TorahScope: Nitzavim

Nitzavim

Standing

Deuteronomy 29:9[10]-30:20
Isaiah 61:10-63:9

“Secret Things Revealed”


by Mark Huey

This week as our annual study of the Torah comes to the concluding chapters of Deuteronomy, with the relatively concise Nitzavim reading, the admonitions of Moses recall the consistency of the Holy One to adhere adamantly to His revealed, spoken Word. If there is one thing that can be said about our Creator, it is that He is unfailing to watch over His Word to perform it (Jeremiah 1:12). As the Israelites were preparing to enter into the Promised Land, Moses spoke to not only the twelve tribes and attendant sojourners in their midst, affirming that the words applied to all who worship God—but he reminded followers of this same God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the future that His commands are to be taken seriously, or the consequences will be tragic:

“You stand today, all of you, before the LORD your God: your chiefs, your tribes, your elders and your officers, even all the men of Israel, your little ones, your wives, and the alien who is within your camps, from the one who chops your wood to the one who draws your water, that you may enter into the covenant with the LORD your God, and into His oath which the LORD your God is making with you today, in order that He may establish you today as His people and that He may be your God, just as He spoke to you and as He swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Now not with you alone am I making this covenant and this oath, but both with those who stand here with us today in the presence of the LORD our God and with those who are not with us here today (for you know how we lived in the land of Egypt, and how we came through the midst of the nations through which you passed; moreover, you have seen their abominations and their idols of wood, stone, silver, and gold, which they had with them); so that there will not be among you a man or woman, or family or tribe, whose heart turns away today from the LORD our God, to go and serve the gods of those nations; that there will not be among you a root bearing poisonous fruit and wormwood. It shall be when he hears the words of this curse, that he will boast, saying, ‘I have peace though I walk in the stubbornness of my heart in order to destroy the watered land with the dry.’ The LORD shall never be willing to forgive him, but rather the anger of the LORD and His jealousy will burn against that man, and every curse which is written in this book will rest on him, and the LORD will blot out his name from under heaven. Then the LORD will single him out for adversity from all the tribes of Israel, according to all the curses of the covenant which are written in this book of the law. Now the generation to come, your sons who rise up after you and the foreigner who comes from a distant land, when they see the plagues of the land and the diseases with which the LORD has afflicted it, will say, ‘All its land is brimstone and salt, a burning waste, unsown and unproductive, and no grass grows in it, like the overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah, Admah and Zeboiim, which the LORD overthrew in His anger and in His wrath.’ All the nations will say, ‘Why has the LORD done thus to this land? Why this great outburst of anger?’ Then men will say, ‘Because they forsook the covenant of the LORD, the God of their fathers, which He made with them when He brought them out of the land of Egypt. They went and served other gods and worshiped them, gods whom they have not known and whom He had not allotted to them. Therefore, the anger of the LORD burned against that land, to bring upon it every curse which is written in this book; and the LORD uprooted them from their land in anger and in fury and in great wrath, and cast them into another land, as it is this day’” (Deuteronomy 29:10-28).

After reminding Israel of the way that the Lord has dealt with vile sin in the past, in places like Sodom and Gomorrah, and with the relatively recent experiential knowledge of observing the judgment on Egypt—His followers are told without reservation that He will conceal His ultimate plans for His Creation, from those determined to thwart them, by only revealing them to His beloved children, in order that they might willfully obey His Word:

The secret things [ha’nistarot] belong to the LORD our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our sons forever, that we may observe all the words of this law” (Deuteronomy 29:29).

This is a critical verse in the Torah, which makes it imperative for all of God’s people to constantly seek His face—through fervent prayer, meditation, and study of His revealed Word. The caveat, that true seekers adhere to the words of His Instruction, is a clear indication that the blessings of revelation will occur through obedience, and by His determination on when the secret things are to be discovered. For as would be noted centuries later by the Prophet Amos, “surely the Lord GOD does nothing unless He reveals His secret counsel to His servants the prophets” (Amos 3:7). So with this truth in mind, considering that the atoning work of Yeshua the Messiah, in order to atone for the sin of humanity, included many of the most well guarded secrets—it is most beneficial to note the confirmation found in the words of the Prophets, which inform us, albeit somewhat vaguely, what the Father intended via the arrival of His Son.

(Two Hebrew terms to be aware of, which I have noted for you in some of the passages following, are the verb satar and the related noun seter. These widely regard things which are concealed or hidden.)[1]

Starting with righteous Job, who questioned the Lord incessantly by attempting to understand why he had to endure such troubles, one can understand that the Almighty has a plan. Yet, it is often up to each of us to search it out individually, and through collaborative efforts, collectively uphold His Word:

“Behold, my eye has seen all this, my ear has heard and understood it. What you know I also know; I am not inferior to you. But I would speak to the Almighty, and I desire to argue with God. But you smear with lies; you are all worthless physicians. O that you would be completely silent, and that it would become your wisdom! Please hear my argument and listen to the contentions of my lips. Will you speak what is unjust for God, And speak what is deceitful for Him? Will you show partiality for Him? Will you contend for God? Will it be well when He examines you? Or will you deceive Him as one deceives a man? He will surely reprove you If you secretly show partiality [im-b’seter panim]. Will not His majesty terrify you, and the dread of Him fall on you? Your memorable sayings are proverbs of ashes, your defenses are defenses of clay. Be silent before me so that I may speak; then let come on me what may. Why should I take my flesh in my teeth and put my life in my hands? Though He slay me, I will hope in Him. Nevertheless I will argue my ways before Him. This also will be my salvation, for a godless man may not come before His presence. Listen carefully to my speech, and let my declaration fill your ears. Behold now, I have prepared my case; I know that I will be vindicated. Who will contend with me? For then I would be silent and die. Only two things do not do to me, then I will not hide from Your face [az m’panekha lo esater]: Remove Your hand from me, and let not the dread of You terrify me. Then call, and I will answer; or let me speak, then reply to me. How many are my iniquities and sins? Make known to me my rebellion and my sin. Why do You hide Your face [l’mah-panekha tas’tir] and consider me Your enemy? Will You cause a driven leaf to tremble? Or will You pursue the dry chaff? For You write bitter things against me and make me to inherit the iniquities of my youth. You put my feet in the stocks and watch all my paths; you set a limit for the soles of my feet, while I am decaying like a rotten thing, like a garment that is moth-eaten” (Job 13:1-28).

In this passage, one reads the heart of Job, who was desperately seeking answers to many questions posed to the Almighty. But in this text one finds the awesome statement that even if the Father does not directly reveal His will for Job and slay him then (and by extension, various of His followers), Job would continue to hope in Him regardless of the trials of life. Consequently, despite his pleas for revelation, Job ultimately came to the conclusion that the fear of the Lord is wisdom, and to depart from evil is understanding:

“Where then does wisdom come from? And where is the place of understanding? Thus it is hidden from the eyes of all living and concealed from the birds of the sky [u’meof ha’shamayim nistarah]. Abaddon and Death say, ‘With our ears we have heard a report of it.’ God understands its way, and He knows its place. For He looks to the ends of the earth and sees everything under the heavens. When He imparted weight to the wind and meted out the waters by measure, when He set a limit for the rain and a course for the thunderbolt, then He saw it and declared it; He established it and also searched it out. And to man He said, ‘Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding’” (Job 28:20-28).

Additionally, in reviewing other places in the Hebrew Tanakh where the terms satar  and seter are found, one discovers that King David was also intimately aware of the fact that the Holy One conceals His secrets from humanity. His Psalms are replete with acknowledgement of this truth, as even the person noted for being one after God’s own heart (1 Samuel 13:14), struggled with discovering the will of the Almighty:

“For the choir director. A Psalm of David. How long, O LORD? Will You forget me forever? How long will You hide Your face from me [tas’tir et-panekha m’meni]? How long shall I take counsel in my soul, Having sorrow in my heart all the day? How long will my enemy be exalted over me? Consider and answer me, O LORD my God; enlighten my eyes, or I will sleep the sleep of death, and my enemy will say, ‘I have overcome him,’ and my adversaries will rejoice when I am shaken. But I have trusted in Your lovingkindness; My heart shall rejoice in Your salvation. I will sing to the LORD, because He has dealt bountifully with me” (Psalm 13:1-6).

“A Psalm of David. The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the defense of my life; whom shall I dread? When evildoers came upon me to devour my flesh, my adversaries and my enemies, they stumbled and fell. Though a host encamp against me, my heart will not fear; though war arise against me, in spite of this I shall be confident. One thing I have asked from the LORD, that I shall seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD and to meditate in His temple. For in the day of trouble He will conceal me in His tabernacle; in the secret place of His tent He will hide me [yastireini b’seter ahalo]; He will lift me up on a rock. And now my head will be lifted up above my enemies around me, and I will offer in His tent sacrifices with shouts of joy; I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the LORD. Hear, O LORD, when I cry with my voice, and be gracious to me and answer me. When You said, ‘Seek My face,’ my heart said to You, ‘Your face, O LORD, I shall seek.’ Do not hide Your face from me [al-tas’teir panekha], do not turn Your servant away in anger; You have been my help; do not abandon me nor forsake me, O God of my salvation! For my father and my mother have forsaken me, but the LORD will take me up. Teach me Your way, O LORD, and lead me in a level path because of my foes. Do not deliver me over to the desire of my adversaries, for false witnesses have risen against me, and such as breathe out violence. I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait for the LORD; be strong and let your heart take courage; yes, wait for the LORD” (Psalm 27:1-14).

Despite the pleadings of David, one should readily understand that David sought the face of the Lord with all his heart, understanding that his deliverance from his enemies, and even salvation despite his own personal sin—was found only in the providential will of his loving Father, the Creator God. Of course, David’s example is a wonderful illustration for all Believers wrestling with God for more complete explanations about the various trials of life.

Of course, the Prophets of Israel like Isaiah, were also very aware of the Lord’s strategy to conceal His plans from those seeking to harm His people, despite overtly giving His Word to them, if they would just seek His face and ask Him for understanding. In this prophecy about Cyrus, Isaiah explained some actions and the awesome creative magnificence of the Holy One, and why for the sake of His servant Jacob, He desired to bless His people if they would simply comply with His Word:

“Thus says the LORD to Cyrus His anointed, whom I have taken by the right hand, you subdue nations before him and to loose the loins of kings; to open doors before him so that gates will not be shut: I will go before you and make the rough places smooth; I will shatter the doors of bronze and cut through their iron bars. I will give you the treasures of darkness and hidden wealth of secret places, so that you may know that it is I, the LORD, the God of Israel, who calls you by your name. For the sake of Jacob My servant, and Israel My chosen one, I have also called you by your name; I have given you a title of honor though you have not known Me. I am the LORD, and there is no other; Besides Me there is no God. I will gird you, though you have not known Me; that men may know from the rising to the setting of the sun that there is no one besides Me. I am the LORD, and there is no other, the One forming light and creating darkness, causing well-being and creating calamity; I am the LORD who does all these. Drip down, O heavens, from above, and let the clouds pour down righteousness; Let the earth open up and salvation bear fruit, and righteousness spring up with it. I, the LORD, have created it. Woe to the one who quarrels with his Maker—an earthenware vessel among the vessels of earth! Will the clay say to the potter, ‘What are you doing?’ Or the thing you are making say, ‘He has no hands’? Woe to him who says to a father, ‘What are you begetting?’ Or to a woman, ‘To what are you giving birth?’ Thus says the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, and his Maker: ‘Ask Me about the things to come concerning My sons, and you shall commit to Me the work of My hands. It is I who made the earth, and created man upon it. I stretched out the heavens with My hands and I ordained all their host. I have aroused him in righteousness and I will make all his ways smooth; He will build My city and will let My exiles go free, without any payment or reward,’ says the LORD of hosts. Thus says the LORD, ‘The products of Egypt and the merchandise of Cush and the Sabeans, men of stature, will come over to you and will be yours; they will walk behind you, they will come over in chains and will bow down to you; they will make supplication to you: ‘Surely, God is with you, and there is none else, no other God. Truly, You are a God who hides Himself [akein atah El mistateir Elohei], O God of Israel, Savior! They will be put to shame and even humiliated, all of them; the manufacturers of idols will go away together in humiliation. Israel has been saved by the LORD with an everlasting salvation; You will not be put to shame or humiliated to all eternity. For thus says the LORD, who created the heavens (He is the God who formed the earth and made it, He established it and did not create it a waste place, but formed it to be inhabited), I am the LORD, and there is none else. I have not spoken in secret [lo b’seter dibarti], in some dark land; I did not say to the offspring of Jacob, “Seek Me in a waste place”; I, the LORD, speak righteousness, declaring things that are upright’” (Isaiah 45:15-19).

In Isaiah’s prophecy about Ariel, pointing out that the Lord will hide or conceal His plans from His people, primarily because of their propensity to speak about Him with their lips while their hearts are far removed—Isaiah’s admonishment needs to be taken to heart:

“Woe, O Ariel, Ariel the city where David once camped! Add year to year, observe your feasts on schedule. I will bring distress to Ariel, and she will be a city of lamenting and mourning; and she will be like an Ariel to me. I will camp against you encircling you, and I will set siegeworks against you, and I will raise up battle towers against you. Then you will be brought low; from the earth you will speak, and from the dust where you are prostrate Your words will come. Your voice will also be like that of a spirit from the ground, and your speech will whisper from the dust. But the multitude of your enemies will become like fine dust, and the multitude of the ruthless ones like the chaff which blows away; and it will happen instantly, suddenly. From the LORD of hosts you will be punished with thunder and earthquake and loud noise, with whirlwind and tempest and the flame of a consuming fire. And the multitude of all the nations who wage war against Ariel, even all who wage war against her and her stronghold, and who distress her, will be like a dream, a vision of the night. It will be as when a hungry man dreams—and behold, he is eating; but when he awakens, his hunger is not satisfied, or as when a thirsty man dreams—and behold, he is drinking, but when he awakens, behold, he is faint and his thirst is not quenched. Thus the multitude of all the nations will be who wage war against Mount Zion. Be delayed and wait, blind yourselves and be blind; they become drunk, but not with wine, they stagger, but not with strong drink. For the Lord has poured over you a spirit of deep sleep, He has shut your eyes, the prophets; and He has covered your heads, the seers. The entire vision will be to you like the words of a sealed book, which when they give it to the one who is literate, saying, ‘Please read this,’ he will say, ‘I cannot, for it is sealed.’ Then the book will be given to the one who is illiterate, saying, ‘Please read this.’ And he will say, ‘I cannot read.’ Then the Lord said, ‘Because this people draw near with their words and honor Me with their lip service, but they remove their hearts far from Me, and their reverence for Me consists of tradition learned by rote, therefore behold, I will once again deal marvelously with this people, wondrously marvelous; and the wisdom of their wise men will perish, and the discernment of their discerning men will be concealed [tastatar]. Woe to those who deeply hide their plans from the LORD [m’ADONAI l’setir etzah], and whose deeds are done in a dark place, and they say, “Who sees us?” or “Who knows us?” You turn things around! Shall the potter be considered as equal with the clay, that what is made would say to its maker, ‘He did not make me’; or what is formed say to him who formed it, ‘He has no understanding’? Is it not yet just a little while before Lebanon will be turned into a fertile field, and the fertile field will be considered as a forest? On that day the deaf will hear words of a book, and out of their gloom and darkness the eyes of the blind will see. The afflicted also will increase their gladness in the LORD, and the needy of mankind will rejoice in the Holy One of Israel. For the ruthless will come to an end and the scorner will be finished, indeed all who are intent on doing evil will be cut off; Who cause a person to be indicted by a word, and ensnare him who adjudicates at the gate, and defraud the one in the right with meaningless arguments. Therefore thus says the LORD, who redeemed Abraham, concerning the house of Jacob: ‘Jacob shall not now be ashamed, nor shall his face now turn pale; But when he sees his children, the work of My hands, in his midst, they will sanctify My name; indeed, they will sanctify the Holy One of Jacob and will stand in awe of the God of Israel. Those who err in mind will know the truth, and those who criticize will accept instruction’” (Isaiah 29:1-24).

Additional references to the Holy One concealing His Word are found in Isaiah 54:8-17; 59:1-4; 64:1-12; and Jeremiah 23:20-40. But without belaboring the subject, one should assuredly understand the principle that the Lord often hides His plans for His unique purposes. With great confidence, we should each seek His face, to discover His will through a diligent study of His Word.

As our Torah portion continues, the following passage about the scattering of Israel to the ends of the Earth, the complete restoration that is assuredly to come, should be better understood and recognized as a part of the perfect will and plan of the Holy One:

“So it shall be when all of these things have come upon you, the blessing and the curse which I have set before you, and you call them to mind in all nations where the LORD your God has banished you, and you return to the LORD your God and obey Him with all your heart and soul according to all that I command you today, you and your sons, then the LORD your God will restore you from captivity, and have compassion on you, and will gather you again from all the peoples where the LORD your God has scattered you. If your outcasts are at the ends of the earth, from there the LORD your God will gather you, and from there He will bring you back. The LORD your God will bring you into the land which your fathers possessed, and you shall possess it; and He will prosper you and multiply you more than your fathers. Moreover the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, so that you may live. The LORD your God will inflict all these curses on your enemies and on those who hate you, who persecuted you. And you shall again obey the LORD, and observe all His commandments which I command you today” (Deuteronomy 30:1-8).

There is no doubt that the Lord will follow His Word. Consequently, due to the lack of obedience by Israel, He has been required to banish Israel to the nations. Yet, there is every confidence that He will fully restore Israel to its homeland, and that compliance with His commandments will become commonplace among the people. This is a wonderful prophecy, which ties in directly to words spoken centuries later, when inspired by the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, the Apostle Peter made this declaration:

“But when Peter saw this, he replied to the people, ‘Men of Israel, why are you amazed at this, or why do you gaze at us, as if by our own power or piety we had made him walk? The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified His servant Yeshua, the one whom you delivered and disowned in the presence of Pilate, when he had decided to release Him. But you disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, but put to death the Prince of life, the one whom God raised from the dead, a fact to which we are witnesses. And on the basis of faith in His name, it is the name of Yeshua which has strengthened this man whom you see and know; and the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect health in the presence of you all. And now, brethren, I know that you acted in ignorance, just as your rulers did also. But the things which God announced beforehand by the mouth of all the prophets, that His Messiah would suffer, He has thus fulfilled. Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord; and that He may send Yeshua, the Messiah appointed for you, whom heaven must receive until the period of restoration of all things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient time’” (Acts 3:12-21).

Peter had been inspirationally revealed some of the secrets hidden from Creation, but he understood most crucially that what all of the Prophets had been declaring down through the centuries—had reached its climax in the death, burial, resurrection, and ascension of Yeshua the Messiah. All that still remained was the final culmination, or what he termed the restoration of all things.

Currently, we are all fervently anxiously awaiting the fulfillment of Peter’s word, which ties together so many prophecies and expectations from Genesis to Malachi and into the Apostles’ own writings. Via the emergence of the modern Messianic movement, we are doubtlessly participating in many of these things right now! The sobering challenge today is the reality that, despite a rapidly growing number of Messiah followers being aware that such a restoration process is currently taking shape, many are not fixing their eyes upon Yeshua (Hebrews 12:2). Instead, many (presumed) “Messianic Believers” have been entrapped by fleshly, and likely also, demonically-contrived, peripheral and superficial issues. These are distractions which I believe are allowed by the Lord to test every heart. However, the fact that a growing number of Jewish and non-Jewish Believers are coming together, and are finally reading and studying God’s Torah, and discovering exactly what His “rules of engagement” are for conducting the Spiritual warfare that is raging—there is great hope that in the Father’s perfect timing, His will for the complete restoration of His Kingdom and people will be fulfilled!

Still, there is the constant reminder—as will be considered in the coming weeks of Torah study when Moses delivered some of his summary remarks, prophesying over the Ancient Israelites—that there was and tends to be a predilection for followers of the Messiah, to take their eyes off of the Rock of Salvation. This sadly can often result in the Father hiding His face from many of His own:

“You neglected the Rock who begot you, and forgot the God who gave you birth. The LORD saw this, and spurned them because of the provocation of His sons and daughters. Then He said, ‘I will hide My face from them [astirah panei m’hem], I will see what their end shall be; for they are a perverse generation, sons in whom is no faithfulness. They have made Me jealous with what is not God; they have provoked Me to anger with their idols. So I will make them jealous with those who are not a people; I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation, for a fire is kindled in My anger, and burns to the lowest part of Sheol, and consumes the earth with its yield, and sets on fire the foundations of the mountains. I will heap misfortunes on them; I will use My arrows on them. They will be wasted by famine, and consumed by plague and bitter destruction; and the teeth of beasts I will send upon them, with the venom of crawling things of the dust. Outside the sword will bereave, and inside terror—both young man and virgin, the nursling with the man of gray hair. I would have said, ‘I will cut them to pieces, I will remove the memory of them from men,’ had I not feared the provocation by the enemy, that their adversaries would misjudge, that they would say, ‘Our hand is triumphant, and the LORD has not done all this.’ For they are a nation lacking in counsel, and there is no understanding in them. Would that they were wise, that they understood this, that they would discern their future! How could one chase a thousand, and two put ten thousand to flight, unless their Rock had sold them, and the LORD had given them up? Indeed their rock is not like our Rock, even our enemies themselves judge this’” (Deuteronomy 32:18-31).

The stark comparison of those who neglect the Rock—versus those who seek counsel, wisdom, and understanding—should be a great reminder to those of us today who desire to know the secret things of God and what He is allowing to be done at this point in His timeline for the Creation. The Prophet Ezekiel gave some hope, that in spite of the difficulties that befell Ancient Israel and their exile, that their fortunes would be restored to them—in spite of God having hidden His face:

“‘And I will set My glory among the nations; and all the nations will see My judgment which I have executed and My hand which I have laid on them. And the house of Israel will know that I am the LORD their God from that day onward. The nations will know that the house of Israel went into exile for their iniquity because they acted treacherously against Me, and I hid My face from them [v’astir panei m’hem]; so I gave them into the hand of their adversaries, and all of them fell by the sword. According to their uncleanness and according to their transgressions I dealt with them, and I hid My face from them [v’astir panei m’hem].’ Therefore thus says the Lord GOD, ‘Now I will restore the fortunes of Jacob and have mercy on the whole house of Israel; and I will be jealous for My holy name. They will forget their disgrace and all their treachery which they perpetrated against Me, when they live securely on their own land with no one to make them afraid. When I bring them back from the peoples and gather them from the lands of their enemies, then I shall be sanctified through them in the sight of the many nations. Then they will know that I am the LORD their God because I made them go into exile among the nations, and then gathered them again to their own land; and I will leave none of them there any longer. I will not hide My face from them any longer [v’lo-astir od panei m’hem], for I will have poured out My Spirit on the house of Israel,’ declares the Lord GOD” (Ezekiel 39:21-29).

Our Torah portion notably concludes with the statement that the commandments of the Lord are not too difficult for His people to follow. With Heaven and Earth as His two witnesses, it is incumbent upon the children of God to choose life, by obeying His voice and holding fast to Him for salvation:

“Then the LORD your God will prosper you abundantly in all the work of your hand, in the offspring of your body and in the offspring of your cattle and in the produce of your ground, for the LORD will again rejoice over you for good, just as He rejoiced over your fathers; if you obey the LORD your God to keep His commandments and His statutes which are written in this book of the law, if you turn to the LORD your God with all your heart and soul. For this commandment which I command you today is not too difficult for you, nor is it out of reach. It is not in heaven, that you should say, ‘Who will go up to heaven for us to get it for us and make us hear it, that we may observe it?’ Nor is it beyond the sea, that you should say, ‘Who will cross the sea for us to get it for us and make us hear it, that we may observe it?’ But the word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may observe it. ‘See, I have set before you today life and prosperity, and death and adversity; in that I command you today to love the LORD your God, to walk in His ways and to keep His commandments and His statutes and His judgments, that you may live and multiply, and that the LORD your God may bless you in the land where you are entering to possess it. But if your heart turns away and you will not obey, but are drawn away and worship other gods and serve them, I declare to you today that you shall surely perish. You will not prolong your days in the land where you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess it. I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants, by loving the LORD your God, by obeying His voice, and by holding fast to Him; for this is your life and the length of your days, that you may live in the land which the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them” (Deuteronomy 30:9-20).

God has steadily revealed His secret plans for His people down through the generations, certainly through His Prophets—and with the ultimate revelation coming through the atoning work of Yeshua the Messiah. We see in the Gospels how the Messiah came, reminding His listeners that the hidden things were not for the worldly wise or intelligent, but rather for the infants in faith who desired to know the will of the Heavenly Father:

“The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Behold, a gluttonous man and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds. Then He began to denounce the cities in which most of His miracles were done, because they did not repent. ‘Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles had occurred in Tyre and Sidon which occurred in you, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. Nevertheless I say to you, it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment than for you. And you, Capernaum, will not be exalted to heaven, will you? You will descend to Hades; for if the miracles had occurred in Sodom which occurred in you, it would have remained to this day. Nevertheless I say to you that it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for you.’ At that time Yeshua said, ‘I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and have revealed them to infants. Yes, Father, for this way was well-pleasing in Your sight. All things have been handed over to Me by My Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father; nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him. Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS [Jeremiah 6:16]. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light’” (Matthew 11:19-30).

This is why it was written of the Messiah in Psalm 78, that He would come and speak in clever parabolic statements—which are not understood by the carnal mind, but intelligibly revealed through the work of the Holy Spirit of God (John 14:16):

“All these things Yeshua spoke to the crowds in parables, and He did not speak to them without a parable. This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet: ‘I WILL OPEN MY MOUTH IN PARABLES; I WILL UTTER THINGS HIDDEN SINCE THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD [Psalm 78:2].’ Then He left the crowds and went into the house. And His disciples came to Him and said, ‘Explain to us the parable of the tares of the field.’ And He said, ‘The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man, and the field is the world; and as for the good seed, these are the sons of the kingdom; and the tares are the sons of the evil one; and the enemy who sowed them is the devil, and the harvest is the end of the age; and the reapers are angels. So just as the tares are gathered up and burned with fire, so shall it be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send forth His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all stumbling blocks, and those who commit lawlessness,  and will throw them into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then THE RIGHTEOUS WILL SHINE FORTH AS THE SUN [Daniel 12:3] in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear. The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid again; and from joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls, and upon finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet cast into the sea, and gathering fish of every kind; and when it was filled, they drew it up on the beach; and they sat down and gathered the good fish into containers, but the bad they threw away. So it will be at the end of the age; the angels will come forth and take out the wicked from among the righteous, and will throw them into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Have you understood all these things?’ They said to Him, ‘Yes.’ And Yeshua said to them, ‘Therefore every scribe who has become a disciple of the kingdom of heaven is like a head of a household, who brings out of his treasure things new and old’” (Matthew 13:34-52).

In the above passage, Yeshua issued a number of examples about the Kingdom of Heaven, which are only understood by those chosen to understand what He communicated. Such people would be the true seekers of the Holy One, who like children, yearned to know what the Good Teacher describes.

Let us close this overview on the “secret things” of the Lord, described in Nitzavim, with another key teaching from the Gospels. In Luke 13, Yeshua described some related metaphors about the Kingdom of God, with some very sobering comments about those who do not understand what He declared—which should be seriously taken to heart by everyone contemplating his or her relationship with the Holy One of Israel:

“As He said this, all His opponents were being humiliated; and the entire crowd was rejoicing over all the glorious things being done by Him. So He was saying, ‘What is the kingdom of God like, and to what shall I compare it? It is like a mustard seed, which a man took and threw into his own garden; and it grew and became a tree, and THE BIRDS OF THE AIR NESTED IN ITS BRANCHES [Daniel 4:12, 21; Ezekiel 17:23; 31:6].’ And again He said, ‘To what shall I compare the kingdom of God? It is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three pecks of flour until it was all leavened.’ And He was passing through from one city and village to another, teaching, and proceeding on His way to Jerusalem. And someone said to Him, ‘Lord, are there just a few who are being saved?’ And He said to them, ‘Strive to enter through the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able. Once the head of the house gets up and shuts the door, and you begin to stand outside and knock on the door, saying, “Lord, open up to us!” then He will answer and say to you, ‘I do not know where you are from.’ Then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in Your presence, and You taught in our streets’; and He will say, ‘I tell you, I do not know where you are from; DEPART FROM ME, ALL YOU EVILDOERS [Psalm 6:8].’ In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but yourselves being thrown out. And they will come from east and west and from north and south, and will recline at the table in the kingdom of God. And behold, some are last who will be first and some are first who will be last.’ Just at that time some Pharisees approached, saying to Him, ‘Go away, leave here, for Herod wants to kill You.’ And He said to them, ‘Go and tell that fox, “Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I reach My goal.” Nevertheless I must journey on today and tomorrow and the next day; for it cannot be that a prophet would perish outside of Jerusalem. O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, just as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not have it! Behold, your house is left to you desolate; and I say to you, you will not see Me until the time comes when you say, ‘BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD [1 Kings 9:7-8; Jeremiah 12:7; 22:5]!’” (Luke 13:17-35).

May we all discover more and more about the God we serve, seeking His salvation, understanding that He has a plan that is being executed to perfection. May we each be hoping and praying that He will continue to reveal His light and plans to us, so that we can be among the multitude which proclaims, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!” May each of us, individually and corporately, continue to advance His Kingdom, until the restoration of all things…

NOTES

[1] Cf. R.D. Patterson, “satar,” in TWOT, 2:636.


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