Watch: Parasha Re’eh 2022-23: Torah in Acts 15!
Devarim (Deuteronomy) 11:26-16:17, Yeshayahu (Isaiah) 66, Ma’asei (Acts) 15
Welcome to Nazarene Israel. I am Norman Willis, and this is “Parasha Re’eh” for 2022. Yes, I know it is 2023 on the Gregorian Roman Calendar already, but we need a simple way to keep things straight that everyone could understand. This barley cycle began in 2022, so we will continue to have parashiot (of the 2022 series) until the next barley cycle begins in a few months (in 2023).
We have a very special parasha for you this week. Uli was going to take over the parasha this week, but several things came up that required his attention. So (Father willing), Uli will be back to take over the parasha next week for Parasha Shoftim.
In the meantime, I am giving thanks and praise for Yahweh’s perfect timing because His timing is truly amazing. For example, we had some very important questions come up this week regarding Ma’asei (Acts) chapter 15. As we were answering these questions and doing the parasha, we realized that the answers to all of the questions that came up were contained in this week’s Torah portion in Parasha Re’eh.
So this week, I want to show you how the four (actually more) rules of Ma’asei (Acts) chapter 15 are all found in this week’s Torah portion in Parasha Re’eh. If we think about it, it is as if Ma’asei 15 is a reflection of the principles and the precepts found in this week’s parasha and the Torah in general. Is that not also to say that the principles of Acts 15 reflect Yeshua’s heart? All this is found in this week’s Parasha Re’eh.
In the Nazarene Israel study, we explain what is called the mystery of “The Two Houses of Israel”.
The mystery is that ever since earliest times (in fact as early as Genesis [B’reisheet] chapter 35 and verse 11), it was prophesied that there would always be a division inside the nation of Israel. For example, the Creator Yahweh told Israel (Yaakov) that he would father a great nation (Judah) and a company of nations, which as we show in the Nazarene Israel study, are the Christian nations. There are no other possibilities because those are the only two groups of people who even read His book, so who else could it even be?
B’reisheet (Genesis) 35:11
11 “Also Elohim said to him: “I am Elohim Almighty. Be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall proceed from you, and kings shall come from your body.”
All throughout Scripture, we see this division in the nation based on lines between north and south. There were two (or we can say three) tribes which dwelt in the south and at first, they were referred to as the southern House of Judah. They are the ancestors of the Jews as we know them today both physically and spiritually (we will talk about the Khazars, dispersions, exoduses, and all these sort of things some other time).
There were also ten tribes that settled in the north and the original name of these ten tribes in the north was the northern House of Ephraim (also called the northern House of Israel in Scripture). This northern House of Israel (Ephraim) later became the company of nations (company of Christian nations) that we saw in B’reisheet (Genesis) chapter 35 and verse 11. These prophesies began to walk out after the days of Kings David and Solomon when the nation of Israel split into two parts. There were two kingdoms: one northern and one southern. Now, instead of the southern House of Judah, we now have the southern Kingdom of Judah. Instead of the northern ten tribes of the House of Ephraim (Israel), there was now the northern Kingdom of Ephraim (Kingdom of Israel) in the north.
To make a long story short, these 10 northern tribes disobeyed Yahweh and then became lost to history because of their disobedience to Yahweh and His Torah. However, they never became lost to Scripture and Yahweh always knew where we were. As we will see, the Rabbis of the southern Kingdom of Judah also always knew where we were, only they were not always letting on that they knew where we were which really is not too nice if you think about it.
In the Nazarene Israel study, we show that the 10 northern tribes of the House of Israel (Ephraim) became scattered out into the nations for their disobedience to Yahweh’s Commandments and yet, Yahweh is a very merciful, kind, and compassionate Elohim. Scripture always prophesied that these Lost Ten Tribes would one day return.
In Matthew chapter 15 and verse 24, Yeshua Messiah tells us that He was not sent on his first advent as Mashiach except to the lost sheep of the House of Israel (northern House of Ephraim) meaning the Lost Ten Tribes. That is who He was sent to and maybe that has something to do with the reason why Yeshua’s brothers in Judah did not accept Him on His first advent as the Mashiach. He was not sent for them on His first trip, rather He was only sent to begin a two millennia-long regathering process to regather the Lost Ten Tribes and marshaling them for the final battle.
Mattityahu (Matthew) 15:24
24 “But He answered and said, “I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the House of Israel.”
That is why Hoshea chapter 6 and verse 2 tells us that it would be after two prophetic days (two thousand years) that the Mashiach would revive the Lost Ten Tribes so we might live before Him in His sight during the third thousand years (what is often called the millennium). We give all the details of that in the Nazarene Israel study and also in our study on Revelation & the End Times.
Hoshea (Hosea) 6:2
2 “After two days He will revive us; On the third day He will raise us up, that we may live in His sight.”
If you stick around long enough, we will put it all on video, but it is better to read the book study. Either way, you will get a lot more out of it (especially if you think we are wrong). I would ask you to please read the study. A lot of people have been saved this way and we just have to be willing to let Scripture be Scripture and not write our own rules.
As we explain in the Nazarene Israel study, and also in Revelation & the End Times, there are several prophetic time windows that are coming to completion now in our days. First there was a prophetic time window of punishment of about 2,730 years that was opened up when the Lost Ten Tribes (Ephraim) were taken into captivity in Assyria for our disobedience to Yahweh’s Torah. The 2,730-year time of punishment then ran out around 1996 to about the year 2000. We talk about that more in the Nazarene Israel study and not surprisingly, what we began to see about that time, was the initial resurgence of the House of Ephraim (House of Israel). The Lost Ten Tribes were being called back to the Torah because of our belief in Yeshua. Let us remember that the job of a Mashiach (traditionally), is to re-gather the lost and scattered of Israel, bring them back to the Covenant, and vanquish the enemies of Israel. We can also remember that many scholars believe the Mashiach was born around the year 4 BCE (we also believe that) and then 2,000 years from 4 BCE would be 1996 CE.
This coincides also with Hoshea (Hosea) chapter 6 and verse 2 (which we just saw) which says that:
Hoshea (Hosea) 6:2
2 “After two [prophetic] days [two thousand years], He will revive us; On the third day [and in the third thousand years], He will raise [lift] us up, that we may live [before Him] in His sight.”
For another testimonial witness to this, I was called to repentance in 1999 (in that prophetic time window from 1996 to 2000). If we know that 2,000 years from the Messiah’s birth was a critically important time frame for the return of the Lost Ten Tribes, then what about 2,000 years from the Mashiach’s beginning of His Ministry?
We know that Mashiach was born around 4 BCE and He began His Ministry when He was about 30 years of age. If we run the numbers and do the math, that shows that it would have been about the year 26 CE and 2,000 years from that would be 2026 CE which, at the time of this recording, is only three or so years away. What does that mean?
What it means in context is that in about three years, we are going to see a lot more people coming back to the Torah because of Yeshua’s Spirit calling them. Remember, we are doing a rough timing here so it could be up to four years later because it is a prophetic time window, but you get my point. The point is, we need to get ready now.
Let us further consider that if two thousand years from the start of Yeshua’s Ministry is going to be a big deal here in about three years, what about two thousand years from Yeshua’s death, burial, resurrection, and the giving of the Spirit? What happens then? We can talk about what is going to happen in a spiritual sense but we also know in a worldly sense that our Sabbatean Frankist brethren are working on their own Masonic Lodge New World Order complete with Agenda 2030 and mass population reduction. They are working on it and things are going to go their way (we talk about that in Revelation & the End Times) until they fall apart.
It is too bad that our people do not just stay committed to Yahweh so then all these things would not be necessary, but that is how most of our brethren are. When we are in our flesh and when we are not paying attention to Yahweh, we feel that we do not need Yahweh because times are going well and of course it is our right hand, it is our power and strength that has received all this wealth and all this good stuff for us, right? But then it is only when times get hard that we actually cry out to Him and acknowledge that He in fact is the Sovereign and King. We can imagine things starting to get hard for us around 2030 CE. As a result, more people will be uncomfortable and therefore more people will be seeking the truth beginning about 2026 (give or take) and then continuing through about 2030 (give or take). Does that seem like a reasonable scenario? We give all the details to that in Nazarene Israel and also in Revelation & the End Times.
Let us think logically about this. We want to take a big picture focus here. If we can expect more people to be coming to the Faith (meaning we can expect more people to begin joining us in just a few short years), then what are the rules for this? We know that Yahweh is an Elohim of order as in all the assemblies of the set -apart ones. We have a lot of Ministries out there that are preaching disorder. They are not preaching unity on a single five-fold foundation of Apostles and Prophets.
Let us think about this; come let us reason together. We know that they had assemblies back in first century times. We also know from the book of Acts that they had rulers of the congregations (rulers of the assembly) back in the first century (in Yeshua’s time). The question then becomes, if there were rulers of the congregations back in Yeshua’s times, what are the rules for Yeshua’s congregations if we are to imitate Him, if we are to walk even as He walked?
We hope to talk about that a lot more in upcoming videos and we will see that the rules for the first century synagogue (second temple era) are very different than the rules that they use in Rabbinic congregations today. There was a big change around the year 220 CE. A lot of Babylonian rules were adopted so the synagogue of Yeshua’s time were very different than the synagogue of today and for sure, it is even more different than the church.
People have questions and we had to address these today. How do you know who you can invite for fellowship and who you can not? What are the rules for this? Before we take a look at the Torah portion in Parsha Re’eh, let us first talk about the great falling away of when the Israelite sect of the Nazarenes began to spread the Nazarene Israelite faith outside the land of Israel. Inside the land of Israel, Nazarene Jews generally understood the importance of keeping the Torah; it was just understood.
That is why when Shaliach Shaul (Apostle Paul) came up to Jerusalem in Ma’asei chapter 21, he met with Yaakov HaNasi the leader (prince) of the Jerusalem Leadership Council (Beit Din Gadol) and they said to Shaul, “You see brother, how many myriads of Jews there are who have believed [on Yeshua] and [yet] they are all [very] zealous for the [Torah of Moshe]”. The Jews understood that the Torah served as Israel’s ketubah (marital Covenant) but not everyone understood that.
Ma’asei (Acts) 21:20
20 “And when they heard it, they glorified the Yahweh. And they said to him, “You see, brother, how many myriads of Jews there are who have believed, and they are all zealous for the law;”
As the faith began to spread to non-jews such as Cornelius inside the land of Israel, it also began to spread to the Hellenized (reformed Jews) in places outside the land of Israel such as in Antioch and in Antioch is where we begin to see witness of the great falling away. Notice that (we talk about this in the Nazarene Israel study) in Antioch, the disciples are no longer called Nazarenes in the Hebrew language. Now they are called by a foreign term “Christians” which is derived from the Greek term Christianos. It might seem like something extremely subtle to a gentile Christian mindset, but in Hebrew there is something very important and very powerful going on here regarding Israel’s inheritance. Antioch was the first place where we saw Hellenized (reform or re-constructionist) Jews coming to the faith, but as we explain in the Nazarene Israel study, the thing about Hellenized (reform or re-constructionist) Jews is they do not have the same zeal for the land of Israel, the Hebrew language, or the law of Moshe as the more Orthodox (Pharisaic) Christians do.
In Antioch, they believe on Mashiach, but they call themselves Christians or they called the Apostles, Christians, but this is not Nazarene Jewish. This is not Nazarene Israelite because an Israelite values his inheritance in the Hebrew language. They are not Nazarene Israelites because they do not share the same Israelite traits of treasuring their inheritance in the land of Israel, in the Hebrew language, and in the laws of Moshe. That is the inheritance and when the Creator of the universe gives you an inheritance with Him, you do not say, “Ew, I do not want it. No, I want to live outside the land. No, I want to speak other languages other than Hebrew”.
Of course we are all in transition at the moment, but there is a zeal there with a Nazarene. When the Creator gives you an inheritance, you do not reject it, you land on it with all fours. You take it and you say, “Thank you Yahweh, thank you for giving me an inheritance with You.” That is the inheritance. That is the relationship. That is our inheritance, but the Christianos in Ma’asei chapter 11 did not understand all these things. They had a different take on it that may sometimes seem difficult to discern from a gentile Christian mindset.
The Christianos in Antioch were happy to live outside the land even though they were able to relocate to the land in those days. They were happy with some language (other than Hebrew) being spoken in their synagogues and the law (like so many Ephraimites, reformed/re-constructionist, or Chabad Jews today), they felt that it was not necessary to keep all of the Commandments. They could practice the easier parts of the Torah and let the other parts go and they were good with it. Does anything sound familiar? If anyone recognizes themself in that, if the shoe fits.
In this study, we are talking about the relationship between Acts chapter 15 and the Torah (specifically Parasha Re’eh), but in order to understand this relationship in its fullness, we need to understand how the Apostles saw things.
Romim (Romans) 16:17
17 “Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them.”
In the first century, the Apostles saw that there was a great falling away taking place. This great falling away was away from the things that made Israel different, set-apart, and unique among the nations. The Apostles saw all this great falling away among the body of faith falling away from the land of Israel, from the Hebrew language, and also from the law of Moshe. It was taking place right there in the first century, right before their eyes. From what they wrote, it seems like they knew that it had to take place because that was how the Faith in Yeshua was going to penetrate the nations globally; ultimately to find the lost sheep of the House of Israel (Ephraim/ Lost Ten Tribes). It would take two thousand years, so they knew it had to take place, but now they had another problem.
In Ma’asei (Acts) chapter 15, we see that certain Messianic Jews known as the Pharisees who believed on Yeshua came down to Antioch. We need to understand that there are the same spirits today as they had in the first century. Names, faces, and dates all change but the same spirits we have today are the same as the ones we had back in first century times.
Ma’asei (Acts) 15:5
5 “But some of the sect of the Pharisees who believed rose up, saying, “It is necessary to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses.”
For example, today we have the Orthodox Jews; those are the Pharisees because they just changed their name in the Middle Ages. Some of those Pharisees believed on Yeshua just like some Rabbinic Messianic Jews believe on Yeshua today, but there is still a similarity of their spirit. They are still willing to add traditions and teachings of men just as long as they are created by Jews, and they are fine with that. This same spirit in the Pharisees who believed, that came down to Antioch, is the same spirit we find today in Messianic Jewish organizations, one house Messianic Jews, MJAA, UJMC, and other organizations like that (you know who you are).
As we explain in Nazarene Israel and in other studies, when these one house Messianic Jews (whether they were Rabbinic or not, that is a separate question), when these one house Messianic Jews came down from Judea, they said, “Now in order to be saved (in addition to believing on Yeshua to be saved), you also need to obey Rabbinic Authority by keeping the Rabbinic gentile conversion process” which in those days was called the custom of Moshe. That is not the law of Moshe, but it is the custom of Moshe. They are two separate things.
Today, the custom of Moshe is called the GIYUR process (Gentile conversion process), and it is a special Rabbinical process for Gentiles who convert to Judaism. The Rabbis have their own rules, and they have their own laws. The things they say are really very intelligent and really very reasonable. It just so happens that they do not match up with what Yahweh is doing in His own universe.
We cover the whole study in Nazarene Israel and in other places. Let us note, basically what the Pharisees who believe are arguing here is that new converts should not convert to Yeshua’s Melchizedekian Judaism. They should not do as Yeshua did and take issue and take exception with the Rabbinical Order. These one house Pharisees who believe (whether they are Rabbinical or not, that is a separate discussion) they are saying basically that new converts need to convert to what today would be called Rabbinic Messianic Judaism. There were differences before 220 CE, but the point is, there is a similarity of spirit here.
You have Jews who believe on Yeshua, Pharisees who believe, but they are making up their own laws. They are making up rules that do not exist in Scripture. Apparently, they did not get the memo. If someone did not give them the scrolls, they did not get the mail. When we read the pages of the renewed Covenant, Yeshua never had one good thing to say about the Rabbinical Order. Yeshua was always all about replacing the Rabbinical Order with His own renewed and cleansed Melchizedekian Order.
When we see things in that context, what we ought to conclude is that the Messianic Rabbis and their one house organizations, are really just kind of in the way. They are causing problems. They are muddying the waters with their feet, Scripture says.
After Shaliach Shaul and Barnabas had no small dissension and dispute with them, it was decided that they should go up to Jerusalem and let the Apostles who had walked with Yeshua be the ones to decide this case. For those of you who have been with Nazarene Israel for a while now or for anyone who is familiar with traditional Judaism, this is just a classical Beit Din Gadol leadership council structure. That is all this is.
Ma’asei (Acts) 15:2
2 “Therefore, when Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and dispute with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas and certain others of them should go up to Jerusalem, to the Apostles and Elders, about this question.”
We talk all about the so-called Jerusalem Council which was really more of an institution than an event in the Nazarene Israel study, in Acts 15 Order, and in other places on our website, but the thing we need to see here is that Kefa (Peter) was reminding the people that it is not just about being Jewish. Ultimately, Yahweh does not care about our flesh. That is one of the lessons for the Ephraimite side of the house.
Ma’asei (Acts) 15:7-9
7 “And when there had been much dispute, Peter rose up and said to them: “Men and brethren, you know that a good while ago Elohim chose among us, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel and believe.
8 So Elohim, who knows the heart, acknowledged them by giving them the Set-Apart Spirit, just as He did to us,
9 and made no distinction between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.”
Here we have Kepha (Peter) recounting how Yahweh had sent him to Cornelius even though Cornelius was not even Jewish. Cornelius had received the Spirit, even though he was not even Jewish and even though he was not submitted to any Rabbinical authority. Cornelius did not follow the Rabbinical rules and regulations and still Elohim poured out the Spirit on him. That is something to consider and of course the Rabbis always have some great sounding explanations for these things.
Then, in the so-called Jerusalem Council (that was more of an institution than an event), Shaul and Barnabas recounted how many other miracles Yahweh had performed among the gentiles even though the gentiles were not submitted to any Rabbinical authority. They were not following Rabbinical customs, traditions or procedures either. Chew on that for a little while, right?
Ma’asei (Acts) 15:12
12 “Then all the multitude kept silent and listened to Barnabas and Paul declaring how many miracles and wonders Elohim had worked through them among the Gentiles.”
After everyone had become silent and thinking about these things, Ya’akov HaNasi (the leader of the council) said this was just the fulfillment of Amos chapter 9 and verse 11. This was the way that Yahweh had planned to bring the rest of mankind into Covenant with Him. It is not just for Jews; it is about all of mankind. That is why the Lost Ten Tribes were scattered out into the world. It was to fulfill the prophecies given to Avraham and also to Israel.
11 “On that day I will raise up the Tabernacle of David, which has fallen down, And repair its damages; I will raise up its ruins, And rebuild it as in the days of old;”
Let us take a look at Verse 15 and 17, it says:
Ma’asei (Acts) 15:15-17
15 “And with this the words of the prophets agree, just as it is written:
16 ‘After this I will return [who is speaking?] and will rebuild the Tabernacle of David [the global Spiritual government], which has fallen down; I will rebuild its ruins, And I will set it up;
17 So that the rest of mankind may seek the Yahweh, Even all the Gentiles who are called by My name, Says the Yahweh who does all these things.”
There is a lot here and it would take us a long time to unpack this. It would take a long time to talk about the reasons why the Masoretic text reads differently than older texts. There is a lot here, but one thing that everyone needs to be aware of is what the Tabernacle of David is. That is because the Tabernacle of David is Yeshua’s coming Kingdom. It is a job for us to do.
The Tabernacle of David is Yeshua’s body and that is what we are supposed to be building together for Him each time we come together to assemble, for friendship, for worship, and for fellowship. Fellowship, that discussion should always be about how do we build our Master’s Kingdom.
We have a special four-part miniseries on the Tabernacle of David in Nazarene Scripture Studies, Volume Four. It is a very important study so please be sure to check that out and also our study on Acts 15 Order which talks about how we can build Yeshua’s Kingdom together at the congregational level.
Once Ulices (Uli) takes the parasha over, he will be talking about these from a family-oriented parasha perspective seeing as the family is the basic building block of the synagogue. As long as we are already here, we should also point out that the synagogue of the first century was very different than the Messianic Rabbinic synagogues of today. We talk about the changes that took place in the synagogue structure and the style of service in our Beit Knesset Leaders Guide.
Just to summarize, in the second temple period (in the first century and Yeshua’s time), the synagogue was not organized so much like the Babylonian church or like Babylonian synagogues today. Rather, certain changes came into Judaism around the year 220 CE (almost two centuries after Yeshua’s Ministry) and these were brought into place by a man Yehudah HaNasi (Judah the prince) who was the prince of the southern Kingdom’s Beit Din Gadol. He brought in his codification of the Babylonian Talmud: revised, edited, censored, all those things. A lot of things changed in Judaism at that time, and while the Rabbinical Order had not been ubiquitous before that time, the Rabbinical Order came up after Yehudah HaNasi’s publication of the Babylonian Talmud.
Among the many changes is the way that the synagogue environment is structured and the way that the synagogue environment is run. If you want to know how a synagogue should be properly done, if we are trying to recreate the kind of synagogue Yeshua liked to attend, then please be sure to read that study also.
If you have read Revelation & the End Times, you should also know that we are the ones who are scheduled to rule and reign over the nations during the millennium. If not us, then our children. The Sabbatean Frankist sect thinks it is them, but they are going about things all the wrong way by aligning themselves the spirit of Babylon. As we show in the Revelation study, Babylon will fall at trumpet seven and along with it will fall the Sabbatean Frankist sect’s Masonic Lodge Kingdom. Fall down, go boom, and a lot of people are going to be hurting, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. We have tried to speak to them. We have tried to communicate these things and they just hate us for it.
The Sabbatean Frankist sect and everyone under their sway is effectively on a collision course with their Maker, so pray for them because they are going to need it. Not many of them are going to make it out of that alive, but that is a separate subject.
To bring it down, to bring it all together, here in Ma’asei 15, Yaakov HaNasi (Yaakov the prince/leader) is saying that this great falling away that is happening in Antioch is really the start of the re-establishment of the Tabernacle of David, just as Yahweh said. We know that the Tabernacle of David is the global Spiritual government by which we and our children will rule and reign over the nations during the millennium. It is all there in studies Revelation & the End Times, Torah Government, and also Acts 15 Order.
Ma’asei (Acts) 15:16
16 “After this I will return And will rebuild the Tabernacle of David, which has fallen down; I will rebuild its ruins, And I will set it up;”
The point in Acts chapter 15 where the Apostles were at, they knew there had to be a great falling away, but they also knew there had to be a process by which you could have a gentile conversion procedure (GIYUR process) that was properly run according to Yahweh’s Spirit. Letting Yahweh’s Spirit lead and then we support that. What a concept. Here in Acts chapter 15, the point was to establish house rules that would encourage those who already had Yeshua’s Spirit. They were already zealous to help build Yeshua’s Kingdom; to come as they were, but not to stay that way.
To come as they were and not to stay that way, first they had to agree to start with four key things (abominations) that will get any one of us cut off from the Nation of Israel. It was not necessary or even desirable to establish a bunch of man-made Rabbinic Talmudic rules for the GIYUR procedure (GIYUR process) anyway. We are setting an agenda rather than paying attention to what Yahweh says and does so just like the church, the Babylonian Rabbis make all sorts of rational reasonable sounding arguments as to why we do not really need to do things Yahweh’s way. Why we can add rules and why we can take things away. It is not a good book. It is a good historical reference, but we do not consider it authoritative in any way.
Because of this, Yaakov HaNasi (Yaakov/James) ruled that they really should not harass those of the Ephraimites who were scattered out there among the Gentiles, if they were returning to the nation of Israel, because of Yeshua’s Spirit. There was not any point in making them follow a bunch of Rabbinic Commandments, teachings, and traditions of men which did not help anybody in which apparently Yahweh did not respect (as in the example of Cornelius and in the example of Antioch). In fact, the Babylonian Rabbis and their traditions and teachings of men are just getting in the way. They are just muddying the waters with their feet like many ministers in Ephraim do also.
When we think about it, what the Babylonian Rabbis are really doing is to replace Yahweh’s Commandments with their own Commandments and Scripture; it is very, very clear that we are not to do that. Now we are looking at parallels.
When we look at Acts chapter 15, we see four (or effectively more) prerequisites for entering the synagogue environment and we see that these are effectively the same as in the Torah in “Parasha Re’eh”. When we read Parasha Re’eh, we see it is the same rules, just in different words, and really this makes perfect sense because Moshe gave us the book of Devarim (Deuteronomy) to summarize and recap Yahweh’s Commandments for our forefathers before they went into the land of Israel. Basically, Acts chapter 15 is the basic rules before we enter the synagogue environment. Can we see the parallels?
This is how we set ourselves apart from the world by obeying these rules, by obeying Yahweh’s Torah. Just as there are house rules for entering the camp of Israel in the wilderness, so too are there house rules for entering the camp of Israel for Ephraim in the dispersion.
Let us come to verse 19. Here we have Yaakov HaNasi (James) saying “Therefore I judge [or rule] that we should not trouble [or harass] those from Gentile [Ephraimites, meaning the Lost Ten Tribes] who are returning to Elohim [because of Yeshua’s Spirit] by telling to follow Rabbinic traditions and teachings of men, telling them to submit to Rabbinic authority, bringing the GUR process upon them. It is like, oy va voy! What do we want that for? Do we need some more holes in our heads or something?”.
Ma’asei (Acts) 15:19
19 “Therefore I judge that we should not trouble those from among the Gentiles who are turning to Elohim,”
Verse 20. “No, no, no, but rather, we do not want to do that, but rather that we write to them to abstain from the four abominations that the Torah says will get us cut off from the nation of Israel. There is no point in inviting someone in the door, just to turn around and have to kick them right back out”.
Ma’asei (Acts) 15:20
20 “but that we write to them to abstain from things polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from things strangled, and from blood.”
Okay so first you need to abstain from the four abominations that will get you cut off from the nation.
Now we break it down. First, we need to abstain from things polluted by idols (idolatry) because idolatry is spiritual adultery. Second, next we need to abstain from sexual immorality (sexual adultery). Then we need to abstain from things strangled meaning strangled (in context, unclean meats). We also need to abstain from eating blood.
There is a lot here and there is a lot of discussion (a lot of ancient discussion) and we can talk about that in detail in some other place, but what we see is that these elements are things that are all necessary for starting and maintaining a family in the right way and also for starting and maintaining a synagogue (which is a Spiritual family) in the right way. These are family matters: what you eat, what you drink, the things that you do, are we pure, are we clean, are we immoral (no we do not want to be immoral!).
Verse 21 he says, “If they will show their sincerity and their zeal by abstaining from these four things that will get us stoned to death (or cut off) in the wilderness, then the returning gentile Ephraimites can come on in. They can learn to keep the whole of the Torah over time as we hear it because we would not be defiling the place in the meantime by unclean foods, unclean drinks, unclean spirits, and unclean practices”.
Ma’asei (Acts) 15:21
21 “For Moses has had throughout many generations those who preach him in every city, being read in the synagogues every Sabbath.””
Yaakov gives his reasons why and he says, “It is because Moshe HaNavi (Moses the prophet) has had throughout many generations those who preach his Torah of Moshe in every city being read aloud in the synagogues every Shabbat”.
What we take from this, is that if the new converts were serious and they would not be defiling the synagogue through idolatry (through forbidden images), being sexually unclean, having a wrong spirit, or by bringing unclean food and drinks into the synagogue, then they could learn to keep the rest of the Torah as they heard it. It is an ancient tradition, Judah knows.
There is a lot more we could say about this, but the point we are trying to make here is that in the Nazarene synagogues, they are supposed to be treated like sanctuaries. The women are supposed to be able to raise the children in peace without the defilements of the world, without being bothered by the filth of the world, and also without being hampered and hassled by needless traditions and teachings of men which have nothing to do with the movements of the Spirit as recorded in the book of Acts. Messianic Rabbis, you should really check it out.
As we read Parasha Re’eh, we are going to see whole sections which tell us to be careful to worship Yahweh Elohim alone and no one and nothing else. Also, not to be double-minded or lukewarm about our worship. Not to desire the things of the world and then to think we still desire the things of Yahweh because the things of Yahweh are opposed to the things of the world.
Then we see whole sections telling us not to be sexually immoral. We also see requirements not to eat unclean meats (meaning meats that do not meet the requirements of Leviticus chapter 11). There are also requirements not to eat blood. There is a game that certain people play. We talk about the requirements of Acts chapter 15. There are four of them written there on the page, but really there are many, many more. Some of them (Ephraimites) just do not want to do.
For example (in context), there was leadership in the wilderness under Moshe, just as there was also leadership in the first century, and a lot of Ephraimites want to reject leadership. They like to rip Acts chapter 2, Acts chapter 4, and 5 right out of the Book because they think that if they ignore it, then they do not have to have any accountability, any discipline, or do any of the things that go along with supporting Yahweh’s leadership.
Sometimes Ephraimites think they can be real smart, but if we are not submitting to Yahweh and His system, then really, we are real stupid because rejecting Yahweh’s system effectively means we are rejecting Yahweh. There is a requirement in Yahweh’s Book to listen to Yahweh’s chosen servant leaders. They have to be servant leaders and they do have to be speaking the truth in love.
If they are speaking the truth in love and the people choose not to submit to their example of self-sacrifice service and placing the Kingdom first, then how does that build Yeshua’s Kingdom? How does it further our Love’s great mission of bringing the earth into spiritual subjection to His Spirit if we do not submit to His Spirit? How can we seek first the Kingdom of Elohim if we do not do that? Parasha Re’eh shows us Yahweh’s rules for belonging to His nation in the wilderness and equal weights and measures, Ma’asei 15, shows us Yeshua’s rules for belonging to His body and His nation in the dispersion.
In either case, before we can take part in His system, first do we not need to submit to His Spirit and do everything that we hear His Spirit say (including all the written Commandments) because those are just things the Spirit said before right? Why do we even want to enter the synagogue environment in the first place if we do not want to do all the things that Yeshua says to do?
He who has ears let him hear. Hopefully Uli will be back next week talking about how we can build Yeshua’s Kingdom at the family and the spiritual family (synagogue levels). Let us make our Elohim Happy by submitting to His Spirit so that we can help build His Kingdom His way.