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Parsha Ki Tetzei Deuteronomy 21:10-25:19

Parsha Ki Tetzei Deuteronomy 21:10-25:19

As I sat down at 4.30 this morning to write this week’s “observation,” I felt I should continue my reading in the New Testament before jumping into the day. What I read surprised me and clarified what today’s study was supposed to be about.

In Galatians 3:13-14 we read these words; “Messiah has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree’), that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Messiah Yeshua…” (Think about this)
I read this compared to this weeks Torah portion and said, “I don’t think I read the verse from Galatians this morning on accident!” In the portion this week, in Deuteronomy 21:23 it says, “…he who is hanged [on a tree] is accursed of God.”
 
Before we get into understanding more of this concept of being “cursed of God,” we need to look back at Genesis 3, when the first curses entered the world. You see the curses entered the world on account of a tree. The tree of the “knowledge of good and evil.” Man partook of its fruit and from that point forward “death spread to all men.”
It was through the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil that death and sin were passed to all mankind. The serpent that offered this guarantee of “knowledge,” made good on his promise that upon eating the forbidden fruit “the eyes of both of them were opened.” (Adam and Eve)
In Gematria, which I unfortunately have no time to explain except that it is “an alphanumeric code of assigning a numerical value to a word based on its letters,” the word “serpent” has the same numerical value as “Messiah” in Hebrew.
 
Why would the word “serpent” have the same value as “Messiah” in Hebrew? While this question could be answered in many different ways such as the bronze serpent from Numbers 21, or Aaron’s rod in Exodus 7, the answer I would propose for this observation is: the reason the serpent and the Messiah are connected in Gematria is because, what the serpent did in the garden through one tree must be rectified by the Messiah through another tree. Which is the “tree of life.”
 
There are a few reasons why being hanged was such a terrible punishment and why those who received this death sentence were “cursed by God.”
According to the Rashi concerning this verse he said, “For he that is hanged is…a degradation of the Divine King…It may be compared to the case of two twin brothers who very closely resembled each other: one became king and the other was arrested for robbery and was hanged. Whoever saw him on the gallows thought that the king was hanged “
 
In other words, we are made in the Divine image of God or “Tzelem Hashem,” Every time a person was hung from a tree; it was if the King (God) was hanging from the tree as well.
 
Another reason why people who were hung were “cursed of God” is because of something we read in 2 Samuel 18. This chapter is all about the rebellion of Absalom against his father, King David. In the story, Absalom’s army has just been defeated and he is fleeing from David’s servants. And then we come to verse 9, where it says, “…Absalom rode on a mule. The mule went under the thick boughs of a great terebinth tree, and his head caught in the terebinth; so he was left hanging between heaven and earth…”
 
There is nothing worse than to be found hanging between heaven and earth. It is an understanding that neither heaven nor earth have any desire to receive you. You are suspended for all to see that there is no place in the universe that wants you. You are cursed, not just by man but by heaven as well…
 
In Exodus 3, God is speaking to Moses about His people enslaved in Egypt.
In verse 7 He says, “…I have seen the oppression of My people…and have heard their cry…for I know their sorrows.” In Hebrew, the word for “I know” is “Yadati.” The root word “Ya’da” doesn’t just mean to “know” as in “to understand” or “comprehend.” A better translation would be “…I am intimately acquainted with their sorrows.” When God said He knew His peoples sorrows, it meant that it hurt Him, as if He was there among His people…because He was.
 
It is with this knowledge that we turn and look to Yeshua, the one who took the curse, not just for our sins, but also the curse of heaven willingly upon himself. He was the one who was “intimately acquainted” with our sorrows. He was the King that people saw when the looked upon the “Man hung from a tree.” He was the one “numbered with the transgressors.” He was the one who was “A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.” He was the one “Smitten by God, and afflicted…wounded for our transgressions.”
 
Yet, He took it upon himself to hang suspended between heaven and earth, to rectify what had happened in the Garden. Man ate fruit from the “tree of the knowledge of good and evil” and we have suffered the consequences ever since. Yeshua came that the tree that he was hung on could become the “tree of life” for all who come to Him. He hung between heaven and earth as a bridge. He was the only one who could be suspended between heaven and earth challenging the authority of the “prince of the power of the air” and come out victorious.
 
“For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Corinthians 5:21)
The One Who Knew No Sin
One interesting thing to note is, both the serpent in the garden and Yeshua on the cross, offered the same promise…”you can become like God.”
 
However, the serpent said it was by knowing (being intimate with) “good and evil” while Yeshua promised it was by knowing Him. One tree we have already tasted from and that is why we long for the fruit of the other tree…when God returns “…we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.”  (1 John 3:2)
  The difference is this: “Will we choose the stumblers path by those gone on before?
Or will we choose a different route that leads to heaven’s door?
The way of the tree of knowledge has caused confusion to abound…
The way of the tree of life has brought life to all around…
The choice is very clear, wisely pick a tree,
Because no matter what you choose, you choose your destiny!”
  May we never forget the one who was cursed for us, as it says in Galatians, that “the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles [through] Messiah Yeshua, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.”

Even so, come, Lord Yeshua!
Shabbat Shalom,
Samuel

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