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Jewish Heritage Scripture Studies
9. MOSES THE TORAH WRITER
God’s Word has a solution for every situation in life. In past lessons we saw how Abraham was able to live a life of faith through God’s power, how Jacob was able to repent and be humbly sorry for his mistakes, and how Joseph was able to forgive those who had deeply hurt him. We read how Moses’ life foreshadowed the Messiah in many different ways. We also know Moses recorded the historical account of creation, the flood, and the experiences of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. We have learned that Moses recorded the account of God writing the 10 commandments and the instructions on how the temple, or mishkan, was to be built. It is through this temple that God drew close to His people and granted us forgiveness. The temple also pointed to the Messiah who would be the sacrificial lamb dieing for our sins, cleansing us from guilt. Like Moses’ life, the temple, which God instructed Moses to build, foreshadowed the Messiah who was to be “Immanuel,” God with us. In this lesson we will cover another fascinating and important topic written by Moses under God’s direction. In this lesson, Moses the Torah writer, we will find out how to live Godly lives and experience more abundant health.
Let us start by praying King David's prayer, "Teach me O LORD...give me understanding, that I may observe Your teaching and keep it wholeheartedly." Amen. Psalm 119:33, 34
It is always important to start the reading of God’s word with a prayer for understanding so that we can observe and keep God’s teachings. Spiritual topics found in the Bible need spiritual understanding, so we need to ask God to give us His Spirit in order to fully and correctly understand His words. We also need God’s Spirit, His power, to be able to follow God’s path. In Hebrew we use the word halacha () to refer to Jewish law or teaching. Literally it comes from the root halach (), which means to walk. It is not enough just to believe; our actions must follow our beliefs. In this lesson we are going to learn some of the practical areas in which God calls us to walk. As we learned in the lessons building up to this one, like Abraham we need faith and like Jacob we need a willingness to allow God to change us. Are you willing to allow God to change your life so that it is in harmony with His will for you? Are you willing to allow Him to empower you to walk the walk? I know you are, so let’s get started.
1. What does God's word, the Holy Scriptures, do for us?
In my heart I treasure Your promise; therefore I do not sin against You... Your word is a lamp to my feet, a light for my path... You are my protection and my shield; I hope for Your word. Psalm 119:11, 105, 114
As we read God’s Word, the Bible, it finds lodging in our hearts and makes us strong to obey Him. It guides and directs our paths, and protects and shields us. With all these wonderful benefits it is a wonder that we do not spend more time reading the Bible.
2. It is wonderful to realize that treasuring God’s promises in our hearts keeps us from sinning against Him and guides our paths. How powerful is the word of God?
For the word of the LORD is right; His every deed is faithful... By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, by the breath of His mouth, all their host. Psalm 33: 4, 6
As we are reminded that God created all things by His word it gives us faith that His words in the Bible will create a fresh new life within us, too. Since God’s word is powerful enough to make the heavens, certainly it is powerful enough to change us and to meet our every need. The question is are you willing to allow God to change you?
3. King David discovered how powerful the Word of God was in his life, and notice his response.
O how I love Your teaching! It is my study all day long. Psalm 119:97
As we draw closer to God and fall more in love with Him we will find each day that we want to spend more time with Him, even to the point as King David experienced of spending all day long with Him. Everyday and all day we can meditate upon God and His Word even as we go about our everyday routines. This close a walk with God might seem impossible for some people to even think about, but when we consider that it is God who changes us and gives us love for Him, we see that experiencing a walk with God like David did is a natural result of God working in our lives. God does not change us in one moment. It is a gradual growing process. As with the other things we will learn in this lesson, God is pointing us toward the destination and then He walks with us day by day, empowering us toward the goal of a happy, prosperous, healthy life.
4. As we studied last time, God wrote the Ten Commandments on stone with His own finger, showing their everlasting endurance. You will recall that they were placed inside the Ark of the Covenant in the most holy place of the sanctuary. Those 10 Laws are God's Moral Law and have a universal and everlasting purpose. Moses wrote the rest of God’s instructions on papyrus. These laws gave instruction in civil matters, health issues, and also included the laws for the ceremonies in the sanctuary. There are 613 laws in the Torah including the 10 commandments. Some of these laws applied specifically to the Levites and their work in the Temple, such as laws pertaining to which animals were to be sacrificed when, etc. Some of the 613 laws have a universal and eternal application which would mean they apply to all people in all times. Some of the 613 commandments were given for a certain time period or for certain people. How can we tell which ones still apply today for everyone and which ones might not?
The simple outline below will show how we can tell which laws have an eternal/universal application and which ones do not. Any law that was given to the parents of mankind before sin entered the world applies to people in all ages. Any law that was not given to the parents of mankind before sin entered the world, but was given later on, obviously could not be eternal since it was not in existence at all times, and if it was not given until sometime after Adam and Eve it certainly cannot be said that it has applied to all people. Let’s look at some of the 613 laws and see which are eternal/universal and which are not.
- The Ten Commandments
Did God have the Ten Commandments in the Garden of Eden? Yes. Although God did not write them in stone for another 2,500 years or so they were there in the Garden. There was no killing, stealing, etc. allowed in the Garden. Adam and Eve were removed from the Garden of Eden for coveting and stealing the fruit they were told not to eat. They did not honor God their Father. They bore false witness and put the devil’s lies before the Creator’s truths. The Sabbath was established in the Garden. All the Ten Commandments applied to Adam and Eve and any children they would have had in the Garden had they not sinned.
- Health Laws, practicing good hygiene and not eating or drinking things that God forbids.
Did God have the Health Laws in the Garden of Eden? Yes, God told Adam and Eve what they could and could not eat.
- Civil laws, specifics on how to interact with each other, the laws of the nation.
Did God have civil laws in the Garden of Eden? They are not mentioned one way or the other.
Did God have circumcision in the Garden of Eden? No. The first time circumcision is mentioned is in relation to Abraham, 2,000 years after Adam and Eve.
Did God have feasts in the Garden of Eden? No, the first feast day celebrated was the Passover and was not instituted until 2,500 years after Adam and Eve sinned.
- Laws pertaining to sacrifices
Did God have sacrifices in the Garden of Eden? No, there were no sacrifices in the Garden of Eden. The first sacrifice is not until after Adam and Eve are taken out of the Garden of Eden.
5. God placed the Ten Commandments on a higher level than the rest of the 613 commandments by writing them Himself and by writing them in stone, while the rest of the laws were written by Moses on papyrus. What was another way God showed that the ten laws were unique?
Moses charged the Levites who carried the Ark of the Covenant of the LORD, saying: Take this book of Teaching and place it beside the Ark of the Covenant of the LORD your God, and let it remain there as a witness against you. Deuteronomy. 31:24-26
The Ten Commandments were written by God, on stone, and placed inside the Ark of the Covenant. The rest of the torah was written by Moses, on papyrus, and placed beside the Ark of the Covenant.
6. What is one example of the civil laws, which still teaches important principles of justice for today?
When a man’s ox injures his neighbor’s ox and it dies, they shall sell the live ox and divide its price; they shall also divide the dead animal. Exodus. 21:35
Although most of us do not have oxen today the principle of this law still applies. If my dog kills your cat, or if my vehicle hits your vehicle, it is my responsibility to make restitution.
7. What promised blessing did God give for following His health laws?
And if you do obey these rules and observe them carefully, the Lord your God will maintain faithfully for you the covenant that He made on oath with your fathers... The Lord will ward off from you all sickness; He will not bring upon you any of the dreadful diseases of Egypt, about which you know. Deuteronomy 7:12, 15
Who doesn’t want to avoid sickness? God’s Word tells us how to avoid getting sick. Certainly a God who loves us would not want us to be sick. It is amazing how may people look at God’s health laws as restrictions – do’s and don’ts given by a stern taskmaster, instead of loving advice from an all-knowing God. What a wonderful God! He not only wants us to live with Him eternally, but He wants us to live healthfully now! Are you ready to start experience the health God wants to give you?
8. Which animals did God lovingly warn us not to eat?
An animal that has true hoofs, with clefts through the hoofs, and that chews the cud—such you may eat... The following, however, of those that either chew the cud or have true hoofs, you shall not eat: the camel—although it chews the cud, it has no true hoofs: it is unclean for you; the hare—although it chews the cud, it has no true hoofs: it is unclean for you; and the swine—although it has true hoofs, with the hoofs cleft through, it does not chew the cud: it is unclean for you... Everything in water that has no fins and scales shall be an abomination for you... All the things that swarm upon the earth are an abomination; they shall not be eaten. Leviticus 11:3, 6, 7, 12, 41
It is a law for all time throughout the ages, in all your settlements: you must not eat any fat or any blood. Leviticus 3:17
Medical science is just now catching up with what God told us thousands of years ago. The land animals not to be eaten are those that are highest in fat, cholesterol, and parasites. The most common land animal eaten today that God strictly forbids is the pig. The land animals lowest in fat, cholesterol and parasites are those that have both cleft hoofs and chew their cud, such as cows and sheep. The water animals without scales do not get rid of their waste as well as those that do have scales. Those that do not have fins, such as squid and octopus, basically float with the current and all the garbage in the water. The shellfish, such as lobsters, crabs, shrimp, clams, etc. feed at the bottom of the ocean, where all the waste in the water eventually settles. They help clean the water by consuming the waste. Everything is created good for the purpose that God created it. Some things are good for eating some things are good scavengers for cleaning up waste. God promises we’ll be healthier if we don’t eat the waste eaters.
The bloodstream is where all the diseases travel through the body. The Bible says, “the life is in the blood.” (Deut. 12:23). Whatever life was in the animal comes into us when we eat it. Whatever disease, sickness, and hormones the animal had come into us as we eat their blood. We literally are what we eat. How important it is that we choose what we eat based on our Creator’s infinite wisdom.
Even if the shifting opinions of medical science were to declare a forbidden food healthy, or even if we fed waste-eating animals healthy diets, kept them free of parasites, and found ways to make them low in fat and cholesterol, God still warns not to eat them. We may never know all the reasons why God tells us some things are good for us and some things are not. We should be smart enough, humble enough, and obedient enough to follow His loving word. This lesson will walk us through the steps of how to have the power to resist those things that God forbids and how to have the power to do the things God lays out for us to do.
In review, the some of the things not to be eaten are:
- Land animals that do not chew the cud or have cloven hoofs such as pigs, dogs, rats, horses, etc.
- Water animals that do not have fins or scales such as squid, octopus, sharks, shellfish of all kinds including lobsters, crabs, shrimp, and clams.
- Birds that naturally eat other birds or dead flesh such as eagles, vultures, hawks, etc.
- The blood or fat of any animal.
Someone might ask, “What can I eat?”
- Sheep, cows, and deer with the blood drained and fat removed
- Birds such as turkeys and chickens
- Most fish
- The various forms of dairy products
- The dozens of different grains, including corn, wheat, barley, oats, rice, millet, etc. in all their different forms such as in pastas, breads, or just cooked
- The myriad of different fruits
- The tons of different vegetables
- The wide variety of nuts and seeds
When we stop to think that most animals only eat a small variety of foods in their diet it is amazing that God has given us an almost infinite number of good things to choose from. With so much variety why would we want to choose from the few that are not good for us? It is interesting to learn that in the groups who follow these simple health principles from Scripture, the members not only live 7–9 years longer than the average of the population, but they also suffer less from the contemporary debilitating diseases that plague our culture today.
Although God permits us to eat biblically clean animals, the vegetarian diet he gave to Adam and Eve, and which we will eat in heaven, is still the healthiest of all diets.
9. Some will say that these health benefits are just for the Jewish people. But notice that God differentiated between clean and unclean animals before there ever was a Jewish person?
The LORD said to Noah, “Go into the ark, with all your household, for you alone have I found righteous before Me in this generation. Of every clean animal you shall take seven pairs, males and their mates, and of every animal that is not clean, two, a male and its mate. Genesis 7:2
Many people think all the animals came onto the ark by twos, but the Bible says the animals that could be used as sacrifices and for food came on by sevens and the animals that were not to be used for food or sacrifices came on by twos. The flood took place hundreds of years before there were Jewish people. Thus we see an example of God differentiating between which animal could be eaten and which ones should not be eaten even before there were Jewish people. This demonstrates that the principles of what to eat and what not to eat are for non-Jewish people as well as for Jewish people. Obviously God loves the non-Jewish people also and does not want them to be sick or diseased either so He has given the dietary principles in love to them as well. Doesn’t it make sense that God would give this loving instruction to all of His children and not just to one ethnic group?
10. Why did God give us these health laws?
For I the LORD am He who brought you up from the land of Egypt to be your God: you shall be holy, for I am holy. Leviticus. 11:45
Following God’s health laws does not make us holy, but as we allow God to come into our hearts He begins transforming us, making us holy. We cannot of ourselves make ourselves holy no matter what we do. God is holy and He makes us holy. As we surrender our sinful desires that crave things that God says are not good for us, God then changes our desires and gives us desires for things that are pure and good.
11. In the proverbs of wise King Solomon what did he warn us about alcoholic wine?
Wine is a scoffer, strong drink a roisterer; He who is muddled by them will not grow wise. Do not be of those who guzzle wine. Who cries, “Woe!” who, “Alas!” who has quarrels, who complaints; who has wounds without cause; who has bleary eyes? Those whom wine keeps till the small hours, those who gather to drain the cups. Do not ogle that red wine as it lends its color to the cup, as it flows on smoothly; in the end, it bites like a snake. Proverbs 20:1; 23:20, 29-32
Alcohol of all kinds and illegal drugs kill brain cells. Our brain is the most important part of our body, as it is the avenue through which God communicates His love to us. It is vitally important that we keep our brains as healthy as possible so we can hear God’s voice speaking to us.
12. What is one way God’s word differentiates between alcoholic wine, which is not good, and grape juice?
Honor the Lord with your wealth, With the best of all your income, And your barns will be filled with grain, Your vats will burst with new wine. Proverbs 3:9, 10
New wine gives the impression of newly or freshly squeezed grape juice. But grape juice, as used in the Bible does not always have the word “new” next to it. Sometime it just says “wine.” In the Scriptures sometimes the word wine means grape juice and sometimes it means fermented alcohol. We can tell which one the Scriptures are referring to by how it is used in context. In the Scriptures fermented alcoholic wine always has a negative situation associated with it, while unfermented wine, fresh grape juice, is always associated with a blessing. Grape juice that becomes alcohol has gone through a fermenting process, a spoiling or rotting process. This process did not happen in the Garden of Eden nor will it happen in heaven. Alcohol is not part of God’s original plan, His eternal plan, nor is it His plan for us today.
13. What principle did King Solomon give us regarding all brain-harming drugs like alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, cocaine, etc.?
More than all that you guard, guard your mind, for it is the source of life. Proverbs 4:23
The principle is to guard the mind. The principle is the spirit of the law. The letter of the law is the exact do’s and don’ts. The spirit of the law takes it a step further and says “in addition to the things the Word of God mentions avoiding, guard your mind against any mind-destroying drugs that will ever be invented.” This principle would include other mind- and body-altering drugs such as cocaine, nicotine, and caffeine.
14. In addition to making wise choices by eating only healthy foods and abstaining from foods and substances that harm us, what other things can we do to maintain good health?
“Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil. It will be a cure for your body, a tonic for your bones.” “A merry heart does good like a medicine.” Proverbs 3:8; 17:22
It is more than just what we put into or don’t put into our bodies that gives us health. How we think also has a big impact on our health. For one thing, don’t think you know more than God. Be humble, fear the Lord, and stay away from evil. Be thankful, cheerful, and merry, and it will be like a cure, a medicine for you. Best of all, God’s prescriptions have no negative side effects. Because God loves us, He has given us these sensible guidelines for being healthy and happy.
15. Perhaps you have discovered some things in today’s lesson where you sense God wants to see you come into closer harmony with His plan for your life. Yet making changes in our lifestyle is never easy when we try to do it in our own strength. What wonderful promise does God give us to help us make these important health saving changes?
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit into you: I will remove the heart of stone from your body and give you a heart of flesh; and I will put My spirit into you. Thus I will cause you to follow My laws and faithfully to observe My rules. Ezekiel 36:26, 27
What a wonderful promise! God gives us new hearts, new desires. God promises to put His spirit into us causing us, empowering us, to change and to follow His wonderful ways. What a great God. He takes the burden of the change off of us and says He will make the change in us as we surrender our hearts to Him. Thinking about the changes God is wanting to do in your life might seem overwhelming if you are thinking that you have to make the changes. The wonderful thing is that the same God who shows you the areas that need changing is the One who will come into your heart and mind and He will be the One who will make the changes in you. Thus it is not you that is having to make the change, but rather God who is making the change in you.
Would you like to surrender the area in which your life has been in opposition to God’s plan? Right now is the best time to do it. Take a moment and give God permission to change that area in your life that has not be in harmony with Heaven and ask Him to place His powerful Spirit in you to change your life, giving you new desires for things that are good while giving you the power to turn from those things that are hurtful to you.
Have you ever wondered why an all-powerful and loving God allows hurricanes, tornadoes, wars, and the killing of innocent children? In our next lesson we will look at perhaps the most baffling and perplexing question of all – the problem of human suffering. But right now fill out the review sheet for this lesson and then go on to your next lesson "Why does God allow suffering."
Go on to your next lesson "Why does God allow suffering."
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