Tag Archives: Passover

Unleavened Bread: First-born of Israel grow in grace and knowledge

The first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread pictures the beginning of a new living way. But that new living way was not joyous when Israel left Egypt — days of affliction — and our departure from our “house of bondage” isn’t either. They were learning to live in a way, and so are we.

The Messiah rode into Jerusalem on a small male donkey, on the day that we call Palm Sunday. Why was the donkey so important that God said to break its neck if you don’t redeem it by killing the lamb instead. Imagine sacrificing a lamb to save a donkey?

Today is the day that you are to redeem your first born son and make him holy. Did you know that your first born son is holy to God? Did you know that the donkey, even though it’s an unclean animal, is holy to God?

God writes His law deep in our hearts, which flow with “living water.” We are to grow in grace and knowledge as we get older. We never stop growing, even when we are very old.

Continue reading Unleavened Bread: First-born of Israel grow in grace and knowledge

Parashat Va’etchanan (ואתחנן): Deuteronomy 3:23-7:11

Yeshua the Messiah (Jesus the Christ) said several times during the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5-7, “You’ve heard it said … but I tell you ….” Many of the corrections He provided to what God originally intended were similar to the lengthy explanation of the Ten Commandments by Moshe (Moses) in Deuteronomy.

This week’s Torah reading, ואתחנן Va’etchanan (“and I pleaded,” Deut. 3:23-7:11), includes the beginning of Moshe’s elucidation.

The traditional complementary reading for Va’etchanan is Isa. 40:1-26.

Companion readings for Va’etchanan from the B’rit Chadashah (New Testament) from MessianicJudaism.net (also has through-the-Bible readings for prophets and B’rit Chadashah) and First Fruits of Zion:

  • Mt. 4:1-11, 22:33-40; Mk. 12:28-34; Lk. 4:1-13, 10:25-37; Acts 13:13-43; Ro. 3:27-31; 1Ti. 2:4-6; Jam. 2:14-26 (Complete Jewish Bible by David H. Stern)
  • Mt. 23:31-39 (Parashiot From the Torah and Haftarah by Jeffrey E. Feinbe of Flame Foundation)
  • Luke 22:13-38 (First Fruits of Zion)
  • John 20:1-18 (Chayyei Yeshua Three-Year Besora Reading Cycle by Mark Kinzer)

Listen to recorded studies and read notes from Hallel Fellowship teacher Richard over the years:

Deuteronomy 4:1–11:Keep your soul diligently

Scripture tells us that man’s heart is “deceitful above all things.” This chapter gives us some guidelines on how a believer is to train his/her heart so it is inclined towards God rather than towards the cares of this world. Deut. 4 teaches us to follow God’s statutes, judgements and commands. We are also called to understand that giving our heart to God is not a one time decision but as it says in Deut. 4:9, “Only give heed to yourself and keep your soul diligently, so that you do not forget the things which your eyes have seen and they do not depart from your heart all the days of your life…”

Deuteronomy 4:12-20: You saw no form (of God) on the mountain

Moses reminds the children of Israel in Deu. 4:15 that they are to “…Watch yourselves carefully, since you did not see any form on the day the LORD spoke to you at Horeb from the midst of the fire.” This is repeated several times to emphasize God’s admonition against idolatry but Moses also prophesies they will ignore this warning and God will have to rebuke them harshly for their idolatry.

Deuteronomy 4:20-49: Love v. Knowledge

There’s a direct correlation between the increase in knowledge and a decrease in our love and fear of God. Proverbs says that the knowledge and fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. The more God blessed the children of Israel while they were in the land, the more they desired to go after idols and false gods. They served gods who didn’t love them, or even appreciate them. The “principalities of the air” aren’t trying to draw men and women to worship them because they love them. They want power, submission and control over people, they have no interest in mankind’s well being at all. The “principalities of the air” won’t give their only begotten son to die for us and to give us eternal life. There is only one God who has that kind of love.

Deuteronomy 4: Statutes, judgments of the Lord

The very first verse tells you what the entire book of Deuteronomy is about: the statues and judgments of the Lord. A statute is a pre-described task, something that God has explained and given as a task. A judgment tells us how to carry out the decision of a judge. A judgment elaborates how to to perform a particular statute. Judgments are not always negative, sometimes judgments are favorable.

Deuteronomy 5: The 10 Words and the Holy Spirit are two sides of same coin

“Then Moses summoned all Israel and said to them: “Hear, O Israel, the statutes and the ordinances which I am speaking today in your hearing, that you may learn them and observe them carefully.” (Deuteronomy 5:1 NASB) On Mt. Sinai, on the day of Shavuot, God wrote His law on stone tablets and spoke them to the people. Two thousand years later, on Shavout, God put His law on His disciples hearts and they spoke to the people and 3000 were saved.

Deuteronomy 5: Moses elaborates on the 10 commandments

Yeshua told the devil, “We are to live by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” The words of God are not limited to the “New Testament,” as a number of Christians assume. Yeshua said, “If you love me keep my commandments.” We believe with all our hearts that Yeshua and the Father are “one.” We understand that the words of the Torah are Yeshua’s words, just like the Sermon on the Mount/Plain are Yeshua’s words. Deuteronomy is not just repeating the prior books like a parrot but adding and elaborating on prior teachings. It shows us not just the words of God but the heart of God. When you love someone you want to know what is in their heart.

Deuteronomy 6:We learn God’s ways as we teach them to others

Studying the statutes, judgments and commands of the Lord is not limited to the “four questions” during the Passover seder (program). We are to listen and obey God on a daily basis. We also learn more when we are called to teach others. 

Deuteronomy 6: Teaching children to respect, follow the LORD

We are told to follow the LORD’s commandments, the statutes and judgements. The commandments, statutes and judgements are written down so that we will “fear” the Lord and that we will teach that fear to our children and grandchildren.

Deuteronomy 7-8:Israel were to be distinct from Gentiles, not isolated from them

God chose the people of Israel as His primary representatives and He wanted them to remain pure and distinct from the Gentiles but He did not call the children of Israel to isolate themselves from the Gentiles. The Gentile nations, for the most part, are have always been obsessed with anger, depression and death. God reveals His will even to the Gentiles where there’s rampant rebellion against it.

Deuteronomy 7-8: God’s tough love

The Torah has a reputation of being offensive, but it is always truthful. The words in Deuteronomy center on God’s statutes, judgments and commandments. When we come to understand and hear God, we start to ask God why? He says, “because I love you.” Why does He punish us? Because He loves us.

Exodus 10:1–13:16: Make me unleavened

When we observe the commandments of God, we are like  unleavened bread, flatbread, called matzot in Hebrew. There’s nothing added, nothing taken out. So we are not to add to God’s commandments, and we are not to treat any traditions we keep on the same level as God’s commandments.

In the Torah reading Bo (“come,” Exodus 10:1–13:16), we learn that matzot gives you life, but it also gives you some affliction and difficulty. God’s mitzvot are the same, they give us life but they also bring some difficulty to life.

Continue reading Exodus 10:1–13:16: Make me unleavened

Numbers 9: ‘Second-chance Pesach’ and being covered by the Cloud

“Thus the LORD spoke to Moses in the wilderness of Sinai, in the first month of the second year after they had come out of the land of Egypt,” (Numbers 9:1 NASB)

There are two topics in Numbers 9: The Pesach and the cloud.

A second chance

The Pesach discussed at length is the “second-chance Pesach.” The Pesach is so important to God that is it the only one of His appointed times (a.k.a., feasts or festivals; see Leviticus 23), where members of the community are given a second chance to participate if they miss out on it the first time due to ritual defilement because of caring for the dead.  

God takes full credit for the death of the Firstborn of Egypt. Their death freed the Israelites from slavery. There’s no “devil made do it.” God didn’t party, sing, dance for joy when he took the first-born of Egypt. He is not bragging. He’s simply stating a fact. Egypt are the beloved of God, not the enemy of God. 

The people of Israel could not fully keep the other feasts they were being instructed upon, such as Shavuot. There were no first fruits, wheat, barley, etc. to offer but they were able to keep the Pesach at this time. 

Don’t concern yourself about the rebellion of the older generation of Israelites but of the teachable moments God has placed in here for His people. Let’s not look at what the Israelites wrongdoing but at God’s righteousness and holiness. God’s actions, deeds, and purpose should be the focus of our attention. 

Abraham is noted for his faith in God, he had faith in God and believed in Him whole-heartedly before he was circumcised. Abraham was a friend of God. A friend can tell another friend everything. A person can’t trust their servants or slaves wholeheartedly but they can trust their friend. 

This “second chance” Pesach dispensation was for a limited group of people: those who were ritually unclean and unable to keep the first Pesach. 

“But the man who is clean and is not on a journey, and yet neglects to observe the Pesach, that person shall then be cut off from his people, for he did not present the offering of the LORD at its appointed time. That man will bear his sin.” (Numbers 9:13 NASB)

If the Children of Israel refused to keep the Pesach at its regular appointed time for a reason other than ritual uncleanness, they did not get the forbearance, there was no do-over.  Failure to keep the Pesach with rest of the community was cutting oneself off from Abraham and Abraham’s promises. Excuses such as a football game on TV, misunderstandings with family, work, etc. are not justifications for not keeping the Pesach at its appointed time. 

“If an alien sojourns among you and observes the Passover to the LORD, according to the statute of the Passover and according to its ordinance, so he shall do; you shall have one statute, both for the alien and for the native of the land.” (Numbers 9:14 NASB)

People who don’t keep the Pesach because of ignorance, who don’t know their left from right hand, are not judged, not cut off by God. If a sojourner/stranger wants to keep the Pesach, let him in even if his understanding is limited. 

God is not the author of confusion. He didn’t write the Torah to dumbfound us but to mold us into the image of His Son. 

The cloud

What is the cloud? What is it covering?

“Now on the day that the tabernacle was erected the cloud covered the tabernacle, the tent of the testimony, and in the evening it was like the appearance of fire over the tabernacle, until morning. So it was continuously; the cloud would cover it by day, and the appearance of fire by night.” (Numbers 9:15–16 NASB)

The cloud covered the Tabernacle, not the entire camp. The cloud covered the mercy seat by day and a fire by night but it’s not a consuming fire, it’s a source of light. Just as we are to be a source of light, but not a burning fire. 

“At the command of the LORD they camped, and at the command of the LORD they set out; they kept the LORD’S charge, according to the command of the LORD through Moses.” (Numbers 9:23 NASB)

When the cloud moved, the children of Israel moved. When the cloud stayed, the children of Israel stayed, regardless of the conditions. Whether it was three days, a month or a year, they stayed when the cloud stayed and they moved when the cloud moved.

God uses the cloud to show the children of Israel and us on a journey, which we will read about more in Numbers 10. The people knew what to do. 

God, through the cloud, is guiding them on a journey. When we say to God, “I don’t want to move,” it’s not pleasant. When God moves and we move with Him, we learn so much about Him and love Him more. God is the director. 

If you don’t want to be a part of Him, if you reject the promise of Abraham, God will cut you off from  the people. Cutting off is not a death sentence. God is actually respecting the person’s choice to leave if they want to leave. The opportunity for repentance is always there. The opportunity to be grafted back in is also there. God doesn’t let go, we let go. God will bring back those who are cut off through His Son. 

Reader: Jeff. Speaker: Richard Agee. Summary: Tammy. 

What did Apostle Paul mean by ‘you are unleavened’?

Studies in TorahBeing “unleavened” during God’s Festival of Unleavened Bread (חג מצות Khag Matzot) is not about being a “holier than thou.” It’s not about overpowering or dominating others. We need to have humility, mercy, kindness and gentleness that comes from God. We need to keep ourselves low, not higher than one another. It’s foolish to measure yourself against someone else. 

Remember that those who have put an end to their “old self” by trust in the death and resurrection of Messiah Yeshua are “unleavened.” You are with God; you are clean and holy. We have His strength to overcome anything, in that strength, we can become humble, lowly and peaceable. We stand strong because Messiah is our Passover.  We have the whole armor of God, all we have to do is put it on.

Continue reading What did Apostle Paul mean by ‘you are unleavened’?

Symbols of Passover: Original, Messianic, today and Day of the LORD

The “Law of liberty” mentioned by the Apostle Ya’akob (James 1:25; 2:12) is connected to entering into God’s “rest” (Hebrews 3-4) and “walking in liberty” (Psa. 119:45). And the symbols of פסח Pesakh (Passover) show how God planned for this to work originally, at the time of Yeshua Mashiakh (Jesus Christ), today and at the future Day of the LORD.

We are looking at a few of the symbols you encounter in Passover, specifically what they were originally, what they were in the time of Messiah, what they are in the present and what they are in the future. You may have heard that the Appointed Times were only to celebrate agricultural cycles but not that we don’t live in an agricultural society, these Appointed Times don’t have any importance anymore. The Law of Liberty presented by the Apostle Paul in the Book of Hebrews is directly connected to entering into God’s Rest and walking in liberty.

Continue reading Symbols of Passover: Original, Messianic, today and Day of the LORD

Luke 22:7-38; John 13:1-20: Passover of Yeshua: Faith that Messiah makes us ‘greater’

JeffAt the beginning of His great final message and prayer with His 12 closest students (John 13-17; Luke 22:7-38), Yeshua was not calling them to be servants but friends. Servants and masters do not love each other but friends do. Our lives are more temporary than we think. Our lives can be very short or very long. We can make our lives long in the short time we have when we put our lives in God’s hands. God is taking us over the horizon, beyond what we can see. We have to have faith to walk with God when we can’t see where he is taking us.

Continue reading Luke 22:7-38; John 13:1-20: Passover of Yeshua: Faith that Messiah makes us ‘greater’