The ‘House of the Nazarene’ is an international non-denominational movement and is an evangelical part of the Christian church. Its message is based on the Bible. Its ministry is motivated by the love of God. Its mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in His name without discrimination.
“When you go forth [ki tetze] to battle against your enemies, and the Lord your God delivers them into your hands ” (Deuteronomy 21:10)
Last week, Parasha Shoftim focused rather broadly on the system of worship, judicial procedures, and the administration of the nation.
This week’s portion of Scripture, Parasha Ki Tetze, includes 74 of the 613 commandments contained in the Torah. These commandments include miscellaneous criminal, civil, and family laws as well as the moral and religious duties of the Israelites.
The Curse and Death on a Tree
This Torah portion is a very practical compilation of teachings that squarely deals with most real-life situations: from inheritance rights of the firstborn to how to deal with stubborn, rebellious children; from returning lost objects to their owner to building safety fences around the roof of a home in order to prevent loss of life; from protection of the living to how to treat the body of the deceased.
The ethical treatment of a corpse extends to criminals hung on a tree after being convicted of a capital offense. They have to be taken down and buried on the same day. Bodies could not be left overnight since anyone hung on a tree is considered cursed by God.
“If a man guilty of a capital offense is put to death and you hang him on a tree [וְתָלִ֥יתָ אֹתֹ֖ו עַל־עֵֽץ], his corpse shall not remain on the tree overnight. You must bury it the same day; anyone who is hanged is a curse of God.” (Deuteronomy 21:22–23)
The Hebrew word for tree is etz (עֵץ); the phrase “hang him on a tree” refers to death as a result of hanging on a tree, cross, or gallows, or to display a corpse on a tree after his execution. Either way, the sight of a hung man on a wooden pole is a curse of God.
This is at least partly why a rich man named Joseph asked to take down the body of Yeshua (Jesus) from the execution stake.
“As evening approached, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who had himself become a disciple of Yeshua. Going to Pilate, he asked for Yeshua’s body, and Pilate ordered that it be given to him. Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and placed it in his own new tomb that he had cut out of the rock.” (Matthew 27:57–60)
But Yeshua wasn’t guilty of a capital offense, so why was he put to death on a tree?
According to Jewish priestly legal interpretation found in the Halakhah (literally, the way), the one who is guilty of treason or blasphemy would be hung to death on a tree in full display before the people he has betrayed and the God he has blasphemed.
This interpretation of Deuteronomy 21:22–23 is found in early Aramaic translations of the Bible and rabbinic literature.
The Jewish leaders, therefore, saw Yeshua’s hanging as “proof” that He blasphemed the Lord by claiming to be the Messiah; in their interpretation, no true Messiah would hang on a tree and become a curse of God.
However, this Torah portion helps us see how Yeshua took the full measure of the curse on our behalf by hanging on a tree.
There on the tree, Yeshua took on Himself the curse that was meant for us, accepting the penalty for our sins and experiencing for the first time what it felt like to be separated from God because of transgression.
This is what the Prophet Isaiah referred to when he wrote:
“Surely He took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered Him punished by God, stricken by Him, and afflicted. But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on Him, and by His wounds, we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:4–5)
Paul, a former Pharisee, also referred to the curse when he wrote:
“Messiah redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: ‘Cursed is everyone who is hung on a pole.’” (Galatians 3:13)
There on the tree, Yeshua took all of our curses so that we could experience His blessings. Those who follow Yeshua are no longer alienated from God but have His laws inscribed on their hearts.
Holiness and the Laws of God
Having the laws of God written on our hearts means that God’s character and nature are known to us in a very personal way — not through external laws on stone tablets, but internally in our very souls.
That does not mean we can turn our backs on the Torah, which helps us to better understand holiness and God’s nature, meaning we can’t continue in sin when we are convicted of the Holy Spirit. Now we all mess up once in a while, then we repent and ask forgiveness and receive it.
We see in this Parasha that sin has a very heavy cost. For instance, while the Decalogue (Ten Commandments) commands us to honor our parents, this portion specifies that sustained disobedience to parents is a capital offense.
The punishment for breaking this law was, it seems, never carried out in Israel, but became more of an ideal law that emphasized the respect of parents. Do notice, however, that this law seems to describe a son who is a grown man, which indicates that Adonai holds we are never too old to revere our parents IF the parents are following the word of God or Godly parents.
The ethical and moral laws provided in Parasha Ki Tetze cover several instances of marriage. Among them is the case of a woman whose second husband has died or divorced her.
This Parasha states that her first husband cannot remarry her (Deuteronomy 24:4).
Another instance of marriage is the levirate marriage (yibbum). If a man dies leaving a childless widow, the man’s brother has the responsibility of marrying the widow in order to continue his brother’s line so that the deceased can inherit through the levirate son his share in the inheritance of property.
This Parasha also outlines the prohibition of a son marrying his father’s former wife, as well as other violations of marriage law.
The laws in Ki Tetze also include paying workers promptly and allowing those who work for you to eat while they work (not muzzling the ox).
As well, those lending money to a fellow Jew were forbidden from charging interest on their loan, they could charge interest to others who were not Jew.
Ki Tetze continues to be relevant in our world today.
Although in our modern society, transgenderism and cross-dressing is becoming more accepted and common, this Torah portion clearly states that those who practice such acts are an abomination to God:
“A woman shall not wear a man’s garment, nor shall a man put on a woman’s clothing; for anyone who does such things is an abomination to the LORD, your God.” (Deuteronomy 22:5)
There seems to be so much confusion in our day with regards to gender and sexual identity; it is good to have the solid rock of God’s Word to show us where to stand on these controversial issues. Also I need to state this emphatically, without doubt; clearly, and in a forceful way their is ONLY a X and Y gene for the entire human race no others and no other derivatives of them period!
Despite what some believe, women are traditionally well treated in Judaism. Even a foreign captive woman was to be given respect, including the time to mourn the loss of her parents.
The law ensures her dignity and provides for her ethical treatment and legal protection.
“If you notice among the captives a beautiful woman and are attracted to her, you may take her as your wife. Bring her into your home and have her shave her head, trim her nails and put aside the clothes she was wearing when captured. After she has lived in your house and mourned her father and mother for a full month, then you may go to her and be her husband and she shall be your wife.” (Deuteronomy 21:11–13)
If the Israelite man decides that he no longer wants her as his wife, he must allow her to go free and cannot sell her as a slave to another.
These verses about captive women segue to the unloved wife and the firstborn son. In a multiple wife situation, a man’s firstborn son born of the unloved wife must receive his inheritance of the double portion. In other words, the father may not give his birthright to the son of the loved wife.
Israel’s Double Portion
The verses in this Torah portion about inheritance and victory in warfare bring to mind the final end-time battle. According to Rabbinic Judaism, the Messiah (Mashiach) will wage war against the enemies of Israel and succeed in battle.
We know that a day is coming when all nations will gather to battle against Israel, but Yeshua the Messiah will fight for Israel and gain the victory. All the spoils of the nations will come into the hands of the people of Israel.
In that day, we will receive back all that the enemy has stolen from us. God will restore the years that the swarming locusts have devoured (Joel 2:25), and we will receive a double portion in our land. Halleluyah!
“Instead of your shame you will receive a double portion, and instead of disgrace, you will rejoice in your inheritance. And so you will inherit a double portion in your land, and everlasting joy will be yours.” (Isaiah 61:7)
The signs of the Times are here. This summer was the
hottest on record in many countries creating famines, which is spoken of in Matthew 24. Yeshua is returning soon.
“I will bless those who bless you.” (Genesis 12:3)
You can make a difference in these last days by helping us bring the Good News of Yeshua around the globe!
An Ordained Anointed Minister of Jesus Christ to Minister His Gospel, to this online Church; House of the Nazarene, To spread the Good News of Salvation to the four corners of the Earth.
All Christians have, in profession at least, received Jesus Christ the Lord, consented to him, and taken him for theirs. We cannot be built up in Christ, or grow in him, unless we are first rooted in him, or founded upon him. Being established in the faith, we must abound therein, and improve in it more and more. God justly withdraws this benefit from those who do not receive it with thanksgiving; and gratitude for his mercies is justly required by God.
There is a philosophy which rightly exercises our reasonable faculties; a study of the works of God, which leads us to the knowledge of God, and confirms our faith in him. But there is a philosophy which is vain and deceitful; and while it pleases men's fancies, hinders their faith: such are curious speculations about things above us, or no concern to us. Those who walk in the way of the world, are turned from following Christ. We have in Him the substance of all the shadows of the ceremonial law. All the defects of it are made up in the gospel of Christ, by his complete sacrifice for sin, and by the revelation of the will of God.
To be complete, is to be furnished with all things necessary for salvation. By this one word “complete,” is shown that we have in Christ whatever is required. “In him,” not when we look to Christ, as though he were distant from us, but we are in him, when, by the power of the Spirit, we have faith wrought in our hearts by the Spirit, and we are united to our Head. The circumcision of the heart, the crucifixion of the flesh, the death and burial to sin and to the world, and the resurrection to newness of life, set forth in baptism, and by faith wrought in our hearts, prove that our sins are forgiven, and that we are fully delivered from the curse of the law.
Through Christ, we, who were dead in sins, are quickened. Christ's death was the death of our sins; Christ's resurrection is the quickening of our souls. The law of ordinances, which was a yoke to the Jews, and a partition-wall to the Gentiles, the Lord Jesus took out of the way. When the substance was come, the shadows fled. Since every mortal man is, through the hand-writing of the law, guilty of death, how very dreadful is the condition of the ungodly and unholy, who trample under foot that blood of the Son of God, whereby alone this deadly hand-writing can be blotted out! Let not any be troubled about bigoted judgments which related to meats, or the Jewish solemnities.
The setting apart a portion of our time for the worship and service of God, is a moral and unchangeable duty, but had no necessary dependence upon the seventh day of the week, the Sabbath of the Jews. The first day of the week, or the Lord's day, is the time kept holy by Christians, in remembrance of Christ's resurrection. All the Jewish rites were shadows of gospel blessings.
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