God’s Plan B [2021 – Nitzavim]

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The reading for this Shabbat is the reading for the first Shabbat of the year 5782 according to the Jewish calendar. We will be reading Parashat Nitzavim (“we stand firm”) from Deuteronomy 29:10 – 20:30. As you can see, we are approaching the end of the Torah, just four more chapters and we will end the reading of the Torah and start over from the beginning.

From the prophets we will be reading Isaiah 61:10 – 63:9. From the New Testament we will read Romans 10:1-18.

In our Torah reading there is one verse that is of extreme important to all of us, Jews and Christians, and especially the Jewish disciples of Yeshua our Messiah. The verse is from Deuteronomy 29:29:

“The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.” – Deuteronomy 29:29 [NKJV]

There is a rush today of innocent Christians being led to delve into what in Judaism is called Kabbalah. Kabbalah is dangerous and manmade, it has nothing to do with God, and nothing to do with God’s revelation in the Bible.

Yes, Kabbalists use the Bible, but only for their purposes, and often outside of the historical and textual context. The first and the most dangerous aspect of “Jewish” Kabbalah is the feeling and illusion that it gives those that delve in it that they are special and that they have some information that is secret and special. In any context when people develop this false sense of negative pride, they are riding the skateboard that is going to take them right through the gates of Hell.

According to the code of Jewish Law (“Shulchan Aruch”), a Jewish man can start delving into the Kabbalah only from the age of 40. The basis of this statement is from around the 2nd Century A.D. In Pirkei Avot 5:21 we read of a teaching of Rabbi Yehuda ben Tama in which he discusses various ages and what one should be doing at that age. From him we learn that Bible study should begin at age five, study of the Mishnah at 10, and that at age 40 one should pursue “binah”, deep understanding.

This statement led to the idea that people should not study philosophy or Kabbalah until they reach 40 years of age, a sentiment codified by 17th century rabbi Shabbatai HaKohen in his commentary on the Shulchan Aruch, the code of Jewish law composed about 300 years ago by Rabbi Joseph Karo (Yoreh Deah 246:6). Kabbalah takes the person from the sphere of the rational and logical to esoteric “knowledge” based on numerology, mystical information that is not accessible, or testable, or examinable with normal logical and historical tools.

Why not just hear Moses from God’s word? Moses says to the children of Israel in a very clear and loud voice:

“The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.” – Deuteronomy 29:29 [NKJV]

Yes, God has secret things, things that He chose not to reveal to us. Why do we, as finite, limited, and weak humans want to enter into the “secrets” when we don’t even understand the revealed things of God that are explicitly written for our instruction and faith?

Why do we, as humans who don’t know the basics, want to delve into what God forbids us, and into something that has no practical daily application for us? Why enter into the dark, unclear, unexaminable dangerous field full of landmines? Let us just take God’s word in the simple, linguistic, historical, contextual, historical, understanding of God’s Word and do our best to practice that which we know clearly to be divine and inspired?

The second thing from this Torah portion that I would like to share with you is the paradigm of true repentance.

“Now it shall come to pass, when all these things come upon you, the blessing and the curse which I have set before you, and you call them to mind among all the nations where the Lord your God drives you, and you return to the Lord your God and obey His voice, according to all that I command you today, you and your children, with all your heart and with all your soul, that the Lord your God will bring you back from captivity, and have compassion on you, and gather you again from all the nations where the Lord your God has scattered you. If any of you are driven out to the farthest parts under heaven, from there the Lord your God will gather you, and from there He will bring you.” – Deuteronomy 30:1-4 [NKJV]

Notice the language of God’s word in this text that is spoken by the mouth of Moses! Moses does not say, “If you sin and God sends you out of your country into exile, and you receive the curses of the Torah upon yourself.”

As a prophet of God Moses says, “Now it shall come to pass.” This is going to happen to you, you will sin and you will bring upon yourselves God’s curses, the curses of the Torah, and you will be scattered among the nations because you didn’t obey the Lord.

However, “if you return (repent, “teshuva”, “epistrepso” in Greek, walk back) to the Lord your God and obey His voice, according to all that I commanded you today, you and your children, with all your heart and with all your soul, then the Lord your God will bring you back from captivity, and have compassion on you, and gather you again from all the nations where the Lord your God has scattered you. If any of you are driven out to the farthest parts under heaven, from there the Lord your God will gather you, and from there He will bring you.”

Now this condition of repentance is of great importance, but the truth is that according to Ezekiel the prophet, God Himself understood that to wait for this stiff-necked nation to repent is not going to exactly work. The people that He chose are not an easy and pliable people, they are stiff necked.

God therefore applied a second plan that He reveals to Ezekiel while he is still in Babylonian exile. God reveals to the prophet His plan “B”:

“Therefore say to the house of Israel ‘Thus says the Lord God: “I do not do this for your sake, O house of Israel, but for My holy name’s sake, which you have profaned among the nations wherever you went. And I will sanctify My great name, which has been profaned among the nations, which you have profaned in their midst; and the nations shall know that I am the Lord,” says the Lord God, “when I am hallowed in you before their eyes. For I will take you from among the nations, gather you out of all countries, and bring you into your own land. Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them. Then you shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; you shall be My people, and I will be your God.”’” – Ezekiel 36:22-28 [NKJV]

This text is one of the greatest demonstrations of God’s grace and a revelation of God’s ability and willingness to show grace to a nation that is called rebellious and stiff-necked.

God’s faithfulness to His plan and to the promises that He gave to our forefathers – Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob – is the demonstration and reason why He had this plan “B” to send His Son, Yeshua, and give us a new heart and a new spirit and clean us from our filthiness, by the highest price of all, sending His only-begotten son Yeshua to redeem us from our sins and to establish the kingdom of Heaven down here on this Earth.

This is our prayer and our song to become partners with God, the Creator of this Universe, in the fulfilment and accomplishment of our return (repentance) and restoration.

As we enter into this new season of repentance, according to the Jewish calendar of the year, let us first seek our own hearts and spirits and return to the Lord, not to church, not to our political parties, not to our religious clubs, but to the Lord! Let us hold on to the hand of Yeshua who will lead us back to the Lord as our (in Greek) “paraklētos” (advocate, counselor, helper).

We, humans, can’t make that journey back to God alone, because we have gone so far away from the Lord, that we need that unique Servant of God, the Messiah, the one that fulfilled God’s promises made to Israel by the mouth and pen of Isaiah the prophet in chapter 53.

Yes, dear brothers and sisters, the paradigm of repentance is in the Torah, but God’s grace has given us credit paid for by Him and Yeshua His Son, our Messiah to help us come back home spiritually and physically. We are already in the process!

Praise the Lord and please use us weak and limited humans, whose hearts have been washed and circumcised, and who have dedicated our lives to Yeshua the son of God and our Savior!

Use us Lord and make us tools in your arsenal for the salvation of Israel and the soon return of Yeshua back to Zion! Amen!

This article originally appeared on Netivyah and is reposted with permission.