Welcome to this week's Torah portion, Deuteronomy - or D'varim (pronounced "De-var-eem") in Hebrew! The word "d'varim" is the plural form of the word "d'var," which means, "word." This Torah portion actually serves as a recap of the major events in the lives of the Hebrews who were rescued from Egypt...
It just so happens that this particular Torah portion often falls in the Hebrew month of Av (the fifth month on the Hebrew calendar), which is traditionally regarded as the most tragic month. On the first day of Av, Aharon (or Aaron - the first High Priest of Israel) died (see Numbers 33:38), which was regarded as a prophetic omen of the future destruction of both of the Temples on the Ninth of Av. The Ninth of Av, also known as Tishah B'Av, is an annual day of mourning that recalls the many tragedies that have befallen the Jewish people over the centuries, some of which occurred on the ninth day of the Hebrew month of Av.
Tishah B'Av also falls between the two times Moshe received the tablets of the covenant (the first during Shavuot and the second after a period of repentance, during Yom Kippur). This means that just two months after celebrating the Sinai revelation, we believers (YHWH's people) mourn for the destruction of the Temple and the beginning of the long exile of the Jewish people. However, two months later, we celebrate national atonement and the restoration of the covenant during the High Holy Day of Yom Kippur!
This whole period is also prophetic because Shavuot (which falls 50 days after Passover) recalls the ascension of Y'shua and the giving of the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit). Tishah B'Av foretells of Israel's long exile and the "age of grace" extended to the Gentiles; and Yom Kippur foretells the coming atonement of the Jewish people at the end of the age, when Israel accepts Y'shua as their great High Priest of the New Covenant (Jeremiah 30:24).
Before we resume with our Torah portion in Deuteronomy, we quickly need to back up to Numbers 32 which revealed why the Israelites ended up in the desert for 40 years; and that, because of it, "a new generation" of Israelites would be going into the Promised Land:
Numbers 32: 13 Thus ADONAI's anger blazed against Isra'el, so that he made them wander here and there in the desert forty years, until all the generation that had done evil in the sight of ADONAI had died out.
And this is why we now see Moshe reviewing the entire 40 year history for a "new generation"! He wants them to know and remember so they can learn to appreciate what YHWH did for them and to pass that knowledge along to future generations.
Deuteronomy 1: 3 On the first day of the eleventh month of the fortieth year, Moshe spoke to the people of Isra'el, reviewing everything ADONAI had ordered him to tell them. 4 This was after he had defeated Sichon, king of the Emori, who lived in Heshbon, and 'Og, king of Bashan, who lived in 'Ashtarot, at Edre'i. 5 There, beyond the Yarden, in the land of Mo'av, Moshe took it upon himself to expound this Torah and said: 6 "ADONAI spoke to us in Horev. He said, 'You have lived long enough by this mountain.
7 Turn, get moving and go to the hill-country of the Emori and all the places near there in the 'Aravah, the hill-country, the Sh'felah, the Negev and by the seashore - the land of the Kena'ani, and the L'vanon, as far as the great river, the Euphrates River. 8 I have set the land before you! Go in, and take possession of the land ADONAI swore to give to your ancestors Avraham, Yitz'chak and Ya'akov, and their descendants after them.'
This, of course refers back to Genesis 15, where we first learned that YHWH gave the Land to HIS people:
Genesis 15: 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."
Notice in Deuteronomy 1:8 above we see proof positive that YHWH gave the Land of Israel to the Hebrews. In all this time NOBODY has ever bought the Land, nor does the Bible tell us that He took it back and gave it to someone else. Therefore, it still belongs to the Israelites (which includes the "foreigners/aliens" who chose to come out of Egypt with the Hebrews during the Exodus).
Leviticus 25 tells us: 23 "The land is not to be sold in perpetuity, because the land belongs to me - you are only foreigners and temporary residents.:
Moshe reiterated YHWH's words in Deuteronomy 1:21: Look! ADONAI your God has placed the land before you. Go up, take possession, as ADONAI, the God of your ancestors, has told you. Don't be afraid, don't be dismayed.
Returning to Moshe's sermon in Deuteronomy, we see that he "pulled no punches" concerning the history of his rebellious people, constantly reminding them of who they are:
Deuteronomy 1: 12 "But you burdensome, bothersome and quarrelsome!
Deuteronomy 1: 26 "But you would not go up. Instead you rebelled against the order of ADONAI your God; 27 and in your tents you complained, 'It's because ADONAI hated us that he has brought us out of the land of Egypt, only to hand us over to the Emori to destroy us. 28 What sort of place is it that we're heading for? Our brothers made our courage fail when they said, "The people are bigger and taller than we are; the cities are great and fortified up to the sky; and finally, we have seen 'Anakim there."'
29 "I answered you, 'Don't be fearful, don't be afraid of them. 30 ADONAI your God, who is going ahead of you, will fight on your behalf, just as he accomplished all those things for you in Egypt before your eyes, 31 and likewise in the desert, where you saw how ADONAI your God carried you, like a man carries his child, along the entire way you traveled until you arrived at this place. 32 Yet in this matter you don't trust ADONAI your God, 33 even though he went ahead of you, seeking out places for you to pitch your tents and showing you which way to go, by fire at night and by a cloud during the day.'
34 "ADONAI heard what you were saying, became angry and swore, 35 'Not a single one of these people, this whole evil generation, will see the good land I swore to give to your ancestors, 36 except Kalev the son of Y'funeh -he will see it; I will give him and his descendants the land he walked on, because he has fully followed ADONAI.' 37 "Also, because of you ADONAI was angry with me and said, 'You too will not go in there. 38 Y'hoshua the son of Nun, your assistant -he will go in there. So encourage him, because he will enable Isra'el to take possession of it. 39 Moreover, your little ones, who you said would be taken as booty, and your children who don't yet know good from bad -they will go in there; I will give it to them, and they will have possession of it. 40 But as for yourselves, turn around and head into the desert by the road to the Sea of Suf.'
41 "Then you answered me, 'We have sinned against ADONAI. Now we will go up and fight, in accordance with everything ADONAI our God ordered us.'And every man among you put on his arms, considering it an easy matter to go up into the hill-country. 42 But ADONAI said to me, 'Tell them, "Don't go up, and don't fight, because I am not there with you; if you do, your enemies will defeat you."' 43 So I told you, but you wouldn't listen. Instead, you rebelled against ADONAI's order, took matters into your own hands and went up into the hill-country; 44 where the Emori living in that hill-country came out against you like bees, defeated you in Se'ir and chased you back all the way to Hormah. 45 You returned and cried before ADONAI, but ADONAI neither listened to what you said nor paid you any attention.
Please take a look at verse 39 above, as it refers to the responsibility of parents teaching their young ones about YHWH and His Torah, and the children's ultimate responsibilities and accountability to Him once they become adults. Most of today's youth (including those of many believers) receive no real training of any kind from their parents who are usually too busy "making a living" or thinking only of themselves, or who have fallen into the modern trap of apathy and lethargy and refuse to bother teaching their children about anything, much less YHWH and His Torah. Our "western" society allows children "the right" to decide right from wrong on their own - "morals" that many of them learned from watching TV....
In Deuteronomy 2, we learn that most of those who were rebellious during the 40-year trek through the wilderness had died out:
Deuteronomy 2: 14 The time between our leaving Kadesh-Barnea and our crossing Vadi Zered was thirty-eight years - until the whole generation of men capable of bearing arms had been eliminated from the camp, as ADONAI had sworn they would be.
One cannot help but wonder how many of us today would have been among the dead, had we been among YHWH's people in those days!
Moving on to the Haftarah and B'rit Chadasha portions, we find something very interesting. First, we see Isaiah lamenting the rebelliousness of YHWH's people:
Isaiah 1: 2 "Hear, heaven! Listen, earth! For ADONAI is speaking. "I raised and brought up children, but they rebelled against me. 3 An ox knows its owner and a donkey its master's stall, but Isra'el does not know, my people do not reflect. 4 "Oh, sinful nation, a people weighed down by iniquity, descendants of evildoers, immoral children! They have abandoned ADONAI, spurned the Holy One of Isra'el, turned their backs on him! 5 "Where should I strike you next, as you persist in rebelling? The whole head is sick, the whole heart diseased.
6 From the sole of the foot to the head there is nothing healthy, only wounds, bruises and festering sores that haven't been dressed or bandaged or softened up with oil. 7 "Your land is desolate, your cities are burned to the ground; foreigners devour your land in your presence; it's as desolate as if overwhelmed by floods. 8 The daughter of Tziyon is left like a shack in a vineyard, like a shed in a cucumber field, like a city under siege." 9 If ADONAI-Tzva'ot had not left us a tiny, tiny remnant, we would have become like S'dom, we would have resembled 'Amora.
The above passage is one of the scripture references where many Christians get the idea that YHWH has turned his back on "the Jews" and replaced them with the Gentile church. This, of course, isn't true, as YHWH will not go back on His covenants. For instance:
Genesis 12: 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."
Deuteronomy 7: 6 For you are a people set apart as holy for ADONAI your God. ADONAI your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be his own unique treasure. 7 ADONAI didn't set his heart on you or choose you because you numbered more than any other people - on the contrary, you were the fewest of all peoples. 8 Rather, it was because ADONAI loved you, and because he wanted to keep the oath which he had sworn to your ancestors, that ADONAI brought you out with a strong hand and redeemed you from a life of slavery under the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.
Jeremiah 31: 35 This is what ADONAI says, who gives the sun as light for the day, who ordained the laws for the moon and stars to provide light for the night, who stirs up the sea until its waves rorar -- ADONAI-Tzva'ot is his name: 36 "If these laws leave my presence," says ADONAI, "then the offspring of Isra'el will stop being a nation in my presence forever." 37 This is what ADONAI says: "If the sky above can be measured and the foundations of the earth be fathomed, then I will reject all the offspring of Isra'el for all that they have done," says ADONAI.
Zechariah 8: 22 Yes, many peoples and powerful nations will come to consult ADONAI-Tzva'ot in Yerushalayim and to ask ADONAI's favor.' 23 ADONAI-Tzva'ot says, 'When that time comes, ten men will take hold - speaking all the languages of the nations - will grab hold of the cloak of a Jew and say, "We want to go with you, because we have heard that God is with you."'"
Romans 11: 25. (For I want you to know this) mystery, that blindness of heart has in some measure befallen Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles will come in: 26. And then will all Israel live. As it is written: A deliverer will come from Tsiyon and will turn away iniquity from Ya'akov. 27. And then will they have the covenant that proceed from me when I will have forgiven their sins.
NOTE: All Israel refers to those souls who make Teshuva (turn to YHWH) and welcome the Spirit of Mashiyach. Paul does not say or mean that every Jew or Israelite by race will enter into the Malchut Elohim (Kingdom) (see Matt 22:2-14; 25:1-12).
The passage below is one of the scripture references where many Christians get the idea that YHWH no longer requires Torah obedience - BIG MISTAKE!
Isaiah 1: 11 "Why are all those sacrifices offered to me?" asks ADONAI. "I'm fed up with burnt offerings of rams and the fat of fattened animals! I get no pleasure from the blood of bulls, lambs and goats! 12 Yes, you come to appear in my presence; but who asked you to do this, to trample through my courtyards? 13 Stop bringing worthless grain offerings! They are like disgusting incense to me! Rosh-Hodesh, Shabbat, calling convocations - I can't stand evil together with your assemblies! 14 Everything in me hates your Rosh-Hodesh and your festivals; they are a burden to me - I'm tired of putting up with them!
Here YHWH was not saying Torah obedience was abolished; instead, He was saying "Don't do these things if you're NOT going to be obedient!"
Brit Chadasha portion:
Now look at what Yeshua said - which reiterates how mankind is supposed to be!
John 15: 1. I am the Vine of Truth and my Father is the Cultivator. 2. Every branch that is on me that does not give fruit, He takes it away. And that which bears fruit He prunes it that it might produce more fruit. 3. You are already pruned because of the word which I have spoken with you. 4. Abide in me and I in you, as the branch is not able to produce fruit by itself unless it should abide in the vine. Likewise you are also not able unless you abide in me. 5. I am the Vine and you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, this man will produce plentiful fruit because without me you are not able to do anything.
6. Now unless a man abide in me, he is cast aside like a branch that is withered and they pluck it and place it into the fire that it may burn. 7. Now if you abide in me and my words abide in you, anything that you desire to ask will be given to you. 8. In this the Father is glorified that you bear abundant fruit and that you be my disciples. 9. As my Father has loved me, so too I have loved you. Abide in my love. 10. If you keep my Commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept the Commandments of my Father, and I abide in His love. 11. I have spoken these things with you that my joy may be in you and that your joy might be full in you.
FOOTNOTES FROM THE AENT:
 Here Y'shua uses the divine form of "I am" (Ena-na) indicating that YHWH is speaking through him.
 Aramaic "shebista" is the word for "branch"; however, the Netzer/branch of Isaiah 11:1-2 is also being pictured here. The Netzer wordplays with haNatzrati "the Nazarene" and "haNetzarim," "the Netzarim" title for disciples; see Acts 24:5.
 The "Commandments of my Father" always refers to Torah; see also John 15:5. Y'shua and his Talmidim (disciples) keep his Father's Commandments, but mainstream Christianity is not only anti-Torah; they turned rebellion against Torah into a "fashionable" form of lawlessness. See Daniel 7:24; 2 Thessalonians 2:7; 2 Timothy 2:19; Titus 2:14; 2 Peter 2:21; 1 John 3:4; Hebrews 2:2-4; Romans 4:15; Matthew 7:23; 13:41.
Hebrews 3: 7. Because the Ruach haKodesh has said: Today, if you will hear his voice, 8. and do not harden your hearts to bring him to wrath, like those who provoke, and as in the day of temptation in the wilderness, 9. when your fathers tried my patience, and proved, (and) saw my works forty years. 10. Therefore I was disgusted with that generation, and said: This is a people, whose heart has strayed, and they have not known my ways: 11. so that I swore in my anger, that they should not enter into my rest. 12. Beware, therefore, my Brothers, so that there will not be in any of you an evil heart that does not believe, and you depart from the living Elohim.
13. But look deeply into yourselves all the days, during the day which is called today; and let none of you be hardened, through the deceitfulness of sin.14. For we have part with the Mashiyach, if we endure in this firm confidence, from the beginning to the end: 15 as it is said, Today, if you will hear his voice, and do not harden your hearts, to anger him. 16. But who were they that heard, and angered him? It was not all they, who came out of Egypt under Moshe. 17. And with whom was he disgusted forty years, but with those who sinned, and whose corpses fell in the wilderness? 18. and of whom swore he, that they should not enter into his rest, but of those who did not believe? 19. So we see that they could not enter, because they did not believe.
Hebrews 4: 1. Let us fear, therefore, or else while there is a firm promise of entering into his rest, any among you should be found coming short of entering. 2. For to us also is the announcement, as well as to them: but the Word they heard did not benefit them because it was not combined with the faith of those who heard it. 3. But we who have believed do enter into rest. But as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath that they will not enter into my rest: for behold, the works of Elohim existed from the foundation of the world. 4. As he said of the Shabbat, Elohim rested on the seventh day from all his works. 5. And here again, he said, They will not enter into my rest.
6. Therefore, because there was a place where one and another might enter; and those persons from the first to whom the Good News was delivered did not enter, because they had no faith: 7. again he established another day, a long time afterwards; as above written, that Dawid said, Today, if you will hear his voice, and do not harden your hearts. 8. For if Yehoshua, the son of Nun, had given them rest, he would not have spoken afterwards of another day. 9. For there remains a Shabbat for the people of Elohim. 10. For he who had entered into his rest has also rested from his works as Elohim did from his. 11. Let us, therefore, strive to enter into that rest; or else we fall short, after the way of those who did not believe.