So You Shall Not Sin: Parashat Yitro Reflections

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Hebrew Vision News Exclusive

by Miykael Qorbanyahu aka The End Time Scribe

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…At Sinai Israel reached a state of perfect wholeness, like that of the angels. The human being is a walker, always having to go from one rung to the next; we are ever on the way to wholeness. Only when we reach it can we “stand [like the angels].” And some of the light of that wholeness reaches us every Shabbat. That is why we cease from work. Scripture points to this in the verses: “if you restrain your foot because of Shabbat” [Isa. 58.13] and “may no person go forth from his place on the day of Shabbat” [Ex. 16.29]. Of this we say: “spread over us the tabernacle of Your peace.”

Sefat Emet: Yitro. pg. 106

And all the people saw the thunders, the lightning flashes, the sound of the ram’s horn, and the mountain smoking. And the people saw it, and they trembled and stood at a distance, and said to Mosheh, ‘You speak with us and we hear, but let not Elohim speak with us, lest we die.’ And Mosheh said to the people, ‘Do not fear, for Elohim has come to prove you, and in order that His fear be before you, so that you do not sin.’

Exodus 20.18-20

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1torahThe revelation of the Torah at Mount Sinai was a redefining historical occurrence for the nation of Yisrael, as it was also an indirect transformative episode in time for the rest of the nations of the world. For the people of Yisrael this event was considered the formal ceremony of the betrothal that enjoined our ancestors in marriage to יהוה. As the covenant people of יהוה, this experience initiated our ancestral and present spiritual and physical responsibilities which obliges us to demonstrate the righteous character of our national Elohim and source of Power, as well as the service of being administrators of fair and impartial justice based on the implementation and enforcement of the instructions and laws of the Torah. All of this was to be enacted by the Yisraelites in order to establish the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth in truth, righteousness, love and equity. For the rest of the nations, a new era of Light had entered into the world that would, from that moment forward, provide them with a visible reflection of  the unseen Creator of all that is both known and unknown in the people of Yisrael. This era, which was marked by the liberation of Yisrael from bondage in Mitzrayim and restored to them root of the Promised Land, is considered the birth of the Age of Instruction, which was a transition from darkness of the Age of Desolation.

It is said that the experience of receiving the Torah was truly an experience for the ages. Being that it was accompanied by  thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud on the mountain, a theophany is understood to have occurred of which our ancestors witnessed. So intense was this experience that the Messianic Codicil book of Hebrews goes on to describe the event as such:

For you have not drawn near to a mountain touched and scorched with fire, and to blackness, and darkness and storm, and a sound of a trumpet, and a voice of words, so that those who heard it begged that no further Word should be spoken to them, for they could not bear what was commanded, ‘If even a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned or shot through with an arrow.’ And so fearsome was the sight that Mosheh said, ‘I exceedingly fear and tremble.’

Hebrews 12.18-21

1shekinahA moment of true “shock and awe“, the revelation of the Shekinah of יהוה upon the summit of Mt. Sinai induced an overwhelming and intensive experience which bombarded the senses of our ancestors with the sheer brilliance and power of the manifest presence of the Most High. Something heretofore never experienced by humanity on such a grand scale, creation now received a measured but potent injection of the magnificence of heaven’s Sovereign. With this majestic appearance of יהוה before our ancestors, a new national reality for Yisrael was forged with this theophany as the universal standards and expectations for this peculiar people, according to the Torah, were to be carried out for the purpose of being the agents of the transformation, restoration and reconciliation of a world unaware of just who is the true and living Creator of Heaven, Earth, Sea and all that is in them.

The sole purpose of this happening was to instill within our ancestors both a undying love for and great reverence of the majesty of יהוה. Yet, because of fear, the overwhelming experience caused our ancestors to reject the reality that our Father and King had desired for us, which was for His Spirit to commune with each member of our nation on an intimate level which would then demonstrate the reality of the kingdom of priests and set-apart nation of which we were called to be as His Spirit would indwell us and inspire us in our every thought, word and deed. However, their crippling fear was not properly processed as they rejected their prophetic calling and delegated the responsibility to one individual, that at the time being the person of Moshe. It was Moshe’s response to the people, which shall be the focus of this writing from this point forward which frames the overall intent of this historic episode of which this experience was to cause the Yisraelites to live a perfect, sinless life.

In fact, it was the giving of the Ten Commandments (עֲשֶׂרֶת הַדְּבָרִים) that formally codified what is known as the fear of Elohim; a synonym for the Torah. Interestingly, in the book of Psalms, 19th chapter, we find one of the most compelling descriptions of the purpose of the Torah in its application to our lives. In this beautiful exposition of the Torah’s functions, the Psalmist says that

The Torah of יהוה is perfect, bringing back the being; the witness of יהוה is trustworthy, making wise the simple; the orders of יהוה are straight, rejoicing the heart; the command of יהוה is clear, enlightening the eyes; the fear of יהוה is clean, standing forever; the right-rulings of יהוה are true, they are righteous altogether…

Psalm 19.7-9

1torahscrollWith the understanding that the Torah’s role in the life of the people of Yisrael is to be a reformative and instructive pedagogy unto the liberation of the people, we can ascertain that given the people’s wholehearted observance of its principles, the result of such conduct based on its observance would indeed yield the state of perfection as the expectancy of the covenant with יהוה is given to our forefather Abraham when he is told to walk before [יהוה] and be perfect. Later we find that this same standard given by our Father and King to Abraham is the same standard articulated by the Master Teacher, Mashiyach Yahoshua ben Yoseph, at His Beatitude dissertation where He stated that we are to be perfect, as your Father in the heavens is perfect. The Psalmist also expresses this self-same notion when articulates the idea that blessed are the perfect in the Way, who walk in the Torah of יהוה!

Given that the perfection of the soul is the ultimate objective of the Torah in the life of Yisrael and the strangers who sojourn with them, let us examine the idea of perfection so as expressed in the Hebraic idiom. The word for perfect in the Hebrew is the root word tamam [תמם], which according to the website Abarim Publications

primarily means to be complete or finished (Genesis 47:18, Deuteronomy 31:24) and secondarily to be ethically sound or upright (Job 22:3, Psalm 18:26). And in that sense, this verb is similar to שלם (shalem), to be complete or whole, and ישר (yashar), to be level or straight.

Furthermore, it also understood that the state of perfection corresponds to the condition of the victim that was to be offered at the altar. In fact, Baker’s Bible Dictionary has this to say about the connection between perfection and blamelessness;

The concept of blamelessness carries with it two different, yet not dissimilar ideas. The first refers to sacrificial animals that were “without defect” ( Lev 1:3 ; Leviticus 3:1Leviticus 3:6 ; Num 6:14 ). Only animals that were undefiled physically were worthy of being offered to [יהוה]. Sacrificing blemished animals was a violation of biblical law and a demonstration of brazen disrespect for [Elohim] ( Mal 1:6-14 ).

From this religious ritual idea comes the notion of moral perfection for individuals. “Blameless” people are those who cannot be accused of wrongdoing before people or [Elohim](Psalm 15:2;18:23). David prays, “Keep your servant also from willful sin then will I be blameless” (Psalm 19:13). David is seeking blamelessness not in a physical but in a moral sense.

The concept of moral blamelessness is heightened in the New Testament and employed almost exclusively as a characteristic of [Messiah] and hHs followers. The sacrificial terminology is applied to the work of [Messiah Yahoshua] when he is described as “a lamb without blemish or defect” (1 Peter 1:19), who “through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to [Elohim]” (Hebrews 9:14). The blameless character of [Messiah] is seen in His continuing work as the believer’s High Priest who “meets our need—one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens” (Hebrews 7:26 ).

When applied to [Nazarenes/Messianics], the quality of blamelessness is both a positional benefit of salvation and a moral character to be achieved. Each person is worthy of accusation in the sight of [Elohim]. The blameless character of [Nazarenes], however, is the intention of [Elohim], who “chose us in [Messiah] before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight” (Ephesians 1:4 ). [Messiah]’s love and sacrifice for the [assembly] were such that He could present her to Himself “without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless” (Ephesians 5:27 ).

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For it is the Will of Elohim, through our observance of the Torah, to achieve the spotless, moral characteristics of being found blameless in the sight of man and Elohim. This is also what is known as being sinless, or not offending the Most High by not breaking the laws of the Torah; יהוה’s Word. In this sense, it has always been the desire of our Father and King, from the Garden forward, for His children to lead a blameless life in accordance with the Torah. For it is through the alignment of our will with that of our Father’s that allows us to achieve the state of self-mastery and ultimately sinlessness. We are informed of this matter in the book of Genesis when Elohim attempts to encourage Qayin to overcome his emotional disposition due to his offering being rejected in favor of his brother Hebel’s. In the fourth chapter of Bereshiyt, we read these words,

If you do well, is there not acceptance? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should master it.

Genesis 4.7

1self-discipline-is-doing-what-needs-to-be-done-when-it-needsThat a sinless and blameless life is achieved through self-discipline in observance of the Torah is the essence of this week’s parashat should be clear to the readers and hearers of Exodus chapters 18-20. For no other way is ot possible for us to achieve the state of angels and exalted priesthood of the Most High than by the keeping of the covenant which is the most excellent and pure form of wisdom in creation. On this point, it is interesting to note that the title of this week’s portion, Yitro, denotes excellence and abundance as relates to the superiority and affluence of a matter. As mentioned earlier, this is the intended heritage of the children of יהוה who have embraced the covenant and have had their visages conformed into the likeness of the Son. Being that the goal of the Torah is to arrive at the state of becoming the Messiah, or the Word made flesh, it is undeniably an affirmative reality that the expectancy of heaven in the life of the Children of Yisrael is that we not sin against our Father and our King.

For it is a most profound axiom in the life of the son or daughter of the covenant that once they have been reborn into the household of faith and have accepted the atoning work of Messiah Yahoshua ben Yoseph, that the new nature of which they are given leaves them powerless to sin.  Equipped with this innerstanding, victory is assured for both the individual and the entire household of faith who have so resolved within their inner being that sin is no longer able to overcome them due to their steadfast faithfulness and unquenchable love for being in the manifest Presence of יהוה. For it is written,

See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of Elohim! For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved ones, now we are children of Elohim. And it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone having this expectation in Him cleanses himself, as He is clean. Everyone doing sin also does lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness. And you know that He was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him there is no sin. Everyone staying in Him does not sin. Everyone sinning has neither seen Him nor known Him. Little children, let no one lead you astray. The one doing righteousness is righteous, even as He is righteous. The one doing sin is of the devil, because the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of Elohim was manifested: to destroy the works of the devil. Everyone having been born of Elohim does not sin, because His seed stays in him, and he is powerless to sin, because he has been born of Elohim. In this the children of Elohim and the children of the devil are manifest: Everyone not doing righteousness is not of Elohim, neither the one not loving his brother.

1 John 3.1-10

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Selah…

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