Torah Pearls #45 – Va’etchanan (Deuteronomy 3:23-7:11)

This episode of The Original Torah PearlsVa'etchanan (Deuteronomy 3:23-7:11), is perhaps the crown jewel of Torah portions. It contains the Shema in Deuteronomy 6:4. But what do the Hebrew words “Shema” and “Echad” mean and why is this single verse so important? Also in this program: Is Jesus/ Yeshua a victim of character assassination? What are the Noahide laws? Was the covenant made with us or our fathers? What is the 1st commandment?

Va'etchanan is adorned with an especially long strand of pearls and each gem is held to the light. After examining, “he pleaded,” the trio gets to the nitty-gritty of why Moses didn’t cross over. After noting the differences between the Ten Commandments in this portion and the listing in Exodus, the command not to add nor take away from the Torah is examined—as well as Jesus’ words on the subject. The provenance of the Noahide laws is revealed—with instances in the Tanakh (Old Testament) where these laws are contradicted. Discussions include: What does Moses’ 3,500 year-old prophecy prove? Regarding Sinai: would you just have to be there? How can we keep God’s word on our hearts? (see also Tefillin link below) What does it mean to take God’s name in vain? To covet? We have to pay for whose sins? (see also Ezekiel 18 & 33 link below) Is there more than one reason to keep the Sabbath day? Is there a better reason to honor one’s parents than the blessing of a longer life? Gemstones also include the “Shema” (6:4) in context, in tradition, and as spoken by Jesus. Gordon reveals a fossil from tradition that proves a time when the name of Yehovah was freely spoken. This especially long and lustrous string of pearls shows that Israel accepted the Torah as good—as love, light, wisdom and beauty for all mankind.

I look forward to reading your comments!

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Transcript

Torah Pearls #45 – Va’etchanan (Deuteronomy 3:23-7:11)

You are listening to The Original Torah Pearls with Nehemia Gordon, Keith Johnson, and Jono Vandor. Thank you for supporting Nehemia Gordon's Makor Hebrew Foundation. Learn more at NehemiasWall.com.

Jono: G’day to Janie from Missouri, Paul from Alabama, Rebecca from Florida, Gale from Georgia, Ira Michaelson in Florida, Peter from South Africa, Hubert from Virginia. Also, Thomas, Lainey, Nino, and Janice, who mentioned she would like to hear more from Chani on the program.

Keith: Nice.

Jono: Hey. G’day. Thanks for that, Janice.

Nehemia: Awesome.

Jono: And Nina from Dubai. Now, Keith, Nina from Dubai.

Nehemia: Wow.

Keith: That's my friend.

Jono: Nina from Dubai. She gave a shout-out to Keith. She wrote, "Shout-out to Keith," also to Nehemia, and to myself, saying, "Torah Pearls is an awesome blessing of a program,” that it is, “very happy with it." So, thank you, Nina. Thank you, Nina, from Dubai.

Nehemia: Thanks, Nina.

Keith: All right.

Jono: It is obviously time for Pearls from the Torah Portion with Keith Johnson and Nehemia Gordon. Now, we're very, very excited. Why are we so excited? Well, because today we are in, now, if I pronounce this correctly, Va’etchanan. Nehemia?

Nehemia: There it is, Va’etchanan. You got it right.

Jono: Okay, thank you. Deuteronomy 3:23 to 7:11. Oh, my goodness, and it begins like this, are you ready? “Then I pleaded with Yehovah at that time, saying, ‘O, Yehovah...’”. Now, does this say, “Adonai Yehovah” in the Hebrew?

Nehemia: That's exactly what it says. "Adonai Yehovah."

Jono: Beautiful. You know how I knew that? Because it had “Lord” in lowercase, and it had “GOD” in capitals.

Nehemia: There it is. So, you can translate it as...

Keith: There you go, so you figured out how to...

Jono: I figured that one out. You showed me that, Keith. “You have begun to show Your servant Your greatness and Your mighty hand, for what God is there in heaven or on earth who can do anything like Your works and Your mighty deeds? I pray, let me cross over and see the good land beyond the Jordan, those pleasant mountains, and Lebanon. But Yehovah was angry with me on your account and would not listen to me. So Yehovah said to me, ‘Enough of that! Speak no more to Me of this matter. Go up on top of the mountain.’” Now, hang on a minute. You remember last week, we were talking about how there's… not necessarily that we would call it revisionism, but there's a little bit of selected information, maybe additional information, as we go along in Deuteronomy.

Keith: Right.

Jono: Keith, Moses is saying to everyone, "Yehovah was angry with me because of you people. It was your fault."

Keith: Exactly.

Jono: Is that the way that it happened?

Keith: Look, Moses is still in denial over what he’s done, and so, he's putting it on the people. We see this happen over and over again. Look, the bottom line is this - in the end, regardless of what happened, what does Yehovah say? "That's enough. You're not going."

Jono: "Enough of that! Speak no more to Me of this matter." Keith was right.

Nehemia: Well, I don't think it's a matter of him being in denial, and Keith definitely wasn't right. It's not a matter of him being in denial. I think the issue here is that when he's saying that, "Yehovah was angry at me because of you," if we look at the original story, what happened is Yehovah said, "Look, I needed to be sanctified in front of these people by you performing the miracle in front of them."

The point is Moses is the one who messed up, but the reason God’s so angry is that he messed up in front of everybody, making God look bad. So, in a sense, it is because of them. Moses still is responsible, but I think he's emphasizing here the fact that it was because, “I didn't glorify Him in front of you people, in front of y'all,” and I think that's what he means by, "because of you." I don't think he's denying his culpability here. I mean, he's very, very clearly… what I think is really interesting is the opening word of the Torah portion, which… how did you translate it, Jono? It's one word in Hebrew; it’s like three or four in English.

Jono: Deuteronomy 3, verse 23, "Then I pleaded."

Nehemia: "I pleaded." What do you have there, Keith, in yours? “And then I pleaded.” What do you got there?

Keith: "At that time, I pleaded with the LORD."

Nehemia: Now, that's correct, "pleaded." Except if you want to get more technical and more precise, the word there is, "Va'etchanan." The word “chanan” is from the word “chen,” which means ‘grace’. Really, “Va'etchanan” isn't just, "I pleaded," it's, "I asked for grace."

Jono: Oh, that’s brilliant.

Nehemia: Here he's saying, "I don't deserve this. I admit I messed up.”

Keith: Uh-oh.

Nehemia: “I don't deserve clemency, but…”

Jono: Did you hear that, Keith?

Nehemia: No, not me. Moses is saying this. He's saying, "I know I messed up, but can you please have some grace on me? Can you have some mercy on me and cut me a break?" Basically, Moses is telling us that Yehovah would be merciful here and would have given grace, but he can't when this in front of all the people. Because of the people, he says, "I can't. If you would've just done it in front of me, in my presence, that would be one thing. In front of everybody…".

Keith: You know what I love about that, Nehemia? What I love about that - and we've had several portions where we got to this issue - but again, in the end, Moses is saying, "Look, it is a matter of grace. I didn't just slip up here. I did something wrong." And what I love about the word that you just used, though, is that...

Nehemia: Wait...

Keith: Let me finish. No, listen… is that there's two things. So he's saying, "Look, okay. All right. I'm coming clean." See, here's what I like about the story. It doesn't foreshadow into of the future. It takes a picture of the past. I remember this other guy, when the rubber met the road, he said, "Well, it was because of her that I did this thing.” Or, “It was because of them that I did this thing." You guys know that story that was early in the Torah Pearls?

Nehemia: I read that one.

Keith: I think what's really kind of cool about it is he says, "Okay, that's enough," but then he says, "Go up to the top of this mountain, look west, and north, and south, and east, and look at the land with your own eyes since you're not going to cross." I mean, that might seem like a... what do you call those? The prize that’s the secondary prize, what do you call that? It's like a consolation prize.

Jono: Yes.

Keith: But let me ask this question, this is just something I wanted to ask the group while people are listening. So does Moses have the big picture in view, or does he think this is it? Does he know anything about the redemption? Does he know anything about what's coming? Is this for him, this is it, it was his ride, it's over, he's about to go and be buried and it's over? Does Moses know about something beyond that? What do we think Moses knows about the big picture?

Jono: It looks like... we actually go into that when we get to, let's see, chapter 4, verse 25 and on. He kind of speaks prophetically and speaks about the bigger picture, doesn't he?

Keith: Yes, I think he does.

Nehemia: Now, what do you mean by “the bigger picture”? That he's going to die? Is that what we’re talking about?

Jono: Well, there's that as well, but also what's going to happen, in what I've got in the English, is the latter days.

Nehemia: Oh, okay. Oh, yeah, that's true. This is big stuff. There's so much in this Torah portion. I don't know how we're going to do it all.

Jono: There's so much to it, but we're going to do it, don't you worry. This could be a record; let's see how we go. “‘But command Joshua and encourage him and strengthen him; for he shall go over before this people, and he shall cause them to inherit the land which you will see.’ So, we stayed in the valley opposite Beth Peor.” Now, here we are in chapter 4. Oh, now, this is such a great chapter.

Keith: Yes.

Jono: I'm going to start reading, you guys just interrupt me, "Now, O Israel, listen to the statutes and the judgments..."

Nehemia: I've got to stop you there.

Keith: Stop.

Nehemia: I’ve got to stop you there. We've got this word that appears repeatedly throughout the section, it's a keyword and the word is “shema”. Shema is the Hebrew word that means “listen” or “hear.”

Jono: Yes.

Nehemia: First of all, this tells you that this is Moses' speech. Moses is speaking to the people and he's like, "Listen y'all," you know, "Shema, listen." When Moses says, "Listen," we better listen. He's bigger than EF Hutton, which you as an Australian might not know who that is, but he's bigger than EF Hutton. When he talks, people better listen.

Jono: But Nehemia, is it like a “listen” as if I say to my kids, "Hey, listen. Can you hear that bird?" or something like that? Or is it if I say to my kids, "Listen to me," that means I want your attention, I'm going to tell you to do something.

Keith: Can I answer the question? Hello?

Jono: Keith?

Keith: So what I like about it is, and this is one of those little small things that you get a chance to see. In English, like you say, you could interpret it that way. If I open up my Hebrew Bible, I see this one little word, "shema," and I come to find out that that word there I think is an imperative. Meaning, this is not a, "Hey, listen, if you’ve got time," or, "Listen if you're not too busy." This is like saying, "Hey, listen!" This is a clear statement saying, "I'm commanding you to listen," and then the people's response is whether or not they're going to listen or not, but he's definitely not coming with the old casual, "Oh, excuse me. Hey, guys, could you be quiet over there?"

Jono: That's right. It's, "Shema, you listen to me, children. I have to tell you to do something, I expect you to do it. Listen to my words." Is that fair?

Keith: Yes.

Nehemia: Yeah.

Jono: Okay, commands attention. So, "listen to the statutes and the judgments which I teach you to observe, that you may live, and go in and possess the land which Yehovah God of your fathers is giving you. You shall not add to the word which I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of Yehovah your God which I command you.”

Keith: “Do not add to them, unless you have the authority to do so,” that’s what it says.

Jono: Oh, my goodness.

Nehemia: That’s in your Bible?

Keith: It says, "Do not add to these commands unless," the NIV says. "Do not add to these commands unless you have the authority to do so, given to you by the church."

Nehemia: Papal authority?

Keith: Not by the rabbis, not by anyone. I think one of the things that it’s so interesting, and we've talked about this many, many times over the years, Nehemia and I, about this issue of what's added. But one of the things that I continually struggle with is how people and organizations, institutions, have gotten around this verse. How do you get around this verse, this idea of adding? I think the only way you can get around the verse is to either change the verse or add something somewhere else that makes this verse less important.

Nehemia: Well, what they'll say is, "We're not adding to God's commandments. We're instituting man-made commandments which God gave us the permission to do." And look, this is something I could talk about from my own heritage growing up as an Orthodox Jew, before I became a Karaite Jew. I was taught certain things, that these are commandments that God commanded, and one of them… I talk about this a little bit in my book, The Hebrew Yeshua Versus the Greek Jesus. There’s also a free video on YouTube people can watch.

So, I was taught a number of things that we are required to do, and we actually bless God, thanking him for commanding us to do these things. One of them is washing the hands; I talked about that in the book. Another one is the lighting of the Sabbath candles. A lot of people don't realize this, you know, they'll watch the movie Fiddler on the Roof and they'll say "Oh, to be a Jew means when Sabbath starts, I want to light the Sabbath candles." What they don't realize is when you light the Sabbath candles, traditionally you make the blessing, "Blessed art Thou, our Lord, King of the universe, Who has sanctified us with His commandments concerning the Sabbath candles," essentially saying that God's commanded us to light the Sabbath candles. Obviously, God never commanded that. It's not even claimed by the rabbis that he commanded that. What they're saying is, "Well, God commanded you to obey the rabbis, and the rabbis have been given permission to make, what are called ‘takkanot,’ which are man-made rules and regulations, such as requiring us to light the Sabbath candles, requiring us to wash our hands in a certain ritual way before we eat food, requiring us to do various other things like lighting the Hanukkah candles.”

That's a clear example to me of this verse, Deuteronomy chapter 4, verse 2, "Don't add to the matter which I command you today nor shall you diminish from it to keep the commandments of Yehovah, your God which I am commanding you." That appears again in Deuteronomy chapter 12, verse 32; 13:1 in the Hebrew. We'll talk about that when we get to 13:1. We probably mentioned it before.

Proverbs chapter 30, verse 6, it says, "Do not add unto his words, lest he reprove you and you be found a liar." So, you don't want God reproving you and you being found a liar. Three witnesses testify to this concept. "Don't add to his Commandments," and along with, "Don't add" is "Don't take away." Really, what that means is, adding a commandment requiring us to light Sabbath candles or wash our hands is really no different than saying the Sabbath has been abolished. Adding and taking away is in the same breath commanded. There's a verse over in Keith's Bible, if I may say, from his tradition, which maybe we can look at, which is Matthew chapter 5, verse 18. Can we look at that? Actually, we start in 5:17...

Jono: Yes.

Keith: I’m sorry, Just a second.

Jono: Hang on.

Keith: Timeout. Just a minute.

Nehemia: No. You guys are repeating this concept, so let’s... you know.

Jono: Hang on.

Keith: Nehemia, Just a second. I got a timeout for you, Jono.

Jono: Okay.

Keith: Okay. So, we go through Torah Pearls, and people listening have heard Nehemia do this several times - he goes to get a drink of water when we talk about the New Testament. “Why are you guys bringing...?” Now, he's bringing this up now, are we going to go talk about Jesus now? We're going to go into Matthew. Because if we're going to go into Matthew, then I'm going to spend a card later.

Jono: All right. He wants to spend a card… hang on a second, before we do any of that, because Nehemia mentioned the reference in Deuteronomy 12, and also...

Nehemia: Proverbs 30.

Jono: … that it appears in Proverbs 30 verse 6, but I just want to read a couple of verses around that if I may. This is verse 5 into verse 6 of Proverbs chapter 30, “Every word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him. Do not add to His words, lest He rebuke you, and you be found a liar." Every word of God is pure, and then, of course, one of my favorite verses, Psalms 119, verse 140, "Your word is very pure; Therefore Your servant loves it." Now, Nehemia, where were you going?

Nehemia: Okay. So, let's look at this passage here. To me it's really interesting because, when I first really interacted with Christians many, many years ago, one of the things they told me is that, "You need Jesus to set you free from the Torah. He came and he abolished the Torah." It's funny because if you say this, basically to any Jew - any Jew who comes from the background I came from - you really don't need to say anymore; the conversation is over. I know Jesus has nothing of value to tell me because he did away with the Torah.

And I see Moses said, "Do not add and do not take away." Twice he says it, here in 4:2, and 12:32, and Proverbs 30 verse 6. Three witnesses in my Bible tell me, "Don't add or take away." So, if Jesus came to do away with the Torah, then I don't really need to hear anymore, the conversation's over.

What I think is interesting is that when you actually look at what Jesus said, that's not what he said. Here in Matthew chapter 5, verse 17, this is the Sermon on the Mount. It says, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish, but to fulfill. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth have passed away, not one letter, not one stroke of a letter, will pass through the Law until all is accomplished.” We could talk about that verse for like an hour, but we have so much to talk about today, so let's not do that.

What’s interesting about this verse is… a lot of my Jewish brothers and sisters will say, "Who even knows if the New Testament is accurate? Those were people hundreds of years later who were writing this, and the Christians wrote this, and they had an agenda. Who can trust what they say?" What's interesting about this verse is that this is the only verse in the entire New Testament that's quoted in Jewish sources. It's quoted a little bit differently, but it's quoted actually, in the Talmud. In the Talmudic version, and I'm paraphrasing here, it says something to the effect of, "I did not come to add to the Torah or to take away from the Torah." That’s essentially a paraphrase of Deuteronomy 4:2. But it's clearly the same... whoever’s reporting that clearly was at the same place and heard 5:17, just is reporting it slightly differently.

But basically, it's being essentially a paraphrase of Deuteronomy 4:2, which I think is interesting. He was accused in his day apparently, "Oh, you're doing away with the Torah," and he's like "No, I'm not doing away with the Torah. I didn't come to add or to take away," just like Moses said. So, I think that's really interesting.

The next verse is verse 5:19. It says, "Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do so will be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven."

It's really interesting that the Jesus of Christianity, at least the one that was always presented to me, is someone who has abolished the Torah, done away with the Torah, something that for a Jew... to me, that makes him essentially a criminal, that he's done away with the Torah, in Jewish eyes. He himself was apparently accused of that in his own day and so he wanted to clarify and said, "No, I didn't come to add or to take away from the Torah. I came to uphold the Torah, to fulfill the Torah."

Jono: Amen.

Keith: Pretty cool. Thank you, Nehemia.

Jono: Keith?

Keith: No. Thank you, Nehemia.

Jono: I was really disappointed when it took about three months when we moved here, it took... I don't know maybe three or four months, maybe it took six months, before the Jehovah's Witnesses came and knocked on my door. When we lived back in Cootamundra, they were knocking, they were beating my door down, and it was great because these guys just want to argue and sit out there and discuss the Bible, which I'm more than happy to do. And then we moved here, and they didn't want to know me, and then one day, Keith, one day, they came and knocked on my door. I couldn't believe it because our driveway is a kilometer long and I said, "How did you know there was a house here?" He said, “there’s a...”

Nehemia: I saw the smoke from the chimney.

Jono: "Oh, there is a postbox down there," you know, a kilometer down there on the road. Anyway, they came down and we had a bit of a chat, and I said, "Listen, here is my phone number. Next time, ring me and tell me that you're coming. Don't just turn up, you can't just do that. Just give me a call, and let's have a cup of coffee, we'll sit down there and we'll discuss. I'm happy to do it." Never called again, Keith. They never ever called. But then, one day, maybe, I don't know, three or four months later, there was another knock at our door. It was a different J.W. He came knocking on the door and he said, "I'm here to talk to you about the kingdom." And I said, "That's great, I love to talk about the kingdom. Do you know what Jesus said in Matthew 5:17, 18, 19?" And he said, "I don't know." He said, "What?" I said, "Well, he said, ‘Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill the Torah.’" He said, "No, the law has been done away with it," he said to me. I said, "But, no, listen to what he says, he goes on and he says, ‘For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law until all is fulfilled, and whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches…” And I read it to him, you know what he said to me, Keith? He said, "I think you're mixing them up. I think you're getting two Scriptures mixed up together." I said, "No, let me go get my Bible." I go get my Bible. He goes, "No, no. I'm not here to argue with you, I just wanted to... I got to go now."

Keith: And that was it.

Jono: Never saw him again.

Nehemia: Oh, boy. Hey, that’s one way to get rid of them.

Jono: That's just so disappointing.

Nehemia: Can we just read that one more time? And this is the New International Version, the official version of, isn’t it like the Council of Churches or something like that, "Anyone who breaks one of the least…”, say least.

Jono: Least.

Nehemia: “…of these Commandments and teaches others to do the same, will be called least in the kingdom of heaven." Wow. If that doesn't echo what Moses just said here… I mean, clearly it does. "Do not add unto the matter which I am commanding you, nor shall you diminish from it to keep the commandment of Yehovah, your God, which I'm commanding you." That's powerful stuff.

Jono: There it is.

Keith: I'm telling you, Nehemia, you'd be a great missionary. That's good stuff.

Nehemia: No, be careful with that.

Keith: I'm using the word in the positive.

Nehemia: Well, here’s the beauty of it - as a Jew, I don't have to be afraid of what Jesus said. If you actually look at what he said rather than what's been ascribed to him by the Catholic Church…

Keith: Right.

Nehemia: …it actually lines up very closely with what Jews believe. I'm not the only one to say that. I'll mention again the book that I'm currently reading by Shmuley Boteach... I was actually reading this today in the book in Jerusalem. The book Kosher Jesus, it has a very controversial picture on the front cover; you can go to Amazon.com and check it out. I'm reading Kosher Jesus on a Jerusalem book and this ultra-orthodox guy with the big hat and everything and the payot walks up to me and he says, almost threateningly, "What's that book about?" I explained it to him, and he's like "Well, it's about Jesus. Where's he going with that?” I explained it to him, and he's like, "Oh, that actually makes a lot of sense." I don't think Jews should be afraid of Jesus. I think once you understand what he actually said… and you know what? I don't think anybody is as qualified to testify about what he said as he is.

Keith: Come on with that.

Nehemia: Now, of course, we've got it secondhand from the four apostles, but this is what we have. If you actually listen to what he said versus what's been attributed to him by the church, then this guy's a Jew. And I'll say what I said again… maybe this is too controversial, you probably edited it out last time, but I'll say what I said again; I think the Christians, by twisting his words, have crucified him a second time.

Jono: Yes, I agree. I totally agree, and this is the claim of Shmuley Boteach. He said that Jesus is a Jew, his name is Yeshua, he is a Jewish man...

Nehemia: Come on with that.

Jono: …he's a man who upheld the Torah, and that he is a victim of character assassination, and the Jews shouldn't stand for it.

Nehemia: Amen.

Jono: He’s one of their brothers and they should not stand for it. He’s a victim of character assassination. They should claim him back as a Torah-observant brother. I think that's fair.

Keith: Wow. You two are really on a roll.

Jono: I’ll tell you what.

Keith: That’s impressive. I got to use this on a cut. I'm going to cut and paste some of these statements and use them.

Jono: All right. I think it’s fair…

Keith: Nehemia says, "Jews should not be afraid of Jesus." I’ve got to use that one. That's good.

Jono: They shouldn't. He's their brother. They should redeem him from the character assassination that he has suffered from the last couple of thousand years. It's not fair. “Then I commanded you at that time, saying, ‘Yehovah your God has given you this land to possess. All you men of valor shall cross over armed before your brethren, the children of Israel. But your wives, your little ones and your livestock, I know that you have much...’”. Hang on! How did I get back there?!

Keith: I have no idea. We're in chapter 4. What are you doing? Let me take over from here.

Jono: I'm in the wrong page. Wait a minute.

Nehemia: Start reading verse 6. Let’s jump to verse 6. I don't know.

Jono: Thank you, Nehemia. Okay, verse 3, "Your eyes have seen what Yehovah did at Baal Peor; and Yehovah your God has destroyed from among you all the men who followed Baal of Peor. But you, who held fast to Yehovah your God, are alive today, every one of you.”

Keith: Amen.

Jono: “Surely I have taught you statutes and judgments as Yehovah my God commanded me, that you should act according to them in the land you go to possess. Therefore,” Keith, “be careful to observe them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples who will hear these statutes, and say, ‘Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.’ For what great nation is there that has God so near to it, as Yehovah our God is to us, for whatever reason we may call upon Him.”

Nehemia: This is a pretty cool statement here.

Jono: Yes.

Nehemia: One of the things that really illustrates this is that, when they were talking about establishing the Constitution of the United States, and I don't bring this up just because I'm American, but because pretty much every modern Western country has followed the United States, followed suit - and even non-western countries - modeling their constitution or their basic laws after the American Constitution. So, in that sense it's kind of relevant for all mankind.

They were actually jokingly called at one point - the Constitutional Congress - was called at one point, "The Bible Congress," because they kept quoting the Bible. And there was some discussion of the symbol of the United States being Moses with the Ten Commandments, because that essentially said, "this is the foundation of our laws, the Torah of the Jews."

Now, of course, they departed from it in some respects, but they kind of… literally did… what it says here is they looked at this and they said, "This is wise. This is profound. We've got to pay attention to this." So, it's almost like a living testimony to what God is speaking about here.

Keith: Amen.

Jono: “And what great nation is there that has such statutes and righteous judgments as are in all this law which I set before you today?” Let me just add... maybe this is getting off the topic, you let me know, maybe this is controversial, I don't know - but the Noahide Laws. What is with that? What's that about? Can you put it in a nutshell?

Nehemia: Let me give you the skinny on that. There's something called, "The Seven Laws of Noah." The people who follow them today often refer to themselves as “Noahides,” which really just means… in Hebrew we'd say, "B’nei Noach," the sons of Noach. The way the rabbis see it is, mankind is divided between two groups - the children of Israel and the children of Noah. The reason they divided the world that way is they said that, just as God had a covenant with Israel, He had an earlier covenant with Noah which applies to all mankind. And in that earlier covenant, God gave the sons of Noah seven commandments. Now, the funny thing about these seven commandments is there's only really one place you can find them, and that's in the rabbinical Oral Law.

If God really made this covenant with the sons of Noah with these seven laws, don't you think you'd hear about them… I don't know, from some Pacific Islanders? Or from the Chinese? But the only people who know about them is from the rabbinical Oral Law. Now, God did make a covenant with Noah and his children; I think we've talked about this when we did Genesis 9. There are some very specific things; not to murder… I think every society in the world has that commandment. They've inherited that, not to murder. Another thing is not to eat blood, which hasn't been really followed, unfortunately. You could look at that. But what's referred to as the seven laws of Noah, that actually could only be found in the Oral Law.

One of the concepts in the seven laws of Noah is that Gentiles are forbidden from keeping the Sabbath. They're actually forbidden from keeping Shabbat, and if they keep Shabbat, they're supposed to be executed; publicly executed, given the death penalty. The reason I have such a problem with that is that, in Isaiah 56, God speaks to the Gentile. I'm sure we've quoted this verse before, but I'll quote it again.

Jono: Quote it again.

Nehemia: In Isaiah 56, verse 6, it says, "And the sons of the Gentile who join themselves to Yehovah," and that's the same word as “Levite,” who Levite themselves to Yehovah, join themselves to Yehovah, "to serve Him and to love the name of Yehovah, to be his servants, all those who keep Shabbat from desecrating it and grab hold of My covenant, I will bring them to My holy mountain," et cetera, et cetera.

So here it's not saying, "Oh, the Gentiles will be…" you know, he doesn't say, "All those who keep the Shabbat, from desecrating it, I will line them up and shoot them, or I will stone them." No, on the contrary, it says, "I will bring them to My holy mountain." Shabbat is being taught here to the nations. It's the sign of the covenant between Israel and Yehovah, the God of Israel. But the purpose of the sign is to be a light to the nations, to teach the world what God is teaching mankind. This beautiful wisdom, exactly what we're reading here.

Jono: Yes.

Nehemia: This is wisdom for all mankind. If you look at the Torah, it doesn't start off with God choosing Israel. It starts off with God creating the world in six days and resting on the seventh. There is no Israel; there is no Abraham. This is something that's relevant for all mankind.

Jono: Amen.

Nehemia: I think that's something that's kind of reiterated in the Ten Commandments.

Jono: Yes.

Nehemia: We'll talk about that when we get to the Ten Commandments - about why God gave the Shabbat. Remind me if I forget.

Jono: Brilliant; we’ll do that. That's reassuring because, Keith - the nations that are watching this great nation with such a great law, that has Yehovah as their God and the wisdom and the understanding, "I think I'll do just some of the commandments." I mean that doesn't make sense, right?

Keith: No. I just think the whole beauty of it is that in this process of creating the world and continuing to have this sort of remnant that He brings out, Noah and his family, and then Abraham from the land of the Chaldeans, and then finding... from Abraham you go right down with the patriarchs and you see this sort of idea of Him continuing to bring people close to Him and giving them the opportunity to be a light to the nations. And being a light to the nations, meaning not just, "You’re on your own, go set up your own Kingdom and your own thing," but no, "Here's My word. Here's My word, My will, My way. Put this in your life, make this a part of your life”, and they will look, and they will see you and they will say, “What God is this that treats a nation this way?”

I mean, that's the whole idea. One of the things that I've always struggled with early in the process, before meeting Nehemia, and this was a complicated thing for me was… when I was trying to understand the Torah or understand what the Word of God meant contextually, and many times I would approach my Jewish brothers and sisters - and I use that word the same way that I use... it gets controversial, some people don't like it when I say, "My Muslim brothers and sisters," or, "My Christian brothers and sisters." I tend to use that, Jono, like I would say, "My Australian brothers and sisters."

Jono: Sure.

Keith: The idea that I'm connected to these people that were created by the same Creator. However, in the process of that, there's this invitation to be made His special possession, His ones that would, based on His word, say, "Yes, I want to join myself to You. Yes, I want to know Your name, Your word, Your covenant, Your Shabbat." That makes me someone that, when the nations look at me, they say, "Wow, what kind of God is it that would treat His people that way? That's the God that I want to know.” That's the best evangelism that I had.

But my point is that, early in my process, when I would approach my Jewish brothers and sisters, there was a closed door. I'll give you an example, guys, and this is really interesting. So, I'm in New York, by the time we hear this I won't be in New York, probably, but I was in New York. I went down to go do some research and there were two Jewish men that were wrapping men in the… they have the prayer shawl, they would do the Tefillah, and they had these guys come and stop and pray. So, I walk up to the two guys and I say to them, "Tell me where the Jewish community is. I want to speak to some Jewish people." And the guy says, "I don't know."

Jono: What?

Keith: And I'm like, "What do you mean you don't know?" I'm kind of like, trying to engage them now. They're grabbing people off the street saying, "Here, come over and say the prayer, and we're going to assist you and help you read," to other people. But when I walk over there, there's this, like, shut door now. No, this happened. The point is that I think sometimes there has been a concern... I mean, I could go further on this whole point. But the point is that until I met Nehemia, I really didn't have as much of an open door with another Jewish brother to be able to see what this Torah is and why it is that this Torah draws me. And so, he was the first person that really, really opened the door for me to have a new relationship with him. Unfortunately, that hasn't been my experience. There's been more of a closed door. I think there are many issues that I could talk about, but I just think it's wonderful when we see people who are walking out Torah, living Torah, and it is a light for those, like myself, who want to join themselves. So that's the beauty of it.

Jono: Amen. Thank you. "Only take heed to yourself, and diligently keep yourself lest you forget the things your eyes have seen and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. And teach them to your children and your grandchildren, especially concerning the day you stood before Yehovah your God in Horeb, when Yehovah said to me, ‘Gather the people to Me, and I will let them hear My words, that they may learn to fear Me all the days they live on the earth, and that they may teach their children.’ When you came here and stood at the foot of the mountain, and the mountain burned with fire in the midst of heaven, with darkness and cloud and thick darkness. And Yehovah spoke to you out of the midst of the fire. You heard the sound of the words, but you saw no form; you only heard a voice. So He declared to you His covenant, which He commanded you to perform, the Ten Commandments; and He wrote them on two tablets of stone. And Yehovah commanded me at that time to teach you statutes and the judgments that you might observe them in the land which you cross over to possess.”

Keith: Amen.

Jono: Okay. And so, now, “Beware of idolatry. Take heed to yourselves, for you saw no form when Yehovah spoke to you at Horeb out of the midst of the fire, lest you act corruptly and make for yourselves a carved image in the form of any figure: the likeness of a male or female, the likeness of any animal that is on the earth or the likeness of a winged bird that flies in the air, the likeness of anything that creeps on the ground or the likeness of the fish that is in the water beneath the earth. And take heed, lest you lift your eyes to heaven and when you see the sun, the moon, and the stars, and the host of heaven, you feel driven to worship them and serve them, which Yehovah your God has given to all the peoples under the whole heaven as a heritage. But Yehovah has taken you and brought you out,” How's that, Keith, “brought you out of the iron furnace, out of Egypt,” How's that for a description - Egypt as the iron furnace?

Keith: Wow. I just want to say this. This is a verse... there are a couple of verses here that, really, I just have to take a moment. Because of this process of, again, looking at God's time, there's this issue and there's always been this issue over time where man has attempted, what I like to say, to tame time. So the way they like to tame time is they like to look up into the heavens and see different things and say, "Okay, we're either going to use this to make our predictions of what's going to happen on the earth, or we're going to use these things opposite of what He's told us to use for His clock. We're going to use these things to be the things that will help us tame time.”

When I see this verse, I just think about the fact that He's saying, "Now, listen, this is a possibility. You're going to look up and you're going to see these amazing things happening in the heavens." For example, there was what was called a pretty major thing that happens about every 113 years or so, and that was where Venus crossed the sun, and then about two weeks before that I was in California and we had a lunar eclipse, where it moved over... and I happened to be in California when it was taking place.

What's so interesting is these things that are taking place in the heavens, it's like Moses is saying to the people, "Now, listen, there are going to be certain things you're going to look up in the heavens and you're going to see. You're going to see this happen with stars and you're going to see this happen with this... But these are not things that you should look at and then say, 'Let's bow down to them.'" But that's exactly what's happened, and as it pertains to time, that's where these folks kind of go off the deep end, and they say, "Well, because this happens on this date… this means that this is God's way of telling us what time it is."

And really, here we have in the Torah, Moses, and this isn't the only time that we see it - Isaiah talks about it and other prophets - but where he's saying, “Now, listen, don't fall into this trap. Don't make the things that happen in the heavens determine for you what's going to happen on the earth. I determine for you what's going to happen on earth and I’ve told you what things to look at."

Jono: Amen.

Keith: So I think it's interesting that right here in Deuteronomy He's bringing this up. In the Torah, He's letting the people know. And of course, why would He say this to them? Why would He say this to this group that's just come out of Egypt, Nehemia and Jono? Why would he say this to them? Is this out of the blue? Would they have had no idea?

Jono: No, perhaps there’s a history. I mean obviously there was the golden calf, they made an image there, but perhaps there's also a history in Egypt of this kind of idolatry.

Keith: There it is, absolutely.

Jono: And so let me just highlight Jeremiah, chapter 10, verse 1.

Keith: I'd like to say, before you read this - I am really impressed. Are you taking Nehemia's school on computer searching?

Nehemia: What?

Keith: Because you have been on fire as far as your ability to find these other verses. I mean it is impressive.

Nehemia: He’s on fire, yeah.

Jono: "Hear the word which Yehovah speaks to you, O house of Israel. Thus says Yehovah, “Do not learn the way of the Gentiles; Do not be dismayed at the signs of heaven, for the Gentiles are dismayed at them.” There it is.

Keith: Yes. There it is.

Jono: Don't freak out just because Venus is doing its thing. Okay, Keith, once again, he has to stick it in, again. He says, in verse 21...

Nehemia: I’ve got to stop you there.

Jono: Okay.

Nehemia: All right. So, you're saying, "Don't be afraid of the signs of heaven," and I think it's pretty clear, at least to me, that what Jeremiah is talking about is astrology. Having said that, there will be signs in the end times.

Keith: Yes.

Nehemia: For example, we have the prophecy of Joel, about the moon turning to blood. So we do have signs that we're going to look for.

Jono: Sure. We do have signs.

Nehemia: That was foretold in Genesis 1:14; that one of the four things Yehovah created the sun, the moon, and the stars for was for signs.

Jono: Sure.

Nehemia: Having said that, the point is that Yehovah will use these things for signs, but don't be intimidated by astrology that the Pagans use to tell you that the stars control your life. Because the only one who controls your life is Yehovah.

Jono: Amen.

Nehemia: When there will be signs, I think they'll be patently obvious to everyone. It'll be things that are beyond the natural; supernatural events, and we have examples of that. For example, if I’m not mistaken, it was at King Hizkiyahu or Ahaz, I forget, in the Book of Kings, where he's given a sign. The sign is that the sun turns back 10 degrees, or actually goes back up ten steps, which is not something that's outside of nature. So Yehovah can use these things signs to prove… for miracles.

Keith: Amen.

Nehemia: But that doesn't mean... and that's the key thing, that the Hebrew word for “miracle,” and the Hebrew word for “sign,” is the same word. So, we're dealing here with miraculous things. We're not dealing here with… you know, there was a conjunction or a transit of Venus. That's not what we're talking about. We're talking about supernatural events that Yehovah will use to where we look up and we say, "Wow, that's not something... we understand nature pretty well today and we know that's beyond nature. This is Yehovah.”

Jono: This is Yehovah. And so…

Keith: Let me just say a funny thing to you two. One of the things that has been really, really, interesting is that this whole... Nehemia brought up the whole issue of astrology, and I know Moses talks about this. The point is that one of the things that's happening that is hilarious is that right now the dates, the time that the... I'm sorry for laughing, but this has been a hilarious thing to me. So, if a person is born and they say, "Well, I'm a Libra, here's when Libra is supposed to be." Well, guess what? Because of the gravitational pull of the moon, it's shifted things so that now if you were a Pisces, you're another one. In other words…

Jono: Are you serious about this?

Nehemia: It's actually because of something called the precession of the equinoxes.

Keith: Precession, yes.

Nehemia: What that causes is, that what was 2,000 years ago... like for example, what Keith is saying… if you're a Sagittarius… so they say that's from such-and-such a date to such-and-such another date. Well, that's something the Greeks worked out 2,000 years ago. If you actually look up into the heavens, the sun is not in Sagittarius; it's actually a month off.

Keith: It's changed. But it’s so hilarious because now you've got these people who built their whole thing around the horoscope saying, "Well, if you're a Capricorn, don't marry a Leo." Well, now my Leo is in a different date, so that means I marry...". I think the whole thing is hilarious, and this just goes to show exactly what Moses is saying, “Don't let that be the issue. That is not the issue”. The issue is what Yehovah himself says, what He calls us to, and it pertains to the heavens and the earth. He gives us very clear signs about things that we should be looking at every month, every week.

Jono: Amen.

Keith: I think people have made that to be quite confusing, and that's another conversation.

Jono: Anyway, he says, "Don't lift up your eyes to heaven, the sun, the moon, and the stars, all the host of heaven. Don’t feel drawn to worship them or serve them.” And as it says in Jeremiah, "Don't be dismayed at signs in the heavens." So, there it is. Now, in verse 21 he says it again, "Furthermore Yehovah was angry with me because of you guys, and swore to me that I would not cross over into the Jordan, and that I would not enter the good land which Yehovah your God is giving you as an inheritance.”

Keith: I'm telling you, he needs a shrink.

Jono: "But I must die in this land," he says, "I must not cross over the Jordan; but you shall cross over and possess that good land. Take heed to yourselves, lest you forget the covenant of Yehovah your God, which He made with you, and make yourselves a carved image in the form of anything which Yehovah your God has forbidden you. For Yehovah your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.”

Keith: Can I read the next…?

Nehemia: Can I...

Keith: Go ahead, Nehemia.

Jono: Please, Keith.

Nehemia: Verse 24. Wait a minute. Hold on.

Jono: Yeah, “consuming fire, a jealous God.”

Nehemia: Here's a really interesting example of… one of the things, as a Karaite Jew, I'm sometimes accused of is being a literalist; taking the Bible literally. That, because I'm a Karaite, I have to read everything in the Bible literally. And when I try to explain to people...

Jono: Did you circumcise your heart?

Nehemia: Not physically, not literally; metaphorically, I have. What I try to explain to people is that, my approach is to say, I want to understand what the Scripture is saying based on the language and the context, using common sense. What that simply means is, if I understand ancient Biblical Hebrew, what would an ancient Israelite have understood when he heard the Torah read? Very often, or 90% of the time, that may be the literal meaning, but in many instances it's not.

Here’s an example in verse 24, where anybody with half a brain knows that this is not meant literally. What it literally says in Hebrew is, "Because Yehovah your God is a consuming fire." Okay, well, no, He's actually not literally a consuming fire. He is a spiritual entity, and fire is a physical release of energy caused by the oxidation of matter; that’s what fire is. So Yehovah is not literally a consuming fire. This is a figure of speech, a metaphor. And here I can say that the “p’shat”, or the plain meaning, is actually a metaphor. If I take this literally, then I've actually twisted Scripture and taken it out of context and ignored common sense.

Jono: Yes. Fair enough.

Nehemia: So, I like this example.

Jono: Amen. Keith, from 25.

Keith: From 25. So, I love this because this is where I'm imagining Moses, and now he's got some beads of sweat on his forehead and he’s preaching.

Jono: Yes.

Keith: I just love this line, and this is just more than anything… just let me spin this card.

Jono: Please.

Keith: "After you have had children and grandchildren and lived in the land a long time—if you then become corrupt and make any kind of idol, doing evil in the eyes of Yehovah your God and provoking him to anger…”, then verse 26, "I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you.”

Nehemia: Come on.

Keith: I mean, when I hear him say that - I don't know what it is, you guys, I just get so fired up that he uses that image.

Jono: It’s cosmic.

Keith: He says, "Listen, I've got two witnesses. One is heaven and one is earth. I call them as witnesses." I mean, does that not...? I mean, maybe this is just the preacher in me, but there is something about that, when Moses says that, that just jumps off the page for me. I mean, he's saying, "Look, this is that serious right now. Heaven and earth will be the ones that will witness, that will be witnesses."

Nehemia: Well I mean, what's the significance of calling on heaven and earth? Let’s ask that question.

Keith: That's a great question.

Nehemia: Are they just words? What is the significance?

Keith: Listen, so I do this whole thing constantly about needing two witnesses, so I love this. I'm not a Kabbalist, but this idea of the number of two, when these things come up that this confirms this happened once, this happened second. I've got two witnesses on the phone, I've got Jono and I've got Nehemia. It's like, one's in Israel and one's in Australia. These are the two witnesses for me, or for Yeshua.

Nehemia: Okay. So, I understand the significance of two, but why the heavens and the earth?

Jono: I don’t know. The first...

Nehemia: Why didn't he say the gazelles and the birds of the sky? Why did he say the heavens and the earth? I think the answer is that the heavens and earth are always going to be there.

Jono: Amen.

Nehemia: And see, when I read this book 3,500 years later, if I look out at the earth and I look up into the heavens, the witnesses are standing there testifying by their very existence.

Keith: Amen.

Jono: Oh. Let's just go back, just a little bit to where you were before, Nehemia, where Yeshua said, "Assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the Torah until all is fulfilled.” That actually takes me to… it reminds me of Jeremiah, back in Jeremiah chapter 31, verse 35 and on, says, "Thus says Yehovah, Who gives the sun for a light by day, the ordinances of the moon and the stars for a light by night, Who disturbs the sea, and its waves roar (Yehovah of Hosts is His name), ‘If those ordinances depart from before Me, says Yehovah, then the seed of Israel shall also cease from being a nation before Me.’ Thus says Yehovah, ‘If heaven above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth can be searched out beneath, I will also cast off all the seed of Israel for all that they have done,’ says Yehovah." It reminds me of that.

Nehemia: Wait, I’ve got to ask a question here. You said, Keith, before, you want to spend a card. I've actually been asked by some people privately that said they didn't understand the expression "to spend a card." You've said it a thousand times this year. What does it mean when you say, “I want to spend a card"?

Keith: Look, I'm using my secret language, that's my secret society language, and I'm not telling people that right now. This is my thing. I'm going to trademark it. You’ve got to come to me as the great rabbi and then I give you the secret. Are you kidding me?

Jono: You should see the handshake. The handshake’s impressive.

Nehemia: All right, there it is. It's a secret. Keith's using a secret expression.

Keith: You’ve got to go to Keith’s Encyclopedia. Look, I've got all these phrases. People are starting to take my phrases...

Nehemia: No, I know you do, let me...

Keith: I got to keep these phrases - these are my trademark phrases. What are you talking about? I’m going to start my own denomination pretty soon.

Nehemia: That's your deal.

Keith: The Methodists are kicking me out, and I'm starting my own denomination.

Jono: And your own language to boot…

Keith: I got my own translations, spelled the KJV, the Keith Johnson Version, are you kidding?

Nehemia: There it is.

Jono: So, I'm guessing to say that you're spending a card, it's like, "Give me permission to leave the farm for a minute; give me permission just to go slightly off topic, just to elaborate."

Keith: In any card game, everybody's got a certain number of cards, so you got to decide when you're going to use a card. "When am I going to use this card? Is this now the time to use it?" I've only got a certain amount so once I use it, it's gone.

Jono: It better be good.

Keith: So, it's like asking a favor; I've only got four favors for Torah Pearls and I'm on number three, I got one more left. When do I use the favor? And it’s coming soon, ladies and gentlemen. I’ve got one more card to spin and it's coming soon. It's in this portion, just hang on.

Jono: Give us verse 27, Keith. This is awesome.

Keith: Verse 27, here it is, “Yehovah will scatter you among the peoples, and only a few of you will survive among the nations to which Yehovah your God will drive you. There you will worship man-made gods of wood and stone, which cannot see or hear or eat or smell. But if from there,” and I love this verse, “but if from there you seek Yehovah your God, you will find him if you look for him with all your heart and with all your soul. When you are in distress and all these things happen to you,”

Nehemia: Come on with that.

Keith: And let me just say, this is, again...

Nehemia: Don't stop there; finish the verse.

Jono: "And all these things come upon you,” when?

Keith: Okay, "Then in later days you will return to Yehovah, your God and obey him."

Nehemia: “Later days”? Is that what you've got?

Jono: “Then in later days”? I don't have that. Wait a minute. So I've got, "and all these things come upon you in the latter days…”

Nehemia: Come on with that.

Jono: “…when you turn to Yehovah, your God and obey His voice."

Nehemia: This is end time stuff. The phrase in Hebrew isAharit Hayamim,” the end of days. That's literally what it says.

Jono: Take that, NIV!

Nehemia: Yeah, NIV.

Jono: Yeah.

Nehemia: This is an end of days prophecy. This is pretty cool. Verse 27 is talking about exiling Israel throughout the world. Now, think about this - Moses wrote this sometime around 3,500 years ago, and today, this has actually been fulfilled. We've had 2,000 years where the Jews have been scattered throughout the world.

Jono: Amen.

Nehemia: So, I think this is pretty amazing. I mean, to me, this is a powerful passage that tells me this book is true.

Jono: Amen.

Nehemia: This is such a powerful passage that some of these Bible critics, who don't believe in Scripture, have actually looked at this verse and said, "Well, we've got to do something here; this is a prophecy that came true," so they try to concoct some kind of scenario where this was actually written after the Babylonian exile took place. The problem is, he doesn't say anything about the Babylonian exile; he says, "And Yehovah will scatter you among the nations." This is something way bigger than Israel being sent to Babylon, this is something about being... and that’s confirmed later on.

Keith: Exactly.

Nehemia: This is about a worldwide exile. So, even if you say it was after the Babylonian exile, we're dealing with a prophecy here. This is something that wasn't fulfilled, really, until the first millennium AD or CE. Chapter 30, verse 4, of Deuteronomy goes back to this thing, and it says, "If you are cast off to the ends of the heavens, there Yehovah your God will gather you from there, and from there He will take you and He will bring you back to the land."

This is a prophecy that this exile being described is a worldwide exile of the Jewish people; of the people of Israel. To me, this is one of the most powerful passages that tells me I know this book is true because my people experienced this book. This isn’t just some theoretical discussion or anything like that - this is something that the very historical experience of my people testifies that this book is true prophecy.

Jono: Amen.

Keith: I guess I want to say about this when I read it, is that one of the things about this verse that's so interesting to me is this - and I would like Nehemia to answer this, it says in verse 30... did I just say I was going to give the softball to Nehemia? Oh, boy. Let's see here, "When you are in distress and all these things have happened to you, then in later days,” or sorry, "at the end of days, you will return to the LORD your God,” then here comes the last three words, Nehemia, it says, “and obey Him.” So, my question is, as we're seeing the scattering that's taking place and the bringing back in, are the people generally obeying Him? Or, how do you see that part of the verse?

Jono: That's a good question.

Nehemia: We're still working on that obedience part. I'd say the people are obeying him to some extent, but definitely not to the fullest extent that they need to be. I think that's why the process hasn't been completed.

Keith: Amen.

Nehemia: Meaning, I believe that… look, most of the people of Israel don't live in the Land of Israel. I think if we want that to happen, one of the things that we're going to have to have is the obedience. And so, this might be a process that drags on for a very long time, and maybe it'll be reversed. There's no guarantee that this ingathering of the people of Israel, which is historically unprecedented… maybe we'll go into a third exile; that could happen.

Keith: That's what I wanted to bring up.

Nehemia: If we don't clean up our act and repent.

Keith: Yes, Amen.

Jono: May that not be the case. Verse 31, Keith. Come on.

Keith: And so it says, "For Yehovah your God is a merciful God; He will not abandon or destroy you or forget the covenant with your forefathers, which He confirmed to them by oath.”

Jono: Amen. So it goes on to say, “For ask now concerning the days that are past, which were before you, since the day that God created man on the earth, and ask from one end of heaven to the other, whether any great thing like this has ever happened, or anything like it has been heard. Did any people ever hear the voice of God speaking out of the midst of the fire, as you have, and live? Or did God ever try to go and take for Himself a nation from the midst of another nation, by trials, by signs, by wonders, by war, by a mighty hand, by an outstretched arm, by great terrors, according to all that Yehovah your God did for you in Egypt before your eyes? To you it was shown, that you might know that Yehovah himself is God; there is none besides Him. Out of heaven..." What?

Nehemia: We’ve got to stop here.

Jono: Okay.

Nehemia: There's a really powerful phrase here in verse 35, which says "Yehovah hu HaElohim", "Yehovah, He is God". "Ein od milvado", "There is none beside Him".

Keith: Amen.

Nehemia: And this is powerful, it's actually repeated in verse 39. Again, it says " Yehovah hu HaElohim", "Yehovah, He is God”, and then it adds, “in the heaven above and in the earth below." Then it says, "Ein od", "There is no other." This repetition twice of "Yehovah hu HaElohim" I think is powerful because, when Elijah faces the false prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel, he has the people shout, "Yehovah hu HaElohim, Yehovah hu HaElohim," "Yehovah, He is God. Yehovah, He is God." That's a phrase taken exactly from here, and what it means is, Yehovah is God and there is no other. So, to me, that's really powerful.

Keith: Amen.

Nehemia: I think another thing that's really powerful in this passage is when he says, "Okay, now go check, verify this." He says, "Ask for the ancient days,” it says, “the first days. Has there ever been a nation that Yehovah has taken out of another, who He has spoken to out of the fire?” I actually did this years ago… there was a certain point in my faith where I said, "Okay, I've got to check these things out. I just don't want to take at face value what was spoon fed to me and be what I am just because my parents told me to be. I want to go check these things for myself." And I went and researched all the ancient religions and I couldn't find any that even made this claim.

It's really interesting - think about this. Think how easy it would be to make the claim, "Yeah, God has spoken to the Albanians, He took us out of..." I don't know, wherever the Albanians came from, right? How come no nation in all of history has made this claim?

The Jewish philosophers in the Middle Ages, they provide the answer. They said, "Look, it's really easy to say, 'I was up in a mountain and I heard a voice and God spoke to me, and me and my handful of disciples, they also heard it." You could falsify that. But you can't make up that God spoke to an entire nation out of the fire. You can't make that up because there are hundreds of thousands, maybe millions of people who testify to that. That's something that's preserved in the collective consciousness of the people. And look how self-critical they are in the history of Israel.

I mean, look at King David, for example. King David did a lot of bad stuff. The point is that, if someone were to falsify a claim like this, someone in the ancient history of Israel would have said, "Oh, no, that wasn't all of Israel, that was just Bill. He made that story up. Bill and his twelve disciples up on the mountain." This is the type of thing that could be falsified, whereas the entire nation hearing God speaking out of the fire - you can't make that stuff up. Somebody would have called them on it.

Jono: Yes.

Nehemia: To me, this is an amazing statement. I mean, think about it - Moses was some shepherd who didn't know what the religions of the world were. He didn't know what the people believed in South America, and what the people believed in China. Yet in this prophecy, he knew that no nation has ever even claimed that God has taken them out of another nation, performing miracles, and speaking to them directly. And to me, this is another powerful confirmation that this book is true prophecy.

Jono: Amen.

Keith: That's why I think it is amazing when you hear Moses preaching and he's saying what he's saying. This is like... I don't even know how to put it. It’s like he goes right down the list, "Hey, check this. I call heaven and earth as a witness." I mean, this is deeply rooted in terms of what not only he believes, but what the people believe because they saw it. I mean - seeing it - this is not something you heard about. They saw it. They saw with their eyes and they heard with their ears.

Jono: They saw it. Verse 40, "You shall therefore keep His statutes and His commandments which I command you today, that it may go well with you and with your children after you that you may prolong your days in the land which Yehovah your God is giving you for all time," is what I've got. "For all time," that's what it says.

Keith: Okay.

Jono: Okay. Then, we have the Cities of Refuge.

Keith: How about that?

Jono: East of the Jordan, it’s got the cities of refuge there. It goes on to talk about... again, he's reminding them of what Yehovah has done. Can I jump to chapter 5?

Nehemia: Please.

Keith: Please do.

Jono: Okay, here we go. This is it. This is what we've been waiting for. We had the option either to do it, of course, in Exodus chapter 20, but we've saved it for now.

Nehemia: There it is.

Jono: This is the Ten Commandments, “And Moses called all Israel, and he said to them: “Hear, O Israel, the statutes and the judgments which I speak to you in your hearing today, that you may learn them and carefully observe them. Yehovah our God made a covenant with us in Horeb. Yehovah did not make this covenant with our fathers, but with us, those who are here today, all of us who are alive.”

Nehemia: We’ve got to stop there. That's significant. This is like the elephant in the room - verse 3 of Deuteronomy 5. The reason it’s the elephant in the room is everyone standing there is thinking, "Wait a minute, that's not actually true." Right? Because he just got finished saying a few chapters earlier how everybody who came out of Egypt died, right? Everybody who was between 20 years and up, they all died, and this is the new generation.

So, when he says, "It was not with our fathers that Yehovah cut this covenant. It was with these who are here today, all of us alive." Well, this is factually not true. So, you’ve got to ask yourself the question, "What does he mean by it?" It's like Sherlock Holmes says, “if you've ruled out all the possibilities and the unlikely one," and I'm paraphrasing, "the unlikely one is what it has to be." I think what he means by this is, essentially, every generation that comes, this covenant was made with them.

Keith: Amen.

Nehemia: Your fathers were there, but this is not a covenant with your fathers. This is a covenant with you. Everybody who hears this, for all time, who stands and hears this read aloud, this is a covenant for every human being who comes before Yehovah and accepts His covenant. Your fathers were there, it's true, but this is for you. This isn't some covenant of the fathers and oh, that doesn’t really apply to me.

Jono: That’s interesting. I saw that in a different light. When I read that, I thought, well, obviously what that means is that this is about to actually come to fruition; they're about to enter into the fullness of this covenant right here and now. This is the generation that gets to actually experience it. Keith, what goes through your mind?

Keith: No, when I hear this, I think about the fact that Moses is speaking and there was the then and the now. For example, he's in a tough situation because he's still alive. He was there, so what’s the covenant for him? No, I'm saying, he was still there. Caleb, he was there. Joshua, he was there.

Nehemia: Here's the thing, read verse 2 and 4 and you see he's talking about the covenant 40 years earlier. He's saying "Yehovah our God, cut a Covenant with you at Horeb." Then verse 4, "Face to face, Yehovah spoke with you…”

Jono: “…from the midst of the fire.”

Nehemia: “…in the mountain from the fire." Verse 3, in that context, is factually not accurate. So, you’ve got to ask, "What does he mean?"

Jono: Fair enough.

Nehemia: You guys can offer a different explanation, but to me, I think he's saying that, "Don't just think this is something that was with your fathers. This is with you, the ones here today alive."

Keith: That's why I say I when I read that verse, I think of the then and the now. I think of the then and the now. In other words, what He spoke then, yes, was a covenant. And the now is a covenant. And the future is a covenant.

Jono: Sure.

Keith: And we find that later, him not only speaking to those that are here but those in the future that will hear. It’s like there this idea, and I'm not disagreeing, it's just this idea that Yehovah, Who was, Who is, and Who shall be...

Nehemia: Come on.

Keith: …His words, they were, they are now, and they shall be when Jono finally gets it.

Jono: That’s an excellent point, yes.

Keith: When Jono finally gets it, it was as if Jono was at the mountain and the idea is that...

Jono: Keith, this is the Covenant that was made with our generation, right?

Keith: Exactly.

Nehemia: Man. You know, Keith, you referred to Yehovah as the one Who was, Who is, and Who shall be, and I don't know if the people realize that that's actually the meaning of the name “Yehovah.” Yehovah, the name of the God of Israel, that name is a combination of three forms of the Hebrew verb to be; hayah, hoveh, yihyeh, which together is “Yehovah,” and so his name means He was, He is, and He will be.

Keith: Yes. You think I just pulled that out of my hat? I know what Yehovah means.

Nehemia: No, I know where you got it from, but so they knew where you got it from. That's a powerful statement. Now, can I get a little bit mystical here? Can I do that?

Jono: Oy! The Kabbalah?

Nehemia: This is actually Kabbalah, absolutely. This is the Kabbalistic explanation here of this verse; that the souls of every single Jew, or Israelite, really, that was ever born or was ever to be born was at Mount Sinai. That's how they explained this verse. They say, "Yeah, you were at Sinai, your soul was at Sinai, even though you weren't born yet." And it gets really strange because then, when somebody converts to Judaism, they said, "Yeah, well, his soul was at Sinai too. He just didn't know until he converted."

This is a really deeply rooted concept in Rabbinical Judaism, so much so… there’s actually a dating website called, “Saw You At Sinai.” It’s called, “Saw You At Sinai,” and the idea there is that these two Jews who meet, they saw each other's souls at Mount Sinai, if they're real Jews.

Jono: Wow.

Nehemia: I remember when I was a kid, growing up as an Orthodox Jew, I actually said to one of my rabbis - he taught this as fact - and I said, "That's ridiculous. I wasn't at Mount Sinai." I actually had gotten a lot of trouble for this. You're laughing about this...

Jono: Really?

Nehemia: …and this sounds like a ridiculous little doctrine, and some people say, "Oh, that's so pretty, it's so nice..."

Jono: When you say, "a lot of trouble," What do you mean?

Nehemia: I won't go into details, but I got my tuches kicked…

Jono: Right. Okay.

Nehemia: …for saying this because this was blasphemy for me to say that I wasn't at Mount Sinai, and not only did I say I wasn’t on Mount Sinai, I said: "Rabbi, you weren't either."

Jono: Oh, wow.

Nehemia: I stand by that. If you want to say symbolically we were at Sinai - whatever. The bottom line is, I don't think that's what it means. I think what it means is, and I could be wrong, but to me, I think what it means is that every generation that comes to the Torah - that covenant is with you. We don't have to make up some strange mystical explanation, which then excludes other people. Every generation who comes to hear these words, "This is a covenant with you, not just with your fathers."

Jono: Amen. That's awesome. Thank you for that. So, Moses goes on to say in verse 5, "I stood between Yehovah and you at that time to declare to you the words of Yehovah; for you were afraid because of the fire, and you did not go up the mountain. He said,” Keith, verse 6.

Keith: "I am Yehovah your God." We could stop right there and that could be the end of the Torah, but let's pray because I really think, you all, that this is so profound, and this is something that I didn't get for years, for years and years I'd read this real quickly. But this is something that stopped me in my tracks more times than you could ever imagine. So I want to say a prayer that our eyes would be opened as we read a second time about the commands that were given from the Mount. Amen.

Nehemia: Amen.

Keith: Amen?

Nehemia: Pray it.

Keith: Yehovah, thank you for this opportunity to be on this particular time with Nehemia, with Jono. We've been on a journey that's been amazing. We want to continually ask that our eyes would be opened that we might see the wonderful, the hidden, the marvelous, the amazing, the powerful, the profound things that are in Your Torah, and especially, even now, as You do Your introduction in front of Your people then and Your introduction now, in Your name. Amen.

Jono: Amen.

Nehemia: Amen.

Keith: So when I see this, you guys, I've been stopped in my tracks so many times from this verse, because the thing that I just have such an amazing thought about is that He doesn't start out... I don't even know how to begin this, but the way that He starts out is he says, "I am." And I mean, "I am what?" And He says his name. This is not just because of books and all of this kind of stuff - this has to do with just the power of who He is, I mean, the power of who He is and then showing the power of who He is by actually sharing His name.

I think it's interesting, it says here, “Anochi Yehovah Elohecha.” “I am Yehovah your God." The reason that this has caught me on certain levels, and I certainly would like to be challenged about this, and it sort of relates to what we just talked about, is this idea of Him speaking to the collective, to everyone, and also speaking to the individual. In other words, "I am your God, all of y'alls God," and, "I am your God, Nehemia". Singular, connected singular, and also collective. I mean, I don't know. I just think it's amazing that that's the first thing that comes out of Yehovah's mouth, " Anochi Yehovah Elohecha.” “I am Yehovah your God."

Jono: Amen.

Keith: Wow. Amazing.

Nehemia: Amen. That’s powerful.

Jono: "Who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.” Verse 7. What's the next one, Nehemia?

Nehemia: It's interesting that you say verse 7 because in different versions, basically even different Hebrew texts, there's a different division through the verses. I don't know if we talked about... did we talk about this last time?

Jono: Give it to us.

Nehemia: Did we do this in Exodus? All right. Basically, there is a system of vowels and accents that are written in the Ancient Masoretic Text of Scripture, the one preserved by the Jewish scribes in the Middle Ages. Each verse has a division with commas and semicolons, and they’re not actually commas and semicolons, they're what are called accent marks.

Well, the Ten Commandments is the only section that has two sets of accent marks dividing the verses in two different ways. Basically, they're divided one way for the public reading and a different way for private reading, and that actually has to do with where the verses break. Because of that, you'll actually look in different Hebrew texts of Scripture and you'll have different verse numbers. So, when you say verse 7, you’ve got to read to me what you mean. You mean, "There shall not be another god...” “lo ihyeh lecha elohim acherim al panai.”

Keith: Right.

Nehemia: “There shall not be for you other gods in my presence,” is that what you’re talking about?

Keith: Yes.

Nehemia: That's what it is in my Hebrew text, but in different English and Hebrew Bibles you’ll find it divided differently. So that seems pretty straightforward to me, not to have other gods. The question is, what's the first commandment? You know, we call this the Ten Commandments, but in Hebrew, they’re not called the Ten Commandments. They're actually called, “Aseret Ha-Devarim,” The Ten Things, and that actually solves a lot of the problem.

Jewish scholars have debated this -what's the first commandment? Is the first commandment, verse seven, "There shall not be for you other gods in My presence"? Or is the first commandment, verse six, "I am Yehovah your God"? For example, Maimonides said, "No, verse six isn't a commandment, and, therefore the first commandment is verse seven." That's because he's basing it on the idea of Ten Commandments.

But the Hebrew text of Scripture doesn't talk about Ten Commandments, it talks about Ten Things. To me, it's pretty clear the first thing is, "I am Yehovah your God." That's not even a commandment. That's a fact. If you don't accept that fact, we can't go any further.

Keith: And that's why I think it's interesting you say that, Nehemia, because when I read this I see this connection, "I am Yehovah your God," and so, obviously, there are no other gods.

Jono: There are no other.

Keith: It’s almost like verse 7 becomes, "I am Yehovah your God. Look, that's it, guys. That's it. You shall have no other gods before me. Come on. These are little g’s. These are little g’s.”

Nehemia: But the problem is, this is exactly what the people did. They said, "Yeah, we worship Yehovah," and alongside Yehovah, they had Baal, and they had Baal's wife, and Baal's mother, and the whole holy family. So, this is exactly what He... I mean, God knew what he was talking about when he gave this commandment. How long after these Commandments were given that they made the golden calf? So then He specifies, "Okay, don't have any other gods. And this is what I mean, in case you didn't know; don't make for yourselves any idols."

Keith: Exactly.

Nehemia: So, they could say, "Oh, no, this isn't a different god. This is the god that took us out of Egypt," and that's what they actually said with the golden calf. They said, "This is the God that took you up out of Egypt," referring to the golden calf. The point is that you may say that it's the same God, but if you make Him into an idol, then it's not the same God.

Jono: Amen.

Nehemia: You made him into another god.

Jono: That's it. "Any carved image—any likeness or anything that is in heaven above or earth beneath, or the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them or serve them. For I, Yehovah your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments."

Nehemia: Wow.

Keith: Yes.

Nehemia: Now, did we talk about this? I think we actually did a show, Jono, a 30-minute show or something, about Ezekiel 18 and how this ties into that.

Jono: Ezekiel 18 and Ezekiel 33, we did.

Nehemia: Right. So, can we just briefly talk about that?

Jono: Yes.

Nehemia: Because this is one of the most misunderstood verses in the Bible. “He's a jealous God.” One of the reasons it's misunderstood, in fairness, is that it's paraphrased a number of times, and in a number of those places, it's an abbreviated paraphrase. But the key part is, He says, "I'm a jealous God. I visit the iniquity of the fathers upon the sons and the third generation, and the fourth generation," and then the keyword in Hebrew is, “le’sonai,” "for those who hate me." That word is missing in some of the paraphrases, but it's a key word. And I know it's key because, in the next verse, he talks about "For those who love me."

Now, what does that mean? In the time of Ezekiel there were people who misunderstood this and didn't know what it meant, and they actually had a proverb. If we can turn to Ezekiel chapter 18, and also it's in 33, but we're not going to go into all the details. It says in verse 2 of Ezekiel 18, "What are you speaking this proverb, or making this proverb upon the land of Israel saying, ‘the fathers eat sour grapes and the teeth of the sons are set on edge.’" What that means is the fathers eat something bitter, and instead of the father going, "Ah, that's bitter," the teeth of the son do that.

What that proverb means, this figurative image means that the people thought that if the father sins the son bears the consequences of that sin. God explains in verse 4, and I won't read the whole thing, he says, "Behold, all souls are Mine. Behold, the soul of the father and the soul the son they are Mine. The soul that sins it shall die." That's literally from verse 4.

Verse 5 then talks about a scenario, and it's a series of scenarios. It talks about a man who's righteous and does righteousness, so he's going to live in his righteousness. Then, it talks about a man who, if he has a son, even though he's righteous and the son is a sinner, then the righteousness of the father is of no value to the son. And then if that sinning son has another son and that son is righteous, then the sins of the father have no impact, none, zero, on the sin of the son.

Jono: Amen.

Nehemia: What is the point of all this? The point of all this is the person who sins bears that sin, and the person who's righteous gets the consequences of that righteousness. So, what is He talking about when He says, “He visits the iniquity of the father upon the son”? The key word is in Hebrew, “le’sonai,” "for those who hate Me." What that means is those who hate Yehovah and continue in the sins of their fathers, then, the sin of the father is visited upon the son. But if the son repents, and even if the man himself repents, then the sin is completely forgotten, completely wiped out, completely expunged. And it says this very clearly, again, I don't want to be on the whole thing, but in verse 21, it says, "And the wicked man, when he returns from his sins which he has done and keeps all my statutes and does justice and righteousness, he shall surely live; he shall not die."

Jono: Amen.

Nehemia: Verse 22, "All his transgressions which he has done," I'll read it in Hebrew, “lo izachru lo,” “They will not be remembered to him. In his righteousness which he has done, he shall live." Now, why is this? Yehovah explains in verse 23, He says, "Do I desire the death of the wicked man, says the Lord Yehovah? Do I not desire that he return from his ways and live?" Yehovah wants us to repent, that we will live.

Jono: Amen.

Nehemia: And then in verse 24, and I don't want to read the whole thing... let's jump ahead to verse 25, or maybe you could read verse 24, Jono, in your translation?

Jono: Yes. Let me read 24 because it does use a key word.

Nehemia: Okay.

Jono: “But when a righteous man turns away from his righteousness and commits iniquity and does according to all the abominations that the wicked man does, shall he live? All the righteousness which he has done shall not be remembered; because of the unfaithfulness,” is the word that I think should be highlighted, “unfaithfulness of which he is guilty and the sin which he has committed, because of them he shall die. Yet you say, ‘The way of Yehovah is not fair’" Now, “fair,” I know in the King James, it says it's not equal.

Nehemia: Right. So, what it literally says in Hebrew... let's first summarize the two scenarios. We've got the man who's been a sinner his entire life and he repents. His sins are no longer remembered. He might be, I don't know, he’s 79 years old; he repents. He knows he's going to die next year; he's got terminal cancer and he repents. He's got 12 months to live and he does righteousness, 79 years of sin are expunged. They're no longer remembered. We’ve got the opposite scenario in verse 24. The man is 79 years old and he knows he's going to die next year, 12 months to live, he's been righteous his whole life and he says, "Forget this. I've got enough righteousness under my belt; I'm going to go be a sinner." His righteousness is not remembered. And the Israelites hear this, and they say, literally, "lo itachen derech Adonai," which they translate as, "It is not fair, is not equal." Literally, it says in Hebrew, "The way of the Lord is not weighed," and what does that mean "not weighed"? They were thinking that there's a balance, and they got this from ancient Egypt, let's be honest here.

The ancient Egyptians believed that when you died your heart was actually weighed in a balance and if it weighed a certain amount… and this is later translated into Rabbinical Judaism and in Catholicism is my understanding, as well - that when you die all of your righteousness and all of your sins are put on a scale and whatever weighs more, then you are... that's whether you're judged for good or judged for evil.

I remember being told stories, and this was presented as a true story, it's a fact, that there was a man who died and he went to heaven and God put all of his righteousness and all of his sins on the scales, and it was exactly equal. So, the man was sent back into the world to perform one more righteous act so he could tip the scales. I was told this as a fact, and I always wondered how they knew this, but this is what I was told. And this is a rabbinical story.

So, this is exactly the image that the Israelites have - that the way of the Lord is supposed to be in a balance, it's supposed to be weighed. And they hear Ezekiel say, "No, you've been a sinner your whole life and you repent. There is no weight. There is no balance. The way of the Lord is not balanced. It’s not weighed. The way of the Lord is about having a relationship with Yehovah.”

Jono: About faithfulness, right?

Nehemia: It's about faithfulness in a relationship. When you remember that, I mean, think about it - if you have a situation with your wife where you take out the garbage every day, and you tell her you love her every day, and then you go and you commit adultery, the garbage is forgotten, it's expunged, and rightfully so.

Jono: Yes.

Nehemia: This is about having a relationship with the Creator of the universe. Now, God is a little bit different than your wife because she'll never forget, and nor should she, but He will forget. Not that He'll forget, but He says it will no longer be remembered to that person. The word, "remembered" is a powerful word in Hebrew, the word "zachar." Keith can preach on this, and maybe I'll let him talk. The word, "to remember" also means, "to mention." And what that means is when Yehovah says, “It will no longer be remembered,” it's not that God forgot. What it means he's no longer going to mention it.

Keith: Amen.

Nehemia: He knows what we did, but he's no longer going to mention it and you'll be back in relationship to Yehovah if you have true and genuine repentance.

Jono: Amen.

Keith: Amen.

Jono: I want to get to mentioning because that's verse 11 and, Keith, you're in the spotlight there, but just really, while we're hearing Ezekiel 18, I just want to read these verses from verse 30, “Therefore,” says Yehovah, “I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways,” says the Adonai Yehovah. “Repent and turn from all your transgressions so that iniquity will not be your ruin. Cast away from you all the transgressions which you have committed and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. For why should you die, O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of one who dies,” says Adonai Yehovah. “Therefore, turn and live!” I love that. Oh, my goodness. It's an awesome, awesome chapter, and I will put that link in.

Nehemia: Can I quote something that somebody posted on my Facebook page? Can I do that? It's a little controversial.

Jono: Of course.

Nehemia: All right. So, a woman posted this on my Facebook page. She posted on my Facebook page, she says, and it doesn't even matter what we were talking about, there was some discussion going on there, and frankly, I didn't read it all. But this one caught my eye, and it says, "All it takes is ONE," she capitalizes “one.” "All it takes is ONE sin to keep you out of the kingdom; guess they didn't read that verse."

And I called you up and I called up Keith, and I said, "I know that verse is in the Tanakh. Can we find it in the New Testament?" And it turns out that that verse isn't even in the New Testament. Now, there are several verses that we looked at that they can interpret that way, but it's not what it actually says. I think it's so interesting that this woman said that, because it's completely contrary to what we're reading in Ezekiel 18. In Ezekiel 18 it says, "If you repent, you could have 10,000 sins, not just one sin, 10 million sins. But if you have genuine repentance and turn to Yehovah and embrace Him and have faithfulness to Him and enter into that relationship of love with Him, then you will get into the Kingdom. There will be repentance, and you will live."

Jono: Amen.

Keith: Amen.

Nehemia: Can I get an Amen?

Jono: Listen, that's exciting. Once again, just for the listeners, I will put that link here so you should definitely listen to it. I think it's only half an hour. And read through Ezekiel 18 and Ezekiel 33 in detail because, oh, my goodness, it's liberating. It's an incredible chapter to work your way through. Keith?

Keith: Well, I just want to say, you know, one of the things that has been really interesting, and I guess I didn't realize this as far as the... how can I put it - the culture of Messianic movement, that sort of thing. One of the things that I was not aware of until 2009, when I connected with Nehemia with our book A Prayer to a Father: Hebrew Origins of the Lord's Prayer, I didn't realize how many times people had a dog in the fight - when I use that image of a dog in the fight, meaning their issue that they're going to put in the middle of the ring and say, "Look, I've got to win this."

That's one of the things that's really been quite disheartening regarding an attempt to try to read the Torah, understand the Torah, language, history, and context, apart from theology or other issues that sort of come in. We do this thing here on the show, that I think is awesome, where when it fits, we bring it in, we bring in the New Testament, we bring in these different issues. But really, I think it would be fair to say and, Nehemia, you have certainly where you come from, Jono, where you come from, and where I come from. But the beauty, again, of this is that the common ground has to be the Scriptures, that has to be the Scripture.

Jono: Amen.

Keith: So, when Nehemia calls me up on the phone and says, "Where did she get this verse?” Or, "Jono, where did she get this verse?" We've got to determine, is it a verse or is it an explanation of a thought? Is it theology that's trying to come in to make its presence known? And unfortunately, that oftentimes is what happens. With that in mind, verse 11.

Jono: Verse 11. Give it to us, Keith.

Keith: I'm not going to give you the whole thing. If Nehemia wants to go further on it, it's fine. The reason is I'm really trying to be real calm until we get to my verse, but I would simply say this - that what's really powerful about this being retold, the Ten Things, as Nehemia just mentioned in chapter 5 of Deuteronomy, and Exodus chapter 20, one of those things that are just so powerful is the way that you can find out what does this word mean, the name that is being used in vain. And Moses does a pretty powerful thing here - he's using different words in the commandments. So, for example, if you're reading in Exodus chapter 20 and it says, "You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD your God shall not hold anyone guiltless who misuses His name," that's the NIV. "You shall not..." what does yours say, Jono?

Nehemia: That's really what it says in the NIV? Seriously?

Keith: Yeah, that's what it says in the NIV, chapter 5 verse 11.

Nehemia: Wow.

Keith: What does yours say, Jono?

Jono: " “You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain."

Nehemia: Wow.

Keith: Nehemia, in your non-translation, in the Hebrew, what does it say?

Nehemia: It literally says, "You shall not lift up the name of Yehovah your God in vain, for Yehovah will not make innocent he who lifts up His name in vain." Now, what does it mean, “to lift up the name”? Isn't there a section in your book, “His Hallowed Name Revealed Again,” that talks about this, Keith?

Keith: Well, what I was going to say was this, and this is before we go on this whole thing, I just want to say something because we've been going for a while and we haven't even gotten to the money ball yet. So I want to just say that one of the things that's been really, really powerful, and I want this to be is something... you don't even have to get the book. You don't have to buy the book. I would ask to challenge people to do this - take... and I want to know if I can sort of spend a card right now as for those that have been listening to us at Torah Pearls all of these weeks. Rather than me or Nehemia or Jono saying, "Here's the answer."

What I simply would like people to do is the thing that I had to do as a result of something that I had learned from Nehemia that was really, really powerful, and that was this - that Moses, as he's talking about the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20, and Moses as he's talking about the Ten Commandments in Deuteronomy 5, sometimes there are words that he uses that give us hints. This happens to be one of those places where we can understand when he uses the words “in vain”, which in the English Bible, I think we use about 18 different English words for that one Hebrew word. I think the number is 18, where we say, "in vain, in this and that," et cetera. Well, Moses when he gets to Deuteronomy chapter 5, I think it is when he talks about not taking... this is verse, let's see here. It says, "You shall not give false testimony." I think it is in verse 20, correct me if I'm wrong.

Nehemia: It is 20.

Keith: Yes, in verse 20, where I think he uses the word “vain” for “false.”

Nehemia: Right.

Keith: Now, what I would like to challenge people to do is to simply go to their English Bibles, just their English Bibles, two other translations, and do what we just did: What does my translation say in Deuteronomy chapter 5? What does my translation say in Exodus chapter 20? And sometimes just from that, you can see that there is a bit of, a bit of a difference. Moses is doing something different with the actual words that he's using. Now, if you have a wonderful little ability to see what some of the Hebrew words are, and I know there are tools like that, you will notice that in 20, he uses the word "vain" for “false.” So I'm just giving...

Nehemia: Why does he do that? I think he does that because the Hebrew word "vain" - to speak vanity - doesn't mean to say, "Oh, I'm so beautiful."

Keith: Exactly.

Nehemia: To speak vanity in ancient Hebrew means to speak falsehood, and you can repeatedly see that.

Keith: Exactly.

Nehemia: Now, here's an important point that maybe we missed, or is so obvious to me and you, Keith, that I think we need to say it; if you look in the Hebrew of the Ten Commandments in Deuteronomy 5, and the Hebrew of Exodus 20, there are a lot of differences. Now, why is that important? Because that's the Ten Commandments and here is the Ten Commandments. In our Western way of thinking, if I'm quoting Keith, and I have it in quotation marks, I'm giving the exact words that Keith spoke.

Keith: Right.

Nehemia: In Hebrew, when you quote somebody, very often it's a paraphrase. Now, how do I know which one is the original and which is the paraphrase? Well, there's a clue in verse 12. In verse 12, it says, "Observe the Shabbat day to sanctify it," and then he says, "As Yehovah your God commanded you." Well, God didn't say at Mount Sinai, "As Yehovah your God commanded you." That's Moses who's retelling the story…

Keith: There it is.

Nehemia: …and paraphrasing here, telling us, “as Yehovah commanded you.” Then the same thing happens at the end of verse 15, "Therefore, Yehovah your God commanded you to keep the Shabbat day." That's actually a reason that Moses is giving that doesn't appear in the original in Exodus 20. Now, Moses is a prophet and I accept every word that he says, but what was actually spoken at Sinai was Exodus 20, and this is the paraphrase.

Now, once you realize that, and we trust Moses, then we say, "Okay. If he's paraphrasing and he's saying the same thing in slightly different words, what are the different words?" One of the different words is in verse 20. It says, literally, in Exodus, it says, "Do not testify against your fellow as a false witness." In Deuteronomy, chapter 5, verse 20, it says, "Do not testify against your fellow as a vain witness." That's literally what it says. Now, is Moses changing the meaning of it? Of course not; to speak vanity and to speak falsehood is the same exact thing.

Let me read you the third commandment from the JPS, the Jewish Publication Society translation. It says, "You shall not swear falsely by the name of the LORD your God…”

Keith: Amen.

Nehemia: “…for the LORD will not clear one who swears falsely by His name." Now, where did they get that? It obviously doesn't say that in Hebrew. Where did they get that? It's a correct interpretation even though it's not what it says in Hebrew. Where they got that is that in ancient Israel the way they would swear is they would say, "As Yehovah lives, I will do such-and-such," or they'd say, "If I'm lying, so shall Yehovah do to me and even worse.” Essentially, what that means is, “to lift up the name of Yehovah in vain,” or meaning “to lift up his name falsely,” means to swear falsely by his name.

So, what the JPS is giving you is a complete paraphrase and interpretation, but it's a correct one based on the meaning of the ancient Hebrew. They said, "Look, we don't want you to think too hard. We’ll tell you what it means." They're right about the interpretation; I wish they would have let us decide that for ourselves, though. Let me read you from another translation. This is an ancient translation, 2,000 years old, called Targum Onkelos, which was translated about 1,900 years ago, actually, by a member of the royal household… of the imperial household named Aquila. It was translated into Aramaic, and in the ancient Jewish era... and he converted to Judaism, and he said, "I want my people, the Gentiles who speak Aramaic, I want them to understand the Torah". So he translated the Torah into Aramaic, which is a Gentile language. And it says in the Gentile Aramaic translated by the convert to Judaism, "You shall not swear by the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not justify the one who swears by His name falsely." Now, why did he do this? He knew his Gentile Greek and Aramaic-speaking readers didn't know Hebrew idiom. They didn't know what it meant to speak in vain, so he explained it to them what it meant - that it means to swear falsely by the name. He put it in their terms, which is what the JPS did, as well. And I think that's a second witness, in addition to the power of the Hebrew language, that this is what it means; it means not to swear falsely by the name of Yehovah.

Now, why is this important? Because a lot of people will say, “You can't say the name, ‘yud hei vav hei’ because it's taking the name of the Lord in vain”. You'll hear that from some Jews, but mostly you'll hear it from Christians. And there are some people who have taken it so far, where they'll say, you can't even say the word "God." Look, I'll be honest with you, I'm one of these people that when I stub my toe or when I get really excited, I'll say, "Oh, my God."

Keith: No, no.

Nehemia: No, I'm telling you, this is what I do. And I've had Gentiles, Christians rebuke me and say, "You mustn't say that. You're taking the name of the Lord in vain." Well, first of all, God is not the name of the Lord. His name is Yehovah. God is one of his titles, and I'm not taking it in vain because taking it in vain means to speak it falsely, to swear falsely by it, and I'm proclaiming it. You could question whether that's the right context to proclaim it, but I'm certainly not taking it in vain.

Jono: Which highlights...

Keith: Let me say this, Jono.

Jono: Keith?

Keith: I want to say something, and this is really important, and I want people to hear this. One of the things that I have to say about this issue that is so important - it isn't about books, it's not about selling books, but giving people the chance to own information for themselves. Nehemia and I, like I mentioned, I tell this story a lot. We had this conversation over by the traditional Absalom’s tomb, and we're talking just like Nehemia’s saying right now, “And so this and that…” and he's telling me this thing, and I'm saying, "Okay. I heard it, but do I understand it? Can I own that for myself?"

So, one of the things that has been so, so powerful about finally taking information and putting it in a form where people can actually go through the information, this book of Nehemia’s that is now out on the Priestly Benediction is an example. The book that we wrote, “A Prayer to our Father,” “His Hallowed Name,” these are all books, maybe they're not going to make the New York's Times Best Seller list, but what they are going to do, Jono, is they're going to give people a chance to own information for themselves. And so, this important issue on taking the name - we've had this conversation back and forth, Nehemia and I, for years. But to finally put it in a way that someone can actually look at it, study it, and then own it for themselves is the important thing about this information that we're giving people. So, I want to say, get the books; not because we need you to get the books to sell books. Get the books so you can have this information for yourself. That is what I want to keep beating that drum.

Jono: There are a lot of people, Keith, that are listening for the first time, so let me remind everybody the books that you mentioned, a lot of books, so let me just go through it once again.

Keith: Yes.

Jono: Of course, Shattering the Conspiracy of Silence, and we're talking... now, Nehemia, here we are in June…

Nehemia: Hold on a second. So, we're in June. This is going to be broadcast sometime in August.

Jono: Yes.

Nehemia: People around the world will read the Torah portion August 4th. Actually, this morning I received the proofs of the book. For people who don't know about publishing that means, basically, I've got to go through, make sure everything is there, and send it back to the printer. And by the end of the week, may it be Yehovah, may it be, Yehovah willing, this book will actually go into production, will go into print.

Keith: Amen.

Nehemia: And by August 4th this book will be all around the world. People can go to my website, nehemiaswall.com. For those who don't know how to spell my name, and I half the time don't know how to spell, it's N-E-H-E-M-I-A, no H at the end, N-E-H-E-M-I-A, nehemiaswall.com. You can get the book there, Shattering the Conspiracy of Silence: The Hebrew Power of the Priestly Blessing Unleashed.

Jono: There it is. The Hebrew Power the Priestly Blessing Unleashed. An incredible book that I've had the great privilege to read. I cannot recommend it highly enough, nor can I highly recommend enough His Hallowed Name Revealed Again. The website is hishallowedname.com. This is the one that Keith was just making reference to, an incredible book, an awesome wealth of information. Not only the book, but there is a disc in the back that gives you all... Keith, quickly tell the people what's on the disc inside.

Keith: Eighty different examples of using either the name Yehovah or using the name Elohim, one of His titles. These combinations are very powerful, but people all around the world talk about how they have used this in their devotional life, where they're actually going to the Hebrew Bible being able to proclaim the power of His name and descriptions of what His name is about, “Yehovah who completes through me,” and “Yehovah Tzabaoth…” The list goes on and on. The point is, again, what I want to say, Jono, is people getting a chance to own it, meaning, for themselves. Not what I heard from Nehemia, Keith, or Jono, or Joe, or Bob, or my Messianic leader, or my Methodist pastor. I got a chance to interact with this information and now I can own it for myself. So that's why, again, I think it's powerful for people to have the information.

Jono: Amen. Nehemia's other book, The Hebrew Yeshua vs. The Greek Jesus, all of these books that I highly, highly recommend. A Prayer to Our Father

Keith: Listen, let me tell something, we are now in Deuteronomy. We have been doing these Torah portions since late back last October. We have been diligently sharing information. I think we'd all do it again if we had the opportunity. But the point is that we're also in situations where there is a real ministry that's taking place. What's happening with A Prayer to Our Father, the issue to go to China, the books that are coming out, this is stuff that we're really seriously committed to and we do want to find people that will come alongside and say, "Hey, you know what? We can't go with you, but we can be a part of what's going on." Whether it's the Israel trip, whether it is us going to China. The bottom line is, the Torah is going forth around the world...

Jono: Amen.

Keith: …and we get to be a part of it, and we want people to be a part of it with us. So, whether it's by you getting a book, getting the information, contributing - just know that this is all a part of the same thing. Us talking about the Torah, us going to China, us doing… all this stuff is connected, so come alongside with us and enter in with us. It's well worth every penny, every moment of time that you’re spending; it's all connected.

Jono: Amen. All right. Now listen, "‘Observe the Sabbath day, to keep it holy, as Yehovah your God commanded you." Who wants to take that?

Nehemia: Okay. Well, we've got to talk about one of the most famous differences between the Ten Commandments in Exodus and the Ten Commandments in Deuteronomy. In Exodus it says, "zachor,” “remember the Shabbat day to keep it holy." And here it's, "shamor,” “observe the Shabbat day to keep it holy," and then he adds, "as Yehovah your God commanded you," which tells you this is a paraphrase. Originally at Sinai, God evidently said, "zachor," and here Moses is telling you, "shamor." Remember versus observe. I don't know that there's a difference in meaning. I know that some people have looked at this and tried to find the mystical explanation. They'd say, "Well, God said both ‘shamor’ and ‘zachor’ in the same word,” and because God is God, that the word can come out both ways and people hear both at the same time. And it turns into some like mystical explanation. I don't think that's necessary. I think it's clear to me that God didn't say the words, “As Yehovah your God commanded you,” that's Moses who's paraphrasing it.

The bigger difference here is, why do we keep the Shabbat? We could nitpick all day about… is it “remember” the Shabbat? Or “observe” the Shabbat? Which is pretty much the same thing, actually, because we're remembering to observe it. The bigger issue is a couple of verses later where it’s, why do we keep the Shabbat? The explanation given in Exodus… it says, “Because God created the world in six days and rested on the seventh,” and it says, “Therefore, Yehovah,” and I'm paraphrasing just like Moses... and maybe you can read it? “Therefore, Yehovah blessed you with the Shabbat day.” And then here it tells us that, “Remember that you were a slave in Egypt and Yehovah took you out from there with a strong hand and an outstretched arm; there Yehovah your God commanded you to do the Shabbat.”

It's quite interesting. There are two reasons for the Shabbat, and that's a fact. One is that God created the world in six days and rested in the seventh, and the other is that we were slaves and when he took us out he said, "You were slaves in Egypt, now you're my slaves and I tell you when to rest, and you're going to rest on the seventh day as a recognition that I took you out of Egypt." It's interesting because the reason in Exodus is why he blessed us with the Shabbat, and in Deuteronomy it's why he commanded us with the Shabbat. Actually, to be precise, what it says in verse 11, in my Hebrew version of Exodus 20, it says - the first time we have the Ten Commandments, “For six days, Yehovah made the heavens and the earth and the sea and all that is in them and He rested on the seventh day. Therefore, Yehovah blessed the Shabbat day and sanctified it." So, this is the reason he blessed and sanctified the Shabbat day because, He rested on the seventh day. The reason that He commanded for us to do it as well is because He took us out of Egypt as slaves.

Jono: "And remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and Yehovah your God brought you out from there by a mighty hand and by an outstretched arm; therefore, Yehovah your God commanded you to keep the Sabbath day. Honor your father and your mother, as Yehovah your God has commanded you, that your days may be long and that it may be well with you in the land which Yehovah your God is giving you." Keith?

Keith: Another example, just where you get a chance to see, “do this and here's why.” Let me just say this - what I love about Deuteronomy, again, is that this is my favorite section. This is my favorite, if I can say, scroll of the Torah scrolls - Deuteronomy, just because… I just I keep getting a really clear picture of Moses, further explaining, further telling, giving reasons under… bringing heaven and earth, witnessing… I mean, this is just good preaching.

Jono: Amen. Nehemia?

Nehemia: So, this sounds pretty innocuous, but it's actually a very controversial verse. The reason it's controversial is, not only does it tell you to honor your father and mother, it says, “in order that you will lengthen your days.” Literally it says, “and in order that it will be good for you upon the earth, which Yehovah your God is giving you”, or, “upon the land which Yehovah your God is giving you”. The question is, does that mean if I honor my father and mother, I'm guaranteed that I'm going to live a long life? Or longer than I would have lived otherwise, I guess? Is that a guarantee?

There's actually a famous story of a rabbi who was walking along and he saw a father and a son. The father was commanding the son to fulfill a different commandment, which also says, “in order that your days will be lengthened.” And I forget the exact verse, but it's a verse that talks about how if there's a bird and you want to take its eggs, at first you have to drive the bird away from the... here, it's in Deuteronomy 22, verse 6. It says, "If you come on a bird's nest in any tree or on the ground with fledglings or eggs, with the mother sitting on the fledglings or on the eggs, you shall not take the mother with the young." And then the next verse, which is 22:7, it says, "Let the mother go, taking only the young for yourself in order that it may go well with you and you may live long." It's pretty much the same expression that appears here. So, the story goes, the rabbi’s walking along and he sees there’s a nest with a bird in it and it's got eggs, and the father tells the son, "Climb up the ladder and shoo away the bird and take the eggs." So, the son is actually fulfilling two commandments that promise that your days will be lengthened. The son climbs the ladder, shoos away the bird, hands them to the father, falls off the ladder and dies.

Jono: Oy.

Nehemia: And the Rabbi was shocked, and we're told that he became a heretic, that he denied God. He said, "This whole thing is false because we were promised that we would have long days." I think the moral of the story is that this isn't magic. God is saying, “in order that your days will be lengthened upon the earth” - first of all, “lengthened” is longer than it would have been otherwise, and we don't know what that is.

Jono: Sure.

Nehemia: But the point is that the boy died immediately in this story, and so whatever “lengthened” was - what was it, a second? That's some blessing, that is, right? So, the point is, I don't know that we should take this literally and think that, if we do this, if we keep these commandments, that we’re guaranteed that good things are going to happen to us.

For me, it's very clear that we're not supposed to keep the commandments just so that we'll have good stuff happen to us. This isn't some kind of cosmic karma that if we're good, then we're automatically going to be rewarded, and if we're bad we'll automatically be punished in this world. And that's the key thing, “in this world.” I think when it says, "Your days will be lengthened upon the earth," it might not be in this world, it might be in the world to come. When we talk about the world to come in Judaism, what we're talking about is that there's going to be a final judgment. That's going to coincide, or be around the same time, as the resurrection of the dead, and then it talks about eternal life. So, I think this lengthening of the days actually has to do with eternal life, and we shouldn't say, "Oh, this means right here and right now."

Jono: Interesting.

Nehemia: Then when things don't go our way, we say, "Okay, God’s not real, He doesn't exist because I didn't get what I want." We shouldn't be keeping the commandments to get the reward; we should be keeping the commandments because we love Yehovah.

Jono: Amen. "You shall not murder." Okay, that's pretty straightforward, right? That's kind of a handy one to throw into the mix. “You shall not commit adultery. You shall not steal. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.” We’ve spoken about that. “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; and you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife nor his male servant nor his female servant nor his ox or his donkey nor anything that is your neighbor’s.”

Nehemia: What does it mean, to covet?

Jono: To covet, I mean, “I want it.”

Nehemia: I don’t think that’s straight.

Jono: What do you want, you mean? "He's got it, I want it. I want to get one." What are you talking about? “I don’t have one like that.”

Nehemia: I think it's more than just to want it. I think it's to want it to the point where you despise what you have. I think it's more than just to want it. I don't think there's anything wrong if you see your neighbor has got a beautiful car and say, "I want to work hard and get my own car." Nothing wrong with that whatsoever.

Jono: Oh, yes. Nothing wrong with that.

Nehemia: What we're talking about is, "I need to get that car."

Jono: Yes, that car. “That’s the car that I want.”

Nehemia: "I need to get that wife, and I'm going to have to steal that from him." So I think coveting, and there are verses that back this up, we’ve got to Keith's thing over in chapter 6, but look this up people, look at the concept “to covet.” You'll find out that “covet” leads directly to stealing. There's a connection in the Hebrew between those two concepts.

Keith: Wow. Okay.

Jono: Yes. There it is. “Those words Yehovah spoke to all the assembly in the mountain from the midst of the fire, the cloud, and the thick darkness, in a loud voice; and He added no more. And He wrote them on two tablets of stone and gave them to me.” It talks about now that the people were afraid of God’s presence and he says, “So it was...”

Nehemia: I’ve got to point something out here, “He added no more,” is a really interesting statement because one of the earliest... how do I put this? One of the earliest surviving versions of the Torah is actually the Samaritan Torah. The Samaritans are these people who came over to the Land of Israel from Persia and Babylon, and they were forcibly settled by the Assyrians around 700 BC, a little bit before that. They actually had a version of the Torah that they have within their possession to this day. In their version of the Torah there's an eleventh commandment. It says, "This is what He spoke, and He didn't add," and they've actually added one. So, I think that's kind of interesting. I would say it's probably the oldest variant version that strays from what the actual authentic text says… is the Samaritan Torah.

Jono: Interesting. “So it was, when you heard the voice from the midst of the darkness, while the mountain was burning with fire, that you came near to me, all the heads of the tribes and your elders. And you said, ‘Surely Yehovah our God has shown us His glory and His greatness, and we have heard His voice from the midst of the fire. We have seen this day that God speaks with man; yet he still lives. Now therefore, why should we die? For this great fire will consume us; if we hear the voice of Yehovah our God anymore, then we will surely die. For who is there of all flesh who has heard the voice of the living God speaking from the midst of the fire, as we have, and lived? You go near and hear all that Yehovah your God may say and tell us all that Yehovah your God says to you, and we will hear it and do it.’ Then Yehovah heard the voice of your words when you spoke to me, and Yehovah said to me: ‘I have heard the voice of the words of the people, which they have spoken. They are right in all that they have spoken. Oh, that they had such a heart…”.

Nehemia: Can you reread that? You’ve got to reread... Keith, can you read that from your version? Because sometimes I’ll hear people talk about this and they say, "Israel sinned by saying they didn’t want to hear the voice of God."

Jono: I was going to say that.

Nehemia: "They rejected Him." Can you read your version, Keith, verse 28? Just so I know that Jono isn’t, like, twisting it here.

Keith: "The LORD heard you when you spoke to me, and the LORD said to me, ‘I have heard what this people said to you. Everything they said was good.’"

Nehemia: Come on with that.

Jono: "Everything they said was good." Keith, I've heard this, what Nehemia was saying, I've heard it on a number of occasions, that since they said, "No, we don't want to hear the words..." and that's the reason why we have it written down and we don't have it written on our hearts. It's a terrible thing, and that the written Torah is actually a curse because it should be written on our hearts, I've heard people talking like this.

I think it's interesting because right here it says, "They are right in all that they have spoken. Oh, that they had such a heart in them that they would fear Me and always keep all My commandments, that it might be well with them and with their children forever! Go and say to them, ‘Return to your tents.’ But as for you, stand here by Me, and I will speak to you all the commandments, the statutes, and the judgments which you shall teach them, that they may observe them in the land which I am giving them to possess.’ Therefore, you shall be careful to do as Yehovah your God has commanded you; you shall not turn aside to the right hand or to the left. You shall walk in all the ways which Yehovah your God has commanded you, that you may live and that it may be well with you, and that you may prolong your days in the land which you shall possess.” Oh, my goodness, Keith, are you excited? We're in Chapter 6.

Nehemia: Whoo!

Jono: Are you ready?

Keith: Here's the problem, we've broken the all-time Torah Pearls time.

Jono: Oh, we knew it was going to happen. This is a record for sure, but is this not the most significant Torah portion of all time? I mean, come on - this huge.

Nehemia: Look, we’ve got to play a card, people. This is the money ball. We’ve got to play a card here.

Keith: Yes. Let me just say this - Nehemia will say at least twice a program, "This is the most important verse in the Torah." "This is the most important portion in the Torah." Let me now play my card. What we're about to read is the most important section...

Jono: This is it?

Keith: …in my perspective, in the Torah.

Nehemia: This is what I usually say is, “this is one of the most important,” and here I’ll say it is the most important.

Keith: No, I’ve got it recorded, and I'm going to be selling it for $19.95, you guys. Look for it on Torah Pearls, you go to my website, it'll be there, I've got everything in...

Jono: This is it. This is a huge one, this is Chapter 6. “Now this is the commandment, and these are the statutes and judgments which Yehovah your God has commanded to teach you, that you may observe them in the land which you are crossing over to possess, that you may fear Yehovah your God, to keep all His statutes and His commandments which I command you, you and your son and your grandson, all the days of your life, and that your days may be prolonged. Therefore hear, O Israel, and be careful to observe, that it may be well with you, and that you may multiply greatly as Yehovah God of your fathers has promised you, ‘a land flowing with milk and honey.’ Shema, O Israel: Yehovah Eloheinu, Yehovah Echad!

Nehemia: Amen.

Keith: Wow, did Jono just spit that out? That was impressive, Jono.

Nehemia: Wait, you just spoke Hebrew. Do the people know that you just spoke Hebrew?

Keith: Speak Hebrew again. Do that again, Jono.

Jono: I’d love to, “Shema, Israel: Yehovah Eloheinu, Yehovah Echad.”

Keith: Wow.

Nehemia: Now, can you translate that?

Jono: "Hear, O Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is one."

Keith: Impressive.

Nehemia: Amen.

Jono: "You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength." Keith, is this your... is this the one?

Keith: I'd like to defer to my friend Nehemia first.

Nehemia: What? Wait.

Jono: You been waiting all this time, what are you talking about?

Nehemia: Are you kidding? I'm letting you run with it. Can I just offer a translation, which is slightly different than what Jono said?

Jono: Please.

Nehemia: Which, I would translate this, "Listen, O Israel,” Or "Hear, O Israel, Yehovah is our God, Yehovah is one." The reason I say, "Is" is, that this is what's called a nominative sentence, “mishpat shemani.” Basically, normally we don't say the word "Is" in the present tense in Hebrew. What you do is you construct two nouns next to each other in a certain way, and that basically is saying A is B, so, "Yehovah is our God, Yehovah is one," which is a powerful statement.

I hear people singing this all the time all over the world, and they'll read it as, "Adonai Eloheinu, Adonai Echad," "The Lord is our God, the Lord is one." And I feel like that loses a lot of the meaning when you say, "The Lord," especially since the original doesn't say, "The Lord."

One of the really powerful things about this is that in Jewish tradition - and I know Keith hates this - but in Jewish tradition, whenever they read this traditionally before they get to "and love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your mind" et cetera, they say “Baruch Shem Kevod Malchuto Le'Olam Va'ed," which roughly translates as, "Blessed is the glorious name of his kingdom forever," or you could also translate, "Blessed is the glorious royal name forever."

Why do they say that? You ask most Jews and they don't know why; they say, "It's tradition, this is what we say." But I actually found out why doing some research on my previous book, “Shattering the Conspiracy of Silence: The Hebrew Power of the Priestly Blessing Unleashed.” I was going to bring this in the book, but I'm like, "This is way too off topic, and it's going to have to wait for another book," but it's amazing. The reason that they say, “Baruch Shem Kevod Malchuto Le'Olam Va'ed" is, that phrase originates in the Temple. It was what they used to say ten times on Yom Kippur every time they heard the high priest speak the name Yehovah. The immediate response was to bow down on the knees with the head to the ground, the entire mass of thousands of people in the Temple would hear the high priest say the name, “Yehovah,” in the temple service and they would say, “Baruch Shem Kevod Malchuto Le'Olam Va'ed," "Blessed is the glorious name of his kingdom forever." What that tells you is that phrase, "Blessed is the glorious name of his kingdom forever," where that originates is a response to hearing the name Yehovah. What that shows you is that, originally, when they used to say, "Shema Israel, Yehovah Eloheinu Yehovah Echad," "Hear, O Israel, Yehovah is our God, Yehovah is one," I'm talking about Jewish tradition, that they didn't say "Adonai," they actually said the name, and this almost fossilized statement has been preserved. When you hear the name spoken in public ritual, you respond, “Baruch Shem Kevod Malchuto Le'Olam Va'ed " "Blessed is the glorious name of his kingdom forever."

Jono: Amen.

Nehemia: So, I think that's pretty amazing - there's this fossil that tells us originally it wasn't “Adonai.” It's kind of obvious to you and Keith, but from where I come from this is by no means obvious. And here we have this fossil in tradition that tells us, originally, they actually spoke the name when they said the Shema.

Jono: Amen. Keith?

Keith: Yes. So, what would I hate, Nehemia? You said I hate what?

Nehemia: Well, I've heard you criticize before, "Why did Jews always say ‘Baruch Shem Kevod Malchuto Le'Olam Va'ed’? Just skip directly to ‘V'ahavta et Yehovah Elohecha,’ that's what it says in the text." And you're right, that's what it says in the text.

Keith: No, my reason is, don't say that phrase speaking about the glory of the name, but then don't speak the name! Like, don't say it.

Nehemia: All right. That’s good too.

Keith: Just say we're not going to speak the name. I want to ask Nehemia a question. Nehemia, how important is this phrase in your tradition?

Nehemia: Oh, boy. Are you kidding me? So, what I was taught, and this is something that goes back thousands of years, is the last words you're supposed to speak before you die, the last words are, "Shema, Israel, Yehovah Eloheinu Yehovah Echad." Those are the last words you speak before you die. Those should be the last words that come out of your lips.

Let me share a story. A while back I was at Yad Vashem, and they had these little videos of survivors who tell their testimony of how they survived the Holocaust. Yad Vashem, for those who don't know, is the Jewish people's International Holocaust Museum in the heart of Jerusalem. They've got a video there - there are lots of videos, but one of the videos that really caught my eye - is from a man who came from the same place where my ancestors came from, which is maybe why it caught my eye.

He was a man from - and he was a boy at the time, maybe like 15 years old - and he was from Vilna, which was the capital of Lithuania. He tells the story of how they took him and his grandfather out into the forest, into the Ponary forest, outside of Vilna, or today it's called Vilnius, and they lined them up in a ditch. For those who don't know, the Nazis lined these Jews up in a ditch. He tells a story that he and his grandfather knew they were going to die and they both recited "Shema, Israel," and of course they said Adonai because that's what tradition taught them to say, "Shema, Israel, Adonai Eloheinu Adonai Echad." Then the Nazis opened fire on them, and his grandfather was killed on the spot. He tells the story of how he realized he wasn't dead, and he started to move, and an arm reached up from several layers of bodies below and grabbed him and whispered and said, "Don't move until nighttime." They waited until nighttime and they both escaped. But this is... you have to understand, in Jewish culture, it's just a given that before you are murdered, before you die of natural causes, the last words on your lips are, "Shema, Israel, Yehovah Eloheinu Yehovah Echad."

Keith: Amen.

Nehemia: I want to venture to say something, really... could I say something very radical? Something controversial? Because there are all these stories in Jewish culture about people who, when they were murdered by the Romans, or murdered by the Nazis, or murdered throughout the ages, the last words on their lips before their breath went out was, "Shema, Israel, Yehovah Eloheinu Yehovah Echad."

Now, I want to get controversial. In the New Testament we have several different versions of what Jesus said before he died, and he may have said all those things. I think he probably did say all of those things. And you know, different people heard different things. But I'll bet you the one thing he said before he died, as a good Jew, which he was, was "Shema, Israel, Yehovah Eloheinu Yehovah Echad."

Keith: We've been on the radio for a while, and I want to say this, and why this is so important to me. Because if anybody needed to build that Trinity theology it should be me as the Methodist. I'm coming to Deuteronomy 6:4, and there's this powerful word at the end that no one wants to talk about, that Yehovah is Echad, that he is one. And so, what have we done? We've spent millions of moments and hours and debates about this issue. If we just take the verse for the way it says it, and then if we do the radical thing and go to the one who we call Jesus, when they said to him, "So tell us what is the most important command in all of the Torah?" And he comes with what's just behind Deuteronomy 6:4, do we think that he just removed that from context? Or do we think he didn't… everyone knew that Deuteronomy 6:4 would be what he would say?

I would agree with you, Nehemia. We don't have it in the New Testament, it doesn't say that he said this, but from a traditional understanding and the importance of this verse, if I open my Hebrew Bible, what do I find if I open my Hebrew Bible? I see Shema, and I see the ‘shin,’ and I see the ‘daled’ at the end. I don't need to be mysterious about this, it's such a big deal in the Hebrew Bible that it even lets me know, here it comes. The letters are even larger as I'm looking in my Hebrew text, from a traditional standpoint, that this is a really important verse - so important that even when I read, I see this, and you know what? I don't need to take Trinitarian theology and try to force it into this verse. This verse is weighty all by itself.

Jono: Amen.

Keith: And if we just spent one show on one, two, three, four, five, six words, Deuteronomy 6:4, we couldn't even get to the depth of it. This explains, both from Jewish tradition, but more importantly from a Biblical understanding that Yehovah is Echad, He is one. We don't have to split him up, we don't have to slice him up, we don't have to cut him up. Then if we go to the one named Yeshua, Jesus - he would point to this verse and the context of this verse and say, "What's more important than this? One other thing - love Him with all your heart, soul, mind, the one who is echad, and love your neighbor."

Jono: Amen.

Keith: You guys, I'm telling you, it's sad to me that there has been so many gymnastics that have been done around this verse. Let the verse be what it says. It says that Yehovah is echad, He is one; let's leave it at that.

Jono: Amen. Thank you.

Nehemia: Amen. By the way, what you're talking about, where Yeshua refers to the next verse, which is Deuteronomy 6:5, that appears in three places: Matthew 22:37, Luke 10:27, and the third place it appears, arguably the first, is Mark 12:29 and 30. In Mark he actually does say... it says, “Jesus answered, ‘The first is, Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one.’”

Keith: There it is.

Nehemia: “And you are to love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul…”. So that’s actually taken out in Luke and Matthew - maybe because they were abbreviating or whatever - but the full version where he actually quotes the Shema is in Mark 12:29.

Keith: Thank you very much, Nehemia. And you know what, ladies and gentlemen? I want to say again, and I know we've spent a card, we've gone a long time on this, but this is one I just want to say as the one who should argue it more than either of these other men. I'm letting you know that I believe that this verse that is being spoken here, that was then re-quoted by Yeshua in Mark, Matthew and Luke, absolutely is the verse, the most important verse. That if we can get this, everything else will line up. If we don't get this verse, there's no sense talking about anything else, and I'll leave it with that, you guys finish the show.

Nehemia: Now, this might need to be edited out, but I want I want to jump directly into the controversy if I can, in all seriousness, which is the meaning of the word, “echad”. I don't like to deal with theology. I always say leave theology to the theologians. So, I'm going to try to do my best here to deal with this from a language standpoint, and whatever theology you decide to hold, I think that ultimately has to do with faith, I really do.

But first, let's understand what the language means and what it says, and then you can have faith either way. But ultimately, let's understand the meaning of the words. One of the things that I've heard from many Christians is that the word “echad,” they talk about the inherent plurality of the word “echad.” That's a quote, and I forget who it’s a quote from, but they talk about the inherent plurality of the word “echad .” To me, when I hear that, that sounds to me like the inherent promiscuity of the word “virgin”. I'm sorry that's what it sounds like, an inherent plurality to the word. “Echad” means, “one,” and to say there's an inherent plurality of that is like to say there's inherent promiscuity in the word virgin, which is like...

Keith: Jono, you’re going to edit this. Promise me you're going to edit this out.

Nehemia: No, the people need to hear this. You really want to edit this out? We can stop.

Jono: No, continue, please.

Keith: Go ahead. Continue.

Nehemia: Beseder. All right. Then the question is, what does echad really mean? One of the verses that Christians point to is Genesis 2:24, and this is, "Therefore, a man will leave his father and his mother, and he will cling to his wife, and they shall be one flesh." And they say, "Look, the man and woman are two, but they're one flesh, and so God is three, even though He's one." Which… okay, ultimately, I really do think it comes down to faith.

Let me give you an example of why that, to me, doesn't make sense. Which is… and I'll bring two verses. If you say that echad inherently is plural then how do you explain a verse like... and I was actually asked this by a friend of mine, who’s trying to live by the New Testament and he said, "Look, I'm the leader of my community, but I'm not married. I've taken a vow of..." I don’t know that he took a vow of chastity, but he's not married. But I think he maybe did take a vow of chastity, I'm not sure. Anyway, he said "Look, I've been criticized by my community because of 1 Timothy chapter 3 verse 2, it says "A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife." And he says, "Does one really mean one? Or does it mean no more than one?" And I said, "Well when it comes to the Shema, you say that one means three. So maybe it means you're supposed to have three wives. The husband of echad wife, of three wives..."

Keith: Promise me you’re going to edit this.

Nehemia: "…and the three of you can be combined as one." No, I'm dead serious. Look, ultimately it comes down to a matter of faith. If you want to believe that Deuteronomy 6:4 means that God is three, then there's no way that you could disprove that; it's a matter of faith. Now, let me quote something that Nachmanides said in the Barcelona Disputation in 1263. He was forced into this disputation with Pablo Christiani.

He said as follows, let's hear it first, and he's speaking to King James I of Aragon, who is the king of Spain. He says, "The main point of disagreement between the Jews and the Christians is the very bitter thing you say about the principle of divinity. You, his lordship, our Christian King, son of a Christian, you have heard priests your entire life filling your head and the marrow of your bones with this thing so that you accept it out of familiarity. However, this thing that you believe, that is the core of your faith, is irrational. The Jewish understanding cannot bear it, nor can that of any man."

Basically, what he's saying is, "Bring a million verses, it doesn't matter. What you're saying makes no sense to us as Jews." What's interesting is the response of the king. He says, or a paraphrase to the saying in the movie The Disputation, he says, “I have seldom seen,” this is the king, who was a Christian, in response to what Nachmanides has said, he said, "I have seldom seen so unjust a cause so skillfully argued."

What's the point here? The Jewish side just can't understand what the Christian is talking about when he talks about “God is three”. That doesn't make any sense to a Jew. And the Christian side is saying, "Yeah, you make great points, but we know what you're saying isn't true and why don't you see our point? Why don't you see that we're right?" What's the moral the story for me? The moral of the story for me is that this really does come down to a matter of faith, and I don't judge a Christian who says they believe in the Trinity. If they want to believe that, that's a matter of faith. I, as a Jew, have the Jewish perspective. You, as a Christian... well, all I say is, Yehovah, uncover our eyes, all of our eyes, that we may see the wonderful hidden things of Your Torah. Amen. And there, I'm done.

Jono: Amen. Keith?

Keith: Look, here's the point. I think this has been the spirit of Torah Pearls, and why I think this is so important. Why I think this is so important is that we already have my Jewish brother on the radio, you have myself here, we have Jono, and we come across Deuteronomy 6:4 and there's all this nervousness, "Oh, what are we going to do? What are we going to do?" Let's let the verse speak. Let's let the verse speak.

I think it's significant that you brought up this issue, Nehemia. I thought about your father, I thought about this issue of death, and I thought about how this was so important, and you bringing this up in terms of even Yeshua potentially saying this on the cross, but even if he didn't, they said what was the most important verse - Mark, which was the earliest Gospel, clearly says what he said was, "Shema, Israel, Yehovah Eloheinu Yehovah Echad." I just think, as a Christian person, one who looks at Yeshua as rabbi, for a person who says, “look at what he says is important,” is there anything else more important... they asked him, “What's the most important verse?” He brings this verse.

Nehemia: Amen.

Keith: I don't want to tiptoe around this verse. This is exactly what I want to lean into, and I think that that’s powerful.

Nehemia: All right.

Jono: Is it too much for me to read verses from Isaiah 45?

Nehemia: Bevakasha.

Jono: Here it is, this is Isaiah 45, verses 17 and 21, "But Israel shall be saved by Yehovah with an everlasting salvation; You shall not be ashamed or disgraced forever and ever." And it goes on to say further down, "And there is no other God besides Me, a just God and a savior; There is none beside Me. Look to Me, and be saved, all you ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other."

Nehemia: Can I read one more verse, which is Zachariah, chapter 14, verse 9?

Jono: Please.

Nehemia: It says, "And it shall come to pass that Yehovah shall be king over the entire Earth. And on that day Yehovah will be echad, and his name will be echad. Yehovah will be one and His name will be one."

Keith: Amen.

Jono: Brilliant. Amen. Thank you for that. All right. Now, listen, we're going to have to fly through the remainder of this, Keith, is there anything… look, I’ll tell you what, we better read this bit because we have to do this. This is verse 6, “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and you shall talk to them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates." Literally or not?

Nehemia: Metaphorically. There's a study on karaite-korner.org about that.

Jono: There it is.

Keith: Amen.

Jono: Okay. Give me the link and I'll put it on there, and there's some homework for our listeners. All right. We are coming to the end of chapter 6.

Nehemia: Whoa. So, can we just talk, real quickly - I know we’re out of time… verse 7, I think is really powerful, "You will teach them to your sons," I think that's such a powerful statement.

Keith: Amen.

Jono: Amen to that, is there anything from verse 10?

Keith: The only thing I'd like to end with is just the very verse that Yeshua did use, which in the other two versions of the Gospels, that’s right here in Deuteronomy 6, it says, "You shall love." The idea of loving Yehovah is not some sort of... like Nehemia said earlier, "Oh, I'm going to get the blessing and that's why I follow Him." No, I love Him, and as a result of loving Him I get to do what He calls me to do. I'm in a relationship with the Creator of the universe, who's put forth all of these wonderful and powerful statutes, judgments, precepts, commands; these are not things that are burdensome, these are a wonderful honor, to love the Creator of the entire universe, who created me, and I shall love Him with my heart, my soul, and my mind. And of course, I talk about this in the Gospels, where they have some confusion about that last word, “me’od,” love Him very, love Him much, love Him with everything I have, heart, mind, soul in me, to love Him. And so that's why I just think this is awesome that we have a chance to walk out what it means to be in relationship with Him through love.

Jono: Amen.

Keith: That's my hippy message.

Jono: So he goes on to basically say, "Do not entangle yourselves with the nations and their gods, and the things that they do." From verse 6 and down, which closes our Torah portion, “For you are a holy people to Yehovah your God; Yehovah your God has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a special treasure above all the peoples on the face of the earth. Yehovah did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any other people, for you were the least of all peoples; but because Yehovah loves you, and because He would keep the oath which He swore to your fathers, Yehovah has brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you from the house of bondage, from the hand of Pharaoh, the king of Egypt. Therefore know that Yehovah your God, He is God, the faithful God who keeps covenants and mercy for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keeps His commandments; and He repays those who hate Him to their face, to destroy them. He will not be slack with him who hates Him; He will repay him to his face. Therefore you shall keep the commandments, the statutes, and the judgments which I command you today, to observe them.”

Keith: Amen.

Jono: Amen. There it is. Thank You, Keith Johnson, Nehemia Gordon. Next week we are in Eikeh? What is that?

Nehemia: Eikev.

Jono: Why these things are so hard to pronounce? Is that Eikev or Eikeh?

Nehemia: E-kev.

Jono: E-kev. Fine. Eikev, Deuteronomy 7 verse 12…

Nehemia: It's not the “eykev,” that’s not what it is.

Jono: Oh, come on, what is it, two o'clock in the morning for you?

Keith: Oh, man. I’m going to sleep, ladies and gentlemen.

Jono: Deuteronomy 7, verse 12, to 11 verse 25. Until then, dear listeners, this has been a record Torah portion, I do believe. Be blessed and be set apart by the truth of our father's word. Shalom.

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34 thoughts on “Torah Pearls #45 – Va’etchanan (Deuteronomy 3:23-7:11)

  1. In proper context, the ‘eye for eye and tooth for tooth’ Yeshua was probably referring to was the scenario where “two men contend with each other, and an INNOCENT BYSTANDER is injured…” then a judgement/recompense shall be made, ergo, when Yeshua says to turn the other cheek “and in that manner the judgement can be avoided”, one clearly sees NOT contending with the other man keeps me from injuring an innocent bystander, and not liable for any recompense.

  2. Deuteronomy 6:4-5. v4 = one. v5 deciding heart(center), living heart(spreading through the body), strength of heart(using of muscle). You will be a divided person if these three are not working together. Yehovah is always one. This is explaining the physical perspective. Spiritual perspective: explained in a physical way in Genesis 2 with the male and his female.

  3. Nehemia, I thank Yehovah for you and ask Him to bless you. I am trying to understand something y’all didn’t really touch in this passage. It is written in Deut. 4:14 “And Yehovah commanded me at that time to teach you statutes and judgements that you might perform them in the land where you are going over to possess it.” How does this affect us who are not living in the land? Is there a division between the 10 commandments referred to in the previous verse (these being for all men of faith everywhere) and the rest of the statues and judgements (for those living in the land)?

  4. Nehemiah, just wanted to thank you and re-iterate what Keith said about your being a man that has welcomed and taught us the ways of God, I’m one convert that can certainly say your being open has been a huge blessing in my life keep up the great work proclaiming the name!

    Shalom!

    Wayne

  5. Yeshua, having been born as son of man yet having come directly from the Father, has functioned as Yah’s right hand on earth in the same manner Yosef functioned as Pharaoh’s right hand in Egypt. You saw Yosef, you saw Pharaoh. Yosef was the representative of pharaoh for the people and functioned as the intermediary between the people and Pharaoh. This is just as it is with Yeshua as the ONLY intermediary between Yah and man. However unlike Yosef, a son of the first Adam, Yeshua came directly from the Father and as such is not affected by time and space, just as the Father. Therefore Yeshua has been interceding with man since Adam. It is impossible for man to see Yah the Father for the Father is Ruach, Spirit, but it is possible to see Yeshua as indeed he walked in Eden with Adam teaching him the way. Same thing when he appeared to Abraham with the two angels that he dispatched to Sodom and Gomorrah, and to Moses when he appeared along with the Father on the Mount’s summit handing Moses the living instructions or Torah, this time in written form.

    Yeshua was the creative word or rhema that with the Father, the Ruach ha Kodesh, encircled the chaotic mass that was the earth while the darkness laid on the surface of the deep, Gen 1. Hasatan had been kicked from Yah’s presence for in his pride the adversary wanted to excerpt control and receive the praises due Yahveh Eloheinu. Nonetheless Yahveh and Yeshua as one, as echad, shaped this heaven and earth resting and sanctifying the 7th day. Yeshua has been interceding with man since the start of this heaven and earth. He is now interacting as Israel’s High Priest in the Heavenly Temple and will soon return with his angels to the Mount of Olives as Moshiach Ben David.

  6. Matthew 5:19 Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

    What’s the Hebrew original meaning of this verse, in English it sounds like the commandment breakers still enter heaven but are not well rewarded, yet in revelations it says those that break it don’t enter through the gates… what’s up with this apparent contradiction?

    Look forward to your reply!
    May Yahovah bless you!

      • In the gospels “The Kingdom of Heaven” is synonymous with “The Kingdom of God” and has been wrongly understood to be Heaven the dwelling place of God. The Kingdom of Heaven/God is here on earth and is entered by all those who have made Yehovah their King in obedience to Torah and the Prophets.

        Now when He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God does not come with observation; nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.”
        (Luke 17:20-21) (Duet. 30:11-14)

        • Thank you very much for the explanation!
          It’s great to clear some bothersome English contradictions!
          Yahoveh Bless!

          • I admire your thirst for knowledge and understanding. It is good that we can ask questions without fear and help each other the best we can.

            “Iron sharpens iron, So one man sharpens another . “(Prov. 27:17)

      • Mat 5:19 Strongs and Thayer both indicate that the word IN could be translated with the word BY which makes much more sense to me.

    • well, just because those in the Kingdom are calling the ‘breakers “least” doesn’t necessarily mean the “least” ones are inside the Kingdom… the “least” might be on the outside looking in!

  7. A New Testament instance of the Noahide laws–: In the Book of Acts, chapter 20, James (brother of Jesus) explicitly applies four of the Noahide laws to Gentile believers, though he doesn’t cite them by that name (verse 20, repeated in verse 29). Possibly, the other Noahide laws were regarded as common currency at that time, and unnecessary to mention.

  8. i absolutely love listen to the 3 of you, and learning from and with you. Couple of days ago, I decided to add my Dutch bible translation to my studies that would be the equivalent of the King James Version, and I stumbled on a linguistic beauty that never occurred to me since I usually study in English. As the word ‘Shema’ implies listen and obey, somehow the Dutch language covers the meaning by their word for obedience: gehoorzaamheid, which has the word listen in it and the notion of teach-ability and acting on what you hear. Ironically, Dutch people are some of the most stubborn and opinionated, so maybe not as much as the Jewish people,whenever you have 2 Dutch Christians, you would also have two churches……so who do they really listen to……: )?
    Love your program, don’t stop, keep on going no matter what. Thank you from China!

  9. Nehemia’s explanation of “all Jews being at Sinai” is not too farfetched to my thinking, since every person on earth, and that ever was on earth, was, at one time, only in the loins of their fathers. I see in the new testament a parallel to this line of thinking in Hebrews 7:9-10: And as I may so say, Levi also, who receiveth tithes, paid tithes IN ABRAHAM (emphasis mine). For he was yet in the loins of his father, when Melchisedec met him. (NKJV)
    I love Torah and Prophet Pearls and study along with you ever week!

  10. Keith talks about his difficulties being welcome by religious Jews. I believe many times our actitud is the number one reason for the reaction of others. Many times we are not aware of our looks, tone of voice, actions, etc. think about it: all those things count at the time we approach people. Regarding Jews, we need to follow Pauls advice “Do not be haughty (arrogant, proud) but fear”, Rom 11:20. I don’t care who’s wrong or right: I, myself, need to be prudent(quiet), sweet, giving others preference in all. I remember my husband, I and our children in front of The Temple Institud at Jerusalem, and also at the Jewish market, when a couple of Jews in black and with ‘peyots’ aproched us very nicely insisting us to pray with them! One of them prayed over and blessed us. It was a beautiful moment. Specially because he looked and acted so simple like a kid. I believe it made a big difference that we where just walking around very quiet and prudent. I was dressed piously as I normally do (long skirt, head covering). Another beautiful experience I had was a moment when our regular Christian tour group was passing by some religious Jewish woman praying over some dough for challah in a corner under the Temple Mount. So I felt a profound presence of God that made me leave the tour group and very prudently get close to those women. I stood there by their side listening to their sweet prayer. I didn’t u dear stand the Hebrew, but I felt I was in Gods presence. Afterward one of them, an elderly called Miriam (that I was able to understand :), prayed over and blessed me and our family. Those encounters were among the most precious e periences with Jews we have had. But if you go around looking like a heathen, all funny loud and wanting to know everything out of curiosity or whatever else motivation, you’ll get that kind of reaction Keith talks about. When we feel like correcting others, including Jews, what can we expect. I might not agree with a great amount of their believes, but I know my place and the actitud and good testimony God expects from me. It might be that when we are completely conformed to Yeshua, then we might correct or be all over a Jew. Meanwhile, let’s be humble and learn and do quietly.

  11. I really enjoy listening to you 3.
    I was raised as a JW (1975-2004) “exiled” for 7 years before coming back in through “babylon the great” (as they refer to the churches) I was taught from birth to be so afraid of deception to not listen to anyone teaching anything against what they teach and not to believe anyone else’s bible translation. If you want a former insiders advice – what I really needed to know then that might have saved me a lot of pain and confusion (maybe lol) is that they didn’t have the copywrite on Gods Spirit and that there were over a hundred thousand others following YHVH without celebrating Holidays. I felt trapped and like leaving them meant leaving YHVH. I didn’t realize l could walk with Him without them. I believed the opposite to my core- blindly. ❤

  12. Hi, Nehemiah:

    I was wondering that in the passage in Duet 4:19 where it states…

    [Deu 4:19 NKJV] “And [take heed], lest you lift your eyes to heaven, and [when] you see the sun, the moon, and the stars, all the host of heaven, you feel driven to worship them and serve them, which the LORD your God has given to all the peoples under the whole heaven as a heritage.

    Does this mean that the liturgy in the Siddur when singing on Erev Shabbat the Shalom Aleichem which according to Wikipedia…:

    “Shalom Aleichem is a traditional song sung by Jews every Friday night upon returning home from synagogue prayer. It signals the arrival of the Jewish Sabbath, welcoming the angels who accompany a person home on the eve of the Sabbath.”

    Is this not worship angels?

  13. I have a question about echad. If God is one what is your understanding of the passage in Genesis 1:26 – “Let US make man in OUR image”?

  14. Pienso que debería ser expuesto el tema ,no solo en audio, si no también en comentario escrito, para los que sabemos ,escuchar ingles,pero entendemos algo el ingles, cuando lo leemos ,gracias

  15. Thinking that I love the picture of “not mentioning” sin as YHWH’s response to our teshuvah. It makes so much more sense than Shakespeare’s “forgive and forget” that only leads to abuse.
    This understanding of “not mentioning” the sin anymore after the repentance has taken place, fits so much better with the Hebrew
    “forgive” with the samech / ring of thorns / “safe space” enclosure for the flock and the lamed / shepherd’s staff / teaching and instruction, separated from the wild animals outside of that safe space.

  16. Hi Nehemia, Keith, Jono. Just listened to Deut 3:23; 7:11 The Lord God is One. Yeshua said that also. I’m not a trinitarian but How do you explain the duty of the Holy Spirit which Yeshua said He would send? Is Yeshua part of the one God? Is the son, Yeshua, one-part of the LORD? If so, who was Yeshua praying to? Himself? Would be grateful for clarification.

    • Dearest Yvonne,

      My name is Kris and I am a Christian and I am glad that you asked this question. I believe that some of your confusion will be cleared up if you put the Tetragrammaton back in Deuteronomy 6:4, and if you throw out the doctrines of men and let the Scriptures stand.

      Not all Christians believe in the trinity. I used to get offended when a friend and fellow Christian would tell me that he didn’t believe in the trinity. “How,” I reasoned with myself, “could he call himself a Christian and meanwhile not believe in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit?” I felt defensive and attacked, and acted as such. But I now believe the error was mine, because (like some fellow Christians) I did not realize that there is a man-inspired definition of the trinity – and this definition does not simply mean that all three exist (and by exist, I mean that I can open up my Christian Bible; read of all three; and believe what I read). No, to my surprise, I found out that the trinity has a man-made definition which means much more than acknowledging and believing what the Christian Bible says about all three.

      According to Wikipedia, the Athanasian Creed “is the first creed in which the equality of the three persons of the Trinity is explicitly stated.” One aspect (of the English translation) of the Athanasian Creed is that of the three (Father, Son, and Holy Ghost) “none is greater, or less than another”. This Creed specifically states that all three are “coequal”. But do the Christian Scriptures support this theory? Does not Yeshua show his loving submission to YHVH? My favorite example of this loving submission is Matthew 26:39, where Yeshua places the will of his Father above his own will. Other examples include but are not limited to John 14:28 and 1 Corinthians 15:27-28.

      Deuteronomy 6:4 actually says that YHVH is our God, YHVH is one.

      I would like to point out that Deuteronomy 6:4b says that YHVH is one, and that nowhere in the Christian Writings do they record Yeshua ever claiming to be the Father. In John 10:30 Yeshua states that he and the Father are one – but Yeshua never claims to be the Father, and Yeshua even says in the preceding verse (John 10:29), “My Father…is greater than all”. Similarly, in John 14:9 Yeshua says, “The (one) seeing me has seen the Father…”, then in the following verse Yeshua continues, “The words which I speak to you I do not speak from myself, but the Father who abides in me, He does the works.” Again Yeshua does not claim to be the Father, and even gives the Father credit and glory for the works. So what is the discrepancy between Deuteronomy 6:4b and the Christian Scriptures? Is there one? …no pun intended – okay, perhaps a slight pun intended.

      Let’s consider this from another angle – If Yeshua was praying to himself, then either the Father died on a tree (No No No!!!), or Yeshua didn’t die on a tree (No No No!!!).

      Even after he was resurrected, Yeshua still continued to call the Father “my God” (John 20:17). The Christian Scriptures teach that Yeshua was highly exalted by God due to Yeshua’s obedience until death, and that Yeshua was given authority after he was resurrected (Matthew 28:18, Philippians 2:8-9). Exalted by whom? Obedient to whom? Given authority by whom? The Father, of course!

      Ok, next, let us Christians acknowledge the difference between the Hebrew word pronounced “elohim”/”Elohim” (god/God), versus the Hebrew Tetragrammaton (YHVH in English). “Elohim”/”elohim” is a word that can be used to refer to either our true God, or in certain cases to those working for our true God in specific roles/positions, or to false god/gods – in other words, this word is a title. YHVH is the name of the Creator as first written in Hebrew letters in Genesis 2:4. So, is Yeshua the Father? No. Is Yeshua God/god? To answer this question, let’s look at Psalm 82. Some Christians grossly misinterpret this Psalm (especially those so-called “Christians” in the new age movement – but don’t get me started on Barney the dinosaur). Anyway, in Psalm 82:1, the word/title “elohim” is used to refer to the appointed judges that are working for God and that are getting chastised for judging unjustly. If, then, the Father is willing to give this title (gods) to judges working for Him that are making unjust rulings, then what sort of title do you think the Father would give to the Messiah who accomplished his mission; who submitted to the Father’s will; who was obedient until death; and to whom the Father gave all authority in Heaven and on Earth? My guess – a pretty good title. Point being? The Father is head over all and Creator and can do whatever He likes, including assign and/or share whatever titles or names or roles He wants whenever He wants because He is that awesome!

      I would like to note that according to The New Encyclopædia Britannica, the trinity doctrine “developed gradually over several centuries and through many controversies.” This source goes on to say, “By the end of the 4th century…the doctrine of the Trinity took substantially the form it has maintained ever since.” (1976, Micropædia, Vol. X, p. 126).

      So, do I believe in the trinity? No. Do I believe in what is written in my Christian Bible about the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit? Yes.

      That being said, I would like to acknowledge that I’m obviously not always correct and that I am no expert by any means of the Scriptures or of languages. I would also like to offer my (very strong) opinion that whether or not a person believes in the trinity is of no importance when it comes to the matter of salvation. Sometimes we Christians have different interpretations of the Scriptures, and it is our challenge and duty to try our best to be of one like mind, despite such differences. I don’t know exactly how to accomplish this – perhaps prayer. It is our common enemy satan who would like nothing more than to divide. So, if you or any Christian has a different interpretation of the Scriptures, express it if you’d like. Perhaps we’ll even discuss it in person one day, and even though we still may not agree, let’s move forward together as best we can – as we are a people with a heart for YaH, called in one body, and instructed to let the peace of God rule in our hearts.

      Lastly, I would like to add that one thing our common enemy does not want any of us to do is to Repent! So let’s keep that up! Despite our differences, perhaps we can take a stand against the enemy on our areas of common ground.

      I hoped this helped you, Yvonne! Love in fellowship, Kris

      • Kris,
        Thank you. Your answer is excellent. I do not use the word “Trinity” (except when I am discussing the problem.) I think there is so much more that could be understood if this one word had not been in our way. Which is a more important thing for us to do or obey; 1) to believe that “the Trinity is a hypostatic union” or 2) to keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace? Why should that be so hard to figure out?
        Harvey

  17. Hi Nehemiah, I’d like to share my perspective on the Sinai debate. I agree that obviously You and other Jews were not at Sinai literally. But Paul, who was a Hebrew, in his letter to the Hebrews, has an interesting way of reasoning on the identical principle.

    Heb 7:5 And verily they that are of the sons of Levi, who receive the office of the priesthood, have a commandment to take tithes of the people according to the law, that is, of their brethren, though they come out of the loins of Abraham:
    Heb 7:6 But he whose descent is not counted from them received tithes of Abraham, and blessed him that had the promises.
    Heb 7:9 And as I may so say, Levi also, who receiveth tithes, payed tithes in Abraham.
    Heb 7:10 For he was yet in the loins of his father, when Melchisedec met him.

    Paul’s claim seems to be based on the law of genetics as he understood it. He’s not saying Levi was there paying tithes to Melchizedek through his soul or some other mystical garbage. To me he is saying that in Abraham was the seed, or the genetics that would one day become Isaac, Jacob, and the father’s of the twelve tribes including Levi.

    Far from invoking mysticism, he is invoking a fundamental law of nature as God created it. In that sense, all the descendants of the people who were at Sinai were “in the loins” of their forbears in terms of the laws of genetics.

    In Romans 5:12 he uses the same logic to explain why we are all counted as sinners from conception as David says in Psalm 51:5. “Because of this, even as sin entered the world through one man, (Adam) and death through sin, so also death passed to all men, inasmuch as all sinned.” He’s basically saying that even though none of us was born yet, we all sinned when Adam sinned because Adam was the father of the human race and we were all constituted in Adam genetically. When you think about it he has to be right otherwise David is lying in Psalm 51:5 when he says he became a sinner at conception rather that at the moment he committed his first sin.

    So in this genetic sense, you were at Sinai become you were genetically in the loins of your Jewish ancestor who was there. Shalom!

  18. Thank you again. God is continuing to use you and Keith in powerful ways in my life. Thank you for being willing to walk the unique path that you are walking. Please don’t stop no matter how much you are ever hated or maligned by ignorant people.

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