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The Messiah Teaches The Shema
dxa hwhy wnyhla hwhy larvy ems
echad YHWH Elohenu YHWH Yisrael Shema
one YHWH our Elohim YHWH Israel Hear
Shema Yisrael, YHWH is our Elohim, YHWH is one.
And you shall love YHWH your Elohim with all your heart,
with all your soul, and with all your strength. Deuteronomy 6:4-51
The Hebrew word “shema/emS ” means “hear.” In our opening text, this word serves as a call to hear the Eternal Word of YHWH, the Elohim of Yisrael. It is a call to hear and obey the King of Yisrael from a heart of love—not from a lukewarm heart acting out of a sense of mere moral duty, and not from an even colder heart motivated by an outward show of religious obligation or arrogant self-exaltation steered by the self-supremacy people so often feel due to baseless pride. If Yahushua taught us to uphold the Eternal precepts of the Age-Abiding Torah (and He did2), then those who castigate such a life of loving obedience, by calling it “legalism,” are setting forth their Messiah as a senseless imposter before all the world.
s r q u p e o n m l k y j x z w h d g b a
The present study is a series of meditations about the importance of this word, shema/emS, and its significance as seen in the Foremost Commandment in all of the Torah. The Mashiach/Messiah was (and still is) the splendor of His people Yisrael and a Light to enlighten the Gentiles in the Torah of YHWH.3 And now that He has walked among us as the Unblemished Lamb, that great Light from the Torah of YHWH continues to shine forth from the Spirit of the Mashiach in the Heavens.4 In this article, the Spirit reveals how our Mashiach/mSyh 5 both observed and taught the importance of all of the Torah on those many occasions He spoke of and referred to the Shema. We will see that there were many instances in which Yashua taught His listeners the importance of this Greatest Command—a commandment which has the most preeminence over and above all of the other commandments in the Torah. We begin, though, by pondering the time the Messiah set forth the Shema as the greatest commandment in the entirety of Scripture.
t s r q u p e o n m l k y j x z w h d g b a 1
Jewish tradition divides this Commandment into two separate parts: “The Shema” (Deuteronomy 6:4) and the “V’havta” (Deuteronomy 6:5). Since the Messiah made no such division (teaching the entire text embodies the single, greatest commandment), we will refer to both verses as “the Shema.” 2 Matthew 5:17-20 3 Luke 2:32, John 14:15, 15:10, Romans 2:13, 3:31 4 2Corinthians 3:12-18 5 “Mashiach” is the transliteration for the Hebrew word, mSyh, the word meaning “anointed,” and often translated as “Messiah.” 2
The Greatest Commandment
We have far more than one record of the Messiah teaching us to uphold the Greatest and Most Preeminent commandment in all of the Torah, but we begin by pondering His words on that most obvious occasion. Yahushua the Messiah came to bring life and immortality to light through the Good News,6 and it is His very words which reveal to us the preeminent love for YHWH which He desires to be burning in the hearts of all of His people: And Yahushua answered him,
“The first of all the commandments is, ‘Shema (Hear) Yisrael YHWH is our Elohim, YHWH is one: And you shall love YHWH your Elohim with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength: this is the first commandment.’ ” Mark 12:29-30
We may see and imply many things from these words of Yahushua spoken on this all important matter: 1. Loving YHWH and putting Him first (above all else) is the preeminent commandment. Absolutely nothing is more important, including our own lives.7 2. With these words, the Messiah was clearly teaching and upholding the ageabiding authority/perpetuity of all of the Torah! And showing the Shema to be the preeminent commandment of the Pentateuch8 not only teaches us the ongoing validity and immutability of the entire Torah across the immense time span of 1000 generations,9 but it further indicates how every other commandment was intended to be walked out in everyday practice: the Word of YHWH is to be upheld because of a believer’s love for the Most High and his/her gratitude for the great and enduring chesed/lovingkindness which the Most High has bestowed upon each of us. And in relation to this all-important point, the general Christian world seems painfully oblivious to the stark difference between obedience and legalism:
Upholding the Torah out of love for YHWH is baruch obedience that touches eternity while attempting to keep His commandments out of a heartless religious obligation and an arid sense of duty can only be legalism and, oftentimes, self-exaltation.
To reword what someone else has so wisely said:
6 1Timothy 1:10 7 Daniel 3:8-28 8 (the Five Books of Mosheh/Moses) 9 The Torah will be in effect until time immemorial—until heaven and earth pass away. Matthew 5:18, 24:35, Mark 13:31, Luke 16:17, 21:33 3
Keeping the Torah without the Spirit of love is legalism. In contrast, the supposition one is walking in the Spirit of love—all the while one is refusing to uphold the commandments of the Torah—is both disobedience and self-deception. And neither of these states will be acceptable for anyone who aspires to inherit reward10 and splendor11 by entering into the Millennium Kingdom of YHWH at the First Resurrection:12 A person will not attain to the classification of those who overcome—the classification of called, and chosen, and faithful13—apart from having upheld the Torah in the Spirit of love.14
Thus, in setting forth the Shema as absolutely preeminent, the Messiah teaches us it is only through love—the love which our hearts are directing towards YHWH—that we may uphold every other Torah commandment.
The Shema was set forth as the Preeminent Commandment of the Torah because truly keeping it will also lead to us truly keeping every other commandment. Somehow, people abide under the idea that mistakenly concludes true, authentic love for YHWH abrogates/abolishes/ends the Torah; but this is a completely baseless and unscriptural supposition: Through the Shema, the Messiah taught that true love for YHWH will result in us keeping His Torah and its Ageless Decrees—all of which are pulsating with infinite wisdom, with immense light, and with enduring, life-giving love.
The secret of the Shema15 tells us it is only through love for the Most High that we may keep the commandments of YHWH in a way that pleases Him. We must desire to hear His Voice with the advanced intention16 of permanently obeying whatever He says/reveals/teaches us:
Teach me, YHWH , the way of Your statutes, and I will keep it to the end. Psalm 119:33
10 2Peter 1:10-11 11 Romans 2:6-7,10 12 1Corinthians 9:24-27, Philippians 3:7-14 13 Revelation 17:14 14 Romans 2:13, 3:31, 1John 5:1-3, Matthew 5:17-20 15 Remember: “Shema” means “hear.” 16 Daniel 1:8, Ezra 7:10. Contrast: 2Chronicles 12:14,Psalm 78:8, 4
I have not departed from Your judgments: for You have taught mePsalm 119:102
I am Your servant; give me understanding, that I may know Your testimonies.Psalm 119:125
While the truth of hearing with a view to obey is seen in many places throughout the Word of YHWH,17 the misparim/numbers of the Shema also make this important concept even more abundantly clear.
The Misparim/Numbers of the Shema: Drawing Near With Our Hearts. YHWH does not want a people who draw near to Him with their lips while their hearts are far from Him. Through the prophet Yeshayahu (Isaiah), YHWH said it like this: 13 Therefore, the Sovereign has said, Because this people have drawn near with their mouth, and with their lips have honored Me, but their heart they have removed far from Me, and so their reverence for Me has become a commandment of men, in which they have been schooled. 14
Therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvelous work among this people, even a marvelous work and a wonder; and the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hidden.18 Isaiah 29:13-14
The above truth indicates this: If we are following the commandments of men (in contrast to following the commandments of hwhy given in His Torah), then that is part of what constitutes having hearts that are far from Him. Because He rebuked the man-made, Jewish traditions of His day, the Messiah spoke of this very thing: 3 And He answered and said to them,
Why do you also transgress the commandment of Elohim because of your tradition? 4 For Elohim said, “Honor your father and your mother,” and, “He that speaks evil of father or mother, let him die the death.” 5 But you say, “Whosoever shall say to his father or his mother, that wherewith you might have been profited by me is Corban,”19 6 he shall not honor his father. And you have made void the Word of Elohim because of your tradition. 7 You hypocrites, well did Yeshayahu prophesy of you, saying, 8 “This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. 9 But in vain do they worship Me, 17 Exodus 20:6/Deuteronomy 5:10 > John 14:15, 21
18This perfectly describes America, as well as many other nations of today, since our leaders (and people) have all forsaken the Torah of YHWH and are, thus, left with no wisdom to rule in a way that brings about a prevailing peace and prosperity.
19 (“Corban” is a Hebrew word describing a gift given to Elohim) 5 teaching as their doctrines the precepts of men.” Matthew 15:3-9 Many fail to recognize that, with this encounter, the Messiah was fully upholding the authority of the Torah and the commandments of Elohim as He rebuked the religious leaders of the Jewish community for setting forth their own teachings that contradicted the Torah.
The Messiah would do the same today (even among those who express faith in Him) as there are so many entrenched traditions that have no basis in Scripture. These traditions have made the Torah of YHWH of no effect and of no importance in the hearts of the people. Yet the Messiah taught the Torah and spoke of its unending Authority20 across the 1000 generations prophesied to exist on the earth.21 Thus, we see more of the importance behind the Shema—the Preeminent Commandment that enjoins us to fulfill the Torah by walking in love for YHWH and His Word. For YHWH Himself has indicated it is those who keep His commandments who are expressing the love for Him which He desires: … and showing chesed/lovingkindness unto thousands of those that love Me and keep My commandments. Exodus 20:6
Our love for YHWH is expressed through keeping His commandments. And when uttering the Shema, above all things, we should certainly be drawing near to YHWH with our hearts. The revelation which Ruach Elohim22 gives through the Hebrew misparim/numbers in this regard is not only absolutely stunning, but it gives us yet more understanding of a number of very relevant Scripture texts.
Just below, readers will see the first six words of the Shema and above each word is the misparim (in red/RIGHT) and the place value (in blue/LEFT):
← ← ← 13/13 26/26 48/102 26/26 64/541 50/410
dxa hwhy wnyhla hwhy larvy ems
echad YHWH Elohenu YHWH Yisrael Shema
(is)one YHWH our Elohim YHWH Israel Hear
While much more will be said about these numbers later, for now, readers will note the sum of the red numbers is the misparim/gematria value of the entire sentence, and that this total value is 1118:23 13 + 102 + 26 + 541 + 410 = 1118
Amazingly enough, the factors of 1118 are as follows:
20 Matthew 5:17-20, 24:35, Mark 13:31, Luke 21:33 21 Exodus 3:14-15, Deuteronomy 7:9, Psalm 105:8 22 (the Spirit of Elohim/Power) 23 Readers are invited to confirm all misparim and place values using the charts which appear at the end of this study.
6 1 , 2 , 13 , 26 , 43 , 86 , 559 , 1118
Three of the above factors are highlighted in red because three of the words in the first line of the Shema24 have that very same misparim value. In the case of 13 and 26, three of the six words have one or the other misparim value:
← ← ← 13 = (4) d + (8) x + (1) a = dxa = echad = one
← ← ← 26 = (5) h + (6) w + (5) h + (10) y = hwhy = YHWH
To better explain wnyhla/Elohenu having a base word which equals 86,
“wnyhla/Elohenu” means “our Elohim” and the Hebrew title,
“Myhla/Elohim,” has a misparim of 86:
← ← ← 86 = (40) M + (10) y + (5) h + (30) l + (1) a = Myhla = Elohim
Another Hebrew word which has this very same misparim is the world-famous exclamation of praise,
“Hallelu-Yah:” ← ← ← 86 = (5) h + (10) y + (6) w + (30) l + (30) l + (5) h = hywllh = Hallelu-Yah
This is so because, while “Elohim” is a title for YHWH that conveys His indescribable power to perform and create, the word “Hallelu-Yah” is an utterance of praise by which we sing and praise that very power.
This is the power revealed in and through His Qadosh Name.25 Thus, the two words are quite related and their number value being the same is an amazing and inspired result! So with 13, 26, and 86 being factors of 1118, the Spirit is calling our attention to ponder these words and their special relationship to loving yhwh with the whole heart as we draw near to Him with sincere, loving reverence. Not coincidentally, Tehillim 86 has some very relevant things to say over keeping/fulfilling the Shema by honoring YHWH with and in our hearts, the very thing that the Messiah teaches26 to all those who have ears to hear:
10 For You are great, and do wondrous things: You are Elohim alone. 11 Teach me Your way, YHWH; I will walk in Your truth: Unite my heart to fear Your Name. 12 I will praise You,YHWH my Elohim, with all my heart; and I will magnify Your Name for evermore. Tehillim/Psalms 86:10-12
That these things would be written in Psalm 86 is not at all coincidental: This is the prayer of a believer who wishes to fulfill/keep the Shema and readers will note numerous similarities between the wording in these lines and the wording seen in 24 (the base word in the case of wnyhla/Elohenu)
25 Psalm 21:13 26 Matthew 15:3-9 7 Deuteronomy 6:4-5. This also makes it clear that when Kepha (Peter) instructed the believers to set apart YHWH Elohim in their hearts, he (like Isaiah27 and like the Messiah) was teaching them to uphold the Shema:
But set apart YHWH Elohim in your hearts, and always be ready to give an answer to everyone asking you a reason concerning the expectation that is in you, with meekness and fear. 1Peter 3:15, ISRV
28Speaking forth the Shema, by faith, is a significant part of setting apart YHWH Elohim in our hearts. Through proclaiming the Shema, we set our love upon YHWH and exalt His Name, even as the Spirit has inspired to be written in the 91st Psalm:
Because he has set his love upon Me,29 therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he has known My Name.30 Tehillim/Psalms 91:14
Proclaiming the Shema and Taking Upon Ourselves the Yoke of the Kingdom
In many rabbinic teachings, we see the ages-old understanding that a loving, reverent, and sincere speaking forth of the Shema is regarded as taking upon oneself the Yoke of the Kingdom of Heaven.
31 So important is this segment of Scripture that many Jews not only recite it twice a day but also on their deathbed. And historically, many of our Jewish brothers have made the Shema their last utterance when about to face an untimely death—either through a final moment of valor/heroism which would certainly end their life, or when a persecutor was about to inflict one’s demise.32 Since the Shema’s relationship to the Yoke of the 8 Kingdom
27 Isaiah 8:1328 See the end-note reference to the ISRV Scriptures. 29 Deuteronomy 6:5 30 Deuteronomy 6:4 31 In regard to the Yoke of the Kingdom, see the following websites: • http://www.whyisrael.org/2011/03/26/what-is-the-shema/ • http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/judaica/ejud_0002_0021_0_21286.html • http://www.whyisrael.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/what-is-the-shema.pdf (a longer, pdf version of the very first site given above) • http://bibloscope.com/content/shema • http://biblequestion.wordpress.com/2010/07/25/alfred-edersheim-on-the-kingdom-of-heaven-and-the-yoke-ofchrist/ • http://skipmoen.com/2011/04/18/reading-the-shema/ • http://www.inner.org/613-mitzvot/shema.pdf • http://www.shemayisrael.com/parsha/kahn/archives/eikev71.htm • http://www.aish.com/tp/i/m/48910692.html • http://www.alfassa.com/shema.html 32 • http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_does_shema_mean_in_judaism
8 is generally not known (or its importance is not fully realized and acknowledged) among most believers—and we speak of those who recognize Yahushua was (and still is) the Messiah—it is key for readers to study the Internet information given in the footnote on this matter. See the websites given in the previous footnote; and upon reading the material seen at those places, our main point of emphasis should be repeatedly seen and acknowledged, even if you find other rabbinic statements which strike you as obscure, unscriptural, or even unverifiable:
Faithful believers who proclaim the Shema should be aware that they are, by Emunah (Faith), taking upon themselves the Yoke of the Kingdom.
If the previous statement could be proven to be a mere tradition of men it should most certainly be rejected. However, our study will show that the Messiah of Yisrael also understood this to be the case: A sincere, loving, and reverent proclamation of the Shema, in faith, is taking upon ourselves the Yoke of the Kingdom. And we will see even the Messiah upheld the direct connection between speaking, proclaiming, and upholding the Shema and taking upon oneself the Yoke of the Kingdom of Elohim. Since Yahushua the Messiah of Yisrael taught this very thing relative to the Shema, we will see the importance of this Kingdom-Yoke is an absolute truth and not merely a man-made Jewish tradition!33 What we are saying will become yet more evident as the study now progresses into the next section.
The Shema: Seeing and Entering the Kingdom WhenYahushua spoke to Nakdimon/Nicodemus, He indicated that to inherit reward and greatness in the world/age to come, a believer in the Elohim of Yisrael must both see and enter the Kingdom; while both aspects are ultimately fulfilled in those who partake in the First Resurrection, seeing and entering indicate a significant progression which must officially begin during our earthly sojourn. We will see the Shema is an essential part of beginning the process, per the words of the Messiah Himself:
1 But there was a man from among the Pharisees, his name Nakdimon, a ruler of the Yahudim; 2 he came to Him by night, and said to Him, Rabbi, we know that You have come from Elohim, a teacher, • http://www.jewishpub.org/product/9780827607132/the-shema
33 Remember: the Messiah rebuked any Jewish traditions of His time which were merely man-made doctrines that failed to uphold the Torah. We now have a commendable and righteous Jewish-Israeli tenet which He did not rebuke because it upholds the Torah!
9 for none can do these signs that You do unless Elohim is with him. Yahushua answered and said to him, Amein, amein, I say to you, unless any one is born from above he cannot see the Kingdom of Elohim. 4 Nakdimon said to Him, How can a man be born being old? Can he enter a second time into the womb of his mother and be born? Yahushua answered, Amein, amein, I say to you, unless any one is born of water and of Spirit, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of Elohim. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not marvel that I said to you, it is needful that you should be born from above. 8 The wind blows where it will, and you hear (shema) its voice, but know not from where it comes and where it goes: thus is every one that is born of the Spirit. John 3:1-8 We will show that when the Messiah spoke of seeing the Kingdom and entering the Kingdom, His reference was to nothing less than the Shema—the Commandment which Yahushua taught to be the Greatest of all in the Torah.
Notice from the Hebrew words given below, the Masoretic text of Deuteronomy 6:4 shows the ending letters of the first and last words of the manuscript were rendered by the scribes to be considerably larger than the other letters in the text:
dxa hwhy wnyhla hwhy larvy ems
echad YHWH Elohenu YHWH Yisrael Shema
one YHWH (is) our YHWH Israel Hear one (is) Elohim
Yet the AYIN (e) and the DALET (d) are letters with very special meanings relative to our present topic of study; these two letters are the key to understanding the words of the Messiah:
1. The letter AYIN (e) not only represents the eye, but in the Hebrew language, the letter AYIN is pronounced in the same way as the word for eye: AYIN ( Nye : ahyeen); this is, undoubtedly, where we get our pronunciation/derivation for the English word “eye.”
2. The letter DALET (d) not only represents a door, but in the Hebrew language, the letter DALET is pronounced nearly the same way as the Hebrew word for door: DELET (tld).
Do our readers already see where this is going? The Spirit reveals that wheYahushua spoke of seeing34 and entering35 the Kingdom,36 He was speaking of 34 John 3:3 35 John 3:5 36 John 3:3-8 10 nothing less than the Shema, since the large AYIN (e) spoke of the eyes and seeing (or having sight) and the large DALET (d) signified the door:
dxa hwhy wnyhla hwhy larvy ems
echad YHWH Elohenu YHWH Yisrael Shema
one YHWH our Elohim YHWH Israel Hear
Also notice when the Messiah spoke of the Shema and taking upon oneself the Yoke of the Kingdom, He inferred one who is born of the Spirit hears the Voice of YHWH: The wind blows where it will, and you hear (shema) its voice, but know not from where it comes and where it goes: thus, is every one that is born of the Spirit. John 3:8
This, of course, was another contextual reference to the Shema and to being a son of Abraham—the patriarch who walked by faith and who heard the Voice of YHWH. And having heard the Voice of YHWH across a lifetime of faithfulness, we read these words which the Most High spoke over Abraham’s resulting life of love-driven obedience: Because that Abraham obeyed My Voice, and kept My charge: My commandments, My statutes, and My laws. Genesis 26:5
Because Abraham kept the Shema—because he continually heard the Voice of YHWH—he also kept the other commandments of Elohim! And it is only those who walk in the commandment-keeping faith37 of Abraham who are heirs according to the Promise.38
The Shema teaches us that Elohim is—that He exists—and that our ears must be open to His Word and His directives. As we hear His Voice and believe/act upon His Word, our spiritual sight is then acquired, gained, augmented: 39 We see the Eternal King and His Eternal Kingdom.Then we are joined to YHWH,40 by EMUNAH(faith), and become one (echad)41 with Him.
While we have not yet fully entered the Kingdom, this does grant us citizenship in that Kingdom42 as we have now been spiritually translated into a new, spiritual realm.43 Then it is a question of living a lifetime of faithful service by which YHWH determines the measure of our heavenly 37 Acts 24:14, Matthew 5:17-20, Romans 2:13, 3:31, 16:26, 1John 5:1-5, Reveleation12:17, 14:12, 22:14 38 Galatians 3:7,9 39 (all depending on how new/old is our walk/sojourn to the Kingdom) 40 Isaiah 56:3, Zechariah 2:11 41 1Corinthians 6:17 42 Philippians 3:20 (“conversation” per KJV means “citizenship”) 43 Colossians 1:13 11 reward:
How great/abundant will our entrance into His Kingdom on Earth be, and what will any individual believer inherit/possess in that Kingdom? Our entrance can be abundant or it can be meager.44 That there will be significant differences in reward is a Kingdom-fact not generally taught, but this will be an absolute reality in the Resurrection based on the level of one’s faithful service to YHWH in this life.45 The Requirement for Having Ears That Hear.
Who are those blessed ones that will hear His Voice? Who are those who will hear the Voice of His Spirit saying, “This is the way, you walk in it?”46 And how do we acquire ears that will hear?
The only ones who will hear His Voice are those that hold forth His Name as Qadosh/Swdq, 47 for YHWH only reveals Himself in fullest measure to those who desire to honor Him and to walk in His ways.
Note, first of all, the Hebrew word for “emS/shema”—the Hebrew word meaning “hear”—has a misparim value of 410: ← ← ← (mv) 410 = (70) e + (40) m + (300) S = emS = shema = hear
So we momentarily pause to ponder the heart attitude, and the mind set, of those who reverently hold forth YHWH and His Name as absolutely Qadosh/Swdq:
Exalt YHWH our Elohim, and worship at His set apart hill; for YHWH our Elohim is Swdq/qadosh. Tehillim/Psalms 99:9
He sent redemption to His people: He has commanded His covenant for ever:
Swdq/qadosh and awesome is His Name. Tehillim/Psalms 111:9
We have said those who are blessed to hear His Voice are those who reverently hold forth the Name of YHWH as qadosh/Swdq, for such an attitude prepares the heart to see the salvation of Elohim.
48The saying is true and worthy of all acceptance. In confirming this, the Hebrew word “Swdq/qadosh/set apart,” like the word for “hear/shema/emS,” has a misparim value of 410:
← ← ← (mv) 410 = (300) S + (6) w + (4) d + (100) q = Swdq = qadosh
The relationship between these words is not at all coincidental:
44 2Peter 1:10-11 45 Luke 19:11-26 46 Isaiah 30:21 47 The Hebrew word “Swdq/qadosh” has the meaning of “set apart;” it is the word customarily translated as “holy.” 48 2Chronicles 12:14/Jeremiah 11:8, Psalm 50:23, 78:8 (See Darby as well as Young’s Literal Translation), 12 Those who draw near to His Throne of favor and who exalt YHWH as qadosh (410) will, like Abraham,49 be blessed to hear (410) His Voice.
The Hebrew numbers confirm to us the requirement set forth for those who would hear His Voice and subsequently see and enter His Kingdom of Light.
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Because the Messiah was without sin, He fulfilled the Shema perfectly and the Spirit opened His ear to hear the Voice/Spirit of YHWH every morning:
The SovereignYHWH has given me the tongue of the learned,
that I should know how to speak a word in season to a
weary one: He awakens morning by morning;
He awakens my ear to hear as the learned.