This week’s Parashat, Re’eh covers a variety of areas where we can honor Adonai. It starts out by telling Beni Yisrael to “See” that there is a decision set before them, a blessing and a curse. Adonai has given us all eyes to see, and a responsibility to choose either to trust His way and receive a blessing or choose another way and reap a curse. In chapter 12 we are told that we must not worship Adonai, in the manner that the pagans worship their gods. Yeshua mentioned this in (Matthew 6:1-24) where he talks of not allowing our good deeds to be seen by others, and not praying repetitious and redundant prayers. He also tells us to store up treasure in heaven. I would rather be well known in heaven than to be famous on earth! The Parashat then goes on to talk of honoring Adonai with what we eat, honoring him with our money and how we treat those who owe us, and then honoring Adonai with our time. In the middle of these topics, we see a passage that is repeated many times throughout the writing of the Apostles.

[Read Deut. 13:1-6]

Firstly there is nothing wrong with dreams, visions signs and wonders. These things, in themselves, are inert, we need to find out the context for all of them to know if they are from Adonai. The prophet Joel said that all of these things would be a sign of the Ruach HaKodesh, but here we have an example of the signs and wonders being used to entice people away from Adonai. The key for us to see is what follows. Does the person doing the wonder point people to Adonai, or do they say, “’Let’s follow other gods’ – that you have not known and ‘Let’s serve them’” [1] We see in this passage and the following chapter that the purpose of these false prophets is their own personal gain, and not in seeing people come to repentance.

Yeshua stated that this would become a common occurrence in the last days. [Matt. 24:3-14] We see that there are several markers of these individuals from this passage. 1)They will go around and self-proclaim, “I am the anointed one.” And 2) they will attempt to lead many astray. The apostle Sha’ul mentions in one of his last letters he ever wrote to Timothy. [2 Tim. 3:1-7] From these passages we see that these people can be deceptive, externally holding to a form of godliness, but most of the items listed are all internal characteristics. How then are we to be able to judge righteously and determine if someone has this internal falseness?

Well Yeshua is very gracious to us and tells us exactly what we must do. [Matt. 7:15-23] I will note that this chapter starts out with one of the most misquoted scriptures in the Bible. “Don’t judge me!” The reality of this passage is that when this Scripture is quoted it is almost always as an attempt to condone sin, which is the exact opposite of what this passage refers to. Yeshua is telling us not to judge hypocritically, but rather deal with the sin in our own lives first, so that we can judge righteously the sins in others.

Yeshua goes on to tell us to watch out for false prophets, who look great externally, but internally they are deceiving. “From a distance the little blackberries on the buckthorn could be mistaken for grapes, and the flowers on certain thistles might deceive one into thinking figs were growing. But no one would be long deceived. So with people!”[2] But how are we supposed to do this? Well, Yeshua goes on to tell us. We are required to look at the fruit of people’s lives. From one point of view, we are supposed to say, “Squeeze me, and see if the flavour of my life matches what the Scripture says it should.” When we are squeezed, does “Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness and faithfulness” (Gal. 5:22) flow out? This is exactly what Yeshua says, “Every good tree produces good fruit, but the rotten tree produces bad fruit.” The great news for us as believers, is that the Ruach is the gardener mentioned in (Luke 13:7-9) who will work on us to produce this fruit. It is the “fruit of the Ruach” after all isn’t it?

Now Yeshua warns that there will be many who did mighty works externally, but did not know Him at all. Peter tells us in his letter (2 Peter 2:1-3) that the fruit of the false prophets that he saw was immorality and greed. John warned that the fruit he saw was manifest by denying that Yeshua came in the flesh (1 John 4:1-6) So what is the fruit of people’s lives in our day? (1 Cor. 6:9-20) Are any of these unrighteous behaviours in our world today? Might I suggest that times have not changed that much? Of course it is easier to point the finger at others, and then forget what Yeshua warned against. The warning for us is this: Do we know Yeshua? Does the fruit of the Ruach show in our lives?

[1] Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture references are taken from the Tree Of Life Version (TLV), 2014.

[2] Carson, D., The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Rev. Ed., Vol 9, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, 2010. Pg. 227.