Deuteronomy 11:26-16:17 | Isaiah 66:1-24 | John 6:35-51
NOTE: This transcript is not verbatim to the recording.
Let me tell you what is in this teaching. Two things. If you do these 2 things, you won’t have to worry about the other gods and false prophets that Moses brings up right in the middle of his instructions for the Feasts and slaughtering animals for food.
Re’eh is not just seeing. It is also discernment. But to get proper discernment, we must be seeking first the Kingdom.
Mat 6:33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you.
All of what things? All of your needs. This is where Yeshua teaches us not to be anxious for our life, what we will wear and eat, how long our life will be and don’t worry about tomorrow. Tomorrow will take care of itself.
This is related to choosing between the blessing and the curse in this week’s Torah Portion. The choosing between the blessing and the curse means to seek the Kingdom first!
Let’s start with the “where” question of seeking the Kingdom since YHVH repeats it 16 times! We will find that knowing where to seek Him is paramount to obtaining YHVH’s blessings and it will help us avoid the other gods and their prophets.
Deuteronomy 11:26 Behold, I set before you today a blessing and a curse:
Deuteronomy 11:27 A blessing if [we] obey the commandments of YHVH…
Deuteronomy 11:28 and a curse if [we] will not obey the commandments of YHVH [and] go after other gods which you have not known.
Moses will now tell us how to train ourselves to discern between our God and the other gods. Our first action in dealing with other gods is to…
Deuteronomy 12:2 …completely destroy all the places in which the nations which you shall possess served their gods, on the high mountains and on the hills and under every green tree. [i.e. Christmas trees, for one].
Deuteronomy 12:3 And you shall overthrow their altars and break their pillars, and burn their pillars with fire. And you shall cut down the carved images of their gods, and destroy their names out of that place.
YHVH has a name. The other gods also have names and they have places of worship where they put their names like YHVH putting His name on Jerusalem.
Deuteronomy 12:4 You shall not do so to YHVH your God.
You must leave YHVH’s place of worship in place. If Israel had obeyed this commandment, there would now be only one place of worship left on earth.
Deuteronomy 12:5 …seek to the place which YHVH your God shall choose out of all your tribes to put His name there, even to His dwelling place you shall seek, and there you shall come.
YHVH’s Kingdom is not just a spiritual place in Heaven or a mere idea in our minds. His Kingdom also has a physical component and an actual location on the earth. Here is the first time YHVH commands us where to seek Him. Seeking the Kingdom of Yeshua is not limited to the spiritual. It is to seek also the physical place of His name and go there. We must make the spiritual into physical reality or our seeking will be incomplete and that could have eternal consequences.
Seeking YHVH in the physical has to do with training our flesh to actually go to the place of His name, Jerusalem. But not just when we want to. We must go when He wants us to. Not going to Jerusalem has a profound effect and is the reason why false prophets more easily promulgate their lies among YHVH’s people. Going to Jerusalem ties our soul to YHVH’s place and will prevent us getting caught in the teachings of the false prophets and worshiping other gods.
Every other god has a capital city because all the nations have a capital city. Our Elohim has a capital city, too. People who worship another god go to that god’s capital city for pilgrimage. We see that today with Muslims going to Mecca. People who worship YHVH show up in His capital city. Doing so is the evidence of who we actually worship. WHERE we worship exposes WHO we worship. Sometimes, who we are actually worshiping is our own flesh and its desires which don’t want to go to the place of YHVH’s name.
Here is something that YHVH and all the other gods have in common with each other. Both YHVH and the other gods have places of worship. YHVH’s “place of worship” is Jerusalem. It is to there that we are to go in our physical body to worship Him 3 times even though we can worship Him in our Spirit and always in Truth anywhere we are. But, 3 times a year, He calls our bodies to His physical place of worship.
One mistaken notion of believers is that you can throw HIS “party” just any ‘ol place you want to and you can do it however you want to. You can make up your own agenda and itinerary for your own celebration, and plan your music and your parades and Bible plays presented by the children. But YHVH has other instructions. We are to go to HIS House, the place of HIS name, for HIS 3 annual ingatherings.
Do you know that the 3 annual pilgrimages are, among other things, rehearsals for being ingathered to the final place – Jerusalem? That is so important for this last generation! Those who show up there have a better chance of being assigned to live in Jerusalem than those who do not show up there. Remember that there will be those who are called great and those who are called least because of their level of obedience.
The pilgrimages are also a great big family reunion. But more than that, they are a practical component of our walk in that they teach us HOW to walk by teaching us WHERE to walk and to be faithful to our King in the process.
People say we don’t need to go to Jerusalem now because YHVH’s presence left there when the Temple was destroyed, and also there is no functioning priesthood there. What the hypocrites fail to understand is that they themselves approach YHVH directly without a Temple or a priesthood! No Temple or priesthood is required to approach YHVH in our daily lives, neither is a Temple or a priesthood required for us to go to Jerusalem for the Feasts.
And when they say His presence is now with us wherever we are and is not in Jerusalem, and that is why we can do the Feasts wherever we want, they are, first of all, denying that YHVH can have His presence everywhere on earth, including Jerusalem. And are they saying He abandoned Jerusalem? Does YHVH abandon His property or His people? And they say our heart is the “new” altar after the destruction of the Temple which is why we no longer need an altar in just one place. I have news for them. Nowhere in scripture does YHVH say our heart became His new altar. It always has been that we are to symbolically put our heart and our flesh on His altar. That was true from the time of Adam! But the scripture does say that the altar and the Temple will function again. This means that YHVH changed His mind twice – once when He abandoned His property and then again when He decides in the future to take it back. Nowhere in scripture did YHVH change His mind about any of His laws. If He did, then He can change His mind about giving us salvation!
Nowhere in scripture does He say that Jerusalem is the place of His presence, anyway. His presence was always with His people since the time of Adam. His presence has always been all over the earth! Even in Jerusalem. Most of all in Jerusalem! What He does say, though, is that Jerusalem is the place where is name eyes and heart are perpetually (Deuteronomy 12:5, 1 Kings 9:3, 2 Chronicles 7:16).
Coming to the place of His name means to come to the place, the seat and throne, of His authority. Appearing there is our acknowledgement of His authority over us. But at every Feast, all over the earth, Hebrew Roots teachers build their own places of worship and call people to worship there, and the people go there showing the world that it is the teacher who has authority over them.
YHVH knows who comes to Jerusalem and who does not because when He sees you in Jerusalem, He counts you as present. When He doesn’t see you, He counts you as absent but He also knows what you are doing where you are. He knows what’s in our hearts. He wants us to know and what we do about Jerusalem is our testimony to YHVH, ourselves and the world about what is in our heart. Remember, we need to have the testimony of Yeshua in order to be counted as His “woman” in Revelation 12:17. Didn’t we learn about knowing what is in our hearts in last week’s Torah Portion? Doing or choosing to not do what He says shows what is in our hearts.
He is the King. It is His throne and His capital city and His place of worship. We are to tear down all the other places of worship and NOT to tear His down! Get it? Not showing up in His place of worship has the effect of tearing down His place of worship.
Therefore, He has the authority to command us to obey and, if we want to show the world that He is, indeed, our authority, then we will obey.
Israelites have the right to accept the curse. We can choose to reject His blessings. But Moses said good discernment is to know what constitutes those actions that get your curse and those action that get you the blessings. At some time in the future, there will be people coming to knock on Jerusalem’s door, so to speak, and He will say ‘depart, I never knew you, I never saw or felt YOUR presence in My city’.
Think about this. Jerusalem, the city, is the Bride. Is a city only its infrastructure or is it the people within the infrastructure that makes a city? A capital city is its people. All cities on earth are its infrastructure AND its people (more its people than the infrastructure). Jerusalem is so adorned and luxurious because it represents the righteousness of the people who live there. Might YHVH choose those who show up in Jerusalem during their short lifespans to live in New Jerusalem later?
Deuteronomy 12:8 You shall not do according to all that we do here today, each doing whatever is right in his own eyes.
This is Moses’ call to the people to repent from doing THEIR will and start doing YHVH’s will. And YHVH repeats again His instruction about the place of His name.
Deuteronomy 12:11 then there shall be a place which YHVH your God shall choose to cause His name to dwell there. There [to the place of His name] you shall bring all that I command you, your burnt offerings, and your sacrifices, your tithes, and the heave offering of your hand, and all your choice vows which you vow to YHVH.
Deuteronomy 12:12 And you shall rejoice before YHVH your God; you, your sons, your daughters, your menservants, your female servants, and the Levite that is within your gates (because he has no part nor inheritance with you).
Not only are we to go there, we are commanded to rejoice there! In order to rejoice in the place of YHVH’s name, you actually have to be in the place of His name.
So far, we have learned that the first way that we can ensure being blessed and not the cursed is to go to YHVH’s capital city. The second way that we ensure this is to differentiate between sacrificing and slaughtering. The word “zebach” is used for both “sacrifice” and “slaughter”.
Deuteronomy 12:13 Take heed to yourself that you do not offer your burnt offerings in every place that you see.
Deuteronomy 12:14 But in the place which YHVH shall choose in one of your tribes, there you shall offer your burnt offerings, and there you shall do all that I command you.
Let’s unravel the confusion about “zebach” in verse 7 (sacrifices) from verse 15 (slaughter). “Zebach” literally only means ‘killing’. The difference is in what happens during and after the killing that determines if it is a sacrifice or a slaughter.
The first difference is WHERE you do the killing. A sacrifice is only done at YHVH’s gate. A slaughter is always done away from YHVH’s gate at your gate. And second…
Deuteronomy 12:16 …you are not to eat the blood (which is prohibited for both sacrifices and slaughters). AND third…You shall pour [the blood] on the earth like water.
If you do anything other than pour the blood into the earth, you are doing a sacrifice at YOUR gate and that is strictly forbidden! Sacrificial blood goes on an altar, YHVH’s or yours. The slaughtered blood goes into the earth. See the difference? It’s about the place of the killing and what is done with the blood! It is always about what we do with the blood, isn’t it?
Further instructions for what we must not do in our own gates include the following:
Deuteronomy 12:17 You may not eat inside your gates the tithe of your grain or of your wine or of your oil, or the first-born of your herds or of your flock, or any of your vows which you vow, or your free-will offerings or the heave offering of your hand.
Deuteronomy 12:18 But you must eat them before YHVH your God in the place which YHVH your God shall choose; you, and your son, and your daughter, and your manservant, and your maidservant, and the Levite within your gates. And you shall rejoice before YHVH your God in all that you put your hand to.
Everything we set aside for YHVH in the second tithe must not be used anywhere else but in the place of His name.
Deuteronomy 12:19 Take heed to yourself that you do not forsake the Levite as long as you live on the earth.
You may eat flesh (Deuteronomy 12:20). Eat only the clean animals (Deuteronomy 12:22). Don’t eat the blood (Deuteronomy 12:23). Pour the blood into the earth (Deuteronomy 12:24).
Why? So it will go well with you AND your children. Kill and eat, only do not call it a sacrifice.
By the way, prayer has nothing to do with whether an animal is a sacrifice or a slaughter. People ask about meat eaten here in Jordan because Muslims pray over the animals. YHVH’s definition of what makes the difference between a sacrifice and a slaughter is 1) at His gate or your gate and 2) where did the blood go, not because we said a certain prayer. Anyone praying over an animal as it is slaughtered is not changing the slaughtered animal from meat to eat to a sacrifice.
Here is another repeat of the sacrificial instructions.
Deuteronomy 12:26 …[our] holy things which [we] you have, and [our[ vows, [we] you shall take and go to the place which YHVH shall choose.
Deuteronomy 12:27 And you shall offer your burnt offerings, the flesh and the blood, on the altar of YHVH your God. And the blood of your sacrifices shall be poured out on the altar of YHVH your God, and you shall eat the flesh.
We eat the Pesach, Thanksgiving and Peace offerings but none of the various sin offerings.
Deuteronomy 12:28 Be careful to hear all these words which I command you, so that it may go well with you and with your sons after you forever, when you do the good and right in the sight of YHVH your God.
Why? YHVH repeats the reason which is so that life will be good for you AND your children. Us doing what is good and right in YHVH’s eyes benefits our children.
Warning Against Idolatry
In the middle of all this talk about going to the place of YHVH’s name and differentiating between a sacrifice and a slaughtering, Moses tells us how to identify a false prophet and what to do with false prophets starting in Deuteronomy 12:29-30 and chapter 13. Another thing YHVH and the others gods have in common is that they both have prophets. We are not to become ensnared by other gods and the ways of other gods through their prophets or any other means. Going to the place of YHVH’s name to worship Him 3 times a year helps to prevent us from becoming ensnared by other gods through their false prophets. And verse 30 says we are not to even ask how the other gods are worshiped.
But, if you happen to know how the nations worship their gods…
Deuteronomy 12:31 …You shall not do so to YHVH your God. For every abomination to YHVH, which He hates, they have done to their gods; even their sons and their daughters they have burned in the fire to their gods.
Deuteronomy 12:32 All the things I command you, be careful to do it. You shall not add to it, nor take away from it.
Therefore, do not say we don’t need to go to Jerusalem for the Feasts at this time.
Now, Moses will explain in chapter 13 what happens when you are not seeking another god but here comes a false prophet with his dreams (which he can’t wait to tell you about!) and to do signs and wonders, and then associates those dreams, signs and wonders with his god (Deuteronomy 13:1-2). The promise of the false prophet will be that if you adhere to his god’s instructions it will go better for you. The Jews bought that lie. Jeremiah 44 deals with the Jews who were worshiping Egypt’s queen of heaven because they their lives were better under her than under YHVH. Verse 3 says:
Deuteronomy 13:3 you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams. For YHVH your God is testing you to know whether you love YHVH your God with all your heart and with all your soul.
Deuteronomy 13:4 You shall walk after YHVH your God and fear Him, and keep His commandments, and obey His voice, and you shall serve Him and hold fast to Him.
It’s a test! Are you going to follow only YHVH or not? Are you going to turn your back on the other gods’ places of worship and their ways and go to YHVH’s place of worship, His capital city, and make a distinction between sacrificing and slaughtering, or not?
What are we supposed to do when a prophet shows up to proselytize for his god?
Deuteronomy 13:5 …that prophet or that dreamer of dreams shall be put to death, because he has spoken to turn you away from YHVH your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt and redeemed you out of the house of slaves, to thrust you out of the way in which YHVH your God commanded you to walk. So you shall put the evil away from the midst of you.
It does not matter who the false prophet is, either. Your brother, half-brother, son, daughter, wife or your closest friend. No pity! No prisoners! Death to false prophets no matter who they are (Deuteronomy 13:6-8)! This is why we are to be willing to love everyone else less than we do YHVH:
Luke 14:26 If any man come to me, and not [love less [the word hate]] his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.
Deuteronomy 13:9 …Your hand shall be first on him to put him to death, and afterwards the hand of all the people.
Deuteronomy 13:10 And you shall stone him with stones so that he dies, because he has sought to drive you away from YHVH your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of slaves.
False prophets and adulterers suffer the same fate – stoning. There are a LOT of false prophets in the world today! Some of them are so crafty that they say Yeshua is the Messiah and then they lead people into the worship of other gods and they don’t even tell people that’s what they are doing! Christmas, Easter! If we go to YHVH’s place of worship to worship Him at the times when He commands us to, we will not participate in the Church’s worship at Christmas and Easter, and we will not do His Feasts in State Parks with the green trees around, in other people’s homes, or in farm fields. YHVH’s place of worship is His city!
YHVH even requires that entire cities be destroyed if the Israelite people there are worshiping other gods (Deuteronomy 13:12-18).
Do not cut yourselves nor make any baldness between your eyes for the dead or eat the detestable things like the heathen (Deuteronomy 14:1). Ancient heathen rituals included these practices along with eating pigs and other detestable things. So, YHVH again lists all the clean animals we are to eat. Why?
Deuteronomy 14:2 For you are a holy people to YHVH your God, and YHVH has chosen you to be a peculiar people to Himself, above all the nations that are on the earth.
Don’t eat anything that dies of itself. Roadkill can be given to the stranger who is not yet an Israelite, but roadkill or animals that die which have not been slaughtered for food on purpose are not for Israelites (Deuteronomy 14:21).
Remember to tithe the increase of your seed, the increase of your crops (Deuteronomy 14:22). But remember, if Jerusalem is too far away for you to bring your 10% of the crop, turn it into silver and go to Jerusalem (Deuteronomy 14:24-26).
Deuteronomy 14:23 And you shall eat before YHVH your God in the place which He shall choose to place His name there, the tithe of your grain, of your wine, and of your oil, and the first-born of your herds and of your flocks…
YHVH repeats Himself about getting yourself to the place of His name again. Why? Finishing the verse: So that you may learn to fear YHVH your God always.
What Moses is telling you is that there is a physical component in our learning to fear YHVH. The most physical part of this learning is to go to YHVH’s place of worship, His capital city, and not the places of worship made by the other gods or their capital cities, or the places of worship built by our teachers every year at Passover, Shavuot and Sukkot.
Attending the Feasts in Jerusalem teaches us to fear YHVH. Fearing YHVH keeps us from going after other religions, other gods and their practices.
There is a third tithe which gets laid aside in our own gates every 3 years for the Levites, strangers, orphans and widows.
Deuteronomy 14:28 At the end of three years you shall bring forth all the tithe of your increase the same year, and shall lay it up inside your gates.
Deuteronomy 14:29 And the Levite, because he has no part nor inheritance with you, and the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow, who are inside your gates, shall come, and shall eat and be satisfied, so that YHVH your God may bless you in all the work of your hand which you do.
Deuteronomy 15:1-2 – make sure to give release to your brothers in the shmittah and Jubilee years.
Deuteronomy 15:5 …carefully listen to the voice of YHVH your God to be careful to do all these commandments which I command you today.
Be generous with the poor.
YHVH will now repeat His command again about going to the place of His name by commanding us to bring the firstborn males of our flocks and herds in Deuteronomy 15:19.
And again He says, we are to…
Deuteronomy 15:20 eat before YHVH your God year by year in the place which YHVH shall choose, you and your household.
But if the firstborn male animal has a blemish, is lame, blind or sick…
Deuteronomy 15:21 …you shall not sacrifice it to YHVH your God.
Deuteronomy 15:22 You shall eat it inside your gates. The unclean and the clean shall eat it alike, as the gazelle, and as the hart.
Deuteronomy 15:23 Only you shall not eat the blood of it. You shall pour it on the ground like water [to make it into a slaughter, not a sacrifice].
How many Israelites will have done these 2 things that YHVH is now repeating over and over and over in this Torah Portion in the course of their lives over the last 3500 years? How many have actually been faithful to walk their spiritual beliefs into the physical realm by going to Jerusalem 3 times a year? How many have not made the distinction between a sacrifice and a slaughter by doing sacrifices only at YHVH’s gate and by putting the animal’s blood on His altar, and by draining the blood of an animal slaughtered for meat into the earth in THEIR gates?
YHVH’s capital city is our capital city! His place of worship is OUR place of worship and His place of worship is to be the only one that exists on the earth. Why are not we not showing up there to make this declaration before Him and our brethren and the whole world!? At HIS gate is where we honor our blood-given citizenship in Israel! That is where our Savior, God and King sacrificed Himself by shedding His blood for us. Don’t you think He wants us to show up there faithfully from year to year to honor His sacrifice?
And now, Moses will repeat the Feasts. Surprise! The Feasts being performed in the place of YHVH’s name is important to Him! After all, He said 16 times just in this one Torah Portion! Please folks, don’t go to the places of worship built by the Hebrew Roots teachers in any place on earth. Go to Jerusalem. If you cannot get there, stay home and be sorrowful for it!
Zephaniah 3:18 I will gather them that are sorrowful for the Feasts, who are of you, to whom the reproach (the shame) of it was a burden.
Keep Passover; bring a sacrifice from your flock or herd; go to the place of YHVH’s name; eat unleavened bread for 7 days; do not eat the leftover Passover sacrifice and do NOT sacrifice the Passover at your own or anyone else’s house but YHVH’s; eat the Passover roasted at the going down of the sun on as Aviv 14 turns into Aviv 15, the time of the evening of the 14th into the start of the 15th; eat unleavened bread at the Passover meal and for 6 days thereafter in the place where YHVH chooses for you to do that; in the morning after you have stayed up all night to keep the Passover vigil in Jerusalem, turn and go into your tents and sleep until it is time for your solemn assembly (Deut 16:1-8).
The Feast of Weeks
Count seven weeks after Passover starting from the time of the barley grain harvest which happens at Passover (no barley was harvested until the priests had put in the sickle on the morning of Ha Bikkurim (Firstfruits); bring a free-will offering to YHVH according to how much He has blessed you; rejoice before YHVH with everyone in your household plus your servants, the Levites, orphans and widows; do this in the place where YHVH has put His name; and remember that you were once a slave in Egypt (Deut 16: 8-12).
The Feast of Booths
Keep Sukkot for 7 days after you harvest the wheat and the grapes; rejoice before YHVH with all your family, plus your servants, the Levites, the orphans and the widows; keep the Feast in the place that YHVH chooses for His name (have we heard this repeated by YHVH many times before (Deuteronomy 16:13-14)?
Why? The scripture has said now several times that He wants us to do the Feasts at His house and no one else’s house because He wants to bless us. But we first have to choose between the blessing and the curse.
Deuteronomy 11:26 Behold (Look! See! Perceive!), I set before you this day a blessing and a curse;
Deuteronomy 11:27 A blessing, IF ye obey the commandments of the LORD your God, which I command you this day:
Deuteronomy 11:28 And a curse, if ye will not obey the commandments of the LORD your God, but turn aside out of the way which I command you this day, to go after other gods, which ye have not known.
And then He proceeds to repeat 16 times that we are to go to the place of His name for all our sacrifices and to the Feasts for the purpose of rejoicing before Him!
Boiling down the Re’eh Torah Portion, it comes to only 2 topics: Going to the place of His name 3 times a year and making a distinction between a sacrifice and a slaughter. The instructions about other gods are in there to tell us that if we do these 2 things, we will have discernment about and will not go after the other gods when we are proselytized by their false prophets.
YHVH repeats the same thing sixteen times! We know that when we hear Him repeat things in close succession, it is something He wants us to pay attention to. Why? Because He actually wants us to give Him reasons to bless us! He does not want to curse us! He wants to bless our children. He does not want to curse our children.
And what will He bless us with? Well… First He WILL bless you with funds and everything you need in life. That is the Kingdom as defined by Yeshua. That’s how I got over here where I am able to serve His Kingdom and go to the Feasts, and I don’t have to stay home and mourn for them 3 times a year. (You know, if people would mourn for the Feasts, they would soon figure out how to get the money to go to Jerusalem!). He called me to Jerusalem just like He does everyone. I said ‘yes’ and HE provided the money! Who knew it would be that way? No one ever told me this! I first had to obey Him and then I found out about His blessing!
But He also provides deeper insights and understanding to His Word as one of His blessings.
Furthermore YHVH continues with us keeping Sukkot for 7 days; we are COMMANDED to rejoice (hmmm… YHVH wants us to be happy in Jerusalem. I wonder why that is? Oh! Maybe it’s so that in the future Kingdom we WILL be happy in Jerusalem because we actually got chosen to be there because we showed up during the one lifetime that He gives us to show Him our willingness to obey! And just maybe, if we reject Jerusalem during our lifetimes by not showing up there for the Feasts, then we won’t be part of Yeshua’s coming government which will rule from Jerusalem)!
Who among the teachers and prophets today teach you know that keeping the Feasts in Jerusalem is what protects your soul from other gods and their false prophets? Run! Don’t just walk away from those teachers. They are leading you astray by calling you to THEIR place of worship! Having a different place of worship other than Jerusalem is what the other gods do who have false prophets that come to lead you astray. They are making the way broad but Yeshua said the way is narrow and few there be that find it!
As late as it is in the history of the earth, in the time allotted to mankind to show YHVH we are willing to obey Him, and then here we are at our age with most of us in the middle or end years, this is one lesson most Israelites still need to learn! Let’s go ahead a learn it and do it!
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