Welcome To Gates To Zion!
Parasha 48: (Shofetim) Devarim/Deuteronomy 16:18-21:9
Now in this week’s parasha we are moving further in Moshe’s speech to Am Yisrael. Let us take a moment as we have been, to refresh ourselves on the breakdown of this speech. It will help keep us acclimated to where we are as continue on in our study.
1) The Introduction- Chapters 1-4
2) The Main Body- Chapters 5-26
3) The Covenant- Chapters 27-28
4) The Call To Repentance- Chapters 29-30
As you can see, we have just crossed the half-way point in this speech. Moshe is about to give instructions to Am Yisrael that will be concerned with the structure in maintaining civil order, as well as spiritual order. The former is a necessity in any society. Because Yisrael, as a nation, is governed under the theocratic government of YHWH, the spiritual aspects must also be included in the establishment of societal order. This combination will insure that justice is present in all spheres of Yisrael’s life once they cross over and begin to possess The Land of their inheritance.
YHWH’S Demand For Justice
“Shofetim [Judges] and shoterim [officers] shalt thou appoint thee in all thy she’arim [gates], which Hashem Eloheicha [YHWH your Mighty One] giveth thee, throughout thy shevatim [tribes]: and they shall judge HaAm [The People] with mishpat-tzedek [righteous judgment]. Thou shalt not pervert mishpat [judgment]; thou shalt not show partiality, neither take a shochad [bribe]: for a bribe doth blind the eyes of the chachamim [wise], and twist the devarim [words] of the tzaddikim [righteous]. Tzedek tzedek [Justice, justice] (that which is altogether just) shalt thou follow, that thou mayest live, and inherit ha’aretz [the land] which Hashem Eloheicha [YHWH your Mighty One] giveth thee.” (Devarim/Deuteronomy 16:18-20 OJB- definitions mine)
We must remember that when Yisrael was in Mitzrayim/Egypt, they were not yet a recognized nation. They were simply known as Hebrews. Once they were led by YHWH through Moshe and Aharon in exodus out of Mitzrayim/Egypt, they were brought to Choreb/Horeb to Mt. Sinai. There they received YHWH’s Torah, the Aserim HaDevarim/Ten Words, which would also become their constitution as a nation. Now, standing on the banks of the Yarden/Jordan, ready to cross over, this nation of Hebrews were about to receive their own Land. Once on the other side it would be important to institute YHWH’s directives for establishing justice for Yisrael as a nation. YHWH is a Mighty One of order not confusion or anarchy. (1 Corinthians 14:33)
In verse 20 of our opening chapter for our parasha we see that YHWH calls for justice. He in fact does so twice in the Hebrew text. It reads Tzedek…tzedek, or Justice…justice. This double emphasis shows the importance that justice be implemented with Yisrael as a society. Now, there are some translations that render this as righteousness. However, there is a distinct difference between justice and righteousness. They are related, but not the same. Righteousness has to do with our standing before YHWH. It is based on our relationship provided by the blood of His ONLY begotten Son, our Mashiach Yeshua to YHWH. We are called to deal justly with our brothers and sisters, but also with those outside the believing community. Therefore the call in verse 18 for the appointment of shoftim/judges and also shoterim/officers throughout the walled cities where each tribe would settle. The shoterim/officers would relate to our police. They were appointed to see that the mishpat-tzedek/righteous judgments of the shoftim/judges were enforced.
In our opening verse YHWH instructed Am Yisrael to cause the Shoftim/Judges and Shoterim/Officers to be set up at the city gates to the walled cities. The gates of the city was the place of authority. Here is where the legal cases were judged and sentences passed. With this in mind, we can understand with more clarity the words of Master Yeshua to Kefa,
“And I also say to you that you are Shimon Kefa [Petros/Peter] and upon this TSUR [ROCK] I will build my Kehillah [Assembly], my Chavurah (the Community of Moshiach) and the shaarei Sheol (gates of Sheol/Hell) shall not overpower it.” (Mattityahu/Matthew 16:18 OJB- definitions mine)
The gates speak of the spiritual wicked principalities of the air who seek to plot against the Kehillah/Assembly of YHWH. (Ephesians 6:12) These powers of darkness seek to resist the work of redemption being carried out by the local assembly. The authority of YHWH will overcome the counsels of these fallen angels and their demonic spirits who carry out their bidding. What is this “tsur/rock” Master Yeshua is speaking of? In the verses preceding our verse above, there were many people giving their assessment of who our Master was. Some said this navi/prophet. Some said that one. Finally Master Yeshua asks his talmidim/disciples who they thought He was? Immediately afterwards, if you were there, you would have seen the change pass over Kefa’s/Peter’s face. The light came on inside, and he knew. He knew! “You are the Mashiach. Ben Elohim Chai [Son of the Living Mighty One!” The rock wasn’t Kefa/Peter, or the so-called church. It was the operation of the gifting of the Ruach HaKodesh of a word of knowledge. (1 Corinthians 12:8-10) The rock was revelation knowledge. Our Master told Kefa, flesh and blood did not reveal this to you. It was my Abba who is in heaven! The rock of revelation knowledge through Ruach HaKodesh, will provide this revelation knowledge. It will counter these scheming, premeditated plans of hellish intent by Hasatan’s [may his memory be blotted out forever] principalities and powers. Their wicked counsels WILL NOT PREVAIL!