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News Letter 5847-012
1st day of the 3rd month 5847 years after the creation of Adam
The 42nd day of the Counting of the Omer
The 3rd 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.
June 4, 2011

Shabbat Shalom Brethren,

Last week’s News letter has brought mixed reviews. Some were thrilled to see me tell it as it is with no fluff. Others thought I had no empathy for those who were suffering, as they were in Joplin and now in Massachusetts. There is so much I could say which I did to those who wrote, but I have other things I want to say this week.

But know this Brethren, we have just 4 ½ years until the next Sabbatical year begins in Aviv 2016. During this time we have to teach as many as we can why they need to keep the Sabbatical year and they all need to have time to think about it and to prove it, just as many of you have. And they all need time in the 6th year to stock up on food. So we really only have just 3 ½ years to get out this message.

Then on the one week anniversary of the disaster President Obama was there encouraging those who had just lost everything that they would rebuild. And the Fed Government would help them to rebuild. No consideration of having sinned. No consideration of why this happened. Just we will rebuild. And the people have not turned back to Him who smites them, nor have they sought יהוה of hosts. Read carefully what Isaiah has to say and do not apply it to some other people in ancient days. Apply what he says to you today, now. This is the USA. They do not consider Yehovah. It was just bad luck or Mother Nature they say. None of them considers Yehovah and repents of how they live their lives.

Isa 9:8 יהוה sent a word against Yaʽaqoḇ, and it has fallen on Yisra’ĕl. 9 And the people shall know, all of them, Ephrayim and the inhabitant of Shomeron, who say in pride and greatness of heart: 10 “The bricks have fallen down, but we rebuild with hewn stones; the sycamores are cut down, but we replace them with cedars.” 11 And יהוה set up the adversaries of Retsin against him, and stirred up his enemies, 12 the Arameans before and the Philistines behind. And they devour Yisra’ĕl with an open mouth. With all this His displeasure has not turned back, and His hand is still stretched out. 13 And the people have not turned back to Him who smites them, nor have they sought יהוה of hosts. 14 And יהוה cuts off head and tail from Yisra’ĕl, palm branch and reed in one day. 15 Elder and highly respected, he is the head; the prophet who teaches falsehood, he is the tail. 16 For the leaders of this people lead them astray1, and those who are guided by them are swallowed up. Footnote: 1See 3:12. 17 Therefore יהוה does not rejoice over their young men, and has no compassion on their fatherless and widows; for everyone is defiled and evil, and every mouth speaks foolishness. With all this His displeasure has not turned back, and His hand is still stretched out. 18 For wrongness burns as the fire; it consumes thornbushes and weeds, and sets the bushes of the forest ablaze, and they roll up like rising smoke. 19 The land shall be burned up by the wrath of יהוה of hosts, and the people be as fuel for the fire. A man shall not spare his brother, 20 and cut down on the right hand, but shall be hungry; and he devours on the left hand, but shall not be satisfied; each one devouring the flesh of his own arm: 21 Menashsheh Ephrayim, and Ephrayim Menashsheh; together they are against Yehuḏah. With all this His displeasure has not turned back, and His hand is still stretched out.

You should also read Amos 4

Amo 4:6 “And I also gave you cleanness of teeth in all your cities, and lack of bread in all your places. But you did not turn back to Me,” declares יהוה. 7 “And I also withheld rain from you, three months before the harvest. Then I would send rain on one city, and on another city I would not send rain. One part was rained upon, and where it did not rain the part would dry up. 8 “Then two or three cities would wander to another city to drink water, but they were not satisfied. But you did not turn back to Me,” declares יהוה. 9 “I have smitten you with blight and with mildew. The creeping locust devoured your many gardens, and your vineyards, and your fig trees, and your olive trees. But you did not turn back to Me,” declares יהוה. 10 “I have sent among you a plague in the way of Mitsrayim. I have slain your young men with a sword, along with your captured horses. And I made the stench of your camps come up into your nostrils. But you did not turn back to Me,” declares יהוה. 11 “I have overthrown some of you, as Elohim overthrew Seḏom and Amorah, and you were like a burning stick plucked from the burning. But you did not turn back to Me,” declares יהוה. 12 “Therefore I am doing this to you, O Yisra’ĕl. And because I do this to you, prepare to meet your Elohim, O Yisra’ĕl!” 13 For look, He who forms mountains, and creates the wind, and who declares to man what His thought is, and makes the morning darkness, and who treads the high places of the earth, יהוה Elohim of hosts is His Name.

Last week I said that those people who had lost their homes to floods or wild fire or tornados did so because they were not obeying Yehovah and keeping the Sabbatical year along with the Holy Days of Lev 23 and the Weekly Sabbath. I also complained about not having the funds to advertise this message.

Last week I sinned and complained about all I was doing. I am doing nothing. Yehovah is doing this work and it is being done at His pace not mine. It is Yehovah who has revealed the Sabbatical and Jubilee years at this time. It is Yehovah as we will see in our study of John this week that chose you and has shared this teaching with you. It was Yehovah who is doing this, not me.

I get frustrated when I see how slow things are moving at times and I forget it is being directed by Yehovah. So please forgive my outburst.

Brethren this teaching is up to you if it is go out to the world. How many of you are teaching the Sabbatical and Jubilee years and the curses for not keeping them to your local groups and at the local churches in your area? How many of you are studying them to prove them true.

The reason I get upset and frustrated is because of what I see. I see the population of the countries of Joseph. The Population of the USA is over 300,000,000. Canada is 30,000,000, Australia is 23,000,000 and the United Kingdom of Britain is 59,000,000.

Scriptures tell us that in all of these nations and others over the next 19 years and less, that of the 412 Million people now living in these countries, only 41 million will be left standing alive by the year 2033. That means that 371,000,000 people are about to die unless they begin to keep the Weekly Seventh Day Sabbath, the Holy Days and only those Holy Days that are found in Lev 23, and the Sabbatical years as told to us in Lev 25. 371 Million people.

This is why I am frustrated. This is why I push so hard at times. Because so many are about to die and will not know what hit them, and all of us will have friends and family and loved ones that will be amongst that huge number. Just like those in Joplin and Massachusetts and Alabama before that.

Each of you has a responsibility to help get this message out to these people before they all end up as statistics like those who died in all of the Tornados or wild fires or earthquakes of this year alone.

What burr do I have to put under your butt to get you to move? I do not know, but I pray Yehovah will not let you sleep until you do do something to share His message about the Sabbatical cycles. There are so many people about to die in war and disease and captivity over the next 19 years, 371 million of them and what are we all doing? This is what drives me; this is my urgency; this is why I do what I do and say what I say; to provoke some to get going and for others to start to think. If I offend you while doing this, then I will apologize once it is all over and we have found as many brethren as we can. Until then I have work to do and so do you in warning all you can.

After last weeks Letter I received a message from one Lady from South Africa. And in a very short note she quoted this verse to me.

Zec 4:6 And he answered and said to me, “This is the word of יהוה to Zerubbaḇel, ‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ said יהוה of hosts.

Far too many times I try to do all I can as if it all depends on me. I know it does not and that I am just one of many. Sometimes when I see the news and see the many that are dying and the thousands who have lost everything, I get mad. Not at Yehovah who has promised to do these things if we would not obey Him, but at us for not being able to reach all of these people and tell and them and warn them. Yehovah has promised to bless those who obey Him. So if a tornado comes it is not a blessing. If wild fires come it is not a blessing. If drought and famine comes it is not a blessing. All of these are punishments and when they come and more are going to come, we should not be saying we will rebuild, we need to say how far have we moved away from Yehovah and how do we get back to where we should be.

I know this is His work and I am most privileged to be able to share the little I do know. But it is my passion and zeal that urges me on to provoke you to help spread these truths. So please forgive my construction attitude which places a boot upside the back side of those who do not move fast enough. It is what I do at work on a daily basis to get the men to go and earn the money they want to take home at the end of the week. It is the way I am wired.

We have now just begun the third month. Since the wave offering on the Sunday after the weekly Shabbat during The Days of Unleavened Bread we have now arrived at the 42nd day as we count out the days as we are commanded to do in Lev 23.

Lev 23:10 “Speak to the children of Yisra’ĕl, and you shall say to them, ‘When you come into the land which I give you, and shall reap its harvest, then you shall bring a sheaf of the first-fruits of your harvest to the priest. 11 ‘And he shall wave the sheaf before יהוה, for your acceptance. On the morrow after the Sabbath the priest waves it.

From this we learn that we are to begin the count on the morrow after the weekly Sabbath Sunday the first day of the week. This is day One. From this day we are to count out 7 complete weekly Sabbaths. So Sunday is day one and then the Sabbath Saturday is day 7 and is the first of seven Sabbaths.

Today June 4, 2011 is the 6th Sabbath since we began the count and then next Sabbath is the 7th one which is what we are told in Lev 23:15; Seven Complete Sabbaths. And then the day after is the 50th day.

Lev 23:15 ‘And from the morrow after the Sabbath, from the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering, you shall count for yourselves: seven completed Sabbaths.

16 ‘Until the morrow after the seventh Sabbath you count fifty days, then you shall bring a new grain offering to יהוה.

So next Sunday June 12th is going to be the 50th day and Pentecost and we are to keep it as we would the weekly Sabbath. That Sunday is also a Holy Day.

Lev 23:21 ‘And on this same day you shall proclaim a set-apart gathering for yourselves, you do no servile work on it – a law forever in all your dwellings throughout your generations.

This week I want all of those who keep the lunar Sabbath lie to stop and think. We just had the third month in our count to Pentecost. According to your own rules the first day of the month and the 29 or 30th day of the month are non days. You do not count them.

The first month you had the 29th day which you did not count as we count towards Pentecost. This last month you will have the first day and the 29th and the 30th had it of occurred, which again you do not count as we count the 50 days towards Pentecost. And now this the third month you again have the 29th and the first days which you cannot count but they are still days which you must live through with a sunrise and a sunset, and I have not counted the 30th day possibility.

So you will end up at Pentecost next Sunday by ignoring your own days which you must ignore in order to keep Pentecost on June 12. Or you will be keeping Pentecost 54-56 days after the wave sheaf was first offered but it will not be on the morrow after the 7th Sabbath which is Sunday June 12.

Awe but I just got the email telling me the Lunar Sabbath people will be keeping the Shavuot on June 9th. They are getting around their own rules and doing things from Aviv 16 and counting 50 days to Sivan 16 which is June 9th. In order to do this they had to count the non days that they say they do not count; the 1st and 29th and 30th.

I show you this not to belittle you, but to show you the error of your ways. Your leaders will not tell you the truth about this. If they did then they would no longer have a flock to lead. Return to your Father and begin to keep the Sabbath on the seventh day of each week as those who have followed Him have done since Adam.

The count to Pentecost is also the reminder of the Jubilee cycle. Ask yourself if you have non years that do not count, the same as you have non days in each month that do not count. The answer is no. Just by looking at the Sabbatical and Jubilee cycles and how they work you should be able to see how clearly the lunar Sabbath lie does not work, just from logic and mathematics. Not to mention that no one in history ever kept it. Would Yehovah really let all this time go by and not show anyone? But a few at the end time have been able to figure it out? Please stop and think about what you are trying to get others to swallow.

If you’re being taught these sort of things by the lunar Sabbath people then please go to http://www.sightedmoon.com/?page_id=194 and learn what others are teaching about this. Learn the truth from other ministries if you will not believe me.

From http://www.karaitejudaism.org/talks/The_Lunar_Shabbat_Calendar_Issues.htm we read this article. Please note the year this began. The Lunar Sabbath theory only began in 1993 CE.

Jonathan David Brown was the first [Lunar] sabbath keeper in this century to begin the practice of counting the Sabbath from the New Moon day rather than using the modern seven day week. He published a book in 1993 which explained the practice, and the Lunar Sabbath movement has grown among the Messianic, Armstrong/Church of God and Christian Identity movements. Today Arnold Bowen, Matthew Janzen, and Troy Miller carry on the mantle of Lunar Sabbatarianism, while Jonathan David Brown concentrates on his musical work.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jonathan_David_Brown#cite_note-2
We see from Wikipedia that he was the modern promoter of this theory in 1993.

The other thing I wanted to show you was that most Christians will twice a year be keeping the right day Holy. The Sunday during the Days of Unleavened Bread although not a Holy Day, is a special day when the wave sheaf is offered. It is also the day when Yehshua went to heaven before Yehovah and returned to earth the same day.

The other day when Christians are on the right day is Pentecost Sunday and this is by fluke. The feast is also called Whitsunday especially in the United Kingdom.

So if you as a Christian keep Pentecost, have you ever asked why you do this? The answer is found in Lev 23. You are commanded to do so and as such you count 50 days to this day. And yes on this Pentecost the Holy Spirit was given to the Apostles. Also on this day, this very same Pentecost day also known as Shavuot was given the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai.

Each and every great event Yehovah does has been told or foretold in His Holy Days written to us in Lev 23 which are then explained in greater details throughout the rest of the scriptures. These are appointments upon which Yehovah has promised to act and we are able to know when and what he is going to do on these days before hand when we keep them.

But if you’re not keeping these Holy Days which are clearly shown to you in Lev 23 then you will not understand what is coming and you will fall for all kinds of foolishness like what happened on May 21, 2011. The other Holy Days teach you of His judgment on Mankind and the locking away of Satan and of the Marriage we are to take part in and the Great White throne judgement. But once again if you’re not keeping these Holy Days then you will not know when these things are to take place and you will miss them in the exact same way the Jews missed the Messiah when He first came at Passover.

Just imagine the day Yehshua comes, and most of Christianity will not recognise Him. What an oxymoron that will be.

The only reason Christians are taught to keep Pentecost is because it just so happens to be on a Sunday. The fact that you are commanded to do so in Lev 23 does not matter. Your priest and Pastors have been lying to you. If you no longer have to keep the law then why are you keeping Pentecost? If you’re keeping Pentecost then you are acknowledging the law of Lev 23 and at the same time choosing to ignore the rest of Lev 23. Picking and choosing what soot’s you. You as a Christian have no idea what to do.

Last week I showed you what Yehshua said in John 14:15 which said If you love me, keep My Commandments. They are His commandments and those Holy Days in Lev 23 are a part of them. Now let’s look at the number of times the word ‘commandments’ comes up just in the New Testament.

Matthew 5:19 NKJV
Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
Yehshua is speaking of the Ten Commandments.

Matthew 15:9 NKJV
And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ ”

This is speaking of any law made by men that breaks the Ten Commandments. The changing of the Sabbath to Sunday, the changing of the Holy Days to Christmas and Easter or other sacred days not found in Lev 23. This is also talking about the Talmud which for all intent and purpose has replaced the Torah.

Matthew 19:17 NKJV
So He said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.”

You are told again to keep the Commandments. Not just the ones you want but all of them.

Matthew 22:40 NKJV
On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”

The First 4 teach you how to Love Yehovah. The last six teach you how to love each other.

Mark 10:19 NKJV
You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery,’ ‘Do not murder,’ ‘Do not steal,’ ‘Do not bear false witness,’ ‘Do not defraud,’ ‘Honor your father and your mother.’ ”

Once again Yehshua is teaching us about the last six commandments and how to expand them into our minds.

Mark 12:29 NKJV
Jesus answered him, “The first of all the commandments is: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one.

Yehshua again explains the first 4 on how to love Yehovah.

Luke 1:6 NKJV
And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.
Psalm 119:172 tells us that all the commandments are righteousness. If you want to be righteous then you must keep the commandments.

Luke 18:20 NKJV
You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery,’ ‘Do not murder,’ ‘Do not steal,’ ‘Do not bear false witness,’ ‘Honor your father and your mother.’ ”

John 14:15 NKJV
“If you love Me, keep My commandments.

Those people who do not keep the commandments, or who keep only some of them, by their actions they are saying they do not love Yehshua. Yet He has clearly said that if you love Me, then you will keep the commandments. All of them!!

John 14:21 NKJV
He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.”

You all need to read this again and read it carefully. If you keep the Commandments, and keep all of them, it shows Yehovah that you love Him and by doing this, Yehovah will love you. This is exactly the thing Malachi is speaking about. Turning the hearts of you the children of Yehovah back to Yehovah, which then turns His heart back to you.

Mal 4:5 “See, I am sending you Ěliyah1 the prophet before the coming of the great and awesome day of יהוה. Footnote: 1Lk. 1:17. 6 “And he shall turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with utter destruction1.” Footnote: 1Zech. 14:11.

John 15:10 NKJV
If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.

Romans 13:9 NKJV
For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not bear false witness,” “You shall not covet,” and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

Paul is also showing that in order to love your neighbour you must keep the commandments. He is using the last six which deal with your fellow man. And the first four deal with how to love Yehovah.

1 Corinthians 7:19 NKJV
Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing, but keeping the commandments of God is what matters.
Here once again Paul who many use to say did away with the law is telling you to keep the commandments. Does not matter if you who you are, if your not keeping them then you are not Yehovahs.

Ephesians 2:15 NKJV
having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace,

This is the famous escape clause most Christians use to get out of keeping the Commandments that we have just read so many times that you are to keep if your are to love Yehovah. So let’s explain this Ephesian2:15 and see what it really says and not be lied to anymore by those who call themselves your pastors.

http://www.newswatchmagazine.org/restknowledge/eph215.htm

THE TRUTH ABOUT EPH. 2:15
Millions have been deceived by tunnel vision! Ministers and laymen alike have focused in on this Scripture and fell into a trap which Peter warned about. They have twisted it to say what it does NOT say and are bringing destruction upon themselves unknowingly. Let us notice Peter’s fair warning before we delve into this Scripture in its context.

Peter spoke of our beloved brother, Paul …
“As in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable twist, as they do also the other Scriptures, unto their own destruction.” (II Pet. 3:16).

This warning was put here by the Holy Spirit to protect us. And since it speaks of those ‘unlearned’, it is obvious they were unlearned in Scripture. Therefore let us LEARN some crystal clear basic, foundational Scriptures BEFORE we try to understand difficult and ‘hard to be understood’ Scriptures.

Can we believe Jesus Christ Himself? What was His own testimony? When Jesus spoke of ‘law’ He meant all of God’s Word. He knew “Thy Word is Truth” (Psa. 119:142). All of God’s Word is the “law”. He understood it; yet why don’t millions who profess to know Him? It is evident when He mentions Scriptures in the Psalms as “the law”. Read it for yourself in John 10:34…
“Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?” (Psa. 82:6).

That is a quotation out of Psalms. Jesus didn’t relegate the ‘law’ only to the Ten Commandments or only the first five books of the Bible and writings of Moses. The testimony of Jesus Christ is perfectly clear. Let’s open our eyes and ears and understand it. Mat. 5:17-18…
“THINK NOT that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am NOT come to destroy, but to fulfill. “For verily I say to you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall IN NO WISE pass from the law, till all be fulfilled (in force, being performed).”
Think! The ‘law’ included all Scripture and NONE of it is done away! Jesus said in Mat. 4:4… “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by EVERY WORD that proceeds out of the mouth of God.”

It is imperative you fill your mind with the testimony of Jesus Christ. No one before or after Him can change that testimony.
The Spirit of Christ was in the prophets. (I Pet. 1:10, 11). David was a prophet. (Acts 2:29, 30). In the book of Psalms we read in 111:7-8…

“The works of His hands are verity and judgment; ALL His commandments are SURE. ‘They stand fast FOREVER AND EVER, and are done in truth and uprightness.”

Believe the words of the testimony of the Spirit of Christ. Not one, NONE of the commandments of the Lord are DONE AWAY! And the Scripture CANNOT BE BROKEN! (Jn 10:35) Any one who would dare say that certain portions of God’s commandments are NOT obligatory either physically or spiritually on Christians today is in opposition to the Spirit of Christ. Believe the Word, not someone opposing the crystal clear testimony of Jesus Christ.

Perhaps some think certain commandments are ‘least’ and not required. Read what Jesus said of those who would break one of the least commandments and then teach others to break them also. (Mat. 5:19). I plead with you not to be called and looked upon as the “least” by the Kingdom of God.

Both Jew and Gentile have sinned. Both were cut off from God as a result. The Jews had a wall constructed in the court of the temple, and it physically separated the Gentiles. Yet, spiritually, both were cut off from God because both were sinners. “All have sinned…” Rom. 3:23.

This barrier of religious difference had to be broken down. And indeed it was. In Eph. 2:12 we see the Gentiles had been without God, strangers and aliens before they had accepted Christ, before they were obedient to God’s law. They had been disobedient (v. 1-2). In v-3 Paul points out we all had been disobedient to God’s law, both Jews and Gentiles. However, NOW, in Christ Jesus we are all made near by the blood of Christ (v-13). Made near to God and to each other.

By His blood, Christ broke down that middle wall of partition between Jew and Gentile.

He also broke down the wall separating both from God. Jew and Gentile are both now one new creation IN Christ. (v-14). Verse 15 shows what happened.
“Having abolished in His flesh the ENMITY…”

What was this ENMITY? Whatever it was, both were guilty of it. Whatever this ENMITY was is now abolished! It plainly says the ENMITY was abolished.

Romans 8:7 says…
“Because the minding of the flesh is ENMITY against God…”

So the natural mind of man (which is without the Spirit of God), both Jew and Gentile, is at odds, ENMITY, against God. How?

Continue…
“for it (the natural mind) IS NOT SUBJECT TO THE LAW OF GOD, neither indeed can be!”

Both Jew and Gentile had broken God’s law (sinned I Jn. 3:4), been disobedient by nature. The ENMITY of their natural mind was against and contrary to God’s law! Christ, through His blood, abolished this ENMITY against God’s law! Now the requirement of God’s law can be met by those IN Christ Jesus (Rom. 8:4). Now we delight in the law of God after the inward man, that new creation, making both Jew and Gentile one new man. (Rom. 7:22; Eph. 2:15).

“I delight in the law of God after the inward man. Having abolished in His flesh the ENMITY (against God’s law) … for to make in Himself of two, one new man, (obeying God’s law) so making peace (between themselves and God).”

Again it is restated in Eph. 2:16 …
“And that He might reconcile BOTH unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the ENMITY thereby.”

BOTH Jews and Gentiles were at odds against God’s law. Now BOTH were reconciled to God by Christ abolishing this ENMITY. Now
BOTH were obedient to, delighting in God’s law. And by the very testimony of Jesus Christ, all the word of God is God’s law. Now there is to be NO HOSTILITY against ANY of God’s word, including His commandments, statutes, ordinances and laws. This is verified in the prophecy of Ezek. 11:19-20 regarding the new Spirit to be put inside people in the place of the spirit of ENMITY.
“And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh.” And WHY?

“That they may walk in my statutes, and keep My ordinances, and do them: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God.”
We ought to rejoice that IN Christ we have NO ENMITY against ANY of God’s word!

LAW OF COMMANDMENTS IN ORDINANCES
In the KJV of the Bible regarding Eph. 2:15 we read what seemingly might abolish some law contained in ordinances. But does it. The word “even” is in italics and is a word added by the translators to supposedly make the meaning clearer. However, as a result of our research and study, if any word should be added to clarify, it should be “which was against.” Thus He abolished the ENMITY which was against the law of commandments contained in ordinances.

There is absolutely no way this one set of words can ‘do away’ with all the other clear Scriptures. Many falsely assume God’s Holy Days were “carnal ordinances,” but they were not. They were statutes forever! Read Lev. 23:14, 21, 31, 41. And the statutes of God were in existence hundreds of years prior to any Levitical Priesthood for Abraham kept the statutes of God. (Gen. 26:5). None of God’s word, including His ordinances, all of which are for the good of mankind, will ever be done away. The words of the Bible are the words of the Creator, Jesus Christ. He said in Mat. 25:35…
“Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words SHALL NOT PASS AWAY!”

WHICH ORDINANCES DONE AWAY?
If, after all of this, someone still wants to do away with ordinances, the only ones IN SCRIPTURE which should be forsaken are found in Lev. 18:3. The LORD, Jesus Christ, speaks saying…

“After the doings of the land of Egypt shall you NOT DO: and after the doings of the land of Canaan shall you NOT DO: NEITHER shall you walk in THEIR ORDINANCES.”

The ordinances of the world such as the pagan holidays falsely declared “Christian” are not to be kept. Neither any of the pagan sexual customs. On the other hand Jesus speaks saying in verse 4…

“You shall do my judgments, and KEEP MINE ORDINANCE, to walk therein: I am the LORD your God.”

Let us be glad and praise God that Jesus knew and we can know the commandments of our heavenly Father are everlasting life. (Jn 12:49-50). Let us be happy that all of God’s word is for our living; that none of it is abolished or done away.
Jesus said whatever He spoke was eternal, forever, and for our LIFE.
“…the words that I (Jesus) speak unto you, they are SPIRIT, and they are LIFE!”

We now continue to look at the scriptures which deal with the commandments
1 John 2:3 NKJV
Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments.

You can only know Yehovah once you begin to keep all of His commandments. You will not do it perfectly at first but as you try you will learn.

1 John 2:4 NKJV
He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.

This is a very hard saying most Christians will struggle with. They do not consider themselves liars. Yet this is exactly what John is calling them if they will not keep all the Commandments. Those who don’t keep them do not know Yehovah. If they say they do and do not keep the Holy Days or the Sabbaths or the Sabbatical years they are liars.

1 John 3:22 NKJV
And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight.

Your prayers are not answered if you are not keeping His commandments. Those who do can ask and expect to receive an answer. But if you will not keep the commandments then read what it says about your prayers in Proverbs.

Proverbs 28:9 NKJV
One who turns away his ear from hearing the law, Even his prayer is an abomination.

Those who will not obey and refuse to keep the commandments even your prayers are an abomination. You must keep the Commandments and they include the 4th commandment which is expanded in Lev 23 to show you the Holy Days and Lev 25 to show you the Sabbatical years.

1 John 3:24 NKJV
Now he who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. And by this we know that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us.

Again another hard teaching for those who will not keep the commandments. If you do not keep them then Yehovah does not dwell in you. You do not have the Holy Spirit in you. You may have a spirit but it is not from Yehovah and it is not holy.

2Co 11:14 And no wonder! For Satan himself masquerades as a messenger of light!15 It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness,1 whose end shall be according to their works!2 Footnotes: 1Mt. 7:15-23, 2 Peter 2:1-22. 2Mt. 13:41-42.

1 John 5:2 NKJV
By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments.

We all fall down and make mistakes but we strive to keep the commandment; all of them as best we can. And we do not make excuses as to why we will not keep this one or that one. If it says to not work on the Sabbath then just don’t do it; and see what blessing comes to you.

1 John 5:3 NKJV
For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.

2 John 1:6 NKJV
This is love, that we walk according to His commandments. This is the commandment, that as you have heard from the beginning, you should walk in it.

Last week I had some one tell me I did not know what love was. This was from a Christian woman. She does not see God sending the evil tornados or Hurricanes or Earthquakes or any of the disasters that seem to be hitting the USA and other countries now. But here you have John telling you exactly what love is. It is the keeping of the commandments. If we were to do this then you would not have the evil weather now happening everywhere nor the floods nor the droughts. Yehovah has promised to bless us with the right amount of rains at the right time if we keep His commandments. If we do not then we get what we are currently getting. Yehovah also in Lev 26 promises to send these curses if we will not obey.

Revelation 12:17 NKJV
And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.

Satan has deceived the whole world. Maybe even you. Once this is done the only ones Satan is furious with are those who keep the commandments; All of them. So it is very basic, are you on Yehovah’s side and have Satan as your enemy or are you on Satan’s side and not keeping the commandments and receiving the punishments of Yehovah.

Revelation 14:12 NKJV
Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.

Revelation 22:14 NKJV
Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city.

Once again here it is for you in the King James. You will be able to have the right to the Tree of Life if you keep the commandments. If you are finding excuses not to keep any or all or just certain ones of the commandments that you do not want to keep, then you are deceived by Satan and have Satan’s spirit in you. You must read these again and choose whom you will follow. Yehovah and show Him you love Him by keeping the commandments or Satan by refusing to keep them all or by keeping just the ones you like. As always it is your choice.

Last week we exposed the weakness of Zuckermann and the Geonim who have dismissed the siege of Beth Zur because they could not make it fit their ideal of what they thought the Sabbatical cycles were. This week we will look at another proof about John Hycanus which proves when the Sabbatical year begins.

Pay attention to who the Geonim are as I explain them to you below. It is important along with last weeks proof.

From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historical_Sabbatical_Years we read of;
John Hyrcanus’s siege of Ptolemy in the fortress of Dagon, which is described both in Josephus (Ant. 13.8.1; Wars of the Jews 1.2.4) and 1 Maccabees (16:14-16), and during which a Sabbatical year started; from the chronological information provided in these texts, Zuckermann concluded that 136/135 BCE was a Sabbatical year.

Was he right for doing so?

Again from wiki we read the following;
All these dates as calculated by Zuckermann are separated by an integral multiple of seven years, except for the date associated with the siege of Beth-zur. Furthermore, his chronology is consistent with that accepted by the geonim (medieval Jewish scholars) and the calendar of Sabbatical years used in present-day Israel. All of this would seem to be strong evidence in favor of Zuckermann’s scheme. Nevertheless, some problems have been recognized, beyond just the question of the siege of Beth-zur, which was one year too late for Zuckermann’s calendar.

The siege of Beth Zur was the study we did last week and it was the exact same one the Zuckermann chose to ignore. Why because it did not fit his conclusions or his theory. Yet the fact that a Sabbatical year occurred in the year 162-161 BC as we showed you in last week’s study must tell you that Zuckermann’s theory might be flawed and if so, the geonim who believe as Zuckermann will also be flawed. The Geonim were the middle ages scholars who have determined the sabbatical cycle which is in use today in Israel.

Again from wiki we read;
Antiochus Eupator’s siege of the fortress Beth-zur (Ant. 12.9.6, 1 Maccabees 6:53), dated by Zuckermann to 163/162 BCE. However, he also remarked on the difficulties presented to this figure by the text in 1 Maccabees, which would seem to date the siege one year later, and so he decided to leave it out of consideration.

As a result Judah now keeps the Sabbatical years according the geonim and according to the teaching of Zuckermann.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geonim
Geonim (Hebrew: גאונים‎; also transliterated Gaonim) were the presidents of the two great rabbinical colleges of Sura and Pumbedita, in Babylonia, and were the generally accepted spiritual leaders of the Jewish community world wide in the early medieval era, in contrast to the Resh Galuta (Exilarch) who wielded secular authority over the Jews in Islamic lands.
Geonim is the plural of גאון (Gaon’), which means “pride” or “splendour” in Biblical Hebrew and since the 19th century “genius” as in modern Hebrew. As a title of a Babylonian college president it meant something like “His Excellency.”

The Geonim played a prominent and decisive role in the transmission and teaching of Torah and Jewish law. They taught Talmud and decided on issues on which no ruling had been rendered during the period of the Talmud.

Last week in News Letter http://www.sightedmoonnl.com/?page_id=730 we gave you the introduction to our study source at http://www.yahweh.org/yahweh2.html and then gave you the two chapters to read so that you too can prove when the correct Sabbatical year was in history.

I give them here again for you.
http://www.yahweh.org/publications/sjc/sj12Chap.pdf The Seleucid Era in Judaea
http://www.yahweh.org/publications/sjc/sj13Chap.pdf The Siege of Bethzura and Jerusalem

This week I want to study John Hyrcanus’s siege of Ptolemy in the fortress of Dagon. You can do so by going to http://www.yahweh.org/publications/sjc/sj14Chap.pdf

Brethren we are going right at the heart of the problem with the current Jewish understanding of when the Sabbatical years are.

They said the last one was 2007-2008 and we have just shown you in these three studies where they have erred and why. Why would they ignore historical facts when they do not match their own theories? This week we show you when the year begins. But if you do not read these then you cannot prove or rest assure that 2009-2010 was a Sabbatical year from Aviv to Aviv and when the next one comes in 2016-2017 Aviv to Aviv or when others will tell you it is 2014-215 Tishri to Tishri, then you will not know how to decide or prove which one is right. Now is the time to prove it when it is not pressing in upon you. Do so now while you have time to research it.

We will now continue with the Omer count for Shabbat June 4, 2011

Day 42: Psalms 105: 1-11
Saturday June 4 is forty-two days, which is six weeks of the Omer

Psa 105:1 Give thanks to יהוה! Call upon His Name, Make known His deeds among the peoples.
Psa 105:2 Sing to Him, sing praise to Him; Speak of all His wonders.
Psa 105:3 Make your boast in His set-apart Name; Let the hearts rejoice of those seeking יהוה.
Psa 105:4 Seek יהוה and His strength; Seek His face always.
Psa 105:5 Remember His wonders which He has done, His miracles, and the right-rulings of His mouth,
Psa 105:6 O seed of Aḇraham His servant, Children of Yaʽaqoḇ, His chosen ones!
Psa 105:7 He is יהוה our Elohim; His right-rulings are in all the earth.
Psa 105:8 He has remembered His covenant forever, The Word He commanded, for a thousand generations,
Psa 105:9 The covenant He made with Aḇraham, And His oath to Yitsḥaq,
Psa 105:10 And established it to Yaʽaqoḇ for a law, To Yisra’ĕl – an everlasting covenant,
Psa 105:11 Saying, “To you I give the land of Kenaʽan, The portion of your inheritance.”

Day 43: Psalms 106: 1-5
Sunday June 5 is forty-three days, which is six weeks and one day of the Omer
This also represents the year of the wedding between the Messiah and His bride in 2038

Psa 106:1 Praise Yah! Oh, give thanks to יהוה, For He is good! For His kindness is everlasting.
Psa 106:2 Who does relate the mighty acts of יהוה? Or declare all His praise?
Psa 106:3 Blessed are those who guard right-ruling, Who do righteousness at all times!
Psa 106:4 Remember me, O יהוה, in the acceptance of Your people; Visit me with Your deliverance,
Psa 106:5 To see the good of Your chosen ones, To rejoice in the gladness of Your nation, To make my boast with Your inheritance.

Day 44: Psalms 111: 1-10
Monday is forty-four days, which is six weeks and two days of the Omer
This represents the 2nd year of 2039 of the Feast of the Wedding

Psa 111:1 Praise Yah! I thank יהוה with all my heart, In the company of the straight, and of the congregation.
Psa 111:2 Great are the works of יהוה, Searched for by all who delight in them.
Psa 111:3 Splendour and greatness are His work, And His righteousness stands forever.
Psa 111:4 He has made His wonders to be remembered; יהוה shows favour and is compassionate.
Psa 111:5 He has given food to those who fear Him; He remembers His covenant forever.
Psa 111:6 He has shown His people the power of His works, To give to them the inheritance of the gentiles.
Psa 111:7 The works of His hands are truth and right-ruling, All His orders are trustworthy,
Psa 111:8 They are upheld forever and ever, Performed in truth and straightness.
Psa 111:9 He sent redemption to His people, He has commanded His covenant forever. Set-apart and awesome is His Name.
Psa 111:10 The fear of יהוה is the beginning of wisdom, All those doing them have a good understanding. His praise is standing forever.

Day 45: Psalms 112: 1-10
Tuesday is forty-five days, which is six weeks and three days of the Omer
This represents the 3rd year of 2040 of the Feast of the Wedding

Psa 112:1 Praise Yah! Blessed is the man, Who fears יהוה, Who has greatly delighted in His commands.
Psa 112:2 Mighty in the earth shall be his seed, The generation of the straight ones shall be blessed.
Psa 112:3 Wealth and riches are in his house, And his righteousness is standing forever.
Psa 112:4 Light has risen in the darkness to the straight ones, Those showing favour, The compassionate, And the righteous.
Psa 112:5 Good is a man showing favour and lending, He sustains his matters in right-ruling.
Psa 112:6 For he is never shaken; The righteous is remembered forever.
Psa 112:7 He is not afraid of an evil report. His heart is steadfast, trusting in יהוה.
Psa 112:8 His heart is upheld, he is not afraid, While he looks on his adversaries.
Psa 112:9 He scattered abroad, He gave to the poor, His righteousness is standing forever. His horn is exalted with esteem.
Psa 112:10 The wrong one sees it and shall be vexed; He gnashes his teeth and shall melt. The desire of the wrong ones does perish.

Day 46: Psalms 128: 1-6
Wednesday is forty-six days, which is six weeks and four days of the Omer
This represents the 4th year of 2041 of the Feast of the Wedding

Psa 128:1 Blessed are all who fear יהוה, Who walk in His ways.
Psa 128:2 You shall eat the labour of your hands. Be blessed, and let it be well with you.
Psa 128:3 Let your wife be As a fruit-bearing vine within your house, Your sons like olive plants all around your table.
Psa 128:4 Look, so shall the man be blessed Who fears יהוה.
Psa 128:5 יהוה shall bless you out of Tsiyon, And let you see the good of Yerushalayim All the days of your life,
Psa 128:6 And let you see your children’s children! Peace be upon Yisra’ĕl!

Day 47: Psalms 130: 1-8
Thursday is forty-seven days, which is six weeks and five days of the Omer
This represents the 5th year of 2042 of the Feast of the Wedding

Psa 130:1 Out of the depths I have cried to You, O יהוה.
Psa 130:2 O יהוה, hear my voice! Let Your ears be attentive To the voice of my prayers.
Psa 130:3 O Yah, if You should watch crookednesses, O יהוה, who would stand?
Psa 130:4 But with You there is forgiveness, That You might be feared.
Psa 130:5 I looked to יהוה, My being has looked, And for His word I have waited.
Psa 130:6 My being looks to יהוה More than those watching for morning, watching for morning.
Psa 130:7 O Yisra’ĕl, wait for יהוה; For with יהוה there is kindness. And with Him is much redemption,
Psa 130:8 For He shall redeem Yisra’ĕl From all his crookednesses.

Day 48: Psalms 148: 1-14
Friday is forty-eight days, which is six weeks and six days of the Omer
This represents the 6th year of 2043 of the Feast of the Wedding

Psa 148:1 Praise Yah! Praise יהוה from the heavens, Praise Him in the heights!
Psa 148:2 Praise Him, all His messengers; Praise Him, all His hosts!
Psa 148:3 Praise Him, sun and moon; Praise Him, all you stars of light!
Psa 148:4 Praise Him, heavens of heavens, And you waters above the heavens!
Psa 148:5 Let them praise the Name of יהוה, For He commanded and they were created.
Psa 148:6 And He established them forever and ever, He gave a law and they pass not beyond.
Psa 148:7 Praise יהוה from the earth, You great sea creatures and all the depths,
Psa 148:8 Fire and hail, snow and clouds, Stormy wind that does His word,
Psa 148:9 The mountains and all hills, Fruit tree and all cedars,
Psa 148:10 Wild beasts and all cattle, Creeping creatures and flying birds,
Psa 148:11 Sovereigns of the earth and all peoples, Rulers and all judges of the earth,
Psa 148:12 Both young men and maidens, Old men and children.
Psa 148:13 Let them praise the Name of יהוה, For His Name alone is exalted, His splendour is above the earth and heavens.
Psa 148:14 He also lifts up the horn of His people, The praise of all His kind ones; Of the children of Yisra’ĕl, A people near to Him. Praise Yah!

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

04/06/2011 Ex 17-18 Isaiah 12-14 Ps 123-128 John 6:28-71
Ex 17-18

By now we see a common thread running throughout the book of Exodus. It is not only Pharaoh who was “stiff-necked,” but the Israelites also. What was the difference? God was setting the Israelites apart as a special people due to the covenant that He made with Abraham (Deuteronomy 7:7-8). They had a very special opportunity because of God dealing directly with them. Yet they constantly set their hearts against God’s love for them. Once again they complain and murmur against Moses, this time almost to violence. The event at Massah, meaning “Tempted,” also called Meribah, meaning “Contention,” even saw the Israelites asking the question, “Is the Lord among us or not?” (Exodus 17:7). Their attitude was outrageous. They had seen God destroy Egypt through the plagues, had been freed from Egypt by Him, had walked through the Red Sea on dry ground, had seen the Egyptians swallowed up and had bitter water made drinkable. Every day they had the daily miracle of His provision of manna. And every moment the pillar of God’s presence blazed above them! Yet, like those stiff-necked Israelites, even we sometimes forget God’s miraculous intervention in our lives—or, worse still, choose to forget.

Amazingly, God remains incredibly merciful with the Israelites in this situation. He does not even send a rebuke against the people. Instead, He provides for them. He has Moses strike a rock, causing water to come out of it—evidently becoming a steady source to supply all the needs of the people and their flocks.

Chapter 17 also presents us with Israel’s battle against the Amalekites. Amalek was a descendent of Esau or Edom (Genesis 36). A more detailed description of this confrontation is given in Deuteronomy 25:17, which explains that, in a cowardly move, the Amalekites attacked the Israelites from the rear, taking the stragglers and the weary. God regarded this act as dishonorable and despicable. He prophesied that the Amalekites would eventually be blotted out of existence. This prophecy was carried out in part by King Saul (1 Sam. 15:18) and to a much greater degree by Simeonites in the days of Hezekiah (compare 1 Chronicles 4:41-43)—and will likely find its ultimate fulfillment when the Edomites in general are destroyed at Christ’s return (see Obadiah 18). In the confrontation with the Amalekites in Exodus 17, God chose to show His dealings with Israel through His chosen servant Moses—as long as he held aloft the “rod of God” (see verse 9). In this way, though Moses was God’s chief human instrument at this time, the miraculous power of God was still the focus. As long as the rod of God was held up, Israel prevailed in their battle.

Indeed, it is interesting that Moses was not able to serve God and the people on his own. Rather, he needed help—people to hold up his arms—a point made even more apparent in the next chapter.

Chapter 18
It’s possible that Zipporah returned to her father in Midian after the confrontation with Moses over the matter of circumcising the son she bore Moses. It is recorded that Moses sent them back, but the timing of that event is not clear. There is no account of the entire family coming out of Egypt. We do find here that Jethro now brings Moses’ wife and children back to him.

Jethro also gives Moses some advice in carrying out the responsibilities of a leader among a civil nation. Just as Moses had grown tired in holding God’s staff up on his own in the previous chapter, so was he wearing himself out by single-handedly dealing with all the problems of the people himself. Jethro, witnessing this, recommends that an organized leadership be put into place to handle the day-to-day issues of millions of people and animals. Remember that Jethro, a leader among the Midianites, had years of experience in leading people.

Some people have argued that such a hierarchy was against God’s will. However, notice that Jethro said to institute such a captain system only if God so commanded Moses (verse 23). And it is inconceivable that Moses, who talked with God every day, would have taken such far-reaching steps without consulting with Him. Furthermore, that God sanctioned this system is clear, for He later commands that 70 elders be chosen from among those who are already “officers” over the people (Numbers 11:16)—i.e., having been declared so through the captain system.

Like chapters 15 and 16, chapter 18 also reveals that God’s laws and statutes were being taught and expounded even before their formal declaration at Mount Sinai (verse 16)

Isaiah 12-14
Chapter 12 is very short, but contains the beautiful scripture, “Therefore with joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation” (verse 3)—pointing ultimately to the offering of God’s Spirit to all mankind (compare 44:3; John 7:37-39).

Furthermore, Isaiah 12 is one of many passages in the Bible that exhort us to worship God with music and singing (verses 5-6). In fact, the Bible shows that one of the most important uses of music should be to worship God. Today, with modern recording and playback technology, there is more listening to music (which can be fine and good depending on the music), but regrettably there is much less singing and making music. And sadly, only a very small percentage of music is sacred music—music that is reverential to God. And not all of that is even biblically accurate in lyrics, with so-called gospel or Christian music—and even many church hymns—often misrepresenting God’s Word. It is as important to sing the truth as it is to speak the truth.

Finally, notice this interesting phrase in verse 2: “For Yah, the Lord, is my strength and song [or “song of strength”]; He also has become my salvation.” The same words are found in Exodus 15:2 and Psalm 118:14, which means that they occur in each of the three parts of the Old Testament: the Law, the Prophets and the Writings. Often a stirring melody or rousing anthem is able to strengthen and encourage us. Yet in nothing will we experience greater strengthening than in God Himself.

Returning to the book of Isaiah, we come to “the burden against Babylon” (verse 1). The word burden paints the picture of the prophet being heavily laden with a message from God that he simply must deliver because it is too heavy to carry.

As was mentioned in the previous highlights, the Assyrians sacked Babylon in 689 B.C. Some see the prophecy of Isaiah 13 as a reference to that episode. However, in verse 17 we see the Medes, not the Assyrians, as the ones conquering Babylon. And this did not happen until much later. The Babylonians eventually conquered the Assyrians, overthrowing the Assyrian capital of Nineveh in 612 B.C. Then the Neo-Babylonian Empire ruled the Middle East until its defeat by the Medes and Persians in 539 B.C. This was the fall of ancient Babylon. And the prophecy does seem to anticipate this event, though it was written around 180 years in advance of it.

However, the passage appears to be primarily directed to a time long after that. It is heavily concerned with the Day of the Lord—a time yet future, which immediately precedes the return of Christ (verses 6, 9; compare Joel 1:15; Revelation 6:12-17). Indeed, the return of God’s people to the Promised Land in Isaiah 14:1-2 was not fulfilled by the return of the Jews from Babylonian captivity in the days of Ezra. Only a paltry 50,000 then returned (Ezra 2:64-65), and a few more later—perhaps only 15 percent or so of the Jews in Babylonia. Notice further that Isaiah 14:1-2 says “the house of Jacob” and “Israel”—referring to all 12 tribes, not just the Jews. And in the return from Babylonian exile, the Jews did not then take their oppressors as slaves, as this prophecy says would happen.

It seems clear, then, that while the destruction of historical Babylon is in view here, Isaiah’s prophecy at this point is referring primarily to end-time Babylon—which is not merely a single city or province but an economic, political, religious and military power bloc centered in Europe that will seek to rule the world (Revelation 17-18). The leading national force in this union, as explained in the highlights for Isaiah 10, will be modern Assyria—apparently the Germanic peoples of Central Europe. Surprisingly, the European Union actually uses the symbol of the Tower of Babel to represent its forming superstate.

But Assyria is not the only ancient nation with a surprising identity today. Babylon itself may be found elsewhere. As explained in the previous highlights, a great many Babylonians were relocated to Syro-Phoenicia, including Samaria, even before the Chaldean Neo-Babylonian Empire. When Babylon finally fell to the Medes and Persians they set it up as their winter capital. Later, when Alexander the Great conquered the Persian Empire, he too set up Babylon as the capital of Asia in his Greek empire. When his successor in the region, Seleucus, took over, he declared himself the king of Babylon and made Babylon his first capital. Soon he decided to move the capital to a new location north on the Tigris River and invited those of Babylonia to relocate there. Later, he moved his capital west to Antioch in Syria. In fact, he built 30 new cities throughout his empire, most of them in Syria, and the vast majority of Mesopotamia relocated to them. Thus, though Seleucid Syria was a Greek kingdom in name and language, it was predominantly Babylonian in fact—with large numbers of Phoenicians of old Tyre and Sidon still dwelling along its Mediterranean Coast.

Great numbers of the Babylonian and Phoenician Syrians were later taken to Rome as slaves. Amazingly, in the centuries just before and after Christ, a massive change happened in the Roman population. Through wars and other socioeconomic factors, Italy’s native population dwindled. Many of the local freeborn citizens who were left migrated to other parts of Rome’s growing empire. At the same time, Rome brought in vast numbers of slaves, mostly from Syria. The first-century Roman satirist Juvenal wrote of them: “These dregs call themselves Greeks but how small a portion is from Greece; the River Orontes [in Syria] has long flowed into the Tiber [in Rome]” (Satire 3, line 62). Over time it became popular to free slaves in Rome—and thousands upon thousands of freed slaves, who were skilled at various trades, displaced even more of the freeborn citizenry. So, as incredible as it may seem, Italy eventually became almost entirely Syrian or—in actuality—Babylonian and Phoenician.

As for the Syrians who had not been taken from the Eastern Mediterranean as slaves, they gained notoriety as merchants and traders, carrying on in the tradition of the Phoenicians of old. Eventually, this lucrative pursuit would cause great numbers of them to spread throughout the entire Roman Empire—particularly through Spain, southern France, northern Italy, etc. (see Franz Cumont, Oriental Religions in Roman Paganism, 1911, pp. 107-109)—so much so that a great part of southern Europe is, in fact, Babylonian and Phoenician. Yet the center of modern Babylon is still Rome. So when God identifies Rome and its empire as Babylon in Revelation 17-18 (and as Phoenician Tyre in Ezekiel 27), He means what He says!

Eventually we will see modern Babylon (or Tyre) and modern Assyria fused together into the same power (as indeed has already happened in times past, such as with the Hitler-Mussolini Axis in World War II). This end-time power will conquer the modern-day Israelite nations and deport their remaining populations. The reference to the Medes (The Medes are modern day Iran and as you read this prophecy of Isaiah starting in verse 17 the arrows are launched by the bows which dash to pieces the Babylonians.

These are nuclear arrows and as such this tells us that Iran will be around and will have nuclear capabilities and will use them on Rome if nothing else.) coming against Babylon (Isaiah 13:17) may have an end-time fulfillment as well. They may be part of the massive force led by “the kings from the east” (Revelation 16:12) that attack the “kingdom” of “the beast” (verse 10). We will consider this further when we later read another prophecy of Babylon’s fall in Isaiah 21.

Babylon will be destroyed and abandoned—apparently referring to its end-time capital, Rome (Isaiah 13:19-22). The reference to wild animals dwelling in its ruins may be dual, as we will see in our next reading.

Clearly, Isaiah 14:1-2 is referring to the same future time—when end-time Babylon falls, Jesus Christ returns to this earth and all Israel returns to the Promised Land. The Israelites’ prophesied enslavement of the Assyrians and Babylonians, who had previously enslaved them, will be much different from the wretched picture of slavery our world has sadly witnessed in the past. For this coming short-term slavery, under the rule of Jesus Christ the Savior, will actually be to the benefit of the enslaved enemies. For at that time the Israelite slaveholders, with God’s Spirit poured out on them, will be converted in their hearts and minds to the ways of Christ. The gentile slaves, then, will see Christian kindness in action and learn the true ways of God. Once they learn and accept them, they too will be freed to live in the liberty of the truth of God. What a wonderful world God has in store for all peoples

The prophecies against Babylon continue—specifically against the ruler of Babylon. It is obvious from verses 1-3 that this has a primary fulfillment in the final ruler of end-time Babylon, a world dictator over a resurrected Roman Empire of the last days who is called “the Beast” in the book of Revelation (see 19:19-20). The ancient kings of Babylon were forerunners of this final ruler. As ancient Babylon was conquered in one day by the Medes and Persians (as foretold by the famous miracle of the handwriting on the wall recorded in Daniel 5), so will end-time Babylon and its ruler meet sudden end at Christ’s return (Revelation 18-19).

Yet the final ruler himself is portrayed in Isaiah 14 as a type of someone else. His name, in verse 12, is given as Lucifer. But actually this is a Latin name—meaning “Light-Bearer.” It is a translation of the Hebrew Heylel. This word, based on related Hebrew words, seems to mean “Brightness” or “Praising”—or, if the word is considered as Heyl-el, perhaps even “Brightness of God” or “Praise to God” (though such translations are not normally given because most scholars reject the angelic identity this could imply).

It also appears that Heylel was the Hebrew name for the “Day Star,” that is, the planet Venus. Some now even see in the name Helel ben Shahar (son of Dawn) a reference to a pagan deity represented by the planet Venus.

In any case, we are left with the picture of a grand star, likened to Venus, that wants to be grander than the other stars: “I will exalt my throne above the stars of God” (verse 13). To really understand the picture here we need to know a little about astronomy.

Venus is the brightest object in the sky except for the sun and moon. We now understand it to be a planet. But to the ancients it was classed as a star—simply because their words for star meant a small, shining point of light in the sky. Notice that the reference in verse 12 is “Day Star, son of the morning.” The planet Venus is still referred to as either the morning star or the evening star—because it is visible only just before sunrise or just after sunset. Before dawn, Venus rises from the eastern horizon. But before it is able to climb into the sky (to rise above the other stars and be the highest), the light of the rising sun—the ultimate physical daystar—causes Venus to disappear in the growing light of day. After sunset, Venus appears just above the western horizon—but it sets (or is brought down to the ground) very quickly.

The individual pictured in these verses exalts himself with five “I wills” (verses 13-14). He aspires to universal domination—”to be like the Most High” (verse 14). This attitude certainly applied to the rulers of ancient Babylon, who viewed themselves as exalted above all other human rulers (compare Daniel 4:29-37)—and it likely similarly applies to the unbridled arrogance of the final end-time ruler of Babylon. But it applies most of all to the spiritual ruler of Babylon of all ages—the power behind the throne—Satan the devil. We are told in the book of Revelation that it is Satan, the serpent and dragon of old, who gives power and authority to the Beast (13:2). Indeed, the various “heads” of prophetic Babylon through all ages (compare Revelation 13:1; 17:3)—the succession of gentile world empires—are pictured as emerging from the devil (12:3).

That the devil is primarily meant in this passage in Isaiah 14 is also supported by the fact that Jesus appears to refer to verse 12 when He says, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven” (Luke 10:18). Furthermore, “stars” represent angels elsewhere in prophecy (see Revelation 1:20). Indeed, “a third of the stars of heaven,” meaning angels, were cast to the earth with Satan in his revolt against God in eons past (12:4). We learn more of Satan’s rebellion in Ezekiel 28:11-17, where, again, a human ruler is first used to typify him (in fact, as we will later see, that human ruler of Tyre is none other than the same end-time Beast).

Yet it is not entirely clear whether the revolt against God pictured in Isaiah 14 refers to the ancient struggle that predated man’s existence (again, see Revelation 12:4) or the one that will occur when Satan and his demons again attempt to assault God’s heaven three and a half years before Christ’s return (see verses 7-14). Many scholars note that the language in Isaiah 14:12 is in the form of a lament, an expression of mourning over a great loss. This would reflect God’s grief and sense of loss over the companionship of this trusted cherub (Ezekiel 28:14) and the rebellion Satan had instigated, indicating this passage refers to that initial rebellion. However, it is also possible that the primeval satanic rebellion described here is related as a forerunner of the similar latter-day assault described in Revelation 12. The outcome is the same either way. Satan failed miserably the first time—and he will fail again at the end.

Lucifer, the aspiring daystar—who was brightest of the “morning stars” (see Job 38:7) and even now still appears as an “angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14)—is no match for the ultimate “Morning Star,” the “Sun of Righteousness,” Jesus Christ (see Revelation 22:16; Malachi 4:2), or the ultimate “Father of lights,” God the Father (see James 1:17).

One of the ironies of the passage in Isaiah 14 “is the idea that to be like the Most High (v. 14) is to be self-exalted, whereas it [in truth] is to be self-giving (cf. Phil. 2:5ff.). The ugliness as well as the brevity of the false glory is powerfully shown in vv. 16-21″ (The New Bible Commentary: Revised, 1970, note on Isaiah 14:20-21). In reading what is said about the downfall of the ruler of Babylon, realize that all of it applies to both the human ruler and Satan—if not in fact then in type.

Php 2:5 For, let this mind be in you which was also in Messiah יהושע,
6 who, being in the form of Elohim, did not regard equality with Elohim a matter to be grasped,
7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant, and came to be in the likeness of men. 8 And having been found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient unto death, death even of a stake.

Php 2:17 In fact, even if I am being poured out as a drink offering on the offering and service of your belief, I am glad and rejoice with you all. 18 So you too should be glad and rejoice with me. 19 But I trust in the Master יהושע to send Timothy to you shortly, so that I too am encouraged by news from you. 20 For I have no one else of the same mind, who takes a genuine interest in your welfare. 21 For all seek their own interests, not those of Messiah יהושע.

Verses 22-23 describe the destruction of Babylon. Interestingly, after its fall ancient Babylon did become an abandoned place of marshes as the Euphrates River gradually changed course and moved farther away from the city (a process begun when Babylon’s conqueror Cyrus of Persia removed dikes that kept the river in a particular course). Isaiah referred to it before the fact as the “Wilderness of the Sea” (Isaiah 21:1, 9). In fact, this is part of the reason that Alexander the Great’s successor Seleucus moved his capital from Babylon shortly after establishing it there (see previous highlights). Yet there will probably be a greater fulfillment of this prophecy when end-time Babylon is cast down. Perhaps such a fate will befall the modern capital of Babylon, apparently the city of Rome.

Revelation 20:1 tells us that Satan, and by implication his demons, will be bound for 1,000 years in a particular place—called a “pit” or “abyss”—which Leviticus 16:22 typifies as an “uninhabited land” or “wilderness.” The confinement prophesied for the demons will keep them away from the human beings living during the reign of Christ and His saints—and keep human beings away from them. Perhaps the mention of wild and weird animals and birds at Babylon in conjunction with its desolation (Isaiah 13:21-22) is meant to typify or even indicate demons there (see Revelation 18:2). In fact, regarding a parallel passage, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary reports that at least one scholar “attempts to render the assonance of tsiim ‘eth ‘yim (siyyim et- iyyim, ‘desert creatures and hyenas’) by ‘goblins and ghouls’… [Another scholar] considered them, not as animals, but probably demons of the desert” (footnote on Jeremiah 50:39).

Finally, God relates destruction to come on Assyria (verses 24-25), which, as with so many of these prophecies, seems to indicate both ancient and future punishment. End-time Assyria is largely synonymous with end-time Babylon, since they represent the same power bloc. The forces of this power will be broken in God’s land (Israel) and on God’s mountains (Jerusalem and its environs)—and this punishment will affect all nations (verse 26). This is supported by other prophetic passages (Revelation 16:14, 16; Joel 3:1-2, 12-14).

When the end-time Assyrian yoke of oppression and slavery is broken, God’s people will be free. At the same time, the power of Satan will be overthrown. God’s land and mountains (verse 25) will then be the whole earth (Revelation 11:15). And with Satan’s power broken everywhere, all people will at long last be free.

As a final note on the passage, it should be mentioned that the word rendered “hell” in verse 9 is the same word left untranslated in the rest of the chapter—sheol (see verses 11, 15). While some attempt to read into these verses a shadowy or fiery underworld, the Hebrew word sheol is often translated “the grave,” which is the true meaning of the word. And in the grave human beings have no consciousness (Ecclesiastes 9:5, 10). Indeed, the dead are portrayed in Scripture as “sleeping” until the resurrection (Daniel 12:2; 1 Corinthians 11:30; 2 Peter 3:4

Ps 123-128
Psalm 123, as the first song of ascents in the second set of three (of the five sets of three), is another plea in the midst of distress. As in Psalm 121, the song begins with the psalmist lifting up his eyes-in this case directly to God in heaven (123:1). Indeed, “eyes” is the keyword in this psalm, occurring four times in the first two verses. And just behind it is the thrice-repeated “mercy” or graciousness (verses 2-3)-the Hebrew word here, chanan, implying bending or stooping to help (Strong’s No. 2603). Thus we see where our sights are to be set for help during distressing times-the same place they must always be set-on God.

Looking to God is compared with servants looking to the hand of their masters and mistresses (verse 2). One commentator notes: “In eastern countries, masters often commanded their servants by means of hand signals [clapping for summoning and gesturing for directives], so the servants kept their eyes on the master’s hand. This is what gave them direction for their work. But the master’s hand was also the source of their provision, what they needed for their daily sustenance. Finally, the master’s hand protected them in times of danger” (Warren Wiersbe, Be Exultant-Psalms 90-150: Praising God for His Mighty Works, 2004, note on verse 2). As God’s servants, we are to look intently to Him for the slightest nuance of direction, for our daily bread and for help in times of need.

The psalmist pleads for God’s gracious intervention because he and his compatriots are “exceedingly filled with contempt” (verse 3). Twice he uses the words “contempt” and “exceedingly” to describe their treatment by those who are proud and at ease (verses 3-4). The NIV translates these verses as: “We have endured much contempt. We have endured much ridicule from the proud, much contempt from the arrogant.”

The exact circumstances here are not known, and we might wonder how this relates to observing God’s festivals. Certainly the very fact of following God’s ways, including observing His Sabbaths and festivals, will provoke scorn from the world. A prime example of this occurred in the time of King Hezekiah after he restored true worship and sent runners through what was left of the Northern Kingdom of Israel with an invitation for the people to come to Jerusalem to keep the Passover. “So the runners passed from city to city though the country of Ephraim and Manasseh, as far as Zebulun; but they laughed at them and mocked them. Nevertheless some from Asher, Manasseh, and Zebulun humbled themselves and came to Jerusalem. Also the hand of God was on Judah to give them singleness of heart to obey the command of the king and the leaders, at the word of the Lord ” (2 Chronicles 30:10-12).

May we always look to God’s hand to direct us-and to help us when the world around us ridicules and persecutes us for obeying Him.

124, the second song of ascents of the second set of three, expresses trust in God-acknowledging Him as the reason for Israel’s survival. This is the second of four songs of ascents attributed to King David.

David encourages national participation in this hymn with the formula “Let Israel now say” (verse 1; compare 118:2; 129:1). The
repeated opening statement “If it had not been the Lord who was on our side…” (verses 1-2) takes as a given that God had been on their side. Indeed, God is on the side of His people. This was historically true for Israel, just as it is for spiritual Israel-God’s Church. Being on the side of His people does not mean that God endorses everything that they do, as they stumble and sin. The sense here is of being with them, supporting them. God works with His people to guide them, help them and ultimately save them-often against antagonists who try to thwart them. In a powerful New Testament parallel, the apostle Paul remarks, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31).

Without God’s aid, the enemies of His people, in both the physical and spiritual realm, would have swallowed them up (Psalm 124:2-3)-in the metaphoric senses of a flood running over them (verses 4-5) and of predatory wild animals devouring them (verse 6). David used such flood imagery in other psalms for threats and persecution (18:16; 32:6; 69:1-2; compare also Job 27:20; Revelation 12:15-16). And he elsewhere compares persecution to being attacked by lions (Psalms 7:1-2; 10:8-11; 57:4).

Yet God has given deliverance, seen also in the figure of a bird escaping the fowler’s snare-the trap of a bird trapper (compare 91:3). The Zondervan Student Bible comments: “Some trouble is quick-bang and it’s over…but with other trouble, trying to escape only gets you more deeply entangled…if you try to undo the damage, you only make it worse. That’s exactly the picture of ‘the fowler’s snare.’ The bird that caught its neck in the noose only tightened the snare’s choke-hold by struggling. The bird could not get out by its own effort. But this time, says David, the snare has miraculously broken, and the bird has flown to
safety. When you escape that way, there’s only one person to thank: the Lord” (note on verse 7).

Indeed, the past deliverance on which the song reflects is the basis for continued trust in the help of the Almighty Creator God-the One who made heaven and earth (verse 8; compare 121:2; 134:3). This confidence is essential for our journey to God’s Kingdom.

As the third song of ascents in the second set of three, Psalm 125 brings us again to blessing and peace in Zion. As the previous psalm expressed trust in God, so this one picks up from there in commencing with “those who trust in the Lord ” (verse 1).

These are compared with the abiding presence of Mount Zion, probably meaning all of Jerusalem as it expanded from the original City of David (see verses 1-2). As the mountain is immovable and enduring, both in natural terms and because God has declared it His eternal Holy City, so those with faith in God will themselves continue with God in His city forever. As the City of David and temple mount were surrounded by higher hills, providing a natural defense against encroaching armies, so God surrounds His covenant people with protection to preserve them (verse 2). The comparison here is all the more fitting because God’s faithful spiritual people are collectively referred to in various passages as Zion or Jerusalem in a spiritual sense. They will forever inhabit the heavenly Zion or New Jerusalem that will come down to the earth at the culmination of God’s plan of salvation for mankind.

The psalmist says that the “scepter of wickedness”-evil rule (compare 94:20)-would not “rest” on the allotted land of the righteous, inducing the righteous to veer in their character (125:3). God did allow evil kings to rule over Israel and Judah-both domestic and foreign-and many people in the land were corrupted by this. Yet such wicked rule did not persist. Indeed, the context here is one of “forever” (verse 2). In an ultimate sense, God would not allow the wicked to prevail over the land promised to God’s people-this referring to not only the Holy Land but to the whole world. The rule of Satan the devil and his corrupting influence over this planet will be broken at the return of Jesus Christ and the establishment of God’s Kingdom so that people will be drawn not to iniquity, but to the joy of righteousness and peace-conditions represented in the fall festivals.

In the meantime, though confident in God to protect and preserve His people, the psalmist still prays with a sense of urgency that God will “do good…to those who are good…who are upright” (verse 4). No one by nature is truly good, but those who are forgiven of sin and live upright lives with the help of God’s Spirit are nevertheless classified as “good.” These people follow godly ways in contrast with those who “turn aside” to follow “crooked ways.” As for those who follow wicked examples of disobedience, God will lead them away to the same consequences (verse 5)-perhaps meaning out of the Promised Land and into captivity, as
referred to in the next psalm.

Psalm 125 ends with a call for peace on Israel (same verse)-the true Israel being those who faithfully continue in covenant with God. The same closing prayer ends Psalm 128, the concluding song of ascents in the next set of three.

Psalm 126, the first song of ascents in the third set of three (of the five sets of three), returns to the theme of distress in this world, as most of Israel remains in exile and the psalm speaks of sowing in tears (compare verses 4-5). Exile was a consequence of disobedience, as was hinted at in the previous psalm. However, there is also great joy for those restored to Zion-another theme repeated from the previous psalm. “Ps 125 and 126 are thematically linked and precisely balanced, each being composed (in Hebrew) of 116 syllables. Their juxtaposition was no doubt deliberate” ( Zondervan NIV Study Bible, note on Psalm 125).

This psalm poses a difficulty for those who would link King Hezekiah with the songs of ascents-since he lived prior to the return from Babylonian Exile apparently referred to in this psalm. However, as was noted at the outset with respect to this idea, it is possible that the psalm was originally written about what was yet to come and that the specific wording was modified following the return from captivity. In any case, the psalm as we have it appears to date from after the Exile. Even so, there is a prophetic aspect regarding the complete return from captivity in the future.

We previously read Psalm 126 in the Bible Reading Program in conjunction with Ezra 6:14-22, the account of the completion of the rebuilding of the temple following the Exile. Some of what follows is a repeat of earlier comments.

The return from captivity in Babylon had been anticipated for so long that when it came, it seemed like a dream (verse 1). Was this really happening? It was! And when the reality set in, joy was overflowing in laughter and song. The events that Judah experienced through the decrees of the Persian emperors Cyrus and Darius and the temple reconstruction all stood as a great testimony among other nations (compare verse 2). And it was a great witness to those who returned of the reality and power of their God. “The Lord has done great things for us,” they cried, “and we are filled with joy” (verse 3, NIV).

Still, all was not yet accomplished. God had “brought back the captivity of Zion” (verse 1). And yet the people pray in verse 4, “Bring back our captivity, O Lord …” Only a small percentage of the Jews who had been exiled to Babylon had returned. And the rest of the tribes of Israel, taken away previously in the Assyrian captivity, remained scattered. Ultimately, therefore, this prayer was for the end-time work of Jesus Christ in bringing Israel and Judah back from around the globe.

“…As the streams in the South [the Negev]” (same verse) is a request that this happen quickly and with great force. “The wadis in the steppe south of Hebron, around Beersheba, were generally dry; but on the rare occasions when during the winter months it rained even as little as one inch, the water ran down its ’streams’ with great rapidity and often with destructive force…. Roads and bridges [have been] destroyed by the force of these torrential streams. The ’streams in the Negev’ are not ordinary phenomena, as much as they represent proverbially the sudden unleash of God’s blessing” ( Expositor’s Bible Commentary, note on verse 4).

Verses 5-6 give us the beautiful word picture of sowing in tears yet reaping in joy. All our wearisome toil and trials in this life, including Israel’s exile, is working toward a wonderful outcome. “For this slight momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison” (2 Corinthians 4:17, RSV). How well this is symbolized in God’s festivals, which celebrate in part the harvests of produce after the toil of planting and tending crops. Pentecost is alternatively referred to as the Feast of Harvest. The Feast of Tabernacles is also known as the Feast of Ingathering-and it is to be kept with rejoicing (Deuteronomy 16:13-15). The ancient Jewish return to the Promised Land after decades of loss, heartache and shame was a source of great rejoicing. How much more joyful will it be when the people of all Israel are at last gathered again to their homeland at the establishment of God’s Kingdom-simultaneous with the reunion of God’s spiritual family!

As we assemble annually to observe God’s feasts, let us all go with such a mindset-as if leaving the captivity of this world to rejoice before the Almighty King who has done great things for us, knowing that all our toil and sorrow in this age will ultimately reap a joyous reward in His presence for all eternity.

Psalm 127, the central psalm of the songs of ascents, is one of only two psalms with Solomon’s name in the title (the other being Psalm 72). As the second song of ascents in the third set of three, Psalm 127 is one of trust in God-acknowledging Him as the source of security and posterity. The key word here is the thrice-repeated “vain” (verses 1-2)-showing the futility of life apart from God. “It reminded the pilgrims on their way to Jerusalem that all of life’s securities and blessings are gifts from God rather than their own achievements (see Dt 28:1-14 [compare 8:10-18])” ( Zondervan NIV Study Bible, note on Psalm 127).

The building of the house in verse 1 perhaps calls to mind the work that Solomon did on building God’s house-the temple-as well as his own house or royal palace and other great building projects in Jerusalem and throughout the land of Israel. Yet the meaning of “house” here could also signify a family-on which the latter part of the psalm concentrates. It could even mean a nation -a family grown large-such as the whole house of Israel or house of Judah. Moreover, God had promised David an enduring house-meaning his royal dynasty, Solomon himself being the first successor. In building a house of any sort, the idea is to provide shelter or protection, promote community or family within and ensure perpetuity. Yet without God’s involvement, such building is ultimately wasted effort-for only He can give true and lasting security, belonging and permanence.

If God is not the One doing the safeguarding, as verse 1 shows in the example of city watchmen, there is no guarantee of safety. Furthermore, apart from God, working from early morning to late at night to make ends meet is an uncertain venture-the earned sustenance being accompanied by the anguish of life’s worries. Conversely, God’s vigilant care for His people who trust Him frees them from restlessness and allows them the blessing of peaceful slumber (verse 2; 128:2; compare Matthew 6:28-34).

God is the One who perpetuates home and family-through His overseeing care and, as related in the song’s second stanza, through the miracle of childbirth. Children are, in fact, His gifts-an inheritance and blessing from Him (Psalm 127:3; compare 128:3). They build and bring joy to a family, they help with family responsibilities, they guard against loneliness and abandonment in old age, they perpetuate and bring honor to the family name. “In ancient times, having many children was regarded as a symbol of strength. This was particularly true in an agricultural economy, since the extra hands of children increased the productivity of the farmer” ( Nelson Study Bible, note on verses 3-5). A man with a large family enjoyed a measure of respect and recognition among his peers. When citizens met at the city gates to discuss business, such a man was not ashamed to speak his mind-even to enemies, who would think twice before acting against a person with a large family, fearing his many defenders against accusations, an increased possibility of retribution and the perceived evidence of God’s favor (verse 5).

The blessing of family, a theme carried over into the next psalm, is an important focus of the annual festivals of God, during which the songs of ascent were sung. For not only do the feasts look forward to the redemption and restoration of the family of Israel and that of all mankind (which truly is one great family), but this is all part of God’s plan of building His spiritual family-an eternal inheritance in which we may all share.

Psalm 128, the third song of ascents in the third set of three, returns to the theme of blessing and peace in Zion-here as a continuation of the focus on the wonderful blessings of family in the previous psalm. True happiness in this regard is part of the reward of those who fear God-those who have an appropriate sense of awe and respect for Him and His ways, fearing the consequences of disobeying Him (verses 1, 4).

The previous psalm spoke of laboring in vain without God and eating bread of anguish as a result (127:1-2). Here the labor of those who obey and rely on God results in eating (experiencing the fruit of one’s labors) in happiness and well-being (128:2).
As part of this blessing, the godly man’s wife is described as “a fruitful vine” (verse 3). This refers in part to her being the mother of his children, as the lines that follow and the mention of children as “the fruit of the womb” in the previous psalm imply (see 127:3). Yet it probably also more generally means that she is a source of great joy and happiness for him, as noted below.

Likewise their children are likened to promising “olive shoots” (NIV). “Ever green and with the promises of both long life and productivity (of staples: wood, fruit, oil). The vine and olive tree are frequently paired in the O[ld] T[estament] (as, e.g., in Ex 23:11). Both were especially long-lived, and they produced the wine and the oil that played such a central role in the lives of the people” ( Zondervan NIV Study Bible, note on Psalm 128:3).

The Expositor’s Bible Commentary states: ” The imagery of vine and olive tree are reminiscent of the eras of David and Solomon (1 Kings 4:25) and the blessings associated with the messianic era (Mic 4:4; Zech 3:10) [-a period symbolized by the Feast of Tabernacles]. To sit under one’s vine and fig tree was an expression of a state of tranquility, peace, and prosperity. Even when the country faces adversity, the man who fears the Lord is insulated against adversity by wife and children as the blessings of the Lord are found under the roof of his house. The metaphor of the fruitfulness of the vine extends, not only to the bearing of children, but also to everything the wife contributes to the welfare of family (cf. Prov 31:10-31).

“The children, who are likened to olive shoots, are strong and in due time will continue the work that their father has begun (cf. 52:8; Jer 11:16; Hos 14:6). Though the olive tree may not bear after it has been planted for forty years, it is a symbol of longevity and productivity. So are children within the household of faith! They are not like grass, which is here today but is gone tomorrow. Rather, they are olive trees that in due time bear their fruit. The blessedness of the godly man will extend to other generations. What a privilege God bestows on his children in this life that we may already taste the firstfruits of our heritage!” (note on Psalm 128:3-4).

It is noteworthy that the wife is “in the very heart of your house” (verse 3), showing that she is faithful-not like the unfaithful wife whose “feet would not stay at home” (Proverbs 7:11)-and that she is in a protected position and central to the successful functioning of the family. The children are “all around your table” for meals, implying that the family eats together in fellowship and that the children are pleased to be responsible members of the family (Psalm 128:3).

Verse 5 then remarkably states that these blessings are to come out of Zion-in connection with seeing the good of Jerusalem
over the course of life. So we see that godly and truly blessed families are not just automatic with an initial commitment to follow God. Rather, this is speaking of the whole family coming together to Jerusalem to learn and grow in God’s ways, clearly relating this psalm and its great blessings to the annual pilgrimages to keep God’s feasts. Today, we can understand Zion in a spiritual sense as looking forward to life in God’s Kingdom.

The blessing of verse 6 concerns both the longevity of the righteous and the desire for their posterity to continue to experience the blessings of the psalm-implying their continuance in God’s ways, especially family worship and learning at His festivals. This is the key to the concluding call for peace on God’s people in the same verse-repeated from the end of Psalm 125.

John 6:28-71

Joh 6:30 So they said to Him, “What sign then would You do, so that we see and believe You? What would You do? 31 “Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, as it has been written, ‘He gave them bread out of the heaven to eat.’ ” 32 Therefore יהושע said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, Mosheh did not give you the bread out of the heaven, but My Father gives you the true bread out of the heaven. 33 “For the bread of Elohim is He who comes down out of the heaven and gives life to the world.” 34 So they said to Him, “Master, give us this bread always.” 35 And יהושע said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall not get hungry at all, and he who believes in Me shall not get thirsty at all.

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.”

Joh 6:53 יהושע therefore said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Aḏam and drink His blood, you possess no life in yourselves. 54 “He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood possesses everlasting life, and I shall raise him up in the last day. 55 “For My flesh is truly food, and My blood is truly drink.56 “He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood stays in Me, and I in him.

So how do we eat His flesh and drink His blood?

We are told something at the beginning of John;
Joh 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with Elohim, and the Word was Elohim. 2 He was in the beginning with Elohim.

Yehshua is speaking to us in parables once again. Keep in mind that when He said this, the days of Unleavened Bread were just a short memory behind them and Shavuot was approaching.

Both of these Feasts have to do with a wave offering; One of Barley and one of Wheat.

Lev 2:1 ‘And when anyone brings a grain offering to יהוה, his offering is to be of fine flour. And he shall pour oil on it, and put frankincense on it, 2 and he shall bring it to the sons of Aharon, the priests, and he shall take from it his hand filled with fine flour and oil with all the frankincense. And the priest shall burn it as a remembrance portion on the altar, an offering made by fire, a sweet fragrance to יהוה. 3 ‘And the rest of the grain offering is for Aharon and his sons, most set-apart of the offerings to יהוה by fire. 4 ‘And when you bring as an offering a grain offering baked in the oven, it is of unleavened cakes of fine flour mixed with oil, or unleavened thin cakes anointed with oil. 5 ‘But if your offering is a grain offering on the griddle, it is of fine flour, unleavened, mixed with oil. 6 ‘Divide it into bits and pour oil on it, it is a grain offering. 7 ‘And if your offering is a grain offering, in a stewing-pot, it is made of fine flour with oil. 8 ‘And you shall bring to יהוה the grain offering that is made of these, and shall present it to the priest, and he shall bring it to the altar. 9 ‘And the priest shall take from the grain offering a remembrance portion, and burn it on the altar, an offering made by fire, a sweet fragrance to יהוה. 10 ‘And the rest of the grain offering is for Aharon and his sons, most set-apart of the offerings to יהוה made by fire. 11 ‘No grain offering which you bring to יהוה is made with leaven, for you do not burn any leaven or any honey in an offering to יהוה made by fire. 12 ‘Bring them to יהוה as an offering of the first-fruits, but they are not burned on the altar for a sweet fragrance. 13 ‘And season with salt every offering of your grain offering, and do not allow the salt of the covenant of your Elohim to be lacking from your grain offering. With all your offerings you bring salt. 14 ‘And if you bring a grain offering of your first-fruits to יהוה, bring for the grain offering of your first-fruits green heads of grain roasted on the fire, crushed heads of new grain. 15 ‘And you shall put oil on it, and lay frankincense on it. It is a grain offering.16 ‘And the priest shall burn the remembrance portion, from its crushed grain and from its oil, with all the frankincense, an offering made by fire to יהוה.

In the same sense as the Lamb that was sacrificed represented Yehshua and the Red Heifer represented Yehshua, and the Goat that was Sacrificed represented Yehshua, and the High Priest represented Yehshua, the grain offering also represent Yehshua as the bread of life.

It was barley flour during the day of Unleavened Bread and it was wheat flour at Shavuot.

Have you considered the Shekinah, the cloud that led the people of Israel in the wilderness?

In the morning during those forty years that cloud would come down in the early morning hours and when it lifted they would find the manna on the ground.

Exo 16:31 And the house of Yisra’ĕl called its name Manna. And it was like white coriander seed, and the taste of it was like thin cakes made with honey.

Num 11:7 Now the manna was like coriander seed, and its appearance like the appearance of bdellium. 8 The people went about and gathered it, ground it on millstones or beat it in the mortar, and cooked it in a pot, and made cakes of it. And its taste was as the taste of cakes baked with oil. 9 And when the dew fell on the camp at night, the manna fell on it.

Psa 78:24 And He rained down manna on them to eat, And He gave them the grain of the heavens.25 Men ate bread of the mighty; He sent them provisions to satisfaction.

How many times did Yehovah tell the Israelites that He was taking them to a land of milk and honey? And here they are eating bread coming from the cloud that tasted like honey. They were eating of that same source of life, Yehovah, and this is exactly what Yehshua was talking about.

We have His words in our bible. His words, this is who He is, who Yehovah is and who we must become and this is why we must eat these words and make them a part of us, so that we can breathe them and think about them all the time.

I also want to point out another thing Yehshua said which we all need to heed.

Joh 6:37 “All that the Father gives Me shall come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I shall by no means cast out.

Joh 6:44 “No one is able to come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him. And I shall raise him up in the last day. 45 “It has been written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught by יהוה.’ Everyone, then, who has heard from the Father, and learned, comes to Me.

This saying is found in Isaiah where he tells us Yehovah will teach us.

Isa 54:10 “For though the mountains be removed and the hills be shaken, My kindness is not removed from you, nor is My covenant of peace shaken,” said יהוה, who has compassion on you. 11 “O you afflicted one, tossed with storm, and not comforted, see, I am setting your stones in antimony, and shall lay your foundations with sapphires, 12 and shall make your battlements of rubies, your gates of crystal, and all your walls of precious stones, 13 and all your children taught by יהוה, and the peace of your children great.

You brethren, you who are studying His word and changing as you learn to obey what you are reading, those of you who are doing this, you are His that Yehovah has called. Of all the 7 billion on this earth Yehovah has chosen you at this time to do His will and to finish the course. What an awesome opportunity. Run with it and do all that is expected of you, but you must run.

Joh 6:65 And He said, “Because of this I have said to you that no one is able to come to Me unless it has been given to him by My Father.”

Many Christians ask the following questions;

How can I know that God has chosen me? I have been a christian for many years but sometimes have doubts. Is it possible that God hasn’t choosen me and no matter what I won’t be saved.

Yehshua said he would not lose any that were His and given to Him by the Father. Each of us gets the choice as to whether or not we will obey and follow. Some think they are obeying and yet they are not when you press them about the keeping of the Ten Commandments, Especially the 4th one. But those who are trying to keep the commandments and do them these He will save.

Joh 6:35 And יהושע said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall not get hungry at all, and he who believes in Me shall not get thirsty at all. 36 “But I said to you that you have seen Me, and still do not believe. 37 “All that the Father gives Me shall come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I shall by no means cast out. 38 “Because I have come down out of the heaven, not to do My own desire, but the desire of Him who sent Me. 39 “This is the desire of the Father who sent Me, that all He has given Me I should not lose of it, but should raise it in the last day.40 “And this is the desire of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him should possess everlasting life. And I shall raise him up in the last day.”

Again here is the will of the Father; KJV Joh 6:39 And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.

Joh 10:27 “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.1 Footnote: 1Rev. 14:4-5. 28 “And I give them everlasting life, and they shall by no means ever perish, and no one shall snatch them out of My hand. 29 “My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all. And no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. 30 “I and My Father are one.”1 Footnote: 1See 17:11, 17:21-23.

To hear His voice is to obey that voice. Yehshua said if you love me, Keep the commandments. If you want eternal life then keep the commandments. All of them and not just nine but all ten.

Mat 18:11 “For the Son of Aḏam has come to save what was lost. 12 “What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them goes astray, would he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains, going to seek the one that is straying? 13 “And if he should find it, truly, I say to you, he rejoices more over that sheep than over the ninety-nine that did not go astray. 14 “Thus it is not the desire of your Father who is in the heavens that one of these little ones should be lost.

2Ti 2:19 However, the solid foundation of Elohim stands firm, having this seal, “יהוה knows those who are His,” Bem. 16:5 and, “Let everyone who names the Name of Messiah turn away from unrighteous-ness.”
Num 16:5 and spoke to Qoraḥ and all his company, saying, “Tomorrow morning יהוה shall make known who is His and who is set-apart, and bring him near to Him. And let Him bring near to Him the one whom He chooses.

By keeping the commandments we are learning to be righteous. Psa 119:172 My tongue sings of Your word, For all Your commands are righteousness. Unrighteousness is sin and it is not keeping the commandments 1Jn 3:4 Everyone doing sin also does lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness.

To be a Christian or not a Christian does not matter. Religion has no place in the kingdom of Yehovah. What matters, what determines if you belong to Him or do not belong to Him is whether or not you will obey the 10 commandments. We all fall short but those who are His get back up repent and return to keeping the commandments. If you do this then you will know you are His and belong to Him and have no more doubts.

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 437-443 We also have commentary, with editing from me, again from http://theownersmanual.net/The_Owners_Manual_02_The_Law_of_Love.Torah

(437)Do not compound oil for lay use after the formula of the anointing oil. “And you shall speak to the children of Israel, saying: ‘This shall be a holy anointing oil to Me throughout your generations. It shall not be poured on man’s flesh; nor shall you make any other like it, according to its composition. It is holy, and it shall be holy to you. Whoever compounds any like it, or whoever puts any of it on an outsider, shall be cut off from his people.’” (Exodus 30:31-33) For an anointing oil to be “holy,” it’s use and formula would have been strictly exclusive to the purposes Yahweh had outlined in His Word. First, the recipe for the anointing oil itself was not to be duplicated or simulated. Because the oil spoke of the true Messiah and His mission, anything made to be “like it” would by definition describe a “false Messiah,” another path to God—all the more deadly because of its similarity to the real thing. The better the counterfeit, the more damage it can do. Satan’s most destructive fakes blend ninety percent truth with ten percent lies. His most deceptive counterfeit? Religion. Search the scriptures: Yahweh never speaks of religion in a positive light. He’s after a personal relationship with us, but religion is an unholy anointing oil—a deceptive substitute for the genuine familial relationship God seeks to have with us.

(438)Do not anoint a stranger with the anointing oil. “This shall be a holy anointing oil to Me throughout your generations. It shall not be poured on man’s flesh…. Whoever puts any of it on an outsider shall be cut off from his people.” (Exodus 30:31-33) By the same token, the real Messiah cannot be comprehended by an “outsider,” someone who has no relationship with Yahweh. Well meaning “strangers” can talk about “the historical Jesus” all they want, but they won’t begin to understand what He’s really about, because they don’t have His Spirit living within them. That last phrase, “Whoever puts any of it on an outsider shall be cut off from his people,” should give us pause. Yahweh is warning us against suggesting secular solutions for problems only God can solve—anointing “outsiders” with Messianic status. Don’t follow men; don’t trust in programs; don’t rely on law, tradition, or religion. Yahshua alone is the Messiah, the anointed one.

(439)Do not compound anything after the formula of the incense. “And Yahweh said to Moses: “Take sweet spices, stacte and onycha and galbanum, and pure frankincense with these sweet spices; there shall be equal amounts of each. You shall make of these an incense, a compound according to the art of the perfumer, salted, pure, and holy. And you shall beat some of it very fine, and put some of it before the Testimony in the tabernacle of meeting where I will meet with you. It shall be most holy to you. But as for the incense which you shall make, you shall not make any for yourselves, according to its composition. It shall be to you holy for Yahweh. Whoever makes any like it, to smell it, he shall be cut off from his people.” (Exodus 30:34-38) The prescribed incense was much like the anointing oil in that a specific formula was to be followed, one used exclusively by the priesthood in the sanctuary service. In Mitzvot #433 and 434, we examined the altar on which this incense was to be burned, and the significance of the incense—primarily a metaphor for prayer. Here we see the recipe for the incense itself.

Stacte is a resin or gum, but the Hebrew word (natap) stresses the form: a drop of this ingredient. We should be immediately reminded of Dr. Luke’s account of Yahshua’s intense prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane. He reports, “And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. And His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.” (Luke 22:44) Stacte, then, implores us to pray passionately. Galbanum is an aromatic bitter gum resin from the Ferula plant family. We are thus reminded to take our bitterness and sorrow to God, for He understands our grief. Frankincense we have seen before (Mitzvah #430): it’s name is related to being white—in other words, moral purity or imputed righteousness. As James reminds, “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” (James 5:16) Salt added flavor and acted as a preservative, which is why Yahshua called believers “the salt of the earth.”

And finally, the most surprising ingredient (to my mind) is “onycha,” the Hebrew shacheleth. This is the “processed claw-shaped closing flap of certain types of mollusks (such as strombus) of the genus Mollusca with a pungent odor when burned.” (Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains) This ingredient is not only fauna—not flora—in origin, the animal from which it comes is unclean. It’s as if Yahweh is telling us, “I know you’re not perfect. I know you’re defiled. Let’s talk anyway. My Spirit, living within you, knows what to say.” Paul informs us, “The Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.” (Romans 8:26)

(440)He who, in error, makes unlawful use of sacred things, shall make restitution of the value of his trespass and add a fifth. “If a person commits a trespass, and sins unintentionally in regard to the holy things of Yahweh, then he shall bring to Yahweh as his trespass offering a ram without blemish from the flocks, with your valuation in shekels of silver according to the shekel of the sanctuary, as a trespass offering. And he shall make restitution for the harm that he has done in regard to the holy thing, and shall add one-fifth to it and give it to the priest. So the priest shall make atonement for him with the ram of the trespass offering, and it shall be forgiven him.” (Leviticus 5:15-16) This whole passage is about making atonement for unintentional sins—mistakes, lapses, or omissions—things we all do every day. When Moses talks about “doing harm to the holy things,” he probably wasn’t thinking about things like backing your chariot into the altar and putting a big dent in it. The word “things” isn’t really there in the original. I believe the thought is more like, “inadvertently treating as common what has been set apart to Yahweh.”

Let’s cut to the chase, shall we? That means you and me. We have been bought with a price. We have been made holy—sanctified and set apart to Yahweh—by the sacrifice of our Messiah. Why then do we treat our bodies as profane things? Why do we ignore the Spirit dwelling within us six days a week; and when we do pay attention to God’s word, why do we set aside a different day of the week from the one He declared holy? We mean no harm, it’s true. But an unintentional sin is still sin. So why do people keep Sunday and not the Sabbath as we are commanded. Which is what we have been saying from the beginning of this News Letter.

(441)Remove the ashes from the altar. “This is the law of the burnt offering: The burnt offering shall be on the hearth upon the altar all night until morning, and the fire of the altar shall be kept burning on it. And the priest shall put on his linen garment, and his linen trousers he shall put on his body, and take up the ashes of the burnt offering which the fire has consumed on the altar, and he shall put them beside the altar. Then he shall take off his garments, put on other garments, and carry the ashes outside the camp to a clean place. And the fire on the altar shall be kept burning on it; it shall not be put out. And the priest shall burn wood on it every morning, and lay the burnt offering in order on it; and he shall burn on it the fat of the peace offerings. A fire shall always be burning on the altar; it shall never go out.” (Leviticus 6:9-13) It’s obvious that the ashes would have to be cleaned out of the altar periodically. We need to be asking ourselves why the procedure was to be done as outlined here. This had to be a dirty job: why was the priest instructed to put on his special priestly garments for taking the ashes out of the altar, and then don ordinary clothes for transporting them out of the camp?

Once again, it’s a prophetic insight into the role of the Messiah. The ashes weren’t just burned wood. They also contained the remains of the previous day’s sacrifices. Thus although consumed, they were still holy and significant to Yahweh. That’s the reason for the linen garments, symbolizing the imputed righteousness of the saints, righteousness that had been made possible by the sacrifice, now reduced to ash.

But what happens next is where we should all sit up and take notice. The priest isn’t just taking out the trash, for the ashes are holy. Now he puts on “profane” garments and removes the ashes from the altar to a “clean” place outside the camp. (“Clean” is the Hebrew word tahowr, meaning ritually or physically clean, pure (as in “pure gold”), or flawless—free from defect or impurity.) For the Messiah’s sacrifice to be complete, He had to endure separation from the Father; He had to be sent “outside the camp,” and this at the hands of profane and defiled men. Sacrifice goes beyond the pain of Passover—the Feast of Unleavened Bread is also necessary—the separation of us from our sin as Yahshua was parted from the Father.

(442)Keep fire always burning on the altar of the burnt-offering. “The fire on the altar shall be kept burning on it; it shall not be put out. And the priest shall burn wood on it every morning, and lay the burnt offering in order on it; and he shall burn on it the fat of the peace offerings. A fire shall always be burning on the altar; it shall never go out.” (Leviticus 6:12-13) If the temple sacrifices were mere rituals designed to appease an angry God, then it wouldn’t matter if the fire was put out and then started up again when we figured He needed some more appeasing. But they’re nothing of the sort. They’re symbols of Yahweh’s plan for our redemption. The fire is not to go out because it symbolizes Yahweh’s eternal presence, purity, and power. Fire speaks of judgment—not so much wrath as separation: It is fire that removes the dross from gold and fire that will separate the blessed from the cursed (see Matthew 25:41). This is very important to Yahweh. In these five verses, He tells us to keep the altar’s fire going no fewer than six different times.

(443)Do not extinguish the fire on the altar. “The fire on the altar shall be kept burning on it; it shall not be put out. And the priest shall burn wood on it every morning, and lay the burnt offering in order on it; and he shall burn on it the fat of the peace offerings. A fire shall always be burning on the altar; it shall never go out.” (Leviticus 6:12-13) The priests were not only cautioned not to let the fire die from neglect, but they were also specifically warned not to put it out intentionally. As far as Maimonides was concerned, this was merely a negative re-statement of the previous affirmative mitzvah—padding the list to come up with the requisite 613 laws. But it’s worth noting Paul’s parallel admonition in I Thessalonians 5:19: “Do not quench the Spirit.” How do we do that? He goes on to explain: “Do not despise prophecies. Test all things; hold fast to what is good. Abstain from every form of evil.” By scoffing at or ignoring prophetic scripture, by being too lazy or apathetic to check the truth of what we’re being told by the media, our politicians, and even our preachers against the standard of the Word of God, by letting go of what is good, pure, and right, and compromising instead with the world’s evil agenda, we quench the influence of the Holy Spirit in our lives—we extinguish the fire on the altar.

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