It Happened Last Shabbat
Vaetchanan "and I pleaded"
Deuteronomy  3:23-7:11
Isaiah 40:1-40:26
Psalm 90
Acts 15:14-21

It happened last Shabbat.  Did you miss it?  The fast of Tisha B'Av was pushed forward one day because Tisha B'Av fell on Shabbat, so it would be easy to miss what happened.  If you've ever wondered if the Father has stopped sending Bible-believers and Bible-keepers reassurances that He's still at the wheel, this Tisha B'Av (and last year's) was a message to discern the times.

We looked at the correlation and three keys to the Torah portion Vaetchanan and Tisha B'Av in the online classes on Monday and Tuesday, and uncharacteristically, BOTH recordings were botched by Zoom, our platform provider.  An important segment of Monday night's lesson, a guest presentation by Kisha Gallagher on statistics associated with human trafficking, is still undownloadable for many students while "engineering" is investigating the problem.  

What did we learn in Torah class this week that sent Zoom so wonky-donkey when there were no widespread reports of technical difficulty?  And what happened on Shabbat?  Let's get the Shabbat question answered first, and then we'll go to a summary of the Shabbat class.  

On Shabbat, a high-profile businessman died while he awaited trial on charges associated with sex trafficking, notably minors.  Among others, the people involved with the businessman were, or are, in high levels of U.S. and Israeli government.  The businessman was enabled by multiple people to continue in his predatory behavior: courts, prosecutors, attorneys, law enforcement, and many more.  Women enabled this predator by recruiting and other forms of participation.

Why is this a sign?  Let's go back to the Torah portion of the week, which never disappoints us.  It always reflects something either personally, or in this case, in the public sphere, that says our times are Divinely-appointed, even when we think we are in charge.

Both First and Second Temples were breached/destroyed on Tisha B'Av.  The slander of the Land of Israel by the Ten Spies occurred on Tisha B'av.  Many murderous and exilic actions upon the Jews occurred on Tisha B'Av.  The Jewish sages have examined the Torah and Prophets, and they agree that b ecause of three evil things which prevailed, the First Temple was destroyed:

Sexual immorality

The multiple murderous acts upon the Jews that occurred on this anniversary tell us that all mankind is guilty of this sin, and o n Tisha  B'Av , we look for confirmation that these sins still occur, some accounting or reminder of the evil. Ironically, because the dead sex trafficker was Jewish, the story had the full attention of both American and Israeli news.  Two nations saturated with the Bible.  Two nations who should understand just how dangerous the practice of sex trafficking is.  One of our lost statistics is that the greatest consumer of sex trafficking is the United States.  The second is that once a girl or boy has entered the sex trafficking trade, life expectancy is seven years.

Three times in the Torah portion (Dt 4:1-4; 4:42-43; 44-46) , Moses mentions "Baal-peor" or "Beit Peor." Peor was the god that the Midianite and Moabite women seduced the Israelite men into worshipping through fornication. What followed was a plague and bloodshed.  In zeal, Pinchas killed Zimri, the Israelite man and Cozbi, the Midianite woman.  By mentioning Peor three times, Moses reminds Israel that they must guard against sexual sin, idolatry, and bloodshed.  Violations will lead to exile.  How do we know this?

First, Cozbi was the daughter of a prince of Midian.  He wanted to defeat Israel so badly that he prostituted his daughter to Peor (Nu 25:15, 18).  Father of the Year, right?  

In the middle of the narrative, Moses pauses to establish refuge cities on the other side of the Jordan.  These were cities where a manslayer could flee if he killed without premeditation, an accident.  He was exiled there until the high priest died or the Jubilee.  Take a look at the names of the exile cities:

Betzer  to Reuven
In the wilderness ( bamidbar )
Betzer = raw silver or gold ore

Ramot  to Gad 
In Gilad (hard and rocky place)
Ramot = high things, heights

Golan  to Menashe
In Bashan (fruitful, possibly soft, sandy soil)
Golan = exile and captivity

There is a set of clues in place-names.  Silver and gold are the substance of a graven image.  When a heart is hard and proud, it is not Adonai's Word that is "more precious than silver and more costly than gold," but lust and greed for money, rubbing elbows with the rich and famous, idolatry of self-will, and sexual immorality.  Eventually, these lead to exile and captivity. 

Betzer was "in the wilderness" (bamidbar).  In the wilderness is where Israel received the Ten Words carved on a rock.  A stone.  They rejected the Living Word, and Moses smashed the tablets written by the finger of YHVH.  For the next 40 years, proud, rocky hearts marched across the soft sand of the desert until they fell.  Before we remark on what exactly happened with those tablets, though, let's look at three generations of idolatry, sexual immorality, and bloodshed for a strange connection to Moses.

Adam and Eve - idolatry
A desire to be "as gods."
Resulted in death and exile.

Kain  and Abel - bloodshed
Kain  kills his flesh and blood brother.
Resulted in exile.

Noah - sexual immorality
Sons of the powerful took whatever women they chose, 
Resulted in violent bloodshed, likely through merchandising. (Ibn Ezr to  Bereishit  6:2-12)
Resulted in exile.

When the  bnei elohim "took" wives, the Hebrew word is  lakach , which can have a positive or negative connotation.

To take a wife means to choose a wife (with contractual consent of the bride), accept her, thereby removing her legally from her father's house for, and to join her to one's self to build a new house.  It involves a transaction of money, not to purchase her soul, but for her future security in the case of the husband's death and to indicate value.

On the other hand, lakach can mean: 

to lay hold of, receive,  acquire, buy , snatch, take  away,  capture,  seize,  carry  off to  take (vengeance)

In fact, although the translation says "wives," nashim also means females.  It is entirely possible that the bnei elohim were simply seizing whatever females looked good to them.  The resulting trade led to bloodshed so bad that only one family survived.  The use of the word "take" in Genesis 6: 1-4 must not mean holy, contractual, consensual unions with human women.

Note the chiasm in the following verses.

Match the colors, and you have the equivalent expressions that mirror one another.  The axis, or centerpoint of the matching verses above is:

" My Spirit shall not strive  with man forever  because  he also is flesh; and   his days shall be one hundred and twenty years ."

Moses mentioned Peor (sexual immorality, idolatry, death) three times in the portion.  It gives the Israelites context.  Their "memory verse" of Peor should have been that among many others, the daughter of a Midianite prince was sex-trafficked for Peor. A lot of Israelite men died.  And a lot of men knew better.  Eventually, even the Midianite and Moabite women were killed, too. The Israelites' memory verses for sex-trafficking included the sins of the bnei elohim in the days of Noah as well.  Eventually, all those women except for Noah's family died, too.  Idolatry.  Sexual immorality.  Exile and death.  This is what destroys the temple of a human body as well.

There is Torah prophecy of the Torah in the axis of human trafficking in the days of Noah. Yes, Torah prophesies of itself!  "My Spirit shall not strive with man forever because he also is flesh; nevertheless, his days shall be one hundred and twenty years."  Moses died at 120 years.  That was the number of his days.  One of the great failures that Moses repeats in the portion is the failure of the spies on Tisha B'Av to believe Adonai.  Why did Moses send them in when he already knew the Land was theirs?

According to the sages, the number of days that they explored Israel is the clue, 40.  Moses experienced the ecstasy of the Divine for 40 days atop Mount Sinai, receiving the Torah with such a faith-filled, hungry heart that the skin of his face radiated.  The finger of Adonai Himself wrote those Words on the sapphire tablets, and tradition says they were full of the Spirit.  Moses thought the twelve spies would also experience such heights in their exploration of the Land with the help of the Holy One.  Of course, only two did.

When Moses came down Mount Sinai, he saw the people worshiping the Golden Calf and indulging in sexual immorality.  He smashed the tablets because according to tradition, the Spirit fled at the sight of idolatry and sexual sin.  Moses realized that the Words could only be written on hearts of stone in the wilderness, and they would have to have a transformation to receive it on hearts of flesh.  Nevertheless, the Spirit would not strive with that generation forever.  They continued to sin, rejecting the Spirit of the Words and rejecting the Land.

When later they changed their minds and decided to go in against Moses' advice, they were defeated and chased back into the wilderness.  It was too late.  The Spirit that could have enabled them to dwell in the Land had departed, grieving.  Father, take not Your Holy Spirit from us.

So we have some clues to the cities of refuge where a man may "flee."
These cities could remind a man who had committed bloodshed of how close to the edge of total death and total exile that he lived.   It was a reminder that the  Spirit  will flee from sexual immorality, idolatry, and bloodshed.  This principle was so important that it comprised three of the four instructions given to the Gentile believers in Acts 15:19-21:

Therefore it is my judgment that we do not trouble those who are turning to God from among the Gentiles, but that we write to them that  they abstain from things contaminated by idols and from fornication and from what is strangled and from blood For Moses from ancient generations has in every city those who preach him, since he is read in the synagogues every Sabbath.

Our nation is in trouble.  Our headlines are dominated with idolatry, sexual immorality, and bloodshed.  If we hear Moses every Sabbath in the synagogue, then we know that it is just a matter of time until the Spirit flees such hearts of stone who have had so many opportunities to receive the Words into hearts of flesh.  That our Tisha B'Av example is an apostate from his faith is fair warning to those have heard Moses.  It is up to us whether we hear it with stones or with flesh.  

We must pray.  We must intercede.  Father, take not Your Holy Spirit from us. No matter what the religion of political correctness preaches, we must not look the other way or compromise the Word in our lives.  We all have loved ones who are overtaken in these grave sins or suffer from them.  We must love them, pray for them, and warn them if they will listen. With so great a destination as the resurrection, how can we not urge others to experience the freedom of God's Word?

Jewish tradition tells us about the tablets:

"What is the purport of the Scriptural text: 'Graven upon the tablets' ( Shemot  32:16)? If the first tablets had not been broken, the Torah would never have been forgotten in Israel.'  Rabbi  Acha ben Yaakov said:  'No nation or tongue would have had any power over them; for it says '"graven.'"  Read not "'graven'" [ charut ] but "'freedom'" [ cheirut ]." -  Eruvin  54a

The spiritual Word fled at the sight of sexual immorality and idolatry in the camp of Israel.  Israel fell into those sins because the Word they'd heard "killed" them.  They wanted Moses to listen for them or they'd "die."  Their hearts were stony, and they did not hear "freedom," but a burden, a chore.  If Moses came back, it would just be another bunch of rules to follow, so why not enjoy free love with the Golden Calf?  The tablets could only be "graven" to them, like an idol, so it was easy to merge an old god with YHVH.

If Torah is only "graven," not freedom, then we will fall frequently to idolatry, immorality, and bloodshed.  These destroyed the First Temple.  They will destroy our nation.  Guaranteed.

What can we do?  Even if we fail, we must glow like Moses.  We must stress our supernatural experience in receiving the Words with the power of the Holy Spirit.  We must proclaim the freedom in the Living Words and that the only way to walk in faithfulness is to love Yeshua more each day.  If we love him, then we keep his commandments.  If we keep the commandments in love, then we can nurture a new generation who will believe.

But one who looks intently at the perfect Torah , the Torah  of  liberty , and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but  an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in  what he does. (Ja 1:25)  So speak and so act as those who are to be judged by the Torah of liberty. (Ja 2:12)

F ather, take not Your Holy Spirit from us.

Spotlight on Sukkot in Israel 2019
October 10-22, 2019
Pastor Mark and Tammy McClendon

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 that have been such a blessing to the tours and The Creation Gospel ministry. Below is the experience of our wonderful friends, Pastor Mark and Tammy McClendon, from River of Life Tabernacle in Lucedale, Mississippi.  They write of their experience:

"A Way Has been Made", these were the words written on a packet given to us about our first trip to Israel.  For many years our hearts had longed to go to the land of the Bible, to the land that was set apart from the beginning by our Creator and to the land that our patriarchs and Messiah walked. When people would ask if we ever plan to go to Israel we would reply with, "Absolutely!!! As soon as the Father provides the way, our body will follow our hearts."  

That day came in 2011 when anonymously we were given an all-expense paid trip and we made our first pilgrimage to the promised land.  We felt connected from the moment our feet landed on that soil!! From that day forward we had our sights to return, but once again we knew it would take another miracle for us.  
In 2017 the Father provided again and made it clear that we were to be on this trip with Dr. Hollisa Alewine.  Both of our trips to Israel affected our lives deeply and have only caused our LOVE for the land and the people to grow exponentially, but the trip in 2017 had a profound and deeply spiritual impact on our lives.  

At times, we often find ourselves grasping to put into words the emotion and impact of this particular pilgrimage. To stay at Biblical Tamar Park where the spice trade route was and where there is little doubt that Abraham would have traveled through there. To actually walk the patriarchs path on the way to Jerusalem and to see the ancient mikvot that would have been used as they traveled to the festivals. And then to wade in the waters of the Gihon Spring in Hezekiah's tunnel are just a few of the surreal connections we had in the land.  

There truly are no words to describe what it is like to physically be in the places that we read about in our Sacred Scriptures, to physically stand on the Mount of Olives where the Messiah will return and to physically be in the place where the Garden will be restored; it is something that must be encountered and experienced, not just explained!!

It's Time for Devarim

If you follow the weekly Torah portions, you know that we've finished Bamidbar.  Purchase your Devarim study today so that you'll have study material for each Torah portion.  Click Devarim to order.

LaMalah Children's Centre

We are awaiting some updates from LaMalah that we hope to share with you soon.  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.  The story of LaMalah may be found at  We could also use your help to fund the Sukkot celebration for Torah-believers around Kenya.