What's Inside that Box?
666 and the Grace We Missed
Eikev  "because, following"
Deuteronomy 7:12-11:25
Isaiah  49:14-51:3
Psalm 75
John 14:15-26
Putting tefillin on a bar mitzvah boy

Look at the picture above.  Does this look like grace to you?  The boy's arm has been bound seven times.  His finger is being bound, too.  There is a secret hiding in those tefillin boxes, and it explains the words from Hosea 2:19 that are spoken as the strap is bound around the finger:

I will betroth you to Me forever; yes, I will betroth you to Me in righteousness and in justice, in lovingkindness and in compassion, and I will betroth you to Me in faithfulness. Then you will know the LORD.

How beautiful!  Grace, compassion, and the love of betrothal don't really fit the picture to the non-Jewish eye, yet Yeshua taught this very concept which is established in the Torah portion Eikev.  The fundamentals of grace, love, and resurrection are found right here in the instructions of the Shema and parenthood.  Let's revisit the essence of Eikev:

You  shall therefore  impress  these words of mine on your heart and on your soul; and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as  frontals on  your forehead You shall teach them to your sons, talking of them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road and when you lie down and when you rise up You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates so that your days and the days of your sons may be multiplied on the land which the LORD swore to your fathers to give them, as  long  as the heavens remain above the earth.  (Dt 11:18-21)

First, these verses above are part of the Shema, "Hear O Israel, the LORD your God, the LORD is One.  And you shall love..."  We don't typically think of the Shema and its context as being a prophecy of resurrection.   Rashi  comments concerning "to give them" in 11:19:

'To give you' is not written here, but rather 'to give them.'  From here we find that we learn that the Resurrection of the Dead is from, i.e., has a source, in the Torah.'   We would have expected the verse to say 'to give you,' for it was those whom Moses was addressing who would take possession of the land, not the Patriarchs about whom he was speaking.

Sifrei  47 : The verse implies that the  Patriarchs  will be resurrected and receive the land in person.

The Shema teaches the value of laying  tefillin , putting a mezuzah on the door, and teaching Torah to children.  It is more than natural instructions; it is spiritual instructions, for teaching Torah to one's children plants those Words in them that they will need to prolong their "lives."   It is teaching ourselves and our descendants how to join our ancestors in resurrecting to the spiritual land of the Garden which is concealed to the natural human eye.  

Plant these words in a child, and in a day of trouble, he or she will know how to call on the Name of Adonai like the thief on the cross made a desperate last-minute plea to Yeshua.  Ideally, though, that child will grow to teach the Torah to his own children and sow seed in his or her community.  To put Torah in the mouth and heart of a child is to put prophecy in that child.

The resurrection power of the Word must be revealed to the spiritual human eye, and this passage prescribes how one may improve that vision by putting on tefillin: put the Word between the eyes, one spiritual, one physical.

The statutes, judgments, and commandments of the Word were never only to set conditions for living in a physical Land and being able to carry on a physical life only.   They've always been the preparation for residing in the Land in its elevated state.  Rebellion against the commandments precludes living "long" in the spiritual Land, and the natural Land will reflect the spiritual reality. That's where mercy comes in.   T he concluding verse of  Vaetchanan in Deuteronomy 7 contrasts with the first verse of Eikev :

Vaetchanan: 11 "Therefore , you shall keep the  1)  commandment  and the  2)  statutes  and the  3)  judgments  which I am commanding you today, to do them . "

Eikev : 12-13 Then  it shall come about,  because you listen  to these  judgments  and keep and do them, that the LORD your God will keep with you  His  covenant and  His  lovingkindness which He swore to your forefathers.  He will love you and bless you and multiply  you... 

Mitzvah = commandment
Chok= statute
Mishpat= judgment

While verse 11 mentions all three types of instructions, verse 12 pares it down to the mishpatim, or judgments.   Mishpatim  are usually torts, laws that regulate monetary transactions and interactions between people.  It's how we do business with one another, and these laws are often neglected or abused, twisted to serve the stronger party.  For instance, a mishpat is how a Hebrew indentured servant must be freed in the seventh year.  Abuses of this mishpat were common when the Jews returned from Babylon.  

The temptation is to consider the  mishpatim  "lighter" than other commandments, such as kosher eating or Shabbat observance.  Rambam writes that such mishpatim as being happy on holidays is wrongly considered "light."  Maharal  writes that the temptation is to think that the mishpatim have minimal reward .  Maybe they don't receive as much positive attention from those whom we want to be regarded as pious.  When we obey these light commandments, they usually escape notice.  

The sages write that, according to  Eikev , a person who places as much emphasis on the  mishpatim  as upon the  mitzvot  or  chukkim  is a person in pursuit of a loving relationship with Adonai.  Every word is precious.

Causality is illustrated by the choice of the name for the Torah portion, Eikev.  Eikev  can mean because, when, after.  It is derived from the three-letter root meaning "heel," or that which follows the intent of the foot.  So, "because" Israel listens to the  mishpatim  and guards them and does them, then Adonai will safeguard them and uphold the covenant  and mercy .

This makes it sound as though good things come only through good works, which would make grace of none effect; in the "because" verse, grace is mentioned specifically!

Hebrew words often have nuances lost in translation. One of the best translations is the Targum  Onkelos  in Aramaic, a similar language to Hebrew. Onkelos  translates "listen" or "hear" consistently as an Aramaic word meaning  "receiving."  Israel is not just to have an auditory or reading experience; Israel is to consciously  accept or receive  the Words as Divine. 
Eikev  teaches the causality of blessing; it follows love:

It shall come about,  if you 1) listen  obediently  ( shma tishme-u ) to  my commandments which I am commanding you today, 2)  to love the LORD your God  and 3) to serve Him with all your heart and all your  soul that He  will  give... (Dt 11:13-14)

Listening to the commandments is a relationship of loving God.  This echoes the passages from Deuteronomy 5:10 " ...but  showing lovingkindness to thousands,  to those who love Me  and keep My commandments ."  One first accepts that YHVH is the King of the Universe.  Secondly, the person loves Him.  Third, and only third, the person does the commandments.  These cannot be separated from one another.  Extra grace, or "lovingkindness" is extended to those who LOVE  AND KEEP, not those who KEEP.  

No commandment is too small to listen to, i.e., accept.   Kahn makes the point that Adam didn't sin because he listened (literally heard) his wife; he sinned because he  accepted  the fruit.   He accepted it; therefore, he did it.
When we "hear" as the  Shma  enjoins, the greatest commandment, then we accept it to do it.   This is seen as accepting "the yoke of the Kingdom of Heaven."

One accepts the yoke of the kingdom FIRST, and THEN he or she takes upon one's self the yoke of the commandments. ( R. Joshua b.  Korhah).    Grace can follow for one who tunes in and "knows" there is one God...and then he can love Him and learn the Torah. (ibid)  The learning and doing phase of the relationship takes a lifetime, like a marriage, but the first step is acceptance, or betrothal in love.

"Knowing" in Hebrew means to have a deep, personal experience.  Listening to the "little things" of the mishpatim, less rewarding things, is what creates a deep relationship.  Anyone can hear the big things. A marriage in which the husband and wife hear the little things is a good marriage.  Blessings and mercy will follow such mutual love.  Only a significantly sick person wants his/her spouse to serve out of obligation.  Adonai is the King, and He wants His children to hang on His every word because we love.

Yeshua  said that loving your neighbor is like loving Adonai with all your heart, soul, and strength, a covenant of kindness and mercy.   Why?   Because if you love your neighbor, you accept him/her. You form a relationship, not begrudgingly or to get a reward or because God said so, but because you genuinely want to form unity in the Body of Messiah.  Blessing and mercy follow.

Rabbi  Menahem  Twerski  pointed out that mitzvah connotes more than "command," but also  b'tzavta , which means togetherness: "Every mitzvah is a point of connection between He Who commands and we who are commanded.  The result of fulfilling a mitzvah is togetherness."   While all good deeds will ultimately be rewarded, not all of them will result in a relationship with God.  An atheist can donate millions to charity, yet the good deeds form the relationship with human beings, but not with Adonai. Adonai's will is for us to do good to one another so that we can deepen our relationship with Him.

This is how the sages explain that frequently the wicked seem to prosper.  No matter how wicked, human beings do some good in their lives.  
Because Adonai is fair,  He  is releasing the full reward in this life.  They will receive nothing in the world to come.  The good deed bonded them with the recipient and their own feelings of benevolence, not Adonai.

" If you love Me, you will keep My commandments I will ask the Father, and He will give you another  Helper , that He may be with you  forever that is  the Spirit of truth , whom  the world cannot receive , because  it does not see Him  or know Him, but you know Him because  He abides with you and will be in  you. I  will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you After a little while the world will no longer see Me, but you will see Mebecause I live, you will live also In  that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.  He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me ; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him."  Judas  (not Iscariot)  said  to Him,  'Lord , what then has happened that You are going to disclose Yourself to us and not to the world ?'   Jesus answered and said to him, " If anyone loves Me, he will keep My wordand My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him . He who does not love Me does not keep My words ; and the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father's who sent Me. These things I have spoken to you while abiding with you.  But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you ." ( Jn  14:15-26)

Yeshua  is teaching a viewpoint of the Torah portion  Eikev  echoed by the Jewish sages:

a) Love and listen (accept and learn).
b) Do.  Make an abiding house for the deeds and the Spirit of the Word.
c) Live in anticipation of the resurrection of the dead to the Garden.
d) Just like the good father of the Shema, so the FATHER IN HEAVEN teaches His children the Word.

In return,  Yeshua  promises that the Father will practice what He preaches.  
He will teach His children by sending the Holy Spirit to make the Word alive. This Word is necessary to their preparation for the resurrection Garden and access to more of the "living" places, their future "House" and home.

The sealed boxes of the tefillin that contain the verses related to the Shema are made of kosher beast skins and sinews; they are called  beitim , or "houses."  The Hebrew letter shin is a sign on the houses of the head and arm . T he shin stands for  Shaddai , the nurturing, mothering aspect of YHVH.  It is etched by the valleys of Jerusalem upon the city.  The shin also appears on the mezuzah, which is placed on the doorposts of the house.

Tefillin  hint to  the  letter of the Torah  and  the  Ruach (Spirit)  of the Torah.  The head  tefillin  has a normal shin on one side, but a four-pronged shin on the other.  It is a reminder that the Shabbat "sign" like the  tefillin  sign and the  mishpatim  must be bound in love, not obligation. "Man always needs a sign of his bond with God. The Sabbath itself is such a sign, but on weekdays, this sign is Tefillin." (Eruvin96a) 

Vav-vav-vav (666): Letter of the Word

Vav-vav-vav-vav (6666) Spirit of the Word

Amos 8:4-6 warns those who do not love Adonai, so their Sabbath sign has become a burden from which they can hardly wait to be loosed:

Hear this, you who  trample  the needy, to do away with the humble of the land saying , " When will the new moon  be over, so  that we may sell  grain, and  the  sabbath , that we may open the wheat  market, to  make the  bushel  smaller and the shekel  bigger, and  to cheat with  dishonest scales, so  as  to buy  the helpless for  money and  the needy for a pair of  sandals, and  that we may  sell  the refuse of the wheat ?"

To Amos, business " mishpatim " are disregarded while the Israelites keep Shabbat grudgingly.  The regular shin represents the letter of the Torah, the physical observance.  Its structure is three vavs, which each have a value of 6. Therefore, the letter only is 6-6-6.  Add the four-pronged shin on the other side of the "house"-box, and you have seven prongs, the number of the Shabbat and the Seven Spirits of Adonai.  The four-pronged shin balances the letter of the Word with the Spirit of the Word, making the "marriage" complete.  When one has the Spirit of the Torah, then learning and keeping even the mishpatim is a joy.

"Buying and selling" has a specific context: the Shabbat and the tefillin.  A person who does not accept or love will obey the commandments out of egotistical motives: saving one's own "skin," to appear pious to others, to receive a reward, to go through the motions.  Such people are as bad as those who abandon the commandments completely, for they ruin the vision of love and the hope of resurrection abiding in the house, symbolized by the seven branches of the tefillin:

As for the  peoples of the land who bring wares or any grain on the  sabbath  day to sell, we will not buy from them on the 
sabbath  or a holy day ; and we will forego the crops the seventh year and the exaction of every debt. (Ne 10:31)

and he provides that  no one will be able to  buy or to sell  except the one who has the mark , either the name of the beast or the number of his name.    Here is  wisdom . Let him who has  understanding  calculate the number of the beast, for the number is that of a man ; and his number is  six hundred and sixty-six.  (Re 13:17-18)   

Wisdom and understanding are the first two of the Seven Spirits of Adonai listed in Isaiah.  If a person does not accept and love Adonai, and then learn to do the commandments over his lifetime, then he cannot understand the 666 principle.  The Spirit of the Truth and the Word elude him.  Both man and beast were created on Day Six, but the spirit of man was created to rule over the beast.  Human skin is just beast skin without the Spirit of Adonai inside him.  Only those who are devoid of the Teacher, the Spirit of the Word, will be able to buy and sell on the Shabbat.  That marks them, for from ancient times they've longed for the Shabbat to be over.

Unfortunately for them, the resurrection is rest, a Day that is all Shabbat.  

So from the beginning, the Torah has been a matter of acceptance, love, and learning to do.  Grace and greater love follow.  May the grace of Yeshua be with us all this Shabbat.

Spotlight on Sukkot in Israel 2019
October 10-22, 2019
Henry and Joan Pennington Renewing Vows at Tamar

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. If it weren't for the audacious faith of Joan Pennington in exploring Israel "by the seat of her pants," Creation Gospel would never have been able to offer study tours or trips to Israel.

She has gathered and guided so many people to Israel and connected them with more than just tourist hotspots, but with the real Israelis and unique places that most tours don't bother to seek out.  You wouldn't know it because she's really humble about it, but she knows some pretty famous and important people in Israel!

She laid the foundation, and with Adonai's help, we will build on it and continue to partner with her to find ways to connect the Land with those who are coming home.

Joan Pennington has visited Israel over twenty times since 1996 and has led large and small groups in personalized studies throughout the Land.  She is a licensed minister, owner of Yad Institute of Kinesiology, and a certified Touch for Health Instructor.  She also operates Bridge Spring Balancing.  She has served as both a short-term and long-term volunteer at Biblical Tamar Park many times, which she calls her second home. 

I asked her for her favorite photo of her in the Land, and she sent this wonderful moment with her husband Henry when they renewed their vows at Tamar Park.  Thanks to her for sharing such a treasured moment, for after all, Israel is about building living, enduring relationships.

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

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

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.