Allen and Karen Ranney Th.D
September 29, 2018 (Tishrei 20, 5779 --Vezot ha'Bracha)
September 29, 2018 (Tishrei 20, 5779 --Vezot ha'Bracha)
"this is the blessing"
This Torah study titled “Vazot Habracha” in Hebrew means “and this is the blessing.” It teaches us that God calls us out of Egypt (the world) then baptizes us in water (like Israel crossed the Red Sea) then sanctifies us, sets us apart that we may learn His ways (like Israel in the wilderness). Then we are able to go back into the world (as Israel went into the promised land) and commissioned to spread the gospel of Yeshua (like the Israelites took the worship of the One True God into Canaan) to bring light into a dark and lost world. Amen.
2 Corinthians 5:17 Mark 16:16
Vazot Habracha “and this is the blessing”
This Torah study titled “Vazot Habracha #2088 and 1293” in Hebrew means “and this is the blessing.” It is found in Deuteronomy 33:1-34:12.
Deuteronomy 33:1-29 records Moses’ final blessing on Israel.
Deuteronomy 34:1-12 Moses dies on Mount Nebo.
The Haftarah or Prophets portion in Joshua 1:1-9
Joshua 1:1-9 records God’s commission to Joshua.
Joshua 1:10-18 the order is given to cross the Jordan.
The Gospel portion is in Luke 24:44-48
Luke 24:44-48 records Yeshua gives us the great commission for all men to take the Gospel into all the world.
Luke 24:48-53 records Yeshua’s ascension from earth back to heaven.
Vazot Habracha “and this is the blessing”
Deuteronomy 33:1 (Interlinear Bible) reads, “Now this is the blessing with which Moses the man of God blessed the children of Israel before his death, “Vazot Habracha #2088 and 1293,” “and this is the blessing.” And for the next 28 verses Moses blesses the 12 tribes of Israel.
Moses is described in the Scriptures as a “servant of God, a friend of God and a man of God.” Wow! What it must be like to talk with God Himself. Communing with the creator of the heavens and earth in such close, intimate proximity that your face literally radiates God’s own light! Wow! Moses talked with God and saw God, Moses was chosen of God, purchased from the day he was born, really from before he was born, as we all are, to do God’s will, to serve and honor Him and fulfill God’s plan for this world. Again, Wow! We are all chosen to be His ministers, every one of us. So, as servant, friend and man of God, Moses led the children of Israel out of Egypt, out of bondage, out of slavery (redeemed them). Moses brought them through the Red Sea (as a type of baptism), took them into the wilderness thus setting them apart from the rest of the world, (sanctifying them) and making them a holy nation.
Moses taught them God’s laws, God statutes and God’s commandments, instructing them in the things of God (educating and edifying them). Moses took them into battle against the giants Og and Sihon, defeating them. Now tested, they were (justified) then, Moses led them to the promised land, though he could not go in with them. Then before they went in, Moses blessed them (anointed them) he commissioned them, (purposed them) before sending them into the land of Canaan with Joshua. Why? I’m not asking why did Moses not get to go into the promised land, we know why. In Deuteronomy 32: 51 God says plainly, “because you (Moses) trespassed against Me among the children of Israel at the waters of Meribah Kadesh, in the wilderness of Zin, because you did not hallow Me in the midst of the children of Israel.”
Why, Why? After 40 years in the wilderness do they get sent into Canaan? Weren’t they God’s chosen people? Why didn’t God just keep them for Himself in the wilderness? Why didn`t God just put a hedge around them, protect and isolate them from the rest of the world? Why redeem them, baptize them, sanctify them, edify them, justify them and bless them?
The reason is so He (God) could anoint them and commission them and send them into the land of Canaan! He put them through the fires and testing so He could send them as missionaries and ambassadors. Victors and conquerors yes, but also as an army of ministers and evangelists! Commissioned to carry God’s laws, statutes and commandments into a dark, idol worshiping, immoral, broken land taking the worship of the One True God to show the broken peoples of that land, the True, Living, Faithful God that is “El Shaddai #7706b the Almighty God,” Creator of the heavens and earth “El Bara # 1254a”, “Melech Olam #4430 and 5769 King Everlasting,” hallelujah! Give Him praise, show Him you love Him, worship Him. Amen, God loves all mankind, every tribe, every nation, every tongue, so much, that He sends His ministers and ambassadors that they all could know His great love and fair judgments.
God’s judgment on the seven nations of that land, the Hittites, the Girgashites, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Perizzites, the Hivites and the Jebusites was just.
“The Lord is long-suffering and abundant in mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression; but He by no means clears the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation.” (Numbers 14:18)
God raised up an army of missionaries (the Israelites) to evangelize that dark part of the world. Amen. Now “Vazot Habracha” that is the blessing.
Deuteronomy 34:5 reads, “So Moses the servant of the Lord died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the Lord.” And verse 6, meditate on this now, “and He buried him in a valley in the land of Moab, opposite Beth Peor; but no one knows his grave to this day. Wow! That’s something isn’t it?
God loved and honored Moses so much that He personally buried Moses. Wow and Amen.
Why hide the grave of Moses? Most likely to keep the children of Israel and others away as they would have built a shrine or Temple to Moses and worshiped him.
In this week’s lesson, the Torah portion and the Haftarah portion flow together from the last chapter of Deuteronomy into the first chapter of Joshua, the subjects being the death of Moses and the commission of Joshua.
“After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, it came to pass that the Lord spoke to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ assistant.” (Joshua 1:1)
Here the word for assistant in Hebrew is “#8334 sharath,” meaning minister, but so much more than an aide or assistant.
The English word sheriff, could be a derivative of the Hebrew word “sharath” as they are both ministers or public servants. Compare the six-pointed star of David to the sheriff’s badge worn in so many counties of the United States, interesting yes?
You have to realize at this point in the narrative Joshua is now, somewhere between 60 and 80 years old. Even at that age he is a strong, respected leader and elder of a tribe. He is also the commander General of the Army of the Israelites that consists of over 600,000 men. Joshua was a very capable man, well able to assume the responsibilities of governing a nation of over 2 million people.
Joshua was well able to don the mantle and Ministry of his predecessor Moses and lead the Army, the people, his nation into victory in the promised land. Amen.
The Scripture reads in Joshua 1:1b, “it came to pass that the Lord spoke to Joshua the son of Nun.” Think about that! “If God be for us who can stand against us?” (Numbers 14:9; Romans 8:31). Joshua was more than qualified and capable of assuming the mantle of ministry passed down to him from Moses, a man well able to lead men to victory on the battlefield, a minister well able to lead his congregation down paths of righteousness before the Lord, for his name Joshua, itself in Hebrew means “the Lord saves #3091” Amen, God sends another minister and ambassador into the mission field!
Joshua had been a slave, born into bondage in Egypt, yet, he was redeemed.
He crossed the Red Sea (baptized) he wandered in the wilderness (sanctified), was instructed in God’s word (edified), fought against (tested) and defeated giants (justified). Joshua was blessed (anointed). He was commissioned (which is purposed), sent forth as God’s representative on this earth as an ambassador, representative and missionary. Amen.
God sent another minister into this dark world to shine the light of His glory and His love. Vazot Habracha, “and this is the blessing.” God blesses the world through His servants.
In a lot of Bibles, Luke 24:44-48 is referred to as “the great commission.” Luke 24:44 reads, “Then He said to them, ‘these are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.’”
Jesus urged His followers to study Torah so they could prove to themselves and line up the things they had witnessed Him saying and doing in regard to the Scriptures.
“And He opened their understanding that they might comprehend the Scriptures.” (Luke 24:45)
You could pray this also for your life, “Father, open the Scriptures to my understanding that I too could comprehend Your Scriptures, in Jesus’ name Amen.”
“Then He said to them, thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.” (Luke 24:46)
We are to preach repentance and remission from sin, Amen. And it goes on to say in verse 48 that “we are to be witnesses of these things,” meaning witnesses of His resurrection.
How can we be witnesses to something that happened over 2,000 years ago? We weren’t there, we didn’t see His resurrection, so we can’t say exactly what happened. But we can testify to the truth of the matter because, if it weren’t true, I, we, would not be here today. The man I was in the past, the person you were in your past, has died and a new person has been resurrected in Christ Jesus. Amen. Can I get a witness? Amen.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)
Behold! You are a new person. I am a new man, resurrected in the image of the first man to be resurrected, never to die again, Yeshua, Jesus Christ. We are resurrected in this life and hold fast to the promise of resurrection again after this life. Hallelujah, can I get an amen! Vazot Habracha! And this is the blessing!
Why are we resurrected, born again? We can discover more about that and the great commission by looking at what the other gospels have to say about it.
“And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will follow those who believe: in My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” (Mark 16:16) Amen.
We are all called into Yeshua’s ministry Are we all apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors or teachers? No, there are the helps and support ministries also, but, all of us are supposed to speak “Jesus” into the lives of everyone we can. The fields are white for harvest now, but the laborers are few. That’s why God started the ministry thousands of years ago, to raise up an army that would take His law, His statutes, His commandments, His holy Word into this broken world, that it could be healed. Amen.
As the Israelites were redeemed from sin, so too are we. As the Israelites were baptized, we are. As the Israelites were sanctified in the wilderness, we are made holy. As God instructed the Israelites, we are edified. As the Israelites were tested in battle, we are also justified.
As God blessed and anointed their leaders and commissioned them, we are. As the Israelites were sent into the land of Canaan to spread the faith and worship of the One True God, we are sent into the world to spread the Gospel, the good news! And that is; God sent His own Son to die on the cross for our sin, then He was risen the third day for us! Hallelujah!
Everyone raise your hands and repeat after me; These hands will cast out demons! These hands will heal the sick! These hands will work for God! And these hands will carry the Gospel about Yeshua Jesus into all the world, Amen! And this is the blessing! Vazot Habracha!
People, beloved of God, are you ready for the harvest? Will you be gathered in or left behind? If you don’t know the answer to that question, it’s as easy to find as A.B.C.
A. Admit you have sinned and you are sorry that you have.
B. Believe Jesus died for that sin, then rose from the grave three days later and
C. Confess with your mouth Jesus is Lord and make Him King in your life.
Read and follow Romans 10:8-13, then pray, “Father God, fill me with Your Spirit that I too may be commissioned into your army of evangelists, missionaries, pastors and teachers so I can carry your word into this dark world. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.
If you prayed that prayer, welcome to the family of God. Now go tell a pastor, a messianic rabbi or a Christian friend. They will know what to do next.
Bibliography for Vazot Habracha “and this is the blessing”
Complete Jewish Bible, David H Stern, Jewish New Testament publications, 1998
Interlinear Bible, the, Hendrickson publishing, 2006
New King James Version of the Bible, Thomas Nelson publishers, 2007
Strong’s Complete Dictionary of Bible Words, Thomas Nelson publishing, 1996