no other choice but to make sure the people put their faith in YHWH. So in the next verse, He takes the matter into His hands:
Numbers 20: 12 But ADONAI said to Moshe and Aharon, "Because you did not trust in me, so as to cause me to be regarded as holy by the people of Isra'el, you will not bring this community into the land I have given them."
We must remember that Moshe was probably more obedient than any of us could ever hope to be - but YHWH refused to allow him entrance into the Promised Land because he had been guilty of the sin of disobedience, himself.
But does this mean Moshe won't see Heaven? Of course not! We know that Moshe was even resurrected, and continued to do YHWH's will (Jude, vs 9; Matthew 17:3; Mark 9:4; Luke 9:28-35)! The Levite priests in those days continuously offered sin sacrifices on their people's behalf! Moshe was among YHWH's most faithful servants; he believed and obeyed to the best of his ability. He just didn't get to enter the Promised Land here on Earth because that was his punishment at the time.
We cannot lump "all of us" in with Moshe, because none of us even come close to who he was and his relationship with YHWH! Moshe was not just "one of us", able to "slip up" and be forgiven for unintentional sin as we are, once we turn our face toward YHWH. YHWH spoke with Moshe face-to face (Exodus 11:11; Numbers 12:8; Deuteronomy 34:10). He was very special, chosen to be YHWH's spokesperson to lead all the people to the promised land - and, as you know, that was NOT an easy job! The people were stiffnecked and caused him much grief.
But Moshe was not punished for a simple "sin" to be forgiven if he repented! What Moshe did, though unintentional in his anger (Numbers 20:8-12) was to take the event that was to happen (water coming forth from the rock) which was to bring glory to YHWH which, instead, brought glory to Moshe! In verse 8, we read that the command was to tell the rock to bring forth its water, before all the leaders including Aharon, and thus show EVERYONE that YHWH was the provider! But Moshe, in verse 10, said "You rebels, what are WE to to? Bring water from this rock?" And then he struck the rock. The glory for providing the water thus went to Moshe...but Moshe and Aharon learned their punishment immediately because, in verse 12, YHWH tells them they would not enter the land....
But this does not mean Moshe and Aharon were not forgiven! As we mentioned above, Moshe was even resurrected, and continued to do YHWH's will! (Jude, vs 9; Matthew 17:3; Mark 9:4; Luke 9:28-35).
So, being forgiven, and "our sins not remembered", does not mean we will "get our way" while we are here on earth. While on earth, we must bear the consequences of our sin, but once we are in the Kingdom our righteousness stands for us and our sins forgiven. Moshe, the most righteous of his time, still was a man who sinned while on earth and had a temper! But he will be there in the Kingdom, his sins forgiven!
So we must remember: If YHWH didn't allow Moshe to enter the Promised Land for those few infractions he was guilty of, what do you think He will do with today's "religious" leaders who don't even bother to keep the commanded Seventh Day Sabbath or the Biblical Feasts? Do you think THEY will get to enter the "Promised Land" of Heaven? How about those religious leaders who purposely sin and yet insist "God knows my heart?"
Hebrews 10: 26 For if we deliberately continue to sin after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but only the terrifying prospect of Judgment, or raging fire that will consume the enemies.
The world, for the most part, is blind to YHWH and His Word, yet there are all kinds of pastors and self-proclaimed "prophets" on the internet who push their own doctrines - and some are making bundles of money from their "fluff." We must be VERY careful to learn His Word, obey to the best of our abilities, and keep studying and growing....
Remember what Yeshua said:
Matthew 5: 17 Don't think that I have come to abolish the Torah or the Prophets. I have come not to abolish but to complete. 18 Yes indeed! I tell you that until heaven and earth pass away, not so much as a yud or a stroke will pass from the Torah - not until everything that must happen has happened. 19 So whoever disobeys the least of these mitzvot (words/commands) and teaches others to do so will be called the least in the Kingdom of Heaven. But whoever obeys them and so teaches will be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven. 20 For I tell you that unless your righteousness is far greater than that of the Torah-teachers and P'rushim, you will certainly not enter the Kingdom of Heaven.
QUESTION: Has everything happened that must happen? Have heaven and Earth passed away yet? Since when does the word "complete" (or "fulfill) mean "abolished"? Why would God abolish His own original divine teachings which He said were to last forever? Did Jesus come to make a liar out of YHWH (Yahweh), God the Father?
As an aside, since we've mentioned the Ten Commandments, do you remember that YHWH gave the Ten Commandments a total of three times? The first time, it was verbally, with apparently "all the people" experiencing God first-hand.
Exodus 20: 18 All the people experienced the thunder, the lightning, the sound of the shofar, and the mountain smoking. When the people saw it, they trembled. Standing at a distance, 19 they said to Moshe, "You, speak with us; and we will listen. But don't let God speak with us, or we will die." 20 Moshe answered the people, "Don't be afraid, because God has come only to test you and make you fear him, so that you won't commit sins." 21 So the people stood at a distance, but Moshe approached the thick darkness where God was.
The second time (and YHWH told them He would do this, in Exodus 24:12) was in Exodus 31:18, which says: When he had finished speaking with Moshe on Mount Sinai, ADONAI gave him the two tablets of the testimony, tablets of stone inscribed by the finger of God.
And the third time in Exodus 31, which says: ADONAI said to Moshe, "Cut yourself two tablets of stone like the first ones; and I will inscribe on the tablets the words that were on the first tablets, which you broke.
In other words, our Creator - our Heavenly Parent - was surely beginning to reach the end of His rope! First, He gives us the Ten Commandments verbally; then He writes them on two tablets of stone and basically hands them to Moshe so he can teach his people. Then He is eventually forced to write them AGAIN because Moshe broke the tablets in a fit of anger (Exodus 32:19-20) when he sees that his people had made a golden calf while he was with YHWH on Mt. Sinai....And after that, YHWH tells Moshe to cut the cotton-pickin' tablets himself and bring them to Him for inscription!
Today's Torah portion directs us to read Joshua 1:1-18, which reveals what happened after the death of Moshe, when his assistant, Joshua took over. Note that Joshua took his job very seriously, reminding people to "take care to follow all the Torah which Moshe my servant ordered you to follow; do not turn from it either to the right or to the left; then you will succeed wherever you go." Although Moshe wrote the Torah, the Torah was YHWH's; and He commanded it to be taken into the Promised Land! Why? Because YHWH's Divine Instruction in Righteousness are mankind's guide for holy living. Why would that have been "abolished at the cross" as Christianity suggests?
Joshua 1: 1 After the death of Moshe the servant of ADONAI, ADONAI said to Y'hoshua the son of Nun, Moshe's assistant, 2 "Moshe my servant is dead. So now, get up and cross over this Yarden, you and all the people, to the land I am giving to them, the people of Isra'el. 3 I am giving you every place you will step on with the sole of your foot, as I said to Moshe. 4 All the land from the desert and the L'vanon to the great river, the Euphrates River - all the land of the Hitti - and on to the Great Sea in the west will be your territory.
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. 6 "Be strong, be bold; for you will cause this people to inherit the land I swore to their fathers I would give them. 7 Only be strong and very bold in taking care to follow all the Torah which Moshe my servant ordered you to follow; do not turn from it either to the right or to the left; then you will succeed wherever you go. 8 Yes, keep this book of the Torah on your lips, and meditate on it day and night, so that you will take care to act according to everything written in it. Then your undertakings will prosper, and you will succeed. 9 Haven't I ordered you, 'Be strong, be bold'? So don't be afraid or downhearted, because ADONAI your God is with you wherever you go."
10 Y'hoshua instructed the officials of the people 11 to go through the camp and order the people, "Prepare provisions, because in three days you will cross this Yarden to go in and take possession of the land ADONAI your God is giving you." 12 To the Re'uveni, the Gadi and the half-tribe of M'nasheh Y'hoshua said, 13 "Remember what Moshe the servant of ADONAI ordered you: 'ADONAI your God has let you rest and will give you this land.'
14 Your wives, your little ones and your livestock will stay in the land Moshe gave you on the east side of the Yarden; but you are to cross over armed as a fighting force ahead of your brothers, to help them; 15 until ADONAI allows your brothers to rest, as he has allowed you; and they too have taken possession of the land ADONAI your God is giving them. At that point, you will return to the land which is yours and possess it, the land Moshe the servant of ADONAI gave you in 'Ever-HaYarden to the east, toward the sunrise." 16 They answered Y'hoshua, "We will do everything you have ordered us to do, and we will go wherever you send us. 17 Just as we listened to everything Moshe said, so will we listen to you. Only may ADONAI your God be with you as he was with Moshe. 18 If anyone rebels against your order and doesn't heed what you say in every detail of your order, he will be put to death. Just be strong, be bold!"
As you all know, the only prophet greater than Moshe is Mashiyach. YHWH chose Moshe to reveal the government of Mashiyach when He gave Torah to Moshe. Note that the final verses of the Torah were written after Moshe's death in Deuteronomy 34:5. So, who wrote them? No one knows for sure, and there is all kinds of speculation, including that Moshe prophesied them before his death, to the idea that Joshua finished off the Book of Deuteronomy for Moshe. It's one of those things we will never know until the day we are out of our "earth suits"....
As we will ultimately see as we begin to make our way through Torah again from the beginning, the Mishkan (tabernacle) was constructed according to the Tabernacle in heaven, so that each component would reveal the attributes and character of Mashiyach. The aron habrit (ark of the covenant) in the kadosh kadoshim (holy of holies) reveals the Mind of Mashiyach; the table of incense, showbread and menorah reveal the heart, will and character of Mashiyach. This was done so that all who would follow Mashiyach could learn how to enter into the Image of Elohim; Mashiyach is the perfect Image...
Brit Chadashah reading:
Matthew 17: 1. And after six days, Y'shua led Keefa and Ya'akov and Yochanan his brother and took them up high alone. 2. And Y'shua was transformed before them and his face was bright like the sun, and his clothes became white like light. 3. And Moshe and Eliyahu appeared to them speaking with him. 4. And Keefa responded and said to Y'shua, "My Master. It is good for us that we are here. And if you desire, let us make you here three shelters, one for you and one for Moshe, and one for Eliyahu.
5. And while he was speaking, behold a bright cloud overshadowed them. And a voice came from the cloud saying, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am pleased. Listen to him." 6. And when the disciples heard, they fell upon their faces and were very afraid. 7. And Y'shua approached them and touched them and said, Arise, do not be afraid. 8. And they lifted up their eyes and they did not see anyone except Y'shua alone. 9. And while they were descending from the mountain, Y'shua commanded them and said to them, Do not speak about this vision in the presence of anyone until the Son of man arises from the dead.
Since the final Torah portion of the year happens to fall on or near the last day of Sukkot, let's take a look at this scripture:
Luke 2:21 Then when eight days had passed so that the boy could be circumcised, they called his name Y’shua, as the Messenger had called him before he was conceived in the womb. 22. And when the days of their purification were fulfilled according to the instruction of Moshe, they took him up to Urishlim to present him before Master YHWH, 23. According to what is written in the Torah of Master YHWH that every male who opens the womb will be called a Set Apart one of Master YHWH. 24. And as a sacrifice it is said in the Torah of Master YHWH to give a pair of turtledoves or two chicks of pigeons. (AENT)