“Great Is Your Reward” by Ariel Ehrmantrout
This week’s Torah Portion is EKEV: “REWARD”
Haftarah: Isaiah 49:14 – 51:3
Priesthood Instructions 2 Peter
Today’s Reading is John 10:1-21
GREAT IS YOUR REWARD!
John 10:1-21 says “I tell you the truth, the man who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. The man who enters by the gate is the shepherd of his sheep. The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.” Jesus used this figure of speech, but they did not understand what he was telling them. Therefore Jesus said again, “I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. All who ever came before me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand is not the shepherd who owns the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.” At these words the Jews were again divided. Many of them said, “He is demon-possessed and raving mad. Why listen to him?” But others said, “These are not the sayings of a man possessed by a demon. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?”
1. God created Adam to be a ruler in the earth. Adam was to be a representation of God’s Glory in the earth. Adam’s position was an exalted position. A position that was to “Walk LIKE God” in the earth. The enemy of God–wanted to control the Man–and the only way to control the man was to fool the man into giving up his GOD-MAN–LIFE. Adam walked with GOD INHABITING HIS BEING–thus he created like God–HE talked like God and he WALKED LIKE GOD in the earth. HaSatan–had already lost the war in heaven and had been cast to the earth. So the only way to battle was to get the man to surrender his AUTHORITY IN THE EARTH. SO that the DEATH ANGEL could enter into the earth’s affairs–into man’s affairs.
Romans 5:12-17 says “12Therefore, just as sin [lawlessness = antichrist spirit] entered the world through one man, and death through sin, [lawlessness = antichrist spirit] and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned—for before the law was given, sin [lawlessness = antichrist spirit] was in the world. But sin [lawlessness = antichrist spirit] is not taken into account when there is no law. Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin [lawlessness = antichrist spirit] by breaking a command, as did Adam, who was a pattern of the one to come.
But the gift [Torah] is not like the trespass. [Lawlessness] For if the many died by the trespass [lawlessness] of the one man, how much more did God’s grace [being CHOSEN] and the gift [Torah] that came by the grace [Being CHOSEN] of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many! Again, the gift of God [Torah] is not like the result of the one man’s sin [lawlessness = antichrist spirit] : The judgment followed one sin[lawlessness = antichrist spirit] and brought condemnation, but the gift [Torah] followed many trespasses and brought justification. For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace [Being CHOSEN] and of the gift of righteousness [Torah] reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.”
John 10:7-10 says “7Therefore Jesus said again, I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. All who ever came before me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
A. Yeshua came of the incorruptible seed of heaven–in fulfillment of the promise–and was God in the flesh. The PURPOSE of the UNIVERSE was made FLESH and dwelt among us AS A PATTERN OF WHAT WE ARE CAPABLE OF IN THIS WORLD. The re-gathering of EPHRAIM–is the sign of the LAST EXODUS from BONDAGE for a people who will walk AS JESUS WALKED IN THE EARTH–the way MAN was always intended to walk IN POWER and DOMINION–with ALL OF CREATION obeying your every command.
1 John 2:3-6 says “3We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands. The man who says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But if anyone obeys his word, God’s love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.”
Romans 10:4-8 says “4Christ is the end [From the Greek Word TELOS Strongs 5056 meaning “THE GOAL”] of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.” Moses describes in this way the righteousness that is by the law: “The man who does these things will live by them.” [LEV 18:5] But the righteousness that is by faith says: “Do not say in your heart, ‘who will ascend into heaven?’ (That is, to bring Christ down) or ‘who will descend into the deep?’ (That is, to bring Christ up from the dead). But what does it say? The word [TORAH] is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart, that is, the word [Torah] of faith [EMUNAH: steadfast obedience] we are proclaiming.”
B. Now if you’re like me–you live a life where most of the time–you feel about half asleep–and very powerless to affect any change in your life. In fact, most of the time–we feel like we have no power over our lives–but go from roller coaster ride to car crash–not knowing what is coming next. BUT the reason we feel this way–is that we are being tested by God to see if we will ONLY BELIEVE in the midst of our feelings and our limited vision of reality. We struggle not with FLESH AND BLOOD–because Flesh and blood cannot enter the REALM WE HAVE CROSSED OVER TO ATTAIN. The place we have crossed over to–is the place where ADAM and YESHUA WALKED–in the DOMINION OF THIS EARTH. WE MUST NOT–try to interpret BY WHAT WE SEE!
Mark 4:35-41 says “35That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”.”
Psalm 107: 23-30 says “23Others went out on the sea in ships; they were merchants on the mighty waters. They saw the works of the LORD, his wonderful deeds in the deep. For he spoke and stirred up a tempest that lifted high the waves. They mounted up to the heavens and went down to the depths; in their peril their courage melted away. They reeled and staggered like drunken men; they were at their wits’ end. Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble and He brought them out of their distress. He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed. They were glad when it grew calm, and he guided them to their desired haven.”
Mark 9:17-26 “17A man in the crowd answered, “Teacher, I brought you my son, who is possessed by a spirit that has robbed him of speech. Whenever it seizes him, it throws him to the ground. He foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth and becomes rigid. I asked your disciples to drive out the spirit, but they could not.” “O unbelieving generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy to me.” So they brought him. When the spirit saw Jesus, it immediately threw the boy into a convulsion. He fell to the ground and rolled around, foaming at the mouth. Jesus asked the boy’s father, “How long has he been like this?” “From childhood,” he answered. “It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.” ‘If you can’? said Jesus. “Everything is possible for him who believes.” Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” When Jesus saw that a crowd was running to the scene, he rebuked the evil spirit. “You deaf and mute spirit,” he said, “I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.” The spirit shrieked, convulsed him violently and came out. The boy looked so much like a corpse that many said, “He’s dead.” But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him to his feet, and he stood up.”
C. Without Torah–you CANNOT enter into the land of promise and nothing in creation will obey your commands. BUT in Torah–by the SPIRIT OF GOD–YHWH has given you abundant abundance in ALL AREAS OF YOUR LIFE. YOUR circumstances do not matter. They can rage all around you–but it doesn’t change the FACT that you are walking in and living by the RULE BOOK of the WORLD TO COME–GAN EDEN–PARADISE by DOING TORAH. Your EVERY WORD is A CREATIVE FORCE–your every THOUGHT is POWERFUL. The Almighty GOD of the Universe ONCE AGAIN LIVES WITHIN YOU. ADAM lived in this state before he sinned–and was commanded to fulfill certain requirements HERE ON EARTH in Genesis 1:28—let’s break them down and see what GOD STILL COMMANDS US TO DO TODAY!
Genesis 1:28 “28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.””
1- BE FRUITFUL–comes from the Hebrew Word “PARAH” Strongs 6509 which means “to bear fruit, be fruitful, branch off” [John 15:5-8 says “5I 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. If 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. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.”]
2–INCREASE IN NUMBER–comes from the Hebrew Word “Rabah” Strongs 7235 which means “be or become great” [Genesis 12:2 says “2 I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.”]
3–FILL THE EARTH–comes from the Hebrew Word “Male” Strongs 4390 which means “to be filled, be armed, be satisfied” [Acts 2:4 says “4All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.”]
4–and SUBDUE THE EARTH–comes from the Hebrew Word “Kabash” Strongs 3533 which means “to bring into bondage, make subservient” [Matthew 16:19 says “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; [TORAH] whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”]
5–RULE–which comes from the Hebrew Word “Radah” Strongs 7287 which means “to rule, have dominion, dominate, tread down” [Genesis 3:15 says “15 And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.” AND Hebrews 2:8 says “8and put everything under his feet? In putting everything under him, God left nothing that is not subject to him. Yet at present we do not see everything subject to him.”]
D. Now that Messiah has come as our suffering servant depicted in Isaiah 53–and now that we are once again walking in Torah–we have been restored back to the pre-Adamic state of Man. We live so far beneath what God has provided for us. We are NOT OF THIS WORLD–WE DO NOT SERVE THIS WORLD–WE ARE TO SPEAK AND HAVE DOMINION OVER THE EARTH. Since we have taken hold of Torah– we have begun to once again walk in our dominion–the dominion that God intended us to walk in–the Dominion that Adam walked in initially–and that YESHUA WALKED IN. IN THAT DOMINION, all fear–all circumstances have to obey us. We were created to be a UNIFIED ISRAEL–a kingdom of PRIESTS–a supernatural group of believers that God has called forth to WALK OUT HIS LIFE in the NATURAL.
Revelation 1:9-17 says “9I, John, your brother and companion in the suffering and kingdom and patient endurance that are ours in Jesus, was on the island of Patmos because of the word of God [Torah] and the testimony of Jesus. On the Lord’s Day [Shabbat] I was in the Spirit, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet, which said: “Write on a scroll what you see and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea.” I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands, and among the lampstands was someone “like a son of man,” dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. In his right hand he held seven stars, and out of his mouth came a sharp double-edged sword [Torah]. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance. When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.””
Matthew 7:15-23 says “15Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them. Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’”
© 2010 Ariel Ehrmantrout–All Rights Reserved Worldwide
This Weeks Haftarah: Isaiah 49:14 – 51:3
Today’s Haftarah Message: “Heart Healthy”
Today’s reading Isaiah 51: 1-3 “ 1“Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness and who seek the LORD : Look to the rock from which you were cut and to the quarry from which you were hewn; 2 look to Abraham, your father, and to Sarah, who gave you birth. When I called him he was but one, and I blessed him and made him many. 3 The LORD will surely comfort Zion and will look with compassion on all her ruins; he will make her deserts like Eden, her wastelands like the garden of the LORD. Joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the sound of singing.”
Do you ever ask yourself the question – Why is GOD testing me with hardships like – sickness, financial needs, family problems etc. In this weeks Torah portion, Moses records the reason – It is so that we learn what is in our hearts – whether we will keep HIS commandments. HIS reason is to benefit us in the end.
Deuteronomy 8:2 says “Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands.”
Deuteronomy 8:16 says “He gave you manna to eat in the desert, something your fathers had never known, to humble and to test you so that in the end it might go well with you.”
How do we know we have a right heart? This week’s Haftarah from Isaiah answers that question.
First, if our heart is right, we will pursue righteousness and seek GOD. If you read this blog for any length of time, we know that righteousness is right living that comes from GOD’s teaching and instruction – the Torah. Here, if we find ourselves pursing GOD’s Commands, Sabbaths, and HIS Festivals & Feast days of GOD – HIS Torah, that is a sign that our heart is in the right place. It is our pursuit of HIS Torah, which is a sign to the world, that we are GOD’s chosen people – Israel.
Second, if our heart is right, we will look to THE ROCK. THE ROCK is Y’Shua – who is GOD. Rabbi Paul taught the Israelites of the Corinthian Congregation who was with the Israelites during their journey in the Wilderness to the Promised Land – THE ROCK.
I Corinthians 10: 3 & 4 says “3They all ate the same spiritual food 4and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ.”
Third, if our heart is right, we will look to Father Abraham and Sarah. Abraham obeyed all of GOD’s commands precepts and laws. We, as Modern Day Israelites, need to follow Abraham’s example of his steadfast obedience to GOD’s Torah just like Abraham did – What the Bible calls Faith.
Genesis 26: 3 & 4 says “4 I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and will give them all these lands, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, 5 because Abraham obeyed me and kept my requirements, my commands, my decrees and my laws.””
Fourth, if our heart is right, we will be joyful, and glad. When the Torah is operating in your life, you will have joy.
Psalms 19:8 says “The precepts of the LORD are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the eyes.”
Finally, if our heart is right, we will be grateful for what GOD has given us. This includes things like finances, health, children, and grandchildren.
Apply the tests above and ask yourself this question – Do you have a Healthy Heart?
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 email@example.com ]
Thank You!! Rabbi Ariel Ehrmantrout