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Weekly Drash - Ki Tetze
Compliments of First Fruits of Zion
Parasha: Ki Tetze
Accursed of God
Ki Tetze – כי תצא : “When you go”
Thought for the Week:
Rabbi Meir said, “There is a parable about this matter. To what can it be compared? It can be compared to two identical twin brothers. Both lived in a certain city. One was appointed king, and the other became a bandit. At the king's command they hanged the bandit. But everyone who saw him hanging there said, “The king has been hung!” Therefore the king issued a command and he was taken down. (b.Sanhedrin 46b)
But you shall surely bury him on the same day (for he who is hanged is accursed of God), so that you do not defile your land which the LORD your God gives you as an inheritance. (Deuteronomy 21:22–23)
Opponents of the early believers probably pointed to this Deuteronomy passage to prove that Yeshua could not be the Messiah, just as anti-missionaries do today. They probably said, “You see, He could not be Messiah because He was hung on a tree, and everyone hung on a tree is accursed of God. Surely the real Messiah is not accursed of God.”
In Galatians 3, however, Paul cites Deuteronomy 21:22–23 and applies it to the death of Messiah, using it as proof of the redemption granted to believers through Messiah:
Messiah redeemed us from the curse of the Torah, having become a curse for us—for it is written [in Deuteronomy 21:23], “cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”—in order that in the Messiah Yeshua the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we would receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. (Galatians 3:13–14)
According to Paul, the curse of the Torah is condemnation in the eternal court of judgment. Paul points out that “the Torah brings about wrath.” (Romans 4:15) It does so because it defines sin. He says, “The Torah came in so that the transgression would increase” (Romans 5:20). In other words, one of the functions of the Torah is that man might be made more aware of his sin and separation from God. Because the Torah defines sin and condemns sin, Paul refers to one role of the Torah as “the ministry of condemnation” (2 Corinthians 3:9). When Paul speaks of the “curse of the Torah” in Galatians 3:13, he is referring to the Torah’s condemnation of sin.
But when Messiah came, He accomplished what the Torah could not accomplish:
For what the Torah could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, so that the requirement of the Torah might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. (Romans 8:3–4)
Paul reasons that since Messiah was completely righteous, He had not earned the condemnation (curse) of the Torah. Yet He was hung on a tree, nonetheless, and the Torah clearly says that he who is hanged is accursed of God. If Yeshua was accursed of God, and yet had not earned that curse through His own transgressions, from where had He acquired the curse of being hung on a tree? The answer is that He took the Torah’s condemnation of our sin upon Himself in our stead. Therefore, “Messiah redeemed us from the curse of the Torah, having become a curse for us” (Galatians 3:13).
Shavuah Tov! Have a Good Week!
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