christine's bible study

The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever. Isa 40:8

torah teachings index for sat 10 aug 2013

You shall not remove your neighbor's boundary stone which the men of old have set, in your inheritance which you will inherit in the land that the Lord your God is giving you to possess.

Deuteronomy 19:14

If you are reading the annual Torah cycle, this Sabbath’s Torah reading is Deu 16:18-21:9, shoftim, “judges” (index of study notes).

If you are reading the triennial Torah cycle beginning at Tabernacles, this Sabbath’s Torah reading is Gen 44:18-46:27, triennial cycle vayigash, “and he drew near” (index of study notes).

If you are reading the triennial Torah cycle beginning in Abib, this Sabbath’s Torah reading is Gen 24:42-67, triennial cycle v’avo hayom, “so I came this day” (index of study notes).

deuteronomy 16:18-21:9, shoftim “judges” chiastic structure

You shall not remove your neighbor's boundary stone which the men of old have set, in your inheritance which you will inherit in the land that the Lord your God is giving you to possess.

Deuteronomy 19:14

Read Deuteronomy 16:18-21:9 at Bible Gateway.

The paragraph divisions for shoftim are posted here. Some of the smaller chiastic structures within shoftim are posted here. This torah portion (as well as the past several) explains keeping the Ten Commandments; those detailed notes and chiastic structures are posted here.

This year I was able to find the single chiastic structure formed by shoftim:

Deu 16:18-21:9
1a) Deu 16:18, Judges’ authority delegated by YHVH;
1b) Deu 16:19-20 s, You shall not pervert justice or show partiality;
1c) Deu 16:21-22 s, You shall not set up a sacred pillar stone;
1d) Deu 17:1 s, The blemished sacrifice shall not be put to death;
1e) Deu 17:2-7 p, The idolator shall be put to death;
1f) Deu 17:8-9, The priests and Levites are to judge in matters of difficulty;
1g) Deu 17:10-13 s, Heed the instruction of the priests:
– 1g.1) Deu 17:10-11, You shall heed the instruction of the priest or it will be required of you;
– 1g.2) Deu 17:12-13 s, The man who will not heed the instruction of the priest shall be put to death;
1h) Deu 17:14-20 s, The king over the nation;
1i) Deu 18:1-2 s, The inheritance of the Levites;
central axis) Deu 18:3-5 s, What is due the Levites;
2i) Deu 18:6-8 s, Equal shares for Levites;
2h) Deu 18:9-18, The prophet like Moses whom Israel shall hear;
2g) Deu 18:19-20, Hear the words of the prophet who speaks in the Lord’s name:
– 2g.1) Deu 18:19, Whoever will not hear My words which He speaks in My name, I will require it of him;
– 2g.2) Deu 18:20, The prophet who speaks falsely in the name of God shall be put to death;
2f) Deu 18:21-22 s, The people shall judge the whether the prophet has spoken falsely or not;
2e) Deu 19:1-10 p, The manslaughterer shall not be put to death;
2d) Deu 19:11-13 s, The murderer shall be put to death;
2c) Deu 19:14 s, You shall not move an ancient boundary stone;
2b) Deu 19:15-20:20 s, The innocent shall not be put to death (You shall not pervert justice);
2a) Deu 21:1-9 s, Judges’ responsibility in the case of an unsolved murder.

Most of this chiastic structure is in the section of Deu explaining, You shall honor your father and mother, or, to put it another way, You shall preserve the sanctity of the Lord’s delegated authority. The Lord has delegated authority, besides to parents as the foundational unit of society, to judges over local regions, the king over the nation, the priests and Levites over the congregation, and the prophets who speak in the name of the Lord.

As I was meditating on why the Levites at the central axis (and not the Prophet like Moses as I originally thought might be there), the phrase, “the Lord is their inheritance,” from Deu 18:2 kept coming to mind. All Israel is the Lord’s people. But the Levites are at the heart of the Lord’s people who have the Lord for their inheritance. Even so, all the nations are the Lord’s. But Israel is at the heart of the nations, the priesthood nation to the rest of the world, a kingdom of priests and a holy nation (Exo 19:6). And He has made us a royal priesthood by grafting us in to His holy nation (1 Pet 2:9). For the priesthood, the Lord is their inheritance. We are sojourners in this world and do not have an inheritance in this world, the Lord being our inheritance.

God heals me

God heals me.

"If you diligently heed the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in His sight, give ear to His commandments and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have brought on the Egyptians. For I am the LORD who heals you." O LORD my God, I cried out to You, and You healed me. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits: Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases, Who redeems your life from destruction, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies.
He sent His word and healted them and delivered them from their destructions. Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed. "Peace, peace, to him who is far off and to him who is near," says the Lord, "And I will heal him."
"For I will restore health to you, and heal you of your wounds," says the Lord. Behold, I will bring it health and healing; I will heal them and reveal to them the abundance of peace and truth." God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.

The truth is, God will heal me of my diseases, ailments, and weaknesses, of heart, mind, and body. He will make me sound and whole. This is because of the greatness of His love, grace, and mercy, and not because I merited His healing by works. This is the truth that the Bible teaches. Thoughts and feelings of sickness are lies which the enemy lies to us. Anything which contradicts the infallible truth of the Word of God is a lie. We do not have to accept those lies. We can reject the lies and believe the truth instead.

This is how I trained my heart and mind to receive and believe the truth: “I am feeling unsound and weak, but it is only a feeling brought about by my past experiences. It is not a true reflection of my relationship with God or what He is doing in my life. Those things are determined by the word of God. I know God will heal me because this is what it says: ___ repeat Scripture ___.”

The word of God is powerful, living and active, the weapon of our warfare which is effective against all the lies of the enemy and mighty to tear down strongholds (2 Cor 10:4).

ephesians 3:16-19, the riches of his grace

Read Ephesians 3 at Bible Gateway.

Be rooted and grounded in love, comprehending with all the saints the breadth and length and height and depth, knowing the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, being filled up to all the fullness of God.
The riches of Christ, the riches of His glory, are twice mentioned in this chapter. Riches is in Greek, ploutos, meaning “fullness of wealth, money, and possessions, or figuratively, abundance, richness, bestowment.” In fact the riches which Christ has are unfathomable, or not able to be tracked or measured, so great as to be untraceable (Eph 3:8).

It is interesting that in vs. 8 Christ’s riches are described as unfathomable, or not able to be measured, and then in vs. 16-19, the admonition is to comprehend the breadth, length, height, and depth of Christ’s love. Take its measure, in other words.

God is so rich in mercy that it is impossible to approach the limit of its breadth, length, height, and depth. Christ’s love is so great that it surpasses knowledge … it’s breadth, length, height, and depth cannot be known. So what are we to comprehend? Precisely the limitless nature of His riches of grace and love, and that out of that wealth He has given and will give to all men generously. Including me! ♥

ephesians 2, the enmity abolished

Read Ephesians 2 at Bible Gateway.

I was going to go on to Eph 3 today, but then I found the next structure in Eph 2:

Eph 2:11-19
1a) Eph 2:11-12, Gentiles were aliens from Israel/strangers from the covenants without God;
1b) Eph 2:13, In Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ;
1c) Eph 2:14a, For He Himself is our peace;
1d) Eph 2:14b-15a:
– 1d.1) Eph 2:14b, Who has made both one, and has broken down the dividing wall of separation;
– 1d.2) Eph 2:15a, Having abolished in His flesh the enmity;
central axis) Eph 2:15b, The Law of commandments contained in ordinances;
2d) Eph 2:15c-16:
– 2d.1) Eph 2:15c-16a, To create one new man from the two/ making peace + reconciling both to God;
– 2d.2) Eph 2:16b, Through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity;
2c) Eph 2:17, And He came and preached peace to you;
2b) Eph 2:17b-18, Who were afar off + who were near/ through Him we have access to the Father;
2a) Eph 2:19, No longer strangers + foreigners but citizens + members of the household of God.

For He is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down the dividing wall, having abolished in His flesh the hostility, the law of commandments and regulations, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace.

Ephesians 2:14-15

The dividing wall is not the Law of commandments, or Torah. We know because we have already studied several of Paul’s letters where this subject has been addressed (as in Rom 3:31, for example). The italicized words in your Bible were not in the Greek, but were added to the text. If the dividing wall was not the Torah of commandments, then what was the dividing wall?

The enmity. He abolished in His flesh, the enmity, and when He abolished the enmity, He broke down the dividing wall. So what is the enmity? Enmity, in Greek, is an enemy, or a hostility. Paul further explains that which was hostile to us in Col 2:

When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. Col 2:13-14

The “certificate of debt” contained in “decrees against us” is what is hostile to us. That is the enmity. A “certificate of debt” is in Greek, a cheirographon: a list of the crimes which a criminal had committed, written out, which was posted at his execution, or posted outside his jail cell. It was for these transgressions of the law that the criminal was in chains. Pilate posted a cheirographon over the head of Jesus when He was crucified. Jesus’ cheirographon read, “The King of the Jews.”

It is not the Torah, which is holy and just and good, which was hostile to us, but the list of our transgressions of the Torah which was hostile to us – since it was because of that list that we were condemned to die.

The enmity of Eph 2 is the same as that which was hostile to us in Col 2. In other words:

[Messiah broke down the barrier of the dividing wall] by abolishing in His flesh the enmity [which was hostile to us], the Law of commandments [written down as the] ordinances [which we have transgressed, which condemned us to death], so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace … Eph 2:15

Now why did Paul do this sometimes, and just use a partial phrase to refer to something instead of spelling everything out so that there would be no misunderstanding? Listen, he never realized, I don’t think, that he was writing the next part of the Bible. To him, he was just answering questions raised to him by the churches. The letter he received from Ephesus, which prompted this reply, might have gone into great detail – we don’t know, we don’t have the letter he was sent, just his reply. It makes no sense, if you are replying to someone, to repeat in detail everything they said to you. They know what they said. Thus referring to it by the key words is enough to bring the whole concept to mind.

Actually, the fact that he was a bit careless about spelling everything out in places is proof that Paul was the author of these letters, and that they were written very early on in the life of the church, not hundreds of years later by a panel of “church fathers” trying to distort Jesus’ message, as some like to claim. A church father, writing hundreds of years later, would spell everything out. 

ephesians 2, together with Him

Read Ephesians 2 at Bible Gateway.

The beginning part of this chapter forms a larger chiastic structure with most of chapter 1 (please see the teaching tools of scripture if you are unfamiliar with chiastic structures):

Eph 1:4-2:10
1a) Eph 1:4, He chose us before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy + without blame;
1b) Eph 1:5-6, Adoption as sons by Jesus Christ by His grace which made us accepted;
1c) Eph 1:7-18, The riches of His grace/ the riches of the glory of His inheritance (chiastic structure);
1d) Eph 1:19-23, His power raising Christ from the dead + seated Him in the heavenly places;
1e) Eph 2:1a, And you He made alive;
1f) Eph 2:1b-3, Who were dead in trespasses and sins;
central axis) Eph 2:4, But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us;
2f) Eph 2:5a, Even when we were dead in trespasses;
2e) Eph 2:5b, He made us alive together with Christ;
2d) Eph 2:6, Raised us up together + made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus;
2c) Eph 2:7, Exceeding riches of His grace + kindness toward us in Christ Jesus;
2b) Eph 2:8-9, Salvation by grace through faith, the gift of God and not of works;
2a) Eph 2:10, We are created for good works prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

For it is by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.

Ephesians 2:8

There is one word that keeps coming up over and over in these two chapters so far, and that is riches. We have been abundantly blessed with the riches of His grace and the richness of His mercy. God is rich in material possessions – The entire universe and everything in it belongs to Him – but the greater riches are His grace and mercy. And He is rich in grace and mercy. He has not kept His grace and mercy locked up, but has generously and abundantly poured out the riches of His grace and the riches of His mercy on us who have believed in Him and have trusted in Him for our salvation.

Two other points struck me this morning. The first is the D pair. Messiah was raised from the dead with great power, and He has been seated in heavenly places with great authority over all other principalities and powers. Most of us have accepted and internalized this truth. But the D pair brings out in stark relief, that even so we have been raised up from the dead together with Him. That same great power has given us life. We have been seated in heavenly places together with Him. That same great authority has been given to us in the name of Jesus, to do good and heal all who are oppressed of the devil on this side of heaven – to extend mercy and grace to others, just as it has been extended to us, in other words. Beloved, is anyone sick or being oppressed by the principalities and powers which have committed themselves to stealing from, destroying, and killing the people for whom Christ died? We have authority in the name of Jesus – His authority at the right had of God, seated in the heavenly places – over those principalities, powers, and evil works, to effect change through our prayers and works, to set captives free and to break the yokes of bondage.

I also noticed the A pair, the good works which were prepared before the foundation of the world, that we should walk in them. The holy and blamless way of life. Scripture is clear that we are not saved by works, but only by grace working through faith in Christ Jesus. But for those He saves, who become His sons through adoption into His family, God has prepared works, the good way, that we should walk in them.

The chiastic structure of Eph 1:7-18 (the 1c pair in the above) is as follows:

Eph 1:7-18
1a) Eph 1:7, In Him we have redemption + forgiveness according to the riches of His grace;
1b) Eph 1:8-9, Wisdom + prudence/ made known to us the mystery of His will;
1c) Eph 1:10, Gather together in one, in Christ;
1d) Eph 1:11-12, In Him we have obtained an inheritance/ to the praise of His glory;
central axis) Eph 1:13, In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise;
2d) Eph 1:14, Holy Spirit the guarantee of our inheritance/ to the praise of His glory;
2c) Eph 1:15-16, Faith in the Lord Jesus + love for all the saints;
2b) Eph 1:17-18a, Wisdom + revelation/ knowledge of Him, understanding being enlightened;
2a) Eph 1:18b, That you may know the hope of His calling + riches of the glory of His inheritance.

ephesians 2:12, strangers to the covenants 2011 jun 24
ephesians 2:13-15, the dividing wall 2011 jun 24