What's Inside that Box?
666 and the Grace We Missed
Eikev "because, following"
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:
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
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
as the heavens remain above the earth.
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.
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.
: The verse implies that the
will be resurrected and receive the land in person.
The Shema teaches the value of laying
, 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.
he concluding verse of
Vaetchanan in Deuteronomy 7 contrasts with the first verse of Eikev
Vaetchanan: 11 "Therefore
, you shall keep the
which I am commanding you today, to do them
: 12-13 Then
it shall come about,
because you listen
and keep and do them, that the LORD your God will keep with you
which He swore to your forefathers.
He will love you and bless you and multiply
Mitzvah = commandment
While verse 11 mentions all three types of instructions, verse 12 pares it down to the mishpatim, or judgments.
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
"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."
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
, a person who places as much emphasis on the
as upon the
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.
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
and guards them and does them, then Adonai will safeguard them and uphold the covenant
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
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.
teaches the causality of blessing; it follows love:
It shall come about,
if you 1) listen
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
give... (Dt 11:13-14)
Listening to the commandments is a relationship of loving God. This echoes the passages from Deuteronomy 5:10 "
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
He accepted it; therefore, he did it.
When we "hear" as the
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.
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.
said that loving your neighbor is like loving Adonai with all your heart, soul, and strength, a covenant of kindness and mercy.
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.
pointed out that mitzvah connotes more than "command," but also
, 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,
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
, that He may be with you
the Spirit of truth
the world cannot receive
it does not see Him
or know Him, but you know Him because
He abides with you and will be in
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 Me; because I live, you will live also
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."
, 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 word; and 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
is teaching a viewpoint of the Torah portion
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.
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
, or "houses." The Hebrew letter shin is a sign on the houses of the head and arm
he shin stands for
, 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.
letter of the Torah
of the Torah. The head
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
sign and the
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
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:
Vav-vav-vav-vav (6666) Spirit of the Word
Hear this, you who
the needy, to do away with the humble of the land
When will the new moon
be over, so
that we may sell
, that we may open the wheat
smaller and the shekel
to cheat with
dishonest scales, so
the helpless for
the needy for a pair of
that we may
the refuse of the wheat
To Amos, business "
" 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
day to sell, we will not buy from them on the
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.
. Let him who has
calculate the number of the beast, for the number is that of a man
; and his number is
six hundred and sixty-six.
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
The Red Shadow
Section II: What Happens?
Beware the Wizard
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 Series
or 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.