Tehillim / Psalms 19, Part 2, We Serve an Awesome God, the Creator of the Universe

0
276

This week’s study is from Tehillim / Psalms 19:1-15, The Psalm begins saying לַמְנַצֵּחַ מִזְמוֹר לְדָוִד For the director of music, A psalm of David. David saysב הַשָּׁמַיִם מְסַפְּרִים כְּבוֹד-אֵל וּמַעֲשֵֹה יָדָיו מַגִּיד הָרָקִיעַ: 19:1 The heavens are telling of the glory of God; And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands. (NASB) The vastness of the heavens declare God’s Glory, His creative power has been made known in His creation. David goes on to say ג יוֹם לְיוֹם יַבִּיעַ אֹמֶר וְלַיְלָה לְּלַיְלָה יְחַוֶּה-דָּעַת: ד אֵין אֹמֶר וְאֵין דְּבָרִים בְּלִי נִשְׁמָע קוֹלָם: 19:2 Day to day pours forth speech, And night to night reveals knowledge. 19:3 There is no speech, nor are there words; Their voice is not heard. (NASB) As each day continues from one to the next, the knowledge of God is made manifest, it is by the power of God the world continues on its course. The example David gives of this is in the sun saying ה בְּכָל-הָאָרֶץ | יָצָא קַוָּם וּבִקְצֵה תֵבֵל מִלֵּיהֶם לַשֶּׁמֶשׁ שָֹם אֹהֶל בָּהֶם: ו וְהוּא כְּחָתָן יֹצֵא מֵחֻפָּתוֹ יָשִֹישֹ כְּגִבּוֹר לָרוּץ אֹרַח: ז מִקְצֵה הַשָּׁמַיִם | מוֹצָאוֹ וּתְקוּפָתוֹ עַל-קְצוֹתָם וְאֵין נִסְתָּר מֵחַמָּתוֹ: 19:4 Their line has gone out through all the earth, And their utterances to the end of the world. In them He has placed a tent for the sun, 19:5 Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber; It rejoices as a strong man to run his course. 19:6 Its rising is from one end of the heavens, And its circuit to the other end of them; And there is nothing hidden from its heat. (NASB) The Lord has set the sun on its path and none can change that. Like the Lord who sets the stars on their path, so the Lord God Almighty, sets the soul of man on its path in His Torah. ח תּוֹרַת יְהֹוָה תְּמִימָה מְשִׁיבַת נָפֶשׁ עֵדוּת יְהֹוָה נֶאֱמָנָה מַחְכִּימַת פֶּתִי: ט פִּקּוּדֵי יְהֹוָה יְשָׁרִים מְשַֹמְּחֵי-לֵב מִצְוַת יְהֹוָה בָּרָה מְאִירַת עֵינָיִם: י יִרְאַת יְהֹוָה | טְהוֹרָה עוֹמֶדֶת לָעַד מִשְׁפְּטֵי-יְהֹוָה אֱמֶת צָדְקוּ יַחְדָּו: יא הַנֶּחֱמָדִים מִזָּהָב וּמִפָּז רָב וּמְתוּקִים מִדְּבַשׁ וְנֹפֶת צוּפִים: 19:7 The law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul; The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. 19:8 The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes. 19:9 The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; The judgments of the Lord are true; they are righteous altogether. 19:10 They are more desirable than gold, yes, than much fine gold; Sweeter also than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb. (NASB) The Lord makes known our faults and forgives our sins (19:11-13). David concludes asking the Lord’s help so his words and what he thinks upon will be acceptable in God’s sight. 19:14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my rock and my Redeemer. (NASB)

עברית Hebrew ארמי Aramaic ελληνικός Greek

ספר תהלים פרק יט

א לַמְנַצֵּחַ מִזְמוֹר לְדָוִד: ב הַשָּׁמַיִם מְסַפְּרִים כְּבוֹד-אֵל וּמַעֲשֵֹה יָדָיו מַגִּיד הָרָקִיעַ: ג יוֹם לְיוֹם יַבִּיעַ אֹמֶר וְלַיְלָה לְּלַיְלָה יְחַוֶּה-דָּעַת: ד אֵין אֹמֶר וְאֵין דְּבָרִים בְּלִי נִשְׁמָע קוֹלָם: ה בְּכָל-הָאָרֶץ | יָצָא קַוָּם וּבִקְצֵה תֵבֵל מִלֵּיהֶם לַשֶּׁמֶשׁ שָֹם אֹהֶל בָּהֶם:

סםר טוביה פרק זט

א לשבחא תושבחתא לדוד׃ ב דמסתכלין בשמיא משתעין יקרא דיהוה ועובדי ידוי מחוין דמדיקן באוירא׃ ג יומא ליומא מוסיף ומועי ומחוי מימרא וליליא לליליא פחית פעית ומחוי מנדעא׃

YALMOI 19

19:1 εἰς τὸ τέλος ψαλμὸς τῷ δαυιδ (2) οἱ οὐρανοὶ διηγοῦνται δόξαν θεοῦ ποίησιν δὲ χειρῶν αὐτοῦ ἀναγγέλλει τὸ στερέωμα 19:2 ἡμέρα τῇ ἡμέρᾳ ἐρεύγεται ῥῆμα καὶ νὺξ νυκτὶ ἀναγγέλλει γνῶσιν 19:3 οὐκ εἰσὶν λαλιαὶ οὐδὲ λόγοι ὧν οὐχὶ ἀκούονται αἱ φωναὶ αὐτῶν

ו וְהוּא כְּחָתָן יֹצֵא מֵחֻפָּתוֹ יָשִֹישֹ כְּגִבּוֹר לָרוּץ אֹרַח: ז מִקְצֵה הַשָּׁמַיִם | מוֹצָאוֹ וּתְקוּפָתוֹ עַל-קְצוֹתָם וְאֵין נִסְתָּר מֵחַמָּתוֹ: ח תּוֹרַת יְהֹוָה תְּמִימָה מְשִׁיבַת נָפֶשׁ עֵדוּת יְהֹוָה נֶאֱמָנָה מַחְכִּימַת פֶּתִי: ט פִּקּוּדֵי יְהֹוָה יְשָׁרִים מְשַֹמְּחֵי-לֵב מִצְוַת יְהֹוָה בָּרָה מְאִירַת עֵינָיִם: י יִרְאַת יְהֹוָה | טְהוֹרָה עוֹמֶדֶת לָעַד מִשְׁפְּטֵי-יְהֹוָה אֱמֶת צָדְקוּ יַחְדָּו: יא הַנֶּחֱמָדִים מִזָּהָב וּמִפָּז רָב וּמְתוּקִים מִדְּבַשׁ וְנֹפֶת צוּפִים: יב גַּם-עַבְדְּךָ נִזְהָר בָּהֶם בְּשָׁמְרָם עֵקֶב רָב: יג שְׁגִיאוֹת מִי-יָבִין מִנִּסְתָּרוֹת נַקֵּנִי: יד גַּם מִזֵּדִים | חֲשֹךְ עַבְדֶּךָ אַל-יִמְשְׁלוּ-בִי אָז אֵיתָם וְנִקֵּיתִי מִפֶּשַׁע רָב: טו יִהְיוּ לְרָצוֹן | אִמְרֵי-פִי וְהֶגְיוֹן לִבִּי לְפָנֶיךָ יְהֹוָה צוּרִי וְגֹאֲלִי:

ד לית מימר דתורעמתא ולית מילי דשגושא דלא משתמע קלהון׃ ה בכולא ארעא נפק מתח עיניניהון ובסייפי תבל מיליהון לשמשא שוי משרוי זיוהא זיהרא בהון׃ ו ואיהו הוא בצפרא במיפקיה יפוק היך חתנא דנפיק מגנוניה ובטיהרא יחדי היך גברא למרהט באורחא צריכוכא ובלפגות יומא יחדי היך גיברא דמטי למירהט בתקוף באורח מעלניה בפניא׃ ז מסייפי שמייא מפקניה ותוקפיה על סיטריהון ולית דמטמר מן ריתחיה׃ ח אוריתא דיהוה שלימתא מתיבא נפש סהדותא דיהוה מהימנא מחכמא שיברא׃ ט פקודיא דיהוה תריצין מחדין לבא פיקודא פוקדנא דיהוה ברירא מנהרא עיינין׃ י דחלתא דיהוה דכיא קיימא לעלמין לעלם דינייא דיהוה הימנותא זכיאו זכיין כחדא׃ יא דרגיגין מדהבא ומן אובריזין סגי ובסימין יתיר מן דיבשא וכבריתא חליאתא׃ יב ברם לחוד עבדך איזדהר בהון בדנטירינון חלופי היכנא אתעביד רבהון דישראל׃ יג שלויתא מן יחכם ומטמורות ומטמירתא זכי יתי׃ יד ברם מן זידונייא פצי עבדך דלא ישלטון בי הידין איזיין אהי בלא מום ואהי זכיי מחובא רבא׃ טו יהון לרעוא מימרי פומי וריננת רעיוני קדמך יהוה תוקפי ופריקי׃

19:4 εἰς πᾶσαν τὴν γῆν ἐξῆλθεν ὁ φθόγγος αὐτῶν καὶ εἰς τὰ πέρατα τῆς οἰκουμένης τὰ ῥήματα αὐτῶν ἐν τῷ ἡλίῳ ἔθετο τὸ σκήνωμα αὐτοῦ 19:5 καὶ αὐτὸς ὡς νυμφίος ἐκπορευόμενος ἐκ παστοῦ αὐτοῦ ἀγαλλιάσεται ὡς γίγας δραμεῖν ὁδὸν αὐτοῦ 19:6 ἀπ’ ἄκρου τοῦ οὐρανοῦ ἡ ἔξοδος αὐτοῦ καὶ τὸ κατάντημα αὐτοῦ ἕως ἄκρου τοῦ οὐρανοῦ καὶ οὐκ ἔστιν ὃς ἀποκρυβήσεται τὴν θέρμην αὐτοῦ 19:7 ὁ νόμος τοῦ κυρίου ἄμωμος ἐπιστρέφων ψυχάς ἡ μαρτυρία κυρίου πιστή σοφίζουσα νήπια 19:8 τὰ δικαιώματα κυρίου εὐθεῖα εὐφραίνοντα καρδίαν ἡ ἐντολὴ κυρίου τηλαυγής φωτίζουσα ὀφθαλμούς 19:9 ὁ φόβος κυρίου ἁγνός διαμένων εἰς αἰῶνα αἰῶνος τὰ κρίματα κυρίου ἀληθινά δεδικαιωμένα ἐπὶ τὸ αὐτό 19:10 ἐπιθυμητὰ ὑπὲρ χρυσίον καὶ λίθον τίμιον πολὺν καὶ γλυκύτερα ὑπὲρ μέλι καὶ κηρίον 19:11 καὶ γὰρ ὁ δοῦλός σου φυλάσσει αὐτά ἐν τῷ φυλάσσειν αὐτὰ ἀνταπόδοσις πολλή 19:12 παραπτώματα τίς συνήσει ἐκ τῶν κρυφίων μου καθάρισόν με 19:13 καὶ ἀπὸ ἀλλοτρίων φεῖσαι τοῦ δούλου σου ἐὰν μή μου κατακυριεύσωσιν τότε ἄμωμος ἔσομαι καὶ καθαρισθήσομαι ἀπὸ ἁμαρτίας μεγάλης 19:14 καὶ ἔσονται εἰς εὐδοκίαν τὰ λόγια τοῦ στόματός μου καὶ ἡ μελέτη τῆς καρδίας μου ἐνώπιόν σου διὰ παντός κύριε βοηθέ μου καὶ λυτρωτά μου

This week’s study is from Tehillim / Psalms 19:1-15, The Psalm begins saying לַמְנַצֵּחַ מִזְמוֹר לְדָוִד “For the director of music, A psalm of David.” David says ב הַשָּׁמַיִם מְסַפְּרִים כְּבוֹד-אֵל וּמַעֲשֵֹה יָדָיו מַגִּיד הָרָקִיעַ: 19:1 The heavens are telling of the glory of God; And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands. (NASB) Taking a biblical perspective directly from the Torah on the creation account we read in Bereshit / Genesis 1:1 the Scriptures say א בְּרֵאשִׁית בָּרָא אֱלֹהִים אֵת הַשָּׁמַיִם וְאֵת הָאָרֶץ: 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. (NASB) David sees and believes the vastness of the heavens declare God’s Glory; that His creative power has been made known in His creation. Today however, the process of the “creation of the heavens and the earth” by God has been questioned with regard to the biblical definition that God created by speaking into existence all life as we know it. In addition to this, our modern culture views scientific authority as having greater authority then God’s Word (the Bible). The debate over Creation vs. Evolution is the result of the interaction of science with religion. Having studied this topic to some extent, I have found there are various groups of people who hold numerous positions regarding creation and evolution. Some believe God used evolution in the creation process. Some believe that the biblical account of creation is just not scientific enough and needs to be reinterpreted. Others say the real issue is over “scientific authority” verses “biblical authority” as some have reported in the biblical research journals (i.e. Christopher P. Toumey, “Modern Creationism and Scientific Authority” Social Studies of Science, Vol. 21, No. 4 (Nov., 1991), pp. 681-699 ) There are a large number of bible believing Christians today who hold the position of “Theistic Evolution,” which is the idea that asserts that classical biblical teachings regarding creation are compatible with the modern scientific understanding of biological evolution. In short, theistic evolutionists believe that there is a God, and that God is the creator of the material universe and (by consequence) all life within the material universe, and that biological evolution is simply a natural process within God’s creation.

Tehillim / Psalms 19

For the director of music. A psalm of David. 19:1 The heavens are telling of the glory of God; And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands. 19:2 Day to day pours forth speech, And night to night reveals knowledge. 19:3 There is no speech, nor are there words; Their voice is not heard. 19:4 Their line has gone out through all the earth, And their utterances to the end of the world. In them He has placed a tent for the sun, 19:5 Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber; It rejoices as a strong man to run his course. 19:6 Its rising is from one end of the heavens, And its circuit to the other end of them; And there is nothing hidden from its heat. 19:7 The law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul; The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. 19:8 The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes. 19:9 The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; The judgments of the Lord are true; they are righteous altogether. 19:10 They are more desirable than gold, yes, than much fine gold; Sweeter also than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb. 19:11 Moreover, by them Your servant is warned; In keeping them there is great reward. 19:12 Who can discern his errors? Acquit me of hidden faults. 19:13 Also keep back Your servant from presumptuous sins; Let them not rule over me; Then I will be blameless, And I shall be acquitted of great transgression. 19:14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my rock and my Redeemer. (NASB)

Toviyah / Psalms Chapter 19

19:1 For praise; a psalm of David. 19:2 Those who behold the heavens tell of the glory of the Lord; those who gaze at the sky recount the works of his hands. 19:3 Day to day tells more of the word; but night to night tells less knowledge. 19:4 There is no utterance of complaint, and there are no words of confusion, for their voice is not heard. 19:5 The line of their conversation reaches through the whole earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them [the heavens] he placed a splendid dwelling for the sun. 19:6 And he, in the morning, when he comes forth, will come forth like a groom who comes out of his canopy, and in splendor will rejoice like a warrior to run the course. 19:7 His rising is at the ends of the earth, and his might reaches to all their edges; and there is none who can hide from his heat. 19:8 The Torah of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul; the testimony of the Lord is reliable, making wise the fool. 19:9 The commands of the Lord are upright, gladdening the heart; the command of the Lord is bright, enlightening the eyes. 19:10 The fear of the Lord is pure, lasting forever; the judgments of the Lord are faithfulness; they are altogether just. 19:11 More desirable than gold or than much fine gold; and more pleasant than honey or the sweet honeycombs. 19:12 Truly your servant has been careful for them, to observe them; because of this, he was made ruler of Israel. 19:13 Who knows unwitting sins? And from secret faults make me innocent. 19:14 Truly from the arrogant deliver your servant, that they may not rule over me; then I will be without blemish, and I will be innocent of great sin. 19:15 Let the utterances of my mouth and the thought of my mind be acceptable in your presence, O Lord, my strength and my redeemer. (EMC)

Psalmoi / Psalms 19

For the end, a Psalm of David. 19:1 The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims the work of his hands. 19:2 Day to day utters speech, and night to night proclaims knowledge. 19:3 There are no speeches or words, in which their voices are not heard. 19:4 Their voice is gone out into all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world. 19:5 In the sun he has set his tabernacle; and he comes forth as a bridegroom out of his chamber: he will exult as a giant to run his course. 19:6 His going forth is from the extremity of heaven, and his circuit to the other end of heaven: and no one shall be hidden from his heat. 19:7 The law of the Lord is perfect, converting souls: the testimony of the Lord is faithful, instructing babes. 19:8 The ordinances of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the Lord is bright, enlightening the eyes. 19:9 The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring for ever and ever: the judgments of the Lord are true, and justified altogether. 19:10 To be desired more than gold, and much precious stone: sweeter also than honey and the honey-comb. 19:11 For thy servant keeps to them: in the keeping of them there is great reward. 19:12 Who will understand his transgressions? purge thou me from my secret sins. 19:13 And spare thy servant the attack of strangers: if they do not gain the dominion over me, then shall I be blameless, and I shall be clear from great sin. 19:14 So shall the sayings of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be pleasing continually before thee, O Lord my helper, and my redeemer. (LXX)

Evolution, according to this view, is simply a tool that God utilizes to develop human life. Now there are a number of assumptions that enter into the evolutionary theories that are postulated today which are debatable. But the real question at hand before us with regard to David’s words in Tehillim / Psalms 19:2, is regarding whether one has a sufficient knowledge of the Scriptures in order to objectively examine these evolutionary theories that are in postulated today? I propose that the debate of Creation vs. Evolution is not so much the result of the interaction of science with religion, as it is a function of not having a strong understanding of the Scriptures. Let’s examine this a little further.

In order to illustrate this point, we will be looking at one theory in particular taken from theistic evolution that proposes God did not create in a “literal” six – twenty four hour day period according to Bereshit / Genesis 1. This theory is known as the “Gap Theory.” Because of the accepted teachings of evolution, many have tried to place a gap of indeterminate time between the first two verses of Bereshit / Genesis 1. Bereshit / Genesis 1:1–2 states: א בְּרֵאשִׁית בָּרָא אֱלֹהִים אֵת הַשָּׁמַיִם וְאֵת הָאָרֶץ: ב וְהָאָרֶץ הָיְתָה תֹהוּ וָבֹהוּ וְחשֶׁךְ עַל-פְּנֵי תְהוֹם וְרוּחַ אֱלֹהִים מְרַחֶפֶת עַל-פְּנֵי הַמָּיִם: 1In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.” Many people have made attempts over the years to harmonize the Genesis account of creation with the accepted geologic time periods and its teaching of billions of years for the age of the earth. Examples of such attempts include the views of theistic evolution which include progressive creation and the gap theory.

The idea of the gap theory can be traced back to the rather obscure writings of the Dutchman Episcopius (1583–1643), but it was first recorded from one of the lectures of Thomas Chalmers. (I. Taylor, In the Minds of Men: Darwin and the New World Order, TFE Publishing, Toronto, Canada, 1984, 363.) Chalmers (1780–1847) was a notable Scottish theologian and the first moderator of the Free Church of Scotland, and he was perhaps the man most responsible for the gap theory. (W. W. Fields, Unformed and Unfilled, Burgeners Enterprises, Collinsville, Illinois, 1976, 40) Rev. William Buckland, a geologist, also did much to popularize this idea. Chalmers’ writings give very little information about the gap theory, (W. Hanna, ed., Natural Theology, Selected works of Thomas Chalmers, Vol. 5, Thomas Constable, Edinburgh, 1857, 146) many of the details are obtained from other writers, such as the nineteenth century geologist Hugh Miller, who quoted from Chalmers’ lectures on the subject. (H. Miller, The Testimony of the Rocks, Boston, Gould and Lincoln, New York, 1867, 143) The most notably influential nineteenth century writer to popularize this view was G. H. Pember, in his book Earth’s Earliest Ages, (G.H. Pember, Earth’s Earliest Ages, H. Revell Company, New York, 1900) first published in 1884. The 20th-century writer who attempted an academic defense of the gap theory was Arthur C. Custance in his work titled “Without Form and Void.” (A.C. Custance, Without Form and Void, Brookville, Canada, 1970). In addition to this, modern Bible study aids such as the Scofield’s Reference Bible, Dake’s Annotated Reference Bible, and The Newberry Reference Bible also include the gap theory and have influenced many to accept this teaching of vast ages in between the days of creation. The basic reason for developing and promoting this view can be seen from the following quotations from these commentaries:

  1. Scofield Study Bible: “Relegate fossils to the primitive creation, and no conflict of science with the Genesis cosmogony remains.” (C.I. Scofield, Ed., The Scofield Study Bible, Oxford University Press, New York, 1945) Note that the Scofield Reference Bible was originally published in 1909 and the 1945 verse was unaltered from the original of 1909. Notice how Scofield believes there is a conflict between science and the biblical account of Creation, and with this presupposition, the gap theory is the only plausible explanation.
  2. Dake’s Annotated Reference Bible: “When men finally agree on the age of the earth, then place the many years (over the historical 6,000) between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2, there will be no conflict between the Book of Genesis and science.” (F.H. Dake, Dake’s Annotated Reference Bible, Dake Bible Sales, Lawrenceville, Georgia, 1961, 51) Drake’s commentary also believe that the biblical creation account must be reinterpreted by overlaying vast time periods between the days of creation.

These quotes are typical of the compromise of modern theology. Many people now equate the teaching of millions of years and evolution with science. However, these teachings are not science in the empirical (repeatable and testable) sense. In evolutionary Science, scientists have only the present to work with and to connect the present to the past involves interpretations based on unprovable assumptions. Note that in empirical science, we begin with assumptions that then lead to experimentation. It is then by experiment that we are able to verify our assumptions by repeatable testing. It is not empirically possible to test the assumptions of evolutionary science.

There are many variations of the gap theory. According to the author Weston Fields, the theory is summarized as follows, “In the far distant dateless past, God created a perfect heaven and perfect earth. Satan was ruler of the earth which was peopled by a race of ‘men’ without any souls. Eventually, Satan, who dwelled in a garden of Eden composed of minerals (Ezekiel 28), rebelled by desiring to become like God (Isaiah 14). Because of Satan’s fall, sin entered the universe and brought on the earth God’s judgment in the form of a flood (indicated by the water of 1:2), and then a global ice age when the light and heat from the sun were somehow removed. All the plant, animal, and human fossils upon the earth today date from this ‘Lucifer’s flood’ and do not bear any genetic relationship with the plants, animals, and fossils living upon the earth today.” (Weston W. Fields, Unformed and Unfilled, A Critique of the Gap Theory, Burgener Enterprises, 1997). As can be seen here in Weston’s story, many assumptions must be made, such as a race of men without souls. A race of men “with” souls would obviously present a serious theological problem. Other versions of the gap theory state that the fossil record (geologic column) formed over millions of years, and then God destroyed the earth with a catastrophe (i.e., Lucifer’s flood) that left it “without form and void.” Western Bible commentaries written before the eighteenth century (i.e. before the belief in a long age for the earth became popular) knew nothing of any gap between Bereshit / Genesis 1:1 and 1:2. As noted, some commentaries propose intervals of various lengths of time for reasons relating to Satan’s fall, but none proposed a ruin-reconstruction situation or a pre-Adamite world. In the nineteenth century, it became popular to believe that the geological changes occurred slowly and roughly at the present rate known as uniformitarianism. With the increased acceptance of uniformitarianism, many theologians urged reinterpretation of Genesis with ideas such as day-age, progressive creation, theistic evolution, and days-of-revelation, etc.

It was stated earlier “I propose that the debate of Creation vs. Evolution is not so much the result of the interaction of science with religion, as it is a function of not having a strong understanding of the Scriptures.” So, the gap theory was proposed as an attempt to incorporate the evolutionary ages of millions of years that are attributed to geology and astronomy into the creation record of the Bible. According to this idea, Bereshit / Genesis 1:1 describes the initial creation of the universe. Following this the standard events of cosmic evolution took place, which eventually produced our solar system approximately five billion years ago. Then, on the earth, the various geologic ages followed, as identified by their respective assemblages of fossils within the modern interpretation of the fossil record. Did the Lord God Almighty create the earth within a twenty-four hour day, or were there gaps between the days? The gap theory was developed mainly for the purpose of accommodating the great ages demanded by evolutionary geologists and the sad point is that faith in the Scriptures took a second seat with regard to mans personal opinion. Regarding the Gap Theory, does the Bible teach billions of years of animals suffering and dying before Bereshit / Genesis 1:2? Let’s examine the Scriptures.

Summary of the Scriptures

  1. Shemot / Exodus 20:11 states, “For in six days the Lord made the heavens and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it.” According to Moshe in the Torah from Shemot / Exodus 20:11, the creation of the heavens and the earth (Bereshit / Genesis 1:1) and the sea and all that is in them (the living creatures) was completed in six days. Based on Moshe’s interpretation, these were six twenty-four hour days, there is no time for millions of years.
  2. The Gap Theory places death, disease, and suffering before the fall of man into sin, contrary to the Scriptural account.
  3. Romans 5:12 states, “Therefore, just as through one man [Adam] sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned.” Based upon the Apostle Paul’s understanding of Yeshua and the resurrection, there could not have been human sin or death before Adam. Note that contained within evolutionary theory is the idea of death and dying that produces change across successive generations in the inherited characteristics of biological populations. Evolutionary processes give rise to diversity at every level of biological organization, including species, individual organisms and molecules such as DNA and proteins. Keeping this in mind, the Scriptures teach in 1 Corinthians 15 that Adam was the first man, and as a result of his rebellion (sin), death and corruption (disease, bloodshed, and suffering) entered the universe. Before Adam sinned, there could not have been any animal or human death. Note also that there could not have been a race of men before Adam that died in Lucifer’s flood because 1 Corinthians 15:45 tells us that Adam was the first man.
  4. Bereshit / Genesis 1:29–30 indicates that animals and man were originally created to eat plants, which is consistent with God’s description of His creation as “very good.” Note that the fossil record, gives evidence of disease, violence, death, and decay (i.e. fossils have been found of animals fighting and eating each other), be described as “very good?” If death, violence, and decay were a part of God’s plan it would destroy the Scriptural account of sin and death and the reason for Yeshua coming to this earth. The historical event of the global Flood, recorded in Genesis, explains the presence of huge numbers of dead animals buried in rock layers, laid down by water all over the earth.
  5. Romans 8:22 teaches that “the whole creation groans and travails in pain together until now.” The Apostle Paul clearly believed the whole of creation was, and is, subject to decay and corruption because of sin. When gap theorists believe that disease, decay, and death existed before Adam sinned, they ignore that this contradicts the teaching of Scripture.
  6. The version of the gap theory that puts Satan’s fall at the end of the geological ages, just before the supposed Lucifer’s flood that destroyed all pre-Adamite life, has a further problem, this belief suggests that the death and suffering recorded in the fossils is God’s fault, since it happened before Satan’s fall, HaSatan (the deceiver) and sin cannot be blamed for it.

    According to the short summary of Scripture, the Bible does not teach billions of years of animals suffering, and dying before Bereshit / Genesis 1:2. If there really had been billions of years of suffering and death, why would God say nothing about it? The best that can be offered in support of such a notion are some out of context quotes from Isaiah and Jeremiah, along with an “ad hoc” translation of Bereshit / Genesis 1:1-2. The Scriptures say the whole of creation groans because of the curse pronounced by God because of man’s sin (Bereshit / Genesis 3:17-19). We know according to the Scriptures that death and destruction was not part of God’s “very good” creation. No death was in the world until sin entered through disobedience into the world! (Romans 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned, KJV, 1 Corinthians 15:21 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. KJV) In fact, death itself are “the wages of sin” (Romans 6:23) and the gift of God is eternal life through Yeshua our Lord according to the Scriptures. The gap theory undermines the very gospel of our salvation, as well as the Holy character of God!

    Let’s take a closer look (looking at the Hebraic Perspective) at the creation account in sefer Bereshit (the book of Genesis). Studying the numbering of the Hebrew days of the week, in the Hebrew bible, the Hebrew days of the week are numerical, as opposed to the world cultures naming the days after pagan gods. The numbering scheme may be found in the creation account in the first chapter of Genesis.

    ימי השבוע Transliteration “The days of the week”

    יום ראשון Yom rishon First Day

    יום שני Yom shni Second Day

    יום שלישי Yom shelishi Third Day

    יום רביעי Yom revii Fourth Day

    יום חמישי Yom khmishi Fifth Day

    יום שישי Yom Shishi Sixth Day

    יום שבת Yom shabbat Seventh Day (Sabbath Day)

    Note that the seventh day יום שבת (Yom Shabbat) Sabbath, שבת is taken from the feminine noun meaning “to sit or dwell.” In this noun form it implies the “day of rest.” Even though in Genesis it is called יום שביעי, today we only call this day יום שבת (Yom shabbat) in terms of a day of the week, or (Shabbat) שבת in terms of worship. In addition to this, the days of the week are normally written as ordinal numbers and not as counting numbers:

    Ordinal Numbers NOT Counting Numbers

    ראשון “First” אחת “One”

    שני “Second” שתים “Two”

    שלישי “Third” שלוש “Three”

    רביעי “Fourth” ארבע “Four”

    חמישי “Fifth” חמש “Five”

    שישי “Sixth” שש “Six”

    שביעי “Seventh” שבע “Seven”

    Let’s look at the first couple verses from Bereshit / Genesis chapter 1.

    ספר בראשית פרק א

    א בְּרֵאשִׁית בָּרָא אֱלֹהִים אֵת הַשָּׁמַיִם וְאֵת הָאָרֶץ: ב וְהָאָרֶץ הָיְתָה תֹהוּ וָבֹהוּ וְחשֶׁךְ עַל-פְּנֵי תְהוֹם וְרוּחַ אֱלֹהִים מְרַחֶפֶת עַל-פְּנֵי הַמָּיִם: ג וַיֹּאמֶר אֱלֹהִים יְהִי-אוֹר וַיְהִי-אוֹר: ד וַיַּרְא אֱלֹהִים אֶת-הָאוֹר כִּי-טוֹב וַיַּבְדֵּל אֱלֹהִים בֵּין הָאוֹר וּבֵין הַחֹשֶׁךְ: ה וַיִּקְרָא אֱלֹהִים | לָאוֹר יוֹם וְלַחֹשֶׁךְ קָרָא לָיְלָה וַיְהִי-עֶרֶב וַיְהִי-בֹקֶר יוֹם אֶחָד: פ ו וַיֹּאמֶר אֱלֹהִים יְהִי רָקִיעַ בְּתוֹךְ הַמָּיִם וִיהִי מַבְדִּיל בֵּין מַיִם לָמָיִם: ז וַיַּעַשֹ אֱלֹהִים אֶת-הָרָקִיעַ וַיַּבְדֵּל בֵּין הַמַּיִם אֲשֶׁר מִתַּחַת לָרָקִיעַ וּבֵין הַמַּיִם אֲשֶׁר מֵעַל לָרָקִיעַ וַיְהִי-כֵן: ח וַיִּקְרָא אֱלֹהִים לָרָקִיעַ שָׁמָיִם וַיְהִי-עֶרֶב וַיְהִי-בֹקֶר יוֹם שֵׁנִי: פ ט וַיֹּאמֶר אֱלֹהִים יִקָּווּ הַמַּיִם מִתַּחַת הַשָּׁמַיִם אֶל-מָקוֹם אֶחָד וְתֵרָאֶה הַיַּבָּשָׁה וַיְהִי-כֵן: י וַיִּקְרָא אֱלֹהִים | לַיַּבָּשָׁה אֶרֶץ וּלְמִקְוֵה הַמַּיִם קָרָא יַמִּים וַיַּרְא אֱלֹהִים כִּי-טוֹב: יא וַיֹּאמֶר אֱלֹהִים תַּדְשֵׁא הָאָרֶץ דֶּשֶׁא עֵשֶֹב מַזְרִיעַ זֶרַע עֵץ פְּרִי עֹשֶֹה פְּרִי לְמִינוֹ אֲשֶׁר זַרְעוֹ-בוֹ עַל-הָאָרֶץ וַיְהִי-כֵן: יב וַתּוֹצֵא הָאָרֶץ דֶּשֶׁא עֵשֶֹב מַזְרִיעַ זֶרַע לְמִינֵהוּ וְעֵץ עֹשֶֹה-פְּרִי אֲשֶׁר זַרְעוֹ-בוֹ לְמִינֵהוּ וַיַּרְא אֱלֹהִים כִּי-טוֹב: יג וַיְהִי-עֶרֶב וַיְהִי-בֹקֶר יוֹם שְׁלִישִׁי:

    Summary of Evolutionary Theory in parallel with the Scriptures

    The Scriptures

    The world was created in six 24 hour periods. (Bereshit / Genesis 1, Shemot / Exodus 20:8-11)

    The oceans were created before land (Bereshit / Genesis 1:2)

    The first life was on land (Bereshit / Genesis 1:11)

    The earth was created before sun and stars (Bereshit / Genesis 1:4)

    Fruit trees were created before fish (Bereshit / Genesis 1:11, 20, 21)

    Birds and fish were created on the fifth day (Bereshit / Genesis 1:20-21)

    Birds were created before insects (Bereshit / Genesis 1:20-31, Vayikra / Leviticus 11)

    Whales were created before reptiles (Bereshit / Genesis 1:20-31)

    Man was created before woman (Bereshit / Genesis 2:21-22)

    Plants were created before the sun (Bereshit / Genesis 1:11-19)

    An abundance of marine life was created all at once (Bereshit / Genesis 1:20-21)

    Man’s body was created from the dust of the earth (Bereshit / Genesis 2:7)

    All life was created in distinct and fixed kinds (Bereshit / Genesis 1:11,12,21,24,25; 1 Corinthians 15:38-39)

    Man’s sin (rebellion) was the source of death (Romans 5:12)

    Evolutionary Theory

    The world has evolved over billions of years.

    The land came about before the ocean

    Life began in the oceans

    The sun and stars came about before the earth

    Fish evolved before fruit trees

    Fish evolved hundreds of millions of years before birds appeared

    Insects came before birds

    Reptiles came before whales

    Woman came before man (by genetics)

    The sun came before the plants (before any life)

    All of marine life gradually developed from a primitive organic blob.

    Man evolved from apes

    All life forms are in a continual state of flux

    Struggle and death has always existed, billions of years prior to humanity

    The days of the week may be seen in the creation account in Bereshit / Genesis 1. Regarding the Hebraic numbering scheme, “the first day” is not written as יום ראשון (first day); it is written as יום אחד (yom ekhad) “one day” or “a day.” The reason the first day is written using the word אחד (echad) is that this establishes the contents of “a day.” “One” day represents the period of time that God established after light and darkness were separated, and then He called its two parts (light and darkness) “one day,” here the Lord was establishing the twenty-four hour period that represents one day. The emphasis in Bereshit / Genesis 1:5 is not on the order but, rather, on the contents, nature and purpose of a full twenty-four day that God is creating. The order of the days of the week begins in the following verses with the Hebrew words יום שני (yom sheni). Based on the analysis of the Hebrew text, the gap theory does not hold up to the scrutiny of the Scriptures! The Scriptures state that God created all of creation in six ordinary twenty-four hour days. The Lord God did not institute evolution; he literally spoke the universe into existence. Take for example the summary of the Scriptural account of creation with regard to what is taught in evolutionary theory.

    Studying the creation account and the tenants of evolutionary theory, one stands against many things written in God’s Word. Many sincere believers have developed reinterpretations of Scripture to avoid what is thought to be intellectual conflicts with popular scientific ideas. The gap theory was one such reinterpretation designed to fit the Scriptures with these scientific concepts that arose in the early 1800s and are still popular today. In reality, the gap theory overlooks some very important biblical truths, those truths that are related to sin, death, and Yeshua the Messiah. This is disastrous for ones faith because it breaks down the very foundation of truth that is found within God’s Word regarding the Lord’s reason and plan for redemption. Today, compromising ones faith in the Scriptures have lead to other positions, such as progressive creation or theistic evolution, that have mostly replaced the gap theory. The attempt to maintain a literal Genesis while trying to adhere to the long ages (millions of years), opens the door for greater compromise in one’s own life and in generations to come. Regardless of the interpretation (gap theory, day-age/progressive creation, or theistic evolution) the results are the same. These positions lead to the weakening of ones faith, and denial of the truths found within the Word of God creating doubt at the very beginning of God’s word. David said in Tehillim / Psalms 19:1 ב הַשָּׁמַיִם מְסַפְּרִים כְּבוֹד-אֵל וּמַעֲשֵֹה יָדָיו מַגִּיד הָרָקִיעַ: 19:1 The heavens are telling of the glory of God; And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands. (NASB) Taking a biblical perspective directly from the Torah on the creation account in Bereshit / Genesis 1:1 the Scriptures say א בְּרֵאשִׁית בָּרָא אֱלֹהִים אֵת הַשָּׁמַיִם וְאֵת הָאָרֶץ: 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. (NASB) David sees and believes the vastness of the heavens declare God’s Glory; that by His creative power He has made Himself known, He is the Almighty God according to His creation. Is it possible to praise the glory of God by His magnificent creation if His plan was for death, dying, and destruction through his creative process? Is it possible to believe in the account of the first man falling while holding the position (belief) that God used evolution in His creative process? Do we have to believe that God created men without souls in order to fit evolution into the creation story? These are very important questions for us today and is very much connected to our understanding of who God is, the reason there is disease, death, and pain in this world, and why God foretold of sending His Messiah Yeshua, to save us from our sins.

    David goes on to say ג יוֹם לְיוֹם יַבִּיעַ אֹמֶר וְלַיְלָה לְּלַיְלָה יְחַוֶּה-דָּעַת: ד אֵין אֹמֶר וְאֵין דְּבָרִים בְּלִי נִשְׁמָע קוֹלָם: 19:2 Day to day pours forth speech, And night to night reveals knowledge. 19:3 There is no speech, nor are there words; Their voice is not heard. (NASB) Here David says that the day speaks and the night reveals knowledge but there are no words and the sound of their voice is not heard. What does David mean saying that the day gives speech and the night knowledge but that one cannot hear their voice? The Aramaic translation states ג יומא ליומא מוסיף ומועי ומחוי מימרא וליליא לליליא פחית פעית ומחוי מנדעא׃ ד לית מימר דתורעמתא ולית מילי דשגושא דלא משתמע קלהון׃ 19:3 Day to day tells more of the word; but night to night tells less knowledge. 19:4 There is no utterance of complaint, and there are no words of confusion, for their voice is not heard. (EMC) The Septuagint agrees with the Hebrew and Aramaic translations stating 19:2 ἡμέρα τῇ ἡμέρᾳ ἐρεύγεται ῥῆμα καὶ νὺξ νυκτὶ ἀναγγέλλει γνῶσιν 19:3 οὐκ εἰσὶν λαλιαὶ οὐδὲ λόγοι ὧν οὐχὶ ἀκούονται αἱ φωναὶ αὐτῶν 19:2 Day to day utters speech, and night to night proclaims knowledge. 19:3 There are no speeches or words, in which their voices are not heard. (LXX) It seems that David is saying that as each day continues from one day to the next, we know that God is sovereign over the world. As each day continues from one to the next, the knowledge of God is made manifest, it is by the power of God the world continues on its course. David uses the example of the sun saying ה בְּכָל-הָאָרֶץ | יָצָא קַוָּם וּבִקְצֵה תֵבֵל מִלֵּיהֶם לַשֶּׁמֶשׁ שָֹם אֹהֶל בָּהֶם: ו וְהוּא כְּחָתָן יֹצֵא מֵחֻפָּתוֹ יָשִֹישֹ כְּגִבּוֹר לָרוּץ אֹרַח: ז מִקְצֵה הַשָּׁמַיִם | מוֹצָאוֹ וּתְקוּפָתוֹ עַל-קְצוֹתָם וְאֵין נִסְתָּר מֵחַמָּתוֹ: 19:4 Their line has gone out through all the earth, And their utterances to the end of the world. In them He has placed a tent for the sun, 19:5 Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber; It rejoices as a strong man to run his course. 19:6 Its rising is from one end of the heavens, And its circuit to the other end of them; And there is nothing hidden from its heat. (NASB) The Lord has set the sun on its path and none can change that. The Aramaic translation states the following:

    ה בכולא ארעא נפק מתח עיניניהון ובסייפי תבל מיליהון לשמשא שוי משרוי זיוהא זיהרא בהון׃ ו ואיהו הוא בצפרא במיפקיה יפוק היך חתנא דנפיק מגנוניה ובטיהרא יחדי היך גברא למרהט באורחא צריכוכא ובלפגות יומא יחדי היך גיברא דמטי למירהט בתקוף באורח מעלניה בפניא׃ ז מסייפי שמייא מפקניה ותוקפיה על סיטריהון ולית דמטמר מן ריתחיה׃

    19:5 The line of their conversation reaches through the whole earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them [the heavens] he placed a splendid dwelling for the sun. 19:6 And he, in the morning, when he comes forth, will come forth like a groom who comes out of his canopy, and in splendor will rejoice like a warrior to run the course. 19:7 His rising is at the ends of the earth, and his might reaches to all their edges; and there is none who can hide from his heat.

    The rabbis continue the thought of the day providing speech, a conversation that reaches all of the earth. What is the day speaking? The conversation that is being referred to is the light and heat from the sun that fills all of the earth. Here in Tehillim / Psalms 19:5-7 a parallel is drawn between “light” and “speech.” Studying the word “light” in the Scriptures, how many ways is the word “light” used? The difference between light and darkness can be understood as a parallel between the knowledge of good and evil. In the light one is able to judge how others are walking and to choose the right path to walk in. Darkness is used to hide ones evil ways, to walk in wickedness without others observing what you are doing. Light has also been used to illustrate the choice of whether to follow the commandments of God, and hope for His eternal rewards, and darkness to follow the enticings of the devil which persuade man to do evil and become captive and damned to hell in eternal darkness. These concepts are actually incorporated into the first epistle of John chapter 1.

    1 John 1:4-10

    1:4 These things we write, so that our joy may be made complete. 1:5 This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. 1:6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; 1:7 but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. 1:8 If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1:10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us. (NASB)

    4καὶ ταῦτα γράφομεν ἡμεῖς ἵνα ἡ χαρὰ ἡμῶν ᾖ πεπληρωμένη. 5Καὶ ἔστιν αὕτη ἡ ἀγγελία ἣν ἀκηκόαμεν ἀπ’ αὐτοῦ καὶ ἀναγγέλλομεν ὑμῖν, ὅτι ὁ θεὸς φῶς ἐστιν καὶ σκοτία ἐν αὐτῷ οὐκ ἔστιν οὐδεμία. 6Ἐὰν εἴπωμεν ὅτι κοινωνίαν ἔχομεν μετ’ αὐτοῦ καὶ ἐν τῷ σκότει περιπατῶμεν, ψευδόμεθα καὶ οὐ ποιοῦμεν τὴν ἀλήθειαν: 7ἐὰν δὲ ἐν τῷ φωτὶ περιπατῶμεν ὡς αὐτός ἐστιν ἐν τῷ φωτί, κοινωνίαν ἔχομεν μετ’ ἀλλήλων καὶ τὸ αἷμα Ἰησοῦ τοῦ υἱοῦ αὐτοῦ καθαρίζει ἡμᾶς ἀπὸ πάσης ἁμαρτίας. 8ἐὰν εἴπωμεν ὅτι ἁμαρτίαν οὐκ ἔχομεν, ἑαυτοὺς πλανῶμεν καὶ ἡ ἀλήθεια οὐκ ἔστιν ἐν ἡμῖν. 9ἐὰν ὁμολογῶμεν τὰς ἁμαρτίας ἡμῶν, πιστός ἐστιν καὶ δίκαιος ἵνα ἀφῇ ἡμῖν τὰς ἁμαρτίας καὶ καθαρίσῃ ἡμᾶς ἀπὸ πάσης ἀδικίας. 10ἐὰν εἴπωμεν ὅτι οὐχ ἡμαρτήκαμεν, ψεύστην ποιοῦμεν αὐτὸν καὶ ὁ λόγος αὐτοῦ οὐκ ἔστιν ἐν ἡμῖν.

    Here John says that God is Light and in Him is no darkness. Notice in the Aramaic translation how the rabbis say ד לית מימר דתורעמתא ולית מילי דשגושא דלא משתמע קלהון׃ 19:4 There is no utterance of complaint, and there are no words of confusion, for their voice is not heard. (EMC) Darkness is paralleled to the utterance of complaint and words of confusion. In the Lord God Almighty, there is no darkness. God is not the author of confusion. And using this analogy, John says that if we say we have fellowship with the Lord and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. Thus, the difference between light and darkness is also understood as knowing the difference between truth and falsehood. John says that if we walk in the light (see 1 John 1:7-9), just as He is in the Light, we have fellowship with Him, and with one another. In addition to this, the blood of Yeshua His Son cleanses us from all sin. Based upon these verses, if one walks in sin (practices sin), the blood of Christ does not cleanse from that sin. In light of these Scriptures, how important is it to repent and turn from our sins according to the first epistle of John? Yeshua said in Mark 9:43-49, 43Καὶ ἐὰν σκανδαλίζῃ σε ἡ χείρ σου, ἀπόκοψον αὐτήν: καλόν ἐστίν σε κυλλὸν εἰσελθεῖν εἰς τὴν ζωὴν ἢ τὰς δύο χεῖρας ἔχοντα ἀπελθεῖν εἰς τὴν γέενναν, εἰς τὸ πῦρ τὸ ἄσβεστον. 44καὶ 45ἐὰν ὁ πούς σου σκανδαλίζῃ σε, ἀπόκοψον αὐτόν: καλόν ἐστίν σε εἰσελθεῖν εἰς τὴν ζωὴν χωλὸν ἢ τοὺς δύο πόδας ἔχοντα βληθῆναι εἰς τὴν γέενναν. 46καὶ 47ἐὰν ὁ ὀφθαλμός σου σκανδαλίζῃ σε, ἔκβαλε αὐτόν: καλόν σέ ἐστιν μονόφθαλμον εἰσελθεῖν εἰς τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ θεοῦ ἢ δύο ὀφθαλμοὺς ἔχοντα βληθῆναι εἰς τὴν γέενναν, 48ὅπου ὁ σκώληξ αὐτῶν οὐ τελευτᾷ καὶ τὸ πῦρ οὐ σβέννυται: 49πᾶς γὰρ πυρὶ ἁλισθήσεται. 9:43 ‘If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life crippled, than, having your two hands, to go into hell, into the unquenchable fire, 9:44 where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched. 9:45 ‘If your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life lame, than, having your two feet, to be cast into hell, 9:46 where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched. 9:47 ‘If your eye causes you to stumble, throw it out; it is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye, than, having two eyes, to be cast into hell, 9:48 where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched. 9:49 ‘For everyone will be salted with fire. (NASB) It is better to go in this life crippled than to have two hands, two eyes, or two feet in this life and go to hell in the next. The light of God sets us free, the light of God gives truth. The Apostle John wrote in his gospel saying 1Ἐν ἀρχῇ ἦν ὁ λόγος, καὶ ὁ λόγος ἦν πρὸς τὸν θεόν, καὶ θεὸς ἦν ὁ λόγος. 2οὗτος ἦν ἐν ἀρχῇ πρὸς τὸν θεόν. 3πάντα δι’ αὐτοῦ ἐγένετο, καὶ χωρὶς αὐτοῦ ἐγένετο οὐδὲ ἕν. ὃ γέγονεν 4ἐν αὐτῷ ζωὴ ἦν, καὶ ἡ ζωὴ ἦν τὸ φῶς τῶν ἀνθρώπων: 5καὶ τὸ φῶς ἐν τῇ σκοτίᾳ φαίνει, καὶ ἡ σκοτία αὐτὸ οὐ κατέλαβεν. 6Ἐγένετο ἄνθρωπος ἀπεσταλμένος παρὰ θεοῦ, ὄνομα αὐτῷ Ἰωάννης: 7οὗτος ἦλθεν εἰς μαρτυρίαν, ἵνα μαρτυρήσῃ περὶ τοῦ φωτός, ἵνα πάντες πιστεύσωσιν δι’ αὐτοῦ. 8οὐκ ἦν ἐκεῖνος τὸ φῶς, ἀλλ’ ἵνα μαρτυρήσῃ περὶ τοῦ φωτός. 9ην τὸ φῶς τὸ ἀληθινόν, ὃ φωτίζει πάντα ἄνθρωπον, ἐρχόμενον εἰς τὸν κόσμον. 10ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ ἦν, καὶ ὁ κόσμος δι’ αὐτοῦ ἐγένετο, καὶ ὁ κόσμος αὐτὸν οὐκ ἔγνω. 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 1:2 He was in the beginning with God. 1:3 All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. 1:4 In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. 1:5 The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. 1:6 There came a man sent from God, whose name was John. 1:7 He came as a witness, to testify about the Light, so that all might believe through him. 1:8 He was not the Light, but he came to testify about the Light. 1:9 There was the true Light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man. 1:10 He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. (NASB) Here John uses the “Light” as a circumlocution for God, and the Word of God that created the world. Note how this comes full circle right back to the creation, God spoke all of creation into existence (Bereshit / Genesis 1) and that in the beginning, the first of God’s creation was the “light,” the truth, that God exists and it is by His power He created all life; just as David said in Tehillim / Psalms 19:1 ב הַשָּׁמַיִם מְסַפְּרִים כְּבוֹד-אֵל וּמַעֲשֵֹה יָדָיו מַגִּיד הָרָקִיעַ: 19:1 The heavens are telling of the glory of God; And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands. (NASB)

    David gives the example of the sun, that God set the sun in its path (ה בְּכָל-הָאָרֶץ | יָצָא קַוָּם וּבִקְצֵה תֵבֵל מִלֵּיהֶם לַשֶּׁמֶשׁ שָֹם אֹהֶל בָּהֶם: ו וְהוּא כְּחָתָן יֹצֵא מֵחֻפָּתוֹ יָשִֹישֹ כְּגִבּוֹר לָרוּץ אֹרַח: ז מִקְצֵה הַשָּׁמַיִם | מוֹצָאוֹ וּתְקוּפָתוֹ עַל-קְצוֹתָם וְאֵין נִסְתָּר מֵחַמָּתוֹ: 19:4 Their line has gone out through all the earth, And their utterances to the end of the world. In them He has placed a tent for the sun, 19:5 Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber; It rejoices as a strong man to run his course. 19:6 Its rising is from one end of the heavens, And its circuit to the other end of them; And there is nothing hidden from its heat. NASB) The setting of the sun in its path is paralleled to the Lord who sets the soul of man onto the path (His path) of righteousness. How does God set the soul of man on His path of righteousness? How does God make one wise? How does God restore the soul? David goes on to explain how the Lord does this in Tehillim / Psalms 19:7-8 (8-9).

    Masoretic Text

    ח תּוֹרַת יְהֹוָה תְּמִימָה מְשִׁיבַת נָפֶשׁ עֵדוּת יְהֹוָה נֶאֱמָנָה מַחְכִּימַת פֶּתִי: ט פִּקּוּדֵי יְהֹוָה יְשָׁרִים מְשַֹמְּחֵי-לֵב מִצְוַת יְהֹוָה בָּרָה מְאִירַת עֵינָיִם:

    19:7 The law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul; The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. 19:8 The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes. (NASB)

    Aramaic Targum

    ח אוריתא דיהוה שלימתא מתיבא נפש סהדותא דיהוה מהימנא מחכמא שיברא׃ ט פקודיא דיהוה תריצין מחדין לבא פיקודא פוקדנא דיהוה ברירא מנהרא עיינין׃

    19:8 The Torah of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul; the testimony of the Lord is reliable, making wise the fool. 19:9 The commands of the Lord are upright, gladdening the heart; the command of the Lord is bright, enlightening the eyes. (EMC)

    Septuagint (Greek)

    19:7 ὁ νόμος τοῦ κυρίου ἄμωμος ἐπιστρέφων ψυχάς ἡ μαρτυρία κυρίου πιστή σοφίζουσα νήπια 19:8 τὰ δικαιώματα κυρίου εὐθεῖα εὐφραίνοντα καρδίαν ἡ ἐντολὴ κυρίου τηλαυγής φωτίζουσα ὀφθαλμούς

    19:7 The law of the Lord is perfect, converting souls: the testimony of the Lord is faithful, instructing babes. 19:8 The ordinances of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the Lord is bright, enlightening the eyes. (LXX)

    According to the Scriptures, the Torah of the Lord is perfect, restores the soul, the Torah is the testimony of the Lord, and it is given to make one wise, the ordinances of the Lord are right and the commandment enlightens the eyes. If studying God’s Law restores, speaks truth, is trustworthy, and makes one wise, how often should we be studying the Torah? At a minimum, one should read through the Torah once every year, the reason being it contains the ways and the will of God for how we should be living our lives. Like the Lord who sets the stars on their path, so the Lord God Almighty, sets the soul of man on its path in His Torah. This is what David means saying in Tehillim / Psalms 19:9-10, י יִרְאַת יְהֹוָה | טְהוֹרָה עוֹמֶדֶת לָעַד מִשְׁפְּטֵי-יְהֹוָה אֱמֶת צָדְקוּ יַחְדָּו: יא הַנֶּחֱמָדִים מִזָּהָב וּמִפָּז רָב וּמְתוּקִים מִדְּבַשׁ וְנֹפֶת צוּפִים: 19:9 The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; The judgments of the Lord are true; they are righteous altogether. 19:10 They are more desirable than gold, yes, than much fine gold; Sweeter also than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb. (NASB) The Lord makes known our faults and forgives our sins (19:11-13). According to Tehillim / Psalms 19:9, David says that the fear (יִרְאַת) of the Lord is clean (טְהוֹרָה) in the sense of ritual purity and it endures forever. How is the fear of the Lord clean? Looking at Tehillim / Psalms 19:7-9, we read David commenting on the Torah, the testimony, the precepts, and the commandments of God. We know that the word Torah (תורה) has the meaning of “instruction” or “teaching” and God teaches through His testimony, precepts, and commandments. The teaching of God is truth. David said the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever. What is this fear? The Hebrew word ירא has the meaning to be “fearful, dreadful, respecting, venerating” thus fear is another word for reverence or awe. According to Romans 3, mankind’s spiritual condition before God is “none are righteous, none understand, none seek for God, all have turned aside, all are useless, none do good, and there is no fear of God before their eyes.” Man’s true spiritual condition prior to salvation is a total absence of a proper submission and reverence for the Lord God Almighty. Jeremiah 32:38-41 states לח וְהָיוּ לִי לְעָם וַאֲנִי אֶהְיֶה לָהֶם לֵאלֹהִים: לט וְנָתַתִּי לָהֶם לֵב אֶחָד וְדֶרֶךְ אֶחָד לְיִרְאָה אוֹתִי כָּל-הַיָּמִים לְטוֹב לָהֶם וְלִבְנֵיהֶם אַחֲרֵיהֶם: מ וְכָרַתִּי לָהֶם בְּרִית עוֹלָם אֲשֶׁר לֹא-אָשׁוּב מֵאַחֲרֵיהֶם לְהֵיטִיבִי אוֹתָם וְאֶת-יִרְאָתִי אֶתֵּן בִּלְבָבָם לְבִלְתִּי סוּר מֵעָלָי: מא וְשַֹשְֹתִּי עֲלֵיהֶם לְהֵטִיב אוֹתָם וּנְטַעְתִּים בָּאָרֶץ הַזֹּאת בֶּאֱמֶת בְּכָל-לִבִּי וּבְכָל-נַפְשִׁי: 32:38 ‘They shall be My people, and I will be their God; 32:39 and I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear Me always, for their own good and for the good of their children after them. 32:40 ‘I will make an everlasting covenant with them that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; and I will put the fear of Me in their hearts so that they will not turn away from Me. 32:41 ‘I will rejoice over them to do them good and will faithfully plant them in this land with all My heart and with all My soul. (NASB) The Lord puts the fear of Himself in our hearts. In addition to this, the ability to fear God and to properly submit to Him in reverence comes only from His favor in our lives! This occurs only by the mercy of the Lord in each of our lives and by His Son Yeshua the Messiah.

    David said,י יִרְאַת יְהֹוָה | טְהוֹרָה עוֹמֶדֶת לָעַד מִשְׁפְּטֵי-יְהֹוָה אֱמֶת צָדְקוּ יַחְדָּו: 19:9 The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; The judgments of the Lord are true; they are righteous altogether. (NASB) The Aramaic translation states י דחלתא דיהוה דכיא קיימא לעלמין לעלם דינייא דיהוה הימנותא זכיאו זכיין כחדא׃ 19:10 The fear of the Lord is pure, lasting forever; the judgments of the Lord are faithfulness; they are altogether just. (EMC) The rabbis say that the judgments of God are faithfulness (הימנותא). When the Lord brings his judgment it is done so in faithfulness? What does it mean the judgments of the Lord are faithfulness? In addition to this, David says that the fear of the Lord and His judgments are יא הַנֶּחֱמָדִים מִזָּהָב וּמִפָּז רָב וּמְתוּקִים מִדְּבַשׁ וְנֹפֶת צוּפִים: 19:10 They are more desirable than gold, yes, than much fine gold; Sweeter also than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb. (NASB) How are the judgments of God desirable and sweeter than honey? It appears that the Lord makes known our faults, we repent of our sins and He forgives. This is the way of the Lord, it is more desirable than gold and sweeter than honey. The fear of the Lord keeps our lives in check. On the other hand, to deliberately disobey God is an act of rebellion, and it can bring God’s judgment upon us. Studying the scriptures, the Lord God does not always chasten His children every time they do something wrong. The Lord is gentle and patient with us. The psalmist said in Tehillim / Psalms 103:10, י לֹא כַחֲטָאֵינוּ עָשָֹה לָנוּ וְלֹא כַעֲוֹנֹתֵינוּ גָּמַל עָלֵינוּ: יא כִּי כִגְבֹהַּ שָׁמַיִם עַל-הָאָרֶץ גָּבַר חַסְדּוֹ עַל-יְרֵאָיו: “He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor punished us according to our iniquities. For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward those who fear Him.” The psalmist recognized that God is very gracious and exceedingly patient with His children. While recognizing that God is very patient and forbearing with us, we must also realize that a single act of willful disobedience can have serious and far-reaching consequences. Take for example the disobedience in the Garden of Eden, the a single act of disobedience on the part of the first man and woman that brought sin and death into this world, along with all the sorrow, heartache, and tragedy that results from sin. (Note that evolutionary theory stands in stark contradiction to the Word of God and one has no concept of why there is death and pain in this world if one holds to the idea that God uses evolution in his creative process.) And a single act of disobedience on our part can have tragic and even life changing consequences. We read of this throughout the history of Israel and Judah. Studying the books of 1 and 2 Kings, the kings of Israel appeared to be more wicked than the kings of Judah. The lifespan of the kings of Israel, the number of years they reigned as king, was significantly shorter than those of the kings of Judah. When a king walked righteously before the Lord, the Lord extended his reign and life for many years. If a king did evil in the eyes of the Lord, his reign and life span were drastically shortened. There is great wisdom in the words of Tehillim / Psalms 19 that direct us to the study of the Torah of God.

    Our father in heaven knows that we are not naturally obedient to Him. It is by the Lord’s judgments that we learn to be obedient to Him. And note that only God’s children are able to perceive that it is the Lord who is working in their lives and the need for repentance and seeking forgiveness of sins. The Psalmist said in Tehillim / Psalms 119:67-71, סז טֶרֶם אֶעֱנֶה אֲנִי שֹׁגֵג וְעַתָּה אִמְרָתְךָ שָׁמָרְתִּי: סח טוֹב-אַתָּה וּמֵטִיב לַמְּדֵנִי חֻקֶּיךָ: סט טָפְלוּ עָלַי שֶׁקֶר זֵדִים אֲנִי בְּכָל-לֵב | אֱצֹּר פִּקּוּדֶיךָ: ע טָפַשׁ כַּחֵלֶב לִבָּם אֲנִי תּוֹרָתְךָ שִׁעֲשָׁעְתִּי: עא טוֹב-לִי כִי-עֻנֵּיתִי לְמַעַן אֶלְמַד חֻקֶּיךָ: 119:67 Before I was afflicted I went astray, But now I keep Your word. 119:68 You are good and do good; Teach me Your statutes. 119:69 The arrogant have forged a lie against me; With all my heart I will observe Your precepts. 119:70 Their heart is covered with fat, But I delight in Your law. 119:71 It is good for me that I was afflicted, That I may learn Your statutes. (NASB) Tehillim / Psalms 119 begins saying א אַשְׁרֵי תְמִימֵי-דָרֶךְ הַהֹלְכִים בְּתוֹרַת יְהֹוָה: 119:1 How blessed are those whose way is blameless, Who walk in the law of the Lord. (NASB) and the psalmist says 68 verses later than he went astray before he was afflicted and now he keeps God’s word. Hebrews 12:9 states 9εἶτα τοὺς μὲν τῆς σαρκὸς ἡμῶν πατέρας εἴχομεν παιδευτὰς καὶ ἐνετρεπόμεθα: οὐ πολὺ [δὲ] μᾶλλον ὑποταγησόμεθα τῷ πατρὶ τῶν πνευμάτων καὶ ζήσομεν; “We have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live?” According to these verses, we agree what Tehillim / Psalms 19 is saying in how we should be living our lives “Lord, Your judgments are true and righteous. I am willing to be in subjection to You.” The Lord sends judgment upon us for a purpose, that purpose is so that we may be partakers of His holiness. All of God’s dealings with us are for our profit. He is “training” us up in the way that we should go. (Hebrews 12:10, 10οἱ μὲν γὰρ πρὸς ὀλίγας ἡμέρας κατὰ τὸ δοκοῦν αὐτοῖς ἐπαίδευον, ὁ δὲ ἐπὶ τὸ συμφέρον εἰς τὸ μεταλαβεῖν τῆς ἁγιότητος αὐτοῦ. 12:10 For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness. NASB) Judgment is also brought so that we ultimately might bring honor to His Name. When each of us has a holy reverence (fear, ירא) of the Lord, we will keep his commandments and bring honor to His name in our deeds. It is in this kind of loving respect for God that makes us wise and enables us to make the right choices. This is why the Bible says in Mishley / Proverbs 9:10, י תְּחִלַּת חָכְמָה יִרְאַת יְהֹוָה וְדַעַת קְדֹשִׁים בִּינָה: “the beginning of wisdom is the fear of the Lord.” This is so we learn to love righteousness and to hate sin.

    David takes this very same approach to love righteousness and to hate sin. He concludes asking the Lord’s help so his words and what he thinks upon will be acceptable in God’s sight, יב גַּם-עַבְדְּךָ נִזְהָר בָּהֶם בְּשָׁמְרָם עֵקֶב רָב: יג שְׁגִיאוֹת מִי-יָבִין מִנִּסְתָּרוֹת נַקֵּנִי: יד גַּם מִזֵּדִים | חֲשֹךְ עַבְדֶּךָ אַל-יִמְשְׁלוּ-בִי אָז אֵיתָם וְנִקֵּיתִי מִפֶּשַׁע רָב: טו יִהְיוּ לְרָצוֹן | אִמְרֵי-פִי וְהֶגְיוֹן לִבִּי לְפָנֶיךָ יְהֹוָה צוּרִי וְגֹאֲלִי: 19:11 Moreover, by them Your servant is warned; In keeping them there is great reward. 19:12 Who can discern his errors? Acquit me of hidden faults. 19:13 Also keep back Your servant from presumptuous sins; Let them not rule over me; Then I will be blameless, And I shall be acquitted of great transgression. 19:14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my rock and my Redeemer. (NASB) He states that by the Lord’s commandments, he has been warned. According to the promises of God, there is great reward for those who keep His commandments. He asks the Lord to forgive him of his hidden faults, to keep him from presumptuous sins, and for help so his sins do not rule over him. Only then will he be blameless and forgiven of great transgression. Are we forgiven of transgression (sin) only when we turn from that sin? Is it possible to find forgiveness before God while walking in sin? King Solomon said in Mishley / Proverbs 28:13, יג מְכַסֶּה פְשָׁעָיו לֹא יַצְלִיחַ וּמוֹדֶה וְעֹזֵב יְרֻחָם: 28:13 He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, But he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion. (NASB) Notice how Solomon said that one must confess and forsake. We have heard it said “If you can confess it, you can be forgiven of it! It doesn’t matter what you’ve done, if you turn to God and confess your sins, He will forgive you of ALL unrighteousness…” (1 John 1:9) this is true however we always hear that one is to confess and seldom hear that one must also “forsake” (עֹזֵב) their sins in order to be forgiven. That means turning from them completely and not looking back. In Parashat Naso (Bamidbar / Numbers 4:21-7:89), the Lord speaks to Moshe that when a person sins he is to make restitution by confessing their sin and then adding one-fifth to the wrong and giving it to the person that he has wronged. In Bamidbar / Numbers 5:6-8 it says that if a man sins against another man, the man has also sinned against God (מִכָּל-חַטֹּאת הָאָדָם לִמְעֹל מַעַל בַּיהוָֹה וְאָשְׁמָה הַנֶּפֶשׁ הַהִוא:).

    ספר במדבר פרק ה

    ו דַּבֵּר אֶל-בְּנֵי יִשְֹרָאֵל אִישׁ אוֹ-אִשָּׁה כִּי יַעֲשֹוּ מִכָּל-חַטֹּאת הָאָדָם לִמְעֹל מַעַל בַּיהוָֹה וְאָשְׁמָה הַנֶּפֶשׁ הַהִוא: ז וְהִתְוַדּוּ אֶת-חַטָּאתָם אֲשֶׁר עָשֹוּ וְהֵשִׁיב אֶת-אֲשָׁמוֹ בְּרֹאשׁוֹ וַחֲמִישִׁתוֹ יֹסֵף עָלָיו וְנָתַן לַאֲשֶׁר אָשַׁם לוֹ: ח וְאִם-אֵין לָאִישׁ גֹּאֵל לְהָשִׁיב הָאָשָׁם אֵלָיו הָאָשָׁם הַמּוּשָׁב לַיהוָֹה לַכֹּהֵן מִלְּבַד אֵיל הַכִּפֻּרִים אֲשֶׁר יְכַפֶּר-בּוֹ עָלָיו:

    Bamidbar / Numbers 5:6-8

    5:6 ‘Speak to the sons of Israel, ‘When a man or woman commits any of the sins of mankind, acting unfaithfully against the Lord, and that person is guilty, 5:7 then he shall confess his sins which he has committed, and he shall make restitution in full for his wrong and add to it one-fifth of it, and give it to him whom he has wronged. 5:8 ‘But if the man has no relative to whom restitution may be made for the wrong, the restitution which is made for the wrong must go to the Lord for the priest, besides the ram of atonement, by which atonement is made for him. (NASB)

    The reading from Parashat Naso reveals to us what God requires of us; one must turn from sin and confess his or her sin before the Lord. These verses speak of repentance, specifically that a person is to “repent from his sin” וְהֵשִׁיב אֶת-אֲשָׁמוֹ where the word וְהֵשִׁיב “Heshiv” means “to turn” indicating that repentance requires us to physically (taking action) turn from sin and not simply show remorse in the heart. This is why we find in the Torah command to also make restitution for the sin that was committed. Make restitution to the person who was wronged, if that is not possible, do so to the persons kinsman redeemer, if that is not possible, then give the restitution to the priests because one has also sinned against God by sining against our neighbor. Repentance begins in our hearts and goes from our head to our toes. If repentance remains in the heart and does not reach our feet then we will not turn from our evil ways which is the very nature of the word repentance (הֵשִׁיב) to turn from the paths of unrighteousness to the path of righteousness that God wants for us. In Tehillim / Psalms 32, David says 32:3 When I kept silent about my sin, my body wasted away Through my groaning all day long. 32:4 For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; My vitality was drained away as with the fever heat of summer. Selah. 32:5 I acknowledged my sin to You, And my iniquity I did not hide; I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord’; And You forgave the guilt of my sin. Selah. 32:6 Therefore, let everyone who is godly pray to You in a time when You may be found; Surely in a flood of great waters they will not reach him. (NASB) David said that “when I kept silent about my sin my body wasted away.” Have you ever sinned and not made it right with the Lord and as a result has your body ever “groaned all day long” because of it? According to David, the hand of the Lord was tichbad (תִּכְבַּד) heavy upon him day and night (32:4). These verses suggest that the Lord was working in David leading him to repent from his sin. He says “I acknowledged my sin to You, And my iniquity I did not hide; I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions (פְשָׁעַי) to the Lord’; And You forgave the guilt of my sin. Selah.” (32:5) even the smallest sin needs to be confessed before the Lord. The Scriptures from the Torah in sefer Bamidbar / Numbers 5:7 tell us that repentance (וְהֵשִׁיב) and confession work together. This is very similar to what the Apostle John said in 1 John 1:9 ἐὰν ὁμολογῶμεν τὰς ἁμαρτίας ἡμῶν, πιστός ἐστιν καὶ δίκαιος ἵνα ἀφῇ ἡμῖν τὰς ἁμαρτίας καὶ καθαρίσῃ ἡμᾶς ἀπὸ πάσης ἀδικίας. 1:9 “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (NASB) In the book of Samuel, Eli heard all of the wickedness that his sons committed before the Lord. On hearing this he said 1 Samuel 2:25 “If one man sins against another, God will mediate for him; but if a man sins against the LORD, who can intercede for him?” (NASB) The Scriptures say in Luke 19:10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” (ESV) Today we have one who will speak and intercede as an advocate before our Father in Heaven (1 John 2:1) Yeshua the Messiah. Yeshua said in John 6:40 For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.” (ESV) This is the Lords will, to save those who are lost. We have been given the promise that if we confess and turn from our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. This is what is meant when David said. י יִרְאַת יְהֹוָה | טְהוֹרָה עוֹמֶדֶת לָעַד מִשְׁפְּטֵי-יְהֹוָה אֱמֶת צָדְקוּ יַחְדָּו: 19:9 The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; The judgments of the Lord are true; they are righteous altogether. (NASB) And the Aramaic translation saying י דחלתא דיהוה דכיא קיימא לעלמין לעלם דינייא דיהוה הימנותא זכיאו זכיין כחדא׃ 19:10 The fear of the Lord is pure, lasting forever; the judgments of the Lord are faithfulness; they are altogether just. (EMC) The judgments of God are faithfulness (הימנותא) for the purpose of leading to forgiveness and righteousness. In this the Lord God Almighty remains faithful to the covenant of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to Moshe, to David, and in Yeshua our Savior. The Lord always remains faithful and true to us, we need to take our lives, our faith, and God’s word and remain faithful to Him too. The Creator of the Universe is calling out and looking for those who seek Him. We serve a wonderful God, a God who is faithful and true. Halleluiah!

    Rabbinic Commentary

    The rabbinic commentary (Midrash) on Tehillim / Psalms 19 has 17 parts. Reading through this week’s Midrash we will be looking at Parts 1, 3, 6, 7, 13, and 14. Let’s begin by outlining Midrash Tehillim Chapter 19 Parts 1, 3, 6, 7, 13, and 14.

    Outline of Midrash Tehillim / Psalms, Chapter 19, Parts 1, 3, 6, 7, 13, and 14

    Part 1:

    • The Midrash opens with the דיבור המתחיל (Dibur Hamathil) “For the leader. A psalm of David. The heavens declare the glory of God (Tehillim / Psalms 19:1-2).”
    • The פתיחתא (Petihta) “the homiletic introduction” to the Midrash says “This verse is to be read in the light of what Scripture says elsewhere, The Lord has made everything lamaanehu (Mishley / Proverbs 16:4) that is, to declare His glory.”
    • The משל (mashal) “the parable,” goes on to explain the פתיחתא (Petihta), the rabbis go on to discuss the ways in which God declared His glory.
    • The נמשל (Nimshal) “expansion on the parable” expands upon the משל (mashal), the rabbis provide various examples in the Nimshal that illustrate the way in which God declared His glory.
    • The Concluding phrase says “In the sight of the Holy One blessed Be He, heaven has a mouth, as is said The heavens declare the glory of God.”

Part 3:

  • The Midrash opens with the דיבור המתחיל (Dibur Hamathil) “The heavens declare the glory of God (Tehillim / Psalms 19:2).”
  • The פתיחתא (Petihta) “the homiletic introduction” to the Midrash says “The prophet Isaiah said, Sing O you heavens, for the Lord has done it (Isaiah 44:23), and they replied, Indeed, we will sing the praise of God, The heavens declare the glory of God.”
  • The משל (mashal) “the parable,” goes on to explain the פתיחתא (Petihta), the rabbis speak a parable and liken the glory of God to a king with many provinces.
  • The נמשל (Nimshal) “expansion on the parable” expands upon the משל (mashal), the rabbis discuss the glory of the Lord, the province in which the king lives declares the glory of the king, so too the Lord God of Heaven and Earth.
  • The Concluding phrase says “The heavens declare the glory of God. And when will the earth and all its inhabitants praise God? When He will exalt the horn of Israel, for Praise the Lord from the earth (Tehillim / Psalms 148:14).”

Part 6:

  • The Midrash opens with the דיבור המתחיל (Dibur Hamathil) “Another comment on The heavens declare the glory of God.”
  • The פתיחתא (Petihta) “the homiletic introduction” to the Midrash says “Rabbi Jacob son of Zabdi told a parable of a mighty man who came to a certain city where the inhabitants did not know his strength.”
  • The משל (mashal) “the parable,” goes on to explain the פתיחתא (Petihta), the rabbis speak of the strength of the Lord and how the creation reveals His glory.
  • The נמשל (Nimshal) “expansion on the parable” expands upon the משל (mashal), the rabbis discuss the Lord whose glory is made manifest in the work of His hands in all the earth.
  • The Concluding phrase says “But when the children of Israel are well-deserving, what does Scripture say? The Lord will open for you His good reassure, the heaven (Devarim / Deuteronomy 28:12).”

Part 7:

  • The Midrash opens with the דיבור המתחיל (Dibur Hamathil) “Day unto day utters speech, and night unto night reveals knowledge (Tehillim / Psalms 19:3).”
  • The פתיחתא (Petihta) “the homiletic introduction” to the Midrash says “This verse alludes to our master Moshe, who, it is said, was with the Lord forty days and forty nights and he wrote upon the tables the words of the covenant (Shemot / Exodus 34:28).”
  • The משל (mashal) “the parable,” goes on to explain the פתיחתא (Petihta), the rabbis discuss the idea that the day and the night speak and ask the question of whether the night occurs in the presence of God in whom is no darkness?
  • The נמשל (Nimshal) “expansion on the parable” expands upon the משל (mashal), the rabbis list examples to explain the presence of the night before the Lord, i.e. how would Moshe have known the passing of the 24 hour day without the night? Etc.
  • The Concluding phrase says “Blessings are upon the head of the righteous (Mishley / Proverbs 10:6), Here righteous is the Holy One blessed be He, of whom it is written Just and righteous is He (Devarim / Deuteronomy 32:4).”

Part 13:

  • The Midrash opens with the דיבור המתחיל (Dibur Hamathil) “His going forth is from the end of the heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it; and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof (Tehillim / Psalms 19:7).”
  • The פתיחתא (Petihta) “the homiletic introduction” to the Midrash says “On the first day of the summer solstice, there is no shade under the sun for any creature. And his circuit unto the ends of it.”
  • The משל (mashal) “the parable,” goes on to explain the פתיחתא (Petihta), the rabbis speak of the sun and its heat.
  • The נמשל (Nimshal) “expansion on the parable” expands upon the משל (mashal), the rabbis provide examples of the heat of the sun and draw a parallel with the fire and judgment of the Lord.
  • The Concluding phrase says “Thus, scripture says also, The Law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul, that is, at the resurrection of the dead, the Torah will stand up for a man, for the restoring of his life, as is said It will be unto you a restorer of life (Ruth 4:15).”

Part 14:

  • The Midrash opens with the דיבור המתחיל (Dibur Hamathil) “In interpreting The Law of the Lord is perfect, it restores the soul (Tehillim / Psalms 19:8).”
  • The פתיחתא (Petihta) “the homiletic introduction” to the Midrash says “Rabbi Jeremiah and the Rabbis differed. One argued, Why is Torah said to be perfect?”
  • The משל (mashal) “the parable,” goes on to explain the פתיחתא (Petihta), the rabbis go on to discuss how the Torah of God is perfect.
  • The נמשל (Nimshal) “expansion on the parable” expands upon the משל (mashal), the rabbis provide examples how the Torah of God is perfect and how it restores the soul.
  • The Concluding phrase says The ordinances of the Lord are true refers to the order of the Civil Laws, which contains the greater portion of laws regulating and relations between man and man.”

A large portion of the Midrashic commentary is devoted to the glory of God (Tehillim / Psalms 19:1-2). Midrash Tehillim 19, Part 1 opens with the Dibur Hamathil (דיבור המתחיל) stating “For the leader. A psalm of David. The heavens declare the glory of God (Tehillim / Psalms 19:1-2).” In typical form and rabbinic style of midrash, the rabbis open the discussion saying “This verse is to be read in the light of what Scripture says elsewhere, The Lord has made everything lamaanehu (Mishley / Proverbs 16:4) that is, to declare His glory.” (זהו שאמר הכתוב כל פעל ה׳ למענהו (משלי טז ד), לקילוסו) The rabbis say “Here anehu is taken as related to enu as in the verse Sing (enu) unto the Lord with thanksgiving (Tehillim / Psalms 147:7). Or, lamaanehu means to bear witness to His glory and declare His Godhead, as in the verse You will not bear witness (taaneh) against your neighbor (Shemot / Exodus 20:13), and in the verse As witness for (lemaan) my brethren and companions (Tehillim / Psalms 122:8).” (שנאמר ענו לה׳ בתודה (תהלים קמז ז). דבר אחר למענהו. לענות שבחו, להעיד אלהותו, כמה שנאמר לא תענה ברעך (שמות כ טז), וכתיב למען אחי ורעי (תהלים קכב ח)) Reading through the midrash, it is interesting here that the rabbis say that lamaanehu (למענהו) means to bear witness to His glory and declare His Godhead. The word למענהו (lamaanehu), or מענה means “answer, reply, rejoinder, responsion” and so the rabbis are saying that the creation “answers.” If the creation answers, there had to have been a question; the question might be how have “you” (the creation) come to exist? So the למענהו (lamaanehu) or answer that is given is one what bears witness to God’s glory and declares His Godhead. The existence of life, the creation itself, gives evidence of God’s power and glory because life does not come from nothing, the progenitor is the Lord God Almighty and His Word. The word translated as Godhead” is אלהותו. It is the word for deity (אלהות, Elohut) with a preposition “his” (ו).

Definitions:

אלהותו His Godhead

אלהו Divinity

אלהות Deity

Reading the midrash, when thinking on the “Godhead,” we naturally think of Christianity, and that the Godhead was not a common term the rabbis utilized in Judaism. This is actually the first occurrence of this word in Midrash Tehillim at Tehillim / Psalms 19. If we analyze the Hebrew word “Godhead” (אלהותו) it literally means “His Divinity,” “His Deity,” or “God as He is in Himself.” This word provides us with the understanding that the Lord God is the One who is behind His actions, properties, and the nature of God, He is almighty, He is all powerful, He exists and there is no other. This is something that has been debated for centuries through Christianity and Judaism. Note that the plural word “Elohot” meaning “gods” is not to be confused with “Elohut” meaning “Godhead.” The word Elohut is used as a reference to the Lord God Almighty.

In the philosophy of Maimonides and other Jewish-rationalistic philosophers, there is little which can be established about God other than his “existence,” and even this can only be asserted equivocally (ambiguously). Maimonides is quoted saying:

“How then can a relation be represented between Him and what is other than He when there is no notion comprising in any respect both of the two, inasmuch as existence is, in our opinion, affirmed of Him, may He be exalted, and of what is other than He merely by way of absolute equivocation. There is, in truth, no relation in any respect between Him and any of His creatures.” (Maimonides, Moreh Nevuchim, Pines 1963)

The Kabbalistic understanding of God is that of the “Ein Sof” (אין סוף) meaning “there is no end.” In Jewish mystical thought (Kabbalah), the term “Godhead” usually refers to the concept of the Ein Sof (אין סוף), the aspect of God that lies beyond the emanations of God (the Sefirot). The “knowability” of the Godhead in Kabbalistic thought is no better than what is conceived by rationalist thinkers like Maimonides. There is a divergence of opinion among the kabbalists concerning the relation of the sefirot to the En Sof. Azriel (commentary on the Sefer Yetzirah) and, Menahem Recanati considered the Sefirot to be totally different from the Divine Being; the “Ma’areket” group took the Sefirot to be identical in their totality with the Ein Sof, each sefirah representing merely a certain view of the Infinite; the Zohar, on the other hand, clearly implies that they are the names of the deity, and gives for each of them a corresponding name of God and of the hosts of angels mentioned in the Bible. The “Absolute One,” they argue, is immanent in all the Sefirot and God reveals himself through them, but does not dwell in them; the Sefirot can never include the Infinite. Each sefirah has a well-known name; but the Holy One has no definite name (Pardes Rimmonim, pp. 21–23).

Looking to understand the “Godhead” according to philosophy, whether Greek or Jewish mystical thought, we are left with the realization that many men throughout history have attempted to quantify the Godhead and the nature of God. How do we understand the Godhead today? Christianity would say the Godhead is “the triune nature of God, consisting of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.” Judaism would says “lamaanehu the creation bears witness to His glory and declares His Godhead” that is God’s creation declares His Deity. In Colossians 2:6-13, the Apostle Paul spoke to the Colossians saying 2:9 For in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. (KJV) that in Yeshua dwelled the fullness of the Godhead according to the KJV. The New American Standard Bible (NASB) states the following:

Colossians 2:6-15

2:6 Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, 2:7 having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude. 2:8 See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ. 2:9 For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, 2:10 and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority; 2:11 and in Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ; 2:12 having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. 2:13 When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, 2:14 having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. 2:15 When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him. (NASB)

6Ὡς οὖν παρελάβετε τὸν Χριστὸν Ἰησοῦν τὸν κύριον, ἐν αὐτῷ περιπατεῖτε, 7ἐρριζωμένοι καὶ ἐποικοδομούμενοι ἐν αὐτῷ καὶ βεβαιούμενοι τῇ πίστει καθὼς ἐδιδάχθητε, περισσεύοντες ἐν εὐχαριστίᾳ. 8βλέπετε μή τις ὑμᾶς ἔσται ὁ συλαγωγῶν διὰ τῆς φιλοσοφίας καὶ κενῆς ἀπάτης κατὰ τὴν παράδοσιν τῶν ἀνθρώπων, κατὰ τὰ στοιχεῖα τοῦ κόσμου καὶ οὐ κατὰ Χριστόν: 9ὅτι ἐν αὐτῷ κατοικεῖ πᾶν τὸ πλήρωμα τῆς θεότητος σωματικῶς, 10καὶ ἐστὲ ἐν αὐτῷ πεπληρωμένοι, ὅς ἐστιν ἡ κεφαλὴ πάσης ἀρχῆς καὶ ἐξουσίας, 11ἐν ᾧ καὶ περιετμήθητε περιτομῇ ἀχειροποιήτῳ ἐν τῇ ἀπεκδύσει τοῦ σώματος τῆς σαρκός, ἐν τῇ περιτομῇ τοῦ Χριστοῦ, 12συνταφέντες αὐτῷ ἐν τῷ βαπτισμῷ, ἐν ᾧ καὶ συνηγέρθητε διὰ τῆς πίστεως τῆς ἐνεργείας τοῦ θεοῦ τοῦ ἐγείραντος αὐτὸν ἐκ νεκρῶν: 13καὶ ὑμᾶς νεκροὺς ὄντας [ἐν] τοῖς παραπτώμασιν καὶ τῇ ἀκροβυστίᾳ τῆς σαρκὸς ὑμῶν, συνεζωοποίησεν ὑμᾶς σὺν αὐτῷ, χαρισάμενος ἡμῖν πάντα τὰ παραπτώματα, 14ἐξαλείψας τὸ καθ’ ἡμῶν χειρόγραφον τοῖς δόγμασιν ὃ ἦν ὑπεναντίον ἡμῖν, καὶ αὐτὸ ἦρκεν ἐκ τοῦ μέσου προσηλώσας αὐτὸ τῷ σταυρῷ: 15ἀπεκδυσάμενος τὰς ἀρχὰς καὶ τὰς ἐξουσίας ἐδειγμάτισεν ἐν παρρησίᾳ, θριαμβεύσας αὐτοὺς ἐν αὐτῷ.

The NASB says 2:9 For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form is more consistent with the meaning of the word “Godhead” as a reference to “His Deity.” The word Godhead is not a reference to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit with regard to the “Godhead” since Yeshua the Messiah is not the Father in Heaven, he is also not the Holy Spirit, He is the Son who laid His life down for ours and who was raised from the dead (the resurrection). The Godhead is a reference to the Deity of the Messiah. The Apostle Paul is saying here that we have received the Messiah as Lord of our lives and therefore are to walk in Him. We have been firmly rooted and built up in Him and established in our faith. Paul warns not to be deceived by philosophy and empty deception according to the tradition of men that is according to this world but rather be captive to the Messiah. He then states 2:9 For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form (NASB) and that in Him we have been made complete and we are circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, we were buried with him in baptism and raised up with Him through faith. He has made us alive with Him having forgiven us all of our transgressions, and canceled out our debt. He has literally nailed our transgressions to the cross, that was the purpose of the cross to bear our sins and to make atonement in His blood. Midrash Tehillim 19, Part 1 concludes saying “In the sight of the Holy One blessed Be He, heaven has a mouth, as is said The heavens declare the glory of God.” The heavens declare the Deity of God, His power, His glory, His majesty, and the mighty works of His hands. Note the context of Colossians chapter 2 reading what Paul says about the Messiah Yeshua in Colossians chapter 1.

Colossians 1:13-23

1:13 For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, 1:14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. 1:15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 1:16 For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities all things have been created through Him and for Him. 1:17 He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. 1:18 He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything. 1:19 For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, 1:20 and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say whether things on earth or things in heaven. 1:21 And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds, 1:22 yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach 1:23 if indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard, which was proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, was made a minister. (NASB)

13ὃς ἐρρύσατο ἡμᾶς ἐκ τῆς ἐξουσίας τοῦ σκότους καὶ μετέστησεν εἰς τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ υἱοῦ τῆς ἀγάπης αὐτοῦ, 14ἐν ᾧ ἔχομεν τὴν ἀπολύτρωσιν, τὴν ἄφεσιν τῶν ἁμαρτιῶν: 15ὅς ἐστιν εἰκὼν τοῦ θεοῦ τοῦ ἀοράτου, πρωτότοκος πάσης κτίσεως, 16ὅτι ἐν αὐτῷ ἐκτίσθη τὰ πάντα ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς καὶ ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς, τὰ ὁρατὰ καὶ τὰ ἀόρατα, εἴτε θρόνοι εἴτε κυριότητες εἴτε ἀρχαὶ εἴτε ἐξουσίαι: τὰ πάντα δι’ αὐτοῦ καὶ εἰς αὐτὸν ἔκτισται, 17καὶ αὐτός ἐστιν πρὸ πάντων καὶ τὰ πάντα ἐν αὐτῷ συνέστηκεν. 18καὶ αὐτός ἐστιν ἡ κεφαλὴ τοῦ σώματος, τῆς ἐκκλησίας: ὅς ἐστιν ἀρχή, πρωτότοκος ἐκ τῶν νεκρῶν, ἵνα γένηται ἐν πᾶσιν αὐτὸς πρωτεύων, 19ὅτι ἐν αὐτῷ εὐδόκησεν πᾶν τὸ πλήρωμα κατοικῆσαι 20καὶ δι’ αὐτοῦ ἀποκαταλλάξαι τὰ πάντα εἰς αὐτόν, εἰρηνοποιήσας διὰ τοῦ αἵματος τοῦ σταυροῦ αὐτοῦ, [δι’ αὐτοῦ] εἴτε τὰ ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς εἴτε τὰ ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς. 21Καὶ ὑμᾶς ποτε ὄντας ἀπηλλοτριωμένους καὶ ἐχθροὺς τῇ διανοίᾳ ἐν τοῖς ἔργοις τοῖς πονηροῖς, 22νυνὶ δὲ ἀποκατήλλαξεν ἐν τῷ σώματι τῆς σαρκὸς αὐτοῦ διὰ τοῦ θανάτου, παραστῆσαι ὑμᾶς ἁγίους καὶ ἀμώμους καὶ ἀνεγκλήτους κατενώπιον αὐτοῦ, 23εἴ γε ἐπιμένετε τῇ πίστει τεθεμελιωμένοι καὶ ἑδραῖοι καὶ μὴ μετακινούμενοι ἀπὸ τῆς ἐλπίδος τοῦ εὐαγγελίου οὗ ἠκούσατε, τοῦ κηρυχθέντος ἐν πάσῃ κτίσει τῇ ὑπὸ τὸν οὐρανόν, οὗ ἐγενόμην ἐγὼ Παῦλος διάκονος.

Paul is speaking of Yeshua as the Word of God (John 1:1-14), that 1:16 For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities all things have been created through Him and for Him. 1:17 He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together (NASB) and 1:19 For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him (NASB) Paul is speaking of the power and authority of the Father in heaven, the Deity of God dwelled in Yeshua the Messiah. The purpose was so that 1:20 …through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say whether things on earth or things in heaven. 1:21 And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds, 1:22 yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach (NASB) the Lord God Almighty reconciled all things to Himself in His Word and this was accomplished in His Word taking on flesh in the Messiah Yeshua.

Midrash Tehillim 19, Part 3 opens with the Dibur Hamathil (דיבור המתחיל) saying “The heavens declare the glory of God (Tehillim / Psalms 19:2).” The rabbis continue to discuss the heavens that declare the glory of God. The homiletic introduction to the Midrash states “The prophet Isaiah said, Sing O you heavens, for the Lord has done it (Isaiah 44:23), and they replied, Indeed, we will sing the praise of God, The heavens declare the glory of God.” How does the heavens sing of the glory of God? According to the Scriptures, God’s glory is often associated with visible displays of light, such as fire and brightness. These types of things often accompanied God when He showed Himself to His people. For example, leading Israel into the promised land, His glory manifested itself as a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night (Shemot / Exodus 13:21-22, כא וַיהֹוָה הֹלֵךְ לִפְנֵיהֶם יוֹמָם בְּעַמּוּד עָנָן לַנְחֹתָם הַדֶּרֶךְ וְלַיְלָה בְּעַמּוּד אֵשׁ לְהָאִיר לָהֶם לָלֶכֶת יוֹמָם וָלָיְלָה: כב לֹא-יָמִישׁ עַמּוּד הֶעָנָן יוֹמָם וְעַמּוּד הָאֵשׁ לָיְלָה לִפְנֵי הָעָם:). The prophet Ezekiel talks about a vision of the Lord that He saw and described it in Ezekiel 1:27-28.

Ezekiel 1:27-28

1:27 Then I noticed from the appearance of His loins and upward something like glowing metal that looked like fire all around within it, and from the appearance of His loins and downward I saw something like fire; and there was a radiance around Him. 1:28 As the appearance of the rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the appearance of the surrounding radiance. Such was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. And when I saw it, I fell on my face and heard a voice speaking. (NASB)

כז וָאֵרֶא | כְּעֵין חַשְׁמַל כְּמַרְאֵה-אֵשׁ בֵּית-לָהּ סָבִיב מִמַּרְאֵה מָתְנָיו וּלְמָעְלָה וּמִמַּרְאֵה מָתְנָיו וּלְמַטָּה רָאִיתִי כְּמַרְאֵה-אֵשׁ וְנֹגַהּ לוֹ סָבִיב: כח כְּמַרְאֵה הַקֶּשֶׁת אֲשֶׁר יִהְיֶה בֶעָנָן בְּיוֹם הַגֶּשֶׁם כֵּן מַרְאֵה הַנֹּגַהּ סָבִיב הוּא מַרְאֵה דְּמוּת כְּבוֹד-יְהֹוָה וָאֶרְאֶה וָאֶפֹּל עַל-פָּנַי וָאֶשְׁמַע קוֹל מְדַבֵּר:

In addition to this, sometimes the Greek Word for glory, doxa (δόξα), can mean brightness. It must have been this sense of the term that was used when Luke recounted the angelic announcement to the shepherds at the birth of Yeshua in Luke 2:9 And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. (NASB) 9καὶ ἄγγελος κυρίου ἐπέστη αὐτοῖς καὶ δόξα κυρίου περιέλαμψεν αὐτούς, καὶ ἐφοβήθησαν φόβον μέγαν. The Lord God reveals Himself in physical displays of glory, depicting His splendor, majesty, and beauty. He is not a God that one can just ignore. Rather, He is one to be feared and respected. The Apostle Paul describes our relationship to God’s glory saying “So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31). Isn’t it interesting that Paul speaks of what we “eat and drink” we are to do so giving glory to God? (Read Parashat Kedoshim on how to do that, Vayikra / Leviticus 19:1 – 20:27) Yeshua tells us to let our light so shine before men that they may see our works and glorify our Father who is in heaven (Matthew 5:16). Glorifying God is not difficult, the Lord has given us everything we need, even the air that we breath, life itself is a gift from God. The crown of God’s glory is that in His son Yeshua, He has given us newness of life: “To God be the glory for the great things He has done!” The parable used by the rabbis in Midrash Tehillim 19, Part 3 is of a king who had many provinces and the inhabitants of the provinces would say “so many precious stones and jewels has the king.” A wise man in the parable stated “In truth, only those of the province in which the king lives can properly declare the wealth and the glory of the king, because they alone know his wealth and his glory. Even so, David said, The earth and all who are in it cannot declare the glory of the Holy One blessed be He, Who can, in truth, declare the glory of God? The heavens declare the glory of God. And when will the earth and all its inhabitants praise God? When He will exalt the horn of Israel, for Praise the Lord from the earth (Tehillim / Psalms 148:14).” (היא נאה לומר עושרו ושבחו של מלך, לפי שהיא יודעת עשרו וכבודו, כך אמר דוד הארץ וכל מה שיש בה אינן יכולין לספר שבחו של הקב״ה, ומי יוכל לספר שבחו, השמים מספרים כבוד אל, ואימתי הכל מקלסין אותו, כשירומם קרנם של ישראל, שנאמר וירם קרן לעמו תהלה לכל חסידיו לבני ישראל עם קרובו הללויה (תהלים קמח יד), באותו זמן הללויה הללו את ה׳ מן השמים (שם שם תהלים קמ״ח א), לכך נאמר השמים מספרים כבוד אל.) The Lord God Almighty is in Heaven and therefore the heavens declare the Glory of God. The rabbis say that the earth cannot declare the glory of God because God does not dwell in the earth. However, we know of the glory of God in our lives to raise us up from the dead, to make us alive in the Messiah, and to save us from sin. Therefore, each one of us are to spend our lives bringing glory to the Sovereign Lord of the universe, and in so doing, join with the rest of creation in magnifying His holy name.

Midrash Tehillim 19, Part 6 opens with the Dibur Hamathil (דיבור המתחיל) saying “Another comment on The heavens declare the glory of God.” The rabbis continue the discussion on the heavens declaring the glory of God. The homiletic introduction to the Midrash says “Rabbi Jacob son of Zabdi told a parable of a mighty man who came to a certain city where the inhabitants did not know his strength.” It is interesting that the rabbis make the illustration of a city and the inhabitants not knowing the strength of a mighty man living in the midst of the city. The parable is given to illustrate how we can know the glory of God, the rabbis continue saying:

A knowing man said, You can tell his strength from the size of the stone he lifts. Even so, we can tell the strength of the Holy One blessed be He, from the size of the heavens. Rabbi Joshua son of Levi taught that because God declared, Do I not fill heaven and earth. (Jeremiah 23:24)

אמר להם פקח אחד, מאבנא דהוא מתגושש בה, אתם יודעין כח גבורתו, כך מן השמים אנו למדין כחו של הקב״ה, אמר ר׳ יהושע בן לוי לפי שהוא אומר את השמים ואת הארץ אני מלא (ירמיה כג כד)

The parable has the inhabitants finally knowing the strength of the man by reason of the size of the stone he is able to lift. In a similar manner, we know the strength of the Lord God Almighty from the size of the heavens. The Apostle Paul said to the Romans that the heavens reveal the glory of God.

Romans 1:18-23

1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 1:19 because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. 1:20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. 1:21 For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 1:22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 1:23 and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures. (NASB)

18Ἀποκαλύπτεται γὰρ ὀργὴ θεοῦ ἀπ’ οὐρανοῦ ἐπὶ πᾶσαν ἀσέβειαν καὶ ἀδικίαν ἀνθρώπων τῶν τὴν ἀλήθειαν ἐν ἀδικίᾳ κατεχόντων, 19διότι τὸ γνωστὸν τοῦ θεοῦ φανερόν ἐστιν ἐν αὐτοῖς: ὁ θεὸς γὰρ αὐτοῖς ἐφανέρωσεν. 20τὰ γὰρ ἀόρατα αὐτοῦ ἀπὸ κτίσεως κόσμου τοῖς ποιήμασιν νοούμενα καθορᾶται, ἥ τε ἀΐδιος αὐτοῦ δύναμις καὶ θειότης, εἰς τὸ εἶναι αὐτοὺς ἀναπολογήτους: 21διότι γνόντες τὸν θεὸν οὐχ ὡς θεὸν ἐδόξασαν ἢ ηὐχαρίστησαν, ἀλλ’ ἐματαιώθησαν ἐν τοῖς διαλογισμοῖς αὐτῶν καὶ ἐσκοτίσθη ἡ ἀσύνετος αὐτῶν καρδία. 22φάσκοντες εἶναι σοφοὶ ἐμωράνθησαν, 23καὶ ἤλλαξαν τὴν δόξαν τοῦ ἀφθάρτου θεοῦ ἐν ὁμοιώματι εἰκόνος φθαρτοῦ ἀνθρώπου καὶ πετεινῶν καὶ τετραπόδων καὶ ἑρπετῶν.

The creation clearly shows us the glory and power of the Lord God Almighty. The Midrash concludes with Rabbi Phinehas the Priest son of Hama saying: “Because of that which the heavens send down, the earth flourishes, and the creatures eat, and then they praise the Holy One blessed be He. Thus, The heavens declare the glory of God. But when, God forbid, the children of Israel sin, what does Scripture say? The heavens will reveal their iniquity (Job 20:27). How? The anger of the Lord will be kindled against you, and He will shut up the heaven (Devarim / Deuteronomy 11:17). But when the children of Israel are well-deserving, what does Scripture say? The Lord will open for you His good treasure, the heaven (Devarim / Deuteronomy 28:12).” It is interesting that rabbi Phinehas believes that not only does the creation reveal God’s glory, it also reveals the sins of Israel. How does the creation reveal the sins of Israel? The example given is God closing up the heavens so they will not give forth rain. This can be understood that natural disasters may be considered the judgment of God. Are natural disasters today considered judgment from the Lord God Almighty? Note how, in the Scriptures, when a disaster come, quickly the people of Israel realized they had sinned before the Lord and repented and turned from their ways. When a natural disaster comes today, it seems very few recognize the origin of the disaster just might be sin in the lives of the people and of the respective country. With this in mind, do you think all natural disasters are the result of sin?

Midrash Tehillim 19, Part 7 opens with the Dibur Hamathil (דיבור המתחי) saying “Day unto day utters speech, and night unto night reveals knowledge (Tehillim / Psalms 19:3).” The first six parts of Midrash Tehillim 19 dealt with the heavens declaring the glory of God. Part seven begins with the day and night speaking and revealing knowledge. The homiletic introduction to the Midrash says “This verse alludes to our master Moshe, who, it is said, was with the Lord forty days and forty nights and he wrote upon the tables the words of the covenant (Shemot / Exodus 34:28).” The rabbis ask the question “Does Scripture really mean to say that night also occurs in the presence of the Holy One blessed be He? Is it not written The night shines as the day both are alike to You (Tehillim / Psalms 139:12)?” (וכי גם לילה לפני הקב״ה, והכתיב ולילה כיום יאיר (תהלים קלט יב)) Why do the rabbis ask this question of the night occurring in the presence of the Lord? Darkness is the exclusion or absence of light, and is usually the effect of a shadow that is cast by a body that intercepts the rays of light. The visible world can not be seen in darkness. In the beginning there was darkness and there is no shape or form and it was only when God said “Let there be light” that the invisible become visible. Throughout the Tanach, we do not find Scripture that directly states “God dwells in light” but we do read in Tehillim / Psalms 27:1 The Lord is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the defense of my life; Whom shall I dread? (NASB) In addition to this, Habakkuk said 3:2 Lord, I have heard the report about You and I fear. O Lord, revive Your work in the midst of the years, In the midst of the years make it known; In wrath remember mercy. 3:3 God comes from Teman, And the Holy One from Mount Paran. Selah. His splendor covers the heavens, And the earth is full of His praise. 3:4 His radiance is like the sunlight; He has rays flashing from His hand, And there is the hiding of His power. (NASB) Daniel also said 2:22 ‘It is He who reveals the profound and hidden things; He knows what is in the darkness, And the light dwells with Him. (NASB) Based on these Scriptures and others, there was a interpretation in place that states God dwells in light. The Apostle Paul told Timothy in 1 Timothy 6:16 who alone possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see. To Him be honor and eternal dominion! Amen. (NASB) 16ὁ μόνος ἔχων ἀθανασίαν, φῶς οἰκῶν ἀπρόσιτον, ὃν εἶδεν οὐδεὶς ἀνθρώπων οὐδὲ ἰδεῖν δύναται: ᾧ τιμὴ καὶ κράτος αἰώνιον: ἀμήν. and the Apostle John said that “God is light and in Him there is no darkness” (1 John 1:5, 5Καὶ ἔστιν αὕτη ἡ ἀγγελία ἣν ἀκηκόαμεν ἀπ’ αὐτοῦ καὶ ἀναγγέλλομεν ὑμῖν, ὅτι ὁ θεὸς φῶς ἐστιν καὶ σκοτία ἐν αὐτῷ οὐκ ἔστιν οὐδεμία.). The rabbis thought this might be a conflict in their understanding of the light and the darkness that are drawn as a parallel to the day and the night that speak knowledge. As a result of this, the rabbis quote from Tehillim / Psalms 139:12 saying “is it not written the night shines as the day both are alike to You?” (139:12 Even the darkness is not dark to You, And the night is as bright as the day. Darkness and light are alike to You. NASB, יב גַּם-חשֶׁךְ לֹא-יַחְשִׁיךְ מִמֶּךָ וְלַיְלָה כַּיּוֹם יָאִיר כַּחֲשֵׁיכָה כָּאוֹרָה:) The rabbis then ask the question “How then did Moshe our master know when it was day and when it was night, that he could have reckoned forty days and forty nights in the presence of the Holy One blessed be He?” (ומנין היה יודע משה רבינו אימתי היה יום ואימתי לילה, שהוא מחשב ארבעים יום וארבעים לילה אצל הקב״ה) They respond to that with the answer “Scripture implies, however, that Moshe knew it was day when the Holy One blessed be He, instructed him in Written Law; and Moshe knew it was night when the Holy One blessed be He, instructed him in Oral Law.” Isn’t it interesting that the rabbis parallel the day and the night to the instruction of the written Law and the Oral Law? Why do you think they say during the day God instructed Moshe in the Torah, and in the night with the Mishnah? Let’s think on this for a moment. The Mishnah supplements, complements, clarifies and systematizes the commandments of the Torah. The Torah, for example, commands: “Remember the Sabbath day” (Shemot / Exodus 20:8). The Mishnah provides this abstract commandment with a concrete form, i.e. the kiddush and havdalah rituals which mark the beginning and the ending of the Shabbat. The Torah commands “Observe the Shabbat” (Devarim / Deuteronomy 6:12). The Mishnah specifies 39 categories of forbidden labor which are prohibited by this commandment to do no work on the Shabbat, providing dozens of other kinds of labor under these 39 headings. The Torah also commands: “When you eat and are satisfied, give thanks to your God for the good land which He has given you” (Devarim / Deuteronomy 8:10) giving Scriptural requirement to be thankful and to pray during meals. The Mishnah spells out specific blessings to be recited before and after each kind of food, and what to do if the wrong blessing is recited by mistake. It also extends the recitation of blessings to areas other than food, detailing blessings to be recited before and after the performance of commandments, blessings of praise and thanksgiving, even establishing a regular order of daily prayers. Where the commandments appear chaotic or inconsistent, as for example in Vayikra / Leviticus 13–14 (“leprosy”), the Mishnah organizes these rules into a consistent system. When the commandments are already relatively detailed and systematic, as in Vayikra / Leviticus 1–7 regarding the sacrifices, the Mishnah deals with additional aspects of halakhah, either ignored or mentioned only in passing in the Torah, such as the proper intentions which should accompany the sacrifices, and the consequences of having an improper intention. The Mishnah was originally a fluid and flexible oral tradition until it was compiled by a series of scholars over two centuries and was given its final form in the 3rd century CE by Rabbi Judah ha-Nasi. This may be why the rabbis parallel the day and the night with the Torah and the Mishnah? In the day all things are clear and we know the way in which we should walk (God’s Word is clearly spelled out), whereas, the Mishnah is paralleled to the night being flexible, movable, and tradition. The Rabbis continue saying “For when God is occupied by day with Written Law, His face is as bright as snow, the word dwdy (My Beloved), the sum of numerical value of its letters being twenty four, clearly refers to the twenty four books of Written Law, and when God is occupied by night with Oral Law, His face is dark” here we find the rabbinic understanding on light and darkness, that God was clear in His giving of the Torah (His face is as bright as snow), and the Oral Law was passed down orally by tradition saying His face is dark. Midrash Tehillim 19, Part 7 concludes saying “Rabbi Phinehas taught in the name of rabbi Abba, The angel whose charge is prayer, he waits until that congregation in Israel which assembles at the latest hour possible has concluded its prayers, and out of their prayers he fashions a crown which he places upon the head of the Holy One blessed be He, as is said Blessings are upon the head of the righteous (Mishley / Proverbs 10:6), Here righteous is the Holy One blessed be He, of whom it is written Just and righteous is He (Devarim / Deuteronomy 32:4).” (ר׳ פנחס בשם ר׳ אבא אמר המלאך שהוא ממונה על התפלה, הוא ממתין עד שמתפללת כניסה אחרונה שבישראל, ועושה מהן עטרה, ונותנה בראשו של הקב״ה, שנאמר ברכות לראש צדיק (משלי י ו), צדיק זה הקב״ה, שכתיב בו צדיק וישר הוא (דברים לב ד), לכך נאמר יום ליום יביע אומר.) The important point that we take from Part 7 of Midrash Tehillim 19 is that the rabbis struggled with the concepts of light and darkness, with the day and the night that speak of God’s glory. The difference between light and darkness is understood to be synonymous with the knowledge of good and evil. In the light one is able to judge how others are walking and to choose the right path to walk in. Darkness is used to hide ones evil ways, to walk in wickedness without others observing what you are doing. The apostle John said God is light and in Him there is no darkness. This completes our understanding that there is no wickedness in the Lord God Almighty. The rabbis state that in the day God instructed Moshe in the Torah and at night the Mishnah. This reveals to us that the rabbis believed the Day (Light) illustrates the choice of following the commandments of God, and hope for His eternal rewards, and the Night (Dark) illustrates following the commands according to tradition. These concepts are very important and studying the Apostolic Writings carefully, we see that they are incorporated into the teachings of the apostles.

Midrash Tehillim 19, Part 13 opens with the Dibur Hamathil (דיבור המתחיל) saying “His going forth is from the end of the heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it; and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof (Tehillim / Psalms 19:7).” The homiletic introduction to the Midrash says “On the first day of the summer solstice, there is no shade under the sun for any creature. And his circuit unto the ends of it.” The rabbis begin the discussion of the sun and its heat and draw a parallel with the heat and light with the Lord God Almighty. The rabbis say, “Gehenna (Hell) will exist in the age to come, for it is said The Lord, whose fire is in Zion, and His furnace in Jerusalem (Isaiah 31:9).” However, others disagree, “rabbi Yannai and rabbi Simeon son of Kakhish say, Though Gehenna will not exist in the age to come, the sun will consume them that do evil, as is said For behold, the day comes that will burn as an oven and all that do evil will be stubble; and the day that comes will consume them (Malachi 3:19).” Based on these opinions on Gehenna (Hell), and the statement that there is no shade under the sun for any creature, the rabbis say that God is like the sun, there is no shade for any creature, means that the Lord sees all the sins of man. The sun and heat are how judgment will be meted out to the wicked. The rabbis believe that the firmament (water above) for a time provides temperament to the heat of God’s wrath, however, in the day of judgment, the Lord will bring the heat of the sun below the firmament (water above) and punish them that did evil and will consume them according to Malachi 3:19 (4:1 ‘For behold, the day is coming, burning like a furnace; and all the arrogant and every evildoer will be chaff; and the day that is coming will set them ablaze,’ says the Lord of hosts, ‘so that it will leave them neither root nor branch.’ NASB) The obvious conclusion of the rabbis is that the only way to be saved from God’s wrath is by occupying one’s self with the study of the Scriptures (Torah). The conclusion of the midrash states:

But of him who occupies himself with Torah, what does Scripture go on to say? The Law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul (Tehillim / Psalms 19:8). So again, Scripture says, For His eyes are upon the ways of a man There is no darkness, nor shadow of death, where the workers of iniquity may hide themselves (Job 34:22). But who will be able to hide himself in the time to come? The man who occupies himself with Torah. For the verse Remember you the Torah of Moshe My servant (Malachi 3:22) follows upon the verse Behold the day comes, it burns as a furnace. Thus, scripture says also, The Law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul, that is, at the resurrection of the dead, the Torah will stand up for a man, for the restoring of his life, as is said It will be unto you a restorer of life (Ruth 4:15). (Midrash Tehillim 19, Part 13)

ולמי שהוא עוסק בתורה מה כתיב בתריה, תורת ה׳ תמימה משיבת נפש, וכן הוא אומר אין חשך ואין צלמות להסתר שם פועלי און (איוב לד כב), ומי נסתר, מי שעוסק בתורה, שנאמר זכרו תורת משה עבדי (מלאכי ג כב), וכתיב תורת ה׳ תמימה משיבת נפש, שעמדה לפניו לשיבתו לתחיית המתים, כמה דאת אמר והיה לך למשיב נפש (רות ד טו).

It is interesting in Midrash Tehillim 19, Part 13, we find the concepts of the sun, heat, fire, and judgment, Gehenna (Hell), and God’s wrath on those who lived wickedly in this life. Whereas, the one who occupies himself with the Torah, The Law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul (Tehillim / Psalms 19:8), that God sees the ways of man and the workers of iniquity are not hidden from him, the workers of iniquity attempt to hide themselves in the darkness but to no avail. The one who occupies himself with the Torah, the Lord will restore him at the resurrection of the dead and the Torah will stand up for the man as a testimony and for the restoration of his life. The important point to take away from Midrash Tehillim 19, Part 13 is understanding the context of the Psalm that is being discussed in the Dibur Hamathil. In Tehillim / Psalms 19:5-7 a parallel is drawn between “light” and “speech.” Studying the word “light” the rabbis make use of their understanding of who God is with regard to the light and the darkness. The difference between light and darkness can be understood as a parallel between the knowledge of good and evil. In the light one is able to judge how one walks and to choose the right path to walk in. Darkness is used to hide ones evil ways, to walk in wickedness without others observing what you are doing. Light is used to illustrate the choice between following the commandments of God and hope for His eternal rewards, and darkness to follow the enticing of the devil which persuade man to do evil and become captive and damned to hell in eternal darkness. We who are called by His name are not called to walk in evil and wickedness in this life. Those who do are going will receive the wrath of God. These rabbinic concepts are incorporated into the first epistle of John chapter 1. John says that God is Light and in Him is no darkness. The Aramaic Targum states לית מימר דתורעמתא ולית מילי דשגושא דלא משתמע קלהון׃ Psalms 19:4 There is no utterance of complaint, and there are no words of confusion, for their voice is not heard. (EMC) Darkness is paralleled to the utterance of complaint and words of confusion. In the Lord God Almighty, there is no darkness. God is not the author of confusion. And using this analogy, John says that if we say we have fellowship with the Lord and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. Thus, the difference between light and darkness is understood as knowing the difference between truth and falsehood. The people in the wilderness journey moved according to the word of the Lord in their midst (the cloud, 9:15-19), yet they complained of the gifts God had given them to eat and to live (11:1). John says that if we walk in the light (see 1 John 1:7-9), just as He is in the Light, we have fellowship with Him, and with one another. The people of God in the wilderness however walked in the light of God’s presence each day yet they did not appear to have real fellowship with Him. The people longed for their former lives of bondage and sin. Do you think this happens today amongst some of the people found in our congregations? The Apostle John said in 1 John 1:7-9 that, the blood of Yeshua His Son cleanses us from all sin, however, if one walks in sin (practices sin, walks in darkness), there is no fellowship. Does the blood of Christ cleanse when one practices walking in darkness? You may find yourself living in the midst of the congregation of God, but do you truly desire to turn from sin, to seek His face and to seek forgiveness? (Mark 9:43-49) Do you believe God’s ways are perfect and do you have the desire (given by God) to walk in His ways, to live a righteous life and turn from sin?

Midrash Tehillim 19, Part 14 opens with the Dibur Hamathil (דיבור המתחיל) saying “In interpreting The Law of the Lord is perfect, it restores the soul (Tehillim / Psalms 19:8).” The homiletic introduction to the Midrash state that the rabbis are arguing over this verse, “Rabbi Jeremiah and the Rabbis differed. One argued, Why is Torah said to be perfect?” David says in the Psalm that the Torah is perfect and capable of restoring the soul. Why is the Torah said to be capable of restoring the soul? Why is the testimony of the Lord said to make the simple wise? The rabbinic response to these question is “because it is sure” translated from שהיא תמימה meaning “because she is innocent, guileless, lamblike, virgin, virginal, childlike, entire, or whole.” All of these words provide us with a picture of “purity.” The Torah is pure, it is perfect, it is undefiled. In addition to this, the rabbis ask “When is the Law of the Lord perfect? And when is the testimony of the Lord faithful?” (אימתי היא תמימה, בשעה שהיא יוצאת מפי של צדיק שהוא תמים, ואימתי היא נאמנת, בשעה שהיא יוצאה מפי נאמן.) Their response is “When it comes from the mouth of a righteous man, a man perfect in righteousness. And When it comes from the mouth of a faithful man.” According to this the Torah can be twisted by the wicked for their own purposes, whereas, the righteous and faithful ones do not use the words of the Torah for their own purposes, but to serve the Lord.

The remainder of Midrash Tehillim 19, Part 14 compares Tehillim / Psalms 19:8 and the interpretation of the Law of the Lord as perfect, the rabbis say that this refers to the six orders of the Mishnah.

The Six Orders of the Mishnah according to the Midrash

  1. Order of Women
  2. Order of Seeds
  3. Order of Feasts
  4. Order of the Holy Things
  5. Order of the Clean Things
  6. Order of the Civil Laws

What are the six orders of the Mishnah? The word “Mishnah” is derived from the root שנה, which means “year.” The word mishnah has two meanings in the Rabbinic literature, (i) as a manner of deducing everything that is taught orally, complementing the Written Torah, and (ii) a book, that is second only to the written Torah. The six Orders of the Mishnah are the laws of the Oral Law that were collected by subject and redacted in the Land of Israel in the third century CE by Rabbi Judah ha-Nasi. The need to write down the halakhot by subject arose in the late Second Temple period. The number of laws that were not directly connected to the verses of the Torah increased, and they could not be deduced by the conventional method of textual exegesis. The Rabbis who lived during the time from the Second Temple period until the time of Rabbi Judah ha-Nasi and who employed this methodology were called the Tannaim” (Tanna, person of a group of Jewish sages and teachers who were active between 70 to 200 of the Christian era and their main literary product is the Mishnah wherein their views are recorded.). As time passed, the first collections of mishnayot, known as “early mishnayot,” were formulated and redacted; these formed the basis for the Mishnah of Rabbi Judah ha-Nasi. The Mishnah is divided into six Orders, each of which relates to a different halakhic topic.

Orders of the Mishnah

  • The Order of Zeraim (“Seeds”) is concerned with the commandments observed only in the Land of Israel and with everyday ritual commandments.
  • The Order of Moed (“Appointed Time”) contains Sabbath and holiday laws.
  • The Order of Nashim (“Women”) relates to the relations between a man and his wife, from the creation of the relationship to the sundering of the marriage.
  • The Order of Nezikin (“Damages”) includes the laws governing interpersonal relations, property laws, and judicial procedure.
  • The Order of Kodashim (“Sacred Things”) relates to the Temple service and the laws of sacrifices.
  • The Order of Tohorot (“Pure Things”) contains the laws of ritual purity.

Note that each Order is divided into tractates, each tractate into chapters, and each chapter, into mishnayot. The most complete manuscripts of the Mishnah are MS. Kaufmann, from the eleventh or twelfth centuries, and MS. Parma, from the eleventh century. The Mishnah was first printed in Naples in 1492. The first commentaries on the Mishnah were written during the Geonic period (600-1040 CE). The best-known among the medieval commentaries are those by Rashi and Maimonides.

It is interesting to note that the Orders of the Mishnah are listed out of order in Midrash Tehillim 19, Part 14. The Order of Nashim (Women) is moved in front of Zeraim (Seeds). The interpretation of the Sages according to Midrash Tehillim 19, Part 14, on “The Law of the Lord is perfect, it restores the soul,” the rabbis draw a parallel to the orders of the Mishnah, the rabbis say that the Torah is perfect like the order of Woman, for it is said of a woman, You are fair, my love, and there is no spot in you (Song 4:7). The testimony of the Lord is sure refers to the order of Seeds. The reason the Order of Seeds is referred to is because it is only when a man believes the world to be secure (it will not be destroyed) that he sows seeds. They say that the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart (Tehillim / Psalms 19:9) this is a reference to the order of Feasts with its regulations concerning the Booth and the Palm branch and all the feasts in the year, of which it is written You will rejoice in your feast (Devarim / Deuteronomy 16:14). They say the commandment of the Lord is pure and enlightening the eyes. This is a reference to the order of the Holy Things, which enlightens the eyes of the priests who are in service to the Lord God Almighty (i.e. the altar of incense and the menorah). According to the Scriptures, the fear of the Lord is clean (Tehillim / Psalms 19:10). This is a reference to the order of the Clean Things with its regulations distinguishing between impurity and purity. Finally, the ordinances of the Lord are true refers to the order of the Civil Laws, which contains the greater portion of laws regulating and relations between man and man.

In Tehillim / Psalms 19, we read of the Purity of God’s words specifically the Torah. In fact, Scripture says (David said in Tehillim / Psalms 12) “The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.” (Tehillim / Psalms 12:6) God’s word is absolutely without dross. They have been tried in the furnace of affliction and have been purified. Every worthless particle has been removed. Yeshua said, “Your Word is truth,” meaning Words that are not evil, there is no darkness in Him, in the Lord God Almighty. The words of God are pure words, there is no evil mingled amongst the Words of God. Contained within the Words of Scripture, we have been given the promise that if we confess and turn from our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. David concluded his Psalm saying י יִרְאַת יְהֹוָה | טְהוֹרָה עוֹמֶדֶת לָעַד מִשְׁפְּטֵי-יְהֹוָה אֱמֶת צָדְקוּ יַחְדָּו: 19:9 The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; The judgments of the Lord are true; they are righteous altogether. (NASB) The Rabbis translated this into Aramaic saying י דחלתא דיהוה דכיא קיימא לעלמין לעלם דינייא דיהוה הימנותא זכיאו זכיין כחדא׃ 19:10 The fear of the Lord is pure, lasting forever; the judgments of the Lord are faithfulness; they are altogether just. (EMC) The judgments of God are faithfulness for the purpose of leading to forgiveness and righteousness. In Midrash Tehillim 19, Part 14, the rabbis draw a parallel of the perfectness of the Torah to the six orders of the Mishnah, to the love and beauty of God’s word, that the Lord God remains faithful to the covenant of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to Moshe, to David, and in Yeshua our Savior and He remains faithful to us today. That the word of the Lord brings joy, is faithful, is holy, and clean, and brings joy to ones heart. According to the Scriptures, the Lord always remains faithful and true to us, and as a result of this, we need to take our lives, our faith, and God’s word seriously and remain faithful to Him too. The Creator of the Universe is calling out and looking for those who seek Him. We serve a wonderful God, a God who is faithful and true. Praise the Lord for such a wonderful Salvation! Let’s Pray!

Tehillim 19-Part1-and-2 Notes: Notes_Psalms_19

Previous articleBits of Torah Truths, Parashat Chukat, Looking to the One who was lifted up
Next articleBits of Torah Truths, Parashat Balak, The importance of Prayer
Duane D. Miller received his Ph.D., M.S., and B.S. Degree in Chemical Engineering from The University of Akron Ohio. He is currently a Chemical Engineering Researcher. Duane’s research expertise has focused upon functional materials development for the control, conversion, and release of process gases in Energy production technologies. His R&D interests include computational chemistry, developing novel technologies for converting biomass to fuels and studying their fundamental interactions during the chemical conversion process. His past experience includes sorbent development for pre- and post-combustion CO2 and SO2 capture, selective absorption of H2S from methane streams, O2 capture for oxy-fuel combustion, photocatalytic reduction of alcohols, NOx reduction catalysis, the development of oxygen carriers to combust fossil fuels (CH4 and coal) for the chemical looping combustion processes, and the extraction of rare earth elements using patent pending sorbents. His research expertise has focused on operando-characterization using Infrared, Raman, and UV-Vis spectroscopy to observe the nature of the catalytic active sites and reaction intermediates under realistic reaction conditions, allowing direct correlation of molecular/electronic structures with catalyst performance during Gas-Solid / Liquid-Solid Adsorption and Photocatalytic Processes with real time online analysis of reaction products using ICP-MS and mass spectrometry. His current work involves a multi-disciplinary approach to developing, understanding, and improving the catalytic gasification of coal and methane, high temperature chemical looping combustion, and the catalytic decomposition and gasification of biomass and coal using novel microwave reactor.​ He has been studying the Hebrew Scriptures and the Torah for 20+ years and sharing what he has learned. The studies developed for MATSATI.COM are freely to be used by everyone, to God be the Glory!