News Letter 5847-030
2nd day of the 7th month 5847 years after the creation of Adam
The 7th 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.
October 1, 2011
Shabbat Shalom Brethren
Well September 26 and 27th went by without any Massive Earth Quakes. I do hope those of you who are supporting the Elenen theory will now stop. But just so you know here are a couple videos and the lies these people have been putting forward. Take note of the dates that have come and gone and nothing happened.
August 11, 2011 did not happen.
End of the world Sept 26 , 2011 Ellenen Again.
Another Elenen video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T03-ChGqh7Y&feature=youtu.be claiming September 26 and or 27 will be massive earthquakes. Here we are at October 1st and nothing. These people are relying on the Hopi Indians mythology for their conclusions. Are those of you who are following this stuff, nuts or what? Have you too replace Yehovah for some urban or Indian myth? This is what scriptures call Idolatry.
Once again I will quote from Scriptures.
2Th 2:1 As to the coming of our Master יהושע Messiah and our gathering together to Him, we ask you, brothers, 2 not to become easily unsettled in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as if the day of יהוה has come. 3 Let no one deceive you in any way, because the falling away is to come first, and the man of lawlessness1 is to be revealed, the son of destruction, Footnote: 1Some texts read sin instead of lawlessness. This man might be the same one we read of in the prophecy in Isa. 14:12 – Hĕlĕl (“Heileil”), meaning “the shining one,” the sovereign of Baḇel. 4 who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called Elohim or that is worshipped, so that he sits as Elohim in the Dwelling Place of Elohim, showing himself that he is Elohim. 5 Do you not remember that I told you this while I was still with you? 6 And now you know what restrains, for him to be revealed in his time. 7 For the secret of lawlessness is already at work – only until he who now restrains comes out of the midst. 8 And then the lawless one shall be revealed, whom the Master shall consume with the Spirit of His mouth and bring to naught with the manifestation of His coming. 9 The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power and signs and wonders of falsehood, 10 and with all deceit of unrighteousness in those perishing, because they did not receive the love of the truth, in order for them to be saved. 11 And for this reason Elohim sends them a working of delusion, for them to believe the falsehood,1 Footnote: 1Eze. 20:25, John 9:39, John 12:40, Acts 7:42, Rom. 1:24-28.12 in order that all should be judged who did not believe the truth, but have delighted in the unrighteousness.
Brethren Let NO MAN DECIEVE YOU!!!!! Did you note that statement. Yet many of you continuously send out the Elenen lie. Exo 20:16 “You do not bear false witness against your neighbour.
You are falling away from Torah in favour of myths and fables and some of you can no longer tell the difference. Indeed some of you have been given over to the strong delusion. And it is because you did not love the truth but rather you love intrigue and mysteries and enigmas.
In a recent News letter I had the following report from none other than Bob Wadsworth. http://www.sightedmoonnl.com/?page_id=745
By the amount of emails I have received I must once again share this message with you. Read it this time.
…..Tons of emails telling me about the things that planet X is going to cause to planet Earth. Later it was planet Nibiru and most recently it was planet Elenin; all of which would cause massive earthquakes and change the polar magnetic fields here on Earth.
People who posted these things had huge followings and with the rise in earthquake activity in the last few years many began to believe them.
Some of you even asked me about these close encounters and whether or not it was prophesied. I never did respond to these things as I could not find it in the bible, and when I said as much I was attacked by the same sort who also subscribed to the chem. Trail teachings and the POW camps being built around the country. I have warned repeatedly about those of you who have subscribed to this gossip and passed it around as if it were the gospel truth. You are committing a sin. You are being false witnesses.
Much of this crap is invented on some talk show to help keep ratings high for advertising. They throw in a little bit of scripture to make it sound reasonable. It all comes from the same tree of knowledge of good and evil. Yes Satans tree and many of you still subscribe to it and pretend to be holier than thou. Even Satan can appear as an angel of light. And if you read the scriptures you will know Satan knows the scriptures very well.
2Th 2:9 The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power and signs and wonders of falsehood, 10 and with all deceit of unrighteousness in those perishing, because they did not receive the love of the truth, in order for them to be saved. 11 And for this reason Elohim sends them a working of delusion, for them to believe the falsehood,1 Footnote: 1Eze. 20:25, John 9:39, John 12:40, Acts 7:42, Rom. 1:24-28.12 in order that all should be judged who did not believe the truth, but have delighted in the unrighteousness.
Because a number of you do not love the simple truth, you will be given over to delusional thinking.
Stop and consider if this applies to you. Do not read over it and think nothing of it. Are those things you forward about conspiracy teachings and all the goings on in back rooms and behind closed doors that only you and a few select others only have excess to the privileged information, really true? If you are one of those passing on this secret information, you have been given over to this delusion, this strong delusion.
You need to repent right away and with great haste. Read again why you have been given over to this lie; in order that all should be judged who did not believe the truth, but have delighted in the unrighteousness.
Brethren think long and hard on this. It is very serious. YOU who do not rely on the scriptures, but delve into all sorts of conspiracies and illuminati and strange planets and the whole host of false teachings; you have been given over to believe the lie. Yehovah has given up trying to show you the truth and has instead sent you the lie and allowed you to swallow it hook line and sinker. He has given up until you repent; that is until you stop and turn around 180 degrees from this false teaching and return to Him and study His words. Not the words of some false guru on the radio.
The Illuminati (plural of Latin illuminatus, “enlightened”) is a name given to several groups, both historical and modern, and both real and fictitious. Historically, the name refers specifically to the Bavarian Illuminati, an Enlightenment-era secret society founded on May 1, 1776.
In modern times it is also used to refer to a purported conspiratorial organization which acts as a shadowy “power behind the throne”, allegedly controlling world affairs through present day governments and corporations, usually as a modern incarnation or continuation of the Bavarian Illuminati. In this context, the Illuminati are believed to be the masterminds behind events that will lead to the establishment of a New World Order.
Those of you who subscribe to this garbage accuse the President of the USA of being the lawless one of Thessalonians. First it was President Bush Senior and then Bill Clinton and for absolutely sure it was George Bush Junior. Now many of you claim it is President Obama. And when the next president comes along you will switch your conspiracy theory to include the next one too. Some of you have bettered this one by saying the lawless one is the Prince of England. You have absolutely no clue about the history of the English and American people when you do this. You have no idea who the Beast Power truly is as described in the very pages of you bible that you are supposed to be reading. No clue. If you will study your bible to see what it says and not to find proof for you own theories then you too will learn the truth.
But as long as you continue in this charade of lies, the veil will not be lifted from you and you will not see the truth at all; even when it is right in front of you.
Now let us look at the conclusion of the matter in regards to this great mysterious planet Elenin which has taken some of you to exotic heights in your stinken thinken.
I want to point out to you that Bob Wadsworth is the guy Michael Rood uses to calculate the Biblical calendar that he produces. Also Bob Wadsworth has calculated the Jubilee years by the rotation of the planets and has concluded that the next and 120th Jubilee is 2046. I have concluded that the 120th Jubilee year is to be 2045 using the Sabbatical cycles found in history and in the bible. We differ by just one year. I find this amazing. Now read what he says about Planet Elenin.
From: Bob Wadsworth
Subject: Comet Elenin Self-Destructs
Date: Friday, September 2, 2011, 1:54 PM
Comet Elenin Self-Destructs
Whenever astronomers discover a comet headed inbound toward a close encounter the Sun, there’s always buzz among observers about how bright it might get. That was certainly the case last December, when Comet Elenin (C/2010 X1) made its debut. Many hoped it would become easily visible to the unaided eye as it rounded perihelion nine months later.
By April, that initial enthusiasm had waned a bit, as it became clear that Comet Elenin was small and intrinsically faint.
The keys to its peak visibility were the closeness it would eventually have to the Sun on September 10th (0.48 astronomical unit, about 45 million miles) and to Earth in mid-October (0.23 a.u.). In fact, amateur observations through July and early August suggested that this interloper might even be ahead of schedule, brightness-wise. The hearts of comet observers everywhere raced a little faster.
Here’s how Comet Elenin (C/2010 X1) looked on the evening of August 27, 2011. Observing from Chatelaine in southeast Australia, Michael Mattiazzo combined 15 10-second exposures taken through an 11-inch telescope. The edge-on 13th-magnitude galaxy NGC 4348 is at lower right.
Now all bets are off. Within the past week the comet’s brightness has declined by 50%, dropping a half magnitude between August 19th and 20th, according to Australian observer Michael Mattiazzo. (The comet’s current location in western Virgo makes it virtually unobservable from northern latitudes.)
Worse, images show Comet Elenin’s bright core becoming elongated and diffuse — the telltale signs that its icy nucleus has either broken in two or disintegrated altogether.
One veteran comet-watcher who’s not surprised is John Bortle. Four months ago, based on Elenin’s performance to that point, he cautioned, “The comet may be intrinsically a bit too faint to even survive perihelion passage.” And his words have proved prescient, as the fading continues (estimates are near 9th magnitude) and there’s speculation that this object or its remnants might not be around much longer.
I guess all those pseudoscientific bloggers who predicted planet-altering encounters with a cosmic visitor bright enough to be seen in broad daylight will just have to find something else to worry about.
Each story such as those passed around above, takes away from the true person behind the earthquakes and tries to explain them without Yehovah being in the picture, such as an act of nature.
I have been telling you the earthquakes will come in this third Sabbatical cycle since 2005 and I have said they are coming as a result of Yehovah’s anger towards those of us who have not kept the Sabbath or the Holy Days of Lev and none others and the Sabbatical years. Because we do not and will not keep these special Holy Times, Yehovah is sending the curses of Lev 26 on us.
I have been telling you that pestilence is going to break out during this third Sabbatical cycle and then many of you retort that the illuminati have planned to reduce the populations by spreading the disease through vaccinations.
I tell you that famine is coming in this the third Sabbatical cycle and you write back that the secret Jesuit society is manipulating the food crops to again reduce the populations.
I tell you the severe weather is sent by Yehovah as part of the second Sabbatical cycle of curses which continues for each of the five Sabbatical cycles and you all claim the Tornados and Hurricanes and Cyclones are brought about by HAARP and those governments that control them or the secret society that does.
In each case you deny Yehovah and His will to invoke these curses to punish us for not obeying Him. And by spreading this crap you are complicit in the crime against Yehovah in denying that it is He who is causing these catastrophes.
Far too many of you try to explain these curses by planet X or Nature or anything else so you do not have to fess up and admit that Yehovah is in charge and it is He who is bringing these things about. It means you must repent from not obeying Him.
Indeed He has given you over to those perishing, because you do not receive the love of the truth, and He does this in order for you to be saved, so wake up and return to the Torah and it alone.
Also in the mail this week were some who were trying to tell me that you did not have to fast at Atonement. That they had figured out the Hebrew word to mean something else. There are now many people in the Hebrew roots movement who have learned enough Hebrew to be dangerous. Be aware of new found Hebrew experts.
I on the other hand rely on those who have spoken Hebrew all there lives and have degrees from Hebrew University in Language and have transcribed the Dead Seas Scrolls. That person is Nehemiah Gordon and I know he knows Hebrew and the meaning of the language. Here is what he says the meaning of the word fast means.
(The Day of Atonement)
Yom Ha-Kipurim (Yom Kippur), the Day of Atonement, is a fast day on the Tenth Day of the Seventh Month (Tishrei).
On the 10th day of the Seventh Month (Tishrei) is the holiday known as Yom Ha-Kipurim (or Yom Kippur), “The Day of Atonement”. This is a day dedicated to fasting and prayer on which we ask YHWH to atone for our sins.
“Ye shall afflict your souls”
On this holiday the Torah commands us to “afflict our souls (’INuI NeFeSH)” as we read:
• “And this shall be a statute for ever unto you: that in the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, ye shall afflict your souls, and do no work at all, whether it be one of your own country, or a stranger that sojourns among you… It shall be a sabbath of rest unto you, and ye shall afflict your souls, by a statute for ever.” (Lev 16,29.31)
• “Also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement: it shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire unto YHWH… For whatsoever soul it be that shall not be afflicted in that same day, he shall be cut off from among his people… It shall be unto you a sabbath of rest, and ye shall afflict your souls: in the ninth day of the month at even, from even unto even, shall ye celebrate your sabbath.” (Lev 23,27.29.32)
• “And ye shall have on the tenth day of this seventh month an holy convocation; and ye shall afflict your souls: ye shall not do any work therein:” (Nu 29,7)
To “afflict the soul” means to fast
In Biblical Hebrew the expression “to afflict your souls” means “to fast” (Tzom). The Hebrew phrase ‘INuI NeFeSH translated as “afflicting the soul”, also appears in a number of Biblical passages, from which it is clear that this expression signifies fasting:
• “…I afflicted (KJV: “humbled”) my soul with fasting; and my prayer returned into mine own bosom.” (Psalms 35,13)
• “…I wept, and afflicted (KJV: “chastened”) my soul with fasting, that was to my reproach.” (Psalms 69,11)
• “Wherefore have we fasted, say they, and you see not? wherefore have we afflicted our soul, and you take no notice?…” (Isaiah 58,3; see also vv.5.10)
“Soul” Means “appetite”
It should be pointed out that one of the meanings of the word “NeFeSH”, commonly translated as “soul”, is in fact “appetite”. For example:
• “And put a knife to your throat, if you be a man given to appetite (NeFeSH).” (Proverbs 23,2-3)
• ” For he satisfies the longing soul (NeFeSH), and fills the hungry soul (NeFeSH) with goodness.” (Psalms 107,9)
• “The full soul (NeFeSH) loathes a honeycomb; but to the hungry soul (NeFeSH) every bitter thing is sweet.” (Proverbs 27,7)
• “Yea, they are greedy dogs which can never satisfy their souls (NeFeSH) (KJV: “have enough”)” (Isaiah 56,11)
Therefore the expression “to afflict your NeFeSH” is more accurately translated as “to afflict your appetite”, hence the
meaning “to fast”. [Linguistic note: NeFeSH has the literal meaning of “throat” as in the verse “Save me, O God; for the waters have reached [as high as] my throat (NeFeSH)” (Ps 69,2) and thus by extension came to signify: breath, life, appetite, etc.]
What is involved in a fast?
In the Tanach to fast means to refrain from eating or drinking throughout the entire period of the fast (Esther 4,16). In Biblical Times a fast also included the following elements:
• Crying (i.e. intense prayer), see Ps 69,11; Joel 2,12
• Donning sackcloth and putting dust or ashes on the head (a sign or mourning), see Daniel 9,3; Nehemiah 9,1
• Prayer and Repentance, see Esther 9,31; Nehemiah 1,14; Isaiah 58 passim
Work is Forbidden on Yom Kippur
In addition to the above aspects of fasting, work of any form is forbidden on the Day of Atonement, as is having a fire burning
and cooking food. While many holidays are described as a “Shabbaton” (rest-time), Yom Ha-Kipurim is described as a Shabbat-Shabbaton (Sabath of rest-time) and all things forbidden on the Sabbath are also forbidden on Yom Ha-Kipurim.
Fasting and Charity
We can learn much about what to do and what not to do on a fast day from Isa 58, which describes “an acceptable [fast] day to YHWH”. In this Biblical passage we are told that fasting must be accompanied by righteous action and that the fast and prayer of a person who oppresses or neglects the poor and hungry shall not be received.
• “1 Cry aloud, spare not, lift up your voice like a trumpet, and show my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins. 2 Yet they seek me daily, and delight to know my ways, as a nation that did righteousness, and forsook not the ordinance of their God: they ask of me the ordinances of justice; they take delight in approaching to God. 3 Wherefore have we fasted, say they, and you see not? wherefore have we afflicted our soul, and you take no notice? Behold, in the day of your fast you find pleasure, and exact all your labors. 4 Behold, you fast for strife and debate, and to smite with the fist of wickedness: you shall not fast as you do this day, to make your voice to be heard on high. 5 Is it such a fast that I have chosen? a day for a man to afflict his soul? is it to bow down his head as a bulrush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? will you call this a fast, and an acceptable day to YHWH? 6 Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that you break every yoke? 7 Is it not to deal your bread to the hungry, and that you bring the poor that are cast out to your house? when you see the naked, that you cover him; and that you hide not thyself from thine own flesh? 8 Then shall your light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and your righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of YHWH shall be your reward. 9 Then shall you call, and YHWH shall answer; you shall cry, and he shall say, Here I am. If you take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and speaking vanity; 10 And if you draw out your soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall your light rise in obscurity, and your darkness be as the noon day: 11 And YHWH shall guide thee continually, and satisfy your soul in drought, and make fat your bones: and you shall be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not. 12 And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; and you shall be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in.” (Isa 58,1-12)
Fasting and Repentance
In Joel 2 we are taught that fasting must be accompanied with genuine repentance:
• “12 Therefore also now, says YHWH, turn you even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning: 13 And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto YHWH your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repents him of the evil. 14 Who knows if he will return and repent, and leave a blessing behind him; even a meat offering and a drink offering unto YHWH your God?” Joel 2,12-14
The Rabbis have a custom of not wearing leather shoes on fast days. This is based on Ez 24,17 which indicates that there was an ancient custom for mourners to remove their shoes as a sign of their mourning when someone died. This apparently refers to all shoes, and not just leather shoes. However, this was a mourning custom and there is no indication that this was done on fast days and it is certainly not a requirement.
Biblical Passages which mention The Day of Atonement
• Lev 16,1-34
• Lev 23,26-32
• Nu 29,7-11
• Lev 25,8-10 (Jubilee year)
• Ex 30,1-10 (esp. v.10)
Also this week we have a very good explanation of the Calendar which seems to come up at this time of year, each year. It is from Brian Hoeck and I would urge you all to listen and study with him. You can do so at
We have the past few weeks explained to you about the fall Feast days. We first talked about the Feast of Trumpets which is the day we celebrated yesterday on the first day of the 7th month. We then discussed the 10 days of Awe and then last week we explained the Day of Atonement and we have done each of these in relationship to the Sabbatical cycle and what it all means.
The Next Feast that comes after Atonement is The Feast of Sukkot, The Feast of tabernacles.
Why do we keep Sukkot?
Throughout the bible we are shown that the relationship between Yehovah and Israel is one of a man betrothed to a woman. The whole bible is speaking of this relationship. Yehovah is jealous because Israel has gone after other gods, others she is idolizing.
So once Israel has repented and been rescued from the curse of captivity which ends at Atonement she has 5 days to get ready for the wedding at Sukkot. Or 5 years in the Sabbatical cycles. That is from 2033 to 2038 at which time the wedding takes place and is celebrated for 7 years up to 2044.
Yehovah’s plan for mankind involves restoration. The Feast of Tabernacles symbolizes the restoration process and the marriage Supper and the week of celebration.
In his first inspired sermon after receiving the Holy Spirit on Pentecost, the apostle Peter summed up Yehovah’s instruction for mankind: “Act 3:19 “Repent therefore and turn back, for the blotting out of your sins, in order that times of refreshing might come from the presence of the Master, 20 and that He sends יהושע Messiah, pre-appointed for you, 21 whom heaven needs to receive until the times of restoration of all matters, of which Elohim spoke through the mouth of all His set-apart prophets since of old.
But what are these “times of refreshing” and “times of restoration” of which Peter spoke?
Yehovah’s plan for mankind involves restoration. The Feast of Tabernacles symbolizes the restoration process, which will start with the return of Yehshua, pictured by the Feast of Trumpets, and the banishment of Satan, depicted by the Day of Atonement. Once these events have taken place, as represented by the previous Holy Days, the foundation is in place for the restoration of the creation to peace and harmony with Yehovah.
The seven-day Feast of Tabernacles, which begins with an annual Holy Day (Lev 23:34 “Speak to the children of Yisra’ĕl, saying, ‘On the fifteenth day of this seventh month is the Festival of Booths for seven days to יהוה. 35 ‘On the first day is a set-apart gathering, you do no servile work. ), pictures the 1,000-year reign of Yehshua over the earth after His second coming (Rev 20:4 And I saw thrones – and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them – and the lives of those who had been beheaded because of the witness they bore to יהושע and because of the Word of Elohim, and who did not worship the beast, nor his image, and did not receive his mark upon their foreheads or upon their hands. And they lived and reigned with Messiah for a thousand years 5 (and the rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended) – this is the first resurrection.). This period is often called the Millennium, which simply means “1,000 years.”
That age to come, a wonderful “rest” following the hardships of the present age, is symbolized every seven days by the weekly Sabbath (Heb 4:1 Therefore, since a promise remains of entering into His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it. 2 For indeed the Good News was brought to us as well as to them, but the word which they heard did not profit them, not having been mixed with belief in those who heard it. 3 For we who have believed do enter into that rest, as He has said, “As I swore in My wrath, if they shall enter into My rest…” And yet His works have come into being from the foundation of the world. 4 For somewhere He has said thus about the seventh day, “And Elohim rested on the seventh day from all His works,” 5 and in this again, “If they shall enter into My rest…” 6 Since then it remains for some to enter into it, and those who formerly received the Good News did not enter in because of disobedience,1 Footnote: 1See 3:18. 7 He again defines a certain day, “Today,” saying through Dawiḏ so much later, as it has been said, “Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts.” 8 For if Yehoshua had given them rest, He would not have spoken of another day after that. 9 So there remains a Sabbath-keeping for the people of Elohim. 10 For the one, having entered into His rest, has himself also rested from his works, as Elohim rested from His own. 11 Let us therefore do our utmost to enter into that rest, lest anyone fall after the same example of disobedience.1 Footnote: 1See 3:18. ) and every year by the Feast of Tabernacles. Also called the Feast of Ingathering (Exo 23:16 and the Festival of the Harvest, the first-fruits of your labours which you have sown in the field; and the Festival of the Ingathering at the outgoing of the year, when you have gathered in the fruit of your labours from the field. ), it celebrates the great harvest of humanity when all people who are alive on earth will learn Yehovah’s ways. Humanity will at last be restored to a right relationship with Yehovah (Isa 11:9 They do no evil nor destroy in all My set-apart mountain, for the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of יהוה as the waters cover the sea1. Footnote: 1Hab. 2:14. 10 And in that day there shall be a Root of Yishai, standing as a banner to the people. Unto Him the gentiles1 shall seek, and His rest shall be esteem. Footnote: 1Or nations. ).
In the beginning, Yehovah created mankind to cooperate with Him in a beautiful relationship characterized by love, peace and obedience to His laws. At the completion of His creation, Gen 1:31 And Elohim saw all that He had made, and see, it was very good. And there came to be evening and there came to be morning, the sixth day. This time of peace and harmony abruptly ended because of Satan’s deception and man’s disobedience (Gen 3:1 And the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which יהוה Elohim had made, and he said to the woman, “Is it true that Elohim has said, ‘Do not eat of every tree of the garden’?” 2 And the woman said to the serpent, “We are to eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden, 3 but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, Elohim has said, ‘Do not eat of it, nor touch it, lest you die.’ ” 4 And the serpent said to the woman, “You shall certainly not die. 5 “For Elohim knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes shall be opened, and you shall be like Elohim, knowing good and evil.” 6 And the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, and she took of its fruit and ate. And she also gave to her husband with her, and he ate. ). Disobedience cut mankind off from Yehovah’s way (Gen 3:21 And יהוה Elohim made coats of skin for the man and his wife and dressed them. 22 And יהוה Elohim said, “See, the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil. And now, lest he put out his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever…” 23 so יהוה Elohim sent him out of the garden of Ěḏen to till the ground from which he was taken, 24 and He drove the man out. And He placed keruḇim at the east of the garden of Ěḏen, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life. ). The Bible describes the tragic result: Gen 6:5 And יהוה saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
This broken relationship between Yehovah and man has continued through history to our time. Paul reflected on this state: Rom 5:12 For this reason, even as through one man sin did enter into the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned –
Paul knew that the breach created by man’s disobedience is healed through Yehshua: 1Co 15:21 For since death is through a man, resurrection of the dead is also through a Man. 22 For as all die in Aḏam, so also all shall be made alive in Messiah .
Isaiah prophesied the restoration of the world
Yehovah used the prophet Isaiah to reveal parts of His magnificent plan for restoring the world. Written at a time during which Israel faced punishment for continued disobedience, the book of Isaiah was inspired by Yehovah to give the nation encouragement through the promise of a better world to come.
Yehshua, after reading in the synagogue one of Isaiah’s prophecies, acknowledged the special understanding given to the prophet: Joh 12:41 Yeshayahu said this when he saw His esteem and spoke of Him. Isaiah prophesied not only of Yehshua’s earthly ministry, but also wrote of Yehshua’s return in power and glory (Isa 66:15 “For look, יהוה comes with fire and with His chariots, like a whirlwind, to render His displeasure with burning, and His rebuke with flames of fire. 16 “For by fire and by His sword יהוה shall judge all flesh, and the slain of יהוה shall be many – ).
The basis for the messianic rule of Yehshua will be Yehovah’s law. Again, as Isaiah foretold, Isa 2:2 And it shall be in the latter days that the mountain of the House of יהוה is established on the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills. And all nations shall flow to it. 3 And many peoples shall come and say, “Come, and let us go up to the mountain of יהוה, to the House of the Elohim of Yaʽaqoḇ, and let Him teach1 us His ways1, and let us walk in His paths1, for out of Tsiyon comes forth the Torah1, and the Word1 of יהוה from Yerushalayim.” Footnote: 1His ways, His paths, the teaching and the Word of יהוה are used synonymously.
After Yehshua’s return, He will bring the creation in its entirety into harmony with Yehovah, and peace will no longer be the exception. King David said, Psa 119:165 Great peace have those loving Your Torah, And for them there is no stumbling-block. Imagine what the world will be like when everyone knows Yehovah’s law and lives by it!
Of course, more than just knowledge is needed to bring about this amazing transformation. A spiritual change will take place among people. Yehovah, speaking through the prophet Ezekiel, describes how it will happen: Eze 36:26 “And I shall give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you. And I shall take the heart of stone out of your flesh, and I shall give you a heart of flesh, 27 and put My Spirit within you1. And I shall cause you to walk in My laws and guard My right-rulings and shall do them. Footnote: 1See 11:19-20, 37:6-14, 39:29.
The Spirit of Yehovah will influence people to willingly and enthusiastically obey Yehovah from their hearts. People will begin to place the interests of others before their own. They will start thinking of others as “better than themselves” (Php 2:3 doing none at all through selfishness or self-conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.
Instead of exclusive self-concern, their goal will be to help their fellow human beings. Theft will cease. Disregard for others’ property and feelings will be eliminated. Because the world will finally be at peace, countries will “beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore” (Isa 2:4 And He shall judge between the nations, and shall reprove many peoples. And they shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither teach battle any more. Mic 4:3 And He shall judge among many peoples, and reprove strong nations afar off. They shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning hooks – nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither teach battle any more.
During this 1,000-year period, Yehovah will change even the nature of wild animals, reflecting the peace that will descend upon society. Describing this idyllic time, Isa 11:7 And cow and bear shall feed, their young ones lie down together, and a lion eat straw like an ox. 8 And the nursing child shall play by the cobra’s hole, and the weaned child shall put his hand in the adder’s den. 9 They do no evil nor destroy in all My set-apart mountain, for the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of יהוה as the waters cover the sea1. Footnote: 1Hab. 2:14.
Reversing the effects of sin
Yehovah will heal physical infirmities. Isa 35:5 Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf be opened. 6 Then the lame shall leap like a deer, and the tongue of the dumb sing, because waters shall burst forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert.
Of even greater importance will be the spiritual healing that will take place. Isaiah prophesied that Yehshua will complete the healing He began during His ministry on earth: Isa 61:1 The Spirit of the Master יהוה is upon Me, because יהוה has anointed Me to bring good news to the meek. He has sent Me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim release to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound, 2 to proclaim the acceptable year of יהוה, and the day of vengeance of our Elohim, to comfort all who mourn, 3 to appoint unto those who mourn in Tsiyon: to give them embellishment for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness. And they shall be called trees of righteousness, a planting of יהוה, to be adorned.
The accumulated results of generations of people following Satan’s sinful ways will begin to be reversed.
As already mentioned, the Feast of Tabernacles is also called the Feast of Ingathering. This name signified the completion of Israel’s annual harvest. In this setting, Yehovah said, Deu 12:12 “And you shall rejoice before יהוה your Elohim, you and your sons and your daughters, and your male servants and your female servants, and the Lĕwite who is within your gates, since he has no portion nor inheritance with you.
So this feast is a time of celebration for the abundance Yehovah has given.
The same bountiful harvest theme continues in the future fulfillment of the festival. Through Isaiah, Yehovah spoke of the desert becoming productive land: Isa 35:6 Then the lame shall leap like a deer, and the tongue of the dumb sing, because waters shall burst forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert. 7 And the parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water – in the home for jackals, where each lay, grass with reeds and rushes.
At that time the earth will produce abundant harvests. Amo 9:13 “Look, the days are coming,” declares יהוה, “that the ploughman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him who sows seed. And the mountains shall drip new wine, and all the hills melt.
The significance of tabernacles
The name of the Feast of Tabernacles derives from Yehovah’s command to ancient Israel to build temporary “tabernacles,” sometimes called “booths,” to live in during the festival. The Israelites left their houses and built temporary dwelling places (Hebrew succah, meaning “hut of woven boughs”) to live in while rejoicing before Yehovah. These reminded them of their release from slavery and their dwelling in booths when Yehovah brought them out of Egypt Lev 23:34 “Speak to the children of Yisra’ĕl, saying, ‘On the fifteenth day of this seventh month is the Festival of Booths for seven days to יהוה.
In stark contrast to the hardship of slavery, this festival emphasizes rest, peace and prosperity as it meets the needs of all people, including strangers, widows and the poor.
In the book of Revelation this spiritual marriage union is described in terms of a “marriage supper” (Rev 19:7 “Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him praise, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife prepared herself.”
Similar terminology is used in Mat 25:1 “Then the reign of the heavens shall be compared to ten maidens who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2 “And five of them were wise, and five foolish. 3 “Those who were foolish, having taken their lamps, took no oil with them, 4 but the wise took oil in their containers with their lamps. 5 “Now while the bridegroom took time, they all slumbered and slept. 6 “And at midnight a cry was heard, ‘See, the bridegroom is coming, go out to meet him!’ 7 “Then all those maidens rose up and trimmed their lamps. 8 “And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us of your oil, because our lamps are going out.’ 9 “But the wise answered, saying, ‘No, indeed, there would not be enough for us and you. Instead, go to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.’ 10 “And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding feast, and the door was shut. 11 “And later the other maidens also came, saying, ‘Master, Master, open up for us!’ 12 “But he answering, said, ‘Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.’ 13 “Watch therefore, because you do not know the day nor the hour in which the Son of Aḏam is coming,
Yehshua likens Himself to the bridegroom and explains that only those spiritually prepared will go into the marriage banquet (compare Mat 9:15 And יהושע said to them, “Are the friends of the bridegroom able to mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? But the days shall come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they shall fast.
The apostle Paul ideally pictures those in the faith as being a chaste virgin betrothed to Yehshua 2Co 11:2 For I am jealous for you with a jealousy according to Elohim. For I gave you in marriage to one husband, to present you as an innocent maiden to Messiah.
This spiritual imagery began in the Old Testament Scriptures. In Isa 54:5 “For your Maker is your husband, יהוה of hosts is His Name, and the Set-apart One of Yisra’ĕl is your Redeemer. He is called the Elohim of all the earth.
The prophet writes to the Israelites: “For your Maker is Your Husband.” Yet when ancient Israel consistently went astray after other gods, committing spiritual adultery, Yehovah metaphorically divorced the nation Isa 50:1 Thus says יהוה, “Where is the certificate of your mother’s divorce, whom I have put away? Or which of My creditors is it to whom I have sold you? Look, you were sold for your crookednesses, and your mother was put away for your transgressions.
We continue this weekend with our regular Triennial Torah reading which can be found at
1/10/11 Ex 35 Jer 3-4 Pro 7 Acts 5
Chapter 35 begins with instruction about the weekly Sabbath. God said, “You shall kindle no fire throughout your dwellings on the Sabbath day” (verse 3). A long-held Jewish interpretation is that it is wrong to start any fire on the Sabbath, such as a fire in a fireplace or just lighting a match. On the basis of this verse, some even argue that it is not permissible on the Sabbath to light a stove, turn on an oven or use any electrical device with a heating element, such as a hairdryer. Others go so far as to say that we can’t start a car or even turn on a light switch on God’s weekly Holy Day.
Yet the context here is important. There certainly may be a need to limit personal fire usage—as major fire maintenance can certainly become a violation of the Sabbath if a great deal of obvious work is involved (for example, moving logs and chopping them up or a major gathering of sticks, such as that in Numbers 15:32). However, this passage, occurring at the beginning of Moses’ relaying of the instructions for building the tabernacle, is most likely referring to tabernacle construction. God, it appears, was telling them to not kindle industrial fires on the Sabbath—to melt silver or gold or forge other metals for the construction of the tabernacle. No doubt some minor smelting was done in individual homes, which was also forbidden by this proscription. Instead, all industry was to cease, even the special work of building the tabernacle, so people could give full attention to resting and worshiping God on the Sabbath as He commanded.
God has always wanted His weekly Sabbath day to be a blessing and a delight to us (Isaiah 58:13-14), not an intolerable burden as some would later make it out to be through their focus on overly restrictive rules. However, there are certainly general rules we should follow. For instance, as a general rule we must not be conducting our regular business on the Sabbath or using the Sabbath as a time to plan our regular work. Moreover, the Sabbath is not a time for sports and personal hobbies. Instead, the Sabbath is a time to focus on our relationship with God.
The law stated in Deuteronomy 24:1-4 that, after a divorce where one spouse then marries another, and the second marriage is terminated by divorce or death, remarriage to the original spouse is forbidden. This is comparable to Israel’s situation—but not exactly the same since Israel did not actually marry other gods (indeed, the false gods Israel has pursued don’t really exist). While God looked upon the idolatry of Israel and Judah as “play[ing] the harlot with many lovers,” He says He will yet take her back if she will but repent (Jeremiah 3:1).
But that is not immediately forthcoming. God remarks, “You have had a harlot’s forehead [never blushing]; you refuse to be ashamed” (verse 3; compare 6:15). Continually acting against one’s conscience leads to a seared conscience (see 1 Timothy 4:2)—repeated immorality leads to amorality. Logically, one would think that Judah would have learned some fear of God when she saw God punish the house of Israel with divorce, destruction, and captivity. But no, “treacherous Judah” sank lower than Israel! Any appearance of returning to God was done “in pretense” (3:8-11).
It is interesting to note that though God says He issued a certificate of divorce to Israel (verse , He still claims to be married to the Israelites in verse 14. This is because, though God put away Israel as a whole, He maintained His covenant relationship with a remnant of Israel—in Jeremiah’s day meaning the faithful of Judah. Yet God would also consider individuals of the house of Israel as part of this remnant if they would repent and return to Him (same verse). In verse 12 Jeremiah is told to proclaim the message to the north. This may well have been directed to those Israelites (the Scythians) who came back into the land of the northern kingdom at this time. They are said to be “more righteous” than Judah—which makes sense when we realize that many of these Israelites (perhaps humbled from their captivity) were soon going to help Josiah purge the land of idolatry and observe his great Passover.
Yet, as explained in the highlights for chapter 2, the message was meant for all the families of Israel—meaning this call to repentance is likely intended primarily for the end time. In the last days, much of end-time Israel is still to be found mainly to the north of Judea—northwest that is—prior to and during their final captivity (http://www.sightedmoonnl.com/?page_id=595 ). For those physical Israelites who repent, God will take them as individuals and join them to the faithful remnant of Israel—the remnant according to grace, (see Romans 11:5). Yet also intended here is the return from captivity of those of the physical remnant of Israel to God at the time of Christ’s return—when, according to this and many other prophecies, they too collectively repent and become spiritual Israelites according to grace.
Israel and Judah will finally and truly return to God “in those days,” at which time the two houses will be rejoined (verse 18). Notice that Israel and Judah will “come together out of the land of the north” (same verse). This never happened in ancient times following the Assyrian captivity of Israel or the Babylonian captivity of Judah. It is clearly a prophecy of the end time.
Then the actual presence of Jesus Christ and the throne of the Lord will make the glory of Israel’s history—when the Ark of the Covenant was merely a type of that throne—unimportant and unmemorable by comparison (verses 16-17). Incidentally, some have speculated that the fact of the ark not being mentioned anymore after Christ’s return is an indication that it will have had prominent mention just prior to His return—that it may yet be found and play some part in end-time events if it was not destroyed in ancient times (see highlights on Isaiah 17-18). Of course, even an event as stunning and incredible as finding the Ark of the Covenant would be paled into utter insignificance by the return of Jesus Christ in power and glory to rule all nations.
At last, Israel and the world will have “shepherds according to My heart,” who will “feed the Israelites with knowledge and understanding” (verse 15). This likely had a forerunner in Jeremiah’s day—meaning Jeremiah, Zephaniah, other contemporary prophets, faithful priests and the faithful king Josiah. They provided spiritual leadership to the Israelites returning back then. Today the shepherds are God’s faithful ministers. And in the coming reign of Christ, which is apparently the predominant reference, the shepherds will be Christ, the glorified saints and righteous human leaders.
All Israel will then submit to God and revere Him as Father, no longer turning away from Him (verse 19). The nation will no longer respond in a mere pretense of repentance—for the return to God will be genuine (verses 22-25).
Jeremiah 4, which continues on from the end of chapter 3, begins with a play on words. God tells Israel, “If you will return [from captivity to their homeland]…return to Me [that is, in a spiritual sense—meaning repentance]” (4:1). In verse 3, the message is directed to the people of Judah—perhaps both to those of Jeremiah’s day and to people far in the future. As for God’s instruction to break up the fallow ground and not sowing among thorns, it should be noted that the reference is to “unused soil, not a regularly plowed field. Israel [including Judah] needed a new field in which to sow its seed of faithfulness, a radical departure from its ways of sin and idolatry” (Nelson Study Bible, note on verse 3).
In verse 4, we see that the main purpose of circumcision is to illustrate the need for mankind to remove any hardness of heart and all barriers separating us from God. This repeats what God told the Israelites just before He first brought them in to the Promised Land (see Deuteronomy 10:16). If the people refuse to heed, the consequences will be severe.
Verse 5 of chapter 4 begins a prophecy that continues to the end of chapter 6. It is addressed here at the outset to Judah and Jerusalem. This undoubtedly referred to the Jews of Jeremiah’s day, but could also refer to future inhabitants of the land. Moreover, reference is later made to the recipients of the message being the “house of Israel” or “house of Jacob” as well as Judah (see 5:15, 19). Israel had been taken into captivity long before Jeremiah wrote, so that at least would seem to look to the future.
Still, the message was clearly intended for Jeremiah’s fellow countrymen. Tragically, the people do not yet heed God’s call to repentance (see 4:4). They are therefore instructed to “blow the trumpet” (verse 5), the shofar or ram’s horn, an “alarm of war” (verse 19)—a symbol repeated throughout Scripture. For God will bring “disaster from the north.” As explained in the highlights for chapter 1, this was the course of invasion followed by ancient Babylon and that will yet be followed by end-time Babylon.
The warning is to be raised from Dan to Ephraim (verse 15). These areas were in the northernmost and southernmost parts of the ancient northern kingdom and would have seen a northern threat coming against Judah.
God warns of “watchers” (verse 16), which could indicate advanced scouts of a coming army. However, the term may also be translated “besiegers” (Jamieson, Fausset & Brown’s Commentary, note on verse 16).
All this was rather unsettling to Jeremiah. He was “overwhelmed at what God was about to bring upon Jerusalem. This passage indicates the deep inner struggle Jeremiah faced in his proclamation of the divine message. Jeremiah challenged God’s dealings with His people, claiming that God had deceived the people with a message of peace” (note on Jeremiah 4:10). Remember that in chapter 3 God had just told Jeremiah to convey a message of Israel’s repentance and return under the reign of the Messiah. Now here he was delivering an ominous message of doom—to people he deeply cared about. God well understood Jeremiah’s compassion—and was no doubt merciful to him in his anguished remarks.
Verse 18 declares that the people have brought this on themselves. Just as in today’s world, God said the people are “experts at doing what is evil, but failures at doing what is good” (verse 22, Today’s English Version).
The prophet then sees in vision a destroyed land—employing the same language used in Scripture of the chaotic, desolate planet Earth before man’s creation (verse 23; see Genesis 1:2). It is now the result of the destruction God will bring because of the people’s sins (see verse 26). But thankfully, the land will not be utterly destroyed and not everyone will die (verse 27; 5:18). Yet the consequences will be severe—and, as the people are set in their sinful ways, the punishment is now inevitable (4:28).
If Zion tries to appease, distract and seduce her enemies—like a harlot with seductive clothes and makeup, offering favors—it won’t work (verse 30). Instead, she will soon experience unavoidable pain, as a woman in labor with her first child. And in the end, her lovers will become her murderers (verse 31).
The seventh exhortation (7:1-27) gives yet another warning against succumbing to the temptations of adultery.
The chapter begins with instruction to prize and be attentive to the father’s commands; which are, in fact, God’s commands. The son is to take wisdom as “sister” and understanding as nearest kin. “Sister” here may be used in the sense of a bride (see Song of Solomon 4:9-10, 12; 5:1-2). In any case, a deep, close relationship is to be forged with all that constitutes wisdom. The young man must be prepared to escape the clutches of that ubiquitous adulteress.
An example is given of a gullible young man who did not escape. The woman perversely speaks of having offered peace offerings, which meant she could bring part of them home for a feast before God; yet her banquet, while her husband is away, is for the purpose of luring the young man into her home. And in he went to his own destruction. “Her house is a highway to the grave, leading down to the chambers of death” (verse 27, NIV).
When two people engage in premarital or extra-marital sex, the actual circumstances, motives and attitudes vary a great deal. They may both plan on having sex, or one may intentionally seduce the other, or they may be increasingly intimate in their affection and get carried away. Regardless, every couple that engages in immoral sex lacks or ignores the precious wisdom of God that He spells out in His Word for our protection, health and happiness. Wisdom includes making firm godly plans to remain pure. Any decisions made while emotional or sexually aroused will likely be foolish decisions. He who fails to plan plans to fail.
We should remember to see figurative parallels here between the way of wisdom and the way of folly and wickedness. Woman Folly later issues similar invitations with the same horrible result (9:13-18). And we will read of Woman Wisdom throwing a feast in her home and inviting the simple in (9:1-6); in that case a banquet we should be delighted to attend.
In Chapter 4 we read how the brethren were all of one accord and looking out for everyone. Act 4:34 For there was not anyone needy among them, for all who were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of what was sold, 35 and laid them at the feet of the emissaries, and they distributed to each as anyone had need.
36 And Yosĕph, who was also called Barnaḇah by the emissaries (which means Son of Encouragement), a Lĕwite, a native of Cyprus, 37 having land, sold it, and brought the proceeds and laid it at the feet of the emissaries.
And then we come to chapter 5 and read
Act 5:1 But a certain man named Ḥananyah, with Shappirah his wife, sold a possession. 2 And he kept back from the price, his wife also being aware of it, and brought a certain part and laid it at the feet of the emissaries. 3 But Kĕpha said, “Ḥananyah, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Set-apart Spirit and keep back from the price of the land for yourself? 4 “While it remained, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not in your authority? Why have you conceived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to men but to Elohim.” 5 Then Ḥananyah, hearing these words, fell down and breathed his last. And great fear came upon all those who heard of this. 6 But the young men arose and wrapped him up, carried him out and buried him. 7 And it came to be, about three hours later, that his wife came in, not knowing what had taken place. 8 And Kĕpha responded to her, “Say to me whether you sold the land for so much?” And she said, “Yes, for so much.” 9 So Kĕpha said to her, “Why have you agreed to try the Spirit of יהוה? Look, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they shall carry you out.” 10 And immediately she fell down at his feet and breathed her last. And the young men came in and found her dead, and carrying her out, they buried her beside her husband.11 And great fear came upon all the assembly and upon all who heard of this.
Ḥananyah, with Shappirah his wife lied to the Holy Spirit through Peter. They could have said they are only going to give so much and keep the rest just in case, but they wanted to appear as if they were giving of all they had just like Barnabah had done in chapter 4.
Act 5:34 But a certain one in the council stood up, a Pharisee named Gamli’ĕl, a teacher of the Torah, respected by all the people, and ordered them to put the emissaries outside for a little while, 35 and said to them, “Men of Yisra’ĕl, take heed to yourselves what you intend to do to these men. 36 “For before these days Toḏah rose up, claiming to be somebody. A number of men, about four hundred, did join him. He was slain, and all who obeyed him were dispersed, and came to naught. 37 “After him, Yehuḏah of Galil rose up in the days of the census, and drew away many people after him. He also perished, and all who obeyed him were scattered. 38 “And now I say to you, stay away from these men and leave them alone, because if this plan or this work is of men, it shall be overthrown, 39 but if it is of Elohim, you are unable to overthrow it, lest you even be found to fight against Elohim.”
Brethren this section of Acts is very special to me. For when I was being told I was not longer welcome at The United Church of God I was very upset. And I said to them that if the things I was saying were not true then in a few months time I would be proven false by those who were hearing me. But if what I was saying about the Sabbatical and Jubilee cycles were true, then there was no way anyone could stop this message from going forth.
That was in July of 2006. Since then this web site of www.sightedmoon.com has grown to be known around the world. That web site was quickly filled and another began www.sightedmoonnl.com
We are about to have 1.5 million hits to the web site. The DVD about the Sabbatical cycles is growing and continues to be shared around the world. This led to The Prophecies of Abraham and it too continues to stunning to those who read it and understand it. Why? Not because of my great wit and intelligence for I barely graduated high school with a 51% average in English. Not is because of the Holy Spirit and the truths of His words that HE is allowing me to share this end time message of His soon coming and the many things that must happen just before that time.
With each week I am encouraged to do more and speak out more. I encourage each of you to help share this message of the Sabbatical years and the curses for not keeping them. Do not shy away from it.
We continue with our study of the 613 laws.
We are doing 7 laws each week during our septennial study. We shall study laws 555-561
We also have commentary, with editing from me, again from http://theownersmanual.net/The_Owners_Manual_02_The_Law_of_Love.Torah
(555)Do not do work with cattle set apart for sacrifice. “All the firstborn males that come from your herd and your flock you shall sanctify to Yahweh your God; you shall do no work with the firstborn of your herd, nor shear the firstborn of your flock.” (Deuteronomy 15:19) The instructions concerning the firstborn offering (the bekor), like all Levitical offerings, were designed to impart vital information about the coming Messiah. All “clean” male domestic animals that opened the womb were to be sacrificed: “You and your household shall eat it before Yahweh your God year by year in the place which Yahweh chooses.” (Deuteronomy 15:20) The bekor sacrifice was to be eaten by the worshipper and his family. Although the animal was “sanctified” or dedicated to Yahweh, the advantage—the nourishment, if you will—devolved back upon the one offering the sacrifice. But the firstborn was to benefit the worshipper only through his death. He wasn’t to pull a cart, drag a plow, or provide fleece for a loom before his trip to the altar. He had but one purpose—to die so that someone could live. He was to serve as food, nourishment, sustenance—nothing more. Furthermore, the bekor was to be eaten before Yahweh in the place of His choosing, at a time of His appointing—a time of feasting and celebration, one of the three annual national gatherings. In addition, it was specifically designed to be a reminder of the redemption of Israel through the death of the firstborn of Egypt (see Exodus 13).
The question, as usual, is why. Why was the firstborn to provide no service other than dying? I believe it was to teach us not to look upon the Messiah as a supplier of our petty temporal desires. I won’t deny that He looks after us as a shepherd tends his sheep, giving us rest in green pastures, leading us beside still waters and restoring our soul (among other things). And yes, if we seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, He promises to meet our needs in this earth. But in the narrower focus of the Messiah’s primary role, we must remember that the job of the Good Shepherd is to lay down His life for His sheep! (John 10:11-18) Yahshua didn’t come to make His followers prosperous or powerful in this earth. He didn’t come to be the founder of a great religion, to be a respected teacher of morals and doctrine, or to show us the way to paradise. He was God’s firstborn: He came to die.
(556)Do not shear beasts set apart for sacrifice. “All the firstborn males that come from your herd and your flock you shall sanctify to Yahweh your God; you shall do no work with the firstborn of your herd, nor shear the firstborn of your flock.” (Deuteronomy 15:19) As usual, Maimonides has taken a precept in which Moses has offered two related illustrative examples and made two separate mitzvot out of them. There is only one “law” here, one the Rambam doesn’t remotely comprehend. See Mitzvah #555.
(557)Do not leave any portion of the festival offering brought on the fourteenth of Nissan until the third day. “…nor shall any of the meat which you sacrifice the first day at twilight remain overnight until morning.” (Deuteronomy 16:4) I like lamb as much as the next guy, but this is just plain wrong. Maimonides, ignorant of Whom the Passover Lamb represents, has expanded his definition of “leftovers” well beyond the Torah’s explicit instructions. This is a restatement of the Passover instructions originally given in Exodus: “You shall let none of it remain until morning, and what remains of it until morning you shall burn with fire.” (Exodus 12:10) The Passover Lamb was to be killed and roasted whole on the afternoon of the fourteenth day of Nisan, and eaten after sundown (now technically the fifteenth—the Feast of Unleavened Bread) “with unleavened bread and bitter herbs…with a belt on your waist, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand…in haste.” The Israelites didn’t have the whole day of Nisan 15 to munch leisurely on lamb sandwiches. By morning, they were on their way out of Egypt (see Exodus 12:29-36), the anguished wails of the lost world ringing in their ears.
I don’t know—maybe Maimonides did realize Who the Passover Lamb represented, and just didn’t want his audience to make the connection. Yahshua of Nazareth had been slain on the afternoon of Passover, 31AD, His blood smeared on the upright post (Greek stauros, errantly translated “cross”) keeping the angel of death at bay for all mankind, if only we’ll embrace the protection it provides. On the Feast of Unleavened Bread—beginning at sundown—His body lay in the tomb while His soul endured the fires of judgment for us, removing all of the leaven—the sin—from our lives. And now, at the breaking of the new day, we like the Israelites of old are free to leave Egypt—to flee the bondage of the world.
But Maimonides would have you hesitate, enjoy the perks of your slavery for one more day, and prevent the Lamb of God from enduring the consuming fire of judgment on your behalf. After all, Pharaoh has given you his solemn word. You’re free to go, he says. He wouldn’t change his mind, would he?
(558)Do not offer up a beast that has a temporary blemish. “You shall not sacrifice to Yahweh your God a bull or sheep which has any blemish or defect, for that is an abomination to Yahweh your God.” (Deuteronomy 17:1) There is nothing mentioned in the text about a disqualifying blemish being “temporary.” If anything, the words are stronger than they’ve been translated: “to have a blemish” is literally “to be an evil thing.” “Defect” is derived from the Hebrew dabar ra, meaning “a statement, word, or message that is bad, wicked, malignant, or worse than others of its kind.” This all conspires to make Maimonides’ interpretation completely wrong. The idea is that even if the animal isn’t visibly marked or blemished in some way but is nevertheless the “bottom of the barrel,” a poor specimen of its breed, then don’t foist it off on Yahweh as an offering as if you’re doing Him some kind of favor. He sent His own Son to die for our sins—a perfect sacrifice if ever there was one. The least we could do is offer up the very best animal we could find within our flocks and herds in emulation of His provision.
This whole discussion applies to other areas of our life as well (since, let’s face it, nobody is making Levitical sacrifices at the temple these days). Do we put in our best effort at work, or just do enough to avoid being fired for laziness and insubordination? Do we study to learn a subject, or merely to pass the quiz? Does our charity consist of giving the needy what they need, or merely what we don’t want any more? Forget WWJD (What Would Jesus Do?). Think about WDYD (What Did Yahweh Do?) He is the God of the Hallmark card (if you’ll pardon the stupid expression): He cared enough to send the Very Best.
(559)Do not bring sacrifices out of the hire of a harlot or price of a dog. (apparently a euphemism for sodomy). “You shall not bring the wages of a harlot or the price of a dog to the house of Yahweh your God for any vowed offering, for both of these are an abomination to Yahweh your God.” (Deuteronomy 23:18) There is more to the epithets “harlot” and “dog” than merely sexual sin. Remember the Fifth Commandment? “Honor your Father and your Mother, that your days may be long upon the land which Yahweh your God is giving you.” (Exodus 20:12) I’ve capitalized “Father” and “Mother” because ultimately, our parents are merely a metaphor for God Himself—Yahweh as our Father and His Spirit dwelling within us as our Mother. Their love is what gave us existence and life. Yahweh designed us to function as families in order to teach us what He is like! And that is why Satan works so hard to dismantle families—he doesn’t want us to know, for if we did, we would understand what Yahweh has done for us.
Satan’s war on the family has many fronts: separating husbands from their wives, separating children from their parents, separating sex from marriage, blurring gender roles, and so forth. At the time of the exodus, Satan was openly worshipped in Canaan as Ba’al, Chemosh, Molech, and Dagon, among others, and in the temples dedicated to these false gods, temple prostitution—both male and female—was an essential rite, a clever attempt by Satan to obfuscate God’s pattern of familial love, faithfulness, and purpose. The harlot here was a female temple prostitute whose job it was to destroy the family, and the “dog” her male counterpart, whether homosexual or not. In the precept at hand, Yahweh was warning His people not to adopt the ways of the people they were tasked to dispossess. Their worship practices were the very antithesis of His revealed character—an abomination in His eyes.
(560)Read the portion prescribed on bringing the first fruits. “And it shall be, when you come into the land which Yahweh your God is giving you as an inheritance, and you possess it and dwell in it, that you shall take some of the first of all the produce of the ground, which you shall bring from your land that Yahweh your God is giving you, and put it in a basket and go to the place where Yahweh your God chooses to make His name abide. And you shall go to the one who is priest in those days, and say to him, ‘I declare today to Yahweh your God that I have come to the country which Yahweh swore to our fathers to give us.’ Then the priest shall take the basket out of your hand and set it down before the altar of Yahweh your God. And you shall answer and say before Yahweh your God: ‘My father was a Syrian, about to perish, and he went down to Egypt and dwelt there, few in number; and there he became a nation, great, mighty, and populous. But the Egyptians mistreated us, afflicted us, and laid hard bondage on us. Then we cried out to Yahweh, God of our fathers, and Yahweh heard our voice and looked on our affliction and our labor and our oppression. So Yahweh brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand and with an outstretched arm, with great terror and with signs and wonders. He has brought us to this place and has given us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey; and now, behold, I have brought the firstfruits of the land which you, Yahweh, have given me.’” (Deuteronomy 26:1-10) The Israelites were instructed to recount the history of their nation upon the presentation of the firstfruits. This would take place on the Feast of Firstfruits on the day after the weekly Sabbath during the days of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, at the sanctuary. The first instance of this is recorded in Joshua 5:10-12.
Yahweh, of course, wasn’t interested in “vain repetition,” in hearing thousands of Jews mindlessly mumble through a formula recitation once a year. He wanted them to think about what He had done for them—both in temporal and spiritual terms. Let’s take the time to explore the prescribed confession. It begins, “I have come to the country which Yahweh swore to our fathers to give us.” We are to realize that our position of fellowship with God (the “country” in which we live) is the result of Yahweh keeping His promises. “My father was a Syrian, about to perish, and he went down to Egypt and dwelt there, few in number; and there he became a nation, great, mighty, and populous.” There’s more to “Syrian, about to perish” than meets the eye. In Hebrew, it’s ’abad ’Arammiy—an Aramean (which in turn means “exalted”) who is lost, strayed, vanishing, or dying. (“Abram,” by the way, means “exalted father,” while “Abraham” means “father of many.”) In other words, Abram our father was exalted by Yahweh when he was a lost, perishing soul—which reminds us of what Paul said: “While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Egypt represents the world, a place of slavery and sin: “But the Egyptians mistreated us, afflicted us, and laid hard bondage on us.”
Recognizing we’re in trouble is an essential step in getting help. “Then we cried out to Yahweh, God of our fathers, and Yahweh heard our voice and looked on our affliction and our labor and our oppression.” It does no good to appeal to Pharaoh, and even less to cry out to his false gods—they’re the ones who are trying to keep us in affliction, labor, and oppression. Only Yahweh can help us in our plight, for only He both loves us and has the power to save us. “So Yahweh brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand and with an outstretched arm, with great terror and with signs and wonders.” We can’t get out of Egypt by our own strength. The word translated “terror” here is mowra, an awe-inspiring exhibition of power, an equally appropriate description for the ten plagues of Egypt and the resurrection of the crucified Messiah from the dead. And as I observed in my study of end-times prophecy, Future History, these same signs and wonders will be repeated in the last days as Yahweh separates His people from the world that enslaves them. We can expect to see the reprise of all ten plagues as well as the return of the Messiah in glory—another “awe-inspiring exhibition of power” on the part of Yahweh. The objective of this second exodus will be the same as the first: “He has brought us to this place and has given us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey.” Once again, the promised land represents our final destination in the presence and fellowship of God—something only He can achieve for us, and that only through His “mighty hand” and “outstretched arm.”
And how are we to respond to all this? The last words of the recitation tell us: “And now, behold, I have brought the firstfruits of the land which you, Yahweh, have given me.” If the “land” is our position in the grace of God, then what is the crop? Is it not the peace, the security, the fellowship, and the joy of our salvation? And is it not the temporal gifts we’ve received as well as the spiritual blessings? What are we to do with the firstfruits? Share them, bring them to the priests—your fellow believers—who are to offer them up in homage and thanksgiving to God. Remember, we’re talking about firstfruits here: the harvest is yet to come. What we receive in this life is but a small sample of what we can expect to reap in eternity future. But our faithfulness and obedience concerning the things we receive now will be reflected in the magnitude of the harvest.
It’s becoming clear that the Law of Moses ranges from the mostly symbolic (circumcision, the burnt offering, and the Sabbath, for instance) to the mostly practical (such as restitution for theft, removing pigs, rats, and carrion birds from the menu, and not marrying your sister). Most of these precepts fall somewhere in between: part practical advice, part metaphors of some greater truth.
The subject of ritual purity falls within this “hybrid” category. The things that are defined as ceremonially defiling often have a basis in hygiene. Thus separating people who are “defiled” or “unclean” from the general population or barring them from certain activities is only prudent from a community health-care perspective. On the other hand, Yahweh has invariably couched the process by which one may return to a “clean” or “undefiled” state in terms of ritualistic law, fraught with symbolic significance. Only through the performance of certain rites may one regain his “undefiled” status in the commonwealth of Israel.
But it has also become increasingly obvious that religion (for its own sake) is something Yahweh detests. He is not the least bit interested in seeing us follow the rules just because there are rules to follow. Rather, He wants us to know Him, to understand what He is doing for us, and why. You can almost hear the agony in His voice as He speaks through the prophet Hosea: “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being priest for Me. Because you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children…. I desire mercy and not sacrifice, and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.” (Hosea 4:6, 6:6) The word translated “knowledge” here is da’at, meaning perception, discernment, knowledge, understanding, skill, or wisdom. The Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament explains that “da’at is derived from the root verb yada, ‘to know’ [in a relational sense]. The root expresses knowledge gained in various ways by the senses…. Da’at is a general term for knowledge, particularly that which is of a personal experiential nature… it is the contemplative perception of the wise man… also used of moral cognition.”
Note that God doesn’t say His people are destroyed by bad behavior, failure to keep every nuance of the Law, or even idolatry. These things are merely by products of the real problem—a lack of knowledge concerning their God. But it’s not as if they hadn’t been taught: Israel had rejected knowledge, forsaken it, and finally exchanged it for a list of 613 silly rules and pointless regulations. When Yahweh says, “You have forgotten the law of your God,” He’s pointing out the place from which the knowledge His people lack was supposed to come—the Law. I know it sounds like we’re going in circles here, but we’re not. The only logical answer to the conundrum is that the “knowledge of God” that Israel was supposed to receive from the Law was latent in the symbols and metaphors that were written between every line of the Torah, the symbols that are becoming so evident in this present study. If the olah isn’t symbolic of something important (the sacrifice of the Messiah), all you’ve got is smoke and ash and one less sheep in your flock. If the Sabbath isn’t a metaphor for a greater reality (the conclusion of Yahweh’s 7,000-year plan for the redemption of mankind), all you’ve got is a day off once a week—and God’s irrational promise to destroy you if you don’t take advantage of it. And if circumcision isn’t representative of some significant element in Yahweh’s agenda (the separation of man from his sin), then all you’ve got is the painful, bloody—and pointless—mutilation of the most sensitive part of a guy’s anatomy.
Paul chose circumcision as the issue he’d use to demonstrate the difference between mindlessly performing the outward rituals of the Law in an attempt to impress God and the alternative—coming to a knowledge of Yahweh. His case rests upon the recognition of Yahshua the Messiah as the ultimate object of all those symbols and metaphors that permeate the Torah. “Listen! I, Paul, tell you this: If you are counting on circumcision to make you right with God, then Christ cannot help you.” In other words, you must choose between them—you can’t travel on two paths at one time. “I’ll say it again. If you are trying to find favor with God by being circumcised, you must obey all of the regulations in the whole law of Moses. For if you are trying to make yourselves right with God by keeping the law, you have been cut off from Christ! You have fallen away from God’s grace….” We recognize the act of circumcision as symbolic of sin being “cut off” from mankind. But Paul is pointing out something quite significant about the symbol here: if your reliance is on circumcision (and on keeping the rest of the Law), then you’ve identified yourself with the part that’s being cut off and thrown away, not the part God wants to keep! (The NIV words it “alienated from Christ,” and the NASB renders it “severed.”) I’m not sure, but I think Paul just called those who rely on the Law “dickheads.” Pardon my Greek.
“But we who live by the Spirit [in contrast with those who rely on the Law] eagerly wait to receive everything promised to us who are right with God through faith. For when we place our faith in Christ Jesus, it makes no difference to God whether we are circumcised or not circumcised. What is important is faith expressing itself in love.” (Galatians 5:2-6 NLT) If circumcision means something, then that which it means—our separation from our sin—is the reality, and the rite itself is but the shadow. And if that reality has been manifested for us through the sacrifice of Yahshua, then the shadow is no longer significant. Put another way, if circumcision is a sign pointing toward our separation from sin, then our arrival at that destination makes the road sign superfluous. The sign was once important. Now it’s redundant.
“You were getting along so well. Who has interfered with you to hold you back from following the truth? It certainly isn’t God, for he is the one who called you to freedom. But it takes only one wrong person among you to infect all the others—a little yeast spreads quickly through the whole batch of dough! I am trusting the Lord to bring you back to believing as I do about these things. God will judge that person, whoever it is, who has been troubling and confusing you.” (Galatians 5:7-10 NLT) I should pause to make something clear. The “Judaizers” whom Paul is castigating here were not rabbis who denied the deity or Messiahship of Yahshua. They were, rather, “Christians” (in the nominal sense of the word) who held that the Torah must still be followed even though Yahshua had fulfilled it to the letter and bought our salvation with His blood. It is my sad duty to report that these guys are still around, camping on the fringes of the “Messianic” movement. Some of them are brilliant scholars; and they’d have to be brilliant in order to perform the intense mental juggling act that’s essential to their doctrine. Paul says, literally, that “he who troubles you will bear his judgment.” That word “judgment” is krima, meaning a judicial decision, a decree—usually, though not always, implying a negative verdict, a condemnation.
First, they must convince us that the “Law” of which Paul speaks is not the Torah, but rather the “oral law,” a collection of traditions and rulings that have (the rabbis insist) existed side by side with the written Torah since the time of Moses. (In point of fact, the oral law was invented by the Jewish exiles in Babylon, maybe twelve hundred years later.) The Talmud and Mishnah were later developments, written versions of the oral law (confused yet?) upon which our friend Maimonides based his work. In other words, the 613 mitzvot we’ve been reviewing are in reality based not on the Torah but on the Talmud, a fact that explains some of the Rambam’s confusion. (My commentary, on the other hand, is based on the written Torah.) The bottom line? Believers (they say) are still required to observe the Torah in all its detail, whether or not it’s possible, whether or not anybody has ever succeeded in doing so. They’re just not required to keep the “oral law,” something that in Paul’s day was as nebulous and contradictory as any man-made religion has ever been.
Unfortunately for the neoJudaizers (and fortunately for us), there isn’t a shred of evidence to support their theory. When Paul speaks of circumcision, he’s referring to the rite commanded in the Torah, not a “secondary circumcision” demanded by the rabbis. (Much of the really dumb stuff in Judaism wasn’t invented until after rabbi Akiba made eisegesis—reading doctrine into a passage instead of extracting truth out of it—a contact sport in the Jewish religion early in the second century.)
To make their argument sound plausible, the neoJudaizers must toss another ball into the air. Since there is no earthly reason gentile believers would be inclined to heed Jewish rabbis (especially when they contradicted the written Scriptures), it is hypothesized that all of the Galatian believers were actually members of the “ten lost tribes” of Israel. Further, every “gentile” believer ever since is actually a biological descendant of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—a hitherto unidentified member of these lost tribes. This is the basic thrust of the so-called “two-house” movement. Again, it betrays a fundamental lack of understanding as to what the Torah was meant to achieve in God’s plan, and what the role of the Jews (or more correctly, Israel) was supposed to be. Salvation is not for the Jews (not exclusively, anyway). It’s of the Jews.
Thus it is that a third ball gets tossed into the air. The neoJudaizers insist that because Paul only sought out and taught Israelite expatriates (not actual gentiles), none of the New Covenant Scriptures were composed in Greek, but were written in Aramaic, a close cognate of Hebrew. This leaves them free to re-translate the Greek texts into Aramaic (or use existing Aramaic versions) and then translate those into English, leaving them lots of linguistic wiggle room in which to advance their agenda. I’ll agree that the book of Hebrews and the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and John could well have been originally penned in Aramaic or Hebrew. This might explain why the polished Greek of the Gospel of John is somewhat different from the rough language of Revelation: John wrote the latter in his second language, not his mother tongue. But the idea that Paul wasn’t fluent in Greek or didn’t write in Greek to audiences outside of Judea is patently absurd. Paul hailed from Tarsus, in what is now Southern Turkey. He was a Roman citizen. Greek was the lingua franca of the day, much as English is today. Outside of Judea, his only language options would have been Greek and Latin—even to Jewish audiences.
So Paul makes his case: “Dear brothers and sisters, if I were still preaching that you must be circumcised—as some say I do—why would the Jews persecute me? The fact that I am still being persecuted proves that I am still preaching salvation through the cross of Christ alone. I only wish that those troublemakers who want to mutilate you by circumcision would mutilate themselves.” (Galatians 5:11-12 NLT) Paul sounds miffed, doesn’t he? I guess he’s got good reason. The advocates of “Law plus Grace” would never have persecuted Paul to the extent they did if he had spoken only against the oral law while upholding the necessity of flawlessly keeping the Instructions of Moses. The word translated “mutilate” (apokopto) generally means “to cut off, to amputate.” Many commentators feel that Paul actually intends to suggest emasculation, castration, sort of a circumcision gone horribly wrong. The point is that he doesn’t wish to see these heresies bear any fruit among the faithful.
He continues: “For you have been called to live in freedom—not freedom to satisfy your sinful nature, but freedom to serve one another in love. For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ But if instead of showing love among yourselves you are always biting and devouring one another, watch out! Beware of destroying one another.” (Galatians 5:13-15 NLT) As Paul and I have both said ’til we’re blue in the face, we’re not suggesting that the Law of Moses has no value and should be discarded as a guidebook to life, our “Owner’s Manual,” to coin a phrase. It has always—and will always—have inestimable value in revealing the mind of God to mortal man. And what is Yahweh’s mindset toward us? What does He want us to do? Only to love Him with our whole being and to love our fellow man. If love is what we’re all about, the precepts of the Law will become more or less automatic for us. Of course, “Love your neighbor as yourself” is no easier to do in the strength of our flesh than is any other precept in the Torah.
“So I advise you to live according to your new life in the Holy Spirit. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves,” which is: loving yourself at the expense of your neighbor. “The old sinful nature loves to do evil, which is just opposite from what the Holy Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are opposite from what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, and your choices are never free from this conflict. But when you are directed by the Holy Spirit, you are no longer subject to the law.” It isn’t that we’re above the Law, but rather that the Holy Spirit directs us to conduct our lives in a manner that’s compatible with it, which makes sense, since Yahweh is the Author of both the Law and the Spirit’s counsel. Our sinful nature struggles against both of these things. Which impulse will prevail, our sinful nature or the direction of the Holy Spirit? Good question, but first note that Paul is talking to believers here, for whom both things are a potential influence. Those without God’s Spirit dwelling within them have only their sinful natures to shape their behavior (which goes a long way toward explaining why the Law is impossible to keep). But for us, both things, like a couple of hungry dogs, vie for our favors, fighting among themselves. Which one wins? Which one gets stronger over time? The one we feed.
“When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, your lives will produce these evil results: sexual immorality, impure thoughts, eagerness for lustful pleasure, idolatry, participation in demonic activities, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, divisions, the feeling that everyone is wrong except those in your own little group, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other kinds of sin. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.” (Galatians 5:16-21 NLT) Is Paul saying that if a believer ever has a lustful thought or a twinge of envy he’s not really saved? No. He’s saying that if these things—as a collective profile—describe your life, it’s evidence that you are “following the desires of your sinful nature,” presumably because the Holy Spirit is absent, exerting no influence at all in your life. A key phrase is “anyone living that sort of life,” or as the NKJV puts it, “those who practice such things.” But the word translated “living” or “practice” is anaprasso, the very term Paul used to describe his own frustrating failures in Romans 7. It is therefore clear that it is the totality of one’s moral attitude, not the occasional lapse in behavior, that identifies one’s spiritual position. But don’t let the tail wag the dog here: trying your best to avoid the things on this list won’t “save” you any more than trying to keep the Law of Moses will.
If we’re really believers, however, we’ll have two dogs in this fight (so to speak). “But when the Holy Spirit controls our lives, he will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Here there is no conflict with the law.” Not in the Torah, anyway. As we have seen, there is a subtle undercurrent of self-centered, joyless, unforgiving harshness in the oral law upon which Maimonides’ mitzvot are based. “Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there….” Note that Paul didn’t declare that “the Law has been nailed to the cross,” as is so often preached these days. What’s been crucified is the influence of the flesh with its “passions and desires,” not the Torah, the part of God’s Word that merely points out where we’ve erred.
Having identified what characterizes a Spirit-led life and how it differs from one dominated by the sin nature, Paul now offers some practical advice. “If we are living now by the Holy Spirit, let us follow the Holy Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. Let us not become conceited, or irritate one another, or be jealous of one another.” (Galatians 5:22-26 NLT) Once again, it comes down to a choice we’ve been given. We can choose to follow one influence or the other, the Spirit’s leading or our old sinful nature. Paul’s admonition identifies certain pitfalls that all too readily entrap Christians: sanctimonious pride, a prickly, provocative, confrontational attitude, and the envy of those who are even more arrogant and irritating (i.e., more “religious”) than we are—ecclesiastical ambition. But at least we have a choice of how to behave. Those without Christ are never even “tempted” to live godly lives, though they may find that other people like them better if they’re kind, patient, gentle, and self-controlled. A far more fundamental choice must be made before real godliness is possible—the choice of whose family to enter.
IMPURITY THROUGH CONTACT
(561)Eight species of creeping things defile by contact. “These also shall be unclean to you among the creeping things that creep on the earth: the mole, the mouse, and the large lizard after its kind; the gecko, the monitor lizard, the sand reptile, the sand lizard, and the chameleon. These are unclean to you among all that creep. Whoever touches them when they are dead shall be unclean until evening. ” (Leviticus 11:29-31) No there aren’t, and no they don’t. Some days you just want to take Maimonides and throttle him. It seems as though every time we turn around he’s finding new ways to get it wrong.
Leviticus 11 is all about dietary guidelines. We covered much of it in detail back in chapter 5 of this book. By the time we get to these few verses, we’ve learned that (1) it’s only okay to eat land animals that have divided hooves and chew their cud, (2) only sea creatures that have fins and scales (in other words, true fish) are good for food, (3) “barnyard” birds are okay to eat, but carrion birds and predators are not, (4) the only insects that may be eaten are locusts and related species, and (5) we aren’t to eat anything that walks around on its paws. The eight animals listed in the passage at hand merely clarify the list of forbidden foods: rodents and reptiles are out. The list doesn’t pretend to be comprehensive, any more than the list of forbidden birds was. These are just familiar examples of the types of animals that we aren’t to eat.
And what about “defiling by contact?” As far as the Torah is concerned, this is only true of touching the unclean animal’s carcass. They don’t ceremonially defile anyone if they’re alive. You can pet your cat; you just can’t eat him. “By these you shall become unclean; whoever touches the carcass of any of them shall be unclean until evening; whoever carries part of the carcass of any of them shall wash his clothes and be unclean until evening: the carcass of any animal which divides the foot, but is not cloven-hoofed or does not chew the cud, is unclean to you. Everyone who touches it shall be unclean. And whatever goes on its paws, among all kinds of animals that go on all fours, those are unclean to you. Whoever touches any such carcass shall be unclean until evening. Whoever carries any such carcass shall wash his clothes and be unclean until evening. It is unclean to you.” (Leviticus 11:24-28) Life never defiles. Nor does anything that Yahweh has declared to be clean defile someone on contact, sometimes even if it is no longer alive. (If you’re going to eat a steak, it’s axiomatic that the cow is kaput.) Only things that are both dead and unclean defile you by merely touching them.
Spiritually speaking, the lesson is clear: the world is unclean, but we must walk through it on life’s journey. Left to its own devices, it is usually spiritually neutral, neither harmful nor beneficial to us. We are instructed not to “ingest” the things of the world, not to assimilate them into our being, not to love them. But there are things within the world—notably dead religious practice, arrogance, greed, and lust for power—that are not only unclean, they’re also dead. That is, they are not spiritually neutral, but are enemies of God and His people, warring actively against them. These are things we are not even to touch!