“Are You Branch or Are You Tree?” by Ariel Ehrmantrout
Sh’ Lach l’cha: Send for Yourself
Haftarah Joshua 2:1-24
Priesthood Instructions Philemon
“Are You Branch or Are You Tree?”
Today’s Reading: Numbers 14:13-20 “13 Moses said to the LORD, “Then the Egyptians will hear about it! By your power you brought these people up from among them. 14 And they will tell the inhabitants of this land about it. They have already heard that you, O LORD, are with these people and that you, O LORD, have been seen face to face, that your cloud stays over them, and that you go before them in a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. 15 If you put these people to death all at one time, the nations who have heard this report about you will say, 16 ‘The LORD was not able to bring these people into the land he promised them on oath; so he slaughtered them in the desert.’ 17 “Now may the Lord’s strength be displayed, just as you have declared: 18 ‘The LORD is slow to anger, abounding in love and forgiving sin and rebellion. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation.’ 19 In accordance with your great love, forgive the sin of these people, just as you have pardoned them from the time they left Egypt until now.” 20 The LORD replied, “I have forgiven them, as you asked.”
This weeks Torah portion leaves off where we left the grumbling complainers last week. In review, last week I talked about how we rob ourselves of the blessings of God that results in our living in the wilderness areas of life through our seemingly innate ability to complain and murmur.
In this week’s portion, you will see that it is time for this wondering bunch of former slaves to move into the promised land that God has promised to their ancestors for hundreds of years. In this weeks portion we see Moshe, calling out the leaders among the tribes of Israel. If you know your Bible history, Jacob had twelve sons, and you will remember that
God entered into covenant with Jacob at Beth’El–which was the place where Jacob had seen the ladder that the Angels used to ascend and descend from heaven.
At Beth’El, Jacob wrestled with the Lord all night long and would not relent in his battle until the Lord blessed him. So God in fact blessed him and gave Jacob a new name. The Hebrew word Ya’acov–where we get the English rendering Jacob-means deceiver; and his character had matched his name perfectly. God changed his name as a part of their covenant ceremony to Israel: which is a Hebrew word meaning “Wrestles or Fights with God”
So in this portion we see several generations now removed from Beth’El that the descendents of Israel are the 12 heads of the clans–known commonly as the twelve tribes of Israel. In this portion, at the Lords command, Moses sends the twelve heads of the families into the promised land to spy out the land, and asks them to bring back a report about all that they find.
We will begin our look at this espionage today beginning in the book of Numbers Chapter 13 beginning at verse 17:
“When Moses sent them to explore Canaan, he said, Go up through the Negev and on into the hill country; See what the land is like and whether the people who live there are strong or weak, few or many. What kind of land do they live in, is it good or bad? What kind of towns do they live in? Are they unwalled or fortified? How is the soil? Is it fertile or poor? Are there trees on it or not? Do your best to bring back some of the fruit of the land.”
Today I want to talk to you about a significant topic to us a we strive to live in the abundant victory that God has called us to live in. You see we share many things in common with our ancient ancestors–in fact the Book of Ecclesiastes states, that there is nothing new under the sun. HaSatan–which is Hebrew for the Devil–has been deceiving man the same way for thousands of years and the Torah is Gods instruction manual for living a Holy and successful life in God’s eyes.
Today I want to look into these instructions to find out how to capture and live by the Kaleb Spirit. First I want to examine what the Kaleb Spirit is, and how it differs from the spirit of the majority; then I want to see how we learn to walk in this Spirit and apply it to our lives in a powerful new way to transform our lives. Many of us have been going to church for years, and we have heard this story many times throughout the years. It is a natural to a preacher of the Good News–because it is a clear study in faith.
But we are in the last days–closer now than ever to the return of the Bridegroom for His Bride, and there is an increase in evil around the world that is unprecedented since the beginning of the world until now–as the anti-Messiah/anti-Christ is being prepared to make his run at the Kingdom of the Lord. God is calling us to new levels of Holiness. God is requiring more from his church than passive resistance in the pews for a few hours and then a meager offering.
Soon your faith is going to cost you something; it won’t be long–as many Messianic Jews and Christians in China, and the Muslim controlled nations of the world can attest to, until God is removed from all social institutions in the United States, and families will be encouraged to bow down before their electronic source of all information, and all out war will begin against the camp of the Most High. Who would have ever thought that we would be fighting for our very lives to stop Gay marriage from becoming law right here in California?
I would have never thought I would live long enough to see the widespread love of so many growing cold toward Israel and the God of Israel; beloved there are so many would be–believers today that go to church and go home and participate in Internet pornography, drinking, drugs and other behaviors unbecoming to the body of Messiah called Israel. How many self-professed “believers” go home to the soft light of their REAL god, and watch soft core pornography on their televisions while their bibles sit in the corner collecting dust?
You see because we are spread among the nations –our faith has never really cost us anything. We never worry about rockets coming from a neighboring country and killing our school children like our brothers and sisters in Israel do. As a result of this disconnect–we feel free to set it down at will–doing as we please instead of pleasing him who first grafted us into His service and now has sent us forth to bear fruit; but a time is coming when that precious faith in whether or not you are truly and Israelite and a member of God’s chosen people will cost you your very life–are you ready? You will need a different kind of spirit to make it through those days–the spirit of Kaleb to survive those approaching days–and if you have it–you will live in the abundance that Kaleb enjoyed.
You will notice that the spies we sent into the land and they reconnoitered the entire promised land–the land that God himself guaranteed they would take possession of. Not only did they pass through with complete safety–they brought back fruit to the rest of the body of Israel as they waited to enter the promised land. Let’s take a good look at what they reported upon their return from the promised land, beginning in Chapter 13 and verse 26:
“They came back to Moses and Aaron and the whole Israelite Community at Kadesh in the Desert of Paran; There they reported to them and to the whole assembly and showed them the fruit of the land. They gave Moses this account, We went into the land which you sent us, and it does flow with milk and honey! Here is its fruit! BUT the people who lived there are powerful and the cities are fortified and very large. We even saw the descendents of Anak there. The Amalekites live in the Negev, the Hittites, Jebusites, and Amorites live in the hill country, and the Canaanites live near the sea and by the Jordan. Then Kaleb silenced the people before Moses and said–We should go up and take possession of the Land, for we can certainly do it. But the men who had gone up with him said we cannot attack those people; they are stronger than we are and they spread among the Israelites a bad report about the land they had explored. They said the land we explored devours those living in it. All the people we saw there are of great size. We saw the Nephilim there (the descendents of Anak come from the Nephilim). We seemed like grasshoppers IN OUR OWN EYES, and we looked the same to them!”
Many of you have heard this story–it is called the story of the Spies in many children’s books and other stories about the Bible. However there is a much more prophetic side to this story. Located deep within these verses is the happenings that we are experiencing to this very day in this battle between God’s kingdom and the forces arrayed against His kingdom. Many people see this story as a great place to teach about faith–and in fact it is, but there is a much greater meaning that God wants us to take away from this story. You will note that twelve spies went into the land, and actually took fruit from the promised land.
These twelve were the leaders of the individual clans–kind of like what we would call denominational heads today. Of the twelve that went into the Promised Land and traveled the land and tasted its goodness, there were only two who stood forth proclaiming agreement with the prophecies that the Lord had given the children of Israel concerning this very land. It was only Kaleb and Joshua.
Numbers 14:21-24 says “Nevertheless, as surely as I live and as surely as the glory of the LORD fills the whole earth, 22 not one of the men who saw my glory and the miraculous signs I performed in Egypt and in the desert but who disobeyed me and tested me ten times- 23 not one of them will ever see the land I promised on oath to their forefathers. No one who has treated me with contempt will ever see it. 24 But because my servant Kaleb has a different spirit and follows me wholeheartedly, I will bring him into the land he went to, and his descendants will inherit it.
The remaining leaders –even though they had been in the promised land–had actually tasted the goodness of the promises of the Lord, all remained unified in their disbelief; but much more than disbelief–they were actually participating in open rebellion against God!
You see God had told them that the land was theirs; He had been leading them as their banner and their rear guard. God had already promised them by his covenant hand, and by miracles that he would lead them out of slavery into the promised land. Yet only Kaleb and Joshua stood for the Lord amidst this evil report that was spread about the rest of the flock.
The first thing we want to see about Kaleb’s sprit is that he operated from an understanding of God’s covenant. Kaleb knew that God had stated very clearly in covenant language–swearing by himself for there is no one greater that He could swear by, that he would lead the people out to a land flowing with milk and honey. Kaleb saw the Lord manifest in thunder and majesty upon mount Sinai, and he saw the sea of Reeds-or Red Sea part in two and he had walked through on dry ground. Kaleb did not forget the track record of deliverance that God had already brought forth on behalf of his children. He knew it so deeply that he was willing to stand against the entire group.
This is a clear picture of Living God YHWH today; there are many leaders-and people in the body of Messiah today who have been to the goodness of God’s promised land. They have tasted the goodness of God’s deliverance from the slavery of man made religion and they have entered into the sweet places of Torah and its Promised Land; and when there is no opposition to what they are doing and teaching, then they are happy to feast off the goodness of the fruit of the Promised Land. In other words beloved–there are many of us that are perfectly cool with heading off to services once in a while–as long as it doesn’t really cost us too much time, or if we are not really asked to give anything substantial–like forsaking our former way of live amidst the nations to come out and live openly as Jews in today’s climate.
We are more than willing to walk through the promised land as long as there is no resistance. As long as we do not have to say anything about YHWH and Yeshua being ONE AND THE SAME to a neighbor–or co-worker, or our Parents–then all is well. But when we hear a fiery message that challenges us–we far too often do what our ancestors did: we forget the goodness of God and his promises. We totally abandon that spirit that Kaleb and Joshua had–the one that says–in spite of what it costs me, I will take this land because God said I would! I will stand in the face of anything that exalts itself against the Most High God YHWH who IS YESHUA. In fact, did you know that the real pronunciation of the Name of YHWH IS YESHUA? This is why the High Priest at the time of our Masters appearance forbid that any teaching in “THIS NAME” be stopped by the early apostles….for it was only lawful for the Priests–the Kohanim to say this name. The Tetragrammaton YHWH is always taught with the mistake our older brothers taught us–so that we would not say the name as synonymous with Yeshua’s Name. It is NOT at the NAME OF “JESUS” that every knee will bow and Tongue confess that “Jesus is Lord” to the glory of God the Father. However it is at the name YHWH (pronounced YESHUA–and spelled in Hebrew “YUD–HAY–SHIN–HAY” or spelled phonetically “YAHU–SHU–AH. At this name YHWH every knee SHALL BOW and every TONGUE WILL CONFESS that YESHUA IS YHWH to the Glory of God the Father. This is done during the reading of the Amidah Prayer each day and every Shabbat and High Holy Day for those of us in Israel. You see this takes another kind of spirit to STAND UP and PROCLAIM–the Spirit that both Kaleb and Joshua had–and this is why they gave the good report! What can YHWH NOT DO?
Kaleb was sold out unto the point of death; he was not afraid of death, because he realized that he had already been dead. When he was in slavery he had been dead; but now he was alive and his life was totally wound up in the promises of God. Kaleb knew that God had chosen him–that he had not made right choices to get there. But he knew that his faith needed to be coupled with action. The others, were not willing to combine their faith with OBEDIENT ACTIONS. This is just like so many today who love the feel good–two poem and a prayer messages that tickles their ears, but never really brings about real change in their lives. Like the 10 who spread the bad report-so many of us are willing to leave the slave in us–settling with wilderness lives, rather than move out as overcoming conquerors into the promised land and occupy
The Book of James in the New Testament clearly covers this in James Chapter 2 beginning in verse 14:
“What good is it brothers, if a man claims to have faith, but has no deeds? Can such a faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes, and daily food. If one of you says to him, “Go I wish you well be warm and well fed”, but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead! But someone will say, “you have faith, and I have deeds”; Show me your faith without deeds, and I will SHOW you my faith by WHAT I DO!”
Kaleb understood this concept that James argues. He fully understood that his faith needed to be accompanied by obedience to the word of God. Obedience to the Torah– following faith– is an earmark of the Kaleb spirit. The true spirit of unbelief is a spirit that claims faith–yet shows no obedient works to match that faith! The other 10 spies all had faith in God–there was not a single one who did not believe in God, yet there were only two that made it into the promised land. In fact historians estimate that following this rebellion against God, over 80 people per day died in the desert until the only two who were left from this entire generation were Kaleb and Joshua, and true to the instructions-or TORAH-of God, they entered the goodness of the promised land.
So many of us look at the giants in the land–and say “well Rabbi there are just to many things keeping me from leading people to Messiah and His Kingdom called Israel. I get embarrassed, I may get rejected, they may think I am imposing my beliefs on them;” Listen beloved, the bad reports have not changed for thousands of years. If your neighbors house was on fire you would break the doors in to get them out–but most of us will not even tell one person about Yeshua that we work with!
The truth is we don’t want them to know that we are believers so when we are cussing and swearing or young men-going to the strip clubs for a “beer” they will not condemn you for being a person of faith that has no deeds to back it up. Kaleb and Joshua had deeds, and these deeds were obedience to the instructions of God. God told them to take the land–that He had already provided it for them, so they knew that they could lay claim to it. God has told many of us today to take this city for the kingdom of YHWH! He has told us to bring about the prophetic reunification of those outside amidst the nations struggling in contemporary religions to be reunited with their Jewish Brothers and Sisters. Yet we are afraid to give our one hundred percent sold out commitment.
Many people visited us when we were just starting out and never came back because we didn’t “look” like or sound like what they were used to hearing! God has given us the land and He is sending more “Kaleb’s here to take back his territory in Gaza for YHWH! There was a day when ALL ISRAEL WAS UNITED AS ONE–UNDER ONE KING –Echad–just like the Father the Son and the Holy Ghost ARE ONE YESHUA YHWH, and God is taking us from the wilderness of separation and taking us into the promised land of being
re-unified as a powerful tool in the hand of the living God in these last days. Read Ezekiel 37 and see that Ephraim and Judah are the two sticks that get woven together in the Masters hand as a powerful tool in the last days!
If you look back to the beginning of this story–to see this prophetic significance today–you will note that Joshua was from the tribe of Ephraim and Kaleb from the tribe of Judah–and only these two tribes make it into the promised land; this is a clear picture of the two houses of Israel being reunified. Those of us among the Nations WERE Ephraim and Judah is the Jews who are maintaining the covenant through their faith in these last days. Ephraim and Judah–Kaleb and Joshua–American’s and Israeli’s–reunited in these last days, to reign with Messiah from Jerusalem forever!
There are giants in the land today people, and we will certainly have to battle–but the battle belongs to the Lord! He has given us the Torah as the plan of victory! If we apply it to our lives and live by its principles then we will take the land in a powerful way; if we do not follow the Torah, like many people today who claim the Torah is old news–then they will end up like those 10 other tribes who would not follow the instructions of the Lord and died in the desert. They will die in their dead faith–because it will not be including the deeds of Torah. If you doubt this at all look at Matthew’s writing in chapter 13 24-30 where our Master shares this parable:
24Yeshua told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. 25But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. 26When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared. 27″The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’ 28” ‘An enemy did this,’ he replied. “The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’ 29” ‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may root up the wheat with them. 30Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’ “
Further, the Father speaks of the Righteous Branch which is King Messiah. He is the ROOT OF JESSE–part of the NATURAL OLIVE TREE THAT IS CURRENTLY RIGHT NOW “ISRAEL!” You are to have been GRAFTED INTO THE NATURAL OLIVE TREE–changing status from A DEAD STICK into a actual PART OF THE LIVING TREE.
THE LIVING TREE IS THE PEOPLE AND NATION OF ISRAEL. YESHUA IS THE ROOTS OF THE OLIVE TREE–YHWH…..If you are IN HIM then YOU ARE IN ISRAEL–the PEOPLE THE LAND THE GOD ARE ALL ECHAD–ONE. How do you know whether or not you are just a dead stick……it is easy to know–YOU ARE SEPARATE FROM THE ISRAELI’S and ISRAEL. Look at what the MASTER said in John 15:1-17:
1″I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes[a] so that it will be even more fruitful. 3You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. 5″I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. 8This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. 9″As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. 14You are my friends if you do what I command. 15I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. 17This is my command: Love each other”
You see that you are Branches–but ones that are broken off–Paul talked about that like this in Romans 11:21 “ For if God did not spare the natural branches, He will not spare you either.” You must KNOW THAT THIS LAND–ISRAEL–ITS FAITH and ITS GOD ARE YOURS and not for some foreign life–but FOR THIS ONE. EVERY JEW IS YOUR BROTHER and EVERY ISRAELI IS YOUR SISTER. Every RABBI is YOUR FAMILY and is likened unto your Master Messiah Yeshua. LEARN HIS WAYS–the WAYS OF TORAH: Gods teaching and instruction on how to live a perfect life that honors HIM. A Branch that has NO ISRAEL IS ONE DEAD BRANCH! For through the RIGHTEOUS BRANCH WE HAVE LIFE AND LIFE ABUNDANTLY!!
You come by grace through faith–just like Kaleb did, but following this you MUST follow the Torah! It is not an option. Yeshua said he had NOT come to do away with the Torah but to make it Full! God said of Kaleb in Numbers 14 and verse 24 which says “But because my servant Kaleb has a different spirit and follows me wholeheartedly, I will bring him into the land he went into, and his descendents will inherit it!”
Are you a Kaleb today or have you been just getting by-occasionally eating the manna of the Lord, but really you are more like the other 10? Are you actively sharing your faith and the prosperity of God with others–or are you a closet undercover Jew? If you are breaking the ten commandments–being a Torah terrorist, the curses of the Torah apply to you. But if you repent, and ask Yeshua to be your Lord today and fill you with the same faithful spirit that Kaleb had–which is the manifestation of the Holy Spirit of God, you will be free of those things that will keep you from the promised land.
If you’ve been wishy-washy in your walk-but you are trying to apply the Torah for a successful life, then you are under grace and God is not finished with you yet. Keep pressing in to the Holy Ghost with us here and let’s take the land! God has given it to us–let’s go in and take it by the grace of God. Let’s see the dead raised from the grave, the blind see, the deaf hear and the lame walk again–which are all Hebrew Idiomatic expressions for teaching someone outside the Torah to follow the Torah. Can you believe God too see limbs grow back? Can you believe God for financial miracles? Can you believe God for YOUR miracle? Are you ready to receive?
Well, God is here to meet your every need. God has planned this restoration from the foundation of the world–you just have to have the boldness of Kaleb and apply the Torah to your life today and be set free into your miracle! Amen!
Shavuatov –Ariel Ehrmantrout © 2010 All Rights Reserved Worldwide
This Weeks Haftarah: Joshua 2:1 – 2:21
Today’s Haftarah Message: “Spies Like Them”
Today’s reading Joshua 2: 8 – 13 “8 Before the spies lay down for the night, she went up on the roof 9 and said to them, “I know that the LORD has given this land to you and that a great fear of you has fallen on us, so that all who live in this country are melting in fear because of you. 10 We have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red Sea for you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to Sihon and Og, the two kings of the Amorites east of the Jordan, whom you completely destroyed. 11 When we heard of it, our hearts melted and everyone’s courage failed because of you, for the LORD your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below. 12 Now then, please swear to me by the LORD that you will show kindness to my family, because I have shown kindness to you. Give me a sure sign 13 that you will spare the lives of my father and mother, my brothers and sisters, and all who belong to them, and that you will save us from death.”
This week’s Haftarah is the story about the spies Joshua sent out to look over the land specifically Jericho. The story is similar to the Torah portion in that spies were dispatched; however, unlike the spies Moses sent, these spies Joshua sent gave a different kind of report. The report these spies gave was that the people of Jericho were “melting in fear” because of what happened back in Egypt and what the Children of Israel did to Sihon and Og.
Unlike the spies Moses sent out, these spies were of the generation that did not know slavery and torment in Egypt. The spies Moses sent had a mindset of a slave, but a mindset of free men. Here, the spies Moses sent out, their FEAR was greater than their FAITH – steadfast obedience.
Slavery is a metaphor for what our lives were like prior to making Teshuvah (repent) and following the Torah. While in Slavery, we FEARED GOD for a number of reasons. We were afraid because we did not know what HE wanted us to do. We were afraid that if we did something wrong; GOD would zap us with a lightning bolt. These are characteristics of pagan Greco-Roman gods. These are not the characteristics of the GOD of ISRAEL. When we come to faith in The GOD of Israel, HE teaches and instructs us. We always know what to do AND WHEN TO DO IT.
The spies Joshua sent out did not make the same mistake as the spies Moses sent. They gave a report that the Children of Israel could go up and take the land – BECAUSE GOD HIMSELF PUT FEAR in the enemies heart. GOD was fighting the battle for them. All Joshua had to do was show up and do what GOD instructed. The outcome of which was that the walls of Jericho came tumbling down.
Has GOD promised you anything, but the circumstances make it appear that the promise will not come to pass? Just like the promise to take the Children of Israel to the promise land, GOD will keep his word. This is true if we do OUR part. If Joshua did not SHOW UP, the walls of Jericho were not coming down.
Let us try and be Spies Like Them. Spies that not just believe GOD will provide for what ever promise HE made, but act – doing our part – in fulfillment of GOD’s Promises.
Rabbi Shaun Sailor
[5th Year Torah Student and Student Rabbi Shaun S. Sailor appears the courtesy of Temple Ahavah Torah Training Center. If you enjoy Reb Sailor’s Haftarah commentary each week, take a moment and jot him and encouraging note at firstname.lastname@example.org ]
Thank You!! Rabbi Ariel Ehrmantrout