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News Letter 5847-003
12th day of the 1st month 5847 years after the creation of Adam
The 1st Month in the Second year of the third Sabbatical Cycle
The Third Sabbatical Cycle of the 119th Jubilee Cycle
The Sabbatical Cycle of Earthquakes Famines, and Pestilences.
April 16, 2011

Shabbat Shalom Brethren,
Sometimes brethren I wonder if any of you are getting this. Sometimes I get tired of arguing with those who will not learn and will not open up their bibles to check and then once in while I get a letter like this one. Just a note but such a good note.

Greetings Joe,

I have for sometime wanted to present your DVD to my little assembly. Well today it was possible as we now have a player and TV in our activities area. Everyone really enjoyed your presentation. I know it made clear the reason for the Sabbath and Jubilee Years. Also to hear another Brother outside of our group teaching the same truths that we study every Sabbath.

2009 was the first time our assembly was aware of and keep this Sabbath Year (as best we could). Thanks to your news letter sent out before the Feast began we did a study of the scriptures to verify what you had in your news letter and realized we were to keep it.

Know this Brother, its not in vain, keep it up..

Yah Bless
Mississippi

I pray that each and every group and assembly and home fellowship and family members would watch the DVD. You can order it on the web site or watch it at http://www.sightedmoon.com/?page_id=251 and then do just as these people did and check the scriptures to see if what I saying is true or not. They did and they proved the Sabbatical years to be true and something we all need to keep. May Yehovah bless them for doing so and for walking down this road towards Him.

I also got one from a brother who has just finished reading The Prophecies of Abraham. He said… ……It took me a while, but I just finish your book a few weeks ago. I want to know how a ditch digger figured that all out. It makes so much sense and all falls into place. I’m very impressed with how Yahweh taught you and led you through this whole process.
We’ll see you at Sukkot.
Shabbat shalom, Joe

During this Passover season as you meet others from other groups, please share with them what you have learned from The Prophecies of Abraham and Sabbatical years. You are now a watchman too and responsible to share this information so they can also prepare for the coming curses by keeping the Sabbatical year. But if they don’t know because you won’t tell them, then……..

I have received many request on how to deleaven your home and how to keep the Passover and what is the foot washing. So I have sent this out early in hope to help some to understand this special time of year better. The thing to do is do your best and learn as much as you can. Yehovah will bless you with more understanding and next year you will grow in knowledge and understanding even more. But the most important thing is to take the first step and just do it.

On the evening of April 17, 2011 is the customary night of washing each other’s feet and the drinking of wine and the breaking of bread in remembrance of the last supper Yehshua had with the Apostles. This is not the Passover meal.

After supper Yehshua and His apostles went over to the Mount of Olives also known as the Mount of Offence where He prayed that this cup He was about to bear might pass from Him.

He was arrested this night and brought before the Sanhedrin and found guilty of blasphemy. They then brought Him to Pilot which is where the Dome of the Rock now is, who then sent Him to Herod which is up near where the Jaffa Gate now is who then sent Yehshua back to Pilot at what is now the Dome of the Rock, the Pavement. This all took place through the night and it is now morning of the 14th day of Nisan. This year it falls on the morning of the 18th of April.

Pilot gave in to the demands of the crowd and ordered Yehshua crucified. They then led Him and two other criminals back to the Mount of Offence, Calvary, Golgotha, the Skull or the place where the head count was done, where He was nailed to the wood that went across between His hands and then hoisted Him up and nailed Him to the Almond tree having already cursed the Fig tree so that He would not be nailed to it.

On April 18, 2011 which again is the 14th of Nisan from about Noon to the ninth hour it was dark. At the ninth hour Yehshua said it was finished just as the High Priest does when he has finished sacrificing the lambs that were to be slaughtered this day. And just as the sheep were slaughtered so was Yehshua as our Passover sacrifice at the exact same time 3 in the afternoon.

Once the lamb is sacrificed then the blood of the lamb is smeared on the doorpost and lintel. This is now the time to eat the Passover lamb as the sunsets and as the 15th day of Nisan begins. This is the night when the death Angel passed over those who had placed the blood on the doors. But those who had not the blood lost the first born at midnight.

In the morning after all the first born of Egypt had been killed, it is then when Israel up and left. This is the first day of Unleavened Bread, the 15th of Nisan the first Holy Day of this New Year.

I have told you this for all the new people now starting to keep Passover and the rest of the Holy Days for the very first time. It is truly awesome to see so many going back to the Torah and the ways of our Ancestor who came out with Moses and crossed the Red Sea.

Many are asking how do we do this? Most of those who call themselves Christian do not keep Passover even though Yehshua did.
Let me tell you what I do. It is not the end all be all way. It is what I try to do. You may develop your own customs.

On the 17 in the Evening is the Memorial of the foot washing.

To begin with I read 1Co 11:23 For I received from the Master that which I also delivered to you: that the Master יהושע in the night in which He was delivered up took bread, 24 and having given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat, this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” 25 In the same way also the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the renewed covenant in My blood. As often as you drink it, do this in remembrance of Me.” 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the death of the Master until He comes. 27 So that whoever should eat this bread or drink this cup of the Master unworthily shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Master. 28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread and drink of that cup.

This is why we do the de-leavening of our homes and of ourselves. We are examining ourselves and finding out that we are guilty of sin and need this Passover sacrifice. We do not take part in it halfheartedly.

It is a somber time. This is not a night to be talking about this or that. It is the memorial of the night Yehshua was betrayed and then killed. And the more you think about it the more somber the night is.

Without this first step pictured by the Passover, there would be no hope for humanity. But because Yehshua gave His life as our Passover sacrifice, we have a potential beyond human imagination! All the holy Days as told to you in Lev 23 explain this great potential

I myself will watch again the Passion by Mel Gibson and the Ten Commandments.

If you’re in a group then explain briefly why you all are here and set the tone for the night.

I begin in Mathew 26:26 And as they were eating, יהושע took bread, and having blessed, broke and gave it to the taught ones and said, “Take, eat, this is My body.” 27 And taking the cup, and giving thanks, He gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. 28 “For this is My blood, that of the renewed covenant, which is shed for many for the forgiveness of sins. 29 “But I say to you, I shall certainly not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on till that day when I drink it anew with you in the reign of My Father.” 30 And having sung a song, they went out to the Mount of Olives.

This is briefly the outline for the evening.

We begin with the foot washing.

Notice this is before Passover and after the super they were gathered for, had taken place. So this is not and was not the Passover meal as some teach.

I then read John 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 Shimʽon, to deliver Him up, 3 יהושע, knowing that the Father had given all into His hands, and that He had come from Elohim and was going to Elohim, 4 rose from supper and laid aside His garments, and having taken a towel, He girded Himself. 5 After that He put water into a basin and began to wash the feet of the taught ones, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded. 6 And so He came to Shimʽon Kĕpha, and he said to Him, “Master, do You wash my feet?” 7 יהושע answered and said to him, “You do not know what I am doing now, but you shall know after this.” 8 Kĕpha said to Him, “By no means shall You wash my feet, ever!” יהושע answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.” 9 Shimʽon Kĕpha said to Him, “Master, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head!” 10 יהושע said to him, “He who has had a bath does not need to wash, except his feet, but is clean altogether. And you are clean, but not all of you.” 11 For He knew who would deliver Him up, so He said, “You are not all clean.” 12 So when He had washed their feet and taken His garments, and sat down again, He said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? 13 “You call me Teacher and Master, and you say well, for I am. 14 “Then if I, Master and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 “For I gave you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. 16 “Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is an emissary greater than he who sent him. 17 “If you know these teachings, blessed are you if you do them.

I have had the distinct pleasure of doing this with a couple of men on the Mount of Olives last year and another friend the year before. It surely has a very special meaning to me now having done this there at this place at this time.

After reading this part of John we would then go and wash each other’s feet; Men doing the men’s feet and women doing the women’s feet. If you’re with your own family you can do each others. In your own family this will help to teach the children to serve each other in love and not to always think of themselves. This is a very humbling thing to do, especially as a father to allow your son to do your feet or you do his. It can be emotional as you submit in humility. Tremendous lessons learned in doing this one exercise.

I want to interject an email I received this week about unity or the lack of it. The emails says;
I am simply expressing my personal view as they currently stand, which is no doubt a product of my experiences and my scriptural (mis?)understanding.

That said in my rather short years I have seen many church splits, from large organizations, to living room churches and I have made some observations.
• Ironically unity never gets talked about more than during the middle of a split
• Accusations of lack of unity become weapons to be used against the opposing side (this is particularly the domain of larger organizations)
• Many lament the lack of unity expressing the idea that if only they could agree with us then we would have unity
• Practical methods for resolving conflict and maintaining unity are rarely discussed or pursued. ‘Truth’ is all that matters.

It is also my belief that many believe that unity is something that just happens when you have the ‘truth’ and as long as you pursue the ‘truth’ then unity will result with those that are also pursuing the truth. Even going so far as to think that the more aligned to ‘truth’ we become the more disunity will result as other people will resist the ‘truth’. In other words unity is a nice bonus but not a thing to be strived for or worked at. I am not directing this at anyone just trying to give food for thought from my own stumblings.

I think it is worth considering the events that occurred on the night of the Last Supper, particularly the foot washing. What does it mean for us? Is it just something we do on the night of the 14th or is it something that represents the way we strive to be all year round?

The foot washing is not simply an act of humility, as has often been taught in COG’s but the ultimate act of UNITY! I kid you not the very night that exemplified the ultimate and complete unity of the brethren has become a great source of division (granted that is perhaps not exactly the case here but the thought still applies). Let’s look at the ceremony and see why I say it is about unity not just humility.

Joh 13:1 The Messiah’s love for the disciples is stated with the idea that the following would confirm this reality

Joh 13:2 Judas had already determined to betray Yahoshua prior to the foot washing

Joh 13:3 John confirms that Yahoshua knew that he had been given all things by the Father

Joh 13:4-5 He begins to wash their feet

Joh 13:6-8 Peter refuses but the Messiah says a most profound statement that I believe we have often ignored “Unless I wash you, you have no share (part, portion) with me.” Therefore when we wash one another’s feet we are saying the same, we are saying that this person has a share with me.

Joh 13:9-11 Peter asks for a body wash but the Messiah rebukes him demonstrating the spiritual nature of what he was doing, as in he was expressing a desire and intent to spiritually clean his disciples. Despite knowing what Judas was about to do Yahoshua got down on his knees and expressed a desire for Judas to be spiritually cleansed and to share a part with him. Judas’s rejection of it was not conditional to Yahoshua’s desire to clean or offer a portion to him. The Messiah, through the act of foot washing was saying “I desire to do whatever I am able to do to spiritually clean this person, even if that means my death” indeed this is what he gave. So to when we get down on our knees to wash one another’s feet we are saying “I desire to do whatever I am able to do to clean this person, even if that means my death”. Furthermore when we have our feet washed we are recognizing that we are taking a share or portion with the one who is washing our feet. We are willing to have them wash us which means willing to have them exhort us as ones that look out for our spiritual well being, our spiritual cleanliness. We are not in this alone we are united with the people that we wash and the people that wash us, we are all sharing in each others portion and the Messiahs portion.

That is worth thinking about for a while. NB: of course our death cannot save the way the Messiah’s does however our desire and intent must still be the same as his because it is the ultimate act of love.

Joh 13:12-17 The Messiah commissions us to follow his example showing how even more important it was that we should wash one another’s feet seeing as he, the Messiah had washed the disciples feet.

Joh 13:34-35 Just as Joh 13:1 started the story of the foot washing with the concept of love so the Messiah ends it with a clear instruction to love one another. He goes even further and states that their love will be a sign to those outside that they were his disciples. The Messiah states that it is our love for one another that determines the proof of following him. How sad is it that the reality of this scripture has not become our core essence.

Joh 13:36-38 Yahoshua asks Peter this question, will you lay down your life for me?

Will you lay down your life for one another? Laying down one’s life for another is the ultimate act of love. You cannot have love without unity and you cannot have unity without love

This letter is speaking of something that we all should listen to. At Sukkot each year many of us gather together and we all do not agree on everything. Some keep the Conjunction moon and others the sighted and as such the Holy Days do not always line up together. But we all come together knowing what it is like to be disfellowshipped for our beliefs. We can argue all we want the rest of the year but at the Feast times we come together and work together.

After the foot washing we come back and read the next section with the Bread; Matzos.

As you break the bread in front of your group listen to the breaking of each piece. Know and understand this represents Yehshua’s body being ripped apart for you, Because of your sins.

Mathew 26:26 And as they were eating, יהושע took bread, and having blessed, broke and gave it to the taught ones and said, “Take, eat, this is My body.”

Heb 10:10 By that desire we have been set apart through the offering of the body of יהושע Messiah once for all. 11 And indeed every priest stands day by day doing service, and repeatedly offering the same slaughter offerings which are never able to take away sins. 12 But He, having offered one slaughter offering for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of Elohim,

Again what is sin? 1Jn 3:4 Everyone doing sin also does lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness.

1Pe 2:24 who Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree, so that we, having died to sins, might live unto righteousness1 – by whose stripes you were healed. Footnote: 1Rom. 6:2, 1 Peter 4:1-2.

Joh 6:48 “I am the bread of life. 49 “Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness and they died. 50 “This is the bread which comes down out of the heaven, so that anyone might eat of it, and not die. 51 “I am the living bread which came down out of the heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he shall live forever. And indeed, the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.”

1Co 10:16 The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not a sharing in the blood of Messiah? The bread that we break, is it not a sharing in the body of Messiah?

Now let me ask you when is the lamb ever beaten as Yehshua was? The answer is it never is. So what is beaten? It is the barley which is beaten to give up the grain which is then roasted as a grain offering on the wave sheaf day which is the day after the weekly Sabbath during the days of Unleavened bread, or in other words the first day of the week.

This same grain is made into bread which is what Yehshua represents; The Bread of life.

Yehshua said the bread represented His body, which He voluntarily gave to be beaten and to die as part of His complete sacrifice for us. He suffered that He might take our infirmities and bear our sicknesses (Mat 8:16 And when evening had come, they brought to Him many who were demon-possessed. And He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were sick, 17 that it might be filled what was spoken by Yeshayahu the prophet, saying, “He Himself took our weaknesses and bore our sicknesses.”) as our Healer. Bread is also associated with life, and Yehshua is the Bread that makes eternal life possible as we allow Him to live in us (Gal 2:20 “I have been impaled with Messiah, and I no longer live, but Messiah lives in me.1 And that which I now live in the flesh I live by belief in the Son of Elohim, who loved me and gave Himself for me. Footnote: 1Rom. 8:10, 2 Cor. 6:16, 2 Cor. 13:5, Eph. 3:17, Col. 1:27, 1 John 4:4.). And the fact that His followers all partake of this symbol of Him highlights the unity He wants us to have.

Isa 53:2 For He grew up before Him as a tender plant, and as a root out of dry ground. He has no form or splendour that we should look upon Him, nor appearance that we should desire Him – 3 despised and rejected by men, a man of pains and knowing sickness. And as one from whom the face is hidden, being despised, and we did not consider Him. 4 Truly, He has borne our sicknesses and carried our pains. Yet we reckoned Him stricken, smitten by Elohim, and afflicted. 5 But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our crookednesses. The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed. 6 We all, like sheep, went astray, each one of us has turned to his own way. And יהוה has laid on Him the crookedness of us all. 7 He was oppressed and He was afflicted, but He did not open His mouth. He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, but He did not open His mouth. 8 He was taken from prison and from judgment. And as for His generation, who considered that He shall be cut off from the land of the living? For the transgression of My people He was stricken. 9 And He was appointed a grave with the wrong, and with the rich at His death, because He had done no violence, nor was deceit in His mouth1. Footnote: 1See 1 Peter 2:22. 10 But יהוה was pleased to crush Him, He laid sickness on Him, that when He made Himself an offering for guilt, He would see a seed, He would prolong His days and the pleasure of יהוה prosper in His hand. 11 He would see the result of the suffering of His life and be satisfied. Through His knowledge My righteous Servant makes many righteous, and He bears their crookednesses.12 Therefore I give Him a portion among the great, and He divides the spoil with the strong, because He poured out His being unto death, and He was counted with the transgressors, and He bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

Once you have broken the unleavened bread share it with everyone and let them think about this the body of Yehshua.

We now move on to the wine part of this service.

Luk 22:14 And when the hour had come, He sat down, and the twelve emissaries with Him. 15 And He said to them, “With desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before My suffering, 16 for I say to you, I shall certainly not eat of it again until it is filled in the reign of Elohim.” 17 And taking the cup, giving thanks, He said, “Take this and divide it among yourselves, 18 for I say to you, I shall certainly not drink of the fruit of the vine until the reign of Elohim comes.”

Luk 22:20 Likewise the cup also, after supper, saying, “This cup is the renewed covenant in My blood which is shed for you.

The 4 glasses of red wine that are drunk during the seder symbolise Yehovah’s four statements of redemption in the Torah:

1. “I took you out”
2. “I rescued you”
3. “I liberated you”
4. “I took you to Me for a people”

The wine represents redemption. Although this meal Yehshua is eating is not the Passover meal he is showing them what the symbols of that meal mean.

The cup of Elijah derives from a problem in Talmudic Law. The problem is not knowing exactly how many cups of wine to drink at the Seder, four or five. The number of cups is based on the four expressions of deliverance, but there is actually a fifth expression of deliverance.

So, the rabbis came up with the perfect Jewish compromise. We fill the fifth cup, but we don’t drink from it. And since Elijah will proceed the Messiah, who will be able to tell us whether four or five cups are correct, we make the fifth cup of wine Elijah’s cup.

In some Seder services, each person at the Seder contributes some wine to the fifth cup, symbolizing everyone sharing in the messianic hope. At other Seder services, wine from the cup of Elijah is mixed with the fourth cup.

You can learn more about the 4 or 5 cups at http://www.sichosinenglish.org/cgi-bin/calendar?holiday=pesach10474

Now notice what Yehshua said after the meal; Luk 22:20 Likewise the cup also, after supper, saying, “This cup is the renewed covenant in My blood which is shed for you.

Is this not the 5th cup that Judah had a problem figuring out? “This cup is the renewed covenant in My blood which is shed for you.

Heb 9:13 For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the defiled, sets apart for the cleansing of the flesh, 14 how much more shall the blood of the Messiah, who through the everlasting Spirit offered Himself unblemished to Elohim, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living Elohim?

Heb 10:16 “This is the covenant that I shall make with them after those days, says יהוה, giving My laws into their hearts, and in their minds I shall write them,”1 Footnote: 1Jer. 31:33, Heb. 8:8-12. 17 and, “Their sins and their lawlessnesses I shall remember no more.”

Heb 10:19 So, brothers, having boldness to enter into the Set-apart Place by the blood of יהושע, 20 by a new and living way which He instituted for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, 21 and having a High Priest over the House of Elohim, 22 let us draw near with a true heart in completeness of belief, having our hearts sprinkled from a wicked conscience and our bodies washed with clean water.

The wine of the New Testament Passover represents Yehshua’s shed blood. His sacrifice made the forgiveness of our sins and the removal of our guilt possible. This opened the way for the New Covenant that Yehovah makes with believers, writing His laws on our hearts. We make this covenant when we are baptized and renew it each year at the Passover. This is why Passover and Atonement are tied together.
Though the High Priest was the only one allowed to go into the holiest place in the temple, the “Holiest of All” or the “Most Holy Place,” and only once a year, the blood of Yehshua opened the way for us to pray directly to our Father in the true holiest place in heaven at any time.

At this time you should all drink a small amount of wine.

After the wine we close the evening with the following readings.

Joh 13:18 “I do not speak concerning all of you. I know whom I have chosen, but that the Scripture might be filled, ‘He who eats bread with Me has lifted up his heel against Me.’ 19 “Now I say to you, before it takes place, that when it does take place, you shall believe that I am. 20 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who receives whomever I send, receives Me. And he who receives Me, receives Him who sent Me.” 21 When יהושע had said this He was troubled in spirit, and witnessed and said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, one of you shall deliver Me up.” 22 The taught ones looked at one another, doubting of whom He spoke. 23 And one of His taught ones, whom יהושע loved, was reclining on the bosom of יהושע. 24 Shimʽon Kĕpha then motioned to him to ask who it was of whom He spoke. 25 And leaning back on the breast of יהושע he said to Him, “Master, who is it?” 26 יהושע answered, “It is he to whom I shall give a piece of bread when I have dipped it.” And having dipped the bread, He gave it to Yehuḏah from Qerioth, son of Shimʽon. 27 And after the piece of bread, Satan entered into him. יהושע, therefore, said to him, “What you do, do quickly.” 28 But no one at the table knew why He said this to him, 29 for some were supposing, because Yehuḏah had the bag, that יהושע was saying to him, “Buy what we need for the festival,” or that he should give somewhat to the poor. 30 So, having received the piece of bread, he then went out straightaway, and it was night.

To help show that this was not the Passover meal I have said in the past that the bread Yehshua was leavened and not Matzos because Matzos does not soak up sauce. Others will argue this point differently so I bring it to your attention.

We continue to read in John;

Joh 13:31 When, therefore, he went out, יהושע said, “Now the Son of Aḏam has been esteemed, and Elohim has been esteemed in Him.32 “If Elohim has been esteemed in Him, Elohim shall also esteem Him in Himself, and straightaway esteem Him. 33 “Little children, yet a little while I am with you. You shall seek Me, and as I said to the Yehuḏim, ‘Where I am going, you are unable to come,’ I now also say to you. 34 “A renewed command I give to you, that you love one another, as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 “By this shall all know that you are My taught ones, if you have love for one another.” 36 Shimʽon Kĕpha said to Him, “Master, where are You going?” יהושע answered him, “Where I am going you are unable to follow Me now, but afterwards you shall follow Me.” 37 Kĕpha said to Him, “Master, why am I unable to follow You now? I shall lay down my life for You.” 38 יהושע answered him, “Shall you lay down your life for Me? Truly, truly, I say to you, the cock shall not crow at all until you have denied Me three times.

Joh 16:1 “These words I have spoken to you, so that you do not stumble. 2 “They shall put you out of the congregations, but an hour is coming when everyone who kills you shall think he is rendering service to Elohim. 3 “And this they shall do to you because they did not know the Father, nor Me. 4 “But I have said these words to you, so that when the hour comes you remember that I told them to you. And these words I did not say to you at the beginning, for I was with you. 5 “But now I go away to Him who sent Me, and not one of you asks Me, ‘Where are You going?’ 6 “But because I have said these words to you, grief has filled your heart. 7 “But I say the truth to you. It is better for you that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper shall not come to you at all, but if I go, I shall send Him to you. 8 “And having come, He shall reprove1 the world concerning sin,2 and concerning righteousness, and concerning judgment – Footnotes: 1Or confute or prove wrong. 22 Chr. 24:20, Neh. 9:30, Ezek. 36:27, Mic. 3:8, Acts 28:25-27. 9 concerning sin because they do not believe in Me, 10 concerning righteousness because I go to My Father and you see Me no more, 11 concerning judgment because the ruler of this world1 is judged. Footnote: 1See Lk. 4:6. 12 “I still have many words to say to you, but you are not able to bear them now. 13 “But when He comes, the Spirit of the Truth, He shall guide you into all the truth. For He shall not speak from Himself, but whatever He hears He shall speak, and He shall announce to you what is to come. 14 “He shall esteem Me, for He shall take of what is Mine and announce it to you. 15 “All that the Father has is Mine. That is why I said that He takes from what is Mine and announces it to you. 16 “A little while, and you do not see Me, and again a little while, and you shall see Me.”17 Therefore some of His taught ones said to one another, “What is this that He says to us, ‘A little while, and you do not see Me, and again a little while, and you shall see Me,’ and, ‘because I am going to the Father’?”

18 So they said, “What is this that He says, ‘A little while’? We do not know what He is saying.” 19 יהושע, therefore, knew that they were wishing to ask Him, and He said to them, “Are you asking one another about what I said, ‘A little while, and you do not see Me, and again a little while, and you shall see Me’? 20 “Truly, truly, I say to you that you shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice. And you shall be grieved, but your grief shall become joy. 21 “The woman has grief when she is in labour, because her hour has come, but as soon as she has given birth to the child, she no longer remembers the affliction, for joy that a man was born into the world. 22 “And you, therefore, have grief now, but I shall see you again and your heart shall rejoice, and no one takes your joy away from you. 23 “And in that day you shall ask Me none at all. Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My Name He shall give you. 24 “Until now you have asked naught in My Name. Ask, and you shall receive, in order that your joy might be complete. 25 “These words I have spoken to you in figures of speech, but an hour is coming when I shall no longer speak to you in figures of speech, but I shall declare the Father plainly to you. 26 “In that day you shall ask in My Name, and I do not say to you that I shall pray the Father on your behalf, 27 for the Father Himself does love you, because you have loved Me, and have believed that I came forth from Elohim. 28 “I came forth from the Father and have come into the world. Again, I leave the world and go to the Father.” 29 His taught ones said to Him, “See, now You are speaking plainly, and not using figure of speech! 30 “Now we know that You know all, and have no need that anyone should question You. By this we believe that You came forth from Elohim.” 31 יהושע answered them, “Do you now believe? 32 “See, an hour is coming, and has now come, that you are scattered, each to his own, and leave Me alone. Yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me.33 “These words I have spoken to you, that in Me you might have peace. In the world you have pressure, but take courage, I have overcome the world.

Joh 17:1 יהושע said these words, and lifted up His eyes to the heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come. Esteem Your Son, so that Your Son also might esteem You, 2 as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give everlasting life to all whom You have given Him.

3 “And this is everlasting life, that they should know You, the only true Elohim, and יהושע Messiah whom You have sent. 4 “I have esteemed You on the earth, having accomplished the work You have given Me that I should do. 5 “And now, esteem Me with Yourself, Father, with the esteem which I had with You before the world was.6 “I have revealed Your Name to the men whom You gave Me out of the world. They were Yours, and You gave them to Me, and they have guarded Your Word.1 Footnote: 1See Ps. 138:2. 7 “Now they have come to know that all You gave to Me, is from You. 8 “Because the Words which You gave to Me, I have given to them. And they have received them, and have truly known that I came forth from You, and they believed that You sent Me. 9 “I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours. 10 “And all Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine, and I have been esteemed in them. 11 “And I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to You. Set-apart Father, guard them in Your Name which You have given Me, so that they might be one,1 as We are. Footnote: 1See 10:30. 12 “When I was with them in the world, I was guarding them in Your Name which You have given Me, and I watched over them, and not one of them perished except the son of destruction, that the Scripture might be filled. 13 “And now I come to You. And I speak these words in the world, so that they have My joy completed in them. 14 “I have given them Your Word, and the world hated them because they are not of the world, as I am not of the world. 15 “I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You keep them from the wicked one. 16 “They are not of the world, as I am not of the world.

17 “Set them apart in Your truth – Your Word is truth.1 Footnote: 1See Ps. 119:142, 151. 18 “As You sent Me into the world, I also sent them into the world. 19 “And for them I set Myself apart, so that they too might be set apart in truth. 20 “And I do not pray for these alone, but also for those believing in Me through their word, 21 so that they all might be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You, so that they too might be one in Us, so that the world might believe that You have sent Me. 22 “And the esteem which You gave Me I have given them, so that they might be one as We are one, 23 “I in them, and You in Me, so that they might be perfected into one, so that the world knows that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me. 24 “Father, I desire that those whom You have given Me, might be with Me where I am, so that they see My esteem which You have given Me, because You loved Me before the foundation of the world. 25 “O righteous Father, indeed the world did not know You, but I knew You, and these knew that You sent Me.26 “And I have made Your Name known to them, and shall make it known,1 so that the love with which You loved Me might be in them, and I in them.” Footnote: 1See v. 6, Ps. 22:22, Heb. 2:12.

Joh 18:1 Having said these words, יהושע went out with His taught ones beyond the Qiḏron torrent, where there was a garden, into which He and His taught ones entered. 2 And Yehuḏah, who delivered Him up, also knew the place, because יהושע often met there with His taught ones. 3 Yehuḏah, then, having received the company of soldiers, and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees, came there with lanterns, and torches, and weapons. 4 יהושע, then, knowing all that would come upon Him, went forward and said to them, “Whom do you seek?” 5 They answered Him, “יהושע of Natsareth.” יהושע said to them, “I am.” And Yehuḏah, who delivered Him up, was also standing with them. 6 When, therefore, He said to them, “I am,” they drew back and fell to the ground. 7 Once more He asked them, “Whom do you seek?” And they said, “יהושע of Natsareth.” 8 יהושע answered, “I said to you that I am. If, then, you seek Me, allow these to go,” 9 in order that the word might be filled which He spoke, “Of those whom You have given Me, I have lost none.” 10 Then Shimʽon Kĕpha, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant, and cut off his right ear. And the servant’s name was Meleḵ. 11 Then יהושע said to Kĕpha, “Put your sword into the sheath. Shall I not drink the cup which My Father has given Me?” 12 Then the company of soldiers and the commander and the officers of the Yehuḏim seized יהושע and bound Him, 13 and they led Him away to Ḥanan first, for he was the father-in-law of Qayapha who was high priest that year.

All that we have just read was the night before Yehshua was arrested. Pray after this evening and think about what you have just experienced and then what Yehshua was going through this whole night. We will be praying this in the very same garden Yehshua did on the Mount of Olives.

Exo 12:5 ‘Let the lamb be a perfect one, a year old male. Take it from the sheep or from the goats. 6 ‘And you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month. Then all the assembly of the congregation of Yisra’ĕl shall kill it between the evenings. 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.

We are to put the blood on the door post. Note what you are told in Joh 10:7 יהושע therefore said to them again, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep.

Also note that the name Silwan which is the name of the town on the Mount of Offence means ‘Post’ in Arabic. It was at the top of this town where Yehshua was killed.

Exo 12:12 ‘And I shall pass through the land of Mitsrayim on that night, and shall smite all the first-born in the land of Mitsrayim, both man and beast. And on all the mighty ones of Mitsrayim I shall execute judgment. I am יהוה. 13 ‘And the blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I shall pass over you, and let the plague not come on you to destroy you when I smite the land of Mitsrayim. 14 ‘And this day shall become to you a remembrance. And you shall observe it as a festival to יהוה throughout your generations – observe it as a festival, an everlasting law.

We are to remember for ever this night when Israel left Egypt and how it came about and we are also to remember all the symbols which point us to Yehshua.

1Co 5:7 Therefore cleanse out the old leaven, so that you are a new lump, as you are unleavened. For also Messiah our Passover was offered for us.

Joh 1:29 On the next day Yoḥanan saw יהושע coming toward him, and said, “See, the Lamb of Elohim who takes away the sin of the world!1 Footnote: 1Mt. 1:21, Titus 2:14, 1 John 3:5 & 8.

1Pe 1:18 knowing that you were redeemed from your futile way of life inherited from your fathers, not with what is corruptible, silver or gold, 19 but with the precious blood of Messiah, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless,

Yehshua fulfilled the symbolism of the Passover lamb. Indeed, all the sacrificial sin offerings represented and were fulfilled by Yehshua (Heb 9:11 But Messiah, having become a High Priest of the coming good matters, through the greater and more perfect Tent not made with hands, that is, not of this creation, 12 entered into the Most Set-apart Place once for all, not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood, having obtained everlasting redemption. ).

Having now shared with you what I do on the Night of the foot washing before Passover I have just heard a teaching about the Door Threshold by Rico Cortes which all of you need to hear. It is extremely profound. YOU can listen to it on www.truth2U.org at http://www.truth2u.org/2011/04/rico-cortes-passover-the-threshold.html

For the week leading up to Passover I have removed all bread products and yeast and baking soda from my house. I vacuumed the up stairs and down stairs and check the freezer and between the cushions of the couch and in the duct vents and I did the windows at the same time. I also clean the inside of my truck and the backhoe I work in. I also do my lunch pail and then take all of these crumbs out to the garbage so they are not on my property when Passover comes.

I have now shared with you the night of the foot washing.

On Passover last year with Nehemiah we read each of the chapters of Exodus and divided it up and let people make short comments on each chapter. We let the children read too so that all at this special night are involved.

You could do this and or watch the ten Commandments. Passover is one of the most important holidays, and the Seder is the meal that kicks off the entire celebration. This is a meal is eaten in haste with your shoes on and staff in your hand ready to flee.

It is a rehearsal of a future flight we will have to keep. After the meal many people stay up all night singing and talking about the Exodus. Some of us are not up to that but it is up to you to make this your Feast by the way your family keeps it.

Some have asked who can come. I say anyone who is a believer and or those who are learning and not argumentative. I will defend this position by the follow two links
http://www.gentiles-and-circumcision.info/exodus-12-48-passover-gentiles-circumcised.html
http://www.gentiles-and-circumcision.info/acts-10-cornelius-gentiles-baptised-without-circumcision.html

It is not just for those who are circumcised.

I also beleive you are to eat unleavened bread for all seven days so have a box of matzos handy and do attempt to eat some each day. It will remind you of what the Israelites were doing this week. And yes you should think about this as if you were with them fleeing pharaoh and then on the last day of unleavened bread they crossed the red sea.

For those of you who are knew do the best you can with what you understand. Get together with others of like mind and share this Holy Day season with them. May Yehovah bless your understanding and knowledge as you grow closer to Him this week pregnant in meaning and rich in teaching lessons.

You now have just a few days left to de-leaven your homes cars and work places.

We now return to our 3 1/2 year Torah studies which you can follow at http://www.sightedmoon.com/files/TriennialCycleBeginningAviv.pdf
We are now in our 57th week, since we began this first year of this 3rd Sabbatical cycle of the 119th Jubilee cycles since Adam and we began at Aviv 1 which was March 20, 2010 on the Gregorian calendar. We are now into our second year of this 3 ½ year study. I do hope you are reading each of these chapters as we come to them and not just my own comments on them. Read it yourself and let Yehovah inspire you. If you go to http://www.sightedmoonnl.com/?page_id=619 you can find each of the studies we have done so far since 1st of Aviv/March 20 of this past year 5846. To read each of the studies in this second year 5847 you can go to http://www.sightedmoonnl.com/?page_id=719

For some of you there are special torah readings which can be done during the Passover season. If you are interested in doing this here is the page to go to, to learn more these readings. http://www.sightedmoon.com/files/TriennialCycleBeginningAviv2.pdf

16/04/2011 Ex 9 1 Kings 17-18 Ps 118 Luke 23:1-49
Ex 9

From Karaite Korner we learn about Exodus 9:31-32
Abib indicates a stage in the development of the barley crops. This is clear from Ex 9,31-32 which describes the devastation caused by the plague of hail:
“And the flax and the barley were smitten, because the barley was Abib and the flax was Giv’ol. And the wheat and the spelt were not smitten because they were dark (Afilot).”

The above passage relates that the barley crops were destroyed by the hail while the wheat and spelt were not damaged. To understand the reason for this we must look at how grain develops. When grains are early in their development they are flexible and have a dark green color. As they become ripe they take on a light yellowish hue and become more brittle. The reason that the barley was destroyed and the wheat was not is that the barley had reached the stage in its development called Abib and as a result had become brittle enough to be damaged by the hail. In contrast, the wheat and spelt were still early enough in their development, at a stage when they were flexible and not susceptible to being damaged by hail. The description of the wheat and spelt as “dark” (Afilot) indicates that they were still in the stage when they were deep green and had not yet begun to lighten into the light yellowish hue which characterizes ripe grains. In contrast, the barley had reached the stage of Abib at which time it was no longer “dark” and at this point it probably had begun to develop golden streaks.

I would also like to urge you all to read Exodus 12 at this time of year and to watch the movie the Ten Commandments. If you do not have it, go and rent it.

1 Kings 17-18
http://www.ucg.org/bible-commentary/1-Kings/Elijah-proclaims-drought;-Elijah-and-the-widow/default.aspx
Ahab and Elijah (1 Kings 17)

The great prophet Elijah is now introduced. Halley’s Bible Handbook states: “Six chapters are given to Ahab’s reign, while most of the kings have only a part of one chapter. The reason: it is largely the story of Elijah…. Elijah’s ‘rare, sudden and brief appearances, his undaunted courage and fiery zeal, the brilliance of his triumphs, the pathos of his despondency, the glory of his departure, and the calm beauty of his reappearance [in a vision] on the Mt. of Transfiguration, make him one of the grandest characters Israel ever produced’” (1965, note on 1 Kings 17). It is noteworthy that only two prophets appeared in the vision with Jesus in the transfiguration—Moses and Elijah (Matthew 17:1-9).

Elijah’s ministry would be the pattern for later important ministries. Elijah’s successor, Elisha, received Elijah’s mantle with a mandate to carry on the same type of ministry—even completing some of the tasks given to Elijah. John the Baptist went “before [Jesus Christ] in the spirit and power of Elijah” (Luke 1:17). The rest of Luke 1:17 adds further understanding of the overall perspective of the original ministry of Elijah. And in Malachi 4:5, God says: “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD.” Apparently, John the Baptist was the forerunner of an end-time Elijah figure, who would preach in the spirit and power of Elijah to prepare the way for Christ’s second coming (compare Matthew 17:10-12).
In marrying Jezebel and accommodating her religion, Ahab allowed Baal worship to be reintroduced in a big way into Israel (1 Kings 16:31-33). Prior to this time, the Kingdom of Israel’s apostasy had apparently been confined to the sin of Jereboam son of Nebat, who built the golden calves and established new worship centers in Dan and Bethel. Near the end of the wilderness wanderings under Moses, there had been a brief encounter with Baal of Peor in connection with the Balaam incident (Numbers 25:3-9; compare Revelation 2:14). And some Baal and Ashtoreth worship had taken place in the rather disorganized period of the judges (Judges 2:11-19; 3:7; 6:25-32; 8:33; 10:6-16; 1 Samuel 7:3-4; 12:9-11). Solomon had built altars to various pagan deities, some of which were equated at times with Baal (1 Kings 11:1-8). But since the days of Samuel, through the period of the kings up until Ahab (about 200 years), there is no specific mention of Israelite Baal worship taking place.

Now, however, Jezebel not only brings in Baal worship but attempts to destroy all of the prophets of God, 100 of whom are protected by the God-fearing governor of Ahab’s house, as we will see in our next reading (1 Kings 18:3-4). So God sends one of the most famous prophets of the Bible, Elijah, to pronounce judgment on Ahab, beginning with a three-and-a-half-year drought (Luke 4:25; James 5:17-18) and its resulting famine. The drought was apparently a forerunner and type of a future drought referred to in the book of Revelation (11:3, 6). However, the end-time drought will be much greater in scope—as the dire events preceding Christ’s return will be worse than any that have ever happened (Matthew 24:21).

Amazingly, in the growing sparseness of the land, God wonderfully provides for His servant via special delivery from the birds of the air!

Ironically, Zarephath—Elijah’s place of refuge during the latter years of the drought, where God miraculously provides for the widow and her son who take him in—was in the region of Sidon (see Luke 4:26), the same territory that Jezebel came from (1 Kings 16:31).

God’s provision through the multiple miracles we see here should encourage our faith. He can take care of our needs even when it looks like it’s impossible to meet them (see Matthew 6:25-34).

First, we should take inspiration from the godly and heroic example of Obadiah (not the same as the author of the biblical book by that name). Next, Elijah extends an invitation to a grand test to show who is the true God and who are His servants. Elijah told the people that it was time for them to stop sitting on the fence—faltering between two opinions by the syncretism of intermingling the worship of the true God with the worship of Baal. The same message applies today to the participants of modern Christendom, who, however unwittingly, mix elements of pagan worship—such as crosses, Christmas trees, Sunday observance, Easter eggs and Easter bunnies—with the worship of the God of the Bible.

The contest Elijah arranges was designed to apparently give every advantage to the Baal worshipers. Mount Carmel, near the modern city of Haifa on the Mediterranean coast, was considered sacred to Baal. The answering by fire apparently referred to lightning—and Baal was considered to be the god of storm, with lightning in his divine arsenal. Moreover, Elijah calls for his own sacrifice to the true God, and even the firewood it was to be burned upon, to be thoroughly and completely soaked with water—an ironic touch considering the kingdom had been plagued by a three-and-a-half-year drought that had started at Elijah’s command.

Moreover Elijah is just one against 450 prophets of Baal (1 Kings 18:22). It does not appear that the 400 prophets of Asherah answered the challenge (compare verse 19). Incidentally, we should consider Elijah’s statement that he alone is left a prophet of the Lord (verse 22). Why would he say this, since Obadiah had just reported his hiding of 100 of God’s prophets? (Verses 4, 13.) Perhaps they had been killed after Obadiah hid them, though it seems unlikely that this would have gone unmentioned in context. More likely Elijah was referring in verse 22 to himself being the only true prophet still carrying on a public ministry. The others had all gone underground.

The prophets of Baal probably begin calling on their gods by the time of the morning sacrifice. To evoke some sort of response from their god, they leap about and chant. By noon, the supposed height of the power of their sun god, there was still no answer—and Elijah begins his taunting. “Busy” in verse 27 is a euphemism. Notice the verse in the Contemporary English Version: “At noon, Elijah began making fun of them. ‘Pray louder!’ he said. ‘Baal must be a god. Maybe he’s daydreaming or using the toilet or traveling somewhere. Or maybe he’s asleep, and you have to wake him up.”

And rather than give up, they do cry out louder, leaping more earnestly—and they even “cut themselves, as was their custom” (verse 28). So, as bizarre as it may seem, such uncontrolled frenzy and self-mutilation were actually normal elements in their worship. This illustrates how pagan religion is often quite harmful to its participants. By contrast, the true religion God gave through Moses forbade such cuttings in the flesh (Leviticus 21:5; 19:28).

All of this continues until the time of the evening sacrifice, when Elijah finally takes his turn, beginning with the construction of God’s altar and the soaking of the sacrifice. In the end, God showed Himself to be the true God over storms, with real power to control the elements—indeed, the true God over all, while Baal was proven to be nothing.

18:1 And it came to pass after many days that the word of the LORD came to Elijah, in the third year, saying, “Go, present yourself to Ahab, and I will send rain on the earth.”
2 So Elijah went to present himself to Ahab; and there was a severe famine in Samaria.
3 And Ahab had called Obadiah, who was in charge of his house. (Now Obadiah feared the LORD greatly.
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“Obadiah” in Modern Hebrew is pronounced as “Ovad-Yah” The name means Servant or slave (Aved) of the Almighty.
According to some of the Sages Obadiah was an Edomite Convert and author of the Biblical Book of Obadiah whose main theme is a prophecy against Edom.
http://britam.org/obadiah.html
The Book of Obadiah prophecies that in the End Times Joseph will fight against Edom and defeat him.
Obadiah according to the Classical Rabbinicial Commentators refers to the Lost Israelites from the Ten Tribes being in the region OF THE CANAANITES EVEN UNTO ZAREPHATH (Obadiah 1:20). This meant the area of Western Europe especially France and the British Isles.
See the Brit-Am Commentary on Obadiah 1:20 for details and explanation.
http://britam.org/obadiah.html
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4 For so it was, while Jezebel massacred the prophets of the LORD, that Obadiah had taken one hundred prophets and hidden them, fifty to a cave, and had fed them with bread and water.)
5 And Ahab had said to Obadiah, “Go into the land to all the springs of water and to all the brooks; perhaps we may find grass to keep the horses and mules alive, so that we will not have to kill any livestock.”
6 So they divided the land between them to explore it; Ahab went one way by himself, and Obadiah went another way by himself.
7 Now as Obadiah was on his way, suddenly Elijah met him; and he recognized him, and fell on his face, and said, “Is that you, my lord Elijah”.
8 And he answered him, “It is I. Go, tell your master, “Elijah is here.”.
9 So he said, “How have I sinned, that you are delivering your servant into the hand of Ahab, to kill me”.
10 As the LORD your God lives, there is no nation or kingdom where my master has not sent someone to hunt for you; and when they said, “He is not here,” he took an oath from the kingdom or nation that they could not find you.
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Ahab was a powerful monarch and had influence in the international arena.
There follow two brief extracts (one from Wikipedia, the othjer from the Jewish Virutal Library) concerning Ahab that give some idea of who he was.

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## (1) Ahab
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ahab
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Extracts:

Ahab (or Ach’av or Achab in Douay-Rheims or Hebrew: , Modern A av Tiberian A , A ; “Brother of the father”) was king of Israel and the son and successor of Omri (1 Kings 16:29-34). William F. Albright dated his reign to 869 ” 850 BC, while E. R. Thiele offered the dates 874 ” 853 BC.[1]

Ahab married Jezebel, the daughter of King Ithobaal I of Tyre, and the alliance was doubtless the means of procuring political support.

Shalmaneser III’s (859-824 BC) Kurkh Monolith names King Ahab.

During Ahab’s reign, Moab, which had been conquered by his father, remained tributary; Judah, with whose king, Jehoshaphat, he was allied by marriage, was probably his vassal; only with Aram Damascus is he believed to have had strained relations.

Battle of Qarqar

The Battle of Qarqar is one event mentioned by external sources and was perhaps at Apamea where Shalmaneser III of Assyria fought a great confederation of princes from Cilicia, Northern Syria, Israel, Ammon and the tribes of the Syrian desert (853 BC). Here Ahab (A-ha-ab-bu mat) (Adad-’idri).

Ahab’s contribution was reckoned at 2,000 chariots and 10,000 men. The numbers are comparatively large and possibly include forces from Tyre, Judah, Edom and Moab. The Assyrian king claimed a victory, but his immediate return and subsequent expeditions in 849 BC and 846 BC against a similar but unspecified coalition seem to show that he met with no lasting success. According to the Tanakh, however, Ahab with 7,000 troops had previously overthrown Ben-hadad and his thirty-two kings, who had come to lay siege to Samaria, and in the following year obtained a decisive victory over him at Aphek, probably in the plain of Sharon at Antipatris (1 Kings 20). A treaty was made whereby Ben-hadad restored the cities which his father had taken from Ahab’s father (that is, Omri, but see 15:20, 2 Kings 13:25), and trading facilities between Damascus and Samaria were granted.

Three years later, war broke out on the east of the Jordan River, and Ahab with Jehoshaphat of Judah went to recover Ramoth-Gilead. During this battle Ahab disguised himself but was shot by an arrow and mortally wounded (ch. 22). The Hebrew Bible says that dogs licked his blood, according to the prophecy of Elijah.

## He was succeeded by his sons, Ahaziah and Jehoram.

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(2) Ahab
Jewish Virtual Library
http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/biography/Ahab.html
(born c. 853 - BCE Reigned c. 874″c. 853 BCE)
Extracts:

Ahab whose name means “the Father is my brother”, i.e. “God is my close relative” (Pfeiffer, 1988: 40), owed much of his success to his father Ormi”s efforts to set the Northern Kingdom on a firm political foundation. Omri founded Samaria, the third capital of the Northern Kingdom in his 7th year (c. 880 BC). Jeroboam had chosen Shechem, a place of with ancient associations with the patriarchs Abraham (Gen. 12:6) and Jacob (Gen. 33:18). Later the capital had moved to Tirzah, about 7 miles to the north-east of Shechem.” (Bruce, 1983: 43). Omri bought the hill of Samaria from Shemer for 2 shekels of silver (1 Kings 16:24), and increased its natural advantages by fortification. Samaria was built on an isolated hill, 90m [300 ft] in height, connected with the surrounding hill country only by a saddle to the east and surrounded by a fertile valley (Isa. 28:1, 4) (Van Selms, 1988: 296). The strength of Samaria can be gauged by the number of sieges it withstood against well-equipped armies during its 150 year history. It took the Assyrians three years to capture it (725-722 BC). The city could control the trade routes to the North, East and West to the Valley of Esdraelon. Omri made Samaria the property of the Kings of Israel; technically not subject to the tribes and their popular gatherings, but only to the King and local authorities (Van Selms, 1988: 296) as David had done for Jerusalem.

The Moabite Stone records that Moab was subjugated by Israel during the reign of Omri (something that Scripture does not mention) (Prichard, 1955, 320-321). Some measure of his success can be gained when reading Shalmanesser III”s account of the tribute he received from Jehu (841-814 BC) (1 Kings 19:16-17). Shalmanesser refers to Jehu as “the son of Omri”. Although not physically descended from him by this time the Royal house of Israel was known internationally by the name of its most famous member. Omri was as far thinking politically as he was strategically. By the time his son Ahab acceded to the throne in 874 BC he had already cemented his father”s alliance with Phoenicia by marrying Jezebel daughter of Ethbaal, the priest-king of Tyre. …He [i.e. Ahab] later arranged the marriage of his daughter Athaliah to Joram, crowned prince of Judah, sealing an alliance with their father Jehoshaphat. This marriage was to have serious religious consequences; for Athaliah had imbibed her mother”s Baalism, which later led to a crisis in Judah (see 2 Kings 11). Joint operations between Ahab and Jehoshaphat were equally ill-fated. Their trading venture, again reminiscent of Solomon”s (1 Kings 9:26-28), was brought to an abrupt halt when the entire fleet was wrecked before it had even set sail (2 Chron. 20:35-37; 1 Kings 22:48). Joint military operations also ended in disaster (1 Kings 22:29-38).

Jezebel”s patronage of the cults of Ba”al and Asherah led Ahab into direct confrontation with one of the greatest of the prophets, Elijah. He appeared suddenly before the king and defied Ba”al by declaring that by his word alone would there be either rain or dew in the land (1 Kings 17:1). Before Ahab could detain him Elijah was gone and despite an international search Elijah remained hidden (18:9). After three years Elijah sought out the king, who was now searching for grass for his horses (18:5-6). Obadiah, who was in charge of Ahab”s palace, brought him word of where Elijah was to be found and when they met Ahab accused him of being a “troubler of Israel.”

Ben Hadad, King of Aram aided by 32 of his vassals attempted to capture Samaria. Initially it appears that Ahab was prepared to surrender to him and accept the lose of his wives and possessions (20:1-7). Ben Hadad, however, appears to have wanted a fight and so made his demands so unreasonable that Ahab had no choice but to refuse them and prepare for a siege (20:9-12)…Ben-Hadad was finally captured by Ahab”s inferior forces after being defeated at Aphek in the plain of Jezreel the following year.

…the states of Israel, Aram, Hamath and nine other smaller powers were forced to unite against the growing power of Assyria, which had been impotent for almost two centuries due to the attacks of Aramean nomads. From 900 BC onwards the power of Assyria swept westwards and in 853 Shalmaneser III faced the coalition of Syrian and Cilician states at Qarqar on the Orontes river. According to Shalmaneser”s own records Ben-Hadad fielded 20 000 soldiers, and Ahab 10 000 soldiers and 2 000 chariots.

Shalmaneser claims a sweeping victory; the corpses of his foes, he says, covered the plain of the Orontes and dammed the stream itself [Pritchard, 1955: 277-281]. But the fact that he did not pursue his alleged advantage and returned home and did not return for 12 years suggests that the confederates gave a good account of themselves.” (Bruce, 1983: 47, brackets mine).

The size of the force that Ahab fielded is ample proof that he was the most powerful king in the history of the Northern kingdom (Hoerth, 1998: 313). After the Assyrian threat had been vanquished, for a time at least, the alliance soon broke up and war resumed between Israel and Aram.

Following the Battle of Qarqar Ahab called upon his ally Jehoshaphat [of Judah] to aid him in his struggle with Ben Hadad. …Despite entering battle in disguise Ahab was finally slain by a stray arrow (22:1-34). At the last he appears to have shown real courage in remaining propped up in his chariot until he died from lose of blood, to delay the dispersal of his troops when they saw that he was dead (22:34-36). Ahab was succeeded by his son Ahaziah (1 Kings 22:40). He had ruled Israel for 22 years.##
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Let me share with you why there are 76 years difference between the Jewish year of 5771 and our current year 5847 You can read this in This year of 5843 or the Jewish year 5767 Why the difference? The missing Kings. http://www.sightedmoon.com/?page_id=150
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11 And now you say, “Go, tell your master, “Elijah is here”"!
12 And it shall come to pass, as soon as I am gone from you, that the Spirit of the LORD will carry you to a place I do not know; so when I go and tell Ahab, and he cannot find you, he will kill me. But I your servant have feared the LORD from my youth.
13 Was it not reported to my lord what I did when Jezebel killed the prophets of the LORD, how I hid one hundred men of the LORD”s prophets, fifty to a cave, and fed them with bread and water”
14 And now you say, “Go, tell your master, ‘Elijah is here.’ “He will kill me!”

15 Then Elijah said, “As the LORD of hosts lives, before whom I stand, I will surely present myself to him today.”
16 So Obadiah went to meet Ahab, and told him; and Ahab went to meet Elijah.
17 Then it happened, when Ahab saw Elijah, that Ahab said to him, “Is that you, O troubler of Israel”.
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Ahab acknowledged that it was due to Elijah that a drought had come upon the land.
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18 And he answered, “I have not troubled Israel, but you and your father’s house have, in that you have forsaken the commandments of the LORD and have followed the Baals.
19 Now therefore, send and gather all Israel to me on Mount Carmel, the four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal, and the four hundred prophets of Asherah, who eat at Jezebel’s table.”
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The term translated as Asherah in Hebrew here is “Ha-Asherah”.
Asherah was a Canaanite goddess parallel to the Babylonian Ishtareth, the Egyptian Isis, and the Anglo-Saxon Eostre.
Asherah is also the term given to a form of pagan worship associated with a group of trees on top of hill.
A remnant of this practice is noticed today amongst the Palestinians who denude the fields of all trees and vegetation by over-grazing them with goats etc but sometimes leave a group of trees on top of a hill around a shrine dedicated to one of their dead holy men.

Asherah pole
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asherah_pole
An Asherah pole is a sacred tree or pole that stood near Canaanite religious locations to honor the Ugaritic mother-goddess Asherah, consort of El.

Maypole

Maypole in Sweden

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maypole
Dancing around the maypole, in “meberg, Sweden
The maypole is a tall wooden pole …erected to celebrate May Day or Midsummer…With roots in Germanic paganism, the maypole traditionally appears in most Germanic countries.

Maypole dance
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maypole_dance
Maypole dancing is a form of folk dance from western Europe, especially England, Sweden, Galicia, Portugal and Germany,

According to the polemic anti-Catholic pamphlet, The Two Babylons
[Alexander Hislop in 1853], the origin of the maypole dance began in ancient Babylon during sex worship and fertility rites. A carved upright representation of the human penis was danced around by young females and woven with ribbons to ensure offspring. There is a lack of evidence to support this view, however.

http://paganismwicca.suite101.com/article.cfm/pagan_may_day_festival_beltane
Beltane, also called May Eve, begins on April 30th, according to some Pagan traditions, while others celebrate only on May 1st. It is a day of celebration, dancing around the Maypole and feasting.

Beltane in Celtic means “Fire of Bel”. Bel is another form of the name Baal.

Beltane
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beltane
Early Gaelic sources from around the 10th century state that the druids of the community would create a need-fire on top of a hill on this day and drive the village’s cattle through the fires to purify them and bring luck (Eadar d”theine Bhealltainn in Scottish Gaelic, ‘Between two fires of Beltane’).

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Elijah’s Mount Carmel Victory
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20 So Ahab sent for all the children of Israel, and gathered the prophets together on Mount Carmel.
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Scene from Mount Carmel

Mount Carmel was in the territory of Manasseh (Joshua 19:26). There had been there an altar to the Almighty that the priests of Baal had broken down.
The word Carmel (says Daat Mikra) connotes “Pasture of Shepherds”.
Another explanation of the name is “Vineyard (Cerem) of God (el)”.
The present Israeli city of Haifa is built on Mount Carmel.
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21 And Elijah came to all the people, and said, “How long will you falter between two opinions” If the LORD is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him.” But the people answered him not a word.
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## falter between two opinions##
The word translated as falter is “Poschim” from the same root as Pesach the Hebrew word for Passover.
Pesach received its name because the Angel of God skipped over the houses of the Israelites when he struck the Egyptian firstborn.
Here the word “Poschim” seems to connote an attitude by which they tried to keep one foot in each camp.

We see here that the Israelites had not entirely abandoned worship of the Almighty.
Ahab named his children Jehoram (”The ALMIGHTY is high”), Ahaziah (” The ALMIGHTY has taken hold”), and Athaliah (”The ALMIGHTY is exalted”).
Other sources indicate that in the popular eye a kind of synthesis had developed in which the separate identity of The ALMIGHTY and of the Baal merged
and interchanged one with the other.
God was not pleased with this.

[1-Kings 18:22 Then Elijah said to the people, I alone am left a prophet of the LORD; but Baals prophets are four hundred and fifty men.

We saw above (1-Kings 18:13) that Obadiah the Minister of Ahab was hiding one hundred prophets in two different caves and supplying them with food and water.
One explanation (Meshek Chochmah) is that even though other prophets remained these were individuals who could receive Divine Inspiration but would not necessarily always do so whereas Elijah was at a higher and more permanent level.
Another explanation is by claiming to be the only prophet left Elijah was covering up for the others of whom Ahab was unaware.
The Sages pointed out that Obadiah could not be maintaining so many prophets in hiding without the involvement of others and the knowledge of many more.
They said that this was one of the positive points about the generation of Ahab. They were not informers. By virtue of their abstaining from evil speech and tattle-bearing they were victorious in warfare, said the Sages.

cf.
http://britam.org/hosea4.html
[Hosea 4:17] EPHRAIM IS JOINED TO IDOLS: LET HIM ALONE.
“Ephraim is joined to idols” in Hebrew, “Havur Etzavim Ephraim ” which has a double meaning also implying “Ephraim is a union of idols.” The Rabbis (Midrash Tanchuma) said that the verse hinted at Ephraim being unified even though they were idolaters and by virtue of this unity (says the Sages) he is still formidable, “LET HIM ALONE.”

There is a social-psychological explanation for this in so far as not informing on each other leads to unity of purpose and mutual forgiveness.

[1-Kings 18:23 Therefore let them give us two bulls; and let them choose one bull for themselves, cut it in pieces, and lay it on the wood, but put no fire under it; and I will prepare the other bull, and lay it on the wood, but put no fire under it.

[1-Kings 18:24 Then you call on the name of your gods, and I will call on the name of the LORD; and the God who answers by fire, He is God.
So all the people answered and said, It is well spoken.

The Zohar says that the god baal was a sun god whereas Asherah was associated with the moon.
Archaeology seems to confirm this.
The Celtic god “Bel” (derived from baal) was also a solar god.

Wikipedia. Belenus
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Belenus
## In Celtic mythology, Belenus (also Belinus, Belenos, Belinos, Belinu, Belanu, Bellinus, Belus, Bel) was a deity worshipped in Gaul, Britain and Celtic areas of Austria and Spain. He had shrines from Aquileia on the Adriatic to Kirkby Lonsdale in England.[1][2] His name means “shining one” [3] or “henbane god”[4] and he is associated with heat and healing.

## The solar or healing implications of Belenus (?the brilliant one [5] or ?henbane god?[4]) would have encouraged syncretism with the god Apollo.

Bel was an alternative pronunciation of Baal.

Wikipedia. Bel (mythology)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bel_(mythology)
## Bel …signifying “lord” or “master”, is a title rather than a genuine name, applied to various gods in Babylonian religion…Linguistically Bel is an East Semitic form cognate with Northwest Semitic Ba’al with the same meaning.

Baal (Bel) was therefore associated with heat and fire. Elijah was challenging the priests of Baal to prove his ability in the field he was supposed to be most paramount in.

Elijah was acting as an agent of the Almighty and by Divine Direction.
Normally it would be forbidden to make such tests of God.
It is also normally forbidden to say that if a pagan deity can do such and such we will believe in it.
No matter what sign of wonder a pagan faith may produce we are forbidden to believe in anything but the Almighty.

Deuteronomy 13:1 If there arises among you a prophet or a dreamer of dreams, and he gives you a sign or a wonder, 13:2 and the sign or the wonder comes to pass, of which he spoke to you, saying, ‘Let us go after other gods’, which you have not known, ‘and let us serve them”, 13: 3 you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams, for the LORD your God is testing you to know whether you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. 13:4 You shall walk after the LORD your God and fear Him, and keep His commandments and obey His voice; you shall serve Him and hold fast to Him.

[1-Kings 18:25 Now Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, Choose one bull for yourselves and prepare it first, for you are many; and call on the name of your god, but put no fire under it.

[1-Kings 18:26 So they took the bull which was given them, and they prepared it, and called on the name of Baal from morning even till noon, saying, O Baal, hear us! But there was no voice; no one answered. Then they leaped about the altar which they had made.

[1-Kings 18:27 And so it was, at noon, that Elijah mocked them and said, Cry aloud, for he is a god; either he is meditating, or he is busy, or he is on a journey, or perhaps he is sleeping and must be awakened.

[1-Kings 18:28 So they cried aloud, and cut themselves, as was their custom, with knives and lances, until the blood gushed out on them.

Even now the Shiite Muslims in Lebanon cut themselves with knives and swords when celebrating the death of their prophet Ali whom they believe succeeded Mohamed. The video clips of this available for free viewing on the web.

[1-Kings 18:29 And when midday was past, they prophesied until the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice. But there was no voice; no one answered, no one paid attention.

[1-Kings 18:30 Then Elijah said to all the people, Come near to me. So all the people came near to him. And he repaired the altar of the LORD that was broken down.

Previously an altar to the God of Israel had existed in that place but it had been wrecked or fallen into ruin.

[1-Kings 18:31 And Elijah took twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, to whom the word of the LORD had come, saying, Israel shall be your name.

The name Israel means overcome with or wrestling against God; being upright with God.
[Genesis 32:28] AND HE SAID, THY NAME SHALL BE CALLED NO MORE JACOB, BUT ISRAEL: FOR AS A PRINCE HAST THOU POWER WITH GOD AND WITH MEN, AND HAST PREVAILED.

Elijah took twelve stones representing the twelve sons of Israel, i.e. the Twelve Tribes.
Two important principles are involved here:

If you have a problem or a need turn to God and not to other powers.
A completely correct worship of the Almighty is only possible when it is recognized that Israel consists of ALL Twelve Tribes (Commentary “Ha-Akedah” by Rabbi Isaac Arama 1402-1494 quoted in “Mishbetsot Zahav”).

The national pride of all Israelites requires Biblical Consciousness alongside awareness of Israelite Ancestry.
This is what our organization, Brit-Am, the Ten Tribes Movement, believes in.

[1-Kings 18:32 Then with the stones he built an altar in the name of the LORD; and he made a trench around the altar large enough to hold two seahs of seed.

How Elijah did this is not clear. This is quite a large area. It would have needed the help of others.
Perhaps the building of Elijah entailed the Prophet directing others what to do?

[1-Kings 18:33 And he put the wood in order, cut the bull in pieces, and laid it on the wood, and said, Fill four waterpots with water, and pour it on the burnt sacrifice and on the wood.

[1-Kings 18:34 Then he said, Do it a second time, and they did it a second time; and he said, Do it a third time, and they did it a third time.

[1-Kings 18:35 So the water ran all around the altar; and he also filled the trench with water.

[1-Kings 18:36 And it came to pass, at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that Elijah the prophet came near and said, LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that You are God in Israel and I am Your servant, and that I have done all these things at Your word.

#the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice# In Hebrew the word translated as “evening sacrifice” is “minchah” and the time was later afternoon close to evening tide.

#LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel#. Elsewhere the expression used is #Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob# (2-Kings 13:23). The names Israel and Jacob interchange but they have different connotations. The term “Israel” is often used as referring to the Israelites in the national sense. In the present scene with Elijah “Israel” is the term being emphasized.

[1-Kings 18:37 Hear me, O LORD, hear me, that this people may know that You are the LORD God, and that You have turned their hearts back to You again.

#turned their hearts back to You again#. In the Hebrew original it says simply “You turned their hearts back”.
We are quoting from Daat Mikra as to what the different sources say about this passage:
The Commentators are divided in their explanation of this verse. Some (amongst the Sages) say that Elijah meant that God Himself had caused them to sin and depart from HIM. Rambam (Maimonides) explains this as an outcome of sin. If a person sins then often more occasions to sin are opened up before him and he is liable to fall in a spiralling descent. The same happened with the Israelites as a whole.

Others (Saadia Gaon, Targum Yehonatan) explain it in the same ways as the King James translates it. God in HIS mercy was leading the people back onto the right track.

Still another explanation (DM quotes from Fiorka) that the verse should be divided thusly:
The first part,
##Hear me, O LORD, hear me, that this people may know that You are the LORD God##
is addressed to the Almighty, while the second part [as translated from the Hebrew and NOT according to the KJV]
##and you turned their hearts back.##
is addressed to King Ahab who was present at the scene, i.e.
##and you [Ahab] turned their hearts away.##

Personally we tend to agree with the Sages (Beracoth) that Elijah was imputing some of the blame to God Himself. This however brings up complicated theological questions and it could be that the other explanations are preferable.

[1-Kings 18:38 Then the fire of the LORD fell and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood and the stones and the dust, and it licked up the water that was in the trench.

[1-Kings 18:39 Now when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces; and they said, The LORD, He is God! The LORD, He is God!

[1-Kings 18:40 And Elijah said to them, Seize the prophets of Baal! Do not let one of them escape! So they seized them; and Elijah brought them down to the Brook Kishon and executed them there.

“The Brook Kishon” (not to be confused with the Kidron in Jerusalem) receives confluents from the Gilboa Mountains and the Nazareth area, flows through the Jezreal Valley, passes by Mount Carmel and then enters the Mediterranean Sea where the present day cities of Haifa and Akko meet.
Nowadays this stream is extremely heavily polluted and it is considered dangerous to even wash one’s hands in its water!

“The Brook Kishon”. The word translated as “Brook” in Hebrew is “Nachal” which is usually understood to mean brook or stream as opposed to “Nahar” meaning river. Technically however it may be that nachal refers to a flowing body of water fed primarily by rainwater and underground springs whereas “nahar” is a secondary flowing body of water derived from nachalim (i.e. nachals) flowing into it.
Since the Jordan has had much of its water supply diverted the Kishon is now the largest river in Israel.

The Drought Ends

[1-Kings 18:41 Then Elijah said to Ahab, Go up, eat and drink; for there is the sound of abundance of rain.

[1-Kings 18:42 So Ahab went up to eat and drink. And Elijah went up to the top of Carmel; then he bowed down on the ground, and put his face between his knees,

Aryeh Kaplan (”Jewish Meditation” etc) claimed that Elijah used a recognized physical exercise that enhances meditation techniques to induce Prophecy.

Aryeh Kaplan
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aryeh_Kaplan
The works of Kaplan are well worth reading but before taking them seriously one should perhaps consult other sources.
In Brit-Am we advocate straight learning of the Bible as preliminary to everything else.

[1-Kings 18:43 and said to his servant, Go up now, look toward the sea.
So he went up and looked, and said, There is nothing. And seven times he said, Go again.

[1-Kings 18:44 Then it came to pass the seventh time, that he said, There is a cloud, as small as a mans hand, rising out of the sea! So he said, Go up, say to Ahab, Prepare your chariot, and go down before the rain stops you.

[1-Kings 18:45 Now it happened in the meantime that the sky became black with clouds and wind, and there was a heavy rain. So Ahab rode away and went to Jezreel.

[1-Kings 18:46 Then the hand of the LORD came upon Elijah; and he girded up his loins and ran ahead of Ahab to the entrance of Jezreel.

The ability of Elijah to run before the chariot of Ahab was due to power given him from above. Nevertheless, Elijah like most of the ancient prophets was probably quite an athlete in his own right by our standards.
Ahab had been disgraced in a way by Elijah bringing down fire from heaven and then killing the priests of baal. In another sense the honor of Israel had been restored. The honor of God is the honor Israel. The Sages point out that Ahab was still king of Israel and by Elijah running before him he was being shown respect.

Ps 118

“I Will Praise You, for You Have Answered Me, and Have Become My Salvation”
Psalm 118 is a psalm of thanksgiving and prayer for deliverance from enemies. Though the particular circumstances of its composition are unidentified, we do see that it concerns confidence in victory after apparent near loss in a battle against a group of enemy nations (see verses 10-13). The last of the Egyptian Hallel (”praise”) collection (113-118), Psalm 118 was traditionally sung or recited at the end of the Passover evening liturgy-though Psalm 136 was later added to the end, as it expands on the opening and closing words of Psalm 118, “Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy [hesed, loyal lovingkindness] endures forever.” These words, taken from the psalm David composed for the occasion of bringing the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem (see 1 Chronicles 16:34), were also used to open Psalms 106 and 107. We should recall that the Egyptian Hallel psalms were also sung at all the annual festivals. Indeed, Psalm 118 was an important part of the temple liturgy at the Feast of Tabernacles, as we will see.

Building from the call to thanks and praise in the first verse, verses 2-4 direct the call to three groups-the nation of Israel, the Aaronic priesthood and, in general, all those who fear God-the same groupings found in Psalm 115:9-13 (compare 135:19-20, which also mentions the house of Levi). The call here is to proclaim the repeated refrain “His mercy endures forever.”

Many maintain that the “I” speaking throughout the remainder of Psalm 118 is the Davidic king leading the battle against the enemy, given his declaration about destroying the enemies (compare verses 10-12). Others contend that the psalmist wrote this song to be sung by all Israelites from a first person perspective-in both a collective and personal sense. Of course, a righteous king could have written it with that broader intention as well. In the time of Jesus Christ, the “I” who acts “in the name of the LORD” (verses 10-12, 26) was understood to refer to the king of Israel-indeed, the Messiah (see John 12:13). The psalm is certainly messianic, as we will later see from explicit New Testament references.

Verses 5-7 of Psalm 118 recall God’s past deliverance and express confidence in His ongoing faithfulness. As the all-powerful God is on the side of His people, there is no reason to fear anything from anyone (verse 6; compare Romans 8:31).

Psalm 118:8-9 acknowledges the crucial understanding that ultimate trust must be in God alone-not in oneself or other people, no matter what their position or power may be. Interestingly, it has been pointed out that these two verses form the central verses in the Bible as we have it-that is, according to the book arrangement and chapter and verse divisions found in most modern Bibles (James Montgomery Boice, Psalms: An Expositional Commentary, Vol. 3: Psalms 107-150, 2005). Of course, the modern arrangement is actually not the original one-and chapter and verse divisions came centuries after the canonization of Scripture and are sometimes poorly determined. Nevertheless, the message of the particular verses here is indeed a central theme of Scripture. Man, at his best, is limited, mortal, unreliable. As God says in Jeremiah 17:5-7: “Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength…. [But] blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD.”

We then come in Psalm 118:10-18 to the actual circumstances of the battle. The King James and New King James translators, and the translators of many other modern versions, consider that the battle here is to be understood in the past tense, as having already been won-thus explaining the psalm’s focus on thanksgiving and God having answered prayer (verse 21). Yet notice in the KJV and NKJV the problem in saying that the enemies “surrounded me” and “were quenched” (past tense) and that “I will destroy them” (future tense). Notice furthermore the confidence in a future outcome-”I shall not die, but live” (verse 17)-and, more striking, the prayer for God’s intervention: “Save now, I pray, O LORD” (verse 25). Thus the battle is ongoing-the thanks and praise being for past deliverance and blessings and for intervention that will surely yet come.

This being so, the word translated “surrounded” in verses 10-12 is probably better translated as “have surrounded” or, as in Green’s Literal Translation, “surround.” The psalm expresses the dire gravity of the situation by using this term four times. The psalmist compares the enemies to a swarm of bees (verse 12). Yet they “are quenched” (GLT)-that is, they are to be quenched-as quickly as burning thorns. For Israel, with God’s help, will prevail (same verse).

Going back to the Greek Septuagint translators, many have seen a need to emend the text of verse 13 to say that “I was pushed” (NIV) rather than follow the Masoretic Text: “Pushing, you pushed me to fall” (GLT). In the Masoretic Text, the words seem addressed to God, yet the next words are “But the LORD [has] helped me” (same verse). This, however, is not as contradictory as might at first seem. For it would actually fit what is clearly stated a few verses later: “The LORD has chastened me severely, but He has not given me over to death” (verse 18). Evidently the enemy invasion and initial losses constitute punishment from God for some unnamed sin. But the psalmist is nonetheless confident that God will turn things around, so there must already have been repentance, particularly as he sees himself-or God’s people collectively-as righteous (compare verses 15, 19-20). The passage could also be applied to the Messiah, who, though innocent Himself, would initially suffer adversity and death for the sins of all nations but would later return victorious over all enemies.

Verse 14 is taken from the Song of Moses in Exodus 15:2, invoking the imagery of God’s deliverance of Israel from Egypt-perhaps helping to give the psalm its place within the Egyptian Hallel collection. Repetition concerning God’s right hand (verses 15-16) may also be taken from the Song of Moses (see Exodus 15:6-7). Just as God powerfully intervened for Israel in the Exodus, so would He intervene on this later occasion-and so will He intervene for His people today. The same words from Exodus 15:2 are also quoted in Isaiah 12:2, meaning that they are found in the Law, the Prophets and the Writings-the three major sections that make up the Old Testament.

Isaiah 12, it should be mentioned, is a prophecy of Israel’s future repentance when God delivers His people from national enemies-and Psalm 118, beyond its application to the circumstances in which it was written, should likewise be seen as prophetic of the future. Indeed, we elsewhere see God’s people at that time singing the Song of Moses (compare Revelation 15:2-3). Isaiah 12:3 speaks of drawing water with joy from the wells of salvation-which became related to the Feast of Tabernacles, during which a special water-drawing and water-pouring ceremony was instituted. In Psalm 118:15, the mention of rejoicing and salvation in the tents of the righteous also helped to connect this psalm with the Feast of Tabernacles in the worship services of the temple.
Verses 19-20, calling for the opening of the “gates of righteousness” so as to pass through-also called here “the gate of the LORD through which the righteous shall enter”-is often seen as picturing a festival procession coming through the gates of Jerusalem or the gates of the temple. The imagery seems related to what David wrote in Psalm 24, which many see as descriptive of the Ark of the Covenant being brought into the city or tabernacle gates after military victory. “There is only One who can enter the gates of the Lord of His own accord-the perfect King of glory” (Nelson Study Bible, note on 118:19-21). And this would seem to point to Jesus Christ as ultimately fulfilling these verses.

The idea of a procession is also found in an alternative translation of Psalm 118:27, as we will later see-all of this adding to the connection of Psalm 118 to the annual festivals.

Yet others suggest a more figurative meaning for the gates of righteousness-that the only way into the presence of the Lord, to salvation (verse 21), is through righteousness. Thus, verses 19-20 may be part of an expression of repentance-of determination to do what God says as He empowers. Probably both ideas are intended, as in Isaiah 26:2: “Open the gates, that the righteous nation which keeps the truth may enter in.” While Jesus alone lived a perfectly righteous life, others can receive righteousness through Him. Jesus mentioned the narrow gate that leads to life (Matthew 7:13-14) and said that He Himself is the gate or door leading to salvation (John 10:9).

The next verse (Psalm 118:21) declares intention to praise God for having answered His people’s prayer and having become their salvation. The latter phrase about God having become salvation is a refrain, repeated-in a slightly reworded form-from the verse taken from the Song of Moses (verse 14). It is worth noting that the word in both places translated salvation, occurring 78 times in the Old Testament, is yeshu’ah, which is very close to the name Yeshua-that is, Jesus. (The name Yeshua is probably a contraction of the longer form Yehoshua, meaning “Yahweh Is Salvation.”)

Again, there is a powerful messianic aspect to this psalm. The ultimate deliverance sought would come through the Messiah. Note particularly verses 22-23 about the rejected stone becoming the “chief cornerstone.” The NIV has “capstone.” The literal meaning, as the Zondervan NIV Study Bible points out in its note on verse 22, is “‘head of the corner’-either a capstone over a door (a large stone used as a lintel), or a large stone used to anchor and align the corner of a wall, or the keystone of an arch (see Zec 4:7; 10:4). By a wordplay (pun) the author hints at ‘chief ruler’ (the Hebrew word for ‘corner’ is sometimes used as a metaphor for leader/ruler; see Isa 19:13; see also Jdg 20:2; 1 Sa 14:38). This stone, disdained by the worldly powers, has become the most important stone in the structure of the new world order that God is bringing about through Israel. Jesus applied this verse (and v. 23) to himself (see Mt 21:42; Mk 12:10-11; Lk 20:17; see also Ac 4:11; Eph 2:20; 1 Pe 2:7).”

It is not clear what the psalmist himself had in mind when he wrote these words. Some suggest that Israel or its king was meant as the rejected stone-now saved and placed at the head of all others. Yet perhaps the psalmist directly foresaw the Messiah as bringing the salvation foretold in the psalm. In any case, the inspired words primarily refer to Jesus Christ, as the New Testament makes clear.

In verse 24, the day the psalm designates for rejoicing seems to refer to the time of victory-the day of salvation-though this of course also prefigures the ultimate time of God’s future intervention in the Day of the Lord. This would also fit the time of the Messiah’s crowning as King over all. However, the day of rejoicing and gladness became specifically associated with God’s festivals, further encouraging the use of this psalm as a festival song. Of course, verse 24 could on some level be a more general call to rejoicing in all that God does for His people-that is, every day is a day God has made, a fact to always find happiness in. But in context, the emphasis here is on the day of salvation-present and future.

With this focus, verse 25 appeals to God to “save now”-that is, to let today be the day of salvation by granting help and victory. The Hebrew phrase here, hoshi’ah na’, “is related to the noun yeshu’ah (’salvation,’ ‘victory,’ vv. 14-15, 21)” (Expositor’s Bible Commentary, note on verses 24-25). This phrase hoshi’ah na’, later contracted to hoshana and transliterated into Greek in the New Testament as hosanna, became an appeal for the messianic age foreshadowed in the Feast of Tabernacles. Indeed, Psalm 118 became, as mentioned earlier, an important part of that feast’s temple liturgy. The binding of the sacrifice to the altar in verse 27 is thought by many to represent a thank offering, but some came to relate it to the sacrifices made during the annual festivals, particularly the Feast of Tabernacles. The Tabernacles link was made stronger by an alternate translation of this verse, as given in the NIV: “With boughs in hand, join in the festal procession up to the horns of the altar.” In Jesus’ day, the Jewish people during the Feast of Tabernacles would sing Psalm 118, proclaiming Hoshana, while waving palm and other branches during the priestly procession along a path decorated with branches that culminated at the temple altar with the water-pouring ritual.
This provides a historical context for the crowd’s reception of Jesus when He made His triumphal ride into Jerusalem on a donkey in fulfillment of another messianic prophecy. While this took place just prior to the Passover, the people responded with Tabernacles ritual-as they believed Jesus had come to inaugurate the messianic age. Notice what happened: “And a very great multitude spread their clothes on the road; others cut down branches from the trees and spread them on the road. Then the multitudes who went before and those who followed cried out, saying: ‘Hosanna to the Son of David! “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!” Hosanna in the highest!’” (Matthew 21:8-9). John 12:13 says they “took branches of palm trees and went out to meet Him, and cried out: ‘Hosanna! “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!” The King of Israel!’” Mark 11:10 adds that they cried out “Blessed is the kingdom of our father David that comes in the name of the Lord!”

Of course, they did not understand that Jesus had to first fulfill the Passover symbolism at that time by laying down His life as a sacrifice. Consider in this light that Psalm 118 was also part of the Passover liturgy in that day, highlighting a crossover in themes between the spring and fall festivals. It is interesting to note that Jesus at His final Passover spoke to His disciples not only of His imminent sacrifice, but also of salvation in His future Kingdom-which is predominantly a fall-festival theme. It is also the foremost theme in this psalm. As Psalm 118 closed the traditional Jewish Passover service, many have suggested that it was the hymn that Jesus and His disciples sang before leaving the upper room (see Matthew 26:30), though we cannot be sure.

Psalm 118 closes with a personal declaration of worshipping God with praise (verse 28) and the same opening call to thank God for His goodness and enduring lovingkindness (verse 29)-the basis for His salvation.

Luke 23:1-49
“King Herod”, mentioned in the Bible’s Acts of the Apostles,[9] is often identified as the same person as King Agrippa I. The identification is based on the description of his death, which is sufficiently reminiscent to Agrippa’s death in Josephus’ work, although Josephus does not verify the Bible’s claims that “an angel of the Lord struck him down, and he was eaten by worms and died.” The fact that the Bible knows the king by a different name led apologetic Bible historians to rename him as “Herod Agrippa”. However, it must be noted that “Herod” was the name of Agrippa’s brother, King of Chalcis and High Priest of Jerusalem, so the king described in the Bible may as well be an amalgam of several different royals.

Description of Herod Agrippa I as a cruel, heartless king who persecuted the Jerusalem church, having James son of Zebedee killed and imprisoning Peter, sounds at first to be in stark contrast with Josephus’ account of a kindly man. It makes sense, however, if one recalls that Agrippa had been born and raised to revere his Jewishness. Agrippa would resent a movement begun during his absence from Judæa when explained to him by the religious leaders of Israel as a sacriligeous mission trying to equate a mere man, Jesus of Nazareth, with the One God of Judaism.

Blastus is mentioned in the New Testament as Herod’s chamberlain.

Herod Antipas, uncle and predecessor of Agrippa I as ruler of Galilee and Peræa, is the Herod mentioned in the Gospels who authorized the execution of John the Baptist and played a role in the trial of Jesus (Matthew 14:3-12, Mark 6:17-29 and Luke 23:5-12).

I would like to share two more things with you. One is how Yehshua actually died and as many Christians say Jesus fulfilled the law I would like to show you exactly what laws Jesus fulfilled the penalty for them. You can read this at http://www.sightedmoon.com/?page_id=28

The second article is what was nailed to the tree which you can read at http://www.sightedmoon.com/?page_id=138 It is not the law or the Torah that is nailed to the Tree but the debt that has accrued from our sinfulness.

The Epitaph on the Cross of Yeshua
By Chuck Missler (From his Book “The Creator Beyond Time and Space”)
Throughout the Tanach-our Old Testament-there are many fascinating acrostics and other textual peculiarities that will fascinate the diligent scholar. In the New Testament there also appears to be a Hebrew acrostic that generally goes unnoticed.
Meaning of the word Acrostic: A composition in verse , in which the first, and sometimes last, letters of the line read in order form a name, a sentence, or title.

When Jesus was crucified, Pilate wrote the sign that was nailed to the cross. The particular wording he chose displeased the Jewish leadership and they asked him to change it. He refused. There are some interesting aspects to this incident that are not apparent in our English translations.

” And Pilate wrote a title, and put it on the cross. And the writing was, ‘Jesus Of Nazareth The King Of The Jews.’ This title then read many of the Jews: for the place where Jesus was crucified was nigh to the city: and it was written in Hebrew, and Greek, and Latin. Then said the chief priests of the Jews to Pilate, ‘Write not, The King of the Jews; but that he said, I am King of the Jews.’ Pilate answered. ‘What I have written I have written.’”
John 19:19-22 (KJV)

Pilate refused to revise the epitaph he had composed. This may have more significance than is apparent in our English translations. The Hebrew epitaph is shown below (remember Hebrew is read from right to left):
Ha Yehudi m vMelech HaNazarei Yeshua

H W H Y

Yeshua HaNazarei v Melech HaYehudim: Jesus the Nazarei and King of the Jews.

What we don’t notice in the English translation is that the acrostic made up of the first letter of each word spells out Yahweh (YHWH)!

“The precise meaning,” writes Herbert F. Stevenson, “of the name is obscure. In the Hebrew, It was originally composed of four consonants YHWH - known to theologians as ‘the tetragrammaton’ - to which the vowels of Adonai were afterwards added (except when the name is joined to Adonai: then the vowels of Elohim are used). The Jews came to regard this name as too sacred to pronounce, however, and in the public reading of Scriptures they substituted Adonai for it - Jehovah was indeed to them ‘the incommunicable name.’”

If Pilate had rewritten it in the manner they had requested him to, it would not have spelled out the Name of God. Did Pilate realize this? Was it deliberate? Did he do it just to upset the Jewish leadership, which he realized delivered Him up for Envy? (Matthew 27:18). Or was he beginning to suspect that there was more going on here than he previously realized?

I have two more articles for some of you to read over this Holy Days season. One is the Red Sea crossing http://www.sightedmoon.com/?page_id=107 and the other is how to count to three as some of you come out of your Christian wrong thinken, it is also time to relearn how to count to three. http://www.sightedmoon.com/?page_id=19

We now 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 395-401 We also have commentary, with editing from me, again from http://theownersmanual.net/The_Owners_Manual_02_The_Law_of_Love.Torah

(395)The Levites shall not occupy themselves with the service that belongs to the kohanim, nor the kohanim with that belonging to the Levites. “Then Yahweh said to Aaron: ‘You and your sons and your father’s house with you shall bear the iniquity related to the sanctuary, and you and your sons with you shall bear the iniquity associated with your priesthood. Also bring with you your brethren of the tribe of Levi, the tribe of your father, that they may be joined with you and serve you while you and your sons are with you before the tabernacle of witness. They shall attend to your needs and all the needs of the tabernacle; but they shall not come near the articles of the sanctuary and the altar, lest they die—they and you also. They shall be joined with you and attend to the needs of the tabernacle of meeting, for all the work of the tabernacle; but an outsider shall not come near you.’” (Numbers 18:1-4) The work of the priests (Aaron and his sons) was to nasa—lift, bear, carry, or take away—the avon—sin, wickedness, iniquity, and wrongdoing—and the punishment that falls as its consequence—from the people of Israel. They were to do this through the performance of symbolic prophetic rituals and the offering of sacrifices brought by the people. The ordinary Levites, on the other hand, were to assist them and “attend to their needs,” but not to actually serve as priests themselves.

That seems straightforward enough, but we should be aware of two instances where Yahweh expanded or contracted the roles of priests and Levites. When King Hezekiah restored the worship of Yahweh to Jerusalem, there were too few consecrated priests to do what was needed, so the Levites, who “were more diligent in sanctifying themselves than the priests,” took up the slack. See II Chronicles 29:34. And in Ezekiel 44:15, in the prophet’s description of the future Millennial temple service, the Aaronic priesthood has been reduced to one priestly sub-family—that of Zadok. Yahweh reserves the right to fine-tune His own commandments, based upon our faithfulness (or lack of it).

(396)One not a descendant of Aaron in the male line shall not serve (in the Sanctuary). “And you shall attend to the duties of the sanctuary and the duties of the altar, that there may be no more wrath on the children of Israel. Behold, I Myself have taken your brethren the Levites from among the children of Israel; they are a gift to you, given by Yahweh, to do the work of the tabernacle of meeting. Therefore you and your sons with you shall attend to your priesthood for everything at the altar and behind the veil; and you shall serve. I give your priesthood to you as a gift for service, but the outsider who comes near shall be put to death.” (Numbers 18:5-7) A continuation of the previous mitzvah, this one also stresses the division of labor between the Aaronic priesthood and the ordinary Levites. The males of Aaron’s line were first set apart for the priesthood in Exodus 28:1, 41 and 43. It is abundantly clear that “priesthood,” that is, the privilege of interceding between God and man, is something Yahweh ordains, not something we aspire to.

(397)The Levite shall serve in the Sanctuary. “Hereafter the children of Israel shall not come near the tabernacle of meeting, lest they bear sin and die. But the Levites shall perform the work of the tabernacle of meeting, and they shall bear their iniquity; it shall be a statute forever, throughout your generations, that among the children of Israel they shall have no inheritance.” (Numbers 18:22-23) As we have seen, the priests (a subset of the Levites) were to attend the altar itself and do what was needed within the sanctuary—especially behind the veil. The remainder of the Levites, though they got closer to the action than the other Israelites, did not perform the work of the priests, but served as porters, scribes, musicians, and custodians of the tithes of Israel. They supervised weights and measures and served as builders and maintenance staff in the temple environs.

(398)Give the Levites cities to dwell in, these to serve also as cities of refuge. “Command the children of Israel that they give the Levites cities to dwell in from the inheritance of their possession, and you shall also give the Levites common-land around the cities. They shall have the cities to dwell in; and their common-land shall be for their cattle, for their herds, and for all their animals. The common-land of the cities which you will give the Levites shall extend from the wall of the city outward a thousand cubits all around. And you shall measure outside the city on the east side two thousand cubits, on the south side two thousand cubits, on the west side two thousand cubits, and on the north side two thousand cubits. The city shall be in the middle. This shall belong to them as common-land for the cities. Now among the cities which you will give to the Levites you shall appoint six cities of refuge, to which a manslayer may flee. And to these you shall add forty-two cities. So all the cities you will give to the Levites shall be forty-eight; these you shall give with their common-land. And the cities which you will give shall be from the possession of the children of Israel; from the larger tribe you shall give many, from the smaller you shall give few. Each shall give some of its cities to the Levites, in proportion to the inheritance that each receives.” (Numbers 35:2-8) The Levites weren’t to have their own tribal territory in the promised land, but they had to live somewhere. So Yahweh instructed that the other tribes each provide them with cities to live in (presumably captured from the Canaanites)—48 in all. Maimonides has oversimplified a bit here. Not all of them were to be cities of refuge (see Mitzvah #260), only six of them. (And only three of those were in territory actually deeded to the Israelites, land west of the Jordan River.) These had to be real cities—that is, big enough to have a wall around them. And because livestock was essential to the Bronze Age society to which the law was first given, a green belt of common grazing land over half a mile wide surrounding the entire city was to be included. The Levites could own homes within the cities.

This, of course, was all a big anachronism to Maimonides. There were no Levites he could identify through genealogical records, and besides, the Israelites had been kicked out of the Land a thousand years before his time. What instruction, then, does this mitzvah hold for us? As I hypothesized above, if the “Levites” metaphorically represent today’s servants of Yahweh—those who have made personal sacrifices in order to further His kingdom, then these cities are indications that Yahweh has not forgotten their selflessness. “For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister.” (Hebrews 6:10) We may not all have vast worldly resources, but we have Yahweh’s love, and that’s plenty.

(399)None of the tribe of Levi shall take any portion of territory in the land (of Israel). “The priests, the Levites—all the tribe of Levi—shall have no part nor inheritance with Israel; they shall eat the offerings of Yahweh made by fire, and His portion. Therefore they shall have no inheritance among their brethren; Yahweh is their inheritance, as He said to them.” (Deuteronomy 18:1-2) Yahweh compensated for the Levi’s lack of a tribal “homeland” with the provision of the tithe from the other eleven tribes (actually, twelve, since Joseph was split into Manasseh and Ephraim). The priests’ portion, you’ll recall, was a tithe of that tithe. This points out some very interesting facts of life for both the givers and receivers of the tithe. Levi obviously depended on the tithe. They were forced to live by faith that the other tribes would do as Yahweh had instructed, for they had no productive land of their own.

What is not so obvious is the other tribes’ dependence on the blessing and provision of Yahweh. Remember, the tithe wasn’t characterized as a tax paid to the Levites, even though that’s how it ended up being used. Rather, it was seen as remuneration given back to Yahweh Himself—a return of one tenth of what He had already provided: it was based on past blessings. So if an Israelite “shaved” his tithe, he was in effect robbing God. The prophet Malachi points out this very thing: “Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, ‘In what way have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings. You are cursed with a curse, for you have robbed Me, even this whole nation. Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house, and try Me now in this, says Yahweh of hosts, if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it. And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, so that he will not destroy the fruit of your ground, nor shall the vine fail to bear fruit for you in the field, says Yahweh of hosts.” (Malachi 3:8-11) Yahweh usually says, “I am Almighty God: trust Me.” Rare indeed are the times when God says, “Go ahead, test Me on this issue. I dare you.” This is one of those times.

(400)None of the tribe of Levi shall take any share of the spoil (at the conquest of the Promised Land). “The priests, the Levites—all the tribe of Levi—shall have no part nor inheritance with Israel; they shall eat the offerings of Yahweh made by fire, and His portion. Therefore they shall have no inheritance among their brethren; Yahweh is their inheritance, as He said to them.”

(Deuteronomy 18:1 2) Because of what we saw in Mitzvah #398, Maimonides’ oversimplification of Yahweh’s instruction is wrong. Forty-eight cities in Canaan—“spoil,” by definition—were to be given to the Levites to live in. However, we have reason to believe (though we aren’t told in so many words) that the Levites were not part of the regular Israelite armies. The book of Numbers is full of census tallies. We read in Numbers 1:46-47 that “All who were numbered [that is, males ‘twenty years and older who were able to go to war’] were 603,560. But the Levites were not numbered among them by their father’s tribe…” But in Chapters 3 and 4, we see an excruciatingly detailed census of the tribe of Levi, broken down by family, listing what each family’s role was to be—things like dismantling and transporting the Tabernacle (Gershon) or taking care of the sacred furnishings such as the Ark of the Covenant (Kohath). Making war was not listed among their duties.

In light of what we’ve seen, it’s probably not too much of a stretch to suggest that those who are called into Yahweh’s service—and who faithfully serve Him and His people—should be exempted from “military service,” that is, earning a living in the workforce, in addition to their “Levitical” duties. “Don’t muzzle the ox that treads out the grain,” and all that. But I reiterate: the calling must be real, and the service must be in line with Yahweh’s direction. There are any number of “white-shoe preachers” today whose “ministries” are little more than bunko schemes. If you feel you have to beg God’s people for your support, then I’d question your status as a “neo-Levite.” In the Torah’s pattern, Yahweh’s provision for the Levites was arranged up front. It was not something to be extorted or wheedled out of the congregation. Being called as a “Levite” is the antithesis of donning the exalted mantle of the rabbi.

(401)The kohanim shall serve in the Sanctuary in divisions, but on festivals, they all serve together. “Yahweh your God has chosen [Levi] out of all your tribes to stand to minister in the name of Yahweh, him and his sons forever. So if a Levite comes from any of your gates, from where he dwells among all Israel, and comes with all the desire of his mind to the place which Yahweh chooses, then he may serve in the name of Yahweh his God as all his brethren the Levites do, who stand there before Yahweh. They shall have equal portions to eat, besides what comes from the sale of his inheritance.” (Deuteronomy 18:5-8) Maimonides’ point comes not from the Torah, but from later tradition. David was the first to divide the priests into 24 courses, each of which officiated in the temple for one week, from Sabbath to Sabbath, twice a year. (As an interesting aside, it is these 24 courses that allow us to pin down the birth date of Yahshua the Messiah to the fall of 3 B.C.—almost surely on the Feast of Trumpets. ) And every Jewish male was required to gather at the central place of worship (which David established at Jerusalem after centuries of moving about) three times a year—which included all of the “holy convocations”—the seven Feasts of Yahweh—except for the Feast of Trumpets and the Day of Atonement. So Maimonides has made a factual statement, but it’s not based on anything handed down by Moses.

The Deuteronomy passage, however, points out something we need to know about Levitical service. The calling (as we have seen) was Yahweh’s prerogative: He chose the entire tribe of Levi to minister before Him forever. But their service was strictly voluntary. If he “comes with all the desire of his mind to the place which Yahweh chooses,” then the privilege of service—of fulfilling the call Yahweh had made upon His life—was his to exercise. That’s a big “if.” And notice several other things: first, as we saw in the previous mitzvah, God—not the Levite—chooses the place or type of service. Of course, since He made us, He knows us. If we are in the center of His will, the desires of our hearts will be in perfect alignment with His.

Second, the “Levites” who desire to serve will see their needs met. They may not (no, let me rephrase that—they will not) get rich, but they will “have equal portions to eat.” It’s my experience that God provides resources in direct proportion to what we’re going to need to serve Him and His children. And as often as not, He provides these resources up front—before we think we need them. Case in point: as a young couple (a few centuries ago) my wife and I found ourselves in possession of a house that was far larger than we really needed for our little family. But over the next dozen years, we adopted nine more children. Yep, filled that big ’ol house right up. If God gives you a hammer, my friend, go looking for a nail. If He gives you a key, look for the lock it fits. And if He gives you a big satchel full of money, it’s a safe bet there’s something big and expensive on your spiritual horizon.

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