Prophet Pearls #24 – Vayikra (Isaiah 43:21-44:23)

Prophet Pearls Vayikra, haftarah, isaiah, prophets, jeshurun, israel, poetic name, Keith Johnson, nehemia gordon, obedience, sacrifice, parashah, Parsha, parshas, parshat, vayikra, portionThis week Nehemia Gordon and Keith Johnson discuss the Prophets portion for Vayikra covering Isaiah 43:21-44:23. This portion parallels the Torah’s central section on sacrifices. Gordon and Johnson delve deep into the issues of sacrifice, obedience and idolatry.  Word studies include:  “blot out” (with its historical context of a debt certificate), “first father” (with Jewish and Christian perspectives on original sin), and “bow down” (with its exclusive connection to idolatry). Continue reading

Prophet Pearls #19 – Terumah (1 Kings 5:12[26]-6:13)

Prophet Pearls Terumah, 1 Kings, temple, d’veer, haftarah, hewn stones, Keith Johnson, month of ziv, mythical shamir worm, nehemia gordon, parashah, Parsha, parshas, parshat, prophets, shamir, shamir worm, solomon’s temple, terumah, terumah haftarah, terumah prophets, YehovahThis week Nehemia Gordon and Keith Johnson discuss the Prophets portion for Terumah covering 1 Kings 5:12[26]-6:13. Gordon and Johnson provide volumes of contextual insight into this seemingly straight-forward “How to Build a Temple” portion. We learn the importance of the “480 years” date given in this passage, that the forced labor used to build Solomon’s Temple compares favorably to modern practices, and how the coloring of the “hewn stones” beautified the Temple. Continue reading

Prophet Pearls #17 – Yitro (Isaiah 6:1-7:6; 9:5-6)

Prophet Pearls Yitro, Isaiah, haftarah, kadosh kodesh kadish kiddush, Keith Johnson, masoretic notes, nehemia gordon, parashah, Parsha, parshas, parshat, prophets, yitro, portionThis week Nehemia Gordon and Keith Johnson discuss the Prophets portion for Yitro covering Isaiah 6:1-7:6; 9:5-6. Gordon compares Isaiah’s succinct vision of heaven to accounts in Kings, Ezekiel and Daniel. We see a “real” Adonai is this Portion and learn about the importance of the Masoretic notes. Gordon and Johnson tackle the problematic issue of Isaiah actually seeing God and explain where Isaiah got the idea that fire cleanses. Continue reading

Prophet Pearls #13 – Shemot (Isaiah 27:6-28:13; 29:22-23)

Jewish exiles returning to the Land of Israel ,Prophet Pearls Shemot, Isaiah, exile, redemption, restoration, haftarah, prophets, Keith Johnson, nehemia gordon, parashah, Parsha, parshas, parshat, proof texting, shemot, shofar, tanakh, preceptThis week Nehemia Gordon and Keith Johnson discuss the Prophets portion for Shemot covering Isaiah 27:6-28:13; 29:22-23. The theme of exile and restoration in this Prophet’s portion corresponds to the turning point in the Egyptian exile when the midwives were told to murder, the Israelites were told to make bricks without straw and Moses was told, “Now you will see what I will do.” Continue reading

Prophet Pearls #10 – Mikeitz (1 Kings 3:15-4:1)

Prophet Pearls Mikeitz (1 Kings 3:15-4:1)This week Nehemia Gordon and Keith Johnson discuss the Prophets portion for Mikeitz, covering 1 Kings 3:15-4:1. Gordon and Johnson provide context, past and present, for the quintessential wisdom-of-Solomon story where a birth mother is determined faster than you can say DNA. “Deeply stirred” like the mother in the story, Johnson compares the fight-at-any-cost spirit to the battles for the Land today—where a two-baby solution is still no solution. To have a clearer understanding of the gift of divine wisdom, Gordon compares the Chronicles version of Solomon’s dream with this Portion’s account. We learn the divisions of knowledge in the Tanakh and in what section the writings of Solomon appear. We learn the main function of the ancient kings of Israel and that you don’t have to be perfect for Yehovah to call you friend. Gordon closes with a prayer that God’s chosen son, the Messiah King of Israel, soon will bring an end to fighting—peace to Israel and the world. Continue reading

Prophet Pearls #9 – Vayeishev (Amos 2:6-3:8)

Prophet Pearls Vayeishev (Amos 2:6-3:8)This week Nehemia Gordon and Keith Johnson discuss the Prophets portion for Vayeishev, covering Amos 2:6-3:8. With seven rhetorical questions and a very straight stick, the shepherd prophet draws an unwavering line between cause and effect. Amos’s rebuke of those who “sell the righteous for silver” provides the connection to the Torah portion. But could the sins of Joseph’s older brothers have reaped a 20th century whirlwind? Gordon explains this controversial theory related to ancestral sin. Gordon and Johnson also take a look at Amos’s question of two people walking together. An accurate translation of “agreed” confirms the value of common ground while a faulty translation leads to rampant denominationalism. With cause and effect so tightly woven, we’re reminded that it is a sobering calling to minister the counsel of Adonai Yehovah to the world. Continue reading

Prophet Pearls #8 – Vayishlach (Obadiah 1:1-21)

The Edomite City of Petra, Prophet Pearls Vayishlach, Obadiah, day of the lord, edom, edomites, haftarah, Keith Johnson, measure for measure, mount zion, negev, nehemia gordon, obadiah, parashah, Parsha, parshas, parshat, petra, Temple Mount, Tetragrammaton, Vayishlach, yom YehovahThis week Nehemia Gordon and Keith Johnson discuss the Prophets portion for Vayishlach, covering Obadiah 1:1-21. To the single-chapter vision of Obadiah, Gordon and Johnson bring volumes of insight. We learn how the eschatological views of preterism, historicism and futurism apply to this Portion. We also learn that Obadiah’s identity has been determined by a rabbinical method of interpretation known as “make-it-up.”  Word studies include:  “hamas,” “Sepharad,”  “yom Yehovah,” “Edom,” “measure for measure,” and “drinking from the cup.” While we are warned by the sins of Edom, we are encouraged by Gordon’s eye-witness account of prophecy fulfilled in the Negev. And we look forward to the day when saviors ascend Mount Zion and the kingdom is Yehovah’s. Continue reading

Prophet Pearls #7 – Vayeitzei (Hosea 12:12-14:9)

Prophet Pearls VayeitzeiThis week Nehemia Gordon and Keith Johnson discuss the Prophets portion for Vayeitzei, covering Hosea 12:12-14:9. With the ear of the fluent, Gordon informs us of the unique structures and forms of Hebrew used in the northern kingdom, and by its only prophet whose book has survived—Hosea. We learn of Hosea’s penchant for transient imagery, his “Jewish mother” tendencies, and his eight-step prayer. Word studies include: “the shepherd,” “the Leviathan,” “Ephraim,” “sheol,” “moshia,” “kissing calves,” “heal,” and the faulty connection between “bulls” and “fruit.” We also learn that while God prefers mercy over sacrifice, there is one thing for which he shows none. Continue reading

Prophet Pearls #3 – Lech Lecha (Isaiah 40:27-41:16)

Lech lecha (Isaiah 40:27-41:16)This week Nehemia Gordon and Keith Johnson discuss the Prophets portion for Lech Lecha, covering Isaiah 40:27-41:16. As Isaiah spoke consolation to invaded Israel, Gordon and Johnson console the listener with the deep wells contained in the original Hebrew—nuances that bring even greater comfort from the promises of the Creator. Word studies include: “renewed” strength, “first and last,” “righteousness,” and “eternity”—with the significance of its second root. Gordon and Johnson consider the options concerning “who stirred up from the east” and discuss how the ancient Israelites knew who was speaking in this Portion’s fast-paced dialog. Gordon concludes with the comforting news implied by the winnowing process—not all nations will be carried away. Continue reading

Prophet Pearls #2 – Noach (Isaiah 54:1-55:5)

Prophet Pearls Noach, Isaiah 54:1-55:5, davidic covenant, Yehovah, Yehovah of hosts, hebrew root words, Hebrew roots, isaiah, Keith Johnson, lord of hosts, messianic promise, nehemia gordon, noach, parashah, Parsha, parshas, parshat, Prophet Pearls, root words, seed of davidThis week Nehemia Gordon and Keith Johnson discuss the Prophets portion for Noach covering Isaiah 54:1-55:5. Gordon and Johnson revel in the glorious promises to Israel and explore the various ways the Tanakh allegorizes her: as a barren and abandoned woman, a maidservant, a slave, an owned animal, and yet, wholly and eternally a beloved wife. Original language brings insight to the following words: “foaming” anger, Yehovah of “hosts,” mercy, kibbutz, and “brief” moment. Despite differing views on some issues, Gordon and Johnson stand firmly on common ground concerning the messianic promise as Yehovah connects his eternal covenant with Israel to the seed of David. Continue reading