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News Letter 5846-038
21st day of the 8th month 5846 years after creation
The 8th Month in the first year of the third Sabbatical Year
The Third Sabbatical Year of the 119th Jubilee Cycle
October 23, 2010

Shabbat Shalom Family,

I have another letter from a Sister who kept Sukkot with us in Jerusalem which I can now share;

Shalom Joe,
Safely home in the Canadian rockies and very much enjoying the cooler weather - and rain today !!

Thanks so much for a truly great feast, without a doubt the most meaningful one I have attended in my 30 odd years since Yahweh opened my eyes to his sabbath and holy days. I feel like I am a different person now and don’t know how to put it into words………my Bible seems much more of a companion, seems so real and all the places in it…..being able to put the mentioned places to a geographical location and have a picture in my mind makes it so much more interesting and I am actually finding it hard to put down. Seems bible study has gone from a “habit” to an enjoyable pastime. It is fun and I sure do pray that it lasts.

Above all, my creator and saviour seem so absolutely real now too, seeing His beloved city, seeing where Yashua lived and died, how everything is all intertwined into His truly wonderful, incredible plan for mankind - how else can one feel but with so much more awe and wonder and desire to learn his ways that one ever has? It truly was the most infinitely precious blessing to have experienced this Feast with such a wonderful and genuine group of people, the tours, the amazing eye opening messages that make one want to study and learn more of our Father’s ways. I feel strongly that I want to go back to Jerusalem for the Feast again and again.

You asked for us to relate special moments. There were many! Joe’s tour and teachings of the truth about the temple site, where Yahua really did die were incredible - and doesn’t it makes so much sense that our clever Father would preserve those places from the trashes of man-made religions! I especially enjoyed going to Shiloh and seeing the site of the first tabernacle all natural and undestroyed with monuments etc - listening to David Rubin, and having read his book since I returned has given me the understanding I needed on what God’s people are doing to claim their birthright and all the sacrifices and unshakeable faith involved. That has been especially moving for me and given me an answer to a tithing dilemma.

Thought I would add an afternote……..as many of you know, Rob, Teresa the two little ones and I travelled around Israel for 2 weeks before the Feast. I have felt the stirrings of making Aliyah for about a year now. I do not know when this will happen but I am convinced that one day in the near future I will be doing so. I grew up in dry, arid South Australia on a sheep farm, experiencing excessive heat, many droughts and water shortage and I determined at a very young age that the Rockies in Canada was to be my destination. When I was 22 I did just that and have lived here happily ever since, enjoying the cooler, wetter climate and lush vegetation. So when I made it to Israel this year, and with the Aliyah factor in mind, I was sorely disappointed that my Creator was going to lead me back to an identical landscape and climate from which I originally came.

I mentioned this in my little talk the last night there and it seems that many may have taken it the wrong way when I said Israel was a disappointment for me. I just want to make sure those who might have done so understand where I was coming from and that it doesn’t at all mean I was disappointed in Israel per se! I love Israel and know it is where I belong. My Father will work it out for me that I can learn to appreciate a hot,dry climate and rocky ground again !!
Blessings to you Joe and all the wonderful brethren we shared the Feast with.
Barb Hemphill
British Columbia Canada

Indonesia hit by deadly tsunami, volcanic eruption
Oct 26, 9:35 PM (ET)

By SLAMET RIYADI

MOUNT MERAPI, Indonesia (AP) - A volcanic eruption and a tsunami killed scores of people hundreds of miles apart in Indonesia - spasms from the Pacific “Ring of Fire,” which spawns disasters from deep within the Earth.
Tuesday’s eruption of Mount Merapi killed at least 18 people, forced thousands to flee down its slopes and spewed burning ash and smoke high into the air on the island of Java.

Meanwhile, off the coast of Sumatra, about 800 miles (1,300 kilometers) west of the volcano, rescuers battled rough seas to reach Indonesia’s Mentawai islands, where a 10-foot tsunami triggered by an earthquake Monday night swept away hundreds of homes, killing at least 113 villagers, said Mujiharto of the Health Ministry’s crisis center. Up to 500 others are missing.
The twin disasters happened hours apart in one of the most seismically active regions on the planet.

Last weeks News Letter brought out some very strong accusations against what I was sharing. I will not at this time share those.

But I did receive one from one sister who wrote the following.

I’m glad you brought up the topic of bashing our leaders. Over the past year Yahweh has been showing me how it is He (Yah) who appoints our leaders and it doesn’t matter how much we fuss and complain about what they do it’s not gonna’ change His order of bringing us under His judgment for our sin. If we don’t like who’s in charge or what they order for our lives as leaders it’s a direct result of our own sin against our heavenly Father. All of these folks that are “angry” at the government are standing with a “bible” in one hand and a “gun” in the other while shouting their “allegiance” to the “flag” which represents the constitution of this “country”. (She is speaking of the USA) Where is their allegiance to the one they claim to trust in?… the one they pray to, to get them out of this mess? Hmm…well maybe Proverbs 28: 9 is right to say “He who turns away his ear from hearing the Torah, Even his prayer is an abomination.

He fashions the vessels of dishonor just as He fashions one of honor to work out His purposes. Pharoah can vouch for that.

People wonder how a loving “God” can allow such bad things to happen all the while ignoring and refusing to live their lives according to how He says He will bless it. Why does a father spank his child when he refuses to do as he is told? Because he loves him and he knows his instructions are for his good and he needs to learn that before it is too late and permanent damage is done. Our heavenly Father is doing the same thing with each of us but most of us are too busy trying to live our lives according to what makes “us” happy rather than learning what He says will bring us true abundance and eternal life.

The majority would rather have a quick fix of the “feel goods” now than to live that “set apart” life He has called us to. Halloween is a great example of showing that very thing. If we can’t let such obviously contrary things pass us by how in the heck do we think we will be able to withstand the testing and sifting that will come with the greatest tribulation that this world has ever seen?
Shalom
TL
USA

From a Sister in Indonesia about last week’s article comes this note; SHALOM Brother Joseph,,, Thank U very much for the best message of you, to me. I Promise to replay.
EN
Indonesia

We also have fixed the teaching of Nehemiah Gordon which we had only half recorded. We now have the entire message up at http://www.beamesderfer.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=190:sukkot-5846&catid=36:calendar&Itemid=79 which is also dealing with the subject of mixed seeds.

Last week I shared with you the false teaching of Halloween. I also showed you how the traditions of Purim were against Torah. I then went on to show you how the lighting of the Shabbat candles also was against the Torah as well as the praying for the dead and lighting candles for the dead.

It is the same way with the Jewish Christmas of Chanukah and all the false traditions of this Holy Day. Notice I said the traditions of Purim and the traditions of Chanukah. The story of Purim is a great story. The story of the Maccabees is a great and awesome story, but the traditions are what have polluted these teachings and in all of the holidays mentioned above and the lighting of candles all of them are against Torah. The mixing of seeds as we shared last week.

With the exception of the Maccabees, all of these subjects revolve around the dead and because of Halloween this weekend we are looking at these subjects last week and again other subject this week and again next week all of which have something to do with the worship of the dead.

Never ever forget the following passages from the Torah;

Proverbs 30:6 Do not add to His words, Lest He rebuke you, and you be found a liar.

Deuteronomy 4:2 You shall not add to the word which I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you.

Deuteronomy 12:32 Whatever I command you, be careful to observe it; you shall not add to it nor take away from it

And none of those holidays mentioned above can be found in Lev 23 where we are told what Holy Days we can and must keep.

And I do not care how sanctimonious you are in your religious practices, whether they are Jewish or Christian or any other, if you cannot find the day you are keeping Holy in Leviticus 23 then why on earth are you testing Yahovah with your worship towards Baal. Yes if it is not in Lev 23 then you are worshiping Baal and Satan by keeping any other days as Holy.

Many of you are quite fine with pointing out the sins and false worship of the Christians, but when someone like myself points out those things that Judah is doing that are not Kosher, then I am labelled an anti Semite and called all sorts of demonic names and cursed. Is Judah above the law? No she is not and so I will continue to point out those things that Judah does that are not found in the Torah. I will continue to do the same for those who are called Christian.

As far as some are concerned that I am causing division… it is those who will not obey Torah that are divisive. We will only have peace, which is what we all are to be praying for, when everyone is keeping the Torah and not their own religious traditions.

Peace only comes when everyone is keeping Torah. Peace has not and will not come from the Oral Law.

Having now said that, I want to go through Jeremiah 3 and hopefully help you to understand just how righteous Judah is in Yahovah’s eyes. In doing this I will be called anti-Semitic. But this is not what I am trying to do. I am showing you something.

Some people jump out of pagan Christianity and jump into Judaism without thinking. Judaism has traditions that are not found in Torah but are mixed in with it and claimed to be torah by the Talmud. And because Judah has done this she is spoken of as being worst than Israel by one of Judah’s most respected prophets and not by me. This again is the mixing of seed.

Those of us who are coming out of pagan Christian teachings are humbled by how far removed we have become from the Torah and from Yahovah. It is shocking to us to come to this realization. And as we do this we are humbled as we seek to draw near to Yahovah once again. But Judah believes they are already righteous, that we goy must draw near to them and do the Torah and the Oral Law as they say and as they do. Why? Because they are under the misconception that they have the right to add to or change the Torah because Judah sits in the seat of Moses and Judah was given the sceptre promise.

We, Israel, are told to return to Yahovah and to His Torah. We are not told to return to Judah and her ways. With this in mind let us read Jeremiah but first I want to look at the sceptre promise that many believe Judah has and therefore has the right to change the laws.

My thanks to Beau Bemesderfer and Marsh Dumlao for their valuable input into this subject.

We read in Gen 49:10 “The sceptre shall not turn aside from Yehuḏah, nor a Lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh comes, and to Him is the obedience of peoples.

Notice what this is saying. It is not saying that Judah is going to be the Law giver. It is saying that the sceptre shall not depart from Judah. But it says so much more if you would just think about it.

Let’s look at this verse a little more carefully.

The word Sceptre is 6780 tsemach tseh’-makh from 6779; a sprout (usually concrete), literal or figurative:–branch, bud, that which (where) grew (upon), spring(-ing). see HEBREW for 06779

6779 tsamach tsaw-makh’ a primitive root; to sprout (transitive or intransitive, literal or figurative):–bear, bring forth, (cause to, make to) bud (forth), (cause to, make to) grow (again, up), (cause to) spring (forth, up).

This Phrase The BRANCH is found in Isaiah 4 but read the whole chapter to see when this Branch is to be here.

1 And in that day seven women shall take hold of one man, saying, “We shall eat our own food and wear our own clothes; only let us be called by your name, to take away our reproach.” 2 In that day the Branch of יהוה shall be splendid and esteemed. And the fruit of the earth shall be excellent and comely for the escaped ones1 of Yisra’ĕl. Footnote: 1Joel 2:32, Obad. v. 17. 3 And it shall be that he who is left in Tsiyon and he who remains in Yerushalayim is called set-apart, everyone who is written among the living in Yerushalayim. 4 When יהוה has washed away the filth of the daughters of Tsiyon, and rinsed away the blood of Yerushalayim from her midst, by the spirit of judgment and by the spirit of burning, 5 then יהוה shall create above every dwelling place of Mount Tsiyon, and above her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day and the shining of a flaming fire by night, for over all the esteem shall be a covering, 6 and a booth for shade in the daytime from the heat, for a place of refuge, and for a shelter from storm and rain.

Isaiah also talks about The Branch in chapter 11 but in The Scriptures translation the word is Sprout. 1 And a Rod shall come forth from the stump of Yishai, and a Sprout from his roots shall bear fruit. 2 The Spirit of יהוה shall rest upon Him – the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of יהוה, 3 and shall make Him breathe in the fear of יהוה. And He shall not judge by the sight of His eyes, nor decide by the hearing of His ears. 4 But with righteousness He shall judge the poor, and shall decide with straightness for the meek ones of the earth, and shall smite the earth with the rod of His mouth, and slay the wrong with the breath of His lips. 5 And righteousness shall be the girdle of His loins, and trustworthiness the girdle of His waist.

When we look up the word Sprout which is also the BRANCH in Strongs we get;
5342 netser nay’-tser from 5341 in the sense of greenness as a striking color; a shoot; figuratively, a descendant:–branch. see HEBREW for 05341

5341 natsar naw-tsar’ a primitive root; to guard, in a good sense (to protect, maintain, obey, etc.) or a bad one (to conceal, etc.):– besieged, hidden thing, keep(-er, -ing), monument, observe, preserve(-r), subtil, watcher(-man).

It is from this word that Yahshua became known as a Nazrenne, a Natsar, because the town of Nazareth never existed when Yahshua lived.

We also read of The BRANCH in; Jeremiah 23:3 “Therefore I shall gather the remnant of My flock out of all the lands where I have driven them, and shall bring them back to their fold. And they shall bear and increase. 4 “And I shall raise up shepherds over them, and they shall feed them.1 And they shall fear no more, nor be discouraged, nor shall they be lacking,” declares יהוה. Footnote: 1See 3:14-17. 5 “See, the days are coming,” declares יהוה, “when I shall raise for Dawiḏ a Branch1 of righteousness, and a Sovereign shall reign and act wisely, and shall do right-ruling and righteousness in the earth. Footnote: 1Or sprout. 6 “In His days Yehuḏah shall be saved, and Yisra’ĕl dwell safely. And this is His Name whereby He shall be called: ‘יהוה our Righteousness.’(Yhovah tsidqenuw ye-ho-vaw’ tsid-kay’-noo)

We read of this BRANCH in Jememiah 33:15 and also in Zechariah 3: 7 “Thus said יהוה of hosts, ‘If you walk in My ways, and if you guard My duty, then you shall also rule My house, and also guard My courts. And I shall give you access among these standing here. 8 ‘Now listen, Yehoshua the high priest, you and your companions who sit before you, for they are men of symbol. For look, I am bringing forth My Servant – the Branch1. Footnote: 1Or Sprout. See Isa. 4:2, Isa. 11:1, Jer. 23:5, Jer. 33:15, Zech. 6:12.

In just the first few words of this verse of Gen 49 we have learned that the sceptre is the Sprout which is the BRANCH, a Natsar and is Yahshua.

This sceptre that shall not depart from Judah is The BRANCH, a Natsar and is Yahshua that shall never depart from Judah.
In the constellation Virgo which in Hebrew is Bethula the virgin, there is a star. This is the brightest star in this constellation and it is called Tsemach. This star is in the left hand of the virgin and is pictured as 5 branches.( A clue to the five verses we just quoted.) This Tsemach is only used in writings when it refers to the Messiah. Tsemach means the BRANCH. This constellation is telling us of the birth of Yahshua at the Feast of Trumpets at a day and an hour no man can know and that is because the Feast of Trumpets is the first day of the Seventh month and this day is determined by the sighted crescent of the moon, which no man can know until it is seen on that very day at that very hour.

So now when you look up Strongs for the word Sceptre in Gen 49 we get the following quote and you will notice it does refer to the sprout or Scion.

7626 shebet shay’-bet from an unused root probably meaning to branch off; a scion, i.e. (literally) a stick (for punishing, writing, fighting, ruling, walking, etc.) or (figuratively) a clan:–X correction, dart, rod, sceptre, staff, tribe.

Moving on to the next key word in Genesis 49 nor a Lawgiver from between his feet. This word Lawgiver is Strong’s # 2710 chaqaq khaw-kak’ a primitive root; properly, to hack, i.e. engrave (Judges 5:14, to be a scribe simply); by implication, to enact (laws being cut in stone or metal tablets in primitive times) or (gen.) prescribe:–appoint, decree, governor, grave, lawgiver, note, pourtray, print, set.

And the word for feet is also very interesting. It is Strongs # 7272 regel reh’-gel from 7270; a foot (as used in walking); by implication, a step; by euphem. the pudenda:–X be able to endure, X according as, X after, X coming, X follow, ((broken-))foot((-ed, -stool)), X great toe, X haunt, X journey, leg, + piss, + possession, time. see HEBREW for 07270

7270 ragal raw-gal’ a primitive root; to walk along; but only in specifically, applications, to reconnoiter, to be a tale-bearer (i.e. slander); also (as denominative from 7272) to lead about:–backbite, search, slander, (e-)spy (out), teach to go, view. see HEBREW for 07272

This Lawgiver is going to scribe the Torah in the way we should go. The way we are to lead and to teach. This leads us to the question who gave the Law. Yahovah did at Mount Sinai and the BRANCH is going to continue to walk in His way by upholding the law.

In the Constellation of Leo which is the one that represents Judah the Lion is a star by the name of Regulus which in Hebrew means The treading underfoot.

We read the following about Leo the Lion from http://heavensspeak.blogspot.com/2010/01/leo-king-rending.html
He is pouncing on the head of the fleeing giant Water Serpent. In the Egyptian planisphere he is shown actually standing on the serpent. So once again a hero is attacking the serpent Hydra (Satan), and apparently focusing on crushing its head. All societies see this as a lion.

By the beginning of March, Leo has cleared the eastern horizon at the end of evening twilight, and by the end of the month it is high in the east as darkness comes.

In September of 3 B.C., Jupiter came into conjunction with Regulus, the star of kingship, the brightest star in the constellation Leo the Lion. Leo was the constellation of kings, and it was associated with the Lion of Judah. Just a month earlier, Jupiter and Venus had almost seemed to touch each other in another close conjunction, also in Leo. Then the conjunction between Jupiter and Regulus was repeated in February and May of 2 B.C. Finally, on June 17, 2 B.C., Jupiter and Venus, the two brightest objects in the night sky except for the moon, came so close that their disks appeared to touch. This exceptionally rare event could not have been missed by observers such as the Wise Men. Jupiter is derived from the Hebrew or Chaldean Jah, which is the name of God revealed to Moses. Jupiter represents the King of righteousness. The Hebrew name for Jupiter is Tzedeq, which means “righteousness.” Thus we see Jupiter as representing the King of Righteousness, or The Righteous Ruler. Jupiter has long been recognized as a Messianic star, being associated with the Messiah. Frances Rolleston wrote that “Venus in all countries and languages is feminine.” Venus is symbolic of the Virgin, and is both a reference to the virgin who was to give birth to the Son of God, as well as being symbolic of the church. It is possible that this union of Jupiter and Venus stands as the most plausible explanation of the sign that the wise men discerned in the heavens back in the year 2 B.C. That this sign occurred in Leo, symbolizing the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, and the tribe from which God said the ruler’s scepter would not depart, adds additional meaning to the sign. Judah’s name means praise and glory and majesty of God. His banner bore the sign of the rampant lion. His jewel representative was the ruby, the symbol of blood-shedding unto victory. And Jacob describes him as the lion, the tearer in pieces, the glorious victor, the same as exhibited in the sign of Leo. The chief star embraced in this figure, situated in the Lion’s breast, whence its mighty paws proceed, bears the name of Regel, or Regulus, which means the feet which crush, as whence it was said of the Messiah that He shall tread upon the serpent and the asp, and trample the dragon under His feet (Psalm 91:13). All ancient civilizations recognized Regulus as the king star, the one and only king star in the zodiac. The wise men would surely have taken note of all of the details of this heavenly message, and would have understood its meaning. Understanding heavenly signs is similar to the study of Scripture. One must look at what is being communicated in the entirety of its given context. The constellations form the background context for understanding a heavenly event. This signed occurred in Leo. There has not been a brighter, closer conjunction of Venus and Jupiter in Leo so near to Regulus in the 2,000 years before or since.

Notice what Genesis 49:9 says just before we read verse 10; 9 Judah is a lion’s whelp: from the prey, my son, thou art gone up: he stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as an old lion; who shall rouse him up?

The concluding of this verse in Genesis 49 is; until Shiloh comes, and to Him is the obedience of peoples

7886 Shiyloh shee-lo’ from 7951; tranquil; Shiloh, an epithet of the Messiah:–Shiloh. see HEBREW for 07951
In all of this verse 10, in all three sections it is speaking of the Messiah, the BRANCH that is to come from the tribe of Judah. There is nothing here about Judah being given the rights to be the lawgiver as some today are assuming.

But there is more going here in this one verse.

Deuteronomy 33: 21 “And he chose the best for himself, for there the portion of the lawgiver was hidden. And he came with the heads of the people. The righteousness of יהוה he did, and His right-rulings with Yisra’ĕl.”

Gen 49:10 would seem to be confirmed by Psalm 60:7 and is repeated in Psalm 108:8 7 “Gil‛aḏ is Mine and Menashsheh is Mine, And Ephrayim is the defence of My head, Yehuḏah is My lawgiver. 8 “Mo’aḇ is My wash-pot, Over Eḏom I cast My shoe, Shout loud, O Philistia, because of Me.” 9 Who would bring me to the strong city? Who shall lead me to Eḏom? 10 Have not You, O Elohim, rejected us? And You do not go out, O Elohim, With our armies! 11 Give us help from distress, For the help of man is naught. 12 In Elohim we do mightily, And He treads down our adversaries!

But there are two passages left to deal with; Isaiah 33:22 which states that the Father is our lawgiver;
20 See Tsiyon, the city of our appointed time; your eyes shall see Yerushalayim, an undisturbed home, a tent not taken down. Its stakes are never removed, nor any of its cords broken. 21 But there, great is יהוה for us; a place of broad rivers, streams, in which no boat with oars sails, nor big ships pass by – 22 for יהוה is our Judge, יהוה is our Lawgiver, יהוה is our Sovereign, He saves us

And Deuteronomy 33:21 which says the lawgiver will be in Gad.
20 And of Gaḏ he said, “Blessed is he who enlarges Gaḏ. He dwells as a lion, and shall tear off the arm, also the crown. 21 “And he chose the best for himself, for there the portion of the lawgiver was hidden. And he came with the heads of the people. The righteousness of יהוה he did, and His right-rulings with Yisra’ĕl.”

As the context of Deuteronomy 33 is a prophecy for the end times (the context begins in Deuteronomy 31:28 which is about the latter days), the passage in Isaiah says:

Isa 33:22 For the LORD [is] our judge, the LORD [is] our lawgiver H2710, the
LORD [is] our king; he will save us.

The time of Isaiah is after the Psalms have been written and after a significant amount of rebellion against the Father - in the passage of Isaiah 33, is Judah the lawgiver? No Yahovah is.

The lawgiver status has returned to the Father, but Deuteronomy 33:21 has not yet been fulfilled - because it is a latter day prophecy.

Gad will be enlarged and dwell as a lion - in the portion given to Gad, the lawgiver will be concealed and then come with the leaders/heads of the people doing/obeying the righteous laws of the Father and the judgments with Israel. (Paraphrased)

Gad’s portion was in the northern territory - headed by Ephraim and I would assert that Deuteronomy 33:21 has not yet been fulfilled. I would think that anyone who calls themselves Judah would also agree - mainly because they still think they have the authority to declare the laws. I do not believe this to be the case based upon Isaiah 33:22 and the parable of the
tenants found in Matthew 21, Mark 12 and Luke 20.

While the parable of the tenants is usually used to teach that the Church has surpassed the Jews, this is not the case - this is parable establishing the transfer of authority and the beginning of the fulfillment of Deuteronomy 33:21 (the fulfillment will not be complete until the lawgiver comes with the heads doing the righteous laws of the Father). There were many traditions of men that were in violation of the Torah being taught at this time, while Yahushua was not against all traditions that were being observed (i.e. blessing before one eats - so long as thanks is still given after; tithing of all goods, not just grains and flocks; etc…) only against those that were in opposition to Torah.

Essentially, in the parable and explanation of the tenants, you have a rightful king of the line of David that says to the leaders in Judah - “You do not have the right to make laws.”

Now let us read Jeremiah and understand.

Jeremiah 3:Elohim said, “If a man puts away his wife, and she goes from him and becomes another man’s, does he return to her again? Would not that land be made greatly unclean? But you have committed whoring with many lovers. And would you return to Me?” declares יהוה. 2 “Lift up your eyes to the bare heights and see: where have you not lain with men? Besides the ways you have sat for them like an Araḇian in the wilderness. And you made the land unclean with your whorings and your evil. 3 “Therefore the showers have been withheld, and there has been no latter rain. You have had a whore’s forehead, you refuse to be ashamed. 4 “Shall you not from now on cry to Me, ‘My father, You are the guide of my youth? 5 ‘Does one bear a grudge forever? Does one keep it to the end?’ See, you have spoken and done the evils that you could.” 6 And יהוה said to me in the days of Yoshiyahu the sovereign, “Have you seen what backsliding Yisra’ĕl has done? She has gone up on every high mountain and under every green tree, and there committed whoring.

You will notice that in every town the churches are built on the hills to elevate them and their status. Every year at Christmas people ought to read this one verse. When you keep Christmas and go under it to get your gift, you are whoring, you are prostituting yourself to Nimrod worship and Satan worship. Have you considered this phrase you have a whore’s forehead. The number of the beast is written on their hand and on their forehead. The Beast is the great whore and is all the religious ways of Babylon. The whore’s forehead is the way she thinks and her hand is the way she makes her living. So the mark or the outward sign is how she thinks and the way she lives her life that shows us whom she follows. See article on Mark of the Beast at http://www.sightedmoon.com/?page_id=17

Israel has chased after every other lover, that is, she has gone after every other religion and done what that religion told them to do, yet they would not obey Yahovah. Israel did the evils she could do, but is Yahovah going to hold a grudge forever?

7 “And after she had done all these, I said ‘Return to Me.’ But she did not return. And her treacherous sister Yehuḏah saw it. 8 “And I saw that for all the causes for which backsliding Yisra’ĕl had committed adultery, I had put her away and given her a certificate of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Yehuḏah did not fear, but went and committed whoring too.

The whoring after false gods that Israel did, Judah saw and watched as Yahovah removed Israel from the land. Judah saw millions of their brethren killed and captured and taken as slaves and the land made void of all Israelites. Even so Judah also went after false gods and false traditions.

9 “And it came to be, through her frivolous whoring, that she defiled the land and committed adultery with stones and wood. 10 “And yet for all this her treacherous sister Yehuḏah has not turned to Me with all her heart, but falsely,” declares יהוה.
Judah has not gone to Yahovah with her whole heart. She goes through the motions like so many who go to church on Sunday but do not truly believe in the Creator they say they worship.

Listen to the parable from Mathew 21: 23 And when He had come into the Set-apart Place, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to Him as He was teaching, and said, “By what authority are You doing these? And who gave You this authority?” 24 And יהושע answering, said to them, “I shall ask you one question too, which if you answer Me, I also shall say to you by what authority I do these: 25 “The immersion of Yoḥanan, where did it come from? From heaven or from men?” So they reasoned among themselves, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ He shall say to us, ‘Then why did you not believe him?’ 26 “But if we say, ‘From men,’ we fear the crowd, for all hold Yoḥanan as a prophet.” 27 And they answered יהושע and said, “We do not know.” And He said to them, “Neither do I say to you by what authority I do these. 28 “But what do you think? A man had two sons, and he came to the first and said, ‘Son, go, work today in my vineyard.’ 29 “And he answering, said, ‘I do not wish to,’ but afterwards he repented and went. 30 “And having come to the second, he said similarly. And he answering, said, ‘I go, master,’ but he did not go. 31 “Which of the two did the desire of the father?” They said to Him, “The first.” יהושע said to them, “Truly, I say to you that tax collectors and whores are entering into the reign of Elohim before you, 32 for Yoḥanan came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but tax collectors and whores believed him. And when you saw it, you did not repent afterwards, to believe him.

Did you make the connection between what Jeremiah has said about Judah not coming to Yahovah with her whole heart and the second son not doing the will of the Father although he said he would? Because of self righteousness, Judah does not feel the need to repent, yet whores and tax collectors know they have sinned and those who know they are sinners are going to enter the Kingdom of Yahovah before Judah. Judah does not think they are sinning, they do think they are righteous. Yet the whores, which is what Israel the Ten Northern Tribes who were taken into captivity are; are beginning to know that they are sinners and not worthy.

Read what Yahovah says in Jeremiah next;
11 And יהוה said to me, “Backsliding Yisra’ĕl has shown herself more righteous than treacherous Yehuḏah. 12 “Go and proclaim these words toward the north, and say, ‘Return, O backsliding Yisra’ĕl,’ declares יהוה, ‘I shall not look on you in displeasure, for I am kind,’ declares יהוה, ‘and I do not bear a grudge forever.

This is speaking of those who have come out of the lies that we were taught and who are beginning to obey the Torah and only what can be found written in it. Not just doing those things that men say we must do, not just keeping traditions for traditions sake. We are also told that we will come from the North. This is a special invitation to the Ten Tribes of Israel to come home to Israel and in 2010 the 390 year curse times 7 was over. Now is our time to return to the land of Israel. Yahovah is opening the door and holding it open to us. Read the invitation to the wedding in Mathew 21 or listen to my teaching on this subject which I did on the first day of the Feast. You can hear it at http://www.beamesderfer.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=190:sukkot-5846&catid=36:calendar&Itemid=79

13 ‘Only, acknowledge your crookedness, because you have transgressed against יהוה your Elohim, and have scattered your ways to strangers under every green tree, and you have not obeyed My voice,’ declares יהוה.

Again we are told that by going under those green trees, for Christmas we’re not obeying Yahovah. We must confess our sins.

14 “Return, O backsliding children,” declares יהוה, “for I shall rule over you, and shall take you, one from a city and two from a clan1, and shall bring you to Tsiyon.

Isaiah 27:12 And in that day it shall be that יהוה threshes, from the channel of the River to the wadi of Mitsrayim. And you shall be gathered one by one1, O children of Yisra’ĕl.

He is going to collect us. Yahovah is going to do it one at a time, but He is going to do this and in fact has already begun to do so.

15 “And I shall give you shepherds according to My heart, and they shall feed you with knowledge and understanding. 16 “And it shall be, when you have increased, and shall bear fruit in the land in those days,” declares יהוה, “that they no longer say, ‘The ark of the covenant of יהוה.’ Neither would it come to heart, nor would they remember it, nor would they visit it, nor would it be made again. 17 “At that time Yerushalayim shall be called the throne of יהוה, and all the nations shall be gathered to it, to the Name of יהוה, to Yerushalayim, and no longer walk after the stubbornness of their evil heart. 18 “In those days the house of Yehuḏah shall go to the house of Yisra’ĕl, and they shall come together out of the land of the north to the land that I have given as an inheritance to your fathers.

Take special notice of this. Judah and Israel will come from the North together. This means something is about to happen to Judah which will put them in the north with Israel. The answer to this is found in The Prophecies of Abraham which shows when Israel and Judah are about to go to war with an ancient enemy and will lose this war. They will be taken in captivity to the north.

19 “But I said, ‘How would I put you among the children and give you a pleasant land, a splendid inheritance of the hosts of nations?’ “And I said, ‘Call Me, “My Father,” and do not turn away from Me.’ 20 “But indeed as a wife betrays her husband, so have you betrayed Me, O house of Yisra’ĕl,” declares יהוה. 21 A voice was heard on the bare heights, weeping supplications of the children of Yisra’ĕl, because they have perverted their way, they have forgotten יהוה their Elohim. 22 “Return, O backsliding children, I shall make your backslidings cease.” “See, we have come to You, for You are יהוה our Elohim. 23 “Truly, delusion comes from the high hills, the noisy throng on the mountains. Truly, in יהוה our Elohim is the deliverance of Yisra’ĕl. 24 “For shame has devoured the labour of our fathers from our youth, their flocks and their herds, their sons and their daughters. 25 “We shall lie down in our shame, while our reproach covers us. For we have sinned against יהוה our Elohim, we and our fathers, from our youth even to this day, and have not obeyed the voice of יהוה our Elohim.”

Now having said this I do have another subject I want to address.

In the past couple of months I have been accosted by different brethren because I do not have a beard. When they see this I am accused of being of a Greek mindset and they no longer will listen to those things I teach. Others consider themselves more righteous because they do have a beard. And still others have a beard that is extremely long and consider themselves even more righteous because of its length, having not cut it.

One year I did grow a beard and because it was not very long my message was not taken seriously. So let us look at this subject of the beard. Is it a commandment to have or is it something else. Let us not get lost in emotions or heresy but let us just look at the scriptures and do so as Bereans. Let us stop judging each other for not having or for having a beard. Let us stop thinking that a beard represents righteousness and the length even more righteousness.

One friend of mine has said the growing of the beard is the same as growing eye brows. You do not shave your eyes so why shave your beard. This is a valid point. So why do women shave their arm pits and legs and their upper lips? Why not let them grow, or why not let your nose hair grow long and why do you trim the hair that grows in your ears?

Let’s stop the circular arguments and go to the scriptures and find the truth.

http://www.bibletruth.cc/Body_4Dead.htm

The Spirit of Elohim is impressing upon his people in these last days the need to believe and obey His word. This includes the Torah - which is usually referred to as the “Law.” “Torah” is better translated as “instruction.” Those who take seriously what Yahusha’ said to his disciples, “If you love me you will obey my commandments,” realize that “his commandments” are not just those he gave to his New Testament disciples. On the contrary, Yahusha’ gave his people Israel his commandments at Mt Sinai through Moses. Then, to his disciples, Yahusha’ reaffirmed the meaning and applicability of those commandments that he issued at Mt Sinai for his New Testament people (see Matthew 5-7).

Thus, if we love him and desire to obey his commandments (as he said we would), it is important to understand what those commandments are and what they mean. One such difficult to understand commandment is found in Leviticus 19:27 and reads as follows:
Do not cut the hair at the sides of your head or clip off the edges of your beard (NIV).

This commandment sounds like Elohim does not want men to cut their hair or beards. If this is so, then nearly every male believer in Yahusha’ is in violation of Elohim’s will regarding their hair.

In addition to the Leviticus 19:27 text quoted above, there are two other major texts in the Torah which describe the need for men to abstain from trimming the beard. The first is in Leviticus 21:5 which reads:
Priests must not shave their heads or shave off the edges of their beards or cut their bodies (NIV)

And the other is in Devarim (Deuteronomy)14:1, which the New International Version (with Hebrew naming convention added) renders:
You are the children of Yahuwah your Elohim. Do not cut yourselves or shave the front of your heads for the dead.

The Orthodox Jews interpret this mitzvah (commandment) to avoid cutting the beard at face value. It is normal for Orthodox males to have long, untrimmed beards and long hair at the sides of their heads. To their credit, the Orthodox are zealous to obey the Torah. They do not allow current cultural or popular trends to influence the way they live. This has the effect of “setting them apart” from all others. The long beards are a tell-tale sign of an individual who is striving to obey Elohim’s Word.

But the mere appearance of obedience to the Torah does not mean that they are actually in compliance with the intended meaning of this commandment. A long history of man-inspired tradition and erroneous interpretation has led the orthodox to miss the true interpretation of many of their own Scriptures handed down to them from Mosheh and the prophets. Therefore, the precise meaning of Leviticus 19:27 and other texts like it need to be re-examined. Thus it behooves us to find out the exact understanding of the three texts cited above. Only in open-minded and level-headed thinking and research and with the guidance of the Holy Spirit of Elohim can we ascertain the intention of such commandments as these. So, without further ado, let’s dig in.

Shaving the Forehead For the Dead in Deuteronomy 14:1
Our first task is to examine the text of Devarim 14:1 to discover its precise meaning. Here is the Hebrew script of Devarim 14:1: 1 בָּנִים אַתֶּם לַֽיהוָה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם לֹא תִתְגֹּֽדְדוּ וְלֹֽא־תָשִׂימוּ קָרְחָה בֵּין עֵינֵיכֶם לָמֵֽת׃

The following are popular English Bible translations of this verse:
Ye are the children of the LORD your God: ye shall not cut yourselves, nor make any baldness between your eyes for the dead. (king jimmy version)

You are the sons of the LORD your God; you shall not cut yourselves nor shave your forehead for the sake of the dead. (NAS)

You are the children of the LORD your God. Do not cut yourselves or shave the front of your heads for the dead (NIV)

Since you are the people of the LORD your God, never cut yourselves or shave the hair above your foreheads for the sake of the dead. (New Living Translation)

My translation is not much different. This is because the words are very clear to understand:
You are the sons of YHWH your Elohim; you shall not cut yourselves nor make baldness between your eyes on behalf of the dead (DRV)

This verse refers to a well known mourning custom of the pagans. The people of the world, who do not know Elohim the Creator, both in ancient times and in modern culture, perform radical and sometimes bazaar acts against their own bodies while mourning over their dead. Cutting the body for the dead was and still is practiced by many religions around the world. Some Catholics, Muslims, Satan worshippers, and others perform ritual hacking of their bodies to draw blood in mourning for and in remembrance of their dead loved ones and heroes. A contemporary example of this is reported on every year by the media as Muslims memorialize one of their great ones. Participators gash themselves and teach their little ones to slash themselves as well, usually across the head.

This kind of meaningless and vain worship is what Sha’ul was referring to in his letter to the Colossians when he states:
These are all destined to perish with use, founded as they are on human commands and teachings. Even though they have the appearance of wisdom with their self-imposed worship and false humility achieved by an unsparing treatment of the body–a wisdom with no true value–they in reality result in fleshly indulgence. (Colossians 2:22-23)

The Creator Elohim does not desire that we mistreat ourselves, cut ourselves or harm ourselves in any way. This is not acceptable worship to him. He made us in his image and requires that we love our own bodies because they are the temple of Elohim.

The Torah speaks to the kind of worship which Elohim is looking for in us and also to the kind of worship which he rejects. He first tells us that he wants us to obey his commandments, not the commandments of the religious systems of men:
These are the decrees and laws you must be careful to follow in the land that Yahuwah, the Elohim of your fathers, has given you to possess– as long as you live in the land. Destroy completely all the places on the high mountains and on the hills and under every spreading tree where the nations you are dispossessing worship their gods.

Break down their altars, smash their sacred stones and burn their Asherah poles in the fire; cut down the idols of their gods and wipe out their names from those places. You must not worship Yahuwah your Elohim in their way (Devarim 12:1-4).

Yahuwah demands that we worship him his way - the righteous way. The ways of man are detestable to him and thus, he doesn’t receive such worship as men think is acceptable:
You must not worship Yahuwah your Elohim in their way, because in worshiping their gods, they do all kinds of detestable things Yahuwah hates. They even burn their sons and daughters in the fire as sacrifices to their gods. See that you do all I command you; do not add to it or take away from it. (Devarim 12:31,32)

Cutting oneself and making baldness on the forehead on behalf of the dead flies in the face of what Yahuwah wants for us. So it is clear by the context of this verse that the prohibition of making baldness on the forehead is not a general rule for all Yisrael. It is prohibited by this commandment only in the case of doing it in mourning for the dead.

The Prohibitions for the Priests in Leviticus 21:1-6
The prohibition instructed to the priests who are told not to shave off the corner of their beards also comes in the context of things done during funeral activities:
Leviticus 21:1 Then Yahuwah said to Mosheh, “Speak to the priests, the sons of Aharon, and say to them: ‘No one shall defile himself for a dead person among his people….

The whole of verses 1-6 are speaking to a particular situation: things not to be done on behalf of a dead person. Priests are told that they may not defile themselves (i.e. participate in the funeral by touching a corpse) except in the case of a brother, a sister, a mother, a father or a close relative. He may not even defile himself by touching his own dead wife!!

Then on the tail of this instruction comes verse 5:
5 לֹֽא־ [יִקְרְחָה כ] (יִקְרְחוּ ק) קָרְחָה בְּרֹאשָׁם וּפְאַת זְקָנָם לֹא יְגַלֵּחוּ וּבִבְשָׂרָם לֹא יִשְׂרְטוּ שָׂרָֽטֶת׃

The popular English Bible translations render this verse as follows:
Leviticus 21:5 They shall not make baldness upon their head, neither shall they shave off the corner of their beard, nor make any cuttings in their flesh. (king jimmy version)

Leviticus 21:5 They shall not make any baldness on their heads, nor shave off the edges of their beards, nor make any cuts in their flesh. (NAS)

Leviticus 21:5 Priests must not shave their heads or shave off the edges of their beards or cut their bodies. (NIV)
Leviticus 21:5 They shall not shave smooth any part of their heads, or cut the side-growth of their beards, or make gashes in their flesh. (New Living)

I would render it (literally) this way:
They shall not make baldness on their heads, and the sides of their beard they shall not shave, and in their flesh they shall not cut incisions.

This sounds very much like the prohibitions of Devarim 14:1 which were clearly shown to be instructions concerning prohibitions during a mourning for the dead. So, Vayiqra (Leviticus) 21:5 also, when the immediate context is consulted (verses 1-4), is referring to mourning customs of the pagans. The priests of Yahuwah, who are especially called to be set-apart from sin and sinful practices, are called to be especially pure and clean. By completely avoiding engagement in practices of the pagans who mourn for their dead by cutting their flesh and body hair, priests can be a testimony to the purity of the Creator.

The Prohibition of Trimming the Beard in Leviticus 19:27
With the above two passages of Torah which prohibit cutting the beard as a mourning ritual, we approach Vayiqra 19, which in the Hebrew reads:
לֹא תַקִּפוּ פְּאַת רֹאשְׁכֶם וְלֹא תַשְׁחִית אֵת פְּאַת זְקָנֶֽךָ׃

Again, the popular English Bible translations interpret as follows:
Leviticus 19:27 Ye shall not round the corners of your heads, neither shalt thou mar the corners of thy beard. (king jimmy version)

Leviticus 19:27 ‘You shall not round off the side-growth of your heads nor harm the edges of your beard. (NAS)

Leviticus 19:27 Do not cut the hair at the sides of your head or clip off the edges of your beard. (NIV)

Leviticus 19:27 You shall not round off the side-growth on your head, or destroy the side-growth of your beard. (New Living)

My translation is:
You shall not trim the side of your heads and you shall not ruin the side of your beard.

Is this prohibition parallel to the other two, or is this referring to a different situation? Let’s look at the immediate context (the next verse) of this prohibition:
28 You shall not slash your body for a dead person or incise a tattoo on yourself. I am Yahuwah.

Wow! There it is again! This prohibition given to all Yisrael to refrain from cutting or marring the hair on ones head is immediately followed by another prohibition against ritual self-infliction of injury on behalf of the dead.

Following the Hebrew language pattern, one may even translate these two verses without a period (i.e. as a continuation of the same thought) by rendering it as follows:
You shall not trim the side of your heads and you shall not ruin the side of your beard and you shall not slash your body for a dead person or incise a tattoo on yourself. I am Yahuwah.

The phrase “for a dead person” actually should be understood to apply to each of the three prohibitions and to the prohibition that follows regarding tattooing the flesh! Just as in the preceding two passages in the Torah, this one also is clearly speaking to the specific practices done by the pagans when they mourn for their dead. These practices of cutting the flesh and cutting the hair on the head for the dead are always prohibited for Yahuwah’s people, whether priests or otherwise.

Nowhere in the Torah are the sons of Yisrael ever told that they must never cut their hair or trim their beards. What the sons of Yisrael are told to do is to refrain from participating in the ritual mourning practices of the pagans.

There is one case in Scripture when a man is commanded not to cut his hair or beard. This is the Nazirite vow (Numbers/Bemidbar 6). In this instance, one who takes this vow is to do so for a predetermined length of time, after which, he may again shave and drink of the fruit of the vine. But this is the only time when the Scripture commands one to refrain from cutting the hair or the beard (apart from the case of mourning for the dead).

Rabbinical interpretation has all “Torah-observant” Jews letting their hair and their beards grow long and ragged. This is a long standing tradition that has handcuffed Jews for centuries, yea, even millennia. But there is no requirement in the written Scriptures for obedient members of the community of Yisrael to let their hair and beards grow unchecked.

As in the background graphic depicting a devout Jew with a long beard, the Jews wear their beards as a sign of their obedience to Torah. Ironically, the long beard is not a requirement of the written Scriptures. Rather, the long, untrimmed beard can be interpreted as a sign worn by one who is entrapped by the Oral Tradition of the Rabbis! There is nothing intrinsically wrong with growing ones beard untrimmed. But one must be careful that we do not grow our beards “for a show” like the Pharisees who did many things “for a show” such as praying long, loud public prayers, and wearing their tassels very long so as to be noticed and thought to be “more righteous.”

Scriptural Requirements for Cutting the Hair and Beard
Additional support for our interpretation is found in the Torah. Not only is there no commandment in the written Torah directed at all men telling us not to cut the hair on the head or the beard, but there are explicit times when a complete shaving of the hair on the head and the beard are required. One such time is when someone has an infection on the head or in the beard:
“When a man or a woman has an infection on the head or in the beard, the priest is to examine the infection, and if it appears to be deeper than the skin and the hair in it is reddish yellow and thin, then the priest is to pronounce the person unclean. It is scall, a disease of the head or the beard. But if the priest examines the scall infection and it does not appear to be deeper than the skin, and there is no black hair in it, then the priest is to quarantine the person with the scall infection for seven days. The priest must then examine the infection on the seventh day, and if the scall has not spread, there is no reddish yellow hair in it, and the scall does not appear to be deeper than the skin, then the individual is to shave himself, but he must not shave the scall, and the priest is to quarantine the person with the scall for another seven days (Vayiqra 13:29-33).

This requirement to shave himself applies only to the person who has the infection. If there were a requirement to NOT shave the hair or cut the beard, then this commandment would contradict the other.

Another case is the purification of any diseased person:
“This is the instruction of the diseased person on the day of his purification, when he is brought to the priest…. “The one being cleansed must then wash his clothes, shave off all his hair, and bathe in water, and so be clean. Then afterward he may enter the camp, but he must live outside his tent seven days. When the seventh day comes he must shave all his hair–his head, his beard, his eyebrows, all his hair–and he must wash his clothes, bathe his body in water, and so be clean. (Vayiqra 14:2,8,9)
Again, practical issues sometimes require the shaving of the hair and beard. But Yahuwah does not require it of everyone.

Making Baldness on the Head for the Dead: The Prophets Speak
Yeshayahu confirms that making baldness on the head and shaving the beard is a ritual custom of the pagans in mourning over their dead:
They went up to the temple, the people of Dibon went up to the high places to lament. Because of what happened to Nebo and Medeba, Moab wails. Every head is shaved bare, every beard is trimmed off. 3 In their streets they wear sackcloth; on their roofs and in their town squares all of them wail, they fall down weeping. (Yeshayahu 15:2)

The mourning of these nations and peoples is a result of the judgment which was to come upon them. Yirmyahu, likewise, affirms that shaving the heads was a common mourning ritual:
For the time has come to destroy all the Philistines. The time has come to destroy all the help that remains for Tyre and Sidon. For I, Yahuwah, will destroy the Philistines, that remnant that came from the island of Crete. The people of Gaza will shave their heads in mourning. The people of Ashkelon will be struck dumb. How long will you cut yourselves to show your sorrow, you who are left of Philistia’s power? (Yirmyahu 47:4,5)

And again, the mourning customs of Moab is described:
For all of them will shave their heads in mourning. They will all cut off their beards to show their sorrow. They will all make gashes in their hands. They will all put on sackcloth.

On all the housetops in Moab and in all its public squares there will be nothing but mourning. For I will break Moab like an unwanted jar. I, Yahuwah, affirm it. (Yirmyahu 48:37-38)

Even Israel, in her day of judgment, will mourn in a way that Yahuwah forbids:
They will wear sackcloth, terror will cover them; shame will be on all their faces, and all of their heads will be shaved bald. (Yechezqel 27:18)

And the judgment of Tyre is described by the same mourning rituals:
They will lament loudly over you and cry bitterly. They will throw dust on their heads and roll in the ashes; they will tear out their hair because of you, and put on sackcloth, and they will bitterly weep over you with intense mourning. (Yechezqel 27:30,31)

And finally, Amos describes a time when Yahuwah’s judgments will bring about mourning for the nations:
In that day,” says Adonai Yahuwah, “I will make the sun set at noon, and make the earth dark in the middle of the day. I will turn your festivals into funerals, and all your songs into funeral dirges. I will make everyone wear funeral clothes and cause every head to be shaved bald. I will make you mourn as if you had lost your only son; when it ends it will indeed have been a bitter day.
(Amos 8:9-10)

Quite clearly, the prophets confirm our findings from the Torah that mourning of the pagans is accompanied by cutting the body, cutting the hair and cutting the beard. And Yahuwah has instructed his people not to do these things.

Conclusion
The long standing practice of the Jews to let their hair and especially their beards to grow long and untrimmed is a result of the Oral tradition, not of the written Scriptures. One should never do something just because a religious person does them. This applies particularly to worship practices and mourning rituals.

Yahuwah has given us the freedom to grow the hair and beard as we please, with very few exceptions and requirements. Let us not add to the Torah by insisting on things which Yahuwah does not insist on, nor should we prohibit things which Yahuwah does not prohibit. Freedom in Messiah means being released from the oral traditions and practices and customs of men and their made-up commandments.

Written by David M Rogers
www.BibleTruth.cc
Published: 2007

http://www.piney.com/His23.html

Under Priests, Monks and Nuns, Hislop notes that “The Arabians acknowledge no other gods than Bacdus or Urania (i.e., the Queen of Heaven), and they say that their hair was cut in the same manner as Bacchus’s is cut; now, they cut it in a circular form, shaving it around the temple…. Over all the world, where the traces of the Chaldean system are found, this tonsure or shaving of the head is always found along with it. The priests of Osiris, the Egyptian Bacchus, was always distinguished by the shaving of their head.”

I have much more to say on this and I will continue this discussion in next week’s News letter where we will talk about the tonsure or shaving of the head worn by the Priest of Baal and how this has been translated into the Kippa worn by the Pope and the Cardinals and Orthodox Jews.

We need to have grace towards each other. Beards are a God given gift to us. But it is not a commandment that we must have one. If we were commanded not shave our beards then women would have been commanded not shave their legs or armpits or upper lips.

I am not against the growing of a beard. I am against those whole claim this as a law that we must do to be Torah compliant. I am against those who think they are more righteous because they wear a beard or because they have a very long one. This is self righteousness and is sin. All other arguments about whether to have one or not are up for discussion so long as you do not claim the Torah commands it. The Torah does not command us to have a beard. It does command us not to mar our beards or heads like the Pagans do when they mourn for the dead.

We now return to our 3 1/2 year Torah studies which you can follow at http://www.sightedmoon.com/files/TriennialCycleBeginningAviv.pdf

30/10/2010 Gen 35 1 Sam 28-30 Ps 71 Mark 14:1-31

Genesis 35
Once again as we said last week Yahovah is telling Jacob to put away all his foreign gods before he comes to the place where Yahovah has told him to worship. This what Israel had to do in the plains of Maob with the Moabite women they had intermarried with. This is what we are also doing as we prepare to return to the land of Israel. We Ephramites who are full of idolatries and false doctrines must put all of this out from us and stick to Torah and it alone.

Avi ben Mordchai had an excellent teaching on how Yahovah is using a colon detoxification on us. I urge you all to read it at http://campaign.r20.constantcontact.com/render?llr=485pflcab&v=001Qll-Xe3DdxHghTxf9PpySbW1CkTbbuX54VadqUEX3n672_vMfOmqU9HkrSwwousH_GgXZQp0y_SlQHHlxLO_f1NJmMjeZUDnuxb8kbxgBgXvCAYwpW28SA%3D%3D It is a great read.

In last week’s News Letter I told you about the Cave of Hebron where Abraham Isaac and Jacob are buried along with Sarah and Rebeccah. But this week you can now read why Rachael is not buried there. She was buried in Ephrath which today is known as Bethlehem.

We read about this in Mathew 2: 13 And when they had left, see, a messenger of יהוה appeared to Yosĕph in a dream, saying, “Arise, take the Child and His mother, and flee to Mitsrayim, and remain there until I bring you word, for Herodes is about to seek the Child to destroy Him.” 14 And rising up, he took the Child and His mother by night and departed for Mitsrayim, 15 and remained there until the death of Herodes, to fill what was spoken by יהוה through the prophet, saying, “Out of Mitsrayim I have called My Son.”1 Footnote:1Ex. 4:22-23, Hos. 11:1, Rev. 21:7 16 Then Herodes, having seen that he was fooled by the Magi, was greatly enraged, and he sent forth and slew all the male children in Bĕyth Leḥem and in all its borders, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had exactly learnt from the Magi. 17 Then was filled what was spoken by Yirmeyahu the prophet, saying, 18 “A voice was heard in Ramah, wailing and weeping, and great mourning – Raḥĕl weeping for her children, refusing to be comforted, because they were no more.” 19 And Herodes having died, see, a messenger of יהוה appeared in a dream to Yosĕph in Mitsrayim, 20 saying, “Arise, and take the Child and His mother, and go into the land of Yisra’ĕl, for those seeking the life of the Child are dead.”

That was Jeremiah 31:15

We are then told of the how Rueben slept with Bilhah and this is the reason he will lose his birthright of the first born.
Then we read of the children of Jacob and to whom each was born. When you look on the charts at the back of the book The Prophecies of Abraham you will notice that each of the children were born during a specific part of the Jubilees cycle. All of them are born during the same cycle as the three and a half year tribulation and then after this time leading up the wedding Feast of Sukkot when Joseph was born. The exception to this was Benjamen who was born in the middle of the first Sabbatical cycle of the next Jubilee cycle.

To me this tells me that this is when all the tribes of Israel will be brought home during the tribulation.

Lastly we are told that Jacob dies at the age of 180 years which is 1582 BC and this was a Jubilee year.

1 Samuel 28-30

This week we read of the story of how Saul sought the advice of a medium as to whether or not he should fight the Philistines who were amassed against Israel in the Jezreal Valley.

In Chapter 29 we read how David is refused the right to fight along with the Philistines in this great battle that was being formed up.

Once David returns to his place he discovers it has been looted and destroyed. What does David do? Does he consult a medium? I Samuel 30:7 David consults with Yahovah using the ephod of the High Priest.

Yahovah told Moses to make an Ephod in Exodus 25-30 with twelve stones it one for each of the twelve tribes of Israel. The high priest wore the breastplate on the ephod. When the people of Israel enquired of Yahovah concerning an important issue, the high priest asked Yahovah the question. Yahovah then answered through the twelve stones. For example, when they wanted to know whether they should go out to war, the high priest asked and Yahovah answered through the breastplate in this way: the relevant letters of the name of the tribe shone and together they formed Yahovah’s answer. It was in this special way that Yahovah spoke to Israel.

Now that we see who Saul consulted and who David consulted we must look to whom Saul was really speaking with and we do so by reading the following.

http://www.ucg.org/bible-faq/ghost-samuel-appear-saul-after-death.htm

Did the ghost of Samuel appear to Saul after his death?

When Saul consulted the witch (medium) of En Dor, was it really the prophet Samuel that appeared?

No. There are several important scriptures to consider before we examine the actual story, recorded in 1 Samuel 28:7-25. The first is the verse immediately prior, which informs the reader that “when Saul inquired of the Lord, the Lord did not answer him, either by dreams or by Urim or by the prophets” (1 Samuel 28:6). God was refusing to communicate with Saul through any means, including His prophets. Samuel, even if he had been still alive, would have had nothing to tell Saul. From this we can infer that the “Samuel” who communicated with Saul was not a prophet of God speaking from beyond the grave.

Another important passage is in Ecclesiastes 9:5, 10, which says plainly that “the living know that they will die; but the dead know nothing…for there is no work or device or knowledge or wisdom in the grave where you are going.” When we die, we enter a state the Bible likens to “sleep” (1 Thessalonians 4:13-14), remaining unconscious until the resurrections at or after Christ’s return. There is certainly no soul that lives on, able to communicate with the rest of the living.

Knowing this, the entity Saul communicated with could not possibly have been the ghost or spirit of Samuel, or any other human being. That leaves only the spirit realm as a possibility—and given that God had explicitly cut off communication between Himself (and by extension, His angels) and Saul (compare 1 Samuel 13:14; 28:6 and Isaiah 59:2), we are forced to conclude that the “Samuel” conjured up by the medium of En Dor was a demonic spirit masquerading as God’s prophet.

We might ask, “If it was really a demon communicating with Saul, why did it tell him the truth?” (1 Samuel 28:16-19; compare 13:9-14; 15:8-9, 26; 31:2-4). We must remember that the primary goal of Satan and his demons is to destroy us. By selectively telling Saul pieces of the truth, the demon posing as Samuel was able to depress him to the point where Saul was no longer able to stand up (1 Samuel 28:20).

The demon used parts of the truth, while posing as a man of God, to paint a picture of hopelessness. “And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works” (2 Corinthians 11:14-15).

Psalm 71
http://www.ucg.org/brp/brp.asp?get=daily&day=20&month=August&year=2005&Layout=

A Plea for Help Against Foes in Old Age; The Blessed Reign of the King’s Son (Psalms 71-72) August 20-22
Psalm 71 is “a prayer for God’s help in old age when enemies threaten because they see that the king’s strength is waning…. The psalm bears no title, but it may well be that Ps 70 was viewed by the editors of the Psalms as the introduction to Ps 71 (compare vv. 1, 12-13 with 70:1-2, 5), in which case the psalm is ascribed to David (in his old age; see vv. 9, 18). This suggestion gains support from the fact that Ps 72 [which immediately follows and closes Book II of the Psalter] is identified as a prayer by and/or for King Solomon” (Zondervan NIV Study Bible, note on Psalm 71). And Psalm 72 ends by describing the psalms that have come before as prayers of David (see verse 20). The Greek Septuagint translation adds a superscription to the beginning of Psalm 71, labeling it “of David.”

The opening of Psalm 71—the declaration of trust in God, the plea for His righteous deliverance, that He would bend His ear and be a strong refuge, and the identification of Him as the psalmist’s rock and fortress (Psalm 71:1-3) is essentially repeated from David’s opening to Psalm 31 (verses 1-3). As David’s suffering in that psalm foreshadowed the sufferings of the Messiah, it is likely that Psalm 71 is similarly prophetic, though Jesus’ sufferings came when He was a young man, in terms of His human life.

One difference we may note here in verse 3 is the statement, “You have given the commandment to save me.” The psalmist recognizes that God has all the forces of the universe and heavenly realm at His disposal. He has but to command the psalmist’s deliverance for it to be effected—and indeed the psalmist knows that God has so commanded it. His words bring to mind the centurion’s response when Jesus offered to come to his home to heal the servant. The centurion said, “Lord, I am not worthy that You should come under my roof. But only speak a word, and my servant will be healed” (Matthew 8:5-8).

Psalm 71 is a welcome comfort for believers enduring a lingering trial that drains their strength, whether physically, emotionally or mentally. God is our Rock, our safe place.

The psalmist, who is likely David, is a man who has trusted God his whole life. His relationship with God began in his youth and has continued ever since (verses 5-6, 17). The statement about God having brought him forth from his mother’s womb (verse 6) is also found in Psalm 22 (verse 9), another messianic psalm of David.

The psalmist in 71:7 says “he has become ‘a portent’ [NIV] (mopeth ‘a wonder’ [NKJV]) to his contemporaries, i.e., a sign of trouble, chastisement, and divine retribution” (Expositor’s Bible Commentary, note on verses 5-8). Many see his troubles and weakness as evidence of God’s punitive judgment on him, as would later be wrongly assumed regarding Jesus Christ (see Isaiah 53:4). Enemies deduce that now is a good time to rise up against him because they think “God has forsaken him…[and] there is none to deliver him” (Psalm 71:11).

Verses 12-13 are a restatement of David’s urgent plea for deliverance and the confounding of his enemies in Psalm 70:1-2, thus serving to connect Psalms 70 and 71. As noted above, Psalm 70, a reprise of the end of Psalm 40, appears to condense the themes of Psalm 69 and to introduce Psalm 71.

The psalmist will continue to hope and praise God (verses 14-16). He makes a final plea for God to not forsake him so that he may sing of God’s power and strength to the present generation and those yet to come (verses 17-18; compare 22:30). And he is confident that God will save him (71:19-24).

In verse 20, when the psalmist says that God will bring him back up “from the depths of the earth,” he is speaking metaphorically of being rescued from his life-threatening situation and his despondency (compare 40:2; 69:2, 14-15). Yet, being old, he could also be contemplating the end of his life and looking forward to his future resurrection from the grave. Given the messianic nature of this and related psalms, it also seems logical to view this as Jesus Christ looking forward to His own resurrection.

Mark 14:1-31

In News letter 5846-024 at http://www.sightedmoonnl.com/?page_id=669 we covered this word used as Leper here in Mark. But it is worth repeating.

Mathew 26
In verse 6 And when יהושע was in Bĕyth Anyah at the house of Shim‛on the leper, 7 a woman came to Him, having an alabaster flask of costly perfume, and she poured it on His head as He sat at the table.

The word leper here is a mistranslation.

According to Lev 13: 45 “As for the leper who has the infection, his garments are torn, and his head is uncovered, and he has to cover his upper lip and cry, ‘Unclean! Unclean!’ 46 “He is unclean – all the days he has the infection he is unclean. He is unclean, and he dwells alone, his dwelling place is outside the camp.

According to this law if the man had leprosy he could not dwell in the city and because of his uncleaness he could not be with others.

The word translated as leprosy in Greek is from the aramiac word Garba leper. But the same word GRB is also the word Garaba for jar maker or jar merchant, and this ties perfectly into the story in verse 7 of a woman who has an alabaster jar coming to the home of a jar maker and not a leper.

This woman is revealed to us in John 11: 1 And a certain one was sick, El‛azar from Bĕyth Anyah, the village of Miryam and her sister Martha. 2 (Now it was Miryam who anointed the Master with perfume and wiped His feet with her hair, whose brother El‛azar was sick).

Yahshua tells us that this woman would be remembered for ever for doing this kind act. 12 “For in pouring this perfume on My body, she did it for My burial. 13 “Truly, I say to you, wherever this Good News is proclaimed in all the world, what this woman has done shall be spoken of also, to her remembrance.” And indeed she has been all these years.

Also note that Mary then took the jar and broke it.

There was a custom of the east that says when a glass was used by a distinguished quest, the glass is broken so that it could not be used again of lesser person.

The other custom was that once you anoint the dead with fragrant oils and once the oils had been used to break the containers and place them with the dead so that they could not be used again.

In Mark 14:12 we read the following; 12 And on the first day of the Unleavened Bread, when they killed the Passover, His disciples said to Him, Where do You desire that going we may prepare that You may eat the Passover?

In Mathew 26 of the same event we also read 17 Now the first day of the feast of unleavened bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying to him, Where will you that we prepare for you to eat the passover?

And again we read in Luke 22: 1 Now the feast of unleavened bread drew near, which is called the Passover.

And in verse 7 Then came the day of unleavened bread, when the passover must be killed. 8 And he sent Peter and John, saying, Go and prepare us the passover, that we may eat.

Some have read these verses and gotten themselves confused. The Passover Lamb is killed on the 14th day as it draws near to the twilight or in the late after noon.

Exodus 12: 6 Now you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month. Then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it at twilight.

7 ‘And they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and on the lintel of the houses where they eat it. 8 ‘And they shall eat the flesh on that night, roasted in fire – with unleavened bread and with bitter herbs they shall eat it. 9 ‘Do not eat it raw, nor boiled at all with water, but roasted in fire, its head with its legs and its inward parts. 10 ‘And do not leave of it until morning, and what remains of it until morning you are to burn with fire. 11 ‘And this is how you eat it: your loins girded, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand. And you shall eat it in haste. It is the Passover of יהוה.

So the Passover lamb is killed on the 14th late in the day and then eaten that evening of the 15th in haste and then what remains is burned.

Now look at Lev 23: 5 ‘In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month, between the evenings, is the Passover to יהוה. 6 ‘And on the fifteenth day of this month is the Festival of Unleavened Bread to יהוה – seven days you eat unleavened bread. 7 ‘On the first day you have a set-apart gathering, you do no servile work. 8 ‘And you shall bring an offering made by fire to יהוה for seven days. On the seventh day is a set-apart gathering, you do no servile work.’ ”

You are to eat unleavened bread for seven days from the 15th until the 22nd day.

Now each of the gospels has called the 14th day one of the days of Unleavened Bread which Lev 23 clearly shows it is not. Each of the Gospels shows that Yahshua and the Disciples ate and then Judas went out and made the deal with the High Priest to betray Yahshua. This is taking place on the evening of the 14th, because Yahshua is the Lamb of Yahovah and is to be killed at the exact same time the Paschal Lamb is killed at 3 PM on the 14 day, just hours before sunset and the 15th or the First Day of Unleavened Bread begins.

Now read what John says in chapter 13: 1 And before the Festival of the Passover, יהושע knowing that His hour had come that He should move out of this world unto the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end. 2 And supper taking place, the devil having already put it into the heart of Yehuḏah from Qerioth, son of Shim‛on, to deliver Him up,

And before the Festival of the Passover which is killed in the afternoon of the 14th day. So before this event takes place Judas goes and makes his plans as we have just read in each of the other gospels. You must also remember that they had to get Yahshua off the tree before the Sabbath began which was the High Sabbath of the first day of Unleavened Bread.

Those of you who have been with me on the Mount of Olives can read the rest of this account and visualize exactly where it all took place.

In verse 64 you can read the reason Yahshua is killed. It is because He is accused of Blasphemy.

We read in Lev 24 that the penalty for Blasphemy is to be put to death by Stoning.

10 And the son of an Yisra’ĕlite woman, whose father was a Mitsrite, went out among the children of Yisra’ĕl. And the Yisra’ĕlite woman’s son and a man of Yisra’ĕl strove in the camp. 11 And the Yisra’ĕlite woman’s son blasphemed the Name, and cursed. So they brought him to Mosheh. Now his mother’s name was Shelomith the daughter of Diḇri, of the tribe of Dan. 12 And they put him in under guard, that it might be declared to them at the mouth of יהוה. 13 And יהוה spoke to Mosheh, saying, 14 “Bring the one who has cursed outside the camp, and all those who heard him shall lay their hands on his head, and all the congregation shall stone him. 15 “And speak to the children of Yisra’ĕl, saying, ‘Anyone who curses his Elohim shall bear his sin. 16 ‘And he who blasphemes the Name of יהוה shall certainly be put to death, and all the congregation certainly stone him, the stranger as well as the native. When he blasphemes the Name, he is put to death.

We are also going to continue to study the 613 laws of Torah which we can read at http://www.jewfaq.org/613.htm We are doing 7 laws each week. We shall study laws 227-233. We also have commentary, with editing from me, again from http://theownersmanual.net/The_Owners_Manual_02_The_Law_of_Love.Torah

The Court and Judicial Procedure
The Rule of Law

The Torah covers more than lofty theological issues. It also condescends to teach us how Yahweh feels about the little things, the intimate facets of our lives, through the most mundane details of human interaction. His Law shows us that God values fair play, justice, and honesty in our dealings with one another. As usual, we could pretty much just skip this section if we were able to master one basic principle: love one another.

227. To appoint judges and officers in every community of Israel (Deut. 16:18) (affirmative).

(227)Appoint judges and officers in every community of Israel. “You shall appoint judges and officers in all your gates, which Yahweh your God gives you, according to your tribes, and they shall judge the people with just judgment. You shall not pervert justice; you shall not show partiality, nor take a bribe, for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and twists the words of the righteous. You shall follow what is altogether just, that you may live and inherit the land which Yahweh your God is giving you.” (Deuteronomy 16:18-20) God knew that when His people had settled in the Land, disputes would arise from time to time. He therefore instructed that in any settlement big enough to have a city wall and a “gate” where the men of the place could come to discuss their issues, judges and officers would be appointed to settle these issues. A judge (Hebrew: shaphat) is one who pronounces sentence (either for or against); by implication he is one who vindicates or punishes. An officer (shoter), properly speaking, is a scribe, who would function in this case as a magistrate of the court. So the first thing we see is that Yahweh is requiring that lawful justice be readily available to all. Vigilante justice—doing what is right in your own eyes, taking the law into your own hands—was not to be practiced in Israel. These judges and officers would be chosen not by God but by the people of their cities: “You shall appoint…” It would thus behoove the citizens to choose their judges wisely.

Moses gives the simplest of instructions to the judges and officers: they were to judge fairly, justly, without being influenced by conflicts of interest. Bribes of any kind were strictly forbidden, including the subtle or hidden pressures to pervert justice—family relationships, wealth, or social influence. They were not to show partiality, but were to judge strictly on the facts of the case and the Law of God.

228. Not to appoint as a judge, a person who is not well versed in the laws of the Torah, even if he is expert in other branches of knowledge (Deut. 1:17) (CCN64).

(228)Do not appoint as a judge a person who is not well versed in the laws of the Torah, even if he is expert in other branches of knowledge. “…So I took the heads of your tribes, wise and knowledgeable men, and made them heads over you, leaders of thousands, leaders of hundreds, leaders of fifties, leaders of tens, and officers for your tribes. Then I commanded your judges at that time, saying, ‘Hear the cases between your brethren, and judge righteously between a man and his brother or the stranger who is with him. You shall not show partiality in judgment; you shall hear the small as well as the great; you shall not be afraid in any man’s presence, for the judgment is God’s.” (Deuteronomy 1:15-17) In this passage, Moses is recounting how and why judges and officers were originally appointed among the Israelites in the days following the exodus. (See Exodus 18:13-26. Interestingly, the original idea of “regional” judges was not Yahweh’s but Jethro’s—Moses’ father-in-law. It’s pretty clear that God likes it when we think creatively within the framework of His truth.) The permanent judicial system outlined in #227 is an outgrowth and extension of this system.

All Israelites were to be well versed in the Torah, being steeped in its truths from childhood. So there is a subtle perversion in the rabbinical mitzvot here. Knowledge of God’s Law was never intended to be the domain of the privileged few, the “ruling class” for whom divine knowledge brought power, wealth, and prestige. Granted, certain men are naturally more gifted in wisdom and discernment (the ability to perceive the truth of a judicial case) than others, and it was these who were to be selected as judges. But everyone was supposed to know the Torah backward and forward. I can’t honestly say I disagree with Maimonides’ mitzvah, because it’s patently good advice. But it’s man’s wisdom, not God’s instruction: Yahweh never actually said this.

229. To adjudicate cases of purchase and sale (Lev. 25:14) (CCA67).

(229)Adjudicate cases of purchase and sale. “In this Year of Jubilee, each of you shall return to his possession. And if you sell anything to your neighbor or buy from your neighbor’s hand, you shall not oppress one another. According to the number of years after the Jubilee you shall buy from your neighbor, and according to the number of years of crops he shall sell to you. According to the multitude of years you shall increase its price, and according to the fewer number of years you shall diminish its price; for he sells to you according to the number of the years of the crops. Therefore you shall not oppress one another, but you shall fear your God; for I am Yahweh your God.” (Leviticus 25:13-17) “Adjudicate” is not a word we use much anymore. It means: “to sit in judgment; to give a judicial decision.” The context of the supporting passage for this mitzvah, however, doesn’t even suggest a judicial party or arbitrating authority who’s supposed to be in charge of setting prices. Am I reading too much into this, or do we have another rabbinical power grab going on here?

I’m sure you’ll recognize this as part of the Law of Jubilee. All Yahweh is saying is that the value of the piece of land being “sold” should be based on the number of years left (or more to the point, the number of crops it will yield) until Jubilee, for at that time it will revert back to its original owner. The passage refers only to land, not to other items or commodities that might be purchased, and Yahweh makes it quite clear that there is no such thing as a land “purchase” or “sale” in theocratic Israel—there are only leases. No “adjudication” is called for; this is a matter of private agreement between the lessee and the lessor. See Mitzvot #210-226 for a more complete discussion of the Laws of the Sabbatical Year and Jubilee.

230. To judge cases of liability of a paid depositary (Ex. 22:9) (affirmative).

(230)Judge cases of liability of a paid depositary. “If a man delivers to his neighbor money or articles to keep, and it is stolen out of the man’s house, if the thief is found, he shall pay double. If the thief is not found, then the master of the house shall be brought to the judges to see whether he has put his hand into his neighbor’s goods. For any kind of trespass, whether it concerns an ox, a donkey, a sheep, or clothing, or for any kind of lost thing which another claims to be his, the cause of both parties shall come before the judges; and whomever the judges condemn shall pay double to his neighbor. If a man delivers to his neighbor a donkey, an ox, a sheep, or any animal to keep, and it dies, is hurt, or driven away, no one seeing it, then an oath of Yahweh shall be between them both, that he has not put his hand into his neighbor’s goods; and the owner of it shall accept that, and he shall not make it good. But if, in fact, it is stolen from him, he shall make restitution to the owner of it. If it is torn to pieces by a beast, then he shall bring it as evidence, and he shall not make good what was torn.” (Exodus 22:7-13) First, let us note that the supporting passage says nothing about the depositary (the one to whom the goods were entrusted for safe keeping) necessarily being paid, although he could be. The issue here is trustworthiness, whether in a professional capacity or not.

Here’s the scenario. Party A needs someone to look after his valuables, so he entrusts them to Party B (who in modern terms could be a banker, a house-sitter, a pet-groomer, a friend who has a little extra space in his garage or pasture—any number of things). Alternately, Party B temporarily needs something Party A has, so Mr. A either loans or rents the necessaries to Mr. B. But then Party A’s belongings get stolen or damaged while they were in Party B’s custody. Who’s responsible? Who makes up the loss? It depends.

In cases of theft, the thief must repay the owner double (see #275). The rub is, the thief isn’t always apprehended. There’s also a possibility that the theft is an “inside job,” that Party B himself has stolen it. It becomes a matter for the impartial judge to decide who is guilty. In cases of lost livestock (which was a primary concern to Moses’ immediate audience because livestock constituted most of the wealth), the evidence of the case had to speak for itself—if there was any. In the absence of any clear cut evidence, the trustee was required to swear an oath before Yahweh attesting to his innocence in the matter. It was presumed in this society that no one would perjure himself before God Almighty merely to steal a sheep. Too bad we can’t presume things like this any more.

The rules are pretty self-explanatory, and they’re the epitome of fairness. Revenge is not part of the formula, nor is the “rehabilitation” of the guilty party, but restitution is. It’s an eye opener to compare the Law of God to the alternative. In America, we throw an embezzler in prison, leaving the wronged party high and dry and costing the taxpayers a fortune. In Islam, he’d get his hand chopped off, a cruel and pointless waste of life. Yahweh’s instructions are practical, fair, and, in comparison with the alternative, merciful to both victim and perpetrator.

231. To adjudicate cases of loss for which a gratuitous borrower is liable (Ex. 22:13-14) (affirmative).

(231)Adjudicate cases of loss for which a gratuitous borrower is liable. “…But if, in fact, it is stolen from him, he shall make restitution to the owner of it. If it is torn to pieces by a beast, then he shall bring it as evidence, and he shall not make good what was torn. And if a man borrows anything from his neighbor, and it becomes injured or dies, the owner of it not being with it, he shall surely make it good. If its owner was with it, he shall not make it good; if it was hired, it came for its hire.” (Exodus 22:12-15) This is a continuation of the previous mitzvah. At its heart, the principle is that a man shall be held responsible for things that are entrusted to his care, but not for events that are entirely outside his control. Negligence is penalized; misfortune is not. Dishonesty is punished; bad luck is forgiven. And there’s another principle: with profit comes risk. A man who rents out his team of oxen is less likely to be entitled to restitution if one gets hurt than a man who loans his neighbor his team with no thought of profit. In the end, though, each case had to be weighed on its own merit. That’s why it was so important to choose wise judges.

232. To adjudicate cases of inheritances (Num. 27:8-11) (CCA73).

(232)Adjudicate cases of inheritances. “If a man dies and has no son, then you shall cause his inheritance to pass to his daughter. If he has no daughter, then you shall give his inheritance to his brothers. If he has no brothers, then you shall give his inheritance to his father’s brothers. And if his father has no brothers, then you shall give his inheritance to the relative closest to him in his family, and he shall possess it. And it shall be to the children of Israel a statute of judgment, just as Yahweh commanded Moses.” (Numbers 27:8-11) As we will see in so many of the mitzvot in this section, no judge is necessary to “adjudicate” what is being instructed here. The customs concerning inheritance were well established: the estate was normally to be divided among the sons, with the firstborn receiving a double portion—even if the firstborn was the son of an unloved wife (remember Leah?). See Deuteronomy 21:17. The Numbers passage describes the order of succession in those rare cases where the father had no sons. The main idea was to keep the land in the family, so it would go to the nearest relative—starting with the man’s daughter. (Daughters were not second-class citizens in Israel. Yahweh took care of them. But normally, they would marry men who had received inheritances of their own.)

Why was all this so important to Yahweh? The law of inheritance was designed to keep the land in one family generation after generation, and we’ve already seen in the law of Jubilee that lands could not permanently change hands. The Land, one’s inheritance, is symbolic of our salvation, our eternal life. It is a gift from God. But the children do not take possession of the inheritance until the father dies. Thus the inheritance of the land is a metaphor for Yahshua’s death enabling us to come into our inheritance of everlasting life—a legacy that’s guaranteed. Just as the Land belongs to Yahweh and He gave it to Israel as a permanent possession, life itself is Yahweh’s as well, and He gives it as a permanent possession to those who choose to abide in Him.

233. To judge cases of damage caused by an uncovered pit (Ex. 21:33-34) (affirmative).

(233)Judge cases of damage caused by an uncovered pit. “And if a man opens a pit, or if a man digs a pit and does not cover it, and an ox or a donkey falls in it, the owner of the pit shall make it good; he shall give money to their owner, but the dead animal shall be his.” (Exodus 21:33-34) In another example of Yahweh’s practical fairness in all things, here is God’s take on negligence. “You break it, you bought it,” or words to that effect. Looking on the bright side, though, the negligent landowner got to keep the carcass. He couldn’t eat it, however, even if it was kosher (oxen were, donkeys weren’t). As we saw in Mitzvah #156, animals that died by accident could be sold to gentiles, but they weren’t to be consumed by Jews. Bottom line: don’t create conditions that are potentially hazardous.

There is a spiritual application as well, if only we’ll bother to look for it. We should be careful not to place “stumbling blocks” before our brothers. If what we do in the name of “Christian liberty” creates a pitfall for him, a crisis of conscience, we just might find ourselves with his spiritual carcass on our hands.

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