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News Letter 5847-022
12th day of the 5th month 5847 years after the creation of Adam
The 5th 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.
August 13, 2011

Shabbat Shalom Brethren,
We have just over two months left for you to decide where you will be keeping the Feast this year. Of course I hope you will join Avi and myself in Jerusalem for Sukkot in 2011. But we need to let the Ramat Rachel know how many are coming right away in order to save the rooms we need or release the ones we do not need. So if you are planning on joining us in Israel this year we do need to hear from right away.

Here is short video from Avi encouraging you to come.
Shalom

I have produced a quick 4:17 video in HD, promoting the Sukkot 2011 program.

Here is the link: http://www.cominghome.co.il/video/V4/V-4.html

The video is in High Definition (HD) and so if you have slower than usual connections, it might take a little extra time to stream it. HOWEVER, the video can be downloaded to your hard drive and played without streaming, speeding things up a bit.

The rest of the information, pricing, schedule, itinerary is posted on our site: http://www.cominghome.co.il/tours/sukkot/sukkot_1.html

Take care and a good week to everyone.

Avi

Last weeks article on not praying for those suffering by the curses of Yehovah brought mixed reaction. Here are some of them;
I don’t know how I got on this site but am very happy to read it and pass the articles on.
Shalom, Dy

What an excellent lesson this week. I have so many friends and family who do not read and obey Torah and think that all is well with them.

These Scriptures should make them sit up and take notice. I am going to forward to several people in hopes that they will read it and take it to heart.

Thanks for the time you spend writing these lessons and sending them out.
Our YHWH looks on your heart
Bless you,
Texas

Cannot agree with you, that we should not be praying for those who do not know Yahuwah the same as we do. Personally i am still learning about him and the plans He had , and has, for His people. If i had not been prayed for, to come to a knowledge and personal relationship with Him, i would still be the same lost person i was. At one time, many years ago, i was one of Jehovah’s witnesses, thanks be to Him that i no longer am today in that religion.
KS

Concerning our article on the rising interest rates due to the recent debt increase the US congress just approved, we received the following comments.

Gerald Celente Predicts Economic Armageddon by 2012
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q2qDW34Fr64
When will America Collapse? …..answers from Jim Rogers, Marc Faber, Gerald Celente and others
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7e8GMfjgE58&feature=related
‘Worst economic collapse ever’
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9nJ7LM3iyNg&NR=1

While you still can, will you not consider helping us to get the Farm in Israel started? We cannot do this unless you help. If you continue to wait and see what happens then it will be too late. Make sure you watch the Gerald Celente video.

We are well aware of all the problems in doing this and we wait on Yehovah to open the door. But when that door opens we have to be ready. Will you help? One lady recently told me not to rule out Cypress as a staging ground instead of Jordan. We are looking at this as well along with Jordan. We are also considering incorporation and having all those who contribute be share holders. This would then remove the uncertainty of having one person in charge. And I would welcome you views.

Brethren the time for action is now. Do not wait and do nothing and then say we should have done something. Right now you can. With each of us doing a little we can then do great things. But we have to act now. As you see in the forgoing youtube presentations time is running out.

While we decide to incorporate or not you can still send funds for the Farm project made out to me Joseph F Dumond 14 Willow Cres. Orangeville Ontario Canada L9V 1A5.

I have had on lady who sends $10 or $20 each month for the Farm. Last month she sent $5. This lady has given more than most. That $5 means more to me than the thousands of others sent in. Because I know she has given all she can. May Yehovah bless that lady in more ways than she can count and such ways as many others will notice His blessing of her.

Last week I did a talk show with Jono about the drought in Texas and the water turning to blood. You can listen to it at http://www.truth2u.org/2011/08/joe-dumond-is-water-turning-to-blood.html

Here is one comment that a listener wrote in about the show.

Jono
Your radio program is a real blessing to me. While i do not always agree 100% with you or your guests, I certainly do appreciate being able to hear their opinions and beliefs. As for this program today with Joe Dumond……….all I can say is WOW!
I most assuredly will write to GLC and express my opinion of their cancelation of Eddie Chumney’s programs.
Thank you so much for all that you do to teach Torah.
Sincerely
May

I urge you all to listen to this show and to also write GLC and let them know what they are missing by not having me on to explain the Sabbatical and Jubilee cycles and The Prophecies of Abraham. YOU can also write Jono who gets more comments from listeners when I am on than most others. I am kind of controversial at times.

When I shared this show on Face Book I got more Christians trying to explain away these truths than there were trying to understand them. They deny what is right in front of them because it does not fit their theology. At times it is so frustrating and this is why we need all of us to be speaking out. You may be able to explain it in a way they will understand differently than I do. So speak up and do not be shy about sharing the truth with as many as you can. Steer them to the radio show or the news letter or the web site. But get them started down the road towards returning to the Torah and the Father.

On lady wrote to say “ I just found your website, I love it! So much good information.”

You brethren can help by telling others and spreading the word.

This week we have another article by Australia’s Rodney Baker which I bounced last week. I did not want it to get lost in all that was going on in last week’s News Letter. It is an article about the account in John chapter 8 of the woman caught in adultery. It is not quite along the same theme as the last one but I hope it is valuable to you nevertheless. It is written in response to comments made by a preacher just last Sunday, that in dealing with this woman Yeshua set aside the requirements of the Law and replaced them with grace. I think this proves otherwise.

I would like to take a look at the account in chapter 8 of John’s Gospel, when the Scribes (the soferim) and the Pharisees (Prushim) brought to Jesus (Yeshua) a woman “caught in adultery”. It has been said that “Jesus set aside the Law of Moses in dealing with this woman, and replaced it with grace”. Is this, in fact, a true statement?

First, some context. John chapter 7 makes it clear that this event takes place in Jerusalem, just after the end of the Feast of Tabernacles (a.k.a the Feast of Booths or, in Hebrew, Chag ha Sukkot). The Feast of Tabernacles is a memorial of the fact that when Israel was brought out of Egypt they dwelt in “booths”, tents or tabernacles. It lasts for 7 days and is immediately followed by the “Last Great Day” - an 8th day when the “water libation ceremony” takes place in the temple. The feast had concluded but Yeshua remained in Jerusalem and the next day returned to the temple to teach.

We pick up the story in John 8:2.

Jhn 8:2-11 ESV - [2] Early in the morning he came again to the temple. All the people came to him, and he sat down and taught them. [3] The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst [4] they said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. [5] Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?” [6] This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him.

The Scribes and Pharisees claimed that the Law of Moses commanded that such a woman be stoned – this is almost universally accepted amongst Christians reading this account today but is it, in fact, true? Or were they misapplying Moses’ teaching in order to trap Jesus? What, in fact, does the Torah say about adultery? Did Jesus really set Moses aside in favour of grace? Or did he uphold the Torah and demonstrate the grace embodied in the instructions given through Moses?

The first mention of the word “adultery” is found in Exodus 20:14, when God spoke the ten commandments from the top of Mt Sinai and all those present heard God’s voice.

Exd 20:14 ESV - [14] “You shall not commit adultery.” (This is repeated in Deut 5:18 when the ten commandments are reiterated to the next generation).

The phrase in Hebrew is lo na’aph – literally, “not adultery”. The word na’aph can apply not only to the act of breaking the trust relationship between husband and wife, but has a secondary meaning of “idolatrous worship”. Many times in the scriptures it is used to describe Israel’s tendency to go after pagan gods. In the context of the ten commandments, it could easily imply both meanings.

Lev 20:10 ESV - [10] “If a man commits adultery with the wife of his neighbour, both the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.

The Torah clearly states here that both the adulterer and the adulteress are to be put to death. Both have to be found guilty and both have to be punished. You cannot punish just one. So, where was the adulterer with whom the woman brought to Jesus allegedly committed adultery? Why was he not brought to Jesus along with the woman? By the way, the phrase “the wife of his neighbour” does not necessarily mean “the person next door”. It can mean the wife of a friend, or the wife of another person in the community, or a fellow citizen, or simply another person.

This commandment assumes that the man and woman have been caught in the act, or that there is enough evidence to convict them of the crime. How then is the death penalty to be determined and carried out?

Deu 17:6-7 ESV - [6] On the evidence of two witnesses or of three witnesses the one who is to die shall be put to death; a person shall not be put to death on the evidence of one witness. [7] The hand of the witnesses shall be first against him to put him to death, and afterward the hand of all the people. So you shall purge the evil from your midst.

In other words, they had to be caught in the act by more than one witness, and the testimony of those witnesses had to agree.

And again, in Deuteronomy,

Deu 19:15 ESV - [15] “A single witness shall not suffice against a person for any crime or for any wrong in connection with any offence that he has committed. Only on the evidence of two witnesses or of three witnesses shall a charge be established.

Yeshua himself upheld this principle in another context in Matthew 18:16, as did Paul (Sha’ul) in his second letter to the believers in Corinth (2 Cor 13:1) and again writing to Timothy.

Mat 18:16 ESV - [16] But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses.

2Cr 13:1 ESV - [1] This is the third time I am coming to you. Every charge must be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses.

1Ti 5:19 ESV - [19] Do not admit a charge against an elder except on the evidence of two or three witnesses.

So, we require at least two or three witnesses, whose testimony agrees, in order to pronounce the death penalty. Those witnesses who bear testimony that leads to conviction are required to “cast the first stones”. The penalty for bearing false witness is equally severe:

Exd 20:16 ESV - [16] “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour.

Deu 5:20 ESV - [20] “‘And you shall not bear false witness against your neighbour.

Deu 19:16-19 ESV - [16] If a malicious witness arises to accuse a person of wrongdoing, [17] then both parties to the dispute shall appear before the LORD, before the priests and the judges who are in office in those days. [18] The judges shall inquire diligently, and if the witness is a false witness and has accused his brother falsely, [19] then you shall do to him as he had meant to do to his brother. So you shall purge the evil from your midst.

Now, what happens if a woman is suspected of adultery, but it cannot be proven? The Torah provides a means of dealing with that situation, too, as detailed in Numbers chapter 5 – this is called the “trial by ordeal”or the “trial of the bitter waters”.

Num 5:12-31 ESV - [12] “Speak to the people of Israel, If any man’s wife goes astray and breaks faith with him, [13] if a man lies with her sexually, and it is hidden from the eyes of her husband, and she is undetected though she has defiled herself, and there is no witness against her, since she was not taken in the act, [14] and if the spirit of jealousy comes over him and he is jealous of his wife who has defiled herself, or if the spirit of jealousy comes over him and he is jealous of his wife, though she has not defiled herself, [15] then the man shall bring his wife to the priest and bring the offering required of her, a tenth of an ephah of barley flour. He shall pour no oil on it and put no frankincense on it, for it is a grain offering of jealousy, a grain offering of remembrance, bringing iniquity to remembrance.

A couple of things to note here – this procedure is to be done if a husband suspects or is jealous of his wife, to determine her guilt or innocence. It is a very elaborate procedure for which much detail is given (which I’ll break up into sections to make it easier to read) but for which there are no historical records of it every being carried out. More on that later. It begins with the man bring his wife before the priest along with an offering to God. Any time a man desires to come before God, an offering (called korban, literally “drawing near”) is to be brought.

[16] “And the priest shall bring her near and set her before the LORD. [17] And the priest shall take holy water in an earthenware vessel and take some of the dust that is on the floor of the tabernacle and put it into the water.

Remember that later – the reference to the dust on the floor of the tabernacle (or, beginning with the reign of Solomon, the temple) is significant to our discussion of the account in John’s gospel.

[18] And the priest shall set the woman before the LORD and unbind the hair of the woman’s head and place in her hands the grain offering of remembrance, which is the grain offering of jealousy. And in his hand the priest shall have the water of bitterness that brings the curse.

The water of bitterness is the water mixed with the dust of the floor of the temple.

[19] Then the priest shall make her take an oath, saying, ‘If no man has lain with you, and if you have not turned aside to uncleanness while you were under your husband’s authority, be free from this water of bitterness that brings the curse. [20] But if you have gone astray, though you are under your husband’s authority, and if you have defiled yourself, and some man other than your husband has lain with you, [21] then’ (let the priest make the woman take the oath of the curse, and say to the woman) ‘the LORD make you a curse and an oath among your people, when the LORD makes your thigh fall away and your body swell. [22] May this water that brings the curse pass into your bowels and make your womb swell and your thigh fall away.’ And the woman shall say, ‘Amen, Amen.’

The priest dictates the prescribed oath to the woman and makes her take the oath. The woman responds by saying, “Amen, Amen”. This is the first occurrence of the word “Amen” in the scriptures! It literally means, “Let it be so!” and is from the root word emet which means truth, reliability, absolute steadfastness and trust. The first 13 times that amen appears in the scriptures all have to do with a person (or the people) agreeing to accept the specified consequences for breaking covenant! Think on that for a while.

[23] “Then the priest shall write these curses in a book and wash them off into the water of bitterness. [24] And he shall make the woman drink the water of bitterness that brings the curse, and the water that brings the curse shall enter into her and cause bitter pain. [25] And the priest shall take the grain offering of jealousy out of the woman’s hand and shall wave the grain offering before the LORD and bring it to the altar. [26] And the priest shall take a handful of the grain offering, as its memorial portion, and burn it on the altar, and afterward shall make the woman drink the water.

The priest writes the curse “in a book”, or more correctly, on a piece of parchment, and then literally washes the words off the page into the water, which the woman is going to drink. The passage seems to suggest that she does this twice – this is typical of Hebrew writing or storytelling, where certain phrases are repeated, either for poetic effect or for emphasis. The priest would offer the grain offering, and then the woman would drink the “bitter waters”.

[27] And when he has made her drink the water, then, if she has defiled herself and has broken faith with her husband, the water that brings the curse shall enter into her and cause bitter pain, and her womb shall swell, and her thigh shall fall away, and the woman shall become a curse among her people. [28] But if the woman has not defiled herself and is clean, then she shall be free and shall conceive children. [29] “This is the law in cases of jealousy, when a wife, though under her husband’s authority, goes astray and defiles herself, [30] or when the spirit of jealousy comes over a man and he is jealous of his wife. Then he shall set the woman before the LORD, and the priest shall carry out for her all this law. [31] The man shall be free from iniquity, but the woman shall bear her iniquity.”

If the woman is innocent, then the curse which she has spoken in the oath will have no effect (“a curse without a cause cannot alight”) and her innocence is proven, however if she is guilty she will bear the pain (and the shame) of her punishment.

As previously mentioned, there are apparently no recorded instances of these instructions ever having been carried out as specified here. Rabbinic tradition has it that, when a man and his wife came before the priests to resolve an issue of jealousy and were confronted with the reality of going through this procedure, usually one of two things would happen – the wife would confess, or the man would realise through his wife’s willingness to go through this that he was wrongfully accusing her and, either way, the man and his wife would begin the process of reconciliation, often assisted by the priest, without needing to go through the full ordeal.

As an aside, God describes himself as a “jealous God”. He also describes Israel and Judah as an adulterous bride. Paul says that we (as believers in Yeshua) are grafted into the commonwealth of Israel, that all who are “in Christ” are Abraham’s seed. It is this passage in Numbers that gives God the right to subject his bride to the “trial by ordeal” through the bitter waters of the Great Tribulation, to prove who is faithful and who has been unfaithful (by committing na’aph with other gods) – that is perhaps a subject that needs to be developed further another time. Back to the account in John.

Jhn 8:6b ESV - Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground.

Where did this take place again? Go back to John 8:2:

Jhn 8:2 ESV - [2] Early in the morning he came again to the temple. All the people came to him, and he sat down and taught them.

Yeshua bends down and begins writing in the dust on the floor of the temple. This would not have been lost on any of those present. The scribes, remember, were the ones who wrote (copied) the Torah scrolls – they knew intimately every word, indeed every letter and every scribal mark (the “jots and tittles”) of the Torah. Exactly what it was that Yeshua wrote we’re not told, but it certainly caused the woman’s accusers some discomfort, and the allusion to the instructions in Numbers regarding the “waters of bitterness” would have been obvious, even if not to those of us today who have not studied Torah.

[7] And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” [8] And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground.

What about this reference to “him who is without sin?” I’ve heard it said that this could be rendered “Let him who is without this sin…” but I don’t think that this is supported by the Greek text. It is possible, given what happened in verse 19, but I personally believe that there is a better explanation. Let’s look back at the instructions given in the Torah for proclaiming and carrying out the death sentence.

Deu 17:6-7 ESV - [6] On the evidence of two witnesses or of three witnesses the one who is to die shall be put to death; a person shall not be put to death on the evidence of one witness. [7] The hand of the witnesses shall be first against him to put him to death, and afterward the hand of all the people. So you shall purge the evil from your midst.

Exd 20:16 ESV - [16] “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour

Deu 5:20 ESV - [20] “‘And you shall not bear false witness against your neighbour

Deu 19:16-19 ESV - [16] If a malicious witness arises to accuse a person of wrongdoing, [17] then both parties to the dispute shall appear before the LORD, before the priests and the judges who are in office in those days. [18] The judges shall inquire diligently, and if the witness is a false witness and has accused his brother falsely, [19] then you shall do to him as he had meant to do to his brother. So you shall purge the evil from your midst.

Deuteronomy 17:7 appears to be a key verse here. “The hand of the witnesses shall be first against him to put him to death…” which assumes that a) there are a minimum of two or three witnesses whose testimony agrees and establishes the matter and b) the charge is therefore proven. Add to that the commandment to not “bear false witness” and the penalty prescribed to be carried out against one who does bear false witness, especially for malicious purposes, and I think that next verse makes perfect sense.

[9] But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him.

So now, Yeshua is left alone with the woman, with none of the alleged witnesses remaining.

[10] Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” [11] She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.”

Yeshua could not pronounce the death penalty, because there were not two witnesses prepared to bear testimony to her offence. Far from setting aside the “Law of Moses” and replacing it with grace, he fully upheld the instructions in the Torah, following the higher principle of requiring the testimony of two or three witnesses to condemn a person accused of a capital offence. He did not minimise the offence of adultery, nor did he fully absolve the woman (“…from now on sin no more.”).

I propose therefore that Yeshua demonstrated the grace that is found in the Torah by demonstrating both the justice and mercy of God. God is the only one who can balance justice and mercy, and he always prefers to show mercy when given the opportunity. We give God the opportunity to show mercy when we truly repent – the Hebrew word is teshuvah which means to return to the place where we we belong (the place of obedience). If we refuse to repent, to return to the ways of God, then he has no choice but to do justice and allow us to suffer the consequences specified for breaking the covenant.

Did Yeshua really set aside the “Law of Moses”? I suggest that the writer of the letter to the Hebrew believers in Jerusalem (just prior to the destruction of the second temple) didn’t think so.

Hbr 10:28-31 ESV - [28] Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses dies without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses. [29] How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has spurned the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace? [30] For we know him who said, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay.” And again, “The Lord will judge his people.” [31] It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

Notice that this is translated in the present tense (from the Greek aorist tense, which indicates an incomplete, ongoing action). This implies that the author believed that this is a continuing state of affairs, forty or so years after the death and resurrection of Yeshua. Does this suggest that the “Law of Moses” was done away with according to the apostolic writings?

[This passage is also using a rather typical rabbinic teaching technique (common in Paul’s writings, although we don’t know for sure whether or not Paul wrote this letter), called kal v’khomer – literally “light and heavy” – characterised by the phrase “How much more…”. ]

How do we “spurn the Son of God”? How do we “profane the blood of the covenant”? How do we “outrage the Spirit of grace”? Might I suggest, in the context of our discussion, that we do this by setting aside the Torah and by committing na’aph – adultery – with foreign gods, just as Israel and Judah did, mixing the worship of the One True God with pagan festivals and false gods, when we should be faithful to our husband, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob?

May God give us grace to repent, and may we be found faithful to Him when He tests His bride.

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

13/08/2011 Ex 28 Isaiah 46-49 Ps 148 John 18

Ex 28
As Moses was the civil leader of the nation of Israel, the priesthood would be perpetuated through Aaron’s lineage. The service of the Levites in general is not yet here established-as it is not implemented until after Israel’s rebellion with the golden calf, which we’ll soon read about. Consider once again the attention that is given to the wondrous and planned detail that God laid out for the adorning of the priesthood. Worshiping God is not a matter that is to be taken casually. When we come before God today, these principles still exist. Since God calls His children a holy and royal priesthood (1 Peter 2:5, 9), our dress and grooming at worship services should, to the best of our ability, be of the highest standard.

Everything God does is filled with purpose. In this case, He sent His Spirit to guide the artisans in fashioning the priestly garments. The onyx stones engraved with the names of the tribes of Israel and the breastplate with their names symbolized the priest’s intercessory work of representing the people before God. They were to be over his heart to impress upon him his responsibility. And over his forehead, representing the thoughts of the mind, was the engraving denoting devotedness to God. The bells on the garment “would tinkle as the priest moved about within the sacred places. This sound would assure those outside that the priest was interceding on their behalf” (Nelson Study Bible, note on verses 33-35).

Note the mention in verse 30 of “the Urim and the Thummim”-literally, in Hebrew, “the lights and the perfections.” The Greek Septuagint renders this “revelation and truth.” Indeed, as light often represents the knowledge of God in Scripture, perhaps the Hebrew wording denoted perfect knowledge of His will-discerned through this device, which seemed to constitute a plurality.

Actually, we don’t know for sure exactly what the Urim and Thummim was except for the testimony of the first-century Jewish historian Flavius Josephus, who, in relating the details of the ephod (Antiquities of the Jews, Book 3, chap. 7, sec. 5), refers to the breastplate as the “oracle” (Greek logion or “words”)-as it evidently communicated a message from God. He goes on to imply that the Urim and Thummim was the breastplate stones shining in concert with the onyx (or sardonyx) stones on the shoulders, which held up the ephod on which the breastplate was affixed:

“For as to those stones which we told you before, the high priest bare on his shoulders, which were sardonyxes… the one of them shined out when God was present at their sacrifices; I mean that which was in the nature of a button on his right shoulder, bright rays darting out thence, and being seen even by those that were most remote; which splendour yet was not before natural to the stone. This has appeared a wonderful thing to such as have not so far indulged themselves in philosophy, as to despise Divine Revelation. Yet will I mention what is still more wonderful than this: for God declared beforehand, by those twelve stones which the high priest bare on his breast, and which were inserted into his breastplate, when they should be victorious in battle; for so great a splendour shone forth from them before the army began to march, that all the people were sensible of God’s being present for their assistance” (chap. 8, sec. 9).

God used this same device to impart more specific information as well. David consulted the Urim and Thummim concerning whether King Saul would come down to the city of Keilah and destroy it lest the residents betray David into his hands (1 Samuel 23:9-12). The answer? “He will come down” (verse 11). Exactly how this decision was communicated, we don’t know. Perhaps they shone a certain way to indicate yes and no. Whatever happened, it should be pointed out that the Urim and Thummim was not in itself “magical.” It was clear that God, who had Himself ordained this manner of contact-probably to demonstrate the importance of His nation approaching Him through His priesthood-was the one communicating. And it was clearly He who caused any supernatural emanations such as those described.

Isaiah 46-49
Continuing in Isaiah 46, Bel and Nebo (verse 1) are Babylonian deities. “The reference to Cyrus and his victories over Babylon now brings to mind the futile gods of that great civilization, Bel (also called Marduk) and Nebo. Babylon’s defeat proves God’s superiority (46:1-2). And what a different relationship He has with His people. Pagans carry their gods. The Lord carries His people (vv. 3-4). Israel’s incomparable God alone shapes and reveals the future, a future that holds salvation for her (vv. 5-13)…. How wonderful to have a God who holds us up, rather than an idol we must lug around on our shoulders” (Bible Reader’s Companion, chap. summary of 46-47).

Only the true God is able to declare what will happen in the future and then bring it to pass. Incidentally, chapter 46 explains how God knows the future. It is not because the future already exists so that He is able to look forward in time. Rather, He declares what will be (verse 10) and in His omnipotence makes sure that it happens (verse 11). Yet it must be explained that He does not cause anyone to sin (James 1:13). Rather, He is able to foretell sin because He knows how demons and people will react under given circumstances—and He has ultimate control over circumstances.

Finally, “a bird of prey from the east, the man who executes My counsel, from a far country” (Isaiah 46:11) is a reference “to Cyrus (41:2) and to the speed and power of his conquests (41:3)” (Nelson Study Bible, note on 46:11). And as already explained, the coming of Cyrus was a type and forerunner of the coming of Christ in power. It is in Christ that God’s righteousness and salvation are at last brought to stubborn Israel (verses 12-13).

Isaiah 47 deals once again with Babylon. Remember that at the time Isaiah wrote, Babylon was still subject to the Assyrian Empire. The Assyrians, we may recall, sacked Babylon in 689 B.C.—late in Isaiah’s lifetime. However, the portrayal of Babylon in this chapter shows her to be preeminent over the nations. So it again appears that God was speaking to Isaiah about events far in the future—but when? The chapter apparently has a dual application that is parallel to other prophecies of this section. On one level, it can be seen as Cyrus’ conquest of Babylon and its later destruction under one of Cyrus’ successors, Xerxes. Yet the primary application of the prophecy appears to be for the end time—the “daughter” of Babylon referring mainly to a future Babylon. Indeed, the parallels with the fall of end-time Babylon in Revelation 17-18 are unmistakable.

God uses Babylon as an instrument to refine Israel and His saints, but He does not hold Babylon guiltless in the face of its ruthless treatment of them and its vain confidence in its supremacy and security (verses 6-7). The arrogance and pride of this daughter in verses 8-9 are stated again in Revelation 18:7-8. The remainder of Isaiah 47 deals with this fall and the sins that bring it about.
God’s punishment will come partly, He says to the daughter of Babylon, “because of the multitude of your sorceries, for the great abundance of your enchantments” (verses 9). God strongly condemns all idolatry and demonic practices (Deuteronomy 18:9-12). However, the latter part of Isaiah 47:9 could perhaps be translated, as in the New International Version, to say that God’s punishment will come “in spite of the multitude of your sorceries….” This ties in well with the next verse: “For you have trusted in your wickedness.” The adherents of this system are trusting in sorceries and enchantments in two ways—to give them supernatural protection and to give them “wisdom” and “knowledge” to guide them and to predict the future (verse 10). In verse 12, God is saying, in a sense, “Now see if your enchantments and sorceries will do you any good!”

The symbolism here in Isaiah 47 goes back to the very beginnings of the city of Babylon or Babel. Babel and its empire were founded by Nimrod, a rebel against God (Genesis 10:8-12). Based on the evidence of secular history, it is apparent that he and his wife Semiramis were the originators of idolatry in the post-Flood world, evidently resurrecting a number of false concepts present before the Flood yet adding their own embellishments. They thereby set themselves up as the greatest human enemies of God’s true servants. Incredibly, they are the fountainhead of much of the idolatry in the world today (yet still mere agents of the true author of idolatry, Satan the Devil).

Upon the death of Nimrod, Semiramis did not want to “sit as a widow” but desired to continue as “queen” and adored “lady” over the kingdoms of Nimrod’s empire forever (compare Isaiah 47:5, 7-8; Revelation 18:7). So she concocted a fable wherein she miraculously became pregnant without having sexual relations—bearing her child Tammuz by a supposed “virgin birth” and claiming that he was the reincarnation of Nimrod. Her son was therefore deemed to be her husband. She promoted him as the “savior” of the ancient world. In reality, Semiramis was not a “virgin daughter” at all (compare Isaiah 47:1) but a great harlot, prostituting herself to the various kings of the empire to buy their aid in keeping her in power (compare Revelation 17:1-6).

Yet it should be noted that the denunciations in the various scriptures cited in the previous paragraph are not primarily aimed at Semiramis herself, but at a false Babylonian system to arise of which she served as a type. It is the same system we saw referred to as Tyre and the “virgin daughter of Sidon” in Isaiah 23—also typified by the pagan Phoenician queen Jezebel. And this refers, first and foremost, to a pagan false Christianity portrayed in Revelation 17—”Babylon the Great, the Mother of Harlots and of the Abominations of the Earth” (verse 5)—the roots of which may be traced largely to the Babylonian Samaritans of apostolic days and the idolatry of ancient Babylon before that. This type of Christianity was to eventually gain preeminent political power, which first happened when it became the official religion of the Roman Empire in the fourth century. Through the Middle Ages, it dominated the Holy Roman Empire. And even today, it wields enormous authority and influence.

Interestingly, this “woman,” while claiming to be the wife of Christ, is actually the wife of a false, idolatrous concept of Christ that originated in Babylonian paganism, as well as the adulterous partner of the “beast” of Revelation 17. Indeed, she is really married to the Babylonian savior figure. Yet the false gods of Babylon are going to be destroyed at Christ’s return, as implied in Isaiah 46. Thus, the fallen woman will indeed be a widow. The children of this “mother of harlots and abominations”—that is, her other idolatrous creations and the false churches sprung from her—will also be destroyed (see Revelation 17:5, 16).

NOTE: If your current Church or Assembly or Group does not Keep the Sabbath, or the Holy Days of Lev 23 and adds to them or take away from them, then your group is one of these false churches or groups and belongs to that false worship. If you are just learning about the Sabbatical years then teach it to your group and the reaction of the group will tell you which side of the fence they are on.

Babylon, it should be noted, is also the term used to represent the political and economic system that is dominated by this great false religion centered at Rome—as Revelation 18 implies. The name is also used for the city of Rome itself. The Roman-Babylonian system will experience its apex of power just before the return of Christ. But its end-time manifestation will fall with a great fall. Its “merchants” or commercial brokers and partners will be dismayed (verses 9-16; Isaiah 47:15). For in a very short time period, end-time Babylon will be destroyed—burnt with fire (verse 9, 14; Revelation 17:16; 18:9, 18).

Revelation 18:24 states that all the blood of the prophets and saints is found in her. Indeed, a trail of blood can be followed in the history of this religion. Through Babylon’s fall, God will at last avenge His people for all the torment they have experienced at the hands of this evil system (verse 20). More information about this false religious system can be found in Alexander Hislop’s The Two Babylons, 1916. While we would not endorse everything in this particular source, it is a thoroughly researched and well-documented publication—providing a great amount of detail supporting its thesis. (It can be read and searched on-line at www.biblebelievers.com/babylon/00index.htm or http://philologos.org/__eb-ttb/default.htm .)

You should also request or download our free booklet The Church Jesus Built to better understand the origin and development of the great counterfeit Christianity. The booklet will point you to places in the New Testament that mention the beginnings of this merger of paganism with biblical teachings, which most people now accept as Christianity. The booklet will also provide you with the means to identify God’s true Church today, which Jesus promised would never die out (Matthew 16:18).

Regarding this chapter, one source explains: “The overall mood of comfort is abandoned for a moment, for accusation. Israel has stubbornly resisted God, and pursued idols. This treachery forced God to defend His name by sending Israel into a ‘furnace of affliction’ (48:1-11). Yet all this is a backdrop for grace. God presents Himself anew (vv. 12-16), expresses His yearnings for Israel (vv. 17-19), and dramatically announces the good news of coming redemption (vv. 20-22)” (Bible Reader’s Companion, chap. summary of Isaiah 48-49).

God says one of the reasons for telling Israel, and all of mankind, what would befall them is so they could not successfully argue that their idols caused their fate (verses 3-5). “It was not enough that Israel stubbornly refused to respond to God. They tended to credit His works to other gods (cf. Jer. 44:15-19). Spiritual blindness persists, and today we may credit gracious acts of God in our own lives to luck or to our own genius or hard work. How important to sense God’s hand in our lives, to be responsive to Him, and to acknowledge His works for us” (Bible Reader’s Companion, note on Isaiah 48:5).

Of course, one way to be sure of God’s involvement in world affairs is to study the prophecies of His Word. Here in Isaiah, God says He is giving Israel new prophecies, ones they have not heard before, and ones they have not anticipated (verses 6-7). Indeed, as we have seen, a dominant Chaldean Babylon features prominently in Isaiah’s prophecies (see verses 14, 20), and yet Assyria was the dominant power at the time he preached.

There are strong messianic themes in the chapter. God identifies Himself as the One who was born as Jesus the Messiah (compare verse 12 with Revelation 1:17 and verse 13 of Isaiah 48 with Hebrews 1:8-12). And notice verses 14-15 of Isaiah 48. After God asks, “Who among them [your idols] has declared these things?,” He then states, “The Lord loves him; He shall do His pleasure on Babylon, and His arm shall be against the Chaldeans…. I have called him, I have brought him, and his way will prosper.” But who is “him”? The New International Version renders the first part of this as “The Lord’s chosen ally [because allies are elsewhere referred to as “lovers” in Scripture] will carry out his purpose against Babylon…” Thus, it is likely a reference, once again, to Cyrus on one level. But, as already explained, Cyrus was a forerunner of the ultimate Messiah, Jesus Christ, who will overthrow end-time Babylon at His second coming. And this is the primary reference here. Indeed, in verse 16, the pronoun changes from Him to “Me”—showing Jesus directly speaking as having been sent by the Father through the Holy Spirit.

God laments the Israelites’ past disregard of Him and His commandments. Verse 8 reveals that God was displeased with Israel right from the start (”from the womb”)—before they even left Egypt. Yet He preserved them—clearly not because of great righteousness on Israel’s part. Rather, it was because of His promise to Abraham, His prophecies, His promise of delivery and to show His great power and His great mercy to all nations—all of which had to do with preserving His name, His own reputation. “For My name’s sake…,” God explains (verse 9). Indeed, in interceding for Israel, Moses made this the basis for His plea (see Exodus 32:11-14; Numbers 14:13-19).

In Isaiah 48:18, God says how much better for the Israelites it would have been if they had obeyed Him. In verse 19, the statement that they would have been as the sand does not mean that Israel has never had great numbers. It is referring to the fact that so many of Israel’s great numbers will have perished in the coming Great Tribulation. “His” name being cut off and destroyed in the same verse refers to the destruction of Jacob’s descendants that will have taken place because of national disobedience.

In verse 20, God gives a responsibility to His servants to proclaim a message to the ends of the earth. Indeed, it is a responsibility His people of the end time is to be carrying out still, telling people to come out of Babylon (as representative of this sinful world) and announcing the good news of how God through Christ will redeem His people and deliver them from captivity with miraculous help to a joyful life of peace and freedom. Remembering God’s mighty acts of the past should inspire complete faith (verse 21)—a vital key to this way of peace. But in the last verse, the chapter soberly warns that there is no peace for the wicked, a fact repeated in Isaiah 57:21. Once delivered from its past evil ways, Israel must not go back to those former ways. The same applies to us
Note: Once you have been saved by the grace of Yehovah, once you have been forgiven your sins; do not go out and sin again.

Start to keep the Sabbath and Holy Days.

The Lord’s Servant here steps forward. “The ‘law of double reference’ may apply in interpreting this prophetic passage, which may point in part to Cyrus, but certainly [and more directly] describes the mission of the Messiah, Jesus Christ. Christ was called to His mission and named long before His birth (49:1). His first efforts were unrewarded (v. 4), but He is destined to bring Israel back to God (v. 5) and bring salvation to all peoples (v. 6). Although despised, He will ultimately be honored by all (v. 7)” (Bible Reader’s Companion, note on chap. 49).

The chapter thus begins as a prophetic quote from Jesus Christ, describing elements and allusions to His work (verses 1-7). In verse 3, He is referred to as “Israel.” Jesus was an Israelite, of course. He purchased Israel with His blood. He is the King of Israel, and a king, in the Scriptures, is often equated with the nation he rules. Moreover, Israel means “Prevailer With God,” and Jesus is the quintessential Prevailer with God. But also, God intends the nation of Israel to ultimately assist Christ in setting an example of righteousness for the whole world. They have failed at this in the past. But once the Israelites have themselves learned true righteousness through Christ, they too will collectively become God’s servant—represented by Christ their King—and a light, a beacon, for other nations to follow.

When Paul and Barnabas first arrived in Antioch of Pisidia, they preached in the synagogue, but drew the attention of the gentiles as well. This caused the Jews to be filled with envy and they attempted to discredit Paul. The two apostles responded by saying that the Lord had commanded them to be a light to the gentiles, quoting Isaiah 49:6 (Acts 13:47) as the passage where they found this command (compare Acts 13:14-52).

In 2 Corinthians, Paul quotes Isaiah 49:8 and then goes on to state that, for them at least, the “acceptable time” and “day of salvation” was “now” (2 Corinthians 6:2). Some attempt to use these verses to argue that now is the only day of salvation. But they do not say that. Indeed, the New Revised Standard Version translates both verses as stating that now is “AN acceptable time” and “A day of salvation.” Indeed, God is not drawing the whole world to salvation at this time. (To learn more on this subject, see the article “Twist of Fate” at www.ucg.brp/materials and “The Last Great Day: Eternal Life Offered to All,” God’s Holy Day Plan: The Promise of Hope for All Mankind, pp. 51-57).

Still, “the acceptable time” could perhaps be a reasonable translation—if it has the same sense as “the acceptable year of the Lord” in Isaiah 61:2, a reference to the Day of the Lord. The Day of the Lord is the time of God’s judgment on the nations and His redemption and salvation of Israel. Yet Peter related a prophecy of the end-time Day of the Lord as having an application to the beginning of the New Testament era in Acts 2:14-21—Christians being spiritual forerunners of Israel’s future salvation. Perhaps Paul was indicating something similar in 2 Corinthians 6—that for Christians it is as if the time of God’s intervention is already here, as indeed it is on a personal level. There will be more on this in the highlights for Isaiah 63.

Isaiah 49:10 speaks of God’s ultimate deliverance. Just before the seventh seal of the book of Revelation is opened, one of the 24 elders before God’s throne in heaven describes a group of people as having come out of the Great Tribulation, finding deliverance at last. He uses the words of Isaiah 49:10 in doing so (Revelation 7:16-17).

The remainder of Isaiah 49 deals mainly with the return from captivity of Israel and Judah following the return of Jesus Christ. In verse 11, we see the image of the road and highway of chapter 40—here plural, as the return from exile is from more than one place and, considering highway in its figurative sense, relations will need to be developed between many nations.

In verse 12, we see where the exiles return from. First from the north and west—meaning northwest, as Hebrew has no specific word for this direction. And also from the land of Sinim. “Sinim was a district on the southern frontier of ancient Egypt” (Nelson Study Bible, note on verse 12). Also, the Latin Vulgate translates the word as Australi, meaning “south.” There are perhaps two indications here. One is that Israel is returning from their captivity in Central Europe (modern Assyria), which is northwest of the Promised Land (not northeast as ancient Assyria was) and from Egypt and other African lands to the south (compare Isaiah 11:11).
Yet some will be returning from beyond Central Europe and Egypt. The word translated “coastlands” in Isaiah 49:1 is rendered “islands” in the earlier King James Version. Jeremiah 31:10 gives this as “isles afar off,” clearly related to those coming “from afar” in Isaiah 49:12. The isles northwest of Jerusalem and even of Europe are the British Isles. Some will be returning from here. And there are important isles in the south of the world too, one being a continent actually called Australia.

Some will be returning from there as well. (To learn more about the Israelite identity of these nations, download or send for our free booklet The United States and Britain in Bible Prophecy.) Indeed, besides the lands of their captivity, some Israelites will be returning from islands and coastlands all over the world—the places to which the descendants of Israel have spread abroad and colonized.

Verses 20-21 are rather interesting. God had prophesied that the Israelites would be great colonizers (see Genesis 28:14; 49:22). Notice Isaiah 49:20: “The children you will have, after you have lost the others…” This is referring to new children born during the coming reign of Jesus Christ—after Israel has lost many of its people in the Great Tribulation, which will befall it just before He returns. These new children “will say again in your ears…”—indicating that it is a repetition of an earlier occurrence. And they say, “The place is too small for me; give me a place where I may dwell.” Indeed, Israel’s burgeoning population in the Promised Land under the reign of Christ will necessitate they be given other lands to dwell in. And indeed, at that time, “Israel shall blossom and bud, and fill the face of the world with fruit” (Isaiah 27:6).

But again notice that this is a repetition of something that occurred sometime in the past. When? Not apparently while Israel dwelt in the Promised Land in ancient times—for they did not then expand abroad in significant numbers. It seems to refer to something that occurred much later, when the “isles” of the northwest in which many of the Israelites settled—the British Isles—became too cramped for their growing numbers, making it necessary to expand and colonize abroad. British historian Colin Cross states: “One of the unexplained mysteries of social history is the explosion in the size of the population of Great Britain between 1750 and 1850. For generations the British population had been static, or rising only slightly. Then in the space of a century it almost trebled—from 7.7 million in 1750 to 20.7 million in 1850. Why it happened is unknown…. It must just be recorded that human reproduction and vitality follows unpredictable patterns…. Britain was a dynamic country and one of the marks of its dynamism was the population explosion” (The Fall of the British Empire, 1918-1968, 1968, p. 155).

On a lesser scale, other nations of northwest Europe—also of Israelite descent—experienced a population increase and some spreading abroad as well. But by far the greatest growth in population and territorial expansion was experienced by the birthright tribes of Joseph—today the United States and British-descended peoples (again, see our booklet The United States and Britain in Bible Prophecy). From the small homeland of the British Isles, the people went forth and colonized the North American continent, Australia, New Zealand, parts of South Africa and numerous islands and territories besides. The timing of this was rather significant, fitting exactly in the period in which God decreed that the birthright blessings of national greatness would eventually be bestowed on His people (see “Birthright Blessings Delayed for 2,520 Years” at www.ucg.org/brp/materials).

Given all this, we can see what God apparently means in Isaiah 49:20. Here it is quoted with further explanation in brackets. To Israel God says: “The children you will have [increasing population of the land of Israel during the millennial reign of Christ], after you have lost the others [great numbers of people in the terrible tribulation just before Christ’s return], will say again in your ears [as the people of Britain and other Israelite lands did when their populations increased and they needed to expand in colonial times], ‘The place [the land of Israel in the Middle East] is too small for me; give me a place [other areas to expand to] where I may dwell.’”

How wonderful that though the Israelites will be severely cut down in population just prior to Christ’s return, they will again expand and grow during His peaceful reign—perhaps eventually even recolonizing and repopulating many of the lands they have inhabited in this age (rebuilding the old ruins and waste places that many of these areas will have become following the great wars and massive population deportations of the end time).

Ps 148
Third in the series of five concluding Hallelujah Psalms, Psalm 148 is a creation hymn in which the whole of the created realm is called on to praise the Creator. “Whatever its original liturgical purpose, its placement here at the center of the five concluding hymns serves to complete the scope of the calls to praise with which the Psalter closes…. Two similarly constructed stanzas call on all creatures in the heavens (vv. 1-6) and all creatures beneath the heavens [i.e., on earth] (vv. 7-14) to join in the chorus of praise…. Both stanzas end with a couplet setting forth the motivation for praise. The second of these (vv. 12-14), made up of extended lines, clearly constitutes the climax” ( Zondervan NIV Study Bible, introductory note on Psalm 148).

It is interesting to note that the word “praise” (hallel) is used 13 times in the psalm-once in the opening Hallelu Yah (”Praise the LORD”) frame, once in the closing frame and 11 times in between. This is parallel in count to the final, closing psalm of the Psalter, Psalm 150. Yet while the final psalm is rather uniform in all its calls to praise, listing them in short statements one after the other (as we will later examine), Psalm 148 follows that pattern in only its first part. Observe in this song that the opening call to praise is followed by seven short calls to praise in the imperative (or command) mood (verses 1-4), followed then by one in the jussive subjunctive mood-that is, in the form of “let them” (verse 5). The second section of the psalm begins with a single imperative call to praise (verse 7), which is followed much later by another in the form of “let them” (verse 13) and then the use of “praise” as a noun (verse 14)-ending with the final closing call to praise.

The worship of God begins in the heavens (verse 1) with God’s angels (verse 2), the celestial bodies (verse 3), and the “waters above the skies” (verse 4, NIV)-seemingly referring to the vapor of the earth’s atmosphere (compare Genesis 1:7). Thus all three “heavens” mentioned in the Bible appear to be represented in this passage-the “heaven” of God’s throne, the “heaven” of outer space and the “heaven” of earth’s atmosphere. Note in this regard that the apostle Paul refers to the heaven of God’s throne as the “third heaven” (2 Corinthians 12:2).

In Psalm 148:2, the word “hosts” seems to be paralleled with angels-which would follow the pattern of Psalm 103:20-21. Yet this term (translated from the Hebrew sabaoth ) in a broader sense designates groupings of forces or powers, such as armies (sometimes including Israel’s armies). The word can even refer to the sun, moon and stars (Deuteronomy 4:19; Psalm 33:6; Jeremiah 33:22). As these are mentioned next in Psalm 148:3, perhaps “hosts” is being used as a transitional term between angels and the heavenly bodies-especially as angels are compared to stars in other passages (see Job 38:7; Revelation 1:20). Indeed, as the call to the hosts in Psalm 148:2 is the central one of the seven calls to praise (following the opening call), the term perhaps applies here to all the heavenly powers, both throngs of angels and the multitude of the stars that light the physical universe. The praise of the heavenly bodies is silent but undeniable, as their beauty, grandeur, enduring patterns of movement, and seemingly numberless count speak volumes about the One who made them (see Psalm 19:1-6).

In the closing couplet of this section, God’s creation of all these things through the power of His word along with His perpetual establishment of them through natural laws is the basis for praise (Psalm 148:5-6).

The next section starts with a call to praise from the earth (verse 7). Rather than constantly repeating the word “praise” as in the first section, the opening call to praise God in verse 7 is issued collectively to all things listed in verses 7-12. As the previous section left off with the waters above the heavens, this section begins with the waters below the heavens in the mention of “great sea creatures and all ocean depths” (verse 7b, NIV).

Next mentioned is a diversity of weather phenomenon (verse 8) -classed not in the heavenly realm but with things on earth because their impact is felt on the ground. “Fire” here is most likely a reference to “lightning” (NIV), as in other passages. Note that these things are pictured as “fulfilling His word”-their existence and the fact that they follow laws He has set, as well as His direct command at times, serving to glorify God (compare 147:15-18).

Mountains, trees and animals in all their natural wonder also join in the chorus of praise (148:9-10). Though they cannot speak, they all declare the design of the Master Designer.

We then come at last to the pinnacle of God’s earthly creation, mankind, described here as all nations and their leaders (verse 11) as well as all individual human beings-male and female, young and old (verse 12).

In the conclusion of this section (verses 13-14), two reasons are given for all to join in the praise of the name of the “LORD” (i.e., Yhwh -”He Is Who He Is”). First is that His name alone is exalted above the earth and heavens just described (verse 13). His name designates Him alone, in contrast to the created realm, as eternal and uncreated, having life in Himself. Moreover, He is the very Creator and Sovereign Ruler of all His creation.

The second basis for praise here is God’s exalting of the “horn” (symbolizing strength) of His covenant people, His saints, for He has empowered them to declare His praise on behalf of the whole earthly creation (verse 14)-in this psalm and throughout the entire Psalter. The word translated “saints” here is hasidim, the singular form of this word being related to hesed, used of God’s loving devotion. The saints here, then, are those who are faithfully devoted to God in return-the pious. (From this word, incidentally, derives the designation “Hasidic” Jews, denoting the orthodox Jewish community.) The faithful here are further defined as “the children of Israel , a people near to Him” (same verse). This special relationship was spotlighted at the end of the previous psalm (147:20), the focus there being on God giving His statutes and judgments to Israel and not any other nation. That blessing and the special status here of being near to God are both found in Deuteronomy 4:7-8. “Israel” in the psalm’s conclusion should be understood in the ideal sense of those who remain in covenant with God, as opposed to those who are cut off through disobedience. Today, “the Israel of God” serve as God’s priesthood and spiritual nation to declare His praises on behalf of all the earth.
The concluding focus on Israel and the hasidim serves to introduce the next psalm, as we will see.

John 18
Joh 18:1 Having said these words, יהושע went out with His taught ones beyond the Qiḏron torrent, where there was a garden, into which He and His taught ones entered.2 And Yehuḏah, who delivered Him up, also knew the place, because יהושע often met there with His taught ones.

This place is on the Mount of Olives to this day. Have you ever wondered why Yehshua went there so often?

Eze 10:18 And the esteem of יהוה went from the threshold of the House and stood over the keruḇim. 19 And the keruḇim lifted their wings and rose from the earth before my eyes. When they went out, the wheels were beside them. And it stood at the door of the east gate of the House of יהוה, and the esteem of the Elohim of Yisra’ĕl was above them.

Eze 11:22 And the keruḇim lifted up their wings, with the wheels beside them, and the esteem of the Elohim of Yisra’ĕl was high above them.23 And the esteem of יהוה went up from the midst of the city and stood upon the mountain, which is on the east side of the city.

The Shekinah was there and this is why He spent so much time there; in my opinion.

Joh 18:31 Then Pilate said to them, “You take Him and judge Him according to your law.” The Yehuḏim said to him, “It is not right for us to put anyone to death,”32 in order that the word of יהושע might be filled which He spoke, signifying by what death He was about to die.

So many Christians go around saying Jesus fulfilled the law so we do not have to. This is a bold face lie though.

Stop and think; what laws did Yehshua fulfill at or by His death? To learn exactly what this means go and read this article and be ready to be shocked and horrified. http://www.sightedmoon.com/?page_id=28

http://www.jewfaq.org/613.htm
We are doing 7 laws each week. We shall study laws 507-513
We also have commentary, with editing from me, again from http://theownersmanual.net/The_Owners_Manual_02_The_Law_of_Love.Torah

(507)Do not eat flesh of a sacrifice that has been left over (beyond the time appointed for its consumption). “It [the peace offering, or selem] shall be eaten the same day you offer it, and on the next day. And if any remains until the third day, it shall be burned in the fire. And if it is eaten at all on the third day, it is an abomination. It shall not be accepted. Therefore everyone who eats it shall bear his iniquity, because he has profaned the hallowed offering of Yahweh; and that person shall be cut off from his people.” (Leviticus 19:6-8) We covered this precept from the point of view of what to do with a leftover sacrifice in Mitzvah #495, and Mitzvah #496 is virtually identical to this one, though supported with a different Scripture passage. The reason given here for not eating the selem after the second day is that by doing so, one has “profaned” the offering that has been set apart in honor of Yahweh. We’ve seen this word before. It’s chalal, meaning to defile, desecrate, dishonor, or pollute something or someone, literally to pierce, bore, or wound. In Mitzvah #5, we reviewed the command not to chalal Yahweh’s holy name—it’s the Third Commandment all over again. Eating sacrifices on the proper day is an issue of obedience and trust, for there is nothing intrinsically evil about eating something on one day rather than another. Sure, Yahweh knew about bacterial growth in three-day-old meat, and wished to spare His people the sickness that came with it. But He didn’t explain the science to them. He merely said “Trust Me. Do what I’ve asked. It’s for your own good. If you can’t trust me with something simple like this, how can you trust Me with your soul? Your lack of trust dishonors Me.”

(508)Do not sanctify blemished cattle for sacrifice on the altar. “Whatever has a defect, you shall not offer, for it shall not be acceptable on your behalf.” (Leviticus 22:20) The next seven mitzvot are all based on the same passage, and together define the “law of blemishes.” The word translated “defect” here is m’um. “This word usually describes a physical characteristic that is deemed to be bad. A man with any sort of blemish could not be a priest, nor could an animal which had a blemish be sacrificed. The word is also used to describe an injury caused by another. On the other hand, the absence of any blemish was a sign of beauty. In a figurative sense, the word is used to describe the effect of sin.” (B&C) Animals with defects or blemishes were not acceptable for use as sacrifices. This principle, of course, is predictive of the sinlessness of Yahweh’s ultimate sacrifice on our behalf.

(509)Every animal offered up shall be without blemish. “And whoever offers a sacrifice of a peace offering to Yahweh, to fulfill his vow, or a freewill offering from the cattle or the sheep, it must be perfect to be accepted; there shall be no defect in it.” (Leviticus 22:21) Was there a penalty for offering an imperfect sacrifice? Only that the whole exercise would be rendered pointless—God would not accept the sacrifice. The animal’s death would be a meaningless waste of resources. The lesson is that we imperfect people can’t atone for our own sins before God. Sure, we can make sacrificial gestures, from putting what we consider a “bribe” into the offering plate to crawling over broken glass in penance for our sins. But because we’re blemished, defective, and fallen, these sacrifices are by definition unacceptable to God. You may as well keep your money—and your skin. God is not impressed. Only an unblemished sacrifice—Yahshua—is acceptable. If you think about it, that’s really good news to all of us defective sheep. It means we’re free to live out our lives in peace, for He has taken our place on the altar of sacrifice.

But the news gets even better. Song of Solomon describes the torrid love affair between the King (Yahshua) and His bride (believers, we who reciprocate His love). In 4:7 she is described thus: “Your are all fair, my love, and there is no spot (m’um) in you.” Yes, that’s right. Though we’re sinful creatures, Yahweh sees us as perfect and spotless when He sees us through the eyes of Yahshua the King. It’s like having your cake and eating it too.

(510)Do not inflict a blemish on cattle set apart for sacrifice. “And whoever offers a sacrifice of a peace offering to Yahweh, to fulfill his vow, or a freewill offering from the cattle or the sheep, it must be perfect to be accepted; there shall be no defect in it.” (Leviticus 22:21) You’ve got to wonder at the deviousness of the rabbinical mind. The first thing that came to their minds was, Gee, I’ve got myself an unblemished sheep. If I offer it up in sacrifice to God, I’m going to miss out on the wool or lamb chops that would otherwise be mine. So let’s see—if I stick him with a hot poker, he won’t be “perfect” anymore, and I’ll be able to keep him all for myself. But in the end, that tactic was too transparent even for the rabbis, so they invented a mitzvah to prohibit it.

They needn’t have bothered. By the time they wrote the Talmud, their sins had long since cost them the temple, the altar, and the priesthood. They couldn’t have made a proper offering to Yahweh if they’d wanted to. Everything they had to say about making sacrifices was a pointless waste of breath.

(511)Do not slaughter blemished cattle as sacrifices. “Those that are blind or broken or maimed, or have an ulcer or eczema or scabs, you shall not offer to Yahweh, nor make an offering by fire of them on the altar to Yahweh.” (Leviticus 22:22) This mitzvah points out the nature of the silly game Maimonides is playing. He’s dividing up the process of making an offering into its component parts, and then individually issuing prohibitions against using blemished animals for any of them: don’t sanctify them (#508), offer them up (#509), slaughter them (#511), burn them (#512), or sprinkle their blood (#513). Oy vey! In reality, the passage at hand merely defines what sorts of things constitute “blemishes” for sacrificial purposes. Note that “spots” on an animal’s coat—like the black and white blotches on a Holstein cow—are not considered “blemishes.” M’um defects are caused by illness, injury or congenital problems. They have nothing to do with perceived beauty, the “right” style, or monochromatic plainness. Rather, they are flaws, defects, imperfections. They are metaphorical of sin, not misfortune. (See Mitzvah #513 for further clarification.)

(512)Do not burn the limbs of blemished cattle upon the altar. “Those that are blind or broken or maimed, or have an ulcer or eczema or scabs, you shall not offer to Yahweh, nor make an offering by fire of them on the altar to Yahweh. Either a bull or a lamb that has any limb too long or too short you may offer as a freewill offering, but for a vow it shall not be accepted.” (Leviticus 22:22-23) The reference to “limbs” in the text isn’t remotely what Maimonides has made of it. If you’ll recall, a freewill offering (nedabah) could be either a selem—a peace offering—or an olah—a burnt offering. The emphasis of the designation nedabah was the voluntary nature of the offering. A vow or votive offering (neder) was one of three types of selem, one intended to demonstrate the seriousness and sincerity of the worshipper (contrasted to freewill offerings or simple thanksgiving).

Here’s the principle: if you wish to willingly express your devotion with a selem or olah, you may offer an animal from your flocks or herds that happens to have one limb shorter or longer than the others, but is unblemished in other ways. But if the selem is meant to punctuate a vow you’re making before Yahweh, the sacrifice must be perfect in every way. As usual, the Torah doesn’t explain why this is so. But it seems clear to me that any completely perfect sacrifice must be metaphorical of God’s self-sacrifice on our behalf. And one way or another, Yahweh “vowed” hundreds of times in scripture to provide a redeemer for us—Yahshua, whose very name means “Yahweh is salvation.” Thus when we make a vow, we are emulating God: we must follow His lead, proving our sincerity by offering up the very best we have. The freewill offering, on the other hand, speaks of our response to Yahweh’s love. Note two things: (1) We don’t have to reciprocate His love; it’s strictly voluntary. And (2) we aren’t perfect. Yes, Yahweh has removed our sin—we’re free of m’um “blemishes”—but we still limp through life on uneven legs, tripping over all kinds of things along the way. Yahweh is telling us that He understands our condition, and that He’s willing to accept our homage, devotion, and gratitude even though we’re not “perfect.” Yet. He’s still working on us.

(513)Do not sprinkle the blood of blemished cattle upon the altar. “You shall not offer to Yahweh what is bruised or crushed, or torn or cut.” (Leviticus 22:24) Maimonides is still off on his tangent, making things up as he goes along. While he’s no doubt correct, the supporting text says something completely different. We are not to offer to God that which is of no use or value to us. To do so would be an insult. Thus the only acceptable sacrifice is uninjured—it is fit for work or uncompromised in whatever its function would normally be. The “bruising” spoken of goes beyond injury and includes castration—a metaphor for fruitlessness. As we have seen before, the sacrifice was to be full of promise and potential, just as Yahweh’s Sacrifice would be.

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