Parsha “Balak” (Numbers 22:2-25:9) teaching from Shabbat Shalom Mesa

Perhaps ironically, the parsha named ‘Balak’ in the Torah (Numbers 22:2-25:9) — because that name of the king of Moab appears right up front in the text — is really more about Bilaam (aka ‘Balaam’ in some English translations) — who would be the ancient equivalent of the most well-known ‘televangelist’ of his times. (And, perhaps the similarities don’t stop there…)

Join Mark Call of Shabbat Shalom Mesa fellowship for a two-part look at at the parsha which stands out because of how dramatically it departs from most of the rest of the narrative we’ve come to expect: neither Moshe, or Aaron, or any of the sons of Israel appear directly in the story at all. But that’s just the beginning.

The Erev Shabbat reading and outline of the parsha:

During the Sabbath teaching, Mark suggests that this is a parsha which might appear to be ‘out-of-place,’ but certainly could offer insight into a LOT of different questions. Perhaps the one that most of the midrash tends to emphasize is Why? Why this people?

But there are other questions raised here, too? Does Bilaam – like Pharoah, perhaps – really have “free choice” in this situation?

This story not only resonates on SO many levels with things that are happening right now, but also with our whole understanding of free will, coercion, deception, and who is truly able to make choices that impact our lives.

Choose LIFE! But when?

And just when does that choice, or action based on it, become irreversible – fatal – and he “knew or SHOULD have known?”

“Balak: Why this story? – or – Difficult Choices”

The combined two-part podcast is here, via Hebrew Nation Radio.

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Parsha “Chukat” (Numbers ch 19 thru 22:1) teaching from Shabbat Shalom Mesa

The parsha this week may be one of the most ‘appropriately named’ in the Torah, because ‘chukat’ may be translated as “statute,” but it REALLY means, “do this because I say so!”

Join Mark Call of Shabbat Shalom Mesa fellowship for a two-part look at parsha ‘Chukat’ (Numbers chapters 19 through 22:1).

The Erev Shabbat reading and outline of the parsha includes some of the most significant “life and death” issues in the Torah. Which is more than ironic.

Nor only ia best way to understand the concept of a ‘chuq’ to “do this because I say so,” but as Mark outlines in the Sabbath Day teaching, that is precisely the underlying theme to the entire parsha. And that is precisely why life and death are, too.

“Chukat: the Real? or the Snake-on-a-Stick?”

The combined two-part podcast is here.

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Parsha “Korach” (Numbers ch 16 thru 18) teaching from Shabbat Shalom Mesa

The parsha this week from the annual Torah cycle is all about one of the first (outside the Garden, perhaps) and most famous acts of “rebellion” in the Book. And it just – OH, so coincidentally! – happens to fall right on the 248th anniversary, on the Roman calendar, of the most important revolution in “the OTHER direction” in our own history!

No less importantly, it also falls on the ‘cusp’ of the greatest contest since between “Tyranny and Liberty,” or, a bit more bluntly, those who serve Yah and those who truly despise Him. If there was ever a time to understand what “rebellion” is, and is NOT, it is now.

Join Mark Call of Shabbat Shalom Mesa fellowship for a two-part look at parsha ‘Korach’ (Numbers chapters 16 through 18).

The Erev Shabbat reading and outline of the parsha begins with the names, and genealogy, of the “men of name, or renown,” who fomented that rebellion, and died — uniquely — for it. And it sets up all that follows.

The Sabbath Day teaching really is “a study in contrasts.” It must, of course, start with the question of rebellion, and to Whom.

But this is a time of cusp: so many cycles, plans, prophecies, and, yes, conspiracies, coming together to produce a “climax of truly Biblical proportions.” Our own history is screaming a lesson.

And all of this points to another question as well. If “Korach’s Rebellion” merited a “new thing” to serve as a sign and a lesson ever since, why isn’t the ground swallowing truly Evil people – en masse – today?

“Korach: Rebellion – a Study in Contrasts”

The combined two-part podcast is here, via Hebrew Nation Radio.

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Parsha “Shalach Lecha” (Numbers ch 13-15) teaching from Shabbat Shalom Mesa

This week’s parsha from the annual Torah cycle schedule is almost certainly one of the most tragic, and critical, stories in all of Scripture. The ‘ten spies,’ the ‘first recorded vote in history,’ and the turning point that cost an entire generation their entry into the Promised Land, and everyone else another 40 years in the wilderness.

Join Mark Call of Shabbat Shalom Mesa fellowship for a two-part look at parsha ‘Shalach Lecha’ (Numbers chapters 13 through 15).

The Erev Shabbat reading and outline of the parsha begins with those words, “send out men,” shalach lecha, to, well, actually, TOUR the land. Infamously, they bring back an “evil report,” and convince literally ‘kol ha edah’ — all the congregation of Israel, to turn back into slavery, rather than trust in Yahuah. As you ought to suspect, there’s more to the story:

The Sabbath Day teaching is about the MESSAGE in the story of the ‘spies.’ But, actually, they weren’t really “spies” at all. Or weren’t supposed to be. Mark suggests they either didn’t know, or didn’t care, what they were actually sent out to do.

And that’s where the tragic lesson only begins. And – one more time – has never, EVER been more important or relevant than “such a time as this” – perhaps the most important turning point in human history, or “Biblical proportions” even!

We’ve all heard “ignorance of the law is no excuse.” What this story, and the multiple commandments and “statutes” that surround it, makes clear is that it is, however, CONSISTENT — or supposed to be. One “law”, one instruction, even one set of STATUTES, for “you, and the soujourner who dwells among you.” Certainly not – one set of rules for you peons, and another entirely for those who make the rules, and %$W$@$! with what that God of the Bible might have to say.

But that’s what we have. But that’s not the only lie revealed in this parsha, and in the “times and seasons” we see today.

It turns out that “ignorance of the law” may, in fact, be an excuse. But – ONLY once!

Don’t miss the lesson here. Because it all connects, all fits, and has never been more important to understand. We MUST know “what is really going on?”

“Spying” wasn’t the mission. But EVERY single adult who listened, and participated in their literal rebellion to Yah, ended up dying ‘bemidbar’ – there in the wilderness.

“Shalach Lecha: Rebellion, Witchcraft, and Why a Simple Blue Thread Matters”

The combined two-part podcast is here, via Hebrew Nation Radio.

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Mark Call -Parsha “Beha-alotkha” (Numbers 8:1-12:16) teaching from Shabbat Shalom Mesa

Join Mark Call of Shabbat Shalom Mesa fellowship for a two-part look at parsha Beha-alotkha (Numbers 8:1 through all of chapter 12).

The Erev Shabbat reading and outline of the parsha from Erev Shabbat begins with ‘when you light the lamps’ of the menora, and then the silver trumpets, and how the camp of multiple millions — when He moves them on — is to head up, by their tribes, and move out. But it’s the latter part of the portion that contains SO much drama, and again, so much that really should resonate with us today.

In the Sabbath Day teaching, Mark basically begins there, but essentially with a break at the end of chapter ten — set off by one of the most famous sets of “jots and tiddles” in the Hebrew Torah, the “inverted nuns,” that has even been called the “Book Never Written.” But the words, and the implications, resonate literally millenia later!

Human nature certainly hasn’t changed. And neither, arguably, has our frustration with those who seem to choose death, rather than life. We can understand the frustration that drove Moses to almost the breaking point with a people who simply seem to be unteachable.

But, as we stand on the brink of what is probably the most deadly, most treacherous, most exciting, and perhaps even most important in all of human history, there is a tremendous message of HOPE here as well!

“Beha-alotkha: You Want MEAT? I’ll GIVE you meat! – or – Human Nature and Hope”

The combined two-part podcast is here, via Hebrew Nation Radio.

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Parsha “Naso” (Numbers 4:21 thru ch 7) teaching from Shabbat Shalom Mesa

Join Mark Call of Shabbat Shalom Mesa fellowship for a two-part look at parsha Naso (Numbers 4:21 through all of chapter 7 – the longest in the Torah).

The Erev Shabbat reading and outline of the parsha begins where the ‘numbers’ in the previous portion left off, with the clan of Gershon, among the Levites, and follows with the others that complete that set. But that is just the beginning. This parsha includes THE single commanded procedure in the whole Book which REQUIRES a ‘miracle’ for its completion, and then concludes with what is almost without question THE most ‘repetitive’ (literally, word for word in major sequences) description in the entire Bible. Which leads to the really important question: Why?

The Sabbath Day teaching literally begins where the reading leaves off. The level of redundancy in the longest chapter in the Torah certainly tells us that there is SOMETHING important in that message, and probably more than one element of it. Mark suggests that it’s clear there is literal, detailed CONFORMITY in that each of the twelve gifts on those successive days is apparently identical, yet offered by unique individuals who are not only each a leader of his tribe, but acting in unison for a reason. That Scripture records both that, each and every time, and their names, tells us just home important that is.

Working back through the parsha, there is another message here that connects not only the most significant events in the Bible, and thus all of history, but prophecy as well.

Not surprisingly, some of these are elements ‘overlooked by most of xtianity,’ for the reason that they are anything but “done away with.”

“Naso: From Levites and Nazerites to ‘Voluntary Conformity'”

The combined two-part podcast is here:

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Parsha “Bemidbar” (Numbers 1:1-4:20) teaching from Shabbat Shalom Mesa

This week the annual Torah portion cycle begins the fourth Book in the set, Numbers in the English, or Bemidbar (‘In the wilderness’) in Hebrew.

Join Mark Call of Shabbat Shalom Mesa fellowship for a two-part look at the parsha (Numbers 1:1 – 4:20) which gives the Book an appropriate name in BOTH languages.

The Erev Shabbat reading and outline of the parsha not only explains why, but ‘who’, and ‘how many’. But the key to understanding is to know those are just elements of the real lesson.

During the Sabbath day teaching this week, Mark goes into more depth on why “lift up the head” of EACH individual, each with a name, is such a better translation of the original Hebrew than any of the words He could have used instead that merely mean “count”. But it’s the connection with the haftorah reading, from Hosea chapter 2, and why that is such an excellent choice to be paired with “In the wilderness,” that should be of such great comfort to us today.

And it’s also a wonderful prophecy of what we should look forward to – as we return to being His people.

“Bemidbar: Numbers matter, but there’s much more to His love”

The combined two-part podcast is here, via Hebrew Nation Radio.

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Parsha “Bechukotai” (Lev. ch 26:2-End) teaching from Shabbat Shalom Mesa

Join Mark Call of Shabbat Shalom Mesa fellowship for a two-part look at Torah parsha “Bechukotai,” (Leviticus 26:2 through the end of the) and one of the two most dramatic sets of curses described in the entire Torah.

The Erev Shabbat reading and outline of the parsha includes those specifics, and is also an introduction of the Sabbath Day session`which again explores the question of ‘why?’ – and why NOW.

During the Sabbath day teaching this week, the theme builds on ‘what is the point of prophecy?’ with
what, then, is the point of ‘curses.’ And why are these SO graphic?

No doubt about it, they describe AmeriKa-with-a-K today, and what is deserved. But what is far more interesting should be what they, and the admonitions and promises from related Scripture, teach us as those curses unfold.

“Bechukotai: Why CURSES Now?”

The combined two-part podcast is here, via Hebrew Nation Radio.

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Parsha “Behar” (Lev. 25:1-26:2) teaching from Shabbat Shalom Mesa

Join Mark Call of Shabbat Shalom Mesa fellowship for a two-part look at Torah parsha “Behar,” (Leviticus 25:1 through 26:2) and some instruction “from har Sinai” – or Mt. Sinai – that is explicitly said to refer to WHEN you ‘enter the land.’

It’s also ABOUT the land, and that includes a sabbath year of rest for the land itself.

The Erev Shabbat reading and outline of the parsha includes the specifics as usual, but also a bit of explanation about that perhaps unusual difference in both the introduction, and the application. We understand by now that the claim that the “old testament” has been “done away with” is one of the Biggest Lies in human history — but what about this? Since we can’t do it anyway – does it still matter:

During the Sabbath day teaching this week, Mark again asks a question that might not seem to fit, but hopefully helps answer the one above: What is the POINT of ‘prophecy’?

The central message of this Torah portion has to do with trust. Do we trust in Him? Or in a world, and now, sadly, a nation, that detest Him, His Word, and no longer “proclaims liberty throughout the land.”

“Behar: What is the Point of Prophecy?”

The combined two-part podcast is here, via Hebrew Nation Radio.

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Parsha “Emor” (Lev. ch 21-24) teaching from Shabbat Shalom Mesa

Join Mark Call of Shabbat Shalom Mesa fellowship for a two-part look at Torah parsha is “Emor,” (Leviticus chapters 21 through 24) and, THIS week, what it means for the ‘cohenim’ or priesthood, to “be holy” — no, “set apart”, or qadosh — because He is. And it is, indeed, a higher standard.

The Erev Shabbat reading and outline of the parsha includes the specifics, from what they are to seek for wives to what NOT to do. And this portion includes a well-known description of HIS ‘appointed times’ (i.e., the REAL Holy Days) – and again makes clear that they are ‘forever’:

During the Sabbath day teaching this week, Mark asks a different question from the usual. Since His genuine priests are to be ‘set apart’ to Him, what does that say about a world where literally every aspect of His Word on that score is held in derision by most OF the world?

Doesn’t it seem ever more clear that there really IS a ‘priesthood’ of death that is not just set apart from any and everything associated with the Creator of the Universe, but that handles the Adversary’s very different — but obvious now! — sacraments?

And we had better be set apart from that. Especially if we understand what the Messiah has for us.

“Emor: Holy or Explicitly UN-holy Priesthoods – a Study in Contrasts”

The combined two-part podcast is here, via Hebrew Nation Radio.

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