Hebrew Roots/Torah observance/VeBrachot
V’Zot HaBrachah (This is the Blessing) Deuteronomy 33:1-34:12
“Now this is the blessing with which Moshe the man of God blessed the sons of Israel before his death” (Deuteronomy 33:1).
We have arrived at the end of the journey with Moshe and what a journey it has been. Sadly after all we went through with him, it has to end with Moshe not entering into the land that he so diligently, humbly, sacrificially, lovingly and uncompromisingly lead bnei Yisrael to. The last chapter of Moshe's life is being written; recorded for time immemorial in the eternal Word of Yahweh. And what title does El Gibor (the Mighty God) give him at the twilight of his life? He calls him the "Man of God"
”Since then no prophet has risen in Israel like Moshe, whom Yahweh knew face to face, for all the signs and wonders which Yahweh sent him to perform in the land of Egypt against Pharaoh, all his servants, and all his land, and for all the mighty power and for all the great terror which Moshe performed in the sight of all Israel” (Deuteronomy 34:10-12).
Moshe leaves the scene of his earthly mission with a prophetic blessing upon each tribe that will look down the corridors of time to the Messianic kingdom. This is his parting legacy to them.
Moshe’s Prophetic Blessings
Moshe foresees a day when Israel will redeem mankind and restore the universe to its ideal state -- but he doesn't ignore the many pitfalls on the so long way. He expands Yaakov's visions, warnings, and blessings of his sons, applying them to each of the 12 tribes and to the nation of Israel. So Yaakov's dream of his Divine mission, to be the Israeli ladder connecting heaven and earth, is tempered by his second vision-- a battle to survive throughout the long night of history, struggling with those who fight Israel, God's agent for redemption. These blessing by Moshe are prophetic blessing to the children of Israel, just like Yaacov's , blessings to his twelve son's were prophetic.
In his short introduction, vs. 1-5, Moshe points to three reasons why Israel was worthy of these blessings:
1- God lived among them
2- They accepted God's Torah
3- They acknowledged God's sovereignty.
Moshe then goes on to bless the tribes in a similar manner to Yaacov, however if you will notice he did not bless the tribes in the same order. Although Reuben is still first and Levi is still third all the other tribes have changed positions and the tribe of Simeon has been replaced by Manasseh.
Here in an almost farewell gesture, Moshe places a parting blessing on each of the tribes of Israel except Simeon, who goes unmentioned. The reason for the exclusion of the tribe of Simeon in Moshe's blessings, is the fulfillment of Yaacov's prophetic blessing to Simeon in Genesis 49:5: "Simeon and Levi are brethren; instruments of cruelty are in their habitations. 7- I will divide them in Ya'acov, and scatter them in Israel." This prophesy also included Levi, however because Levi repented and as a result of their faithfulness to God after the Golden Calf incident, Levi's curse was rescinded and they were elevated to a tribe of Priests.
Simeon was placed within Judah as a harness on his violent vengeful nature (the situation with Dinah at Shechem Gen.34) and Moshe also omitted a blessing for him “because of the sin of Baal Peor” (Numbers 25) leading the nation into sin with the Midianite women in Numbers 25, by his fleshly rebellious nature.
Moshe blesses the tribes of Israel in an unusual order which actually occurs according to how the tribes are going to conquer the Promised Land of Canaan. Moshe is looking forward to the immediate future, but the blessings are also permanently placed on the specific tribes. When these blessings of Ya'acov and combined with Moshe's at the end of Deuteronomy, the prophetic picture of what the individual tribes will be doing through time is awesome and indicative of their ministerial positions and function in the kingdom.
The Tribes of Israel
"Moshe commanded us a law, even the inheritance of the congregation of Ya'acov." Deuteronomy 33:4
The prophetic statement made by Moshe in his introduction is understood by the Rabbis to mean that those from the nations would be included in the 'congregation' of Israel. The Rabbi's agree that because Moshe used the word "congregation of Ya'acov" instead of "house or seed" of Ya'acov, it intimates that 'Gentiles' will also have an inheritance in Israel. This prophecy has been fulfilled in Messiah Yeshua, as Rav. Shaul says to the Ephesian assembly:
"That at that time ye were without Messiah, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: But now in Messiah Yeshua you who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Messiah." Eph. 2:12-13
Those who have come to faith in Yeshua are no longer aliens to the 'commonwealth of Israel' - they have become part of it. They are no longer strangers to the covenants of promise, but have embraced those covenants and entered into those covenants with the Mighty God of the Israelites of old. By the blood of Yeshua we have been made one with and part of Israel. Those of the nations who have received Yeshua as their Messiah are no longer Gentiles (i.e. pagans), but are now part of the household of believers (Messianic), with an inheritance in Israel and have a placement in one of the specific tribes. They are now part of the 'commonwealth' of Israel and belong to one of the tribes.
In the vision of the New Jerusalem, the twelve gates of the city had on them the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel (Rev. 21:12-13). In other words the entrance into the city of the Heavenly king is via allocation to one of the tribes.
There is no place allocated to "new covenant believers" per se, as 'the church', the only place in the New Jerusalem is as one of the children of Israel, as part of the eternal covenant made originally at Sinai and brought to its fulfilment in the outpouring of the Spirit at 'Pentecost' in what has been called by the "church" as the 'new' covenant but which was prophesied by Jeremiah as the completing element to the first covenant at Sinai which Moshe had also prophesied. (Jeremiah 31:31-34)
As Yeshua said, "Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets, I came not to destroy but to fulfil .. .. " Matt. 5:17
Yeshua came to fulfil the Torah in man, thus establishing a new-creation man which is the embodiment of the Torah. Messiah was the firstfruit of that new-creation Man, of which the Ruach HaKodesh has given us an impartation that we should also come to that measure of perfection "to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Messiah" (Eph. 4:13)
In Revelation 14:1 it says, "I looked, and behold, a lamb standing on Mount Zion, and with Him one hundred and forty four thousand, having the Father's Name written on their foreheads"
The signature of the Father upon them indicates that they have become sons of the Father like unto Yeshua THE Son who could say "I do only those things which I see the Father doing" (see also John 5:30) -- in other words they have become the embodiment of Torah, the Word manifested in the flesh, a corporate company of sons who shall function in the establishment of Messiah's government on earth. Twelve thousand from each of the twelve tribes which shall rule the earth with the sceptre of His authority - the rod of iron. Revelation 2:26-27; 12:5; 19:15
Possessing Our Possessions
Here as the baton of life is passed to Yehoshua and his generation, we are reminded that as men die, it is up to the next generation to carry forward with the vision of their forefathers. Yehoshua did just that as he carried the anointing of Moshe and continued to point the children of Israel to obeying the words of the Torah as had his predecessor Moshe :
“Be strong and courageous, for you shall give this people possession of the land which I swore to their fathers to give them. "Only be strong and very courageous; be careful to do according to all the law which Moshe My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, so that you may have success wherever you go. This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success. "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for Yahweh your God is with you wherever you go" (Yehoshua 1:6-9).
Yehoshua begins his ministry with pointing the people of Israel to the Torah. He knows from his days as a disciple of Moshe that the words of life were an integral part of the Torah. Again, he was instructing the sons of Israel to continue in the circle of studying the Torah in order to receive the blessings of the Most High: “And they answered Yehoshua, saying, "All that you have commanded us we will do, and wherever you send us we will go. "Just as we obeyed Moshe in all things, so we will obey you; only may Yahweh your God be with you, as He was with Moshe” (Yehoshua 1:16-17). The children of Israel responded to the commands of Yehoshua to continue in the study and obedience to Torah in a very affirmative way. They understood back then that the blessings would flow from obedience to the Torah. May we likewise, generations removed, be led as the Israelites of old to declare a similar refrain when we have the challenge put before us to continue in our study of the Torah. In so doing, the circle of study and obedience to Torah will continue to be followed from now throughout eternity.
This portion is an exhortation to be strong and courageous and conquer the land of our inheritance. It tells us not to be dismayed or fear the enemy but to be strong in our faith and trust in Yahweh and go forward to take possession of our inheritance. We can also apply this in the acquisition of our spiritual inheritance for there are many strongholds and citadels of the enemy to conquer to obtain the prize of our high calling and that which Yeshua our Messiah have purchased for us as our spiritual inheritance.
Yeshua our Messiah defeated the enemy and overcame all his power in the same sense that Yahweh gave the land to the children of Israel then but they had to go in and take possession of it from those who were inhabiting it at that time who were the enemies of God. The enemy will also contest us taking hold of what has been given to us and we must also engage in spiritual warfare to defeat the powers of darkness over our lives. See Ephesians 6:10-18.
Moshe ends his blessing with the prophetic declaration "Happy are you, Yisra'el: who is like you, a people saved by Yahweh, the shield of your help, the sword of your excellency! Your enemies shall submit themselves to you; you shall tread on their high places."(33:29) This will have its ultimate fulfillment in His people when Messiah comes with the clouds of heaven.