Torah Pearls #54 – Vezot Haberachah (Deuteronomy 33:1-34:12)

Torah Pearls Vezot Haberachah, Deuteronomy 33:1-34:12, Benjamin, blessing, twelve tribes, burning bush, Moses, Deuteronomy, Eretz Yisrael, Har Nevo, Israel, Jordan, Karaism, Karaites, Leningrad Codex, Martin Luther King, Mount Nebo, Mt. Horeb, Mt. Nebo, Mt. Sinai, myriads of holy ones, nehemia gordon, parashah, Parsha, parshas, parshat, priestly benediction, Priestly Blessing, Promised Land, pseudepigrapha, replacement theology, Thummin and Urim, Torah Pearls, Torah Portion, Transjordan, Vezot Haberachah, YisraelIn this episode of The Original Torah Pearls, Vezot Haberachah (Deuteronomy 33:1-34:12), the trio connects viscerally with this emotional portion that begins with Moses’ farewell blessings to the 12 Tribes and ends with his death. The poetic, the strange, the rare and the wonderful are all here—clarified by Hebrew linguistics, geography, margin notes and a tense you probably didn’t learn in grammar class—the prophetic past. Add to the mix: Thummim and Urim, MLK’s final speech, a little pseudepigrapha, and you’ve barely scratched the surface. This final Torah Pearl ends fittingly with the bestowal of the majestic Priestly blessing and a joyful blast from the shofar.

Well, I don’t know what will happen now. We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it really doesn’t matter with me now, because I’ve been to the mountaintop. And I don’t mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land!

- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

I look forward to reading your comments!

Download Torah Pearls Vezot Haberachah


Torah Pearls #54 - Vezot Haberachah (Deuteronomy 33:1-34:12)

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

Jono: G’day to Bill in Oregon, Michelle in New Jersey, Kai in Nevada, Sandra Jean and Tyler in Florida, Kyle in New Mexico, Trent in Tasmania in Australia, Suzy in Texas, Hamish in Victoria Australia, Gail in Georgia, Cheryl in New Hampshire, Mark in Liverpool, New South Wales, David in California, Shirley in Alabama, Laurie in Wisconsin, William in North Carolina, Keith, and Roger in Colorado who gave a shout-out to Keith and wherever you may be around the world. Thank you for joining us once again and thank you to the listeners who have been commenting, I really do appreciate that. Like Michael saying, “My day wouldn’t be complete without a dose of Truth2U. I’m able to listen while driving between calls. What a delight. Thank you.” Well, thank you. What’s your name? Michael. Thank you, Michael. And by the way, in iTunes, I recently discovered people have been leaving comments on iTunes. One saying, “Thank you Jono for posting these to iTunes. I’m a new iPad user and I need this outlet in the worst way. I and my family have been so blessed by Nehemia’s insights as well as Yoel’s perspectives. They have become our primary Hebrew teachers.” I don’t think they’re mixing up Keith with Yoel. I think they’ve been listening to more than just Torah Pearls.

Nehemia: [laughing]

Keith: I don’t understand why he’s laughing, Jono.

Jono: I think he thinks that they mixed...

Nehemia: She’s disrespecting you.

Keith: No, I thought... I looked at it as he’s saying, “Look, we’ve got Yoel over here. We got Nehemia over there.” That is a great blessing Nehemia.

Jono: Yoel of course in Light of the Prophets.

Keith: He’s not done with the shtick, Nehemia.

Jono: There we go. Hey listen, listen. Also this one, “Love your site Jono. Todah rabah for giving us access to these wonderful programs. I’m always rewarded with new tidbits of information, and this one is excellent and well rounded. I really appreciate the well-rounded topic Truth2U offers learning scripture with Hebrew scholars and degreed ministers.” That must be you Keith - the degreed minister. “And then learning about being true to the body that Yehovah gave us through natural health and healing. The program is always a pleasure to listen to. Thank you.”

Well, thank you to those who have left comments on iTunes and also rated. So, I have no idea what that does, but you know, it can’t be a bad thing. So, by all means, more people go and rate and leave comments there. It is, of course, time for Pearls from the Torah Portion with Keith Johnson and Nehemia Gordon. G’day, gentlemen.

Nehemia: G’day Jono. This is Nehemia Gordon, the wandering Jew, in Florida. I want to do a shout-out to Christopher Fredrickson in Australia and Kenneth Martin in Texas. Thank you, guys, for listening. And if you haven’t been listening, you need to be.

I want to read a letter from Pam who wrote me through my website, She wrote, “Hi Nehemia. I’ve been listening to Torah Pearls on Truth2U and I have learned a lot. I began learning about Torah from Torah class with Tom Bradford. You, Keith Johnson and Jono have fine-tuned Torah even more for me. I live in central Wisconsin between Chicago and Minneapolis where you and Keith are from. I wish I had learned to understand the Tanakh earlier. It would have explained so many of the questions I had and some that I still have regarding the New Testament, et cetera, et cetera. Shalom to you, Pam.” Thanks, Pam.

Jono: Thank you, Pam. G’day to Pam.

Keith: So that was... I just want to say this - first of all, all of the people that listen to Torah Pearls, I still, I must say Jono and Nehemia, I’m still humbled that people actually tune in for this two-hour circus that we sometimes... it’s a three-ring circus come on, let’s be honest, and that people will actually listen... And I know we do have many pearls that come out, but sometimes I think, you know, how do these folks do this? And I just want to say this is no small thing for us. We’ve really taken this serious, people don’t know how many times shows have been erased, how we’ve had to schedule, where we had to wait for Nehemia to come out of the bathroom. I mean, there’s been so many things that have happened. I mean, it’s been an amazing experience. But I want to ask one question. Is there really a Tasmania?

Jono: There’s a Tasmania! Every now and then we accidentally leave it off the map, but it is there, and it is part of Australia.

Nehemia: That’s not a real place is it? Isn’t that from that cartoon thing? The Tasmanian devil. It’s not a real place.

Jono: Hey, it’s a real place. The Tasmanian Devil. I don’t know what that is in... what is it, Warner Brothers or something? But there are Tasmanian devils.

Nehemia: Are they that cute? I mean, you just want to hug that Tasmanian devil! He’s adorable.

Jono: You can have a go, you can try. I wouldn’t. It used to be called Van Diemen’s Land.

Keith: How many fans out there would think that we should have a Torah Pearls with Keith Johnson? Please send me a shout-out. Look, I was trying to do my thing. I never interrupt Nehemia when he does his little “hello to so and so and so and so and so.” I’m doing my little hello and I bring up my Tasmania. I’m going to bring up the whole Tasmania cartoon and Nehemia steps in and takes away the Tasmanian cartoon shtick! What am I supposed to do? What would I do without him, ladies and gentlemen? Anyway, to all those that are listening, I surely appreciate it.

Jono: Do you know who they are? Let me tell you where they’re listening from Keith, because this is one of my favorite parts. Of course, in the United States, Australia, Canada, United Kingdom, South Africa, Germany, New Zealand, Brazil, Singapore, Switzerland, Netherlands, India, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, and Costa Rica. And that’s just the last 500 hits.

Nehemia: Wow.

Keith: That’s amazing. International.

Nehemia: Saudi Arabia?

Jono: Yeah, Saudi Arabia.

Keith: Hey, I love this. I love this. Okay. So anyway, shout-out to all those folks.

Jono: Indeed. Now look we are... oh my goodness. Of course. This is the final portion. This is it. We’ve done 50... how many have we done?

Nehemia: 54. This is the 54th episode. It’s 52 weeks in the English calendar.

Jono: There’s a couple of doubles, right?

Nehemia: You’re the calendar guy, Keith. So, you know, a Hebrew year is approximately - and it varies by up to a day or two - but it’s approximately 354 days, which comes out to 50 weeks. A little over 50 weeks. Now if you have a leap year then it shoots up from 354 to 383, which is approximately 54 weeks. So, there are 54 Torah portions which are done in some years over a period of 50 weeks, and that’s why you have the double-headers and it’ll vary from year to year. Because of leap year, you have an extra four weeks essentially. So, we’ve been doing this for something like 50 weeks, but this is our 54th episode.

Keith: That’s amazing. It’s amazing.

Jono: It’s incredible isn’t it? So it’s huge. And I was reading through it today, and for me it’s kind of exciting because yeah, we’ve been doing it for a year. This is the final one. At the same time, it’s kind of in a way, it’s an emotional Torah portion.

Keith: Absolutely, it is.

Nehemia: You better believe it.

Jono: When I was reading it. We’re going to get straight into it. Before we do, Nehemia, would you please? Psalm 119 verse 18 before we begin.

Nehemia: I think we should have Keith pray that. He should open with prayer.

Jono: We can do that.

Keith: Nehemia, bevakasha, todah rabah chaver sheli. Okay. So, Psalm 119 - I was about to do it. Now you’re interrupting me.

Nehemia: If you’re going to do it, do it!

Keith: What a blessing it is, Father, to be in this process with these men, men of the word that we’ve been in and what a blessing it is to know that we’re attempting to honor everything that You have given us through Your word. Help us continually to have our eyes open that we might see the wonderful things, the beautiful things, the amazing things and the marvelous things that You have in Your Torah in their place of teaching and instruction. I pray blessing over all those that have listened. To all those that will listen and all those that are listening right now may their eyes also be open that they might see the wonderful things in Your Torah. Amen.

Jono: Amen.

Nehemia: Amen.

Jono: Thank you, Keith. And of course, it is, Vezot Habracha. Deuteronomy 33:1 to the end of Deuteronomy 34 verse 12.

Keith: I want to say something before you start. Jono, I’ve got to tell you something. You know, when you first started this, Torah Pearls, you know, you were learning with Yoel, who is a wonderful Hebrew teacher, and you’re the fruit of that labor. Because what’s amazing is, Nehemia - did you see how he just said this, the section we’re about to read? He said it in Hebrew. It was beautiful when I heard you when you say it, I just thought, “This is amazing.” You know, I’ve heard different people read Hebrew. One of my most difficult ones I’ve ever heard was when Ralph Messer was reading Hebrew. And he had this PR piece where he’d say, “I’m a Hebrew teacher and this is what I do.” And I’m just going to bring this up because it’s one thing for people to say, “I’m a teacher and this is the Hebrew word.” And I mean people jack stuff. I jack stuff, you know. It’s not my first language. It’s a process of learning. But I want to give great respect to you for one, taking the process with Yoel to learn the Aleph and the Bet, and now the way that you speak it really is a beautiful thing. So I just wanted you to say it again and I wanted to let people know, you know - Jono, you didn’t have to do this, this guy’s got his own international radio show. Why would you sit down and want to relearn or learn something this way? And having gone through this process, it’s not an easy thing, and it’s a humbling thing. But the way you just said the portion was really, really beautiful and I want to tell you, thanks for entering into the process. It just a great testament to your commitment to knowing the word of God. So I thought that was something, and Nehemia he didn’t even correct you. Like usually you say, “Is it, Beracha?” He says, “No it’s Beracha.” Is it that this? No, it’s this. That time he didn’t say anything and Nehemia you got to give him some credit. He just... I mean, it was beautiful.

Nehemia: Respect man, respect.

Jono: I will say, Yoel is a far better teacher than I am a student. And quite honestly, I’m a fairly lazy student. But it has been a learning curve for me, and I have enjoyed the opportunity to be more familiar with the Hebrew language. And I know that that will continue. How can it not? It has to.

Keith: Absolutely.

Jono: Now this kicks off with Moses’s final blessing on the 12 tribes of Israel, and as I mentioned before, it is an emotional Torah portion because for the last four books of the Torah we’ve been dealing with this guy. This is Moses, the servant of God, the man of God. This is Moses. And it’s, you know, I mean... because of course in Bereshit, Genesis, it begins with Abraham. And in the end of Genesis, near the end of Genesis, we have Jacob giving the blessing to his sons. Here we are at the end of the whole Moses story, and here he is blessing the children of Israel, the 12 tribes, same ones. And so it’s very interesting. And this is how it begins.

Keith: Just a second, one more thing. I know, I know you guys – this is the last one. But isn’t it also interesting, Jono, that it’s almost like we’re dealing with a two-movement symphony? It’s like, if you… if you’ve ever gone to a symphony, you know, they’ll say, “He’s in the first movement” and “he’s in the third movement.” And so this section here where we start out, and he says, “And Moses recited the words of this song,” before 32, which was last week, and Moses recited the words of this song from beginning to end in the hearing of the whole assembly of Israel. And then he does this poetic form as we talked about.

And then he does this thing again. There’s a little narrative at the end of 32, and the narrative talks about him going to the mountain Nebo and he’s about to die, et cetera, et cetera. It’s a narrative, narrative, narrative. And it says, “And this is the blessing that Moses, the man of God, pronounced on the Israelites before his death.” And then he goes back to poetry. So it’s like a beautiful symphony where there’s this tension in music and then they calm down and maybe only two or three things. And then he’s about to do this beautiful poetic proclamation, a blessing for the people.

So that’s... I just wanted folks to realize that you know, there was poetry, a little bit of narrative, a little bit of narrative, introduction again, and now we’re here back to poetry. So that’s, we should look for some of those things that will come out in this form different than what we would see if we were reading in Genesis, you know, the narrative of Abraham or whatever. Okay. Thank you, sir.

Jono: “Now this is the blessing which Moses, the man of God, blessed the children of Israel before his death. And he said, ‘Yehovah came from Sinai and dawned on them from Seir. He shone forth from Mount Paran, and He came with 10,000 saints.’” That’s what I’ve got.

Keith: Wait a minute. Oh, really? Great.

Jono: What have you got?

Keith: Keep, keep reading and then I’ll stop.

Jono: “From his right hand came a fiery law for them. Yes, He loves the people. All His saints are in your hand. They sit down at your feet. Everyone receives your words.”

Keith: Okay, so here’s what I’d like us to do on this last Torah Pearls. So, I would like to be Nehemia, and Nehemia, you be Jono, and Jono, you be Keith. Okay?

Nehemia: Oh, okay guys [with accent].

Jono: I’m being you, am I?

Keith: Yeah, you’re being me and I’m going to be Nehemia. Okay. So, let’s stop here for a second. We can’t pass this. We can’t pass this verse. This is probably the most important verse in the entire… the entire Tanakh. And it says, “Then he came with...”

Jono: 24.

Keith: No, I want, I’m just kidding about being each other. But I want to ask this question. I want to stop for a second. Jono, when you read that he came with His, and I want to put it in your version, what was your version again?

Jono: It says, ‘he came with 10,000 of saints’.

Keith: And so, when I read it in the NIV, it says “He came with myriads of holy ones.” I want us to slow down for a second. So, when you heard that, what did you think? When you read that, what did you think?

Jono: When I read that, I thought, I don’t know what the Hebrew word here is, but I’m sure there’s a better alternative. I thought that’s probably a poor choice of words. I don’t know. It just didn’t seem to fit.

Keith: Okay. And so, when I saw “He came with myriads of holy ones,” I thought, “so it didn’t say He came with myriads of angels.”

Jono: Well no, no, because what I think when I see saints, I think of those who are set apart.

Nehemia: Oh when the saints come marching in! [singing]

Jono: And there’s that, okay. You know, there’s that. But really when we say saints, we’re talking about people who are set apart, right? Don’t get him singing, Keith. Just keep talking.

Keith: No, no, no, no. So, what we want to do is we want to take a look. We want to let Nehemia talk for just a minute and we want to say, “Nehemia, open up your Hebrew Bible and when you read it, what do you see in your mind?” And then Nehemia what I want you to do if you could, I want you to do what we did 10 years ago. Give us the English translation. Don’t tell us the Hebrew words as a start. If you read that same verse, what would you see as far as the translation, the translation of verse 2?

Nehemia: Right. So, for that phrase, I would say, “And He came from the myriads of holy, or of holiness.” It’s poetry, so you’ve got to ask yourself, “what does that mean?” This is why we’ve got all the different translations. Well, what is the holiness? If I didn’t know anything else, I would say that this is actually referring to the city of Kadesh Barnea, which comes from the same word as holy. That’s where they actually were located for a significant amount of time in the desert, at this place of Kadesh, Kadesh Barnea. So, it might be a reference to that, because what we have here is a series of references to God coming. He’s arriving from the south, from the mountains of the South and southeast. He’s coming from Sinai, he’s coming from Seir, and he’s coming from Paran, which are actually different locations in southern and southeastern Israel, or to the southeast of Israel, actually. And then Kodesh, which is possibly another form of the word Kadesh, which like I said, is Kadesh Barnea. So, He’s coming from the myriads, the tens of thousands of Kadesh, meaning the people of Israel who are camped around the city of Kadesh. That’s a possibility...

But like I said, it’s poetry, and poetry is kind of strange. You know, it uses weird images. And so, you know, last week we read about, eating the fat... what was it?

Jono: It was the fat of the lamb.

Nehemia: No, but it was also the fat of the wheat and the blood of the grapes. Okay. So those are symbols. And presumably this is poetic language; this might be a symbol for Kadesh, but maybe it means that the tens of thousands of holy could have a double meaning. Meaning, they’re at Kadesh and there are also holy ones there. So… and maybe that’s why he uses the word holy, holy ones.

Keith: And it’s interesting that you say that Nehemia, and for those that are listening who wouldn’t know, Kadesh or Kadosh or Kodesh, that would be the word used for holy. Like for example, when they’re in the throne room saying, “Holy, holy, holy,” using the word kadosh, kadosh, kadosh.

But what’s interesting is when I see that in my NIV, Jono, I’ve got a little note that says, “He came with” and then the with has an A, and I go down and I see the note. It says, “or from”, so the word being there, so He came from, or He came with. The idea of coming with or coming from, when I thought of that, and I’m really glad you brought up the word of Kadesh Barnea, because that seems to me to be sort of this connection of wherever it was that He came from or whoever He came with, I just kind of imagined this idea of him being in the midst of the holy... He’s holy. And so, wherever He would come from it would be holy. In other words, even if we were talking about a physical location that He came from, that would be a place that’s holy because He’s there. So anyway...

Nehemia: And look, it’s also very... what suggests to me that it’s a geographical location is that it says from; it doesn’t say with. That, “He came from the myriads of holiness,” or “of holy.” And so, that then suggests... and those myriads, by the way, might not be Israel. They might be the angels. You know, this is actually an image that we see in a number of places in the Tanakh, in the Bible, that Yehovah is coming and He’s surrounded by angels. And you know, this is an image that we see. We actually read one last week, and I think it was in Isaiah 63, the first few verses, where Yehovah is coming from Mount Seir and His clothes are all bloodied and He’s fought and He fought all by himself, nobody was with Him. This is an image that appears in a number of passages in the Tanakh, in the Bible, of Yehovah arriving, the arrival of Yehovah…

Keith: Yes.

Nehemia: … and He’s often described as a man of war, but not always. But His arrival is always something spectacular and glorious. Sometimes He’s standing with His two feet on the mountain, you know, in Zachariah… but Yehovah’s arrival, like the arrival of this victorious king, is something that is this repeated theme throughout the Bible.

Jono: So just while we’re on the words, “fiery law.” Is that what you’ve got, “a fiery Torah”?

Nehemia: It doesn’t say Torah...

Keith: Wait, what? Where do you see that, Jono?

Jono: I am assuming that the word law is Torah, but you’re telling me that it’s not.

Nehemia: It’s not. It’s the word “da’at.”

Keith: I don’t even know what he’s talking about.

Nehemia: What do you have... read verse 2 in your translation, Keith.

Keith: “He came with myriads of holy ones from the south, from His mountain slopes.”

Nehemia: “Mountain slopes”? [laughs]

Jono: From the south of his mountain slopes? I’ve got, “From His right hand came a fiery law for them.”

Nehemia: Yeah. Let me tell you what happened here. So, the word in Hebrew is… or it’s two words, “esh da’at,” which means fire, and “da’at” is law. Now the thing about the word “da’at” is that it’s not the normal word for law. Obviously, law... the normal word we have is instruction. The word “da’at” appears only here in the Torah, and the next time it appears is going to be in the book of Esther. And it refers, in that context of Esther, to Persian law, is the context “da’at”.

Keith: Doesn’t that also show up in Daniel?

Nehemia: It probably does. Okay. But you know… so basically… so it’s from the Persian period, the Babylonian period. You’ve got “da’at” appearing in this very late context, and it being a loan word from either Persian or Aramaic, or possibly both. So, some people have come along and said, “Wait a minute, “da’at” in the Torah can’t mean law because that’s a Persian word. That’s from a much later period.” What happened is, if you look in the Hebrew manuscripts, “Esh da’at”, fiery law, is actually written as one word. And in the margin, it says, “read it as two words”. So, this is an example of what we call “kri kativ” - the written and the read. There are hundreds of examples of this in the Bible, where it’s written one way in the body of the text and it’s written a different way in the margin, and the margin tells you to read it a different way. In this particular example, it’s a little bit more rare than the common examples. Here it tells you to read one word as two words. That happens - sometimes it’ll write the word as two words and it’ll tell you to read it as one word.

Now if you read it as one word, “ashdot”, then it means... “ashdot” is actually... I believe the English translation of “ashdot” is really cataracts. Since no one knows what that means, they write “the mountain slopes.” Ashdot are rocky waterfalls in a river, which in English is called a cataract. For example, there’s the “ashdot” of the Jordan River just south of Tiberias. If you go on a canoe down the Jordan river, there’s a certain place you can’t go anymore because there’s a rocky waterfall, and you’ll be hurt. That’s what “ashdot” are - there’s a little town in that area called “Ashdot Ya’akov.”

Anyway, so “ashdot lamo”, in His right hand, the mountainous slopes or the watery slopes for them. I don’t know what that would mean, which explains why others said, “No, this should be read as two different words.”

Jono: I’m just curious. Is it possible that it’s talking about the waters of Meribah?

Nehemia: Very much so. Sure. Absolutely. Could mean there that the water was coming out of His right hand, symbolically speaking. And it was rocky waters. It was... absolutely, that could be what it means. But the point is that the scribes who preserved the text for us didn’t know what this was and so they said, read it as two different words; and maybe they were right. I don’t know. It might’ve said that way in a different manuscript.

I know this is totally off topic, but can we look at... there’s a famous example where there are two words written as one word, and those who don’t understand this come up with all kinds of bizarre explanations of it. But look at Isaiah chapter 9, verse 6. That’s one of the most famous verses in the Bible. In fact, I’m going to ask you guys to read 5 and 6. I’m going to ask the Methodist to read 5 and 6 of Isaiah 9.

Keith: “To us a child is born...” this is one of my favorite...

Nehemia: Whoo!

Jono: 5 and 6.

Nehemia: “To us a child is born!”

Keith: 5 and 6. “Every warrior’s boot used in battle and every garment rolled in blood will be destined for burning, will be fuel for the fire.”

Nehemia: In English, it’s 6 and 7 then, sorry.

Keith: “For to us, a child is born. To us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders and he will be called wonderful counselor, mighty God, everlasting father, Prince of peace.”

Nehemia: Keep going.

Keith: Okay. “Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing it, but holding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever, the zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this.”

Nehemia: Okay, so here Isaiah is talking about the birth of the son. Of course… I mean, I think everybody knows what this means in Christianity. In Judaism we understand this to refer to one of Isaiah’s sons who has a symbolic name, but what’s significant for our discussion is… in verse 6 you had “of the increase”. How’d you read that? “Of the increase of his...” How did you say it?

Keith: “Of the increase of his government.”

Nehemia: “The increase of his government.” Okay. This is not the best translation, but I’ll let you go with government. So, ‘of the increase’ in Hebrew is “lemarbeh”. Now “lemarbeh” is the reading in the margin… in the margin it says, “read it as “lemarbeh,” of the increase”. In the actual body of the text what it says is “lam rabah” - to them greatness, which you might think, “Okay, to them, greatness of the government is kind of the same thing, but Hebrew is very precise and the scribes took this very seriously and they said, “No, this is two words written in the body of the text,” but in the margin they say, read it as one - of the increase.

What’s funny about this is that what happened here is, in the original Hebrew script, and I don’t want to get too technical for the people, but basically reading it as two words, the way it’s written in the body of the text, is indicated by using what’s called the final Mem. The final Mem is at the end of the word for lam, for them. And then rabah, greatness. In the original Hebrew script, there was no final Mem. So, the original Hebrew script - it’s called Paleo Hebrew - it’s very possible, even in Second Temple times… in some of the Dead Sea Scrolls there are no final Mems. The Mem at the end of a word is written like a regular Mem. So in that time period, if you wrote these two words next to each other and you didn’t have a big enough space between the words, you might mistake them for one word instead of two words and vice versa. And apparently, they were originally written as two words and then the marginal reading says to read them as one word.

Now, can I talk about some of the weird explanations I’ve heard from some Christians? Or should I...?

Keith: Before you do that, I want to say this. One thing that is funny, Jono, is if you open up your Hebrew Bible and you see what Nehemia just talked about... as he says, there was no final Mem originally. But what’s so interesting, I happen to have a Reader’s Hebrew Bible that I use sometimes. Sometimes I use my Leningrad Codex, et cetera. But what’s so interesting is when you read it... if I’m just reading this immediately, I say, “What’s wrong with this word? What’s wrong with this word? Why is there a final Mem connected right into the next...?”

Nehemia: In the middle of the word; there’s a final Mem in the middle of the word, the way it’s written in the body of the text, which really means it’s two words...

Keith: Exactly.

Nehemia: Because the final Mem indicates the end of a word. Yeah, right. Well, in the manuscript, obviously there are vowel points, but, right, right.

Keith: All right. But anyways, my point is it you stop. Go ahead.

Nehemia: Yeah, no. So can I talk about what the... or should we just skip that?

Jono: No, no, you’ve got...

Nehemia: So, this is something I’ve been told by people, and when I heard this, I’m like... so this is the explanation that I heard, which is from some of my Christian friends. Then actually more from Messianics, is that there’s this final Mem here and it’s in the middle of this word, which of course to me means that there are really two words, obviously. But what they said is, “The Mem is enclosed and the Hebrew letter Mem means water. And this is enclosed like the womb full of water. It’s a closed womb.” And I’m not really sure where they go with that, or what that has to do with anything. But to me what that does is it perverts the text, because here the text has a perfectly simple grammatical explanation. How you interpret it is something else, but the actual meaning of the words - they have meaning. You know, for them greatness versus the increase. These are words that have meaning, and when Isaiah spoke them the people weren’t looking at some word, and in Isaiah’s time, they didn’t have final Mems. So there was no such thing as the closed Mem that looked like a closed womb with water. I mean, it’s idiotic to say that - it didn’t exist in Isaiah’s time, it didn’t exist in Jesus’s time in the first century. To say these things is utterly ridiculous. It’s something that came from a later period.

But the point is that these words have meaning. And if you turn the letters into these symbolic word pictures, you strip the words of their meaning, you turn them into something else. And you know, I met this guy a number of years ago, he actually came to my Passover Seder. And the guy told us how... He was from the U.S., and he told us how he spent three to four hours every day studying the Hebrew word pictures, like Aleph is bowl and Bet is a house. And you would say, you know, Daled is... and it’s true. Aleph is a bowl and Bet is a house and Gimel is a camel...

Keith: You’re not going to cross...

Nehemia: No, I am.

Keith: I love this kind of stuff, Jono.

Nehemia: So Keith likes this stuff and his cute symbolism.

Keith: It’s cute, fun stuff.

Nehemia: But it’s not what the words mean. And what was interesting about this gentleman is that he told us that he spent three to four hours a day every day for three to four years. And then I had a friend there who was a math guy, he was a bookkeeper. And he said, “Wait a minute, you just told us you spent over a thousand hours studying the Hebrew language. Can you read Hebrew?” And the guy says, “Well, no, I can’t read Hebrew, but I know what the symbolism of each of the letters is.” So he’d look at the word “lemarbeh” and he couldn’t read that word, but he’d say there’s a Lamed, and Lamed is from the word to learn. And Mem, that’s the water and Raysh, that’s the head, and Bet that’s the house. And Hey, that’s behold.” And he’d come up with an explanation of the word based on the symbolism, and for somebody who actually reads Hebrew, this is a perversion of the language. I mean, it strips the language of its grammatical meaning, of its linguistic meaning, and turns it into some like little symbolic silly thing. It’s an insult to the language to me. If you want to do that symbolism, I’ve got nothing against it. But first learn to understand the language and then we can talk about these symbolisms and things. And so this gentleman, we started referring to him as “Aleph Bet boy”. And I’m telling you, the guy would be talking about, “That to get that’s a Daled concept. That’s the door to understanding. That’s the Vav concept. It’s the hook that I could hang my idea on.” We were like, “Oh my gosh, you’ve stripped the words of all significance and meaning and turned them into these fuzzy little, spiritual new age symbols.”

Keith: Okay. So let me just say this, I know that he might have to edit this out. But what’s really, really interesting and what’s really, really cool and I can one hundred percent agree with Nehemia. What I would say is this. I think where we get into danger is when people say, “Okay, I don’t know this is Bereshit. I don’t know what that word means. But I can say the Bet is the house and the Raysh...” Okay. And then they do theological gymnastics with... now if you strip the theology away from it and you strip the, you know it’s a Daled concept and all that. It is a fascinating, fascinating concept that the Creator of the universe picks a language where there are pictures for the letters and there are... we’ve got this wonderful multifaceted language. And so from that perspective, I don’t want to completely throw folks who study the word pictures under the bus. I just think you’ve got to be careful when it comes to making theology out of word pictures. Jono, Nehemia and I have gone back and forth for 10 years on this. So, this is a touchy subject.

Jono: There’s so much more that you would like to say...

Keith: I’d like to say, I’d like to say...

Nehemia: All I can say is that is a Zion concept and only Yoel is going to understand what I just said.

Keith: Alright. Okay, excellent. Here we go. In Isaiah chapter 9 here. I mean, what has he done to us? Let’s get back...

Jono: Getting back to Torah Pearls. Listen. Now that we’re in the last Torah Pearls, and I think it does need to be said because there is so much airy speculation based on half-knowledge, based on a little bit of knowledge perhaps, and...

Keith: Yeah. You’re going to get me started on that. So I think you were going to have to go ahead and jump into it.

Jono: No, no. You already got me started. Come on, let me go. And there’s a word for that. There’s a word for this. Taking little bits of information and trying to join them all together for the sake of filling someone’s already made-up mind their own agenda to fulfill an agenda. It’s called, you know what it’s called? It’s called apophenia, A. P. O. P. H. E. N. I. A. There’s some homework for the listeners. And the definition is the experience of seeing meaningful patterns or connections in random or meaningless data. And that’s what happens when we only have little bits of information and we think we know a lot. Searching through scripture and trying to join things together that don’t necessarily connect. Nehemia.

Nehemia: You know what I think about when I hear that is... you ever see that movie? Oh, what’s it called?

Jono: A Beautiful Mind.

Nehemia: A Beautiful Mind. That’s it. So that’s what I think of when I hear that. He was an Aussie? Really, in real life? Or the actor? Oh, Russell Crowe.

Keith: He’s one of my favorites.

Nehemia: So yeah, you know, and there’s this verse… that is interesting that people quote this verse. Can we look at this? This is totally off-topic. Maybe we shouldn’t do this.

Jono: No, we’re on a roll. We’ve got to do it. Come on, please.

Keith: You get two of those for the show Nehemia. No, seriously you get two of those, this is totally off-topic.

Nehemia: Oh. Isaiah 28 verse 9, “For whom shall He teach knowledge and whom shall He make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk and drawn from the breasts, for precept upon precept, precept upon precept, line upon line, line upon line, here a little and there a little,” and what’s funny is people have quoted me this verse as a justification for apophenia. They say, “This is why I take a half a verse here and two-thirds of a verse from this other book and two lines from another verse and I put them all together into this picture. I’m creating a mosaic. And why am I allowed to do this? Because this is how God teaches scripture. A precept upon precept, line upon line here, a little there, a little.” But what they don’t read is the next verse in Isaiah; he keeps going. “For with stammering lips and another tongue will He speak to this people. To whom he said, this is the rest where with he may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing, yett they would not hear. But the word of Yehovah was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept, line upon line, line upon line here… ” in other words, they weren’t listening and because they weren’t listening, God’s word became to them gibberish.

Jono: “That they might go and fall backward and be broken and snared and caught.”

Nehemia: In other words, they weren’t listening. They were stubborn and so His word became to them this precept upon precept, line upon line, stammering lips and another tongue. It wasn’t supposed to be that way. It’s supposed to be clear and coherent, but because they were rebellious, they stripped it of its meaning and turned it into this gibberish, garbly goop that they couldn’t even understand themselves. That’s not how Scripture is meant to be. Scripture is supposed to be this straight clear thing. You stand every seven years and you hear the word of God. If you’re an eight-year-old baby, you hear it and you learn to fear Yehovah your God. You don’t say, “Well, I’m going to take half a verse here and three-quarters of verse there and one word out of context that I don’t understand from Genesis. And I’ll build myself a new theology.” Who! Apophenia!

Jono: We’ve been wanting to say this! Get it all out now because this is the last Torah Pearls, we’ve been wanting to say this for a while. Keith, are you there with your sandpaper?

Nehemia: There it is.

Keith: I’m here, I’m here. No, I’m not going to smooth it over. It’s fine.

Jono: There it is. “Moses commanded for us a law, a heritage of the congregation of Jacob, and he was king in Yeshurun...”

Nehemia: We’ve got to stop here. We’ve got to stop at this verse. I’m going to read this verse in Hebrew. This is one of the 25 most important verses in the Bible, and I would put it up there with... look, if there weren’t all the other ones this would be the most important verse. “Torat tzivah lanu Moshe” Moshe commanded us a Torah, an instruction. “morasha kehilat Yaacov”, an inheritance for the congregation of Jacob.

So, this is a verse that’s very near and dear to me for a private reason. And that’s because my father, who passed away last year, of blessed memory, this was his favorite verse. This is the verse that actually, whenever he would see his grandchildren, my nephews and nieces, when they were three years old, he would say to them, “Ronen, recite after me, Torah...” and Ronen was a little boy, he would say, “Torah,” “tziva lanu Moshe” and he would recite this verse. And every one of my nephews and nieces knows this verse by heart in Hebrew “torah tziva lanu Moshe morasha kehilat Yaacov.” And this was so important a verse to my father. This was actually... there’s a Jewish custom, especially in Israel, that when someone passes away that you inscribe a verse on their tombstone, their favorite verse. And this is the verse that’s inscribed on my father’s tombstone. “Torah tziva lanu Moshe morasha kehilat Yaacov”, “Moshe commanded us a Torah, an inheritance for the congregation of Jacob.”

Now, the significance of this verse to my father is different than what it was to me. The way my father read this verse is the way that Orthodox Jews, in general, read this verse. And this goes back to the whole idea of biblical parallelism. We talked about this last week; remember we had, “give ear, O Heavens” and “listen, O earth” or “hear, O earth.” And we talked about biblical parallelism. You say the same exact thing twice in two halves of the verse and sometimes you say the opposite; the opposite, heaven and earth. But then give ear, hear, is the same thing.

Well, so the Orthodox rabbinical Jews read this verse as a parallelism that says two different things and the two different things... because we have the two halves of the verse, Moshe commanded, literally Torah commanded for us Moshe, inheritance for the congregation of Jacob. So, they say the Torah and the inheritance are two different things. The Torah is the written Torah. The inheritance is the oral Torah. This is what the verse meant to my father. This verse in itself was proof of the doctrine of the oral Torah, of the oral law, which he believed was the second revelation given at Mount Sinai. It was later written down in the form of the Mishnah, the Talmud, and the Midrash, but originally it was oral and that was an inheritance. It wasn’t the written Torah.

I read this verse a little bit differently. I read this verse... so I read this verse differently. I say this verse is your typical parallelism where each half of the verse refers to the same thing in two different ways. It’s just like give ear and hear; it’s not two different things, and the inheritance is the Torah. Not that they’re two different things, but the inheritance for the congregation of Jacob is the Torah itself, not a different thing.

I want to read you really briefly from a ninth-century Karaite scholar named Daniel al-Kumisi. He was actually one of the first Jews to return to Jerusalem in the Middle Ages. He came in around the year 880 and he actually called for other Jews to move to Jerusalem, which was unheard of at the time. He created a large, vibrant Jewish community in Jerusalem. He writes as follows, and says, “Now the Lord deposited the Torah with Israel and called its name an inheritance for the congregation of Jacob.” In other words, it wasn’t... the inheritance for the congregation of Jacob is the Torah itself. He says, “Call the same inheritance to the congregation of Jacob to inform us that anyone who does commandments of men not from the Torah of the Lord is not from the congregation of Jacob and has no portion with Israel. And the Lord has separated him for evil.”

So, I love what he’s done here. He’s taken the verse that the Rabbinical Jews bring as their proof of an oral law and he basically explained that it means the exact opposite - that the inheritance of the congregation of Jacob is the Torah. If you do anything not from the Torah, if you observe what Isaiah 29:13 calls a learned commandment of men, or a commandment of men learned by rote, and the paraphrase, by the way, is “teaching for doctrines the commandments of men,” that’s in Matthew 15. But Isaiah’s original is “commandment of men learned by rote.” If that’s the way that you worship the Creator of the universe, then that’s not the inheritance of Jacob. That’s not the Torah that God commanded. That’s the manmade commandments rather than the true inheritance of the congregation of Jacob, which is the Torah itself.

Jono: Amen.

Keith: You know, it’s funny, Jono and Nehemia. One of the things that happens, and I know that this, I don’t know how many teachers get to listen to us on Torah Pearls and maybe they do it quietly, secretly. Who knows? I don’t know. But one of the things that I think that’s really quite phenomenal is that it’s actually easier. And I want to say this to my Rabbinic brothers and sisters, those who do go by the rabbinic law, it actually is easier. It’s actually easier to simply quote what someone else says. It’s actually easier to quote – “and Rabbi so and so says, and Rabbi so and so says,” and actually, I can learn those things. I can memorize those things. And Rabbi so and so says, and this is something that’s, that that was hard for me, Jono, I have to tell you the last 10 years to actually think of Judaism, not understanding until I meet this baldheaded guy who used to not be bald.

Nehemia: I wasn’t bald back then.

Keith: He wasn’t bald back then and all of a sudden I’m thinking, if you’re Jewish, that means you’re Jewish. There’s no discussion. You’re Jewish, you’re not Jewish Karaite or Jewish Reform or Jewish, whatever. You’re just Jewish. That’s it. And I’ve come to find out there were these different thoughts. Well, one of the major ones, and I know we’ve talked about this a lot, is the sort of Rabbinic, this issue of Rabbinic authority, which is a hot topic for Nehemia.

But the same thing happens in Christianity where there are certain teachers or certain levels, certain groups of people who say, “This is what our thought is about this subject.” And so they give all of their information about it and then you learn it. You quote it as Bishop so and so says, and as the head of this denomination says… pretty soon you’re tied into what they say and you’re not at all connected to what it says. And that’s why I think ultimately this is so important. Is that what is the possession? What is it that Jacob’s been given? It’s the Torah.

Let me... can I get really... this is going to sound really radical, but let’s just say that Moses is sitting in the tent one evening and he’s had a couple glasses of wine. And Moses says, “Now, this is not what Yehovah says, but this is what I say.” Sounds like Paul. Paul says, you know, “This is not from the Lord, but this is from me.” And if we were to hear that sort of thing, and Moses said, “Listen, God didn’t say this. In fact, this has got nothing to do with His Torah, but I want to start my own little deal here because I really don’t want to go up on Mount Nebo and die. I’m going to start my own denomination.” We would tell Moses, we’d look at Moses and say, “Moses, if what you’re saying is outside of the word of God and just outside of what God says, we got to put you on the guillotine also.”

And I think that this is where this is so important because what Nehemia has been willing to do or what I’m willing to do and Jono, certainly what it seems that you’re willing to do, and I hope our listeners are willing to do, is to look and see, where does what someone says match Torah? And where it doesn’t, we’ve got to basically say it’s suspect. Agreed?

Jono: Amen.

Nehemia: Amen.

Keith: That’s not sandpaper.

Nehemia: Hey, can I now go really off the reservation? Okay. Somebody could’ve heard what I just said and said, “Oh well, Nehemia’s quoting that because he’s a Karaite and he’s quoting this Daniel Kumisi guy who was a Karaite, so he’s just blindly following what some Karaite said.” I want to show people that’s not the case, because I want to quote a different Karaite who interpreted this in a completely different way, in a way that I don’t accept because it’s not consistent with scripture. I actually wrote a paper that you can probably find on the internet somewhere called Three Karaite Approaches to Tradition. What I show is that there are really Three Historic Karaite Approaches to Tradition, it was called. They’re three very different approaches that different Karaites have had at different times. And what I mean is different people who claim to be Scripturalists. Karaite means a Scripturalist of the Hebrew Bible. But they had very different approaches.

One of the approaches took this verse in a very similar way to the way the Rabbinical Jews did. And he talked about this idea of inherited tradition and he said, “There are certain traditions we’ve inherited from our fathers that we must follow.” What does he quote as proof of this? Let’s see, he says, he talks about the “Tradition that is transmitted from the father through inheritance of the sons as is written. Moses commanded for us a Torah and inheritance for the congregation of Jacob.”

And then he goes on to talk about “Inherited tradition refers to anything that is not explicitly written in the Torah nor is it similar to that which is written in the Torah, but as a simple custom that we practice, which continues from our fathers, of blessed memory, generation after generation,” et cetera. And he says “we are obligated by these. The same as by that which is actually written in the Torah.” This is somebody who is identified historically as a Karaite Jew. And it’s taking the verse, Deuteronomy 33:4 and saying that the inheritance… there are the traditions that we follow, that we’re bound by.

Now, I hear that, and I say, well, that’s not what I mean when I say I’m a Karaite Jew. And that’s why I quote Daniel Kumisi from the ninth century - because the point is that there’ve been different things historically that have been identified as being Scripturalist, as Karaite. To this day there are different groups that call themselves Karaite who have very different approaches when it comes to this issue of tradition. You know, there are some folks you can find on the internet who will talk about… in books you can buy on that claim to be Karaite books, and they are Karaite books, just they’re a different Karaite than I’m talking about. Really, it’s the difference between, you know, if we were to talk about, let’s say Protestants, and you were to look at Lutherans versus, I don’t know, Charismatic Christians. You know, I’m the Caffeinated Karaite, so I’m something very different than what those liturgical Lutherans are going to be. They’re much more bound by tradition. And some people will want to call me the Charismatic Karaite, depends on how much coffee I’ve had. So, you know, it’s not that I’m just blindly quoting this source because it’s a Karaite source. The Karaite sources that I’m focusing on are the ones that I see as being consistent with Scripture. I think that’s what I’m obligated to do, not just accept something because somebody said it who I identify with. But I identify with him because what he’s saying I find in the Hebrew scriptures.

Jono: Can I just step back for a minute? When you were speaking before, Nehemia, about the heritage of Jacob, it’s not that I wasn’t paying attention, but it triggered my memory, and I went fishing for a verse, and I just want to make sure that you brought that, which was Isaiah 58 verse 14. Did you mention that?

Nehemia: I don’t think I did. Can you quote that?

Jono: Can I read it? Let me start from 13. It says, “If you turn away your foot from the Sabbath, from doing your pleasure on My holy day and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy day of Yehovah honorable and shall honor Him not doing your own way and nor finding your own pleasure nor speaking your own words, then you shall delight yourself in Yehovah and I will cause you to ride on the high hills of the earth and feed you with the heritage of Jacob, your father, the mouth of Yehovah has spoken.”

And so my question is, here in Isaiah 58, I think this is the third or fourth that we’ve quoted from Isaiah already, but “feed you with a heritage of Jacob, your father,” we’re talking about the Torah, is that correct?

Nehemia: Right. Oh, well there’s a different word. The word in Deuteronomy 33 is “morasha”, which means something that’s inherited, whereas “nachala” is an inherited portion. The word in Isaiah 58:14 it’s an inherited portion, like a piece of land or the produce that grows on that land. And this may have the literal meaning that, you know, you’re on the land... and what it would be talking about here is people would say, “Look, I’ve got to go in and harvest my crops. I mean, you know, the crops are in the field. I’m not going to rest for the Sabbath. I mean, I’ll lose my crop.” And here He’s saying, “If you hold back your leg from doing your desire, your desire of that which is forbidden, obviously, then you’re going to be fed from the inheritance of the portion of Jacob.” You think you need to go and harvest your field on Shabbat to get that inheritance, but if the Shabbat will be your delight and then I’ll feed you the inherited portion of land, and He might mean it symbolically but certainly also He means literally, that which grows in the land. So it’s actually a different word there.

But I do want to read Isaiah 29, one of my favorite passages in the Bible, and all joking aside, this really is one of the 26 most important verses in the Bible. And it says, “Wherefore the Lord said,” this is Isaiah 29:13, “wherefore the Lord said, for as much as this people draw near Me with their mouth and with their lips to honor Me, but have removed their heart far from Me and their fear towards Me is taught by the precept of men.” And fear is another way in biblical Hebrew of saying worship. The way they worship Me is a precept of men.

I love the JPS translation, and I think it’s more accurate. It says, “My Lord said, ‘Because that people has approached Me with its mouth and honored Me with its lips but has kept its heart far from Me and its worship at Me has become a commandment of men learned by rote.” In other words, the way Israel is worshiping Yehovah is by their own manmade rules and regulations. They’re praying all day long, and they’re mumbling words and they’re reciting liturgy. But the way they worship Him is a commandment of men learned by rote; it’s not what He commanded and it’s not really from the heart.

Keith: So Nehemia, that really is one of your favorite verses?

Nehemia: Oh yeah, absolutely.

Keith: A top five?

Nehemia: I would say this is top five, I’ll give you that.

Keith: So you know, I’ve got my rabbi over in the New Testament, who loves that verse. And it’s my understanding that you actually wrote a book that relates to this verse. Am I correct? Well, so tell the folks about this.

Nehemia: So there’s a book, The Hebrew Yeshua Versus the Greek Jesus, and I got some of these issues as they’re understood in the New Testament. There in the New Testament, Yeshua, Jesus, he quotes that verse, Isaiah 29:13, in reference to the Pharisees. Of course, Isaiah was talking about the people of his day, but it has other applications historically. Matthew 15:7, he says, “Ye hypocrites, well did Isaiah prophesy of you saying, ‘this people draw nigh unto Me with their mouth and honoreth Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. But in vain, do they worship Me teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.’” And that’s a paraphrase, that last part, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. What he literally says is “mitzvah anashim leumudah” – “the commandment of men learned by rote, learned by repetition.” The point is they have these man-made rules and regulations that they do over and over and over, and that becomes their inheritance rather than the Torah. They’re worshiping God through their own man-made created inheritance rather than the inheritance that God gave us - the Torah itself.

Jono: Amen. Also quoted in Mark 6 and 7. All right, getting back to the Torah portion, how about that?

Nehemia: There it is. Verse 5.

Jono: Verse 5. And here again is Yeshurun, “And he was King in Jeshurun, when the leaders of the people were gathered, all the tribes of Israel together.” And then it begins with each of the tribes. “He is the king, Yehovah is king.”

Nehemia: Amen.

Keith: So let me say something. We’re about to do this section, and I thought about you today, Jono, because, you know, he’s about to do something where, we dealt with this at the end of Bereshit, in Genesis, where we’re dealing with the blessing of the different sons of Jacob. But one of the things that I thought about is I just thought... it’s like Moses, how can I put this? It’s like Moses does the Keith Johnson here - he takes the sandpaper and he smooths it all out.

Jono: He kind of does; much more gentle than Jacob.

Keith: Much more gentle than Jacob and he smooths it all out. And so I’m kind of looking forward to this. There’s a couple of things in here that are kind of cool, but I thought about your kids and if you were to go down the list, I think you’ve got a daughter and two sons, and if you thought of their personalities and what they represent, and maybe you and Chanie... and by the way, Chanie is back from Israel by now, it’s my understanding, I hope she had a wonderful trip. But, you know, you would sit down and you’d say, “and then to my son, this is the deal.” And that’s back to Jacob. But then I wonder what the PR would just generally be about them if someone else were to talk about them. So it’s like, here’s Jacob and his sons. Now here’s Moses talking about his sons. And it’s kind of like a...

Jono: You know what it’s like, it’s like the parents... Jacob, it’s the parents talking about their sons, but this is the grandparents. This is kind of like the grandparents, and the grandparents always have a sugar-coated view of their grandchildren. You know what I mean.

Keith: Or the neighbor. All right, let’s go.

Jono: This is what it is. “Let Ruben live and not die.” I bet he was relieved. “Nor let his men be few. And this, he said of Judah, ‘Hear Oh Yehovah the voice of Judah and bring him to his people. Let his hands be sufficient for him and may You be a help against his enemies.’”

Nehemia: Amen. Amen.

Keith: So let me say this before you go any further. I do think it is kind of interesting though. You know, I’m just kind of looking at the big picture here. So I’m looking at the big picture here and Moses is about to do his last speech here. He’s going to talk about each one. He says two lines for Ruben, “let him live and not die.” He says four lines for Judah and then he gets to Levi and it goes a little further. Go ahead.

Jono: It does a little bit, I think he’s got a bit of family...

Nehemia: You’re not saying that Moses the Levite stuck some stuff in here for his people…

Keith: I’m just saying, you know, maybe...

Nehemia: Did he pad it?

Jono: It’s a little bit padded. And of Levi, he said, “Let your tummim and your urim be with your holy one, Whom you tested at Massah, and with Whom you contended at the waters of Meribah.”

Nehemia: Wait, can we stop there? Does everybody know what urim and tummim are? Have we talked about this?

Jono: We’ve, talked about that, the breastplate and the...

Nehemia: Just to remind the people to go back to the sections... it’s in Exodus and it’s in Numbers. The urim and the tummim is part of the breastplate of judgment, and it’s some type of a prophetic device that the high priest would use and would continue to use even after Moses. In Numbers 27 God commands Joshua to stand before the high priest and he says, “If you have any questions, ask of the judgment of the urim.” So, in other words, through the high priest’s breastplate of judgment containing the urim and tummim, he can get the word of God when he has questions of how to observe the Torah and what to do. There’s where you can get the prophetic answers. Ezra 2:63 talks about that as well. And that’s all I’ll say. The reason it’s mentioned here is that it’s worn by the high priest who is from Aaron, and Aaron, of course, is a Levite, and that’s why it’s mentioned in the blessing of Levi.

Jono: So appointed instruments for decision making, I suppose. And so it says... here it is Levi, who says, now I don’t understand this bit. “Who says of his father and mother, ‘I have not seen them,’ nor did he acknowledge his brothers or know his own children, for they have observed Your word and kept your covenant.” I’ve got no idea...

Nehemia: Pop over to Exodus 32. This is the passage that describes the sin of the golden calf. In Hebrew, I don’t know what it is in English, but in the Hebrew, it’s verses 26 through 29, maybe you can read that because that explains... and look, so here’s poetry, and poetry very often has little codes and symbols and these are allusions to things that you’re supposed to know about. They’re symbolic sometimes.

Jono: So this occurred to me. This occurred to me, but then I thought “no it can’t be.” But let me read it first anyway. “And then Moses stood in the entrance to the camp and said, ‘Whoever is on Yehovah’s side come to me.’ And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together to him. And he said to them, ‘Thus says Yehovah, God of Israel, let every man put on his sword on his side and go from entrance to entrance throughout the camp and let every man kill his brother. Every man, his companion, every man, his neighbor.’ So the sons of Levi did according to the word of Moses, and about 3,000 men of the people fell that day. And then Moses said, ‘Consecrate yourselves for today...’” and so on and so forth.

Nehemia: Not “so on and so forth” – finish the verse.

Jono: So, oh, okay. “So then Moses said, ‘Consecrate yourselves today to Yehovah that He may bestow on you a blessing this day for every man has opposed his son and his brother.’” No, that’s a good point. There it is. Hang on, hang on. Wait a minute. Wait a minute. Keith, you’re blowing into your microphone.

Keith: No, I’m not!

Nehemia: You’re doing the Darth Vader thing.

Jono: You’re doing the Darth Vader.

Keith: I’m sitting here. I’m not doing anything!

Jono: I’m watching it light up when you’re breathing out. I’m just telling you. Move your microphone.

Keith: It’s the last time - you’re just, you’re causing me problems. I’ve never done anything like this. Okay, I’m sorry.

Jono: That’s all right. Okay. So, when I was looking at this Nehemia... so this is additional information. What you’re telling me is that they strapped on their sword they went through, and it wasn’t... like when I read “their brother”, I think “their brethren”, right? Their fellow Israelites.

Nehemia: It may have literally been his brother or his cousin.

Jono: It might have been literally, but it’s not only literally his brother and his cousin. Or, it says here, his father, his mother, even his own children!

Nehemia: Right. So, the thing that it translated in Exodus 32:27… yours it translated to “his neighbor.” In Hebrew, it’s “krovo”, literally “his close one”. That means his kinsmen, meaning his blood relatives. So, they were killing their neighbors and they were killing their blood. If they found out you worship the idol... you know, and I always read this, and I say 3,000? There’s 3 million people in Israel at the time, approximately, 600,000 males. And you know, the estimate is there were maybe 3 million people... 600,000 is just males who can go to war. You’ve got the children and you’ve got the women; let’s say it’s 2 million, whatever it is, 2 million, 3 million people and only 3,000 died. I always read that story and then… until a certain event happened 11 years ago, I never really understood the significance of 3,000 dying, you know. And then 9/11 happened and I realized, wow, America at the time had 300 million people and 3,000 died. Think of the impact it had on the United States... on the world, really, not just the U.S. And here they had 3 million people and 3,000 died. Can you imagine the impact on the people? Some of those were their brothers and their sisters and their mothers and their children, their parents and their children. And look, we had read earlier in Deuteronomy, if your closest relative comes to you and tells you to worship idols, you’ve got to turn them in. That was commanding in abstract terms what had been carried out in practice at the golden calf. This is why God chose the tribe of Levi, essentially, because they were the ones who were willing to do that. And I love that phrase ‘mi laYehovah elai”, “whoever is to Yehovah come to me,” in Exodus 32:26. “Mi laYehovah elai”, “whoever is to Yehovah come to me.” And you know, so they actually… they didn’t just stand up and go to the altar call. They came to the altar call and strapped on their swords and they went out and did what they needed to do. That’s powerful stuff.

Jono: So it goes on as he says to Levi, “They shall teach Jacob Your judgments and Israel, Your law. They shall put incense before You and a whole burnt sacrifice on Your altar.” Now, can I just stop for a second? I’ve heard people say, “Well, I’m not at liberty to teach you. I’m going to step down from ministry or whatever it may be. I can’t teach anyone anything about the Bible because I’m not a Levite.”

Nehemia: And then there’s the opposite where people say, “I’m teaching Torah and therefore I am a Levite.”

Jono: Yeah, that’s true… when they’re not.

Keith: There’s folks like us that say, “Because I’m teaching the Torah, and I’m a Levite, go to...”

Jono: Okay. So now, now you’re too far away from the microphone.

Keith: This is really a problem, folks. I apologize. Go ahead.

Jono: All right. So, verse 11, “Bless his substance LORD, bless his substance Yehovah, and accept the work of his hands. Strike,” ouch, “strike the loins of those who rise against him and of those who hate him, that they rise not again.” Wow. Benjamin. Of Benjamin, he said, “The beloved of the LORD shall dwell in safety by him, who shelters him all day long and he shall dwell between his shoulders.”

Nehemia: What does that mean? Does anybody know what that means?

Jono: It’s like a kid on his back. Like a piggyback on the back of his dad.

Nehemia: So, I maintain that this is prophetic; that Moses in this blessing knew which portion Benjamin would have. The portion that Benjamin eventually got in the book of Joshua is a mountainous region with lots of deep gorges, and I believe that’s what it’s talking about here, about dwelling between the valleys, between the shoulders, that’s between these cliffs. And when he said, “He shall dwell in safety near him or by him” literally “upon him”, what I think that is referring to is Jerusalem, where the Temple was built, the Temple of Yehovah. And the significance of that is… you know, most people think, “Oh, Jerusalem is in the portion of Judah.” But that’s not correct. Jerusalem, biblically, was in the portion of Benjamin. It was actually just on the border, over the border on the side of Benjamin. That’s why David chose that as his capital - or one of the reasons - is that it had a political significance. So, the king before David had been from the tribe of Benjamin - Saul and his son, Ishboshet. So, to win over the tribe of Benjamin, he put his capital directly on the border between his tribe, Judah, and Benjamin over into the side of Benjamin, giving them the honor of having the capital in their territory. So, there was this political significance of that. And I believe that’s what it’s saying here. That’s a possibility. I don’t know for sure, but I think that’s what it’s saying here as “he will dwell in safety upon him.”

Keith: Look, it’s so amazing. Isn’t that amazing how your mind works? Like Nehemia talked about this say five years ago or seven years ago or 10 years ago, and he says, “and that’s why he put the capital on the border of Benjamin.” So for me, now, it’s like where I live... when we talk about Australia, Nehemia and I have an image of Australia... you know, I’ve been to Australia, but we haven’t been to your house. We certainly haven’t been to Tasmania. So we have an image.

Nehemia: Wait, Jono’s from Tasmania?

Keith: No, no, I’m saying we haven’t been to Tasmania, that was a referral a reference back to earlier. But the point is that... so when we’re talking, you’ve never been to where I live. I’ve been to Nehemia’s apartment, Nehemia has been to my house. I’ve been to Ira’s house where Nehemia is, the Wandering Jew. I know the room that he’s in that he’s talking about. We don’t know where you’re at. We see pictures of you and, depending on if your beard is long or short, we’re not sure. But we have an idea that you’ve got these earphones and you’ve got this microphone.

Here’s what’s so cool about what Nehemia just did. He just casually says, “Yes, you know, and this is where the capital is and it’s why he put it in Benjamin, why it’s connected to Judah...” Now for me, I’ve been there enough times, I have that picture. There are some people that are listening that just have no clue what he’s talking about unless they look on a map, and even if you look on a map, you still can’t see the significance of this. What am I getting ready to say? This is what’s going to be so cool. Even if a person doesn’t go, we’re going to be breaking over to Israel to try to explain to people through pictures and through sound and video and the best that we can for people to experience this, because when you see it, when you see the picture of it, it just comes alive. Nehemia can sort of can take this as a bit for granted. He knows what it looks like. He walks the streets of Jerusalem. His apartment is... how far from from the old city, Nehemia? I’ve walked there on Shabbat - like 20 minutes or something like that?

Nehemia: 40-minute walk. 35-minute walk. Maybe for you, it’s 20 minutes, it takes me 40.

Keith: But the point is, Jono, when you’re there, you’re going to remember this and you’re going to see it and it’s going to make a whole lot more sense to you. So for those that want to come with us, please go to the tab right there and we still may have room - 3T Tour to Israel. We’re going to be over in this area. We’re going to see what David did. We’re going to see Jerusalem. We’re going to see Benjamin. We’re going to pick the places that we’re going to be able to come to when the redemption comes. Here’s the land we’re going to live in. We’re going to spy out the land and it’s going to be a blessing.

Jono: Looking forward to that, my friend, most certainly. So that was Levi. Levi is a little bit long. Benjamin’s a bit short. But Keith, would you read from verse 13 to 17?

Keith: So about Joseph, he said, “May the LORD bless his land with the precious dew from heaven above and with the deep waters that lie below, with the best the sun brings forth and the finest the moon can yield, but the choicest gifts that the ancient mountains and the fruitfulness of the everlasting hills with the best gifts of the earth in its fullness in the favor of him who dwelt in the burning bush, let all these rest on the head of Joseph, on the bow of the prince among his brothers and majesty is like a firstborn bull. His horns are the horns of a wild ox, with them he will gore the nations, even those at the ends of the earth. Such are the ten thousands of Ephraim, such are thousands of Manasseh.” And I’m so glad you asked me to read this because there’s a line in here that really, really, really blessed me. I don’t know if you knew that or not, but there’s this line in here that really blessed me and I’m going to leave the farm now, like Nehemia. I’m going to spend a card.

Because when I found this verse, I was actually studying something else, and of course you can imagine it had to do with the name of God. And I want to say something to folks who if by now we’re at the end of Torah Pearls. I’m actually in a place right now where I can actually say, I can say this with Nehemia on the phone. Jono you’ve been a part of this. You know, these three T’s that I’ve been dealing with, the Time, the Torah, the Tetragrammaton, the four-letter name of God, each of those T’s I’ve worked diligently on. And what’s so cool about the one as it pertains to Tetragrammaton is that I can actually say now, Jono, I can say over these last years with Nehemia writing his book, with His Hallowed Name Revealed Again, which is what I wrote, the way that we’ve done in the Open Doors Series, just all this stuff - I can actually look at that and say, “You know what? I have really dug into this issue of the name of God.” And I think if you ask people about me and that have heard about me, they’d say, “Oh, that’s the guy who’s dealing with something about the four letters... and Nehemia, oh he’s connected with.” And so that’s becoming the deal.

Now, let me say something. When I was doing that study, there’s this really cool thing that I found that really, really blessed me, and it’s in the book, and it has to do with this simple word that in English we wouldn’t even see as anything significant. It says... and he’s talking about Joseph and he says here, “With the best gifts of the earth in its fullness and the favor of him who dwelt in the burning bush.” Now when you see that, what do you think, Jono? We’ll hold off on Nehemia because I’m going to let him, let him say...

Jono: Okay, let me read. Can I read verse 16 with what I’ve got, Keith? Because this is what it says in 16 in mine. “With the precious things of the earth and its fullness and the favor of him who dwelt in the bush,” I don’t have the burning bush.

Nehemia: Oh, they added the word burning.

Keith: They add the word burning but let me… hold on Nehemia. Rak regah. Here’s what they did that’s so powerful. What they did that’s so powerful is, I’m looking through this now, I’m just doing my study, and I’m looking for the word “bush”. And of course I think it’s something like 18 times in the Old Testament, the word bush is like 18 times. Okay? But there are seven different Hebrew words used for one English word, “bush”. There is a word that Moses uses and he’s exclusive for this word. This word is used six times in the Bible, five times in the burning bush narrative, and one other time. The one other time, Moses is the only one that uses this word. It’s actually in this verse.

Now, here’s where I get really, really excited, and I’m going to let Nehemia talk because this should be exciting to him too. It might even get a shout out of him. So when you hear the word bush, you see bush, bush, bush, bush, bush, and I don’t want to give you all the Hebrew words, but there’s seven of them. The last one, as I mentioned, is the one that Moses uses. This word that he uses is here. So I’m doing my study at the burning bush and about the name and all these sorts of things. I go to Deuteronomy, and boom! I see this verse and what does it say? And I want Nehemia to read it in Hebrew. “With the best gifts of the earth and its fullness and the favor of him who,” and here’s the English word, “who dwelt in the bush” the NIV adds burning. They don’t add burning for you, but they realized that this is the same bush that Moses talked about. Nehemia, would you read that line in Hebrew?

Nehemia: You want me to read the whole Joseph passage or just specifically...?

Keith: No, no, I’m just giving you one line, Nehemia. 16, the second part of 16 in Hebrew.

Nehemia: All right. I’m going to read the whole verse. “Umimeged eretz omulo’ah, uretzon shochni sneh.”

Keith: Oh boy. Can you say that word again before you said sneh?

Nehemia: “Shochni”

Keith: “Shochni”, okay, Nehemia. Let’s do a quick little Hebrew study. Folks, bear with us, it’s our last Torah Pearls. Jono is going to shout on this one. Can you tell us what that word means? Right before sneh?

Nehemia: The word “shochni” is a poetic form of “shochen”, and it’s means the one who dwells, or dweller.

Keith: What’s the root of that word?

Nehemia: Shachen or the piel form is leshaken. And of course, that’s where you get the word where you’re probably going with this. Or should I let you go with it?

Keith: Come on, now. Come on brother.

Nehemia: It’s where we get the word “schenina”, right?

Jono: Ah it’s the schechina! The glory!

Nehemia: So we call “schechina”, the indwelling, the presence of the Creator of the universe. Christians called the Shekinah Glory.

Keith: Come on!

Nehemia: Which is just the Hebrew word shekhinah. And so here it is “shochni”, the one who dwells in the bush. He’s the dweller, the indweller.

Jono: So is the combination of those two words found in the other six places, Keith?

Keith: The other five are actually in the narrative about the burning bush. So when you’re reading about the burning bush, this is the word, you know, he used ‘sneh” - this is the only time that this word is used. But what caught my attention was... so this word is reserved for the bush where whatever you want to say - the angel of Yehovah, the presence of Yehovah that was in the bush that spoke to Moses. This bush is reserved for that. This bush that we just simply read by in English is reserved for where He dwelt. It’s the glory, Jono. I mean this is the kind of thing that if we were in your old church back in the old days and we had this verse and I had my Bible, we’d have a fire breathing, shouting, dancing, singing. Ladies and gentlemen, I’m going to give you a secret. Jono used to dance and shout when he heard this. Right, Jono?

Jono: I don’t know that Jono used to dance. But anyway, yeah.

Nehemia: Can I point out, and I think we probably mentioned this in an earlier Torah Pearls, that this word sneh, which is unique to the burning bush; there’s no other bush in the whole Bible that’s called sneh. There are other words, as Keith said, six other words or so, whatever they are for bush. But this word is unique to the burning bush. It’s so important that it actually gave its name to the mountain where Moses had the revelation, because the real name of that mountain is Mount Horev. But Moses called it Sinai. Sinai comes from the word sneh. It’s the same root; essentially, he’s calling it Mount Bush, the mountain of my bush. That’s what Mount Sinai means. Like I said, the real name of the mountain is Horev. It’s a name that’s given many times, but Sinai is a mountain of my bush. And so that’s how significant... so the one who dwells at Sinai, the one who dwells at the bush Sinai, the Shekinah, the Schechina, yeah, that’s pretty important. Am I allowed to shout? Ira told me I’m not allowed to shout. He says only Keith is allowed to shout. You’re the Jew, they want you to be the intellectual, Nehemia, they don’t want you to be excited. You must speak like this. Yes. Sneh and Sinai come from the same root, Sin Nun Hey. And I’m not allowed to get excited. Woohoo! I can’t hold it back!! I am excited! Shechinah of Sinai! Whoo! Hallelujah! I tried, I tried to hold it back.

Keith: Jono, this is why it’s so exciting for me, and this is really what I want to tell folks that again, please, everyone bear with me on this. Just bear with me on this. These are the kinds of things that make me stand up and walk away from my Bible. These are the kinds of things that make me stand up and walk away when I’m studying and I am not doing the kind of thing you talked about earlier where we’re just picking out a phrase and picking out a word and picking out a concept and putting together a teaching. This is not a teaching. This is the word of God. This is what Moses wrote. This information that we just talked about. This is not the 1995 version. You know, “If you do this. I’ll give you a secret.” This is what’s right in the Hebrew text, and I’m telling you, Jono, when I connected the burning bush to this word and then found out about this, like what? Wait, what? I used to call the Shekinah Glory, but this thought of the dwelling, the resting of the presence of the Creator of the universe, and that Moses would use this word. I mean he’s speaking, and I guarantee you those Hebrews, those that understood the language, when they heard him say that word, they knew what it meant. And we’re so disconnected, we don’t know. And so in English, seven different Hebrew words for one word, bush. We would have missed it, but we slowed down like Moses.

Let me finish. No, hold on just a minute. Now just a second. I don’t do this often. It’s the last time we’re out there doing our little Torah Pearls. We’re having a good old time and all of a sudden we looked over and saw something that looked a little different, a little strange. It was a fire that was burning, and we did what Moses did and what we’ve been doing for 54 sessions, we slowed down, we turned aside, we walked over, and look, there’s a bush that’s burning, but it is not consumed. And why is it not consumed? Because it’s the fire. It’s in the bush. It’s the fire of Yehovah there. And then he goes and he looks over and he does what we’ve been doing all this entire year. We slow down, we take a look, a second look to see what it might be. And then, he says, when Yehovah noticed that Jono and Nehemia and Keith slowed down, he spoke and said, “Jono, Nehemia and Keith.” And then we say, “yes.” “Take off your sandals because the place you’re standing is holy.” It’s the place where he is. And this is what Moses is showing people, he’s saying, “This bush,” now talking about Joseph, back to the Torah portion “This bush,” I’m talking about Joseph. This, I mean like I have to walk away from the radio show. I’m going to put the radio down, I’m going to hang up. I’m going to walk away. I got to walk outside! It’s exciting!

Nehemia: No, he does this.

Jono: Keith’s off doing a dance.

Nehemia: Can I just, really briefly, if we’re talking about Shekinah Glory… you know, I hear that and it sounds almost funny to me because I know in Hebrew it’s “shchinat kavod” - the dwelling of the kavod, of the glory. I’m sure we’ve talked about this, or maybe not, but it’s Exodus 24:17; it says, “And the appearance of the glory of Yehovah was like a burning fire, a consuming fire at the top of the mountain before the eyes of the sons of Israel.”

And then a number of other places that talk about this kavod in Exodus 33:18. “And he said, show me please, your kavod, your glory.” There’s the scene where he passes by, in verse 22, people can read it themselves in Exodus 33. And Exodus 40 verse 34, “And the cloud covered the tent of meeting and the glory of Yehovah filled the Tabernacle.” So, this glory, this Shekinah Glory, the dwelling, the presence, essentially Jews translate this as “the presence of Yehovah”. It’s something about God that we can perceive and interact with. You know, God is this infinite being, but the kavod, the shchina, the indwelling, is the spirit of Yehovah, is something that we can interact with and feel in some way in His presence.

Jono: Amen, amen.

Nehemia: So, hey, so if Keith is away, I want to really... is he back? Okay.

Keith: I’m back guys.

Jono: He’s back, he’s back.

Nehemia: I was on a roll. Hey, I’ve opened up the Leningrad Codex, and people can actually go online and download the entire Leningrad Codex - it’s like 750 megabytes. It’s really a big file. And on page 243 of the PDF files is a scan of the Leningrad Codex. We have this passage that we’re looking at, and in the middle column, if people count down one, two, three, four, five lines from the top of the middle column on page 243 of the PDF of the Aleppo Codex, what they’ll find is the blessing of Benjamin.

It says “U leBinyamin amar yedid yehovah yishkon labetach alav” and you could read in Keith’s book, His Hallowed Name Revealed Again, and in my book, Shattering the Conspiracy of Silence, we talk about how, in the manuscripts, it doesn’t have the full vowels of God’s name; a vowel was left out. But one of the places where the scribe slipped up and let the secret out and put in the full vowels is in this passage where it says, “He is a friend of Yehovah”. And the other place is, like I said, six lines from the top. Then if you go seven, eight lines from the top, it says “U leYosef amar”, “and concerning Joseph”, he said, “mevurechet Yehovah artzo”, “Blessed of Yehovah is his land.” And there, the last word on that line, of line eight of page 243 in middle column, is the name Yehovah with full vowels. If you can read Hebrew, it’s very clear, unmistakable, that has the full vowels twice in this passage. Two witnesses. And Keith, I believe at the back of his book His Hallowed Name Revealed Again, has a list of 50 of the places in the Leningrad Codex. Is that right Keith? There it is.

Keith: That’s right. And come to find out that these are two of them. Ira Michelson has found the 51st example in the Leningrad, and we appreciate Ira for that.

Nehemia: Awesome. Thank you, Ira, whoo!

Jono: Brilliant. Okay, Zebulun, this is what we’re up to, verse 18. He gets a short one too. “He said, rejoice Zebulun in your going out.” That’s it. “And Issachar in your tents. They shall call the peoples to the mountain. There they shall offer sacrifices of righteousness, for they shall partake of the abundance of the seas and treasures hidden in the sand.” That’s mysterious.

Nehemia: Now this is very mysterious, but can I tell you the traditional Rabbinical interpretation of this passage of verse 18? And this is Midrash. Midrash is a certain way of looking at scripture, and not to be confused with Midrash, meaning to study; that’s a term that many people will use, to midrash or to drash. But here’s Midrash being used in the sense of stories and homilies, and very often non-literal interpretations, symbolic interpretation.

So, the way the rabbis read this verse is they said, “Why did Zvulun, Zebulun, he went out, but Issachar he sat in the tents?” And so the name Issachar comes from the word sachar, reward. If you look at the original context, she talks about how she rented her husband. Sachar could mean to rent but also means reward. So Issachar could mean “there is reward”.

So, they said the guy who dwelt in the tent, he was sitting there in his tent studying Torah and he had an agreement with Zvulun, with Zebulun. Zvulun and would go out and do the work and Issachar would sit in the tent and study, and Issachar would get the produce, the benefit of Zvulun’s work. He would get the support. And Zvulun would get the reward that Issachar got for studying the Torah. So, they had this symbiotic relationship. This is the traditional interpretation. I’m not saying that’s what it means, but I think it’s an interesting idea of this kind of symbiosis between... you know, there’s a guy who’s been called to work the fields, he’s been called to labor. He’s not an intellectual, he can’t read necessarily. And the other guy, he’s not very physically capable, but he’s got a good head on his shoulders and he can... he’s a bookworm, and the two of them create the symbiotic relationship.

Jono: I have heard similar things, speculation in regards to Jacob and Esau. That Jacob was a hunter out in the field and Esau, it says, “dwelt in tents”, right?

Nehemia: There it is.

Keith: No, no, no. You got that backwards. Esau doesn’t dwell in tents. Esau goes out and hunts...

Nehemia: Jacob dwells in tents and Esau went out into the field. That’s what he said.

Keith: No, read and see what he said on the radio. Ladies and gentlemen, Jono said that...

Nehemia: … in my mind because I knew what he meant.

Keith: And isn’t that the point?

Nehemia: There it is.

Jono: He knew what I meant. Interesting.

Nehemia: Anyway, yeah, it’s a cute idea.

Jono: Okay. “And of Gad, he said, ‘Blessed is he who enlarges Gad, he dwells as a lion and tears the arm and the crown of his head. He provided the first part for himself because a lawgiver’s portion was reserved there. He came with the heads of the people. He administered the justice of Yehovah and his judgments with Israel.’” That confused me a little bit, because when we think about the lawgiver and we think of Jacob’s blessing; we think of Judah, right?

Nehemia: Well, Judah is certainly gets the blessing of being the king, over in Genesis 49. But yeah, this is a mysterious passage. A lot of these things... look, we don’t know that much about Ruben. Ruben kind of disappears from history almost. That’s why he says, “Well, let Reuben live.” We don’t really know much more about that. What do we really know about Gad? Not all that much. I’m just looking here; I did a quick search to see if Gad is mentioned anywhere in the Book of Judges and he’s not even mentioned once. Because my natural inclination would be to say, “Okay, he’ll judge the people that… and have the righteousness of Yehovah he will do. And the judgments with Israel.” So maybe he was a judge, but we don’t know of any judges from the tribe of Gad. And Gad kind of almost disappears. He’s across the river - you know, there’s the two and a half tribes - Reuben, Gad and the half tribe of Menasheh are in Transjordan on the eastern side of the Jordan River. And Gad kind of disappears. Reuben also kind of disappears. We don’t really know much about either of them after they inherit their portion.

Jono: “And of Dan, he said, ‘Dan is a lion’s whelp. He shall leap from Bashan.’ And of Naphtali, he said, ‘Oh Naphtali, satisfied with favor and full of the blessing of Yehovah, possess the west and the south.’” That’s nice.

Keith: Again, back to this idea of the land of Israel. It’s really interesting - in Charlotte, there are some things that you can say without giving definition, okay? So in Australia, I bet you there are some things you can say, out in the Outback, for example, there’s that mountain – you know that mountain that kind of sticks up in the Outback? The... what’s that called? Jono, what’s the most famous mountain in Australia?

Jono: Are you talking about the Rock?

Keith: The Rock. There it is. There it is. Okay, you just did exactly what I wanted you to do.

Jono: It’s not a mountain, it’s a rock.

Keith: Jono, let me do my thing. The point is, everyone in Australia knows, you’re talking about the Rock, and if you live in Australia, you know the Rock. And what does he do here? It says here, and he will inherit southward to the lake. Now, what lake is he talking about Nehemia? It says in the NIV, it says, “And he will inherit southward to the lake.”

Nehemia: No. So, it says, “yam ve’darom yerasha”, which means “west and south he will inherit”. Now the Hebrew word for west also literally means sea, so “sea in south he will inherit”. And I would understand that sea as possibly being... well, I mean it looks… Israel has four seas. We’ve got the Mediterranean, we’ve got the Sea of Galilee, or the Kineret, which is actually a freshwater lake. We’ve got the Dead Sea and we’ve got the Red Sea. So presumably it means the Mediterranean, but maybe not. Who knows? Maybe it just means west.

Keith: I’m trying to give you guys...

Jono: Hang on, let me get this right. The NIV is calling the Mediterranean “the lake”, right?

Nehemia: No. So, the NIV obviously understands this to refer to the Kineret, the Sea of Galilee, which is probably right… which also could be right.

Keith: Right, okay.

Nehemia: Because Naphtali definitely touched upon the Sea of Galilee.

Keith: There it is.

Nehemia: Which isn’t really a sea. It’s a lake. I mean… but Hebrew doesn’t have a word for lake. Biblical Hebrew doesn’t have a word for lake; every body of water is a sea.

Jono: Another point for the NIV. “And of Asher, he said, ‘Asher is most blessed...’”

Keith: I just want to stop for a second. Here I finally get a chance to put the NIV… I mean, it’s been my Bible, I memorized from this Bible. This is the Bible I’ve used my entire quote-unquote Christian life. I mean, when I heard about the NIV, I thought I was reading from my neighborhood. It was smooth and it was, it was English language, and every once in a while it does something good, and here I tried to bring it forward, and Jono, looking at whether I’m breathing or not and Nehemia’s eating something. I don’t know what’s going on!

Nehemia: No, I’m not eating.

Keith: No, you were doing something else!

Nehemia: I was looking up a verse!

Keith: Okay. Okay.

Jono: Mine doesn’t say lake, it says west!

Nehemia: Right, because the Hebrew word that means west can also mean sea.

Keith: But the NIV is doing what it does best. It’s taking its interpretation and trying to help the reader!

Jono: Alright. We all acknowledge - point for the NIV.

Keith: Thank you. NIV and point for Moses having to die up on the mountain.

Jono: “Asher,” he said, “Asher is most blessed of sons. Let him be favored by his brothers and let him dip his foot in oil.” That’s interesting. “Your sandals shall be iron and bronze, as your days so shall your strength be.” Dip his foot in oil? Keith?

Keith: Stop, you said the sandals of your gate?

Jono: No, no, no. “Your sandals shall be iron and bronze.” That’s what I’ve got.

Keith: Oh no, no, no. We got a problem here. We’ve got an NIV problem, “the bolts of your gates will be iron and bronze.”

Jono: That’d be really uncomfortable sandals.

Nehemia: So here again, you know, we have poetry. Poetry can often be translated in different ways. We’ve got the word “minalecha”, which some people understand to be a lock and others understand it to refer to shoes, your footwear. And which one it is, I don’t know, it’s subject to interpretation.

Jono: To be honest, when I saw that he dipped his feet in oil and then his shoes are made of bronze and iron, it kind of sounded like a bad combination to me, so I’m going with gates.

Keith: Yeah. Okay.

Nehemia: Very well could be.

Jono: There you go.

Keith: I’d like to read Verse 26. So I love it when he does this and he says, “There is no one like God of Jeshurun who rides on the heavens above you...”

Nehemia: Whoo! Behold He comes, riding...!

Jono: Lalalalalalala! Alright, Keith.

Keith: I was about to introduce my song and now I won’t introduce my song, but here’s the point. What I love is again, now we’ve seen this word for Israel, but we’ve seen it in this poetic form...

Nehemia: Israel is the wrong pronunciation. It’s Yeshurul. [laughs]

Keith: He’s still on that whole thing. So here’s the point though. Now we see it, and so if I’m reading in the last two portions, you know, we’re reading it, we see this word, okay now it’s becoming something that we understand that he means Israel. But if I was just standing in my congregation, a fellowship, and I’m just looking at this one verse, I don’t know what this means. I’ve got no note. There’s no little, there’s no A or B or anything like this. I don’t know what this is. I mean, it’s just kind of interesting. Go ahead.

Nehemia: You know, Keith and I have actually been invited to come and speak at a legitimate Jewish synagogue in New Jersey, called, of all things, B’nai Yeshurun, the Sons of Jeshurun, which is a common name for synagogues throughout the world. Because Jews hear Yeshurun, and we know that means Israel. That’s… you know, like it doesn’t need a note.

Keith: But see, isn’t that interesting? I would have no... like for example, Jono, having not done the Torah Pearls and kind of seeing this and Moses using this in the way that he uses it... in fact whatever the date of this program is, we should be within a couple of weeks of actually going and speaking in this synagogue, which I’m really excited about because anytime we get a chance to really cross borders, you know, that’s when the spiritual border patrol get real nervous. What’s the Methodist doing with the Karaite in an Orthodox synagogue or whatever kind of synagogue...

Nehemia: I think it’s a reform synagogue, actually.

Keith: A reform synagogue. What are we doing there? We’re there because we’re bringing forth the word of God everywhere someone will listen. So, that’s pretty awesome. Go ahead.

Jono: I just want to say, I know Nehemia, the Wandering Jew, you’re at Ira’s place and he’s somewhere else in the house, but he just sent me a message saying, “What the heck is going on? He’s out of control!”

Keith: No, he’s out of control.

Nehemia: Ira, you ratted me out! He threw me under the bus.

Jono: This is a great verse. Let me read it again because I love this verse. “There is no one like the God of Yeshurun, who rides the heavens to help you and in his excellency on the clouds to the eternal God is your refuge. And underneath are the everlasting arms. He will thrust out the enemy from before you. And He will say, destroy! Then Israel shall dwell in safety, the fountain of Jacob alone, in the land of grain and new wine. His heavens shall also drop dew. Happy are you, oh Israel! Who is like you, a people saved by Yehovah, the shield of your help, and the sword of your majesty! Your enemies shall submit to you, and you shall tread down their high places.” What an awesome couple of verses that is.

Keith: Wow.

Nehemia: I want to go back to verse 26, “He who rides on the heavens to help you and in his glory, the heavens or the skies.” That’s an interesting image. Who is it that rides on the clouds? Who rides in the heavens? What’s his name? Psalm 68 verse four - verse five in the Hebrew, it says... I’m reading from the King James version.

Keith: I love this verse.

Nehemia: “Sing unto to God. Sing praises to His name. Extol Him that rideth upon the heavens by His name, Yah. And rejoice before Him.” Whoo! His name is Yah. Now, what is Yah? Yah, we’ve talked about, is the poetic form. Exodus 15:2, the first time it appears, “zimrat Yah,” and here it’s a “beh Yah”, “by Yah”. It’s a poetic form of the name Yehovah, just like Yeshurun is the poetic form of the name Yisrael.

Now this image of God riding on the clouds appears in other places too… riding on the heavens. Psalm 68 verse 34, it’s in the same psalm, “Him that rideth upon the heavens of heavens, which were of old. Lo, He does send out his voice and mighty voice.” Pretty beautiful image. This image of Yehovah riding in the clouds.

Jono: Very beautiful.

Keith: This is why this is such an important verse, Nehemia, that you just brought up. And if I could just do this one last time folks.

Nehemia: Are you going to play a card?

Keith: 6,827 times according to the Aleppo, 6,828 according to what someone else told me, His name shows up in...

Nehemia: That’s the Leningrad, it’s not my fault.

Keith: And so here’s the point. And again, this is a great thing, but look at what it says in the NIV, Jono. And I want you to read your verse in your version. Would you please, if you’re just an innocent person, say the first time you’re reading through the Psalms and you’re reading this. This is actually what I call a “moneyball verse”. This is a verse that is a very, very strong statement, really strong statement, and I’m not sure how many times we’ll see it like this. I could have Nehemia do a quick computer search for this exact phrase. Nehemia, while we’re doing this would you please look for this phrase in English on your computer? And I want Jono to read the verse. I want you to look for the phrase, “His name is the LORD.” And Jono, I want you to read your version of verse 4. 68:4.

Jono: Okay, Psalm 68:4. And it says, “Sing to God. Sing praises to his name. Extol Him who rides on the clouds by His name Yah.”

Keith: Okay. Actually, what version is that?

Jono: That’s the New King James.

Keith: Okay, awesome. Now let me just, I said how much I was excited about the NIV. Now can I be sad for a minute and read my NIV? Let me read my NIV. “Sing to God. Sing praise to His name.” Now, so far they got me. “Extol Him who rides on the clouds,” [singing] riding on the clouds. I’m excited. And then it says, “Extol Him who rides on the clouds, His name is the LORD.”

Jono: Wow. Another point for the New King James!

Keith: So, would you do me a favor Nehemia? How many times do you find in the NIV version, “His name is the LORD”?

Nehemia: Now, hold on, we’ve got to define the search. Okay, hold on. Okay, hold on.

Jono: Incidentally, Keith the next verse is the only verse that describes Yehovah’s father. The father of the fatherless.

Keith: There you go. Okay, now, just second. Nehemia, how many times do you find the word...

Nehemia: What we do have is in the NIV, Psalm 68:4 has, “His name is the LORD.” Psalm 83:18 has, “Whose name is the LORD.” Jeremiah 16:21 has, “Then they will know that My name is the LORD.” That’s the third witness. “His name is LORD”. Jeremiah 32:18, “Whose name is the Lord Almighty.” Jeremiah 46:18, “Whose name is the Lord Almighty”. Jeremiah 48:15, “Whose name is the Lord Almighty”. Jeremiah 51:57, “Whose name is the Lord Almighty.” So that’s seven times that has the name of the God of the Old Testament, the God of the Hebrew scriptures is the LORD or the Lord Almighty.

Keith: And that’s why when we come along and we say, “Hey guys, let’s just open this up and take a look and see if that’s really what it says.” It really does cause quite a stir amongst those that are NIV folks like myself. I would say, “well wait, what’s the big deal? I mean we sing, we praise, we worship to this title of the LORD,” and again I know people or maybe you get tired of hearing this, but this really is an important thing. And Jono, what I want to say here on your show, on Truth2U, is that what’s been a blessing about your ministry is that when you have found truth, you want to be able to bring it forth and you’ve given us a platform to be able to bring this particular information forth to people. This is not a matter of opinion. This is not a matter of the Karaite and the Methodist with an agenda. This is simply opening up the text and saying, “Is there a name in the Hebrew manuscripts?” Absolutely there is. Is it a name that we can know? Yes. Is it a name that we could even speak? Absolutely. Can we pray it? Can we proclaim it? Can we praise this name? Can we magnify this name? Can we speak this name? Can we proclaim this name? Can we remember this name? And we brought that information forth. And you know, some people have been extremely, extremely excited to finally know that they don’t have to go with a title. There have been others that have said, “That particular information, though it may be truth, really rubs against my tradition.” And those are the folks that I hope will continue to seek and to define for themselves and to dig for themselves. To know that this title that you’ve been living by is not honor to His name. That’s simply all I want to say.

Jono: Amen.

Nehemia: I do think it’s interesting of the seven times in the NIV that has “his name is the LORD” or “whose name is LORD”, that six of them have in the Hebrew, “Yehovah”. The first one though, Psalm 68:4, as you pointed out, has Yah, which is the poetic form of Yehovah. It’d be like saying, “My name is Nehemia. My name is Nehemia. My name is Nehemia.” And then, one time I say, “My name is Hemi, Hemi.” Hemi is the nickname for Nehemia. Or if I’m in Australia, I’m going to be known as Nemo. My name is Nemo. My name is Nehemia.

Keith: Your name is Nemo and my name is Kijo.

Nehemia: No, I think the proper pronunciation of your name is, we’ve established this, is Kayeh and anyone who says differently is a blasphemer.

Keith: Okay. Now let’s get to the good section here.

Jono: So that’s the way that Deuteronomy 33 ends.

Nehemia: Woah, wait! H to the N, brother! Verse 27 is one of the 26 most important verses in the Bible. What are you talking about? We’re just going to skip over it… read me verse 27.

Keith: I tried to get out of it.

Jono: C’mon what are you saying? I read it. I read it with as much excitement as I could put into it. It’s an awesome verse.

Nehemia: Let’s read the first few verses... the first few words.

Jono: “The eternal God is your refuge and underneath...”

Nehemia: So, the word for refuge… and it actually means dwelling. That’s pretty cool. The eternal God, or the God of antiquity, is a more accurate translation, is your dwelling, or is a dwelling, and the word is “meona.” Say “meona.” Now “meona is a poetic form of a different word, which is the word “maon.” It’s a kind of an unusual way of saying it. I want to read you a passage from the Jerusalem Talmud, “Ta’anit” Section 20-B. It says as follows, and this is interesting because I don’t think it’s the word of God, but it’s interesting historical information, the Talmud. It says as follows, it says, “There were three books,” or three manuscripts, really you could translate it, “There were three books that were found in the Azara, in the courtyard of the Temple. There was the manuscript of “Maoni.” There was the manuscript of “Za’atoote” and the manuscript of “He.” And it says, let’s see, “so in one of them, they found written “maon”, refuge, “maon Elohei kedem”, the refuge of the ancient God, the God of antiquity. In two of them, they found written “meuna Elohei kedem”, the God of antiquity as a refuge, same exact meaning, except there’s a poetic form of the word, “meona” and there’s the normal form of the word, “maon.” Two of the manuscripts had the poetic form, one of the manuscripts had the normal form, and it says they establish the two and they invalidated the one. In other words, they said there’s three manuscripts in the Temple courtyard. Two of them read it with the poetic form, “meona.” One reads “maon”, the normal form, and they said, “we’re going to go by the majority.” And so when they would copy manuscripts based on these three Temple courtyard manuscripts, when they would copy a new manuscript, if you had a village in the Galilee called Nazareth and you wanted to have a copy of the Bible, you went to the Temple in Jerusalem and they would copy from the Temple courtyard manuscripts and they would copy it based on the majority reading out of the three manuscripts in the Temple courtyard. I think that’s pretty cool. And then here we see it goes on and it says... let’s see. Hold on a second...

Jono: Before it goes on. Can I ask you a question? Maybe I’m leaving the farm, but can I ask you a question about the word refuge?

Nehemia: Yeah.

Jono: If we go to Psalm 90, which is attributed to Moses, it begins, in mine at least it says, “Lord, you have been our dwelling place in all generations.” Is it a similar word? Is that the same word?

Nehemia: It’s the same exact word. And that’s the non-poetic form, “maon”. As opposed to, “meona” which appeared in two out of the three manuscripts. Of course, by the way, if you look at our Masoretic text, the Bible that Keith uses, the Bible that I use, the Bible that... go into any synagogue in the world and they use the Masoretic text, go to any university in the world they use the Masoretic text. It has “meona”, the poetic form.

Jono: Just as a side note, what is the word “Lord” there? What does it open with? Chapter 90 of Psalms.

Nehemia: Hold on. “Adonai”.

Jono: It’s Adonai, Keith, because it’s not spelled all the way in capitals. I thought, this has gotta be something else.

Nehemia: So “Adonai” legitimately appears in the Hebrew Bible. The only problem is when you replace Yehovah with Adonai, but Adonai itself appears several hundred times. Okay. So then it goes on in this passage in the Talmud and it says in one of the manuscripts they found written, and this is in Exodus 24, “And he sent the youths of the sons of Israel.” And in two of them, it was written, “And he sent the boys of the sons of Israel and they established the two and invalidated the one.” In other words, there was a different word, “na’arei” versus “za’ahtootey”, which is, you know, just two different words for the same thing. A boy or a young or young man or a youth. And so, they went by the majority reading. And it says in one of them it was written nine times He with a Yud and two of them was written 11 times, He with and Yud. And they established the two and invalidated the one. That’s more of a technical thing. The Hebrew word for she, ironically in Hebrew is “he”. The Hebrew word “He” means she. When I was growing up, we used to have this little rhyme that we would say, “Me is who? Who (hu) is he? He is she,” because the Hebrew word me means who and the Hebrew word, who (hu) means he and the Hebrew word he means she.

Anyways, so it’s spelled normally Hay Vuv Aleph, but in 11 places it’s spelled, Hey Yud Hey Aleph and they were so precise that they wanted to make sure it was spelled... that when they copied the manuscript, they spelled it the way it was in the original even though it didn’t change the pronunciation, even though it didn’t change the meaning, they wanted to still spell it according to this unusual way. And in two of the manuscripts that had 11 times, He with the Yud and nine of the manuscripts had nine times, so they went based on the majority of the manuscripts.

But I think what’s interesting about this is, there was an official set version of Scripture in the Second Temple in the Temple courtyard; these are Temple courtyard manuscripts, and in fact, there was a group of scribes who were called the “Temple courtyard proofreaders”. That was their entire job, to sit there all day. People would bring them a manuscript, they bring them a scroll from Tiberias or from Nazareth or from Bethlehem, and they’d say, “Okay.” They’d go through letter by letter and make sure it was copied perfectly based on the Temple courtyard manuscripts. Pretty cool.

Keith: How amazing is that.

Jono: That is awesome, Keith.

Nehemia: Now, can we skip to verse 29, which I think is one of the 27 most important verses?

Jono: You see he’s counting them now. He’s right on 27 that’s where we are, yup.

Keith: This can’t go all day, I’m telling you.

Jono: “Happy are you, O Israel! Who is like you, a people saved by Yehovah... ”

Nehemia: Woo! Can we stop there? “Happy are you, O Israel,” and some would have it “blessed are you O Israel”, “Who is like you, a people saved by Yehovah.” This is Moses talking 3,500 years ago. I think it speaks for itself. I love the rest of it though. I’m going to read it in Hebrew. “Magen ezrecha ve’asher cherev gavatecha”, “He who is the shield to help you,” et cetera, “and the sword of your pride”, and then it says “veyikachashu oivecha lach”, “And your enemies will deny you.” That’s what it literally says in the Hebrew. I don’t know what it says in English. What do you have there?

Jono: I’ve got, “Your enemies shall submit to you.” What have you got, Keith?

Nehemia: Ooh, what? No. Your enemies will deny you.

Keith: “They will cower before you,” is what mine says.

Jono: Cower before you?

Nehemia: So, what it says is, “Your enemies will deny you.” You can find the same exact word in Proverbs 30 verse 9 where he says, “Lest I be full and deny thee and say, ‘Who is the LORD?’ or lest I be poor and steal and profane the name of my God.” We actually talked about that in a Prayer to Our Father, that really cool passage - Proverbs 30 verse 9. But the point is, to deny someone is to say, “I don’t know who God is. I don’t know who Israel is. Israel’s nobody. They’re not saved.” Your enemies will deny you. “They’re not even really Israel.”

Jono: Interesting. Very interesting.

Nehemia: It’s prophetic! Your enemies will deny you. Israel, who was saved by Yehovah, and your enemies will deny you. Wow. Replacement theology. Guys, I’ve got to take a quick bathroom break. This is actually my fourth, but Keith was talking during the other ones.

Keith: So now what I want to do while he’s on to the bathroom, I want to talk about the death of Moses. Now ladies and gentlemen, if you’ve been listening to the show, you know that Nehemia thinks this is some sort of, you know, “Moses was confused about what was going on and it really wasn’t. It wasn’t him being disobedient.” He was disobedient, ladies and gentlemen! And this is why he’s going to be sent to the mountain to look at what he could have gotten if he had not been disobedient, and he’s not going to enter the land.

Jono: “And so then Moses went up from the plains of Moab to Mount Nebo on top of Pisgah, which is across from Jericho. And Yehovah showed him all the land.”

Keith: Stop there, folks. I want to stop just a second. This is really cool. So, this is one of the things that I got a chance to do, Jono, when I was over in Israel this spring doing the Time Will Tell series. I went to the area of Jericho where you can look from Jericho across over to where Moses would have looked over across to Jericho. And actually, it’s one of the places that Nehemia had told me, “Do not go, do not go to Jericho, it’s Palestinian controlled. Do not go there.” And of course, I went there because I had to deal with this issue. But going there and looking across and seeing Mount Nebo and then knowing that that’s where Moses looked across at the land, and then that’s the spot. And we’re actually going to go to this spot, Jono, we’re going to go over to the section where the folks have their baptism. They go across the River Jordan, where Israel, somewhere in that area crossed over before they went to Jericho, marched around that town seven times and the walls fell down.

Nehemia: I’m back. Wait, what the hell’s going on?

Keith: So, we’re actually going to do that, and… exciting is it says... think about this. Now think about this. So here’s the grace. The grace is... now, is this grace or is this mean? I want to ask the question, Nehemia you’re back, I want you to answer this question, Jono, I want you to answer this question. So Yehovah tells Moses, “Moses, go up and look at everything you worked for, but you don’t get to go.” Is that… what is that?

Jono: You know, it’s interesting that you should say that, Keith, because as I was reading this, I did have a look at my study notes, and it’s interesting when the study notes sort of interject their own opinion, because that’s very rare in my New King James Study Notes. But in this particular case it says, “Moses remained God’s faithful servant. Moses was granted by God a closeup view of the land. How sad that his feet were not able to walk where his eyes danced.”

Keith: So what’s this about? I mean, do you really want to show me where I can’t go? Or is that more for us, the readers?

Jono: I don’t know. I’m kind of thinking that it’s the consolation prize.

Keith: I don’t want to see it if I’m Moses.

Jono: You don’t want to see it?

Keith: No.

Jono: You don’t think so?

Keith: No.

Jono: Nehemia?

Nehemia: I think this really is one of the most tragic passages in the Bible in a sense. You know, Moses has worked for this for 40... like he was out in the desert with his sheep and just wanted to be left alone with his wife and kids and God calls him to this mission. He spends 40 years, he’s standing before Pharaoh stuttering and saying, “L-l-l-let m-m-m-m-y p-p-p-eople go” and you know, for 40 years he’s carried these people and he stood before Pharaoh and he did all this stuff, and now God’s saying, “You can go up to the mountain but you can’t go in.” And, can I… you know, last time I read from Shakespeare. Can I read from something else this time which isn’t the Bible?

Keith: Oh, you’ve gotta be kidding me.

Nehemia: No, I’m going to read you from what’s called the... and Keith, you should appreciate this. This is called the Mountain Top speech from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. It’s the last speech he gave the day before he died, one of the most famous speeches of all time. He’s saying here, he says, “I got to Memphis and some began to say threats or talk about the threats that were out, what would happen to me, et cetera.” He says, “Well, I don’t know what will happen now. We’ve got some difficult days ahead, but it doesn’t really matter with me now because I’ve been to the mountaintop.” Now remember, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. went to divinity school. He was a preacher before he got involved in the whole civil rights… he was a preacher. He says, “I’ve been to the mountaintop. I don’t mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place, but I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will and He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain and I’ve looked over and I’ve seen the promised land. I may not get there with you, but I want you to know, tonight, that we as a people, we’ll get to the promised land. So, I’m happy tonight. I’m not worried about anything. I’m not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.” And the next day he was shot to death.

So now, I mean this is something from our modern times that this man labored and worked and was beaten and water-hosed and gassed to accomplish this goal of freedom. And he knew he wasn’t going to get there, but he said, “we as a people will get to the promised land”. Now imagine Moses, he wasn’t doing it for four years or 14 years. He was doing it for 40, and he was able to look at it from the mountain top, but he wasn’t able to cross over.

Are you guys with me?

Jono: Yeah, but there’s just not a lot to add to that really, is there? I mean that is just... that really does make the point. Thank you for that. Because I mean you can read it and you think, is this, this is surely not God rubbing it in saying, “Look, there it is and you can’t go there,” but maybe it’s a... I don’t know, the consolation prize. It’s like saying, “Here it is, they’re here, you brought them here. I’ve brought them here. You’ve been My servant. You’re My man of God. Let Me show you where they’re going. But as for you, you’re going to die on the mountain.”

Nehemia: Well, I think to me the message here is, “This is how important my word is. I gave you a commandment and you kind of did it, but you did it in your way, not My way. And this is how important...” And look, God doesn’t judge all of us by the standard. He says, “I am sanctified by those who are close to Me.” He says that when he burns up the two sons of Aaron. He doesn’t burn all of us up. I never… you know, I’ve done stuff that I deserve to be burned up and I never got burned up. But for those who are close to Him, He says, “I will sanctify Myself by them in the eyes of the people.” And Moses, he’s saying to him, “Look, this might be a small thing. You kind of did what I commanded, but not exactly. I need to show the people how important it is to obey My word. And you’re going to have to suffer for that. You’re going to have to be the example for the people.”

Jono: Keith?

Keith: Well, I mean, what can we say? I mean, regarding the issue of Moses, and he’s done the awesome job culminating this in the last Torah Pearls. He waited, he waited with this in his pocket the last 10 weeks. And he’s just taken us to the mountain top, and I’m silenced. I’m absolutely silenced. Nehemia, thank you so much.

Nehemia: Now, I’ve actually been to that mountain top, over in the Kingdom of Jordan, Har Nevo, Mount Nebo, and if you get there early in the morning, you can look out and you see the towers in the distance in Jerusalem. You can’t literally see all the way to Dan and Be’er Sheva, that had to be in prophecy. But you can see about 20, 30 miles away; you see Jerusalem, the tower sticking up on the ridge. And you see the Dead Sea spread out before you, and the Jordan Valley and the mountains of Ephraim. You do see a significant amount of the land, but that had to be in prophecy to see all the way to Dan and Beersheba. You know, I read Dr. Martin Luther King’s speech and maybe that was prophetic, meaning, he says, “I’ve seen it. I know we’re going in as people. I’m not going to be there, but God showed me in prophecy.”

Can we talk about verse 6, get into the meat of this chapter? Can we read verse 6?

Jono: Let me just go from 4. And just before I do, Keith, I mean when you were there, what time of the day was it when you were there? You were standing there too.

Keith: Yeah. Actually, I went there in the afternoon and stayed until the evening, so it was really, really quite cool looking at the opposite side. Now, Nehemia was on the side where Moses was. I’m looking over to where Moses is, so... and you’ll actually get a chance to kind of look at that. That’ll be pretty cool.

Jono: Looking forward to that. “Then Yehovah said to him, ‘This is the land which I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, saying, I will give it to your descendants. I have caused you to see it with your eyes, but you shall not cross over there.’ So Moses, the servant of Yehovah, died there in the land of Moab according to the word of Yehovah, and he buried him in a valley in the land of Moab, opposite Bet Peor. But no one knows his grave to this day.”

Now that... Keith will know what I’m talking about when I say there’s a mention of this in the book of Jude, right? Nehemia, can I ask, what is the Assumption of Moses? What’s that? Do you know what that is?

Nehemia: Yeah, it’s part of what’s called Pseudepigrapha, which were Jewish writings in the Second Temple period. They had all kinds of interesting stories and speculations, and it’s very possible that at least some of those books that we call Pseudepigrapha were considered scriptural, or at least divinely inspired, by some people. The vast majority of Jews definitely didn’t accept them, but it’s very possible that, for example, the Essenes accepted some of those books as being binding or as being even prophetic.

Jono: And this is apparently what Jude was quoting from. It’s interesting. It’s curious.

Nehemia: Well, saying that he quoted from the Assumption of Moses, in Jude, I’m not sure that’s the case. What would happen is, you had these legends and stories and they would be written down in different places, and some of them would find their way into Rabbinical Midrash. And some of them would find their way in the Pseudepigrapha. Other stories like that may have been picked up and related in the New Testament. It doesn’t mean that they’re necessarily quoting from one another. They all may be quoting from these popular legends that are being told among the people.

Jono: But in any case, no one knows... I mean, is this the case, there is no...? Hang on, wait a minute. Keith, didn’t you go to a mosque where Moses was...?

Nehemia: He did!

Keith: I’m gonna bring this up and actually the reason I’m gonna bring this up, ladies and gentlemen, is because there’s been a bit of a controversy with Nehemia, Jono, and I’m going to go ahead and bring this up now since the last Torah Pearls here, there’ve been some people who’ve been pushing that Nehemia is actually a Muslim in Karaite clothing. I’m not making a joke. This is a fact. In fact, Jono and I, along with Nehemia as a witness, found one of the authors of this nonsense and attempted to make a phone call to them for their point of accountability, and the phone was unlisted and went “Do-do-do, the number you have reached is...”

But the reason I want to bring this up, and I bring it up not just tongue-in-cheek, I mean, the point is that there are some people that are very nervous about the fact that Nehemia has crossed many borders, including into the Messianic realm. And there are some former Messianic folks who have now sort of made the association with the Muslim movement and have done all sorts of crazy gymnastics regarding what they’re connected to, and kind of pulled Nehemia and Karaites into their web.

Nehemia: Let me set some order of exactly what you’re talking about. So, there’s a website out there which was set up by these former Messianics who are now... I don’t know what they are. What I do know is that they’re Lunar Sabbatarians, they follow the lunar Sabbath, which is this antisemitic, you know, system that, “The Jews have lied to us. They’ve deceived us about the day of the week,” and so they believe that the day of the week is somehow tied into the moon, which is utter nonsense.

And so apparently, they don’t like Karaites. So, what they did is they set up a website called and they pretend to be Karaites and then say, “Well, Karaites are Muslims.” And so, people who don’t know who these people are look at this website and say, “Oh, the Karaites are admitting they’re Muslims.” Except what they don’t realize is that this website isn’t a Karaite website. It’s a fake website by these Lunar Sabbatarians who are some kind of ex-Messianics, and really this is something worthy of the Palestinians.

The Palestinians actually did something like this where they set up a fake website pretending to be the Israeli army. They took the exact content from the Israeli army website, which, you know, would have a picture of people in handcuffs and it would say, “Four terrorists captured in Gaza.” So, they would put the exact same picture on the Palestinian website, which pretended to be an Israeli website. And it would say, “Four civilians shot dead, bound and shot.” You know, and so they were “reporting” as if they were the Israeli army but pretending that “We admit we carry out these atrocities and we’re proud of it.” Really this is the type of dirty tricks worthy of, I don’t know, the Republican National Convention or the Democrats - I don’t know, whatever.

Like, really, it’s the type of dirty tricks you’d find in Chicago politics. I’m from Chicago, I can say that. And it’s despicable that somebody would set up a website pretending to be somebody else to portray those people as something they are not. I mean, how pathetic do you have to be in order to do that? We actually attempted to call these people and require some accountability from them, and the phone number they gave when they registered the website was a fake phone number that’s disconnected.

Keith: Well, the reason I brought it up is, Jono, we’re talking about this issue Moses and there really is a connection, folks, to this, is that Nehemia, one of the things he did earlier in the times that I visited there, he took me to a mosque in Nabi Musa which is dedicated to the Prophet Moses, and what’s really kind of amazing about it - I just have to say at first it really caught me off guard - it’s an amazing edifice out in the middle of what looks like the desert. You know, you’re driving back there, and you go in...

Nehemia: Oh, it’s the desert. The Judean Desert.

Keith: It’s the desert, there’s no question about that. But what’s amazing about it is that Islam acknowledges, “Yes, we acknowledge Moses”. They have this particular mosque to him, and some people would get really offended by this, but I wasn’t particularly offended because I love crossing borders. So we went in and so if Nehemia would have been a Muslim, he would have done what I did, but he didn’t do what I did. And I’m not Muslim either by the way folks. But I’m a Methodist so I can get away with it.

Nehemia: They’re so liberal, they’ll even go to a mosque.

Keith: No, I can’t believe it. So we went into the mosque, Nehemia came in with me, and then the guy invited me to come into the actual mosque. So I did something really, really radical. I knelt down in the mosque and I prayed the Avinu to Yehovah.

Nehemia: Well, what’s the Avinu for those who don’t know?

Keith: “Our Father who art in heaven”, Avinu sheh bashamayim itkadesh shimcha, “your name be sanctified.” I actually went into that place because, here’s my thought, Jono. And listen… look, those that are considering coming with us, I promise you I won’t lead you into a mosque but you’ll at least know what it is. You’ll at least understand the significance of the Temple Mount, places like that.

Nehemia: People, I didn’t go into the mosque.

Keith: No, you went into the... you didn’t... No, Nehemia.

Nehemia: I went to the compound. I didn’t go into the mosque. But the reason I took Keith to this compound...

Keith: I’m in the middle of my shtick.

Nehemia: Alright, I’ll let you finish your shtick then I want to explain what this is about.

Keith: Okay, so I went into this mosque, Jono, and here’s why. And this is why I don’t care about crossing borders. The earth is Yehovah’s and the fullness thereof. That’s what my Scripture tells me. And so when I went in there, I thought to myself, “You know what? I’m walking under the authority as an ambassador of God’s name. I’m coming in here as an ambassador of God’s name,” and listen, I actually, and here’s what’s really radical - I actually have a lot of respect for the Muslims in certain areas. I really do. I really do have a lot of respect for them in certain areas in terms of the true attempts that some of them make that is an attempt to try to connect with God. I don’t want to get into politics. I don’t want to get in with who did what and what’s going on. I’m just talking about some of the aspects, some of the things that are actually taken from Moses, the real Moses that you and I and Nehemia have been talking about that are pretty amazing and that I’ve actually appreciated it. In the series that I’m doing, Time Will Tell, I actually did a whole section with Muslims, where they took me to places that Nehemia wouldn’t go with me. He said, “Don’t go to the PLO area of Jericho. Don’t go to Hebron...” Well, the Muslims would take me. So I went with the Muslims, Jono. Can you blame me?

Nehemia: I didn’t want to see you on this video where they’re cutting your head off. That’s why I told you not to go.

Keith: So what I did, I’m going to just say this right now, so I went to this particular place during this series after Nehemia taught me, showed me it. I went back to that place and they did a really amazing thing for me, Jono. And I’m bringing people in there. I actually went into the mosque with my little camera and the head guy who’s in charge of the mosque - and Nehemia will tell you how big a deal it is - I said to him, “Can you open up the gate where Moses’s tomb is? And he opened up the gate where Moses’s tomb is and he let me go inside the actual tomb - not the mosque - into the tomb. He unlocked the gate and let me film it for people so they can see it, and they acknowledge that that is not Moses’s tomb, but it’s representative of Moses’s tomb. This is why I think it’s so important, and I appreciated Nehemia for this, for us to dig, to find out what the bottom is, because there’s a lot of assumptions that people make about other people and about other groups and other things. I’m saying let’s go find out for ourselves. So it was an amazing experience. Went back there, in fact, go to Timewilltell...

Jono: Timewilltell.TV

Keith: I promise you by then the Muslim section will be up and you’ll be really blessed.

Nehemia: So, the reason I brought Keith to this place, this place the Muslims claim is the tomb of Moses, is that a lot of times I think a lot of people in the Western world don’t know this. Islam claims, or Muslims claim many of the stories that appear in the Tanakh and in the New Testament, by the way, but they have those stories with a distortion. So, for example, they have the story of Isaac being bound and being almost sacrificed by Abraham, except they swap out the name Isaac with Ishmael, who they claim to be their ancestor.

And they have Haman as an official in the court of Pharaoh. All kinds of details that in our Bible we read that and we’re like, “Boy, they got the story confused.” If you actually asked some historians, they’ll tell you… Mohammed, what they’ll say was… this is what some historians say… they say Mohammed was a caravan driver. He was the head of a caravan of his wife, Khadija, and he would sit around the fire in the desert with Jews and Christians and other people in the caravan, and the other people would tell stories and he heard these stories. You know, when you tell a story around a fireplace, around the fire pit, it’s a little bit different than what it actually says in Scripture.

Some of these stories were different. For example, they’ve got Jesus in the Koran, they’ve got Yisaa, which is actually Esau, the brother of Jacob, but that’s what they call Jesus. And they say that he was put on the cross, but he escaped the cross. So, they’ve got all kinds of stories that are different than what you find in the Jewish sources and different from what you find in the Christian source. From our perspective we would say they’re distorted versions of the story. Of course, they say we’ve distorted the story and we’re right and they’re wrong. Of course, they think they’re right and we’re wrong.

But I brought Keith to this site to show him an example of that, and this example is that they have this site dedicated to the tomb of Moses. And of course, we’re told we don’t know where Moses’ tomb was. He was buried on the eastern side of the Jordan somewhere in a valley in the plains of Moab. And where they have their tomb of Moses is on the western side of the Jordan, somewhere in the Judean desert in the plains of Jericho, on the wrong side of the Jordan river. So there’s an example of how they’ve got some of the details of the story, but they’ve distorted it from our perspective and got it wrong. This is actually a geographical and architectural representation of this type of thing, you know? I thought that was interesting.

You know, I have to admit that I wasn’t comfortable going into the mosque, for my own reasons. I understand why Keith went in, and this I think goes back to a dispute that you have among... if you ask most Jews what God did the Muslims worship, they’ll say, “Oh, the same God as us. They’ve just got the stories wrong. They’ve just got the stories confused.” If you ask many Christians what God the Muslims worship - this is what I’ve heard at least - they’ll say that the Muslims worship Satan and it’s not that they got the story is wrong, it’s that they’re worshiping a false god. And, you know, I try to stay out of these disputes. I don’t know...

Keith: What happens if you ask most Messianics, Nehemia? What do most Messianics say?

Nehemia: They’ll say that the Muslims worship Satan. Am I wrong about that?

Keith: They worship the moon god.

Nehemia: Oh, the moon god, all right. Whatever. And that’s funny because that moon symbol comes from the Turks, not from the Muslims, but whatever. It’s a very late thing. But anyway, so they’ve got some of the details right, and so I’ll just give you an example in their observance. They don’t eat pig like Torah says, but they do eat shellfish. So, they’ve got some of the details, but they’re confused.

They begin their months with the sighting of the new moon, just like the Jews did in ancient times, just like we read about in the Mishnah, written in, around the year 210 AD. Four hundred years before Mohammed came around, the Jews were sighting the new moon in the land of Israel; the Muslims don’t do it in the land of Israel, they do it anywhere in the world. They’ll often have their holidays a day before the Jews do or before the sighted new moon, and then most Muslims don’t even sight the moon. They look at the dark moon, and that’s because that’s easier to calculate. A very small percentage of Muslims actually look for the sight of the new moon; they go by the dark moon in Saudi Arabia.

Another thing that Muslims do is instead of praying... in the original Islam, actually, Mohammed taught them to pray in the direction of Jerusalem, which is what Jews do. Jews all over the world face Jerusalem, and if you’re in Jerusalem you face the Temple. If you’re on the Temple you face the holy of holies - if you’re on the Temple Mount. Everywhere in the world, every synagogue you’re going to find on planet earth is going to be facing Jerusalem – roughly. I mean, it won’t be to the exact degree, but they face Jerusalem. In fact, you’ll see synagogues that are at an angle. You know, you’re walking down the street and the whole thing is oriented on an angle because it’s supposed to be facing Jerusalem.

Well, the Muslims took this… instead of facing Jerusalem, they decided to face Mecca. Originally they did face Jerusalem until some things happen and Mohammed changed it to Mecca. So, you see these little things they took from Judaism but with some differences, and from the Jewish perspective it’s a distortion. And again, they say we’re distorted. But you know, on the Day of Judgment, we’ll all find out that the Jews are right and the Muslims are wrong. Maybe actually, maybe we’ll find out that we’re both wrong and it was the Methodists, who knows.

Keith: Well Jono I’m going to get in a lot of trouble. I’m going to get shot by the spiritual border patrol. I’m gonna get pulled over by the religious police because I did a whole segment on the Muslim understanding of time. And then there are some similarities. There are some things where there is some common ground, and those things I love to be able to highlight. There’s some things where there’s not common ground. But again, I think time is one of those things where Yehovah will use it ultimately to bring people to an understanding of who He is, and so that’s why I’ve been so excited about it. And folks, ladies and gentlemen you can go to and get information about it today.

Jono: There it is., and speaking of time, it’s run out because Moses is 120 years old and that’s it. He’s the oldest guy there, by the way. I mean everyone else is what, in their early... how old is everyone else?

Nehemia: Well, they could be up to 60, I guess.

Jono: Sixty, okay.

Nehemia: Because some of them were, you know, 19 years old when the things happen.

Jono: He’s double the age of the next oldest person. Wow.

Nehemia: Can we talk about, and I know we’re running out of time of the Torah Pearls, can we talk about verse 10? Because I really think this is one of the 28 most important verses in the Bible. Verse 10.

Jono: Well first, let me just read this. So he was 120 years old. “His eyes were not dim, nor his natural vigor diminished.” That’s interesting though. I get to... hang on a second because earlier on, didn’t he say to everyone, “Hey, hey everyone, look, I’m really old. I’m 120 years old. I can no longer go in or go out”?

Nehemia: Look this is what Jews do, they complain. “Oy gevault I’m 175 years old!”

Jono: ...and get that for me. But apparently he was all right. “And the children of Israel wept for Moses in the plains of Moab, 30 days.” 30 days. “And so when the days of weeping and mourning for Moses ended, now Joshua,” Yehoshua Bin Nun, “was full of the spirit of wisdom.” We can’t go past that. Keith, “he was full of the spirit of wisdom for Moses had laid his hands on him. So the children of Israel heeded him and did as Yehovah commanded Moses.” Verse 10.

Nehemia: Okay, before we get to that, who wrote verse 9?

Jono: I figure it was probably Joshua, that’s my guess.

Nehemia: I think so too. But that’s… you have to understand; where I come from, that’s a radical statement because we’re taught as the core doctrine that Moses wrote every word of the Torah. In fact, he wrote these words that we’re reading right now in tears. He wrote them prophetically in tears, that’s what I was taught. But people who read Shattering the Conspiracy of Silence, they’ll get the real story on that.

Jono: Shattering the Conspiracy of Silence, There it is. “But since then there has...” now, okay, let me read this slowly. “But since then, but since then there has not arisen in Israel, a prophet like Moses, whom Yehovah knew face to face. But since then there has not arisen in Israel, a prophet like Moses whom Yehovah knew face to face.”

Nehemia: “And there arose not a prophet since, in Israel, like unto Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face.” I hear that and I say, “Joshua wrote that. Big deal.” So what? How many years have gone by? A few years? Ten years? Twenty years? Thirty years? So, the last 30 years we haven’t had a prophet like Moses. I’m not really impressed like that. Can I read you the JPS, the Jewish Publication Society translation?

Jono: Please.

Nehemia: It says, “Never again did there arise in Israel a prophet like Moses, whom the LORD singled out face to face.” Never again. Now, why is there the difference? This is something… a grammatical issue called the prophetic past. I’ll read you what it says in Gesenius’ Hebrew Grammar. It’s where you say something in the past tense and the reason you say it that way is because you’re so certain it’s going to happen. I’m sure we’ve talked about this before but let me read you how Gesenius describes it. He’s not Jewish; he’s a Hebrew Grammarian from the 19th century. He says, “it’s used to express facts which are undoubtedly imminent and therefore in the imagination of the speaker already accomplished. This use of the perfect,” meaning the past, “occurs most frequently in prophetic language. The prophet so transports himself and imagination into the future that he describes the future event as if it had already been seen or heard by him.” In other words, he’s so certain these things are gonna happen, he describes it as something in the past tense.

Let me give you some examples of this. Isaiah 5:13 is an example that Gesenius brings. He says, “Assuredly my people will suffer exile.” Now that’s the JPS, the King James, “Therefore my people are gone into captivity.” Now in English it’s already happened, right? “Therefore, my people are gone into captivity,” and in the Hebrew, it’s written in the past tense. It happened. They have gone into captivity, they are gone into captivity. But Isaiah was talking about something that hadn’t happened yet, that wouldn’t happen for many, many more years after that. And why did he do that? Because he’s viewing these events as if they’ve already happened prophetically.

Jono: The point is, if this is Joshua who’s writing this, what is the big deal if Joshua says... because, he lives, if I remember correctly, I think he lived to 110 let’s say...

Nehemia: So, here’s the difference. If you understand this as a past tense, that means up until the time of Joshua, there was nobody like Moses for those hundred years, those 60 years, whatever it is.

Jono: 40 years.

Nehemia: Maybe later on there would be somebody like Moses who was even greater than Moses. And the Jewish understanding of this passage, just like I read in the JPS, is that this is a prophetic past. Meaning, this is being described in the past tense because it is a certainty that it will take place. That really is why they translated it as, “never again there arose someone like Moses who knew Yehovah face to face.”

Where do they get the idea? Like maybe there would be another prophet greater than Moses. How do we know that Moses’s prophecy was unique? So, I’m sure we’ve talked about this. We had this earlier in I think it was Numbers, I want to say 6 or something. Here, Numbers 12:8, where God says specifically that His prophecy to Moses is unique.

Jono: “I speak with him face to face, even plainly and not in dark sayings, and he sees the form of Yehovah. Why then were you not afraid to speak against My servant Moses?”

Nehemia: Right. And what he’s saying here is, hold on a second. Oh, no. Go back to verse 6; that’s the moneyball verse. Verse 6.

Jono: Here it is. It says, “Hear now my words, if there is a prophet among you, I, Yehovah, make Myself known to him in a vision. I speak to him in a dream. Not so with My servant Moses, he is faithful in all My house.”

Nehemia: “With him, I speak mouth to mouth.” So, the type of prophecy that Moses has is unique. No other prophet ever had it. And as I said, the Jewish understanding of taking this as a prophetic past is that, not only has no one ever had it, no one ever will have it. This is a unique form of prophecy that only Moses would have. Again, Exodus 33:11 says the same thing, “And Yehovah spoke to Moses “panim el panim”, face to face, “ka’asher yedaber ish el re’ehu” “as a man speaks to his fellow.” They would speak face to face, and that’s unique, that type of prophecy. Never again would there arise a prophet to Israel...

Jono: But it’s interesting you know, I read in my study notes and it tells me that an even greater status than Moses is spoken about in Deuteronomy 18:15. And I read that in the study notes and I thought that I don’t remember that. I go back to Deuteronomy 18:15 and it says, “Yehovah your God will raise up in you a prophet like me from your midst, from your brethren, him you shall hear.” It doesn’t say he will be greater than I. It doesn’t say that he will have a greater status than Moses. It doesn’t say anything of the sort, and actually we did discuss that, and you gave an excellent explanation there.

Let me, before we go further, Keith, these final verses really do paint a picture in a nutshell, why they mourned for 30 days at the death of Moses. And if you would be so kind to read the final two verses of the Torah. Do you want to add anything to that?

Keith: Well, the only thing was I would say is 30 days - it seems like he should have gotten at least 40. It’s Moses for goodness sakes!

Jono: So just remind me how long did they mourn for Jacob?

Nehemia: Wasn’t that seven days? Am I wrong about that?

Jono: No, no, no, no, no. It was...

Keith: What are you talking about?

Nehemia: Was it 30 days?

Keith: Is the set time of weeping and mourning 30 days?

Nehemia: Well, so that’s an interesting thing. There’s both numbers given in the Bible, seven and 30. If you look at Genesis 50 verse 10, “And they came to the threshing floor of Atad,” which is in Transjordan, “and they wept there a great weeping, very great indeed. And he made for his father a mourning of seven days.” Genesis 50, verse 10.

Jono: Okay. So it was 40 days they took to embalm him.

Nehemia: Right, right. And that’s because they were dragging his body and everything. But then, for example...

Jono: They mourned for him, 70 days, so about 70 days. What are we talking about? Ah... I’m looking at Joseph. No, no, no. This is, this is Jacob. 50 verse...

Nehemia: Well that was in Egypt, they mourned for him 70 days. That was the Egyptian custom. But then in verse 10, when they actually go to his funeral and they bury him, the Hebrews mourn for him for 10 days.

Jono: Wait, you’re telling me they weren’t mourning in Egypt?

Nehemia: Maybe they were, I don’t know.

Jono: So I don’t know, but at 30 days, you know, Keith, it’s a point.

Keith: I’m just bringing it up, Jono. I think you understand what I’m saying here. This is Moses. I mean, you know, I’m just bringing it up. I’m just saying.

Nehemia: And then if we look at Numbers 28:29 they wept for Aaron for 30 days. What’s happened in Jewish tradition is they’ve taken the seven days and they’ve taken the 30 days and they’ll do both of those. They’ll do what’s called “sit Shiva” for seven days. We actually sit on the ground for seven days, and some literally sit on the ground and some sit on a lower chair. But originally they would literally sit on the ground for seven days, like in Job, and they would mourn. This is still… the core period of mourning is seven days.

Then they’ll do a 30-day period of mourning, which includes the seven days, but they won’t be sitting on the ground for those seven days. But at the end of that 30 days, they’ll then have a ceremony, usually at the graveside, a memorial service. So they’ve kind of combined both traditions in Judaism... and look, these are traditions. It’s the thing, you know, people say, “Well, how many days are we commanded to mourn?” God didn’t command you to mourn. If you’re not sad, then there might be something wrong with you, if your loved one dies. But God doesn’t need to command us to mourn just like He doesn’t need to command us to be happy. It’s something that... we should be happy in certain occasions and as Solomon said, “There’s a time to be happy and a time to be sad.”

Jono: Fair enough. Keith, the final two verses of the Torah, the final two verses of Deuteronomy 34 verse 11 and 12. Would you my friend?

Nehemia: Did he slip out to the bathroom?

Jono: Maybe he has. Keith, press the Mute button.

Keith: Oh I guess I was on mute. No, no, no. I’m telling you I’m listening the whole time and he says press the mute because you told me to stop reading. So I’ve been holding my breath this entire show. So it says, “Since then, no prophet has risen in Israel like Moses, when the LORD spoke to face to face and who did all these miraculous signs and wonders the LORD sent him to do in Egypt to Pharaoh and to all his officials and to his whole land. For no one has ever shown the mighty power or performed the awesome deeds that Moses did in the sight of all Israel.”

Nehemia: Wow.

Keith: That’s it.

Nehemia: I’m going to start with verse 10. “Ve lo kam navi od beYisrael k’moshe asher yedao Yehovah panim el panim, lechol ha’otot vehamoftim asher shelacho Yehovah, la’asot be’eretz Mitzrayim, lepharoh ulechol avadav, ulechol artzo ulechol hayad hachazakah, ulechol hamorah hagadol, asher asa Moshe, le’eynei kol Yisrael.” And there’s a tradition when we finish reading something in Scripture, a section or in this case, the entire Bible - the entire Torah. We say “Chazak, chazak ve’nitchazek” which means… you translate it “strong, strong, and be strengthened.” Keep going strong.

Keith: Amen. So Nehemia’s gonna do something really special at the end and I’ll do something really special at the end. Before you do the sign off, Jono, if that would be okay. So Nehemia, if you would be willing to do this - you’re going to do the priestly benediction, which is awesome, the blessing. I’d like to blow the Shofar, and then I’d like, Jono, for you to do your last words. So what order would you like that to be in?

Nehemia: Why don’t I do the blessing, and then you could seal it with the shofar. “Yivarechecha Yehovah ve’yishmarecha, ya’er Yehovah panav elecha ve’yechuneka, yisa Yehovah panav elecha ve’yasem lecha shalom” “Yehovah Bless you and keep you, Yehovah shine His face towards you and be gracious towards you. Yehovah lift His face towards you and give you peace, and they shall place my name on the children of Israel and I will bless them.”

Keith: *Blows shofar*

Keith: Woo hoo!

Nehemia: Whoo!

Jono: Oh my goodness. Well, guys, I’ve got to say this has been an incredible privilege for me, doing the Torah portion with you guys, it’s really, really has been. It’s just been such a privilege to go through the entire Torah with Keith Edwin Johnson…

Keith: Oh no, I don’t believe you just did.

Jono: … and Nehemia Gordon.

Nehemia: Wait, where’s my middle name?

Jono: You have a middle name?

Nehemia: My middle name is Shalom - peace.

Jono: Is it?

Nehemia: Nehemia Shalom Gordon.

Jono: Alright. Let’s all put it on... Keith Edward Johnson...

Keith: It’s Edwin! Ed-win!

Jono: What did I say? Keith Edwin Johnson, Nehemia Shalom Gordon, Jonathan Paul Vandor.

Keith: I knew it was Paul!

Nehemia: He’s the Paul in Jonathan’s clothing!

Keith: Nehemia, he’s been an underground Paul this entire year on Torah Pearls!

Nehemia: I knew it! He’s the apostle to the nations!

Jono: Oh my goodness. I just want to say thank you to you guys so much. It really has been... it’s just been an incredible blessing. And I know that the listeners feel the same way. So many comments from them and encouragement from them that have expressed such. And I just want to remind them all that of course there are the books and just in case you’ve only just started listening, of course, Nehemia - The Hebrew Yeshua Versus the Greek Jesus, A Prayer to Our Father, written by both Nehemia Gordon and Keith Johnson, and the latest book, of course, Shattering the Conspiracy of Silence by Nehemia Gordon, which you can get from And His Hallowed Name Revealed Again by Keith Johnson and the website is, and now obviously

Keith: - that’s actually available, you guys, right now, you can go to that and there’s going to be uploads, et cetera, for the different series, but I really do want to promote one other thing. I really want people to pray about this. And it’s just now October, if you’re listening to this, and we’re in the thick of going around the country, really talking to different groups of people, Nehemia and I - Jewish, Messianic, Methodist, Baptist, everybody that would open their doors, we’re around the country right now by faith. Pray for us as we’re going that we have traveling mercies. We’ll have already been back from Israel. Certainly. We’ll have done a show with Jono about that. But more importantly, we’re going to be going to China, and what we’re doing is we’re going to China. We’re bringing this wonderful message from A Prayer to Our Father: Hebrew Origins of the Lord’s Prayer and other things that we’ve done, to the people of China. And we’re going to be traveling both in mainland and Hong Kong, sharing this information. They have done a whole bunch of work on their part, given like 4,000 books away. We’ve given up the royalties for that. Basically, what we’re raising money for now is so that Nehemia can get there. We’ve raised enough for me to get there. As he says he needs to get there. Those that are willing to share with us in this - I don’t even want to call it a mission, I want to call it just an opportunity to bring this message over to that part of the world. We would appreciate your help. So please, if you’d be willing to do that, pray for us at least. And all of it will be reporting back once we get back by God’s grace and share the wonderful things that will take place.

Nehemia: Well, I want to remind the people that Jono has spent hundreds of hours, even beyond… you know, we sit with him for an hour and a half to two and a half hours doing these programs. There’s the preparation that goes into it. And really what probably a lot of people don’t take into account is that numerous hundreds of hours Jono spends on the editing of taking out every time I say, “where is that verse? I can’t find it”, and he edits that out. And every time I sneeze, and back in the earlier episodes when my dog, Georgia of blessed memory, would bark, and every time Keith, you know, has his things going on, he’s got the phone ringing, and Jono just spent hundreds of hours doing this.

I know we’re done with the Torah and we want to wrap this up, but I’ve got to… I absolutely have to read something real quick. I want to read the first three verses of the book of Joshua, and he says… I’m going to read it and translate directly from the Hebrew. It says, “And it came to pass after the death of Moses, the Servant of Yehovah, and Yehovah said to Joshua, son of Nun, the Servant of Moses saying,” Verse 2, “‘Moses, My servant is dead, and now rise up and cross this Jordan, you and all the people to the land which I give to them, to the children of Israel, every place where the sole of your foot steps, I will give it to you as I spoke to Moses.’” And what this says to me is, the Torah is over. We finished the Torah. Now get up, cross the Jordan and walk it out. Get up, cross the Jordan and walk it out.

And that’s what I want to call on the people. We’ve finished the Torah. You’ve learned it. Go back and read it again yourselves, but now is the time to get up, rise up, cross over your spiritual Jordan, go into the land and walk it out.

Jono: Amen. What a great way to end it. Thank you so much. Thank you so much guys, and I also want to say a special thank you to the listeners. You guys are great. Thank you so much. All the listeners that are listening throughout the world, and for your encouragement, your prayer and your support, you have been listening to Torah Pearls. Next week we are in... that’s what I usually say, right?

[all laughing]

Nehemia: Oh No. No, no, no!

Jono: You’re going to have to wait and see dear listeners. You’re going to have to wait and see what happens next week. Until then, dear listeners be blessed and be set apart by the truth of our Father’s word. Shalom.

You have been 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

We hope the above transcript has proven to be a helpful resource in your study. While much effort has been taken to provide you with this transcript, it should be noted that the text has not been reviewed by the speakers and its accuracy cannot be guaranteed. If you would like to support our efforts to transcribe the teachings on, please visit our support page. All donations are tax-deductible (501c3) and help us empower people around the world with the Hebrew sources of their faith!

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  • Lucile says:

    My big thanks to the team. I didn’t start in the beginning but I am so blessed. I will continue. I am also grateful for the comments which bring extra light sometime. I wish if the team can think of doing the orher books of the Tanach. As a believer in Yeshua your study is of great help coz I hear things that pastors are not able to grasp and we are confused instead of being enlightened. Yehovah bless you and your family mightily

  • Andree says:

    Thanks, I have been blessed and truly learning and unlearning and look forward to to starting from the beginning the Torah Pearls study

  • Olivia says:


  • Anita Burke says:

    seeing patterns where there are none, lol … my nephews were looking at the 3 ice cubes floating in a drink that made a triangle … “it’s the illuminati!” they were seeing triangles everywhere for a while

  • Emmy says:

    So so grateful for all you are doing. I have not listened to every podcast yet since I haven’t listened from the beginning but inLOVE to listen. And now we are at the end I will go back to the beginning
    Love the humour the honesty the way you each love our wonderful mighty God!
    Please keep doing these!

  • Just Someone says:

    At this point, the end of the Torah Pearls series, I would like to say a big thank you to Nehemia, Keith and Jono for these genuine teachings and the effort you guys put forth in creating this awesome program. I´ve really enjoyed all the great content and insights.
    Please never stop doing what you´re doing.

    May Yehovah bless and keep you guys.

  • marietta Lynch says:

    thank you. blessings

  • Michael Millett says:

    In reference to the mountain being called both Sinai and Horeb: documentation of the real Mount Sinai in northwest Saudi Arabia, accomplished by an American oil engineer while living there for nine years, suggests that Sinai and Horeb are actually two separate peaks.

  • Kimberly says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! Wow! Have I been blessed by listening and studying with you guys. I learned so much and my Bible is so marked up with notes. I was moved to tears that we are done. Loved the prayer and the shofar blowing. I will miss you all. May you be blessed as you have blessed others.

  • Mel says:

    Very interesting information, this question will be for Nehemiah. After hear this teaching I would said that if Yeshua wasn’t called Christian, then we can say that He was Karaite? By his way of thinking?

  • aurorekeath says:

    It was no small “glitch” or slightly imperfect execution of a commandment from God, hitting it instead of speaking to it, that kept Moses from crossing over. He expressed a lack of faith in God in front of all the people. Moses did the same thing when the people asked for meat, when he said “Where can we get enough meat to feed all these people in the middle of this desert?” That was in private, between him and God. God was willing to overlook that. At the water from the rock, he spoke it loudly and publicly, to the entire congregation. “Must WE (he and Aaron) get water for you out of this rock?” That’s what cost him. Yes, very sad. But just and true are your judgments, O Lord. See Ecclesiastes 9:18.

  • Jeffrey Manresa says:

    Wholly (Holy) = Whole. Complete. One mind. One heart. One with Yehovah. I am.

  • Jean says:

    It may be called “apophenia” by some but it is known as “rabbinic” and “orthodox” by others.

  • cecille12 says:

    Your quotation of Martin Luther King’s final words on earth were so fitting for comparison of Moses and his last view of the Holy Land which he was not to inherit. The silence between you, Keith, and Jono were powerful in holiness and your spirit welling up in tears: it is nothing but awe! It pierced the darkness with overwhelming light!

    And the mentioning of the Muslims with the history of misguidance has penetrated my heart in changing my thinking and musing on what you have said. I have heard you mention your father at other times has instructed you as thus. It is like the mistrust and built up hatred that lurks deep within my heart has been exposed and I cannot be so full of judgment and vitriolic thoughts against them as before. Moon god. Added later. The influence of Muhammed being around Jews and Christians. The Muslims are mixed up. Seems they can be compared to the Catholic Church, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Mormons mixed up with Christian truth with misguided untruths.

    And your prayers always bring me down to the ground before Yehovah, our Father! Keep exposing the lies and building us with truth from the Tanach. Your knowledge of Hebrew is appreciated by me. I never ever tire of your knowledge when you give to us. How unfathomable and how unsearchable is His Word yet He reveals it to us mere mortals and your rich joint of the supply is being drunk up here where I dwell! May our Father send us Israel’s Messiah, the Prince of Peace to His heavenly capital, the City of Peace and Truth very soon so the Gentiles cannot trample her anymore, Jerusalem!

  • Sarah says:

    Was there no blessing for Simeon? (Or did I miss something?)

  • Amber Munson says:

    In discovering Torah Pearls and Prophet Pearls this year I have found a diamond. As a Karaite in a Messianic community with no one willing to discuss Torah with me, I’m ashamed to admit that I became discouraged and bored. But after listening to new perspectives in your broadcasts I am strengthened. Thank you for all you do, and may Yehovah bless your efforts going forward.

    • Christoffer says:

      I am a believer in Yeshua that loves the Torah and are learning to follow it with my heart and I am are a part of a church in Norway and I so understand how you felt.
      I feel the same today when I meet my brothers and sisters in church, for allomst nobody is interested in the Torah so it is all to easy to get bored and discouraged but at the same time there are moments of light when I have seen openness, interest and humility from some that really are more interested in knowing the truth than defending theological doctrines. And that has been so heart warming.

      Thanks for sharing your experience and put words to my own experience!

      Shabbat shalom

  • Benyahmeen says:

    Thanks again,

    The idea of learning line upon line with here a little and there a little is a proper way to teach babes or should I say small children.

    Yshua said that Yehovah hides himself from the eyes of the wise and prudent and shows him to babes that would learn. In Isaiah 28:9 “whom will he teach knowledge and to whom will he make to understand the message? Those weaned from milk, those just drawn from the breast… For precept must be on precept, precept on precept. Line upon line, line upon line…here there a little and there a little….

    I agree with Nehemiah about learning in an orderly linear fashion but the teaching of Yehovah is progressive with the idea of “Pardes” starting with the literal secondarily the alluding to thirdly the learning and searching and finally the the deeper meanings is a proper way to understand the scriptures and does not come by a systematic intellectual mind. If this was the only way people learned then God is privileged only to the scholar. The scholar approaches the scriptures with intellectual dignity and almost always with self pride… Therefore the scriptures are woven in a fashion that the continuing child will become a humbled scholar.

    For he shall send Elijah the prophet and he shall turn the proud fathers to the humble children and the lack of understanding of babes that will learn to their humbled fathers (my understanding of drash of Elijah’s future ministry with the gathering all tribes of Israel)


  • Yvon van Kreij says:

    Yvon from the Netherlands! Thank you so much!

  • Praying for you Nehemiah and a FAST recovery!!!

  • Kevin (kal) and Brenda (bren) Paulson says:

    We have been so blessed by your insights and teachings of Yehovah’s Torah! Please consider doing Prophet Pearls on the Prophets!!!! Nehemia, Keith, and Jono your humor, insights, and pearls from Yehovah that are brought out are great. Nehemia your humor tickles our funny bones.