Parashah 3: Lekh L'kha (Get yourself out)
Genesis 12:1 through 17:27
Parashah 3: Lekh L'kha (Get yourself out) - Genesis 12:1 through 17:27.
Haftarah (Writings and Prophets): Isaiah 40:27 through 41:16.
B'rit Hadasha (New Testament): Acts 7:1-8; Romans 3:19 - 5:6; Galatians 3:15-18, 5:1-6; Colossians 2:11-15; Hebrews 7:1-19, 11:8-12.
Tanach Scriptures are from Stern's Complete Jewish Bible; B'rit Chadash Scriptures from the Aramaic English New Testament.
A few weeks ago we started reading the Torah all over again. You learned that Torah was written by Moshe (Moses) and consists of the first five Books of the Bible which contain God's original Divine Instructions in Righteousness. Since this is a Netzarim (Nazarene/Messianic) website, we refer to God by His proper Name: YHWH (most likely pronounced "Yah-way"). His Son's Name is Y'shua (most likely pronounced "Ye-shoo-ah").
This is one of our favorite Torah portions here at The Refiner's Fire, because we discover that ALL who accept YAWHEH/ELOHIM, become "Hebrews" - and, thus, are no longer considered Gentiles/pagans)!
This portion discusses how Avraham (a pagan Chaldean) was chosen by God Himself to become our first Patriarch. YHWH made several covenants with Avraham, even though, Avraham was guilty, at first, of not placing all his faith and trust in God. But ultimately, Avram (who was from the line of Seth, not Cain - see Genesis 5) "called on the Name of YHWH" (Genesis 12:8; 13:4 and 13:18) which means he decided to become obedient to YHWH's commands/Divine Instructions!
As you will see, in order to turn the man then-known man as "Avram" (which in Hebrew meant "exalted father") into our first Patriarch, the first thing YHWH had to accomplish was to separate Avram from his pagan ties (Genesis 12:1) - which is actually something we ALL have to do, in order to become a believer in the God of Avraham, Isaac and Jacob and His Divine Messiah, Yeshua:
Genesis 12: 1 Now ADONAI said to Avram, "Get yourself out of your country, away from your kinsmen and away from your father's house, and go to the land that I will show you. 2 I will make of you a great nation, I will bless you, and I will make your name great; and you are to be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, but I will curse anyone who curses you; and by you all the families of the earth will be blessed."
Avram became a "Hebrew" the moment he accepted YHWH and "crossed over" both spiritually and physically, leaving his own country and starting the journey to begin living his life according to YHWH's Divine Instructions. (See Genesis 14:13).
Do you realize that this is exactly what YHWH wants us ALL to do? The more you read and study Scripture (from cover to cover, and then starting all over again), the clearer it will become that you cannot belong to God and be who HE wants you to be, if you allow "the world" to hold you back! This includes friends and relatives. In other words, make a decision as to whether or not you want to BE a man or woman of God … or not. There will be no "lukewarm" or "half-hearted" in Eternity with Him. Take a look at Isaiah 66:
Isaiah 66:1 "Heaven is my throne," says ADONAI, "and the earth is my footstool. What kind of house could you build for me? What sort of place could you devise for my rest? 2 Didn't I myself make all these things? This is how they all came to be," says ADONAI. "The kind of person on whom I look with favor is one with a poor and humble spirit, who trembles at my word.
3 Those others might as well kill a person as an ox, as well break a dog's neck as sacrifice a lamb, as well offer pig's blood as offer a grain offering, as well bless an idol as burn incense. Just as these have chosen their ways and enjoy their disgusting practices, 4 so I will enjoy making fools of them, and bring on them the very things they fear. For when I called, no one answered; when I spoke, they did not hear. Instead they did what was evil in my sight and chose what did not please me."
5 Hear the word of ADONAI, you who tremble at his word: "Your brothers, who hate you and reject you because of my name, have said: 'Let ADONAI be glorified, so we can see your joy.' But they will be put to shame." (CJB)
Anyway, you would think that Avram - after hearing those words in Genesis 12:1-3 from YHWH Himself - would do his best to be a good, God-fearing "chosen" man who "toed the line" and trusted God with all his heart - but what does he do? Take a look:
Genesis 12: 11 When he came close to Egypt and was about to enter, he said to Sarai his wife, "Here now, I know that you are a good-looking woman; 12 so that when the Egyptians see you, they will say, 'This is his wife,' and kill me but keep you alive. 13 Please say that you are my sister, so that it will go well with me for your sake, and so that I will stay alive because of you."
While this was not exactly a lie (because in Genesis 20:12-20, we learn that Sarah was actually Avram's half-sister), Avram DID hide the truth in hopes of protecting himself - which revealed he didn't trust YHWH 100 percent. Let's take a quick look at that passage which reveals that Avram, several chapters from now, still had not learned to trust YHWH completely:
Genesis 20:11 Avraham replied, "It was because I thought, 'There could not possibly be any fear of God in this place, so they will kill me in order to get my wife.' 12 But she actually is also my sister, the daughter of my father but not the daughter of my mother, and so she became my wife. 13 When God had me leave my father's house, I told her, 'Do me this favor: wherever we go, say about me, "He is my brother."'" 14 Avimelekh took sheep, cattle, and male and female slaves, and gave them to Avraham; and he returned to him Sarah his wife. 15 Then Avimelekh said, "Look, my country lies before you; live where you like." 16 To Sarah he said, "Here, I have given your brother a thousand pieces of silver. That will allay the suspicions of everyone who is with you. Before everyone you are cleared." 17 Avraham prayed to God, and God healed Avimelekh and his wife and slave-girls, so that they could have children. 18 For ADONAI had made every woman in Avimelekh's household infertile on account of Sarah Avraham's wife.
Returning to Genesis 12, we see YHWH ultimately inflicting great plagues upon Pharoah and his household because of Avram's little con. This was actually a great lesson for Avram who was being systematically being taught to OBEY YHWH! Avram keeps revealing he's not really trusting God until that dreadful day when we see him willing to sacrifice his own son, Isaac in Genesis 22! (Luckily Sarai didn't have children with Pharoah, and for good reason! Remember in Genesis 11:30, we are told that Sarai was barren - but years later, YHWH ultimately used her to give birth to the next Patriarch, Isaac - through whose lineage came our Savior, Yeshua!)
Rather than to kill Avram and Sarai for their great deception, Pharoah banished them from Egypt - which was a good thing because, as we are told, Avram ultimately became a wealthy and prominent citizen - so prominent, as a matter of fact, that he was able to influence kings (see Genesis 14).
Before we go on, note that Lot, Avram's nephew (Genesis 14:12), tagged along with Avram when Avram obeyed YHWH's command to leave for the new country that YHWH had promised (Genesis 12:4). Ultimately, Avram and Lot became very wealthy and decided to split up, with Lot deciding to take the "well-watered plain of the Yarden" for himself - and for some reason Moshe/Moses (recorder of the Torah) decided to give us a preview that S'dom, the city where Lot chose to live, would ultimately be destroyed because of the evil there (Genesis 13:10).
In Genesis 13:4 we see that Avram knew the Name! Note, this passage doesn't say, he knew the TITLE. "Title" is not the same as "name." YHWH only has one Name, but many titles....
Genesis 13: 3 As he went on his travels from the Negev, he came to Beit-El, to the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Beit-El and 'Ai, 4 where he had first built the altar; and there Avram called on the name of YHWH.
In Genesis 13:13 during Avram's travels, we are briefly introduced to the people of S'dom (the place where Lot had chosen to live which would ultimately be destroyed because of the rampant evil) who were evil, committing great sins against YHWH. And immediately after that brief intro, we see YHWH doing something very important that most seem to forget about Israel: He promises the land to Avram and tells him he will have numerous/countless descendants:
Genesis 13: 14 ADONAI said to Avram, after Lot had moved away from him, "Look all around you from where you are, to the north, the south, the east and the west. 15 All the land you see I will give to you and your descendants forever, 16 and I will make your descendants as numerous as the specks of dust on the earth - so that if a person can count the specks of dust on the earth, then your descendants can be counted. 17 Get up and walk through the length and breadth of the land, because I will give it to you."
In this Torah portion we see YHWH reiterating several times the statement that He is giving Israel to "Avram and His descendants forever" - in Genesis 12:7, Genesis 13:14-17, and Genesis 15:7. Did Avram or any his descendants ever sell the Land to anyone? NO! So, the question remains: What makes the Arab Muslims or anyone else think they have the right to it?
Throughout this portion we get some major hints that YHWH made Avram a very rich and powerful man....As a matter of fact, we see kings blessing him! When the kings make war against each other, ultimately Lot (Avram's nephew) is taken captive and Avram sent out members of his household - "trained men" (Genesis 14:10-17) - to recover Lot and his household and goods. Afterwards, Malki-Tzedek (Malchizedek), king (and cohen/priest) of Shalem brought bread and wine and blessed Avram, and Avram then gave the cohen a tenth of everything he owned:
Genesis 14: 18 Malki-Tzedek king of Shalem brought out bread and wine. He was cohen of El 'Elyon [God Most High], 19 so he blessed him with these words: "Blessed be Avram by El 'Elyon, maker of heaven of earth. 20 and blessed be El 'Elyon, who handed your enemies over to you." Avram gave him a tenth of everything.
NOTE: Here Avram is giving a tenth [tithe] to the King and not to YHWH - but the message is clear that Avram understood "giving a tenth" because he understood Torah. Here he is honoring Malki-Tzedek as the king and cohen, so he (Avram) is complying with the Torah mitzvot/commands. This is yet another indication that Torah was already in place, way before Moshe ever arrived on the scene!
Below is an indepth explanation concerning Avram's tithe to Malki-Tzedek:
Hebrews 7: 1. Now this Melchisedec was king of Salem, a priest of the most high Elohim: and he met Awraham when returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him. 2. And to him Awraham set aside one-tenth portion of all that he had with him. And in addition, his name is interpreted king of righteousness; and again (he is called) King of Salem, that is, King of Peace. 3. Of whom neither his father nor his mother are recorded in the genealogies; nor the origination of his days nor the closing of his life; but, after the likeness of the Son of Elohim, his priesthood remains for ever.
4. And consider how great he was to whom the patriarch Awraham gave tithes and first-fruits. 5. For they of the sons of Levi who received the priesthood, had a statute of Torah that they should take tithes from the people; they from their Brothers, because they also are of the seed of Awraham. 6. But this man who is not recorded in their genealogies, took one-tenth from Awraham; and blessed him who had received the promise.
7. And so it is beyond disputation that the lesser is blessed by the greater. 8. And here, men who die, receive the tithes; but there he of whom the Scripture testifies that he lives. 9. And through Awraham, as one may say, even Levi who receives tithes was himself tithed. 10. For he was yet in the loins of his father when he met Melchisedec.
 When Rav Shaul references the meaning of the names, he is not "translating" them for his audience of Hebrew and Aramaic speakers. Instead he is teaching from the meaning of the name. He is making a deep remez (hint), as any good Torah teacher would, that looking at the meaning of the title of the name reveals a deeper lesson: that of how righteousness and peace are related. The rest of chapter 7 easily bears this idea out.
 Here is the key that sets the context for Hebrews 8:13. Throughout chapter 7, it is the "instruction" (Torah) of the Levitical priests being discussed, pointing towards Awraham submitting his sons to be into the line of Melchisedec (MalkiTsedec), by tithing to this man in advance. What happens is a switching of priestly modalities within Torah where the priestly model in Exodus gives way to its predecessor from Genesis, in accordance with all the prophecies in the Tanakh.
Again, the Pagans use this passage to teach that it is the "Law" that is passing away. Another vital component to understanding this priesthood is that the akeida (binding of Isaac) points to the MalkiTsedec priesthood, not to the Levitical priesthood. The akeida is fully realized in Mashiyach ben Yoseph, the Suffering Servant who is Y'shua. (Footnotes from the AENT)
In Genesis 15, we still see Avram questioning YHWH instead of trusting Him:
Genesis 15: 2 Avram replied, "ADONAI, God, what good will your gifts be to me if I continue childless; and Eli'ezer from Dammesek inherits my possessions? 3 You haven't given me a child," Avram continued, "so someone born in my house will be my heir." 4 But the word of ADONAI came to him: "This man will not be your heir. No, your heir will be a child from your own body." 5 Then he brought him outside and said, "Look up at the sky, and count the stars - if you can count them! Your descendants will be that many!" 6 He believed in ADONAI, and he credited it to him as righteousness.
In Genesis 15:12-16 YHWH tells Avram that his descendants will end up as slaves for 400 years and that HE will ultimately save them from bondage and allow them to "leave with many possessions." Then we see YHWH making another covenant with Avram, officially giving him the Land of Israel and - as mentioned above, Neither Avram nor any of his descendants ever sold the land - which means Israel NEVER belonged to anyone but the "Hebrews" (Avram's direct descendants and those who have accepted YHWH as their God)! (Today, we use the blanket term, "the Jews.")
Genesis 15: 17 After the sun had set and there was thick darkness, a smoking fire pot and a flaming torch appeared, which passed between these animal parts. 18 That day ADONAI made a covenant with Avram: "I have given this land to your descendants - from the Vadi of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates River - 19 the territory of the Keni, the K'nizi, the Kadmoni, 20 the Hitti, the P'rizi, the Refa'im, 21 the Emori, the Kena'ani, the Girgashi and the Y'vusi."
Moving on to Genesis 16 we see Avram and Sarai deciding to allow Sarai's female servant Hagar to bear a son for Avram - an act that would ultimately result in today's conflict between Israel and the Muslim nations. (This is the second time we see a woman leading her husband away from YHWH's path! The first time, Eve convinced Adam to eat the fruit of the tree (Genesis 3) and now, we see Sarai in Genesis 16, telling Avram to sleep with her servant so they could have a child - never mind that earlier in Genesis 15:4 YHWH had promised Avram he would have a child from his own body - meaning, Avram and his wife!) We don't see either Avram or Sarai truly placing ALL their trust in YHWH until Genesis 17 when YHWH affirms His covenant with Avram when Avram was 99 years old!
Genesis 17: 1 When Avram was 99 years old ADONAI appeared to Avram and said to him, "I am El Shaddai [God Almighty]. Walk in my presence and be pure-hearted. 2 I will make my covenant between me and you, and I will increase your numbers greatly." 3 Avram fell on his face, and God continued speaking with him:
4 "As for me, this is my covenant with you: you will be the father of many nations. 5 Your name will no longer be Avram [exalted father], but your name will be Avraham [father of many], because I have made you the father of many nations. 6 I will cause you to be very fruitful. I will make nations of you, kings will descend from you.
7 "I am establishing my covenant between me and you, along with your descendants after you, generation after generation, as an everlasting covenant, to be God for you and for your descendants after you. 8 I will give you and your descendants after you the land in which you are now foreigners, all the land of Kena'an, as a permanent possession; and I will be their God." 9 God said to Avraham, "As for you, you are to keep my covenant, you and your descendants after you, generation after generation.
10 Here is my covenant, which you are to keep, between me and you, along with your descendants after you: every male among you is to be circumcised. 11 You are to be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskin; this will be the sign of the covenant between me and you. 12 Generation after generation, every male among you who is eight days old is to be circumcised, including slaves born within your household and those bought from a foreigner not descended from you.
13 The slave born in your house and the person bought with your money must be circumcised; thus my covenant will be in your flesh as an everlasting covenant. 14 Any uncircumcised male who will not let himself be circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin -that person will be cut off from his people, because he has broken my covenant."
PLEASE NOTE THAT ALL MALES, those who were born to Avram and his descendants AND foreigners not descended from him, were to be circumcised, for this was YHWH's COVENANT! (As we will see in future Torah portions, YHWH expects ALL men who belong to Him to be circumcised; not just "the Jews"....)
We must remember that circumcision was not the "covenant" but the SIGN of the covenant! The circumcision issue goes so much deeper than just "cutting the flesh of the foreskin"....After all, as the Apostle Paul asked words to the effect of - what good is it for a man to feel he HAS to become circumcised, unless he realizes that he is obeying the act of circumcision because he loves YHWH and WANTS to please Him by doing His will, and so that he can be "set apart" from the world through the mere act of obedience?
A quick side note about about "something odd" in Genesis 16. Take a look:
Genesis 16:10 The angel of Adonai said to her, “I will greatly increase your descendants; there will be so many that it will be impossible to count them.” 11 The angel of Adonai said to her, “Look, you are pregnant, and you will give birth to a son. You are to call him Yishma‘el [God pays attention] because Adonai has paid attention to your misery. 12 He will be a wild donkey of a man, with his hand against everyone and everyone’s hand against him, living his life at odds with all his kinsmen.” (CJB)
Contemplate verse 10 and ask yourself: Can ANGELS (created beings) promise to “increase” anyone’s descendants?
The answer is: Of course they can’t. Their job is only to do what YHWH tells them to do. It is simply to be understood that this “Messenger of YHWH” was simply relating a message directly from YHWH.
Psalm 103:20 Bless Adonai, you angels of his, you mighty warriors who obey his word, who carry out his orders! 21 Bless Adonai, all his troops, who serve him and do what he wants! 22 Bless Adonai, all his works, in every place where he rules! Bless Adonai, my soul! (CJB)
THOUGHT TO PONDER:
Ishmael was a child of the uncircumcised Abram; Isaac was born to circumcised Abraham. BUT ... Ishmael was eventually circumised at age 13 and, as such, he WAS ABLE TO come into covenant with YHWH through obedience to YHWH's Divine Instructions, just like his father, Abraham.
Moving on, note after these events, that YHWH changed Avram's name to Avraham and Sarai's name to Sarah:
Genesis 17: 15 God said to Avraham, "As for Sarai your wife, you are not to call her Sarai [mockery]; her name is to be Sarah [princess]. 16 I will bless her; moreover, I will give you a son by her. Truly I will bless her: she will be a mother of nations; kings of peoples will come from her (this included Yeshua!!!)." 17 At this Avraham fell on his face and laughed - he thought to himself, "Will a child be born to a man a hundred years old? Will Sarah give birth at ninety?" 18 Avraham said to God, "If only Yishma'el could live in your presence!"
19 God answered, "No, but Sarah your wife will bear you a son, and you are to call him Yitz'chak [laughter]. I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him. 20 But as for Yishma'el, I have heard you. I have blessed him. I will make him fruitful and give him many descendants. He will father twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation. 21 But I will establish my covenant with Yitz'chak, whom Sarah will bear to you at this time next year." 22 With that, God finished speaking with Avraham and went up from him.
How much clearer could YHWH get? How many times in just the above scriptures did He order Avram (who became "Avraham" which meant "father of many") to keep His everlasting covenants? Please note at this time that Avraham was NOT a "Jew"! He was a Hebrew...and like all those believers before him, he was Torah observant....
Finally, both Avraham (aged 99) and his son Yishmael were circumcised on the same day - along with every male in his household (Genesis 17:24). YHWH was always adamant about anyone who accepted Him as God (including their slaves, relatives, friends, etc.) being "community" and acting as one body.
Today, as you know, most believe whatever they want - and just look at what has happened to the world because of it!
In today's Haftarah readings, we see YHWH reiterating that He CHOSE Avraham and his descendants (none of whom were "Jews") to be His special people. "The church" never replaced "the chosen"; however, Gentiles CAN be grafted in to become "Hebrews" (which means, "to cross over"), and consequently, part of YHWH's chosen, merely by becoming Torah observant believers in Y'shua....
Isaiah 41: 8 "But you, Isra'el, my servant; Ya'akov, whom I have chosen, descendants of Avraham my friend, 9 I have taken you from the ends of the earth, summoned you from its most distant parts and said to you, 'You are my servant' - I have chosen you, not rejected you. 10 Don't be afraid, for I am with you; don't be distressed, for I am your God. I give you strength, I give you help, I support you with my victorious right hand.
11 All those who were angry with you will be disgraced, put to shame; those who fought against you will be destroyed, brought to nothing. 12 You will seek them but not find them, those who contended with you; yes, those who made war with you will be brought to nothing, nothing at all. 13 For I, ADONAI, your God, say to you, as I hold your right hand, 'Have no fear; I will help you. 14 Have no fear, Ya'akov, you worm, you men of Isra'el!' I will help you," says ADONAI; "Your redeemer is the Holy One of Isra'el.
15 "I will make you into a threshing-sledge, new, with sharp, pointed teeth, to thresh the mountains and crush them to dust, to reduce the hills to chaff. 16 As you fan them, the wind will carry them off, and the whirlwind will scatter them. Then you will rejoice in ADONAI, you will glory in the Holy One of Isra'el.
B'rit Chadasha readings:
This week's B'rit Chadasha reading which, when read in context, reveals that YHWH's Torah is still valid today. Christianity has taken the writings of Paul WAY out of context and attempted to use those writings to show that Torah is no longer valid today. However, a whole new picture emerges when Paul's writings are read IN CONTEXT. Take a look:
Romans 3: 19. Now we know, that whatever Torah says, it says to them who are under Torah; that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world be guilty before Elohim. 20. Wherefore, by the deeds of Torah, no flesh is justified before him: for, by Torah, sin is known. 21. But now, the righteousness of Elohim without Torah, is manifested; and Torah. and the prophets testify of it. 22. Even the righteousness of Elohim, which is by faith in Y'shua the Mashiyach for every one and on every one that believes in him: for there is no distinction; 23. For they have all sinned, and failed of the glory of Elohim. 24. And they are granted the status of being righteous by grace and by the redemption which is in Y'shua the Mashiyach....
25. Whom Elohim has ordained in advance a propitiation by faith in his blood, because of our previous sins 26. In the space which Elohim in his long suffering gave to us for the manifestation of his righteousness at the present time, that he might be righteous, and might with righteousness make him righteous who is in the faith of our Master Y'shua the Mashiyach. 27. Where then is glorying? It is completely unmade. By what Torah? By that of works? No! But by the Torah of faith. 28. We therefore conclude, that it is by faith a man is being made righteous, and not by the works. of Torah. 29. For, is he the Elohim of the Jews only and not of the Gentiles? No, but of the Gentiles also. Because there is one Elohim who makes righteous the circumcision by faith, and the uncircumcision by 30. the same faith. 31. Do, we then nullify Torah by faith? May it never be! On the contrary, we establish Torah.
FOOTNOTES FROM AENT:
 Torah sets YHWH's boundaries as to what is good or evil behavior; therefore, this cannot and does not make Torah a bad thing, but a very good thing! Rav Shaul returns to this precise point again in the seventh chapter.
 Y'shua qualified as Mashiyach because he fulfilled all Torah and Prophetic requirements, and he became Torah. Torah is written upon the heart by the Ruach haKodesh; the Spirit of Mashiyach is Torah which is the Spirit of Mashiyach, or the Manifestation (Word) of YHWH which became flesh and dwelt among us. Therefore, if we live "in" Y'shua we also become Torah. It is evil to posture that Rav Shaul brought Torah down, when in fact Y'shua and Paul restored and elevated Torah to be the foundation of a spiritual dialogue with Heaven.
 The terms "works of Torah" and "under Torah" predate Paul by hundreds of years. These terms were discovered in the Dead Sea Scrolls (A Sectarian Manifesto 4QMMT:4Q394-399); while originally referring to the ultra religious halacha of the Essenes, the same principles apply to the Pharisees' halacha. These two phrases are also mentioned in Romans 6:14, 15; 9:32; 1 Corinthians 9:20; 21; Galatians 2:16; 3:2, 5, 10, 23; 4:4, 5, 21; 5:18.
"Under Torah" refers to the orthodox/traditional interpretation and observance of Torah. Religious halacha is clearly NOT what Y'shua or Paul followed in their observance of Torah. The Renewed Covenant promise in Jeremiah 31:33 is to write the Torah of YHWH upon the hearts of His people, not the "Torah of men." The idiomatic expression "works of Torah" provides insight to those of a "traditional" Jewish upbringing. Paul references Jews at the beginning of this chapter; in verse 19 he states "Now we know" referring to those who understand Torah and halacha.
Romans 4: 6. As Dawid also speaks of the blessedness of the man to whom Elohim proclaimed as righteous without works, 7. saying: Blessed are they whose sin is forgiven and whose sins are covered up: 8. And, Blessed is the man to whom Elohim will not account his sin. 9. This blessedness, therefore, is it on the circumcision or on the uncircumcision? For we say that Awraham's faith was credited to him for righteousness. 10. How then was it credited to him? In circumcision or in uncircumcision? Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision.
11. For he received circumcision as the sign and the seal of the righteousness of his faith while in uncircumcision: that he might become the father of all them of the uncircumcision who believe; and that it might be reckoned to them also for righteousness: 12. And the father of the circumcision; not to them only who are of the circumcision, but to them also who fulfill the steps of the faith of our father Awraham in (his) uncircumcision. 13. For the promise to Awraham and to his seed, that he should become the heir of the world, was not by Torah, but by the righteousness of his faith.
14. For if they who are of Torah were heirs, faith would be made void, and the promise of no force. 15. For Torah is a worker of wrath; because where no instruction is, there is no transgression of Torah. 16. Wherefore, it is by the faith which is by grace, that we are being made righteous: so that the promise may be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of Torah, but also to that which is of the faith of Awraham who is the father of us all.
FOOTNOTES FROM AENT:
 Awraham confirmed his understanding and righteousness-credit by obeying YHWH and getting physically circumcised!
 Rav Shaul is teaching that Awraham's physical circumcision came after he believed, after he had faith, after his heart was circumcised, in opposition to a contemporary false teaching that circumcision should come first before belief or faith. At no time does Rav Shaul ever discount physical circumcision; he simply rejects false religious traditions that turned circumcision into a device to control new converts. This principle also applies to those who would hurriedly baptize new converts in an effort to show strong numbers, or practicing "forced conversions."
 Like the Hebrew word "Torah", the Aramaic namusa can refer to the entire corpus of work or to an individual instruction for a person or group ("torah" with a small "t"). This verse literally reads, "where there is no Torah provision against an action, there is no transgression." The KJV reads "Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression." Mainstream Christianity translates this to mean that Torah is done away with, but Rav Shaul is teaching the very opposite. Wherever Torah is NOT being taught, people will do what is right in their own eyes, thus bringing the wrath of YHWH upon themselves.
 Having Awraham as a father brings the responsibility of being honorable children, worthy of his legacy! Contrary to Christian theology; faith, while credited to Awraham as righteousness, was not the only component of his total righteousness. It is what Awraham did with his faith that brings him near to YHWH. As YHWH Himself declares: "I swore to your father Avraham. I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and will give them all these lands, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because Awraham obeyed Me and kept My requirements, My commands, My decrees and My laws." Genesis 26:4-5.
Hebrews 11 perfectly sums up our Torah portion for this week:
Hebrews 11: 8. By faith Awraham, when he was called, obeyed and departed to the place which he was to receive for an inheritance: and he departed while he had no idea where he was going. 9. By faith he became a resident in the land that was promised him as in a foreign land; and resided in tents with Yitz'chak and Ya'akov, the heirs with him of the same promise. 10. For he looked for the city that has a foundation of which the builder and maker is Elohim. 11. By faith Sarah also, who was barren, acquired the power to receive seed; and out of the time of her years, she brought forth because she firmly believed that he was faithful who had promised her. 12. Therefore, from one man failing through age, myriads were born, like the stars in the heavens and like the sand on the shore of the sea which is beyond all counting.
There is so much more that could be said about today's study, and we wholeheartedly urge you to read the cited scriptures through, if you haven't already done so. If you have any questions or comments, please don't hesitate to write! Thank you for reading our Torah study notes for this week, and we pray for you a blessed week ahead, that may you ever grow in your knowledge of YHWH. And, as always, please let us know if you ever see anything in our studies that sounds "off the mark"! Nobody has the market cornered on absolute Truth; we are all learning and obeying to the best of our abilities....
The next Parashah reading will be:
Parashah 4: Vayera (He appeared) - Genesis 18:1 through 22:24.
Haftarah (Writings and Prophets): 2 Kings 4:1-37.
B'rit Hadasha (New Testament): Luke 17:26-37; Romans 9:6-9; Galatians 4:21-31; Hebrews 6:13-20, 11:13-19; James 2:14-24; 2 Peter 2:4-10.
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