Image-bearing in a Graphic Age
Re-eh "See"
Deuteronomy  11:26-16:17
Isaiah 54:11-55:5
Psalm 97
John  14:1-15; 6:44-47


The Torah portion this week is Re'eh, or "See."  Seeing requires  two eyes, natural and spiritual.  Fortunately, we have two eyes to remind us of this! One eye must  be  raised to the spiritual  commandments, but the other must see the natural world.  We can't come out of the world until it's our designated time. 

The commandments are  placed "between your eyes."  

The  paradigm: I f we see to the commandments , we will be seen in the proper places at the proper times by the proper people and the only true Elohim .  

Is  The Hobbit's ring  dilemma  relevant today?   This generation is looking for a magic ring that draws attention to them, not to make them invisible.  

Backward p aradigm of the world: Be  seen, and then we will be seen. 

In spite of the infinite numbers of ways to see and be seen in this technological age, there is unprecedented superficiality in human relationships and emotional health.   People are seeking, begging, demanding, and commanding ATTENTION in ways "your fathers did not know."  Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, blogs, email, and webpages provide unlimited opportunities to capture the attention of others, especially total strangers. Along with that is the shot of "good feeling."  Attention that used to go to Hollywood stars, rock stars, and sports heroes can now come right to your homepage.  Your own opinion, astute or unlearned, can be offered on the same platform as the President or the Director of the FBI.  Wow!

The social network causes your brain to release dopamine. A new study commissioned by Fox News found that "when people Like or comment on social platforms their brains release dopamine or 'a chemical associated with pleasure-seeking which makes it at risk for addiction and abuse.'"

Because there is an empty spot where " Re'eh " should be, ignorant, needy, and undisciplined souls seek to fulfill the "seeing" needs.  Ironically, excessive use of social media will produce the opposite result.  Anxious?  You'll become more anxious.  Angry?  You'll become more angry.  Confused?  You'll become more confused.  Lonely?  You'll feel more isolated.  Given that the dopamine is a pleasure shot to the nefesh, or soul, it is like a satisfying good meal, but a few hours later, we are hungry.  Drink a beverage a couple of hours ago? We're thirsty again.  Read a good book yesterday?  You'll want to read another soon.  

The nefesh is appetite, desire, emotion, and intellect, not the spirit.  Social media in the graphic age is a low-hanging fruit to fulfill emotion and intellect needs.  "You will be as God," the serpent promised.  Your opinion will be equal to His.  You can take your stand for good and against evil.  Well, sure we should do that! The problem is, Adam and Eve didn't know anything about evil until they reached for the fruit of equality with Elohim to exercise their intellect.  They diverted the glory for the Divine attribute by seeking to be experts.  

Re'eh cautions against carving images, and there is a fine line with graphic images.  We can seek to bring glory to the Name of Elohim, or we can divert it to ourselves.  Ironically, even our modern English words reflect the Torah portion, which regulates the use images and of personal bamot, or platforms, for sacrifice.  Re'eh specifies where one may slaughter meat for personal use. A bamah is a high place or platform.

The self-worship of demanding attention can never satisfy.  Scripturally, being seen is not a goal, but a logical  consequence  of seeing [to the commandments].  The Torah portion begins and ends with "see":

See (re-eh) I am setting before you today a blessing and a  curse: the  blessing,  if you listen to the commandments  of the LORD your God, which I am commanding you today;  and  the curse, if you do not listen to the commandments of the LORD your God, but  turn aside from the way which I am commanding you today , by  following other gods which you have not known . (Dt 11:26-28)

Three times in a year all your males  shall appear (yerah-eh before the LORD your God  in the place which He chooses , at the Feast of Unleavened Bread and at the Feast of Weeks and at the Feast of Booths, and  they shall not appear before the LORD empty-handed . (Dt 16:16)

"See, and you will be seen" bookends the Torah portion "Re-eh."  Seeing and listening to the commandments encircle the inheritance of the Land of Israel and Jerusalem. Someone who demands attention on his or her platform is challenged with the primary commandment of "seeing," which is to see to the commandments, and then one will be seen by Adonai at the proper place, time, and people.  

When is a good time to "post"?  When we see to the commandments, we know the appointed times and seasons.  Those good sacrifices of praise can be enjoyed year round, but the "firstfruits" must be brought at the appointed times.  If you're going to post, post about how much you LOVE and ENJOY the feasts.

Where is a good place to post?  When we see to the commandments, then the places and events will appear in those posts...with JOY.  No joy, no Sukkot. That's the Word.

Who are the people with whom to post?  When we see to the commandments, then we will be PRO-social in sharing our posts to the "Sukkot" family, ministers, orphans, widows, and the stranger within our "gates," which implies they are interested in the commandments and their relationship to the place He has set his name.  Weed out the Amorites and Canaanites who are hostile.  

No less than TWELVE times  Re'eh  mentions "the place" where He will choose to set His Name, Jerusalem.   "The place" is important because it represents resurrection, the promise of eternal life.  If one sees to the commandments, then eventually, he or she will be seen at Sukkot, the Clouds of Glory, which prophesy of resurrection and restoration into the Garden with Yeshua.

The alternative is eternal separation.  Those who cannot see with the spiritual eye have no problem savaging others on social media, shooting up public areas, and killing children literally and emotionally to promote a career, the sacrifice of Molekh mentioned in Re'eh.  They do not believe in eternal life, or they would believe the consequences of not being seen in The Place.  The blood of words, bodies, and little souls will be required.  That's a promise of choosing a curse.

The graphic age has become an age of idolatry like no other:

Let  all those be ashamed who serve graven images, who  boast themselves  of idols; worship Him, all you gods ." (Ps 97:7) 

Who are the "gods" ( elohim )?   Gods may be demonic entities, but they may also be people, judges.  The serpent's seduction was that "you will be as god."  You will become your own judges.  Because you are a fallen nefesh, you will show partiality to those who give you the attention you crave.  You will overlook their transgressions, but you will judge harshly those who disagree with you or who can't improve your "platform."

Those who serve graven images, who boast themselves ≈ all you "gods"

James writes about this in context with the theme of Sukkot and the place where Adonai has put His Name.  He writes of the poor with whom one should share his "boasting" in the provision of Adonai at the feasts of Israel:

My brethren, do not hold your faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ with an attitude of  personal favoritism.  For if a man comes into your  assembly with a gold ring and dressed in  fine clothes, and there also comes in a poor man in dirty clothes,  and you  pay special attention to the one who is wearing the fine clothes, and say, "You sit here in a good place," and you say to the poor man, "You stand over there, or sit down by my footstool,"  have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil  motives Listen, my beloved brethren: did not God choose the poor  of this world to be  rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him?  But you have dishonored the poor man. (James 2:1-6)

The "poor" man has a lack, and he comes seeking.  He did not seek to run the synagogue!  This is a tip to regulating one's social media.  When someone poses as a poor person, but refuses to receive, this is simply a Hivite getting a foothold to introduce idolatry into Israel.  They want to live among Israel, but not change anything as they learn the commandments.  He or she was disguised as a poor person, but came to impose, not to receive.

On the other hand, we cannot cater to "rich" people who we see as opportunities to advance our personal worth or position.  We must treat all with the same respect, but evaluate every person's ultimate motive whether they are poor, rich, or something in between.  Are they PRO-social, accepting the commandments, loving, and then learning to do them?  Or are they simply there to debate them under the pretense of proclaiming "truth" (as they "see" it).  Do they glory in their intellect?

Psalm 97 reads, "Who boast  themselves  of emptiness..."  This is a reflexive verb.  Idolatry includes bragging of empty things, drawing attention to one's self for empty purposes.  For instance, a reflexive verb is the Hebrew word for praying,  mitpallel , which means "to judge one's self."  James cautions against violating this essential rule of prayer and pro-social behavior in a community: don't become a judge (elohim) with evil thoughts.  There is one true Judge, the Elohim who created us:

For  by grace you have been saved through faith; and  that  not of yourselves, it is the gift of God ; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast For  we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works,  which God prepared beforehand  so  that we would walk in them . ( Ep  2:8-10)

How will we know when we've edged into boasting of ourselves and our own interpretation of the "works" of the commandments instead of boasting of the Elohim Who prepared them for us to walk in?

Evaluate what and whom our images and boasting reflect.  Does it reflect the glory of Adonai and His Word?   People typically only see with one eye to begin with, so presenting your life in a way that opens the other eye will have to be like  Yeshua , through the Word and Spirit.

Compulsive, unsatisfiable attention-getting?  No.
Sharing the enduring joy and blessings of Adonai?  Yes.

How many selfies and "likes" are enough?  There never will be enough.  How about we quit striving for presenting our best personal image and start striving to present the joy of the "seeing" to the commandments, which brings pleasure and satisfaction that a "like" can never reproduce.  Engage the spiritual eye along with the soul-and-body eye with every "platform."

Even the Big Twelve did not recognize the glory of the Father in Yeshua, so our job will be much harder if we want our graphic images on social media to bring attention to Father instead of us:

"If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; from now on you know Him, and have seen Him ." Philip said  to Him, "Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us ." ...   Jesus  said to him, "Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, 'Show us the Father'?  Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works. Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me; otherwise believe because of the works themselves.  Truly , truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father.  Whatever  you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son If  you ask Me anything in My name, I will do  it. If  you love Me, you will keep My commandments.  (Jn 14:1-15)

If it was hard for even Yeshua to convince his disciples that the commandments he kept reflected the glory of the Father, then how much harder will it be for us?  Nevertheless, Yeshua said it could happen if we believe and do his works.  We only have to glorify the Father in every good commandment.

What of our personal social media, things we post just to keep contact with family and friends, not of a religious nature?  The pro-social things that we all share with our inner circle?  The same holds true. Everything should reflect the glory of the Divine, but like slaughtering meat for one's personal use instead of taking it to the national altar, we still cannot eat the blood!  Keep it PRO-social so that friends and family are attracted to the peace and rest of living in such a way that reflects His glory.  If they see that we are addicted to social media instead of using it like a drug for self-boasting and rendering judgmental opinions on our bamot, that in itself will be unusual enough to proclaim the power of Elohim.  

Bear His image in an age of graphic images by seeing to the commandments, and you will be seen in the proper place, with the proper people, at the proper time, and doing the proper things.


Spotlight on Sukkot in Israel 2019
October 10-22, 2019
YES! WE STILL HAVE ROOM!

Hermina Robinson on Givat Hatzevah (Prayer Mountain)

If you haven't decided where to spend Sukkot this year, dust off your passport and click on  SUKKOT IN ISRAEL  to read the itinerary.   

With each trip or tour to Israel, we meet amazing people and build lifetime friendships.  We're highlighting some of those people who have been such a blessing to the tours and The Creation Gospel ministry. One of those people is Hermina Robinson, a member of our own congregation, The Olive Branch. Hermina writes:

My Grand babies were watching an episode of  Pete the Cat. In the episode one of the characters was afraid of the thunder and lightning in a storm. Pete the Cat's Mom told him, "Sometimes you have to be afraid to be brave."

Two years ago, I knew I was supposed to go to Israel, but I didn't know how I was going to be able to go because I was so bound up in fear that it dictated  all my actions. When I made up my mind that I was going to walk in faith (be brave) no matter how much fear I had, it not only changed my life, but it gave me life!

In the Shabbat Amidah, the second prayer is Gibor Adonai-The Might of God.  The prayer says, 'You O Lord are mighty forever. Your raise the dead, You are mighty to save.

You sustain the living with grace, resurrect the dead with abundant mercy, uphold the falling, heal the sick, set free those in bondage and keep faith with those that sleep in the dust. Who is like You, Master of mighty deeds, and who can compare to You, King, who causes death and restores life, and makes Salvation sprout! And You are faithful to resurrect the dead. Blessed are You O Lord, Who resurrects the dead.'

As we were praying this prayer a few weeks ago, my thoughts returned to how fearful (in bondage) I was two years ago, and how much freedom (resurrection) I have today!  

'Sometimes you have to be afraid to be brave!'



A New BEKY Book is Coming!

I finally finished the manuscript of the Resurrection book, 50,000 DEGREES AND CLOUDY. Now it goes off for proofreading and editing, then formatting, cover, then publication.  The rough estimate is four to six weeks from now to publication.

The first section is extensive, but concise, proof texts from the Torah portions. The second section is devoted to what happens when we die.  Here is the Table of Contents:

Section I: Clouds of Glory
 
Words in the Hood
The Pharisees?  Are You Kidding Me?
"Rapture" Texts in Jewish Tradition
Going Up or Settling Down?
The Garden, the Cloud, and the Dead
Firemen and Robes of Righteousness
Yeshua in the Exodus Cloud
Portions in the Cloud
50,000 Degrees
The Red Shadow
 
Section II: What Happens?
 
Beware the Wizard
Like Angels
Gateway to the Garden
Into the Garden
Respect for the Dead
Enoch and Elijah
How High Will We Fly?
The Righteous and the Intermediates
The Tunnel, the Light, and Beyond
The Resurrection Offering
Rivers of Living Water
Song of Songs for Passover
Conclusion

I don't think you'll find a better TORAH-BASED book on the ingathering. Perfect for those who are grieving over loved ones. Just in time for the high holy days!  We'll post here when it is ready for order.

A good preparation is Pharisee: Friend or Foe? in paperback, which traces the development of the resurrection doctrine from the Torah, Prophets, and Psalms at Pharisee paperback ,  the REVIVE TV series at  Pharisee Video Seriesor on ROKU.

LaMalah Children's Centre
SPECIAL NEWS COMING!

We have updates from LaMalah that we will share with you soon in a special edition of our newsletter.  If you would like to donate to the Children's Centre or other Torah-based orphanages through The Creation Gospel, click on the link below.   We could also use your help to fund the Sukkot celebration for Torah-believers around Kenya.

The story of LaMalah may be found at   www.thecreationgospel.com.