Torah Portion: Genesis 6:9–11:32
Haftarah Portion: Isaiah 54:1–55:5
New Testament Portion: Luke 17:26-27, Hebrews 11:5-7, 1Peter 3:20, 2Peter 2:5, 3:9-14
This week as I pondered the assigned Scripture and Ray Gardner’s rich and detailed study notes , a few thoughts came to mind.
“Noah walked with God.” This phrase is used only for one other person in Scripture–Noah’s great-grandfather Enoch, the one who lived 365 years “and he was not, for God took him.” (Gen. 5:24) Scripture emphasizes Enoch’s righteousness by TWICE stating “Enoch walked with God.” [Gen. 5:22,24). The name Enoch means “dedicated, initiated, trained.” In Hebrew, to “walk” [halak הלך Strong’s H1980] means much more than to put one foot in front of the other and shuffle along. Rather, it is a euphemism for a manner of thought and, therefore, a manner of life. It is a life view or paradigm and, also, hints at one’s ability to influence.
Enoch was the seventh generation of Adam. The number seven in Hebrew thought denotes perfection and completion, as in the seven days of Creation. According to Jewish literature, Enoch set himself apart from the culture, in seclusion, for long years for the purpose of studying the Word of God.
2 And the soul of Enoch was wrapped up in the instruction of the Lord, in knowledge and in understanding; and he wisely retired from the sons of men, and secreted himself from them for many days. Book of Jasher, chap. 3, verse 2
The commendation of Enoch in the Faith Hall of Fame contained in the 11th Chapter of Hebrews becomes all the more important when we consider Enoch’s attitude of submission.
By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death, and he was not found, because God had taken him. Now before he was taken he was commended as having pleased God. And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. (Heb. 11:5-6 ESV)
According to the Jasher account, after long years of study, in Abba’s instruction and in His timing Enoch went out into the world to share the truth/gospel with others and was rewarded with a great harvest. Thus, to the devout Jew, Enoch was the light of the world in his day, preached the gospel, and is a type of Messiah. The Book of Jude quotes the Book of Enoch (though, to be fair, some argue that the Jasher we have today is not necessarily the Jasher of that day). Jude exhorts us to “earnestly contend for the faith which was ONCE delivered unto the saints” (1:3 emphasis added). This, to me, is one more witness that the Torah, God’s covenant, was given from the beginning and was renewed at Mt. Sinai to the generation who came out of Egypt.
In spite of Enoch’s efforts, by the time of Noah, the tenth generation, wickedness had overcome the earth. Scripture declares “Noah was a just man, perfect in his generations.” The Hebrew word for “just” is tzaDEEK, which according to bible dictionaries, can be translated as both righteous and lawful. The word translated as “perfect” is tawMEEM, which means to be without spot, blameless, whole, undefiled, sound, and complete. This same word is used to describe the requirements for the Passover lamb (Exodus 12:5), as well as numerous offerings in the book of Leviticus (see: 1:3, 1:10, 3:1, 3:6, 3:9, 4:3, 4:23, 4:28, 4:32, 6:6, 9:2-3, 22:19-21,), all of which point to the sinless Yeshua. The idea of being blameless is what Paul means to convey when he exhorts us to be “living sacrifices.”
“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.” (Romans 12:1)
Noah, Enoch’s great-grandson, apparently, immensely valued Enoch’s instruction, for Scripture declares Noah to be just, righteous, lawful, without spot, blameless, whole and complete, in stark contrast to the rampant lawlessness of his day.
In the New Testament, Luke points to the parents of John the Baptist as shining examples of people in the First Century who immensely valued God’s instructions and understood how to walk with Him (Luke 1:6). If we could read the New Testament in Hebrew, we could understand that they were tzadeek [just, righteous] and tawmeem [perfect] just like Noah. Does it mean they were sinless? Certainly not! It means they were righteous because they, like Abraham before them, “believed God and it was counted to them as righteousness.” But there is more. Like Abraham, and Noah, they pursued righteousness by “walking with God,” a euphemism for keeping His commandments.
The commandments are not now, nor have ever been, for salvation. They are simply instructions in what is correct, just, and righteous in the eyes of God. The Hebrew word for sin [חטא chatah Strong’s H2398] is defined as “missing the mark.” The Torah, the Light of God, illuminates the concept of being tawmeem [blameless] for us so that we can hit the mark.
Paul’s letters are infused with injunctions for former gentiles who are grafted in to Israel to strive to be tawmeem.. Writing to the churches of Corinth, Philipi, and Thessolonica, comprised of converts from the nations [goyim], Paul exhorts the new believers to be blameless by walking in the Torah [which God declared to Moses is both “for the homeborn and the stranger.” (Num. 15:15,16)].
“… that you may be blameless [tawmeem] in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ… (1 Cor. 1:4-9 NKJV)
Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life [Torah]…(Phil 2:14-16 KJV).
Test all things; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil. Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless [tawmeem] at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Thess. 5:21-23)
Paul considered blamelessness the highest quality that Timothy should seek in selecting leadership in newly formed congregations:
And let them [overseers] also be tested first; then let them serve as deacons if they prove themselves blameless. (I Timothy 3:10 NKJV)
“…appoint elders in every city, as I charged you; men who are blameless (Titus 1:4)
Paul is NOT issuing new commandments. He, as Yeshua did, and exactly as Isaiah declared, is magnifying the Torah by illuminating God’s instructions to love God and love our neighbors as ourselves. Just like Yeshua, Paul is teaching believers how to follow God’s commandments with the aid of the Holy Spirit. “Whoever says he abides in Him [Yeshua] ought to walk in the same way in which He walked. (1 John 2:6)
Let us pray:
Abba Yahweh, we delight to be Your set-apart people and designated living sacrifices. Help us to understand truly what it means to walk with You. Help us to understand what it means to be tawmeem, blameless, without spot or blemish, that we may be a sweet savor to Your nostrils and prepared to influence others also to walk in Your holy ways. We recognize that the state of America today reflects the condition of Your Body. We ask YOU to open our eyes and ears, that we may see and hear [shema] for Your glory, in Yeshua’s name. Amein and amein!
Shabbat shalom everyone!