Friday, October 9, 2020

The Grand Finale'


Just before we go back to where it all began – to the B’resheet – let us pause and come under the blessing which was announced and bestowed upon all of Israel’s tribes. Even though allocated to each individual tribe, it is still called “this blessing”, singular. “Now this is the blessing with which Moses the man of Elohim blessed the children of Israel before his death” (Deut. 33:1).  This seems to indicate that every thing which is said to each individual tribe is actually applicable to the destiny of the nation as a whole.  In other words, when the tribes are joined together as one people (sons of Jacob) they share or complement one another, with their individual blessings. 


Thus, it is possible that these words never failed to accompany the descendants of Bney Yisrael, even in their dispersion and oblivion as to their identity and heritage.  Is it possible that these words, which aside from being blessings are also prophetic utterances, defined historical destinies for the ones whom YHVH recognized and determined as those whose lot was to be cast by these words? How much more so nowadays, when the identity is being restored and the recipients of the blessing/pronouncements actually embrace these words and are watching for their on going and progressive fulfillments! The various parts of the one blessing form a tapestry that by necessity interconnects the ‘lot’ of all the tribes, a tapestry that one day will be held up before the whole world as a banner over the Bride as she enters the wedding chupah (canopy) with her Bridegroom. 


Before Moshe ventures into the specific blessings, he “the man of Elohim”, recaps in verses 2 and 3 (of Deuteronomy 33) the central theme of the wilderness journey and takes us to spiritual mountain-tops, from where he unravels an overall view of what he had been called to do:  to reveal to the nation of Israel the Elohim of their forefathers.  To begin with, he advances three phases of YHVH’s appearing to the nation: "YHVH came from Sinai, and dawned on them from Seir; He shone forth from Mount Paran…” (33:2 emphases added). Even with the citing of Sinai, Seir and Paran, this overview is pointing to spiritual peaks upon which Elohim met – and will meet again - His people.


It is actually the non-too clear articulation of this short passage that makes it necessary to dig and search for the treasures hidden therein, and thus to uncover them. The first phase points to YHVH’s “coming” - denoted by the simple and direct “ba” – being in both past and present tenses.  This expresses His continual “coming” to His called out ones, until they become as He is, conformed to His image and likeness (1 John 3:2), which was His original intent at creation.   Thus, at each of His comings He reveals aspects of His nature, His purpose, His character and His glory.


In the second part of the verse, YHVH is said to have “shone” or “risen”, employing a verb that is used mostly for the sun’s appearance. This is being echoed by Isaiah’s:  “Arise, shine; for your light has come! And the glory of YHVH is risen upon you.  For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and deep darkness the people; but YHVH will arise over you, and His glory will be seen upon you” (Isaiah 60:1-2 emphases added).


In the third phase it says that, “He shone forth from Mount Paran”. This verb speaks of radiating as if from darkness, just as we saw above in the words uttered by Isaiah. This time, however, He is not alone. The Hebrew rendering adds another “coming”, but switches to the Aramaic – “atta” – such as in “maranatha”. And where is He said to have come from (yes, “from” and not “with”) this time? From the “ten thousands of holiness” (no, not “holy ones”), which is a curious term indeed! What is this multiplicity of “holiness”? It seems to indicate that His holiness is with or in the multitudes of His people, like a great cloud of witnesses, or messengers, that have actually become the message/the word - an expression of Himself.  In this way He is revealing His glory which emanates from those who have been conformed to His image and likeness, does this sound familiar? “Then Elohim said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion’” (Genesis 1:26).  Only now at the end of the Torah, do we see how this might be realized in the future.


We continue reading in verse 2 (in its literal translation, with a certain necessary modification): “By His right side/hand is/was a blazing/gleaning/glowing fire”.  Obadiah verse 18 states that, “the house of Jacob shall be a fire, and the house of Joseph a flame”. Moreover, verse 3 continues to ‘enlighten’ us regarding YHVH’s hand: “Yes, He loves the peoples; all its [that is the nations’] holy ones [those called out from the peoples/nations] are in Your hand”.  Habakkuk 3:3-4 adds to this: “Elohim came from Teman, the Holy One from Mount Paran. Selah. His glory covered the heavens, and the earth was full of His praise.  His brightness was like the light; He had rays flashing from His hand, and there His power was hidden”. Amazing! All His power, His kingdom authority and the light of His glory hidden in the palm of His hand and ready to be cast forth as flashing fiery arrows against the darkness, piercing through and destroying the works of the devil! (ref. 1 John 3:8).


One would think that by being placed in YHVH’s hand the “holy set-apart ones” have now come to full rest. However, our text continues (still in Deut. 33:3) to say (literal translation): They are struck down at Your feet; elevating Your utterances/speech” (emphases added). Like Yeshua, their Redeemer, who was “struck by Elohim” (Isaiah 53:4, using the same root of the verb “struck”), these ones also have to be humbled-struck some more in order to elevate – lift up – His utterances, His speech. The word used here is “mid’bro’techa” – Your “midberot” – words/speech/utterances. Interestingly, in Song of Songs the Bride is addressed by her Groom, who says (literally): “Your lips are like a strand of scarlet and your speech - mid’barech - is lovely” (4:3). “Midbar” is singular for “midbarot” – referring to the Bride’s speech. In the days to come the Bride, sitting at His feet, is destined to have her Groom’s Word on her lips.


This brings to an end Moshe’s summation-cum-prologue or grand finale, to which is added: “Moses commanded a Torah for us, a heritage of the congregation of Jacob” (verse 4), and lastly, what can only be a prophetic expression (literal translation): “And there was a King in Yeshurun, when the heads of the people gathered, together the tribes of Israel”. We just read YHVH’s declaration that He loves all peoples and nations, but from and out of those nations He has called a people whom He separated unto Himself.  He then humbles them, causing them to lie down at His feet in order to receive His Word/Torah, which is their heritage as the united community of Jacob. And even though past tense is used here, Jacob obviously has not yet been straightened, so as to be in an upright-straight posture, his heads have not been gathered and neither have the tribes come together. But once the leaders and the tribes are reunited in the Oneness of His holiness/righteousness, YHVH will show Himself as King in Yeshurun.  We look forward to the day of this great fulfillment.

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