Thursday, July 28, 2016

Parashah Messiah: The Law That Couldn't

Torah Portion: Pinchas (Numbers 25:10-30:1)
Gospel Reading: Romans 3:21-31
Commentary by: Matthew Day

I want to use this week's Torah portion to draw an illustration for you. For all you apologists out there, keep in mind that an illustration is not a proof (as tempting as it may be), but a teaching tool. That being said, I find it remarkable the ways in which the story of Israel's entrance into the land parallels Romans 3.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Parashah Messiah: The Prophesied King

Torah Portion: Balak (Numbers 22:2-25:9)
Gospel Reading: Hebrews 1:8-9; Acts 4:24-30; Revelation 22:16; 2 Peter 1:19; Revelation 2:26-28
Commentary by: Kelsey Bryant

“I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near; A star shall come forth from Jacob, A scepter shall rise from Israel, And shall crush through the forehead of Moab, And tear down all the sons of Sheth.” (Numbers 24:17, NASB)
Our portion this week contains one of the first Messianic prophecies in the Torah – Yeshua is literally in this parashah! Almost universally, Jews have understood this reference to the star and scepter as being about the Messiah. Even before Yeshua came, texts such as the targumim (amplified Aramaic translations of the Bible) confirm this understanding. Let’s examine the concept of Messiah as “scepter” and “star” and how the New Testament shows that Yeshua fulfilled this prophecy.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Parashah Messiah: Serpents and Salvation

Torah Portion: Chukat (Numbers 19:1-22:1)
Gospel Reading: John 3:10-17
Commentary by: Chris Knight

This week’s Torah portion, Chukat, contains one of the most beautiful pictures of Yeshua in the entire Torah; the bronze serpent. In the book of Numbers, we read about the children of Israel and their encounter with an unusual plague from God. In chapter twenty-one we read,
“Then they journeyed from Mount Hor by the Way of the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom; and the soul of the people became very discouraged on the way. And the people spoke against God and against Moses: ‘Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and our soul loathes this worthless bread.’ So the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and many of the people of Israel died. Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, ‘We have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord and against you; pray to the Lord that He take away the serpents from us.’ So Moses prayed for the people. Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a pole; and it shall be that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, shall live.’ So Moses made a bronze serpent, and put it on a pole; and so it was, if a serpent had bitten anyone, when he looked at the bronze serpent, he lived.” (Numbers 21:4-9)

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Parashah Messiah: Standing in the Gap

Torah Portion: Korach (Numbers 16:1-18:32)
Gospel Reading: Luke 23:1-48; Acts 2:21-41
Commentary by: Kelsey Bryant

“Why do you exalt yourselves above the assembly of the Lord?” Korah and his followers demanded of Moses and Aaron. Discontent with their position and tired of submitting, the forty-year wilderness sentence was the last straw for certain Israelite leaders. They stirred up yet another rebellion – this one aimed at Moses and Aaron, God’s appointed leaders over Israel.

By scorning Moses and Aaron, they scorned God (Numbers 16:11, 30). Like almost every other human being, they weren’t happy with the way He was running the program. They hated that He had put someone in charge and expected everyone to obey him. It wasn’t enough that He had blessed them with responsibility and authority of their own – they wanted more. They wanted supremacy.

Judgment was in store for them:

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Book Review: Spiritual Sobriety

Spiritual Sobriety
(by Elizabeth Esther)

Addiction is a nefarious sickness that can take any number of disguises--including spirituality. In Spiritual Sobriety, Elizabeth Esther (a former religious addict herself) shares advice on how to recognize and overcome religious addiction.

As a recovering religious addict myself, I found the concept behind this book intriguing. In our faith walk, we're always trying to figure out how to do things right so that we can be righteous and accepted and so that we can feel close to God. But, how often do we ask ourselves what is healthy? Is it really healthy to continually be looking for that emotional high we get at worship services? Could our constant fretting over whether or not we're doing the right thing be a sign of a deeper problem? Esther says these are signs of spiritual addiction, and I'm inclined to agree.