One of the ancient synagogue practices is to lead the local community through the reading of the Torah each year. This practice continues today. The Five Books of Moses (Genesis – Deuteronomy) are the books of the Torah and are divided into weekly portions. Each week the assigned portion is read aloud during the Shabbat (Sabbath) service. In addition to the Torah portion, a correlated reading from the Prophets or the Writings is read. (Often many of these Scriptures are sung or cantered over the congregation rather than simply read aloud.) In many Messianic congregations a reading from the teachings of Yeshua or the Apostles is also read. That selection varies from congregation to congregation. The drash (sermon) that follows is usually based upon one of these three readings. This cycle of readings begins each fall on the Sabbath immediately following the Feast of Tabernacles and concludes one year later at Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish civil New Year, also known as Yom Teruah, the Day of Trumpets.
This practice might sound overly religious to you. However, it has one incredible benefit that is awfully hard to not appreciate. With Jews (natural Israel) and many Messianic believers on the face of the earth reading and contemplating the same passages that I am, I know that this large portion of the Bride of Messiah is on the same page with me – thinking, praying, asking questions, and hearing personally from Yahweh based on the same readings. That is simply mindboggling! This reality also affects the way that I pray for my brothers and sisters in Messiah, and for those of natural Israel yet to embrace him. I know what Scriptures they are processing in their hearts and minds each week, so I can pray with a deepened focus for eyes to be opened, ears to hear, and lives to be changed.
But why embrace such a practice? Personally, I find that reading from all three parts of the Bible in such a correlated manner each week has broadened my perspective regarding what Father is communicating to us in the full scope of Scripture. The Jews have a term for this phenomenon: crimson threads. Finding these crimson threads that run through the Torah, the Writings & Prophets, and the New Testament writings fulfills an especially important Torah based principle called three witnesses. The agreement of three witnesses establishes something to be true and reliable. Truth and reliability. Isn’t this what we all desire? I encourage you to embrace this practice of weekly readings that will help you discover the abundance of crimson-thread-truths in God’s Kingdom.
As you engage in this wonderful new habit, it is important to also understand two basic Hebrew-mindset perspectives that are foundational to the everyday understanding of our faith walk with Yeshua (Jesus):
- The Torah (Genesis through Deuteronomy) is the foundation – the chief cornerstone – to the entire Bible, Genesis to Revelation. Everything written in the Prophets, the Writings, and the New Covenant is built upon and constantly refers back to the Torah, including the life and teaching of Yeshua HaMashiach – Jesus the Messiah. To fail to understand the principles and instructions of the Torah is to fail to understand Him. Yeshua explained this with his own words. “Don’t think it is I who will be your accuser before the Father. Do you know who will accuse you? Moshe [Moses], the very one you have counted on! For if you really believed Moshe [Moses], you would believe me; because it was about me that he wrote. But if you don’t believe what he wrote, how are you going to believe what I say?” John 5:45-27 (CJB) Wow! If we don’t believe (think and act upon) what Moses wrote, how are we going to believe (think and act upon) what our Messiah says? That is profound.
- The Old Covenant (Tanakh) and the New Covenant (B’rit Hadashah) are parallel to each other. The two deal with parallel material and complement each other completely. Yeshua declared that He did not come to abolish or destroy the Torah but that in all that He said and did – and will do in the future – He came to fulfill the Torah. (Matthew 5:17-18) The Hebrew word for “fulfill” used in this text means “complete understanding” with the purpose of correction and setting us back on the right path. He did not come to accomplish a onetime fulfillment, in the Greek sense, that implies we no longer need the Torah. Yeshua is the Torah – The Word – made flesh and dwelling with us (John 1:1-14). Should we abolish the Torah we would also abolish Him. We cannot have one or the other. That choice is not available to us. He and His Word are inseparable. Therefore, the Hebrew perspective on all Scripture is that the Tanakh (Old Covenant) is brought to full and correct understanding by the New Covenant – and that to read or teach the New Covenant without the foundation of the Torah and the all of the Tanakh is heresy. The Bible presents one full and flowing story of YHVH’s (Yahweh, our Father) grace and redemption from beginning to end. If we cannot see Father’s grace and redemption in the Torah and all the Tanakh then we cannot fully grasp the depth of the grace and redemption given to us through Yeshua. In short, abandoning Torah equals abandoning Messiah.
This week’s readings are a perfect example of this perspective of flow and complimentary, paralleling content. Yahweh’s covenant promise and eternal effort to pull His people (us) out of the systems of this world are the human story that flows throughout Scripture. He sets us apart to be His unique treasure upon the earth – to think, function, and celebrate life on earth just as it is in heaven. This is the definition of being “holy” that Scripture teaches us. He is constantly providing for those who love Him and seek after His heart a way of escape from the condemnation He releases upon those who don’t. We see this with Adam, Noah, Abraham and Lot, Jacob, Joseph and his brothers, Moses and the Hebrew slaves, and David. The Torah contains their praises and songs declaring all that Yahweh did for them out of His heart of compassion, grace and mercy. We now add our song to this chorus of praise and worship – for the very same heart of the Father has now saved us eternally in the life, death, and resurrection of Yeshua. We rejoice – and so do Abraham and Moses because they saw our day coming and rejoiced in that promise also.
Here is the weekly reading for the week ending with January 30, 2021. Each weekly reading is given a title that is pulled from a word or phrase found within the Torah text.
B’Shallach – After he had let go
Torah: Exodus 13:17 – 17:16
K’tuvim (the Writings): Judges 4:4 – 5:31
B’rit Hadashah (New Covenant): Luke 2:22-32
I Cor. 10:1-13
2 Cor. 8:1-15
Pay attention as you read these Scriptures traditionally assigned to this week. Note that in Exodus 15 Moses and the Israelites sang a song to Yahweh – a song of testimony declaring who He is to them and telling the story of His grace and redemption acted upon in their behalf. Note next that in Judges 5 Deborah and Barak sang a song to Yahweh blessing Him for the victories He gave to them and declaring Him to be high above all the kings of the earth. Note next that in Luke it is Simeon singing a blessing (Jews sing blessings, not speak them) to Yahweh, praising Him for keeping His promise that he would see his yeshu’ah (salvation) before he died. Next, in the passages of 1 & 2 Corinthians Paul takes his readers back to Exodus, reminding them that what Yahweh has done in the past He continues to do in their day– and in ours. Now note that John is shown in Revelation 15: 1-4 that those who defeat the anti-Messiah in the Last Days would stand beside the seas of glass holding harps and singing both the Song of Moses and the Song of the Lamb, Yeshua. Do you see the crimson thread?! Amazing, isn’t it?
Let’s take a look for a moment at this week’s crimson thread: The Songs of the Redeemed. If you truly know Messiah Yeshua, you know the Song of the Lamb. Might I ask how well do you know the Song of Moses? Our Jewish brothers know the Song of Moses to be much more than Exodus 15. The Song of Moses is also a Hebrew idiom meaning “the Torah”. I encourage you to not ignore that Song, nor try to abolish it, for in the book of Revelation John tells us that one day we will be singing it as we stand beside the glassy sea. Those who know the Song of Moses – the Jews who embrace the Messiah– will also be singing the Song of the Lamb. Saved Gentiles (Goyim) who know the Song of the Lamb so well will be singing the Song of Moses with saved Jews – and vice versa. YHVH says so… and what He says He accomplishes. We will be made one in Him. This is a part of our destiny!
What an Amazing Father we have! What an Amazing King! What an Amazing God we serve! He truly is the same, yesterday, today and forever more. The Songs of the Redeemed – our Songs – remain constant from beginning to end, from Moses to Deborah to Simeon to us! YHVH keeps His promises out of His faithfulness to our fathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob – and out of His deep heart of love, compassion, grace, and mercy toward His people, His Bride. No longer Jew, no longer Gentile, not even Christian – we have seen and know our Yeshua (our salvation). In Him we are simply the people of His Kingdom, the one new man, the apple of His eye, His eternal Bride. We are called by Him “Isra’el”. Sing and rejoice!
©Deborah Munson 2021