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February 10, 2024: Parashah Torah Portion Mishpatim

This week’s Parashah Torah Portion Mishpatim is taken from Exodus 21:1-24:18. Join Dr. Jeffery Myers, as he clarifies the issue of “Law versus Grace”, and how the laws of Torah contain attributes of the infinite ELOHIM, no matter how irrelevant or remote we might think they are! Torah is a model for all who seek to lead people to greatness! Is that you?


Follow along in the AUDIO PODCAST, by clicking on the play button below, and reading along with the notes, as you listen to today's Torah Portion:

This week’s Parashah Torah Portion Mishpatim is taken from Exodus 21:1-24:18

Lion of Judah Speaks: Parashah Torah Portion Mishpatim - Exodus 21:1-24:18


Let me begin by saying that things get turned around if we start to believe that we must keep Elohim’s law in order to be saved!  Instead, we should keep Elohim’s law because we are saved.  For some reason we have been taught to view the Torah as if the laws were a bad thing…that it is the opposite of grace.  “We are no longer under the law but under grace” is what is repeated by many who have not truly studied the whole counsel of the Word of Elohim.  The implication is since we received the Messiah, we need not concern ourselves with the laws of the “Old Testament.”  “Law versus Grace”!  We might even quote Gal. 3:23 and Gal. 5:18 to back up our claim.  However, Paul realized some would misunderstand his teachings so he writes Romans 6:1-2 and Romans 3:31, which are a few examples of Paul’s explanation.

 

What was Paul saying?  Simply put, he is saying the belief in those days that a gentile had to become Jewish to be saved was called being “under the law.”  Paul believed you became part of Abraham and part of the people of Elohim through faith in Messiah.  They did not need to first come “under the law” in order to enter His Kingdom.

 

The Bible does not teach the idea of Grace versus Law.  Grace is Elohim’s free gift of salvation for those who believe in His Son!  The Law is His loving instructions for how people should live.  They are not opposed to each other, and they are to work hand in hand.  The laws of Torah express standards of godliness!  The laws of Torah contain attributes of the infinite Elohim!  His law is the very definition of right and wrong and sin and righteousness.  No matter how irrelevant or remote you might think they are…always remember that these are the true words of the Living Elohim!

 

How do these standards of righteousness relate to the Messiah?  The Apostolic Scriptures refer to Messiah as “the Righteous One” (HaTzadik).  Yeshua was not merely righteous…He was the “Righteous One.”  He was without sin and was completely submitted to Father and His Will.  This means His life was totally consistent with the rules of the Torah and to transgress any law would make Him sinful.  We cannot have it both ways; He either kept the Torah and was sinless or He broke the Torah and was sinful.

 

I John 3:4 says, “Everyone who keeps sinning is violating Torah – indeed, sin is violation of Torah.”  The laws of Torah teach us about the life and nature of the Messiah.  He is a perfect, living example of Elohim’s laws lived out in flesh.  Yeshua is the Living Torah!  Elohim’s righteousness revealed in human form!  Word made flesh!

 

When you study Torah, you are learning the revelations of Elohim, the expressions of His righteousness, and the very nature of Messiah.  When we read the Torah’s laws we are reading about the administration of King Messiah.  He is the Branch of David according to Jer. 33: 15-16 which says, “When those days come, at that time, I will cause to spring up for David a Branch of Righteousness.  He will do what is just and right in the land.  When those days come, “Y’ hudah will be saved, Yerushalayim will live in safety, and the name given to her will be Adonai Tzidkenu (Adonai our Righteousness).”

 

In Exodus 21-24 we experience a transition; until now we have experienced the drama of the narrative:  Israelites enslavement, hope for freedom, the plagues, Pharaoh’s hardheartedness, escape into the desert, crossing the Red Sea, and the journey to Mt. Sinai and the great covenant of Elohim.  Now we are interrupted by this Law Code, this Mishpatim which covers many topics such as, property, justice, Shabbat, festivals and slavery but why here?  Why not continue the story leading up to the next dramatic moment, the sin of the golden calf?  Why interrupt the flow?  Because great leaders have the ability to connect a large vision with highly specific details.  Without the vision, the details are merely tiresome!  We need to catch the vision!

 

There is a well-known story of 3 men who are employed cutting blocks of stone.  When asked what they are doing, one says, “cutting stone”, the 2nd one says, “earning a living”, the 3rd one says, “building a palace.”  Those who have the larger picture take more pride in their labor, and work harder and better!  We must keep the vision before us; the ministry, Kingdom, parental and as grandparents.  However, we must pay attention to the details as Edison said, “Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration!”  The genius of the Torah was to apply this principle to society as a whole.  The Israelites had come through a transformative series of events like nothing before- none of it was accidental or incidental! 

 

Israelites had experienced slavery to make them cherish freedom.  They had suffered, so that they would know what it feels like to be on the wrong side of tyrannical power.  At Sinai, Elohim gave them a mission statement, “Become a Kingdom of Priests and a Holy Nation” under the sovereignty of Elohim alone!  They were to create a society built on principles of justice, human dignity and respect for life.  However, neither historical event or abstract ideals, not even the broad principles of the 10 commandments are sufficient to sustain a society in the long haul.  There we have the Torah!

 

Torah is to translate historical experience into detailed legislation that the Israelites would live what they had learned on a daily basis.   They could weave it into the very texture of their social life.  In the Mishpatim “Vision becomes detail and narrative becomes law.”  We see an example in Exodus 21:2-3…at a stroke, in this law, slavery is transformed from a condition of birth to a temporary circumstance.  It changes from who you are to what, for the time being, you do!  This law is the beginning of abolishing slavery!  In Exodus 21:20 a slave is not mere property.  He or she has a right to life.  Exodus 23:12 tells us that one day out of seven slaves were to breathe the air of freedom.  All 3 laws prepared the way to abolish slavery! 

 

Yale Law Professor Robert Cover wrote: “Nomos and Narrative.”  He said that beneath the laws of any given society is a “nomos,” that is, a vision of an ideal social order that the law is intended to create.  And behind every “nomos” is a narrative, a story about why the visionaries of that society came to have that specific vision of the ideal order

 they sought to build and Cover's examples are largely taken from the Torah.

 

Torah is really untranslatable because it means several different things that only appear together in the book that bears its name.  Torah means law, teaching, instructions, guidance, and direction.  It is also the generic name for the 1st 5 books that comprise both narrative and law!  Torah is a combination of nomos and narrative; history and law; experiences and how the Israelites sought to live it out so they would never forget the lessons they learned along the way.

 

What does Torah do?  Torah brings together vision and detail in a way that has never been surpassed.  This is how we lead our children:  We must inspire them with a vision, telling them why we should do what we are asked to do.  There must be a narrative…this is what happened, this is who we are, this is why the vision is so important to us.  Then there must be the law, the code, the complete attention to detail, that allow us to translate vision into reality and turn the pain of the past into the blessings of the future!

 

It is this extraordinary combination, to be found in almost no other law code, that gives Torah its enduring power.  Torah is a model for all who seek to lead people to greatness!  Is that you?

 

Shabbat Shalom Mishpocha,

 

Join us every Wednesday at 7 pm for Bible study and every Saturday at 11 am for Sabbath service at:

 

Lion of Judah Ministries

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Blackstone, Va. 


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Today is the day of Adonai so let us rejoice and be glad in it!  Gather with your kehillah for His Holy convocation and let Yah arise and let His enemies be scattered!  Rise up children of the Most High…Give out a war cry!  Let Yeshua take His Throne in your lives.  See you at the altar!

 

Shalom Aleichem

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