News Letter 5847-035
22nd day of the 8th month 5847 years after the creation of Adam
The 8th 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.
November 19, 2011
Shabbat Shalom Family,
The Book of Acts…..The Rest of the Story.
I can not think of a better title for this weeks News Letter. It is going out late as I have had to wait until the last minute to learn a number of things I wanted to share.
In this weeks News Letter we will share with you what became of the many people mentioned in the Book of Acts and at the same time catch up on our Torah studies which covers this section of the bible, which we got behind on due to the Feast. What happened to them, where did they go and what did they do there. There are lots and lots of records that tell us, but many do not want you to know these things. So I hope this will be an eye opener for many of you.
We have now got confirmation that we will be hosting a meeting in Barrie, Ontario, on November 26 at the Comfort Inn at 210 Essa Rd. Just off the 400 Highway. The meeting will take place from 1:30 PM until 6 PM on Shabbat. Here is a map for those coming.
There is no cost; the room has been paid for. You will not be hit up for money nor a collection taken; we do not want it. You will not be solicited to join our group; we do not have one. There may be a book and DVD you can purchase after the Shabbat is over if you want to. But they are also found on my web site and can be viewed there for free.
You are invited to come and learn about the Sabbatical and Jubilee years and how to know them. As well we will share with you about The Prophecies of Abraham, The 70 Shabuwa, The Prophecy of the Law of Niddah and how all of this is telling us of the 3rd World War that is about to begin. This is what I presented in Israel that has stirred those there to action.
We also have a pleasant surprise; Dr. Mathew Hasdell from QLD. Australia will be joining us and he is also going to share some of his awesome insights into the Sabbatical and Jubilee years. I have written about him in the past News letters. You can watch him at http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/18314711 where he has received over 1400 hits for this one teaching. Here is the follow up teaching he did after that one which I did not have a URL for last week. http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/18461090
Bring a couple of pens and a lot of note paper so you can write as much info down as you can. Bring suspenders for your socks as they are about to be blown off with the amount of information you are about to learn about the Sabbatical and Jubilee cycles and how they teach you prophecy in an order you have never considered.
This is a subject many pastors do not want you to hear. This the subject many of them will not teach. Why? Why is this? This is explained in Mathew 22 which is the conclusion to the teaching that we will share.
For those of you with some lame excuse why you will not come, such as you live in Europe of Asia or South Africa, then please pray for us here. Winter is coming on, and we have had some blizzard conditions already. Barrie is known for this. Please pray for the weather and for new people to come out and learn.
Also we have plans to come to Texas in December. And plans are being made for me to come to Virginia in January. If you want to hear this teaching and would like me to come and share it; then contact Lora at firstname.lastname@example.org . I do not charge anything for my coming. I just have a passion to share this message with those who want to hear it anywhere in the world. Your pastors will not teach this. You the brethren must take the action for this message to be spread. If you’re not keeping the Sabbatical years you are sinning the same as if you had not kept the Holy Days of Lev 23 and as if you had not kept the Sabbath. Stop sinning and learn about this awesome teaching.
Help us in this phase of the book of acts as we teach you about that part of the scriptures that is now being restored. The Sabbatical years!! How will this chapter of the book of acts record what you have done or did not do?
Yehshua said Elijah would restore all things. He was referring to Malchai which declares
Mal 4:6 “And he shall turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with utter destruction1.” Footnote: 1Zech. 14:11.
Mat 17:11 And יהושע answering, said to them, “Ěliyahu is indeed coming first, and shall restore all matters.1 Footnote:1See Mark 9:12 and Acts 3:21.
Act 3:21 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.
The Sabbath has been restored. The Holy Days were also restored. Then the Sighting of the first sliver of the moon was restored. Now the Sabbatical years have been restored to us. Are you going to learn about them or continue in your ignorance of the truths they reveal?
We had another interesting comment concerning the foolish virgin article a couple of weeks ago.
Found an interesting tie-in with this. The Matthew 25 word for foolish in the Greek is morai, which means insipid.
Insipid: lacking taste or savor (Merriam-Webster). The foolish virgins were those who had lost their savor. My mind went immediately to Matthew 5:13, “Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.” The word “savour” is, again, the Greek word morai. Hence, the foolish virgins are would be those who have no salt, no flavor in them, that is, in their sacrifices.
Salt was to be added to the sacrifices of the grain offerings. No grain offering was to be offered without the salt. Hence, all we do in service without salt, without savor, all the work we do insipidly, blandly, is of no value, but to be trampled under foot. I must think more on this. Thanks for working my brain.
This week as we catch up on the book of Acts I wanted to share with you some other history that many of you will not be aware of. Of what Paul did to help spread the work of the gospel even while he was trying to destroy it.
When you read this keep in mind, that these people thought they were about to die. But instead they had a miracle happen to them. So when life looks at its worst watch and just maybe you will see Yehovah perform something special for you and His work.
You can see many pictures of what is spoken about at the following link
The Final Exile of Joseph of Arimathea
From Israel to the Isle of Avalon
Study into the Kahal (Hebrew)
Nazarene Ecclesia (Congregation) of Yisra’el (Israel)
Called by Christians ‘The Jerusalem Church’
Commentary by Robert D. Mock M.D.
February 6, 1999
Rewritten August, 2003
Reedited November, 2005
Joseph of Arimathea Cast Adrift in the Mediterranean
The Rabanus Story of Joseph of Arimathea and Mary Magdalene
The Landing Place of Joseph at Ste. Marie de la Camarague near Marseilles
The Assault of James the Just by Shaul Triggers the Exile of Joseph of Arimathea
The Route of the Tin Traders
The Isle of Avalon and the Glastonbury Tor – New Home for the Nazarenes
Building a New Home and School on the Isle of Glass
The Arimathean School at Ynis-wytren on the Isle of Avalon
Apostolic Missionaries to Britain
Celtic Druids, as inheritors of the Ancient Hebrew Faith
The Ancient Wattle Ecclesia built by Christ
The Wattle Church Enclosed in the Lady Chapel at Glastonbury
Joseph of Arimathea Cast Adrift in the Mediterranean
The Exile of Joseph of Arimathea, the Bethany Family and possibly Mary, the Mother of Jesus
According to Cardinal Baronius, appointed librarian of the Vatican in 1596 and noted historian for the Roman Catholic Church, in his magnum opus, Annales Ecclesiastica, that took him over thirty years to complete, he wrote under the year AD 35 the following:
Cardinal Baronius - “In that year the party mentioned was exposed to the sea in a vessel without sails or oars. The vessel drifted finally to Marseilles and they were saved. From Marseilles Joseph and his company passed into Britain and after preaching the Gospel there, died.” (Cited by Lionel Smithett Lewes, late Vicar of Glastonbury, St. Joseph of Arimathea at Glastonbury or the Apostolic Church of Britain, James Clarke & Co. Ltd, Cambridge, PO Box 60, Cambridge, CBI 2NT, 1922, 1955, 1988.pg. 92)
To this same account other sources add Zaccheus, Mary Salome, the wife of Zebedee and mother to James and John, Joanna and her son, Restitutus, the man born blind and whose sight was restored by Jesus, Simon the Cyrene and Philip the evangelist. These were all prominent disciples of Jesus and would have attracted hatred and suspicion by the ‘Jews’, the House of Ananus and the Sanhedrin.
This date of exodus from Caesarea on the coast of Judea has been a date in dispute amongst various historians of the early Christian Church. Many date the exodus after the beheading of James the Greater, the brother of the Apostle John in 41-42 CE by the newly anointed King Herod Agrippa I now living in Herod’s Palace in Caesarea. Other scholars date this exodus by boat just after the stoning of Stephen by the Sanhedrin and the assault by the rabbinic student Shaul of Tarsus on the life of James the Just in Jerusalem during his debate with the great Jewish scholar Gamaliel on the inner steps of the temple.
With a 30 CE date for the death of Jesus, three years before the more traditional date of 33 CE date for the crucifixion, most modern Christian historians date the death of Stephen in 36 CE, near the date when Pontius Pilate and Caiphas are deposed by the Roman legate. If the date for the crucifixion were to be put forward to an earlier date of 30 CE, then the early growth and development of the Hebrew Nazarene Ecclesia had almost six years of growth before fierce opposition came against them by the House of Annas now by the ascending “Man of the Year” in Jewish religion and politics, the Rabbi Shaul, student of Gamaliel.
With the persecution of the Hebrew Ecclesia in Jerusalem by the Pharisee student Shaul (Saul), many of the official members of the Nazarene Ecclesia fled the city. In this political drama, we find the direct assault of the ‘enemy’, which appears to be the Shaul the Pharisee against James the Just as he was in debate with Gamaliel on the steps of the temple of Herod. At this time the wounded James the Just quickly escapes from Jerusalem and flees to Jericho in the region of Qumran. Many of the Nazarene followers continue onward to Perea to the east of the Jordan River.
Also around 36 CE would be the most appropriate date for the exodus of Joseph of Arimathea from the land of Palestine. Yet the date of the exodus of James the Just to Jericho and the date of the forced exile of Joseph of Arimathea and those under his protective care off the coast of Caesarea appear to be before the death of Stephen by stoning by the members of the Sanhedrin.
The Rabanus Story of Joseph of Arimathea and Mary Magdalene
In Magdalene College Library in Oxford University in England, there is a remarkable and beautiful manuscript of Life of Mary Magdalene, which professes to be a copy of an original manuscript written by the Rabanus Maurus, Archbishop of Mayence (776-850 AD). This copy of the text has been dated to the early 1400’s.
Its history is unknown but is written in high quality parchment style with multicolor gold embossed illuminations done by a professional scribe, similar to the Tertius Opus by Robert Bacon found in the same library. (Taylor 80-81) Scholars accept that this is probably a copy of the original or the original author followed closely the style of writing found in the Homilies of Rabanus, whose manuscript is known. The Rabanus document was also known and accepted as authentic by the well-known cataloger, William Cave in his Scriptorum Ecclesiasticorum Historia Literaria. (Cave, Scriptorum Ecclesiasticorum Historia Literaria, vol ii, p. 38 fol., Oxford, 1740-1743)
This document in fifty chapters chronicles the life of Mary Magdalene (and Martha) in a style that the late Gaskoin, in his analysis of Rabanus Maurus states,
Gaskoin - “The writings of the Fathers, on which his commentaries were based, were literally produced, the share of the compiler in the composition being designedly and almost ostentatiously reduced to the smallest possible proportions.” (Gaskoin , in Alcuin, his Life and Work, London, 1904, cited by John W. Taylor, The Coming of the Saints, Artisan Sales/Hoffman Printing, POB 1529, Muskogee, OK 74402. 1985, pg. 82)
This document can now be compared to several other manuscripts on the life of Mary Magdalene. The manuscript of Rabanus, like the following all profess to be copies of older documents which were in themselves were copies of older histories. They tend to record in literary and plain details the historical facts of life and death, without the abundance of miraculous accounts which abounded in the writings of the middle ages. Though Rabanus is a longer story, it also is literal with very little miraculous elements.
Miriam Magdala with Yahshua
The following Lives of Mary are found in:
1. 7th c. - Hymn published M. l’Abbe Narbey in supplement to the Acta Sanctorum. – cryptic - Mary and Maximinus leave Palestine after the stoning of Stephen, arrival at Marseilles, missionary labors, their death and burial at Aix.
2. Lives of St. Mary - Faillon - 10th c. in Paris library - traces original to 6th c.
3. Lives of St. Mary - Duchesne - 11th to 13th c.
4. MS Laud 108 of Bodleian - 13th c.
5. Bucheed Mair Vadlen and Buchedd martha, - Hafod Collection at Cardiff (1604).
6. Fragment - Llwfyr Gwyn Rhydderch of the Hengwrt MS - British libraries.
7. Devotional Life of St. Mary Magdalene - Italian unknown - 14th c. - corresponds with the Bethany family story as told in Rabanus.
In chapter 37 of the Acts of Mary Magdalene, Rabanus Maurus continues to describe this dangerous journey.
Rabanus Maurus - “Leaving the shores of Asia and favored by an east wind, they went round about, down the Tyrrhenian Sea, between Europe and Africa, leaving the city of Rome and all the land of Italy to the right. They happily turning their course to the right, they came near to the city of Marseilles, in the Viennese province of the Gauls, where the River Rhone is received by the sea. There, having called upon God, the great King of all the world, they parted; each company going to the province where the Holy Spirit had directed them, presently preaching everywhere, ‘the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following.’”
Though traditions are sketchy, within this boat was a company of twelve that included: (Cardinal Baronius, Ecclesiastical Annals, quoting from Mistral, in Mireio and another Vatican document, cited by Jowett, George F. The Drama of the Lost Disciples, Covenant Pub., Co, 8 Blades Court, Deodar Road, London SW15 2NU, 1961, 1993, pg 70)
Joseph of Arimathea
Joseph of Arimathea plus
1. Mary Cleopas was present yet Cleopas who was walking with Luke 6-7 years earlier is absent.
2. Mary Salome and Sarah handmaiden
3. Lazarus, who became bishop of Marseilles
4. Mary Magdalene
5. Martha with Marcella her handmaid
6. Maximinus – ‘Rich young Ruler’ became the paranymphos of Mary Magdalene - went to Maximinus, France
7. Trophimus – became the paranymphos of Martha’s - went to Arles, France
8. Clemon – the convert of Barnabus, Clementos Romanus visiting with Peter and Joseph in Caesarea who became the third Bishop of Rome
9. Eutropius, who later went to Orange
10. Sidonius - “Man born blind”, called St. Restitutes, who later went to Aix, France
11. Martian, who later went to Limogenes, France
12. Saturinus, who later went to Toulouse, Toulouse.
It was Gervais de Tilbury, the Marshall of the kingdom of Arles (along the Rhone in central France) wrote in his book, Otis Imperialis in the year 1212 in dedication to Otho IV, the following about the old chapel of Les Saintes Maries in the Camaroque:
Gervais de Tilbury – “on the seacoast, one sees the first of Continental churches which was founded in honour of the most blessed of our Lord, and consecrated by many of the seventy-two disciples who were driven from Judea and exposed to the sea in an oarless boat: Maximin of Aix, Lazarus of Marseilles, the brother of Martha and Mary, Eutrope of Orange, George of Velay, Saturinus of Toulouse, Martial of Limoges in the presence of Martha, Mary Magdalene and many others. (Gervais de Tolbury, Otis Imperialis, cited in Joseph of Arimathea and David’s Throne in Britain, Triumph Prophetic Ministries, Altaden CA, pg 19-20)
And then there is the testimony of Faillon in Monuments Inedits, which states,
Faillon – The tradition of Joseph of Arimathea and his companions in the oarless boat was accepted by the whole Latin Church for over a thousand years. For proof of this we have only to turn to the Breviary (book of prayers, hymns, psalms and reading used by Roman Catholic priests) at St. Martha’s Day, July 29. There we find a lection for the second nocturne (night) which tells how Mary, Martha and Lazarus, with their servant Marcella, and Maximin, one of the seventy-two disciples, were seized by the Jews, placed in a boat without sails or oars, and carried safely to the port of Marseilles. Moved by this remarkable fact, the people of the neighboring lands were speedily converted to Christianity; Lazarus became the bishop of Marseilles, Maximinus at Aix…and…Martha…died on the fourth day before the Kalends of August, and was buried with great honour at Tarascon.” (Faillon, vol. ii, pg 114, cited in Joseph of Arimathea and David’s Throne in Britain, Triumph Prophetic Ministries, Altaden CA, pg 19-20)
Raymond Capt, in The Traditions of Glastonbury quotes another source,
Raymond Capt – “without sails and oars, they drifted with the wind and the currents arriving unharmed at Cyrene, in northern Africa. After obtaining sails and oars, the little party of refugees followed the trade route of the Phoenician merchant ships as far west as Marseilles, France.” (Raymond Capt, The Traditions of Glastonbury, cited by Joseph of Arimathea and David’s Throne in Britain, Triumph Prophetic Ministries, Altaden CA, pg 21)
The Landing Place of Joseph at
Ste. Marie de la Camarague near Marseilles
Near their landing site at Les St. Marie de la Camarague, the boat with the thirteen occupants and two children landed. This was about twenty miles from one of four of the greatest cities of the Roman world in the first century, the ancient city of Masilla (Marsella), and now called Marseilles, France.
The city of Marseilles on the southern coast of southern France was the capital of the province of Bouches-du-Rhone. To the west of the city, was the mouth of the mighty Rhone River and on the white sandy shores there was a rock harbor with dry docks and an armory. The Ephesium was the prized temple dedicated to Diana of Ephesus. Also in the city was a temple dedicated to the Delphians of Apollo.
Ste Maries de la Mer in the Camarague
The city was controlled by a well regulated aristocracy called the Timuchi or the council of 600. It was this city that Joseph had traversed many times as it was the exit point of the tin traders as they brought the tin overland Gaul from the city of Morlaix on the Atlantic coast. The city was an ancient city at the time of Joseph, founded about 600 BCE by the Phoenician mariners and was called Massilia, meaning ‘settlement’. It became one of the great maritime cities with large natural harbor possessing dry-docks and amouries with many vessels, arms and siege machines. Not only was commerce its greatest asset, but developed into a great learning center of the west, vying for importance with Ephesus, Athens and Rome. (Taylor, John W., The Coming of the Saints, Artisan Sales/Hoffman Printing, POB 1529, Muskogee, OK, 74402. 1985. pg. 111-113)
Here along the marshy shores of the delta of the Rhone is now a nature preserve, the Camarague, where wild grey horses and native black bulls roam the marsh lands of the Rhone delta along with flamingos, eagles, hawks and harriers. It was here that the disciples with Joseph disembarked and from there the earliest traditions of the church depict that France was one of the first to hear the message of the risen Christ.
While Joseph and the disciples were resting near Marseilles, the Apostle Philip was traveling with the instructions by the Apostle Peter to scout out the region of Gaul and begin to establish the mission of the Nazarenes on the European continent above province of Spain which had already been started by James the Greater, the brother to John. (Stough, Henry W., Dedicated Disciples, Artisan Sales/Hoffman Printing, POB 1529, Muskogee, OK 74402.1987. pg 78)
At this time, Lazarus took a great interest in the cosmopolitan city of Marseilles. His father was a Syrian governor, called Theophilus and his mother a Jewess. He lived most of his life as a landed gentry in Judea, was very comfortable conversing with the educated and the commercial minded citizens in this great city. Though we have testimony in the traditions of the Church in Lyons on the Rhine in southern France that Lazarus along with Martha and Mary Magdalene in later years returned to Marseilles, it can be assumed at this time that he passed through this city to live with his friend Joseph of Arimathea. It was to the great city of Marseilles that Lazarus eventually returned to live the last seven years of his life as the Bishop of Marseilles.
Lazarus is asserted to have accompanied Joseph. The only records we possess of him beyond the Scripture narrative is in the traditions of the Church of Lyons makes him return with Martha and Mary to Marseilles, of which town he became the first bishop, and there he died. His name is attached to a very ancient British Triad; ‘ The Triad of Lazarus’, or the ‘Three councils of Lazarus’ and as such also attaches him to the Celtic traditions of Cornwall, Glastonbury and Wales. These three triads are:
The Triad of Lazarus of Ancient Britain
“Believe in God who made thee; Love God who saved thee; Fear God who will Judge thee.”
It is difficult to explain how the name and counsel of Lazarus could find their way into these peculiarly British memorials except by his presence and teaching in Britain.
Some traditions state that when the oarless and sailless boat landed at Les Saintes Maries de la Mer, the Apostle Philip under the instruction of Peter was awaiting them, taking charge of the company. He dedicated Joseph with the apostolic commission to Britain.
The logistics of this seem impossible except that the commission to be the Apostle to the British was given to Joseph of Arimathea by Philip in his home on the eastern Mediterranean coast of Caesarea. This event must have occurred when the fires of persecution in Jerusalem sent the flaming firebrand Shaul (Paul) to Caesarea. Is this a fact? No, we do not have any testimony by name, but who else was on the warpath of persecution except Shaul under the directed orders of Ananus and Caiaphas in Jerusalem? There under the nose of the Roman centurion and the Italic troops, Shaul and his security guards rounded up Joseph and his followers and put them into a boat to be carried on western flowing currents out to the middle of the Mediterranean.
The Assault of James the Just by Shaul
Triggers the Exile of Joseph of Arimathea
There is an interesting statement in the Ascent of Jacob describing the scene when the ‘enemy’, whom we identify as Shaul (Saul), attacked and assaulted James the Just. In the midst of the debate, the ‘enemy’ arrives and began to revile and harass the priests, trying to raise up a furor so that they would allow their murderous thoughts to flame into living reality. And then the account continues:
Ascents of Jacob - “Much blood is shed; there is a confused flight, in the midst of which that enemy attacked Jacob (James the Just), and threw him headlong from the top of the steps; and supposing him to be dead, he cared not to inflict further violence upon him. But our friends lifted him up, for they were both more numerous and powerful than the others; but, from fear of God, they rather allowed themselves to be killed by an inferior force than they would kill others. But when the evening came the priest shut up the Temple and we returned to Jacob’s house, and spent the night there in prayer. Then before daylight we went down to Jericho, to the number of five thousand men.” (Ascents of Jacob, quoted in the Recognitions of Clements liii to lxxi as quoted by Schonfield, Hugh Joseph, The Pentecost Revolution, The Story of the Jesus Party in Israel, AD 36-66, Macdonald and Janes’s, St. Giles, 49/50 Poland Street, London, W.I., 1974, p)
The Route of the Ancient Tin Trader – Map by Stough, in “Dedicated Disciples”
The young and tempestuous Shaul, who would someday become the Apostle to the Gentiles, had a rabid temper and when he lost his cool, he did not focus on details. Throwing James the Just violently down the stairs, he left James thinking that he was dead not checking to make sure. Shaul had a different ‘plan of execution’ to deal with Joseph of Arimathea. The power of Joseph in this Roman controlled cosmopolitan city was enormous. Overt violence would not be tolerated on the streets of Caesarea. Shaul was too smart for that. Besides being a Roman citizen himself, he did not want Roman laws convicting him in the Roman courts. He knew that there was a weakness in the Romans. They did not want to stir up trouble. Though they methodically did their military duties, as a whole they were very tolerant of the people that they were to govern.
So Shaul quietly escorted the entire company of Nazarenes to a beach north of the city, according to some traditions and there they had a prearranged boat beached on the sandy beach. All the occupants were ordered in the boat and pushed out to sea. No oars and no sail. Not even a rudder. The elements would be at their mercy and their death would be an “Act of God”. There on the beach they watch the boat drift westward until it was out of their sight. No violence and no bloodshed. If anyone inquired, they could truthfully say, “They left by ship last night going west.”
The Route of the Tin Traders
Like any detective story, the elements of the picture are all there. The traditions for over a thousand years all seem to converge that the forced exile of Joseph of Arimathea included a drifting boat without oars or sails headed out to sea and by a miracle of the Lord, they all landed safely on a beach on the opposite side of the Mediterranean.
The route of the earliest Christian missions from Jerusalem followed the path of Phoenician colonization / the tin trade, as described by Didorus Siculus.
Initially from the cities and the towns along the Phoenician / Syrian coast to Antioch (1). Then all the main Phoenician settlements Cyprus (2), Crete (3), Sicily (4), Cyrenia (5), Massilia (Marseilles) (7), Sardinia (6), Spain (8) and ultimately Southwest Britain (9).
How long Joseph of Arimathea and his company lived in the vicinity of Marseilles we do not know. That Joseph of Arimathea did have provisions, plus plenty of business friends and associates in that maritime city can be expected.
There appears to be a strong hint that a message was sent to Britain by courier to Siluria on the southern Wales coast with request for permission to enter the country of Britain, Cornwall and Wales to live. The only clue is that we do find hints of Joseph along the path of the ancient Tin traders.
It was from here in Marseilles that Joseph with twelve companions followed this same path of the tin traders… From Marseilles, they traveled to Narbonne on the southern coast of France. They then traveled by horseback across central Celtica or France up the route through Figeac, Rocamadour, Limoges and on to Morlaix on the western coastal peninsula of France.
How long did it take from their exile from Caesarea to the landing in Marseilles? This passageway in an oarless and sailless boat to the northern coast of Africa and finally to the maritime city of Marseilles could have taken months. How long did Joseph of Arimathea and his followers live in the vicinity of Marseilles?
Did Joseph send word by a fast courier to the royal House of Siluria of the story of their exile and ask for asylum within their country? Somehow the word reached the royal court of the Celtic King of Wales and Cornwall.
Somehow Joseph knew when it was time to leave the city of Marseilles, for there at Morlaix on the Atlantic coast, so the traditions say, Joseph and his company were met by a British Druidic delegation led by Arviragus, the crown prince of the Silurian tribe in the Dukedom of Cornwall. He was the son of Cunobelinus, the Cymbeline of Shakespeare fame, and cousin to the renowned British Pendragon and warrior, Caradactus. It was this Pendragon called Caradactus, the most feared warrior by Rome, the Tudor Kings and Queens claim their descent. This tribe represented the most powerful tribal confederation on the Isle of Britain. (Stough, Henry W., Dedicated Disciples, Artisan Sales/Hoffman Printing, POB 1529, Muskogee, OK 74402.1987. pg 78)
It was on the Isle off the Brittany coast of Morlaix, France, where the ancient ships of Joseph that carried the mined tin ingots from the Isle of Ictus (St. Michael’s Mount), landed after traversing across the watery strait. From ancient Britain to the ancient land of Gaul the first path of transport for this valuable commodity to Rome began.
Here again was Morlaix, a city well known to Joseph of Arimathea. As the tin and lead ingots were unloaded off his ships that were docked at the harbor, he then had them loaded unto pack animals and there taken by protective escort of Roman soldiers across the southern part of France to the city of Marseilles. The site of Morlaix was well known to the ancient Brits for it also was the site of entry by the invading Brits into French Gaul in the Middle Ages. Where they invaded they also left their name on this ancient land, the land of Brittany.
The British royal and druidic delegation was there to greet and persuade Joseph and his followers to live near their homeland in the western isles of Britain. As Freculphus said,
Freculphus – “Joseph and his company, including Lazarus, Mary, Martha, Marcella and Maximin came at the invitation of certain Druids of high rank (’Negotium habuit cum Druidis quorum primi precipuique doctores erant in Britannia.’) from Marseilles into Britain, circa AD 38-39; were located at Yens Avalon, the seat of a Druidic cor, which was subsequently made over to them in free gift by Arviragus. Here they build the first church, which became the centre and mother of Christianity in Britain. Joseph died and was interred in 76 AD. (Freculphus, apud God., p.10 cited in Morgan, R.W., St. Paul in Britain, Artisan Sales/Hoffman Printing, POB 1529, Muskogee, OK 1984 pg 73)
Three years after being exiled from Judea, they took small ships across the English Channel to St. Michael’s Mount called Ictis. There they landed in the small wharf which was the loading dock for the tin that was shipped towards Rome to the east from the town of Marazion. As they disembarked from their boats, they waited until the tides went out and were able to walk across the dried out bay to the small Celtic town of Marazion.
From Marazion, the company of Yahshua’s disciples along with Joseph traveled on hide covered skiffs around Lands End in southern Cornwall and up the western coast of Cornwall. There in what was called the Severn Sea they weaved in and out of island mounds that jutted out of this mystical land. In the distance they could see the Glastonbury Tor. Memories swelled up in their heads of the beautiful Mount Tabor jutting nineteen hundred feet from the Galilean plains southwest of the between modern day Nazareth and Nain.
The Isle of Avalon and the Glastonbury Tor – New Home for the Nazarenes
As they floated in their skiffs nearer to that lofty green hill, the site of a sacred Druidic cor, there was a feeling that they were coming home to also a holy land. Here at the base of the famous ‘Glastonbury Tor’, they stayed. By their presence and their mission to this land of the “covenanted people”, a new holy land was consecrated to the “Good News” of their risen Lord.
The “Tor” was a sloping hill that was jutting up out of the surrounding water protective barrier shield. Smooth concentric rings flowed around its base as it rose above the marshy islands. Here was called the ‘Ynes Wyten’ or ‘Isle of Glass’
The traditions continue that Joseph of Arimathea weary and exhausted from the long trip, stepped out of the hide covered skiff and planted his wooden staff into the ground very much like mountain climbers plant flags upon the tops of mountains that they scale and conquer. This site is called Weary-all Hill. At that site the traditions state that the staff of Joseph grew into a thorn bush with beautiful white flowers that bloom at the time of the fall festival of Hanukkah, when the Yahshua was conceived by the Holy Spirit (Ruach HaKodesh) in the womb of that young maiden, Mariam, about 7 BCE. That this sacred event came upon the date of the eve of the 25th day of Kislev (Jewish month equivalent to the month of December) testifies how literal dates and events become transplanted into mythical events such as Christmas (Christ Mass)
This thorn bush also by tradition lived for almost fifteen hundred years until one of Cromwell’s Christians sought to eradicate its memory by chopping it down. The tree grew again from its roots and transplanted in several sites in England, one of which is by the present day Glastonbury Abbey Chapel.
There at Avalon, Joseph and the disciples were met by a second delegation; this time with King Guiderius of Siluria and an entourage of nobles. The first official act by Arviragus was to present to Joseph with a charter of twelve hides of land, one hide or the equivalence of 160 acres for each disciple, as a perpetual gift, free of tax. In total 1920 acres was given by the family of the Silurian royalty for them to dedicate to the first Nazarene mission in the Isles of the Celts in southern Wales and western Britain.
Domesday Book - The written record of a census and survey of English landowners and their property made by order of William the Conqueror in 1085-1086.
At this site was a special house of worship that already had been built years before. . Through the centuries this ‘Old Church’ would be called an ecclesia and the memory of the building of this ecclesia would be of the Hebrews who came to bring the news of the death and resurrection of the expectant messiah to the Druids whom they were expecting and called Jesu. The disciples of Jesus built this small and humble ecclesia almost a decade prior to the evangelistic mission to the city of Antioch where Nazarenes were first called “Christians”. This mud and wattle built church is also a testimony that the British Culdee Ecclesia was the first Nazarene mission of the Hebrew Nazarene Ecclesia at Jerusalem.
Domesday Book of William the Conqueror of England
This charter of Arviragus is extant today and recorded in the British royal archives and visible for any historian to see. It was recorded in the Domesday Book, recorded by authority of William I the Conqueror who became first Norman king in England in 1066 CE. (Jowett, George F. The Drama of the Lost Disciples, Covenant Pub., Co, 8 Blades Court, Deodar Road, London SW15 2NU, 1961, 1993, pg. 70) Here in isolation and protection, one of the greatest mission stations of the Nazarenes was built.
Building a New Home and School on the Isle of Glass
What do missionaries do after they arrive in a foreign land and become peoples of the faith who have migrated permanently to another land? The first task is to build residential places for people to live, gardens to plant and develop a self-contained village with renewable resources for permanent habitation. As with all people who migrate from one land to another, their sites of inhabitation were built near sites where water can be found; wells, springs, lake, creeks and rivers. So it was with the transplanted disciples of Jesus.
The Chalice Well – photo by Robert Mock MD
Here according to the best traditions they found a small round mud and wattle hut built to the designs of Celtic architecture that Joseph and Mary testified was the site where Yahshua as a young man lived, studied and worshipped while living in this area.
This land is ripe with traditions that are very strong that Yahshua (Jesus) came to Britain as a child with his great uncle, Joseph of Arimathea a Roman Decurion, to scout for tin and lead mines so that these metals could be shipped back to Rome. The purported site where the original Josephean settlement was built was around the oratory that was built by the hands of Jesus. Twelve mud and wattle huts similar to the construction of homes in ancient Britain surrounded this place of worship near an ancient native spring now called the Chalice Well.
Here they were truly isolated from the civilization as they knew it. For hundreds of years the long arm of the Roman Empire using the best generals tried but could not penetrate the wall of fierce resistance of the Celtic Silurian tribes. As a combined tribal force under the command of a Pendragon, their battle skills and tactics were formidable.
Here the site of the first ecclesia (church) built above ground by the disciples of Jesus the Nazarene was in an area of protection from destruction. Here they lived, worshipped and taught the principles of the Hebrew Nazarene Ecclesia in Jerusalem inspired by the Jewish rabbi, Yahshua who gave up His life as the Son of God. They taught that Yahshua’s death fulfilled the ‘sin sacrifices’ portrayed in the spring festivals of Pesach (Passover) as the Lamb of God. They also taught that the death of Yahshua fulfilled the ‘sin and purification sacrifice’ of the Red Heifer that was used to cleanse and purify the Temple, people and the Land.
Here on this island lived Joseph of Arimathea, the great uncle of Jesus; it was he who watched Yahshua’s birth, possibly had a hand in planning the escape of Joseph and Mary to protective custody in Egypt. It was he who may have assisted in finding them a home in the Essene villages of the Notzris near Galilee, kept Jesus in his custody when Joseph, his nephew in law died and let Yahshua travel with him to Britain on his tin and lead explorations. Here was built the first apostolic mission station in Britain that was supervised by Joseph of Arimathea and whose instructors, teachers and educators included Lazarus, Martha and Mary of Magdala, Zaccheus, the ‘Rich Young Ruler’ called Maximinus, Trophimus, the “Man born Blind” called Restitute. Here were the friends, relatives and disciples of Jesus who were the closest to or their lives were affected the most by the healing and the spiritual ministry of Yahshua. Here were the great minds of those who listened to the parables and teaching of Christ, who heard the “oral teachings of Rabbi Yahshua” as He would in private teach His disciples after a long day of teaching thousands on the hills of Galilee. They were not only privy to the spoken word of the Son of God but also the expanded teaching and the hidden meanings of the parables in which He spoke.
It has been a modern misconception that with the early Nazarene Ecclesia in Jerusalem living and sharing all their possessions that the people all lived in communes. Communal living suggests to the modern thought large dormitories or residential units where people lived and slept in an area open to all. The faithful Jewish believers in the land of Judea were not party to open commune lifestyle in mixed dormitory style residential homes. This is a modern corruption of commune lifestyle.
The first home built for Joseph of Arimathea and the twelve disciples of Jesus who was with Joseph was an enclosed and protected area built in a circle with individual huts or residential units built for each member. Here they had privacy and also a solitary place to worship and to study. Here was a proto-type of the later monastic cell used by each monk living in a monastery.
The home site was more akin to the ancient Celtic villages uncovered by the archeologist’s shovel first in the winter of 1853-54 when a lake-dwelling village was excavated near Meilen, Switzerland. This stimulated the mind of an Englishman, Arthur Bulleid who felt that the ancestors of Glastonbury also lived in similar villages. In March, 1892, a mound near the village of Glastonbury was excavated on the land of Edward Bath and there they also uncovered an undisturbed Celtic village, now known as the Glastonbury Lake Village, on a ‘crannog’ or a man made island, complete with the foundation, flooring of all the houses, the pottery, basket, wood-work and metal ware. Here the timber poles were mixed with the tubs, wheels, spoons, looms, trenchers, bowls all depicting the life of the Celtic villages living near the era of Joseph of Arimathea and the friends and disciples of Jesus.
Yet the goal of the Hebrew disciples was not to live, dwell and die, but to proclaim the ‘Good News’ of the risen Christ. This Good News was encapsulated in the Hebrew imagery of the festivals of the Lord, living a life of Torah, the belief in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and the belief that members of every kingdom and tribe were to learn about salvation through Yahshua, the Only Begotten Son of God.
Here in the land who people and culture prized learning and scholarship, the Hebrews with an ancestry of almost fifteen hundred years of learning and teaching Torah as given by Yahweh from Mount Sinai began to build their university, a school of higher learning in the land and competing with the institutions of higher learning by the Druids. It was a simple home and a modest school, yet soon their reputation spread. Soon the kings of the other Celtic tribes began to send their children to what was known as the Arimathaean School.
The Arimathean School at Ynis-wytren on the Isle of Avalon
It was under the instruction of Joseph and Mary, Martha, Lazarus, and others that the first British were instructed and trained as emissaries for Christ. It was to them that Macnessa, King of Ulster, sent his priests to Avalon to commit the Christian law and its teachings into writing, which they named ‘The Celestial Judgments’. (cf. Lewis and Old History of Ulster, Irish Tourist Bureau cited by Jowett, George F. The Drama of the Lost Disciples, Covenant Pub., Co, 8 Blades Court, Deodar Road, London SW15 2NU, 1961, 1993, pg 80)
It was also here at Avalon, that Lazarus life is identified, in the Celtic MSS, known as The Triads (Laws) of Lazarus. (Capgrave, De Sancto Joseph ab Aramathea, quoting ancient manuscript and the Book of the Holy Grail, quoted in Jowett 163) And it was from here that Lazarus, returned to Gaul, the area of Provence, France with Mary and Martha. In the ancient church records of Lyon it states, ‘Lazarus returned to Gaul from Britain to Marseilles, taking with him Mary Magdalene and Martha. He was the first appointed bishop. He died there seven years later.” (Jowett, George F. The Drama of the Lost Disciples, Covenant Publ., Co, 8 Blades Court, Deodar Road, London SW15 2NU, 1961, 1993, pg 164)
It was this, the Avalon school that the children of the Silurian Pendragon Caradactus; Gladys, Linus and Eurgain, were baptized
and taught the message of our Lord. It was they, who with their father, as Roman military captive, went to Rome, and after his clemency, they lived at the Palatium Britannica. Here was the site of the first Christian church in Rome that met with the Apostle Paul. This site is preserved today in the Church of St. Pudentianna. The remains of the house of Roman Senator Rufus Pudens have been excavated and preserved there today on Viminale Hill in Rome.
We can only imagine the type of education that was taught at the Arimathean University at Avalon. The first teachers included Lazarus, the dearest friend of Yeshua, Mary Magdalene His closest female companion, Martha who was the foundation of hospitality to the numerous friends and disciples of Yahshua, and Restitute who was healed by Jesus of congenital blindness. Here they set up a yeshiva, or a Jewish school to teach the Torah as espoused and interpreted by the Jewish Rabbi Yahshua, who had lived, worshipped and studied here many years earlier. Soon converts from the Torah Yeshiva at Avalon or the Arimathean University at Avalon were being sent back as graduates to the European continent to proclaim the “Good News”.
These early Culdee graduates included: Beatus was born of noble parents in Britain and at the school of Avalon was converted and baptized. He became a missionary to the Helvi in the mountain of modern Switzerland and became the founder of the Helvetian church. His death occurred in the cell, still shown at Underseven, on the Lake of Thun, in AD 96. (Theatre. Magn. Britan., lib. vi. p. 9).
Clementus Romanus (Clement) was by tradition a Greek youth who was probably was sent to the universities in Britain as many of rich and noble youth of other countries did. He became a convert of Joseph of Arimathea and later returned back to Rome. There he met with Barnabus, the brother-in-law to the Apostle Peter who made the first evangelistic mission to the capital seat of the Roman Empire. Around 34-35 CE, we find Clement’s testimony written in the Recognitions of Clements, when Barnabus and he return to the Sabbatical Passover feast in Jerusalem. In route they stopped by Caesarea and met with Joseph of Arimathea, his spiritual mentor, and all the disciples of Jesus living there with the Apostle Philip and his family along with the Apostle Peter. We later find Clements in the boat cast out to sea with Joseph of Arimathea. Sometimes after his Gauline mission with Mansuetos, Clements is found back in Rome in the final days of Simon Peter before he is crucified in the Circus of Nero. There Clementus Romanus was appointed by the Apostle Peter to be the second official bishop of the Christian Church in Rome.
Mansuetos was born in Hibernia and in his youth was sent to the schools of Britain. There he was converted and baptized in Avalon and was later sent from Rome with Clement (Clementus Romanus) to preach the Gospel in Gaul. “He founded the Lotharingian Church, fixing his mission at Toul, where after extending his labors to Illyria. He was eventually martyred in 110 CE.” ( Pantaleon, De Viris Illus. Germaniae, pars. I; Guliel. Eisengren, cent. 2, p. 5; Petrus Mersaeus, De Sanctis German.; Franciscus Gulliman, Helvetiorum Historia, lib. i. c. 15; Petrus de Natalibus, Episcop. Regal. Tallensis.)
Marcellus, a noble Briton, was also converted at Avalon and later sent as a missionary to the region of Tongres. He was the founder of the early Christian Church in Gaul and appointed its bishop at Treves. This church and diocese for many centuries was the chief church and authority in the early Gallic church.
Linus was the prince heir to the throne of Siluria and a student and convert of the Joseph of Arimathea and the Bethany family at Avalon. He was the son of the British Pendragon Caradactus. When Caradoc was captured by the Romans, his entire family was taken to Rome which included his children Linus and Gladys.
Linus remained in Rome when his family returned seven years later after Caradoc’s pardon and clemency by the Roman Senate. Linus, the British prince, was appointed to be the first bishop of the Christian Church in Rome by the Apostle Paul.
This ecclesia in Rome was not really a church but was the home ecclesia after the Jewish Sect or Party of the Nazarenes and the Hebrew Nazarene Ecclesia in Jerusalem led by the brother of Jesus, James the Just. The first and only home ecclesia for the Nazarene and Christian followers of Jesus in the city of Rome until the day of Constantine the Great was the palatial home of the Roman Rufus Pudens, the half brother to the Apostle Paul.
Rufus’ home was called the Palatium Britannica. This was so because Rufus’ wife was Gladys, the daughter to the British Pendragon Caradoc who was living in exile in Rome. It was this home that became the first Ecclesia or Gentile Christian Church of Rome. The faith of this family of believers was not like the faith of the subsequent orthodox Christian faith of the Roman Christian Church but more akin to the beliefs and worship styles of the Hebrew Nazarenes in Jerusalem. ( Marcellus Britannus, Tungrorum episcopus postea Trevirorum Archiepiscopus,’ &c.- Mersaeus, De Archiepiscopis Trevirensium)
Apostolic Missionaries to Britain
Apostle Simon Zelotes - The next missionary to Britain after Joseph of Arimathea and his followers was the Apostle Simon Zelotes. One Menology assigns the martyrologies of Zelotes to Persia in Asia, but others agree in stating he was martyred in Britain. Of these the principal authority is Dorotheus, Bishop of Tyre during the reigns of Diocletian and Constantia (300 CE).
Dorotheus, Bishop of Tyre – “Simon Zelotes traversed all Mauritania, and the regions of the Africans, preaching. He was at last crucified, slain, and buried in Britain.” ( Dorotheus, Synod. de Apostol.; Synopsis ad Simon Zelot. )
Crucifixion was a Roman penalty for runaway slaves, deserters and rebels; but it was not a form of punishment under Druidic, Celtic or ancient British laws. It appears that Simon Zelotes visited and stayed awhile at Avalon and was later martyred in the eastern part of Britain where he went to evangelize that part of the island. As tradition affirms, in the vicinity of Caistor, he was martyred in the area of Britain which was under the prefecture of Caius Decius, the Roman officer whose atrocities were the immediate cause of the Boudicean war.
Celtic Druids, as inheritors of the Ancient Hebrew Faith
Within the Celtic culture, the religious, spiritual leadership and education was entrusted into the hands of the Druidic priests. Druidism was introduced into the British Isles more than two thousand years before the birth of Christ by Hu Gadarn, the Mighty who is recognized as the person who colonized this island. The population on the southern and the western part of the island was under the influence of the Druidic faith with the Silurian tribes. On the eastern side of the island was the tribe of Iceni, famed for its female warrior, Boudicea as she was also Druidic.
The eastern part of the islands though early came under the domination and influenced by the early Angle and Saxon invaders which formed the foundation of the modern kingdom of England. The name England came from the tribal name of ‘Angle’ yet the governance of England was influenced more by the descendants of Isaac. As the ancient prophecy said:
Genesis 21:12, Romans 9:7 - “In Isaac shall thy seed be called (or named).”
As the ‘sons of Isaac”, or the lost tribes of the Northern Nation of Israel were called over the centuries the Saki, Sacae, Sacchi, Sakasani, Beth Sak, Saxones, Sachsen, and Saxons.
The Druidical priesthood had three priestly orders;
1. The Druids were the guardians and the interpreters of the law. They became the religious teachers, the instructors of the sciences and controlled the judiciary which evoked the interpretation of the laws of the Druids.
2. The Eubates were the working priests who performed the rites in the open megalithic temples of the druids.
3. The Barb’s duty was to preserve on oral verse the sacred memories of the Celtic people, the stories of the heroes, their historical chronicles that were deem worthy to put to memory, the songs of the Celts and to excite the tribal ruler and people to perform deeds of courage and heroic acts on the day of battle.
The religion of the Druids was kept by oral laws and nothing was written in parchment or stone. The Triads were committed to memory on the simple beliefs of God and the trinities of life, nature, and worship. Some of these triads have been preserved from antiquity.
• There are three obligations of every man: Justice, Love and Humility.
• There are three rights of every man: Life, Freedom and Achievement.
• There are three duties of every man: Worship God, Be Just to all men, Die for your country.
• There are three beliefs in God: Believe in God who made you; Love God Who saved you; Fear God who will judge you.
• Three persons have the claims of brother and sister: The widow, the orphan and the stranger.
The educational system of the Druids was the most extensive educational system in the ancient world. There were forty known universities which were located in the forty tribal capitals of the Druids. These tribes eventually formed the boundaries of the modern counties in England and depict the ancient tribal boundaries.
It is reputed that the Druidic universities enrolled a total of sixty thousand youth which included most of the younger nobility of Britain and they attracted thousands of youth from the continent of Europe including the Senatorial families of Rome. To master the entire curriculum of knowledge taught by the druids required at least twenty years to complete. This curriculum included: natural philosophy, astronomy, arithmetic, botany, geometry, law, medicine, poetry, oratory and natural theology. Splendid mental powers of the students of the druidic institutions were attested in antiquity by those who conversed with the Greeks, Romans and citizens of other parts of the world.
In the annals of Julius Caesar he records that the students are instructed in the movement of the heavenly bodies and the grandeur of the universe. Their knowledge of mathematics excelled as they had the capacity to apply mathematics to the measurements of the earth and the distance and movements of the stars. Their knowledge of physics and mechanics as depicted in the movement of megalithic stones for hundreds of miles, transporting them over hills and across water to build their sacred sites called cors.
The most sacred of all the ‘Cors’ is Stonehenge, called hanging stones, which was built on the plain of Salisbury. Its structure consisted of 139 megalithic blocks from five to twenty two feet high, arranged in a circle. This temple and cairn is dated to about 3500 years ago at 1500 BCE or the age of the exodus of Moses and the Israelites from Egypt.
All citizens living in the lands of the druids had to have a known genealogy at least nine generations. The pedigree was essential to establish blood lines and tribal bases, one’s ancestral station in life and to own and keep property. Any person without a pedigree was an outlaw, without a family, a tribe or a nation. These genealogical records were jealously guarded and recorded with precise exactness by the herald-bards of each clan. When a child reached the age of fifteen, he underwent a public ceremony with the clan and the family genealogy was publicly proclaimed. Any challengers to the genealogies were command to voice their dissent. By common law every Briton held as his birthright ten acres of lands.
To become a member of the Druids and a candidate to enter the initiation of the Order had to prove his ancestry for nine successive generations of free forefathers. No slave could be a Druid, and if he became a slave, he forfeited his Druidic Order and the privileges within the Order. Herein lay the fundamental principles of the freedom that the early British coveted and fought to preserve. Here was the reason for the long and stubborn resistance to the Roman armies seeking to subdue their island. The Island of Britain was never conquered by Rome. It was not until 120 CE that Britain signed a treaty with Rome and became a part of the dominions of Rome. Even so, the British citizens retained their own kings, their own laws and their property. In return they agreed by treaty to provide three legions of soldiers for the defense of the Roman empire.
It was the ancient British slogan that went: “Y Gwir Yn Erbyn Y Byd”
“The truth against the world”
Every druidic congress opened with these words: “The country is above the king”. The authority of the Druids and their influence in their social culture showed that their popularity was equal to their greatness. Of all the penalties of the Druids and the one most feared was that of excommunication. The fear in the minds of the citizen to cast away from society and family was enough that it was rarely abused or used. If the decree of excommunication was placed upon any person, he was no longer considered to be a human being. He had no civil rights, could not inherit any land nor could he sue to recover debt. Anyone had the right to destroy his property. No one could feed or give aid to him. Even his nearest relatives would reject and flee from him in aversion.
One year later, a public ceremony was performed: He had one year and a day to make amends for his offense. If he failed to do so, he was brought before the congress and the ‘Sword of the Tribe’ was unsheathed against the name of the offender. His name was erased from all tribal records and genealogies. His badge was taken, his sword was broken, his head was shaved and his executioner drew blood from his forehead and pouring this blood on his own head exclaimed, “The blood of this accursed man be on his own head.” His forehead was then branded and he was led by a herald, “this man hath no name nor family nor tribe. Henceforth let no man touch him nor speak to him, nor eye look upon him nor hand bury him, and let perpetual darkness be upon him.” Unable to sustain these horrors which to him were worse than death, the person excommunicated crawled away to become an unburied skeleton.
The Druids, clad in white and wearing ornaments of gold, they celebrated their mystic rites in the depths of the forest. The groves of oak were their chosen retreats. The Druids held the mistletoe with highest veneration and when growing on an oak tree it represented man, a creature totally dependant upon God for support and yet an individual existence and will of his own. Marriage to one woman was early established among the Britons. They treated their wives with a respect which could only have existed amongst a people where marriage elevated woman to a level with man, and often they were willingly governed by the widow of their kings who, in more than one instance, conducted them in battle. (Taken almost complete from John S. Wurts of Hedgefield, Germantown, Pa, “The Druids”, Magna Charta, Brookfield Publishing Co, PO Box 4933, Philadelphia, Pa., reprint March 1945 as the Crown Edition, reprinted 1964, pg 150-153,)
The knowledge of the Druidic faith, confirms that they were waiting for the coming of the messiah. In fact, in the Druidic faith, they were awaiting the anointed One, Jesu and it was with willing hearts that the message of Christ found immediate reception in the Royal Silurian family, including Bron, who was the Arch Druid of Britain, later known as Bran the Blessed.
British historians, documented what they feel are legitimate migration routes of the Celtoi tribes, feel that they can trace these tribes to the lost tribes of Israel. It was these same Druids, who in their “Celtic Triads”, who wrote prior to the coming of Christ, and recorded by Procopius in De Gotthici:
‘The Lord our God is One,
Lift up your heads, O ye gates, and be
ye lifted up, ye everlasting door, and the
King of Glory shall come in.
Who is the King of Glory? The Lord Jesu;
He is the King of Glory.’
(cf. Procopius, De Gothici, bk 3, cited by Jowett, George F. The Drama of the Lost Disciples, Covenant Pub., Co, 8 Blades Court, Deodar Road, London SW15 2NU, 1961, 1993, pg 78)
The Ancient Wattle Ecclesia build by Christ
The Wattle Oratory of worship “constructed by the Hands of Christ Himself” with the Twelve Anchorite Huts built by Joseph of Arimathea
The most intact and credible account of the first ecclesia built above the ground of the Arimathean mission was by William of Malmesbury, the historian of Glastonbury. The Antiquities of Glastonbury was written in 1126 CE and it states:
William of Malmesbury – “In the year of our Lord, 63, (‘from the incarnation of our Lord’ which would be about 56 CE if Jesus was born in 7 BCE) twelve holy missionaries, with Joseph of Arimathea (who had buried the Lord) at their head, came over to Britain, preaching the Incarnation of Jesus Christ.
The king of the country and his subjects refused to become proselytes to their teachings, but in consideration that they had come a long journey, and being somewhat pleased with their soberness of life and unexceptional behavior, the king, at their petition, gave them for their habitation a certain island bordering on his region, covered with trees and bramble bushes and surrounded by marshes, called Ynis-wytren (and later Glastonbury).
Afterwards two other kings, successively, although pagans, having in formation of their remarkable sanctity of life, each gave of them a portion of ground, and this, at their request, according to the custom of the country, was confirmed to them – from whence the ‘twelve Hides of Glastonbury’, it is believed, derive their origin.
These holy men, thus dwelling in this desert place, were in a little time admonished in a vision by the Archangel Gabriel to build a church in honor of the Blessed Virgin, in a place to which they were directed. Obedient to the Divine precept, they immediately built a chapel of the form of that which had been shown them: the walls were of osiers wattled together all round.
This was finished in the one-and-thirtieth year (61 CE) after our Lord’s Passion, and though rude and misshapen in form, was in many ways adorned with heavenly virtues; and being the first church in this region, the Son of God was pleased to grace it with particular dignity, dedicating it Himself in honor of His Mother.” (William of Malmesbury, The Antiquities of Glastonbury, Chapter 1, cited by Taylor, John W., The Coming of the Saints, Artisan Sales/Hoffman Printing, POB 1529, Muskogee, OK, 74402. 1985.pg 151-152)
Yet this was not the first house of worship. The first structures built by the disciples of Jesus with Joseph of Arimathea were in the model of a Celtic village with a spring nearby, with individual dwellings surrounding a house of worship. These homes were later called anchorite huts, which became the tradition of the anchorites and the early monastic believers of Christianity which lasted for hundred of years. Whenever one anchorite leave or die, another anchorite would be appointed in its place.
This House of Worship had a sacred memory for according to the testimony of none other than Augustine the Great, bishop of Hippo, doctor of law in the orthodox Roman Church and emissary to Britain to establish the Roman Church in the land already evangelized by the Culdee Hebrew Nazarenes who were called Christians. According to Augustine:
Augustine the Great – “In the western confines of Britain there is a certain royal island of large extent, surrounded by water, abounding in all the beauties of nature and necessaries of life. In it the first neophytes of Catholic Law, God beforehand acquainting them, found a Church constructed by no human art, but by the Hands of Christ Himself, for the salvation of His people. The Almighty has made it manifest by many miracles and mysterious visitations that He continues to watch over it as sacred to Himself, and to Mary, the Mother of God.”
Many scholars interpret this statement by Augustine that Jesus’ oratory or house of worship that He built in Britain was dedicated to his mother Mary. Yet it was that ecclesia that manifested many miracles and mysterious visitations. It was a site to be transformed to the world of the Divine. It was the site, where the ancient rites of entering in the spirit into the kebob, the cherubim or chariots of the Lord, that the Rabbi Yahshua (Jesus) and the ancient prophets of Israel used to be mystically transported in heavenly vision to the throne of God. The testimony of Augustine suggests also this site was sacred to Jesus Himself, now sitting on the right Hand of God but recognizing that this site was holy, for the presence of the Father of Yahshua was there.
This testimony of Augustine also suggests that this site was also sacred to Mary the mother of Yahshua. Was this site dedicated to Mary and was it to become the first church to be dedicated to the Notre Dame, the Virgin Mary? No! It was dedicated to the Father of Yahshua, the God of Abraham. As such it was also a site sacred to Mary as a House of Adonai and is testimony that Mary the mother of Yahshua lived and worshipped at this site.
This Hebrew Ecclesia was a novel structure in the land of the Celts. Built by the very building material native to this land, the ecclesia was 60 feet in length, 26 feet in breadth, and built with timbers pillars and framework and wattled with mud and thatched straw very much like the construction of the ancient capital of Rome and the capital of the Celts in Wales. To the Hebrews they built it as an exact model of the Wilderness Tabernacle by Moses at Mount Sinai. The site of this house of worship was a paradigm shift in the minds of the Druids.
In the Druidic faith, the triads were a foundation of their learning. To the Druid all Temples were to be built with three essential features: It was to be circular in design. It was to be hypaethral or open at the top and open at the sides. It was to be built with megalithic stones, vast huge monoliths, unhewned and untouched by iron, similar to the instruction given to David for the building the Temple of the Lord by his son Solomon.
The Armathaean Ecclesia was truly a design antagonistic to the Druidic temples. The circular design of the Druids represented the Infinite, the Druidic images of the Almighty One, the Infinite and the Hidden One depicted as the Darkless One. Nearby on the plains of Amesbury and Stonehenge, lines with miles of obelisks, the British Druid would walk to their great cors or religious sites. Here also at the base of the greatest Tor in the region, the Glastonbury Tor, was built the eglwys of the Wyr Israel (Ecclesia of the men of Israel) to the Hebrew God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, that was also the Almighty One, the Ein Sof or the Hidden One, the One Who was Omnipotent, Omnipresent and Omniscient.
Yet the Druids were a people of tolerance. They did not persecute ideas of the conscious and knowledge. They were a people that treasured new ideas and especially knowledge of the universe. As they watched the Arimathean company build this humble ecclesia, they could smile at this simple faith that could build a temple of such humble design for they knew not the temple model given to Moses the Lawgiver. This model was the model of open air temple at the Garden of Eden. It was the model of the Wilderness Sanctuary, and the model of the Temples of Solomon, Zerubabbel, the Maccabean and Herod. It was the model of the future Ezekiel temple and a model of the Heavenly Sanctuary constructed in an other-dimensional world that a human being in this three-dimensional world could not enter.
Yet they, the Druids watched and they listened to the story of the risen Christ. They recognized that Yahshua (Jesus) in Israel was the anticipated future messiah of the Druids called Jesu. It also resurrected an ancient memory of that people of antiquity when they were of one faith in the plains of Canaan and later in Gishon. It resurrected the memory of their ancestors that lived near Galilee and the fields of central Canaan, of a simple faith that built stone altars to the Unknown God for the first religious megalithic standing stones are found in the land of Israel and the wilderness of Sinai. From the Land of Israel, megalithic standing stone structures fanned out to the west reaching the isles of the west in Britain and Ireland.
This humble Hebrew Ecclesia would remain imprinted in the consciousness of the Brits long after they quit worshipping in circular, open air temple of megalithic stones. To this day, this Armathaean Ecclesia is still imprinted in the Glastonbury landscape and imbedded in stone as it was preserved for almost two thousand years. The Druidic Celts who later became the Culdees, were more akin to the Hebrew Nazarene Ecclesia in Jerusalem than the Christians Church in Rome. As we shall soon see the foundation of the Church in Rome came from the teachings and foundation of the Armathaean disciples of the Nazarene faith of Israel. It would be a Culdee, Linus that would be the first bishop of Rome. It would be a Greek Culdee convert, Clements, who would be the second bishop of Rome.
The testimony of the ancient historians show the care and sacredness they felt about the Culdee Ecclesia. It would be called the Vetusta or the Vetusta Ecclesia meaning the ‘ancient church’. It would remain a sacred image of the indomitable spirit of the Celtic Brit who refused to bow the knee to the ascending corruption of the Roman orthodox church and the imperial power of Rome.
It was the testimony of the historian John Taylor in The Coming of the Saints who said,
John Taylor –“The most remarkable feature of the Glastonbury building is this continued representation of the wooden church of the Britons by the Lady Chapel or chapel of St. Joseph. For, through all the ages since the wattled church was first erected, and through all the vicissitudes affecting the later buildings of the Abbey, the approximate size and shape of the first British church to have been religiously maintained.” (Taylor, John W., The Coming of the Saints, Artisan Sales/Hoffman Printing, POB 1529, Muskogee, OK , 74402. 1985. pg 151-152)
As the Hebrew Ecclesia of Israel in Jerusalem is called the ‘Mother Ecclesia” of the Christian Church, so also the ‘Vetusta Ecclesia’ became known as the ‘Mother Church of Britain’.
Charter by Henry I (1185) for rebuilding Glastonbury – It is “The mother and burying-place of the saints, founded by the very disciples of our Lord” (Hitchins, History of Cornwall, vol. I, p. 349, cited by Taylor, John W., The Coming of the Saints, Artisan Sales/Hoffman Printing, POB 1529, Muskogee, OK, 74402. reprinted 1985. pg 151-152)
Charter of Edgar – It is said to be “the first church in the kingdom built by the disciples of Christ.” (Conybeare’s, Roman Britain, p. 254, Taylor, John W., The Coming of the Saints, Artisan Sales/Hoffman Printing, POB 1529, Muskogee, OK, 74402. 1985. pg 151-152)
Lady Chapel at Glastonbury Abbey
The ‘Lady Chapel’ built over the Vetusta Ecclesia – photo Robert Mock MD
This wattle church stood intact for hundreds of years and was preserved as a sacred and hallowed placed, revered by the ancient Culdee Brits. It would be later encased with boards and covered with lead to preserve its fragile structure. Later a stone edifice, called the Chapel of Mary was built over it, when a larger chapel in the same proportions was built to the east by Dunstan.
In the interior of this chapel was housed costly gifts, one of which was recorded an altar of sapphire presented to chapel by the Patriarch of Jerusalem. (Taylor, John W., The Coming of the Saints, Artisan Sales/Hoffman Printing, POB 1529, Muskogee, OK , 74402. 1985. pg 155)
We later hear of this altar in a manuscript in the Bodleian which records it amongst the spoils seized by King Henry VIII is “a superaltare, garnished with silver and gilte, called the greate sapphire of Glasconburye.” (Footnotes to William of Malmesbury, The Antiquities of Glastonbury, trans Frank Loma, Facsimile reprint, 1992, by J.M.F. Books, Loaners, Felinfach, first published by Talbot, London, n.d., pg 53)
The sarcophagi of Joseph of Marmore from Arimathea – photo Robert Mock MD
William of Malmesbury – “The corporeal remains of many saints are preserved, nor is there a spot on the ashes of saints, so thickly is the pavement strewn with gravestones, so richly are the sides of the altar, yea, the altar itself above and below, heaped up with the choicest reliques! Good God! How happy are the inhabitants of such a spot, whom reverence herself invited to mingle with the remains of this place.” (William of Malmesbury, The Antiquities of Glastonbury, trans Frank Lomax, Facsimile reprint, 1992, by J.M.F. Books, Llanerch, Felinfach, first published by Talbot, London, n.d., pg 53)
As the librarian and historian of the Glastonbury Abbey, William of Malmesbury, takes his authority from ‘the writings of the ancients’ and probably from the history of Melchin around 560 CE, whose writings are not intact but was quoted by John of Glastonbury in the following,
History of Melchin (560 CE) - “The disciples…died in succession and were buried in the cemetery. Among them, Joseph of Marmore, named of Arimathea, received perpetual sleep, and he lies in linea bifurcata near the south corner of the oratorio, which is built of hurdles.” (Melchin, or Melkyn is states by historians to have lived before Merlin and the story of Joseph coming in a boat recorded in a book (see Flores Historiarum, London, 1890, p. 127) cited by cited by Taylor, John W., The Coming of the Saints, Artisan Sales/Hoffman Printing, POB 1529, Muskogee, OK, 74402. 1985. pg 151-152)
In 1184, the chapel and the entire Abbey was destroyed by fire. For 1100 years the wattle chapel had been preserved as a memorial of the Hebrew Nazarene disciples of Jesus and almost all of the treasures, relics and the entire library of all the histories of antiquity were destroyed.
Within two years the Chapel was rebuilt in order to preserve the site and dimensions of the Vetusta or the Vetusta Ecclesia, called the ancient church. The memory of the disciples and apostles of the Hebrew Nazarene Ecclesia are imbedded in the name that was preserved in antiquity.
It was not called a church, but an ecclesia because its original founders and builders were Hebrews who lived and breathed the life as Jewish believers in their Jewish messiah called Yeshua. As British Culdee historian John W. Taylor wrote,
John W. Taylor – “Still, within two years the old church of St. Mary was rebuilt, ‘where, from the beginning the “Vetusta” has stood, with squared stones of the most perfect workmanship, profusely ornamented’; and lest there should be any later interruption or misconception of the old tradition, a brass plate was subsequently fixed to a pillar in the monk’s churchyard, and on the south side of the chapel containing a representation of the original church of wattles, its dimensions (60 ft. in length and 26 ft. in breadth), and an inscription in Latin.
The plate is still preserved. It is of an octagon form, 10 in. by 7 in.; the holes by which it was riveted to the stone still remain. The old Latin inscription which covers it in black letters is of uncertain date, but said to be not later than the fourteenth century. It records the arrival of the first missionaries with Joseph of Arimathea in the year 31, after our Lord’s Passion, and the Divine dedication of this first church to the Blessed Virgin. It records also the addition of a chancel at the east end of this church, and ‘lest the place and magnitude of the (original) church should be forgotten by this augmentation, a column was erected on a line passing through the two eastern angles of that church protracted to the south, which line divided the aforesaid chancel from it’. (Taylor, John W., The Coming of the Saints, Artisan Sales/Hoffman Printing, POB 1529, Muskogee, OK, 74402. 1985. pg 156)
Inside Mary’s Chapel at Glastonbury, England
Looking at the last great Abbey of Glastonbury, we see to the left of the Abbey a small chapel. The Lady Chapel was built over the site of the original Vetusta Ecclesia that was construction by Joseph of Arimathea and the disciples of Jesus. The dimensions on the interior of this chapel preserve the form of that original Mud and Wattle Chapel built to the dimension of the Wilderness Tabernacle of the Lord at Sinai after it had been enclosed with a wooden frame structure and enclosed in lead.
As John Taylor would later muse,
John Taylor - “There-reputedly build by Jewish builders-stood the original wattled church or Lady Chapel, built as the Tabernacle was set up, and as the Temple was built, with the House of God to the west of the sacred enclosure; and, opening out front, directly continuous with it, toward the east where we are standing grew the great church-or what has been the great church-of St. Peter and St. Paul, one of the greatest, or perhaps the very greatest of all English churches. (Taylor, John W., The Coming of the Saints, Artisan Sales/Hoffman Printing, POB 1529, Muskogee, OK , 74402. 1985. pg 156)
For hundred of years, the ‘Vetusta Ecclesia’ remained as a Jewish Nazarene testimony of the witness of the first disciples and apostles of Jesus. Members of the Royal Silurian family became members of the Culdee Ecclesia which was more identical to the original Nazarene faith of the apostles. Though the evangelistic mission of the ecclesia was slow, the roots were imbedded deep in the land of the ‘covenant people’ called the Brits.
Here in the side of the Lady Chapel of the Glastonbury Abbey was carved a unique Stone with the simple words, Jesvs – Maria. Many historians have speculated the meaning of this stone. Did Jesus dedicate this chapel to His mother Mary? Did Mary the mother of Jesus dedicate this site as where Jesus lived, built and worshipped as a youth with His uncle Joseph of Arimathea? Or was this stone a dedicatory memorial of the site inhabited by both Jesus and Mary during the years of His youth when He visited and stayed awhile to learn more about His Father?
The Ancient Stone (Jesvs-Maria) Engraved on the side of the Lady Chapel –
photo by Robert Mock MD
Then the storms of persecution began to flame in the Gallic regions of Lyons and Vienne in 177 CE. Many of these refugees fled westward to the sanctuary of safety that was founded when the first missionaries that came to Gaul were evangelized by the Hebrew Nazarene disciples. There they found sanctuary in Britain near Glastonbury. The zeal of the refugee and the stories of persecution only flamed the Celtic minds of the Culdees to remain steadfast to the ancient druidic cry, “To the Truth against the World.” A personal identity with the message of Joseph, the Bethany three and the other original disciples of Yahshua that was first fostered by Arviragus, Caradoc and Guiniveras began to take on a regional and then a national identity with the Christian faith of the universal Nazarene believers.
One of the oldest testaments of the British Culdees came from Llewrwg or King Lucius (Light) the Great, who when he established a archbishopric in London, wrote to Eleutherius, a Greek, who was the Bishop of Rome between 177 -192 CE. He was requesting counsel and direction in the proper governance as a Christian king. Two letters of Bishop Eleutherius have been preserved in Rome (Mansi), one written to the Christians of Lyons and Vienne during the great persecution and the other to Lucius, King of Britain.
Here the relics of the ancients still testify of the life of one man, Joseph of Arimathea, his life and dedication to his great nephew Jesus the Nazarene, whom he believed as all the other apostles and disciples to be the Son of the Living God. This testimony is preserved in the relics of stone, legends, manuscripts, official records, and the biblical canon and together they form a composite picture of that dynamic mission of the friends and disciples of Jesus who were cast off from the coast of Judea to float off to obscurity in the Mediterranean Sea.
We continue this weekend with our regular Triennial Torah reading which can be found at http://www.sightedmoon.com/files/TriennialCycleBeginningAviv.pdf
19/11/2011 Lev 3 Jer 22-23 Prov 15 Acts 12
Peace Offerings (Leviticus 3)
As The Nelson Study Bible notes: “The Hebrew word for peace means ‘wholeness, completeness, soundness, health.’ When a person has this, in all its dimensions, that person is at peace. The peace offerings were times of feasting, drinking, talking, singing, and enjoying salvation as a great gift from God (see 7:11-21). Paul describes Yahshua as our perfect peace offering (see Col. 1:20)” (note on Leviticus 3:1). In the peace offering, unlike other offerings, the offerer was allowed to eat and thus find satisfaction in the offering: “God, man, and the priest, all fed together, all finding satisfaction in the offering. God first has His part and is satisfied, for He declares it to be very good. ‘It is an offering made by fire of a sweet savour unto the Lord.’ Man (in Christ) as offerer has his part, and is permitted to share this offering with his friends. And the priest, that is, Messiah in His official character, is satisfied also, and His children are satisfied with Him. What a picture is here presented to us! The offerer feasts with God, with His priest, and with the priest’s children” (Jukes, p. 108).
In this picture, not only is God satisfied but so is the whole priestly family—symbolic of all the Body of Messiah. So, too, is the offerer himself. Messiah set the example here. Isaiah prophesied of Him, “He shall see the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied” (Isaiah 53:11, King James Version). Indeed, His life offering in God’s service sustained Him as food. He said, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work” (John 4:34). Indeed, there normally had to be a “burnt offering” in order that a peace offering could follow. For the peace offering was to be offered “upon the burnt sacrifice” (Leviticus 3:5). Being in alignment with God’s will, as represented by the burnt offering, the worshiper would then be in a position to fellowship with God and with his or her family in the sharing of the peace offering.
As with the other offerings, there is much more to the peace offering that could be said—particularly when it comes to their being used in chapter 7 as thanksgiving or praise offerings or for taking a vow. Again, you are encouraged to study this subject on your own, as it is much broader than can possibly be covered here.
Jeremiah 22 – 23
These chapters in Jeremiah continue with the prophet’s warning to the Sovereign of Judah. Often in the scriptures, such as Psalms, it pleases the soul and encourages the believer to see what is expressed in the first part of Jeremiah verses 1-5. Through His prophet, Our Father speaks clearly what He requires to relent of His righteous judgment and directly expresses His concern and dedication in ensuring that those less fortunate are cared for, and looked after. Reading v 1-5 should enjoin us to remember how many times and in many parts of God’s Word, He shows us the importance of treating with great care the strangers, the fatherless, and widows. These ones are very important to God and are mentioned throughout Scripture (Deut 10:18, 14:29, 16:11, 16:14, 24:19-21 just to name a few). It is a strong commandment of His that should not be taken lightly, for He does not take these things lightly. In these verses we read how if the King and his servants will begin honoring and obeying these instructions for the stranger, the widow and the fatherless – all will be well. If these words are not obeyed – a promised ruin.
v. 6-9 we are reminded again the consequences of breaking God’s covenant: destruction, exile, war, and captivity. God also purposes to remove the heart of the pride of His people, i.e. the “choice cedars” and even gentiles will see what happens when the covenant is broken. He expresses also His displeasure in their worship of false gods, for they were bowing down to idols. Can you see the correlation between verses 13 and verses 17 and what is going on in the World today? People driven by greed, and power, who trample the needy and the poor for their own gain are singled out in this warning, along with shedding innocent blood, oppression, and doing violence.
The end of Jeremiah 22, God pronounces a curse upon this King of Judah and his descendants for their not heeding to His Voice and His commands. He orders that this man be written down as childless, not to prosper, and even his descendents not to prosper or sit on the throne of David, nor even rule anymore in Judah.
Jeremiah 23 begins with a new pronouncement – moving from the rulers now and on to the shepherds, priests, prophets, and scribes. God’s shepherds during this time scattered the sheep (His people) instead of gathering and teaching them. As we have already learned, there was widespread idol worship and oppression. For this God Himself prophecies concerning Himself and of Messiah: “Therefore I shall gather the remnant of My flock out of all the lands where I have driven them, and shall bring them back to their fold.” 23:3. He gives a promise that He will raise up shepherds that will feed the flock, lift them up and the wonderful promise of Messiah… “the Branch of righteousness”. The Branch is a Name that referencing Yahshua throughout Scripture and can also mean Sprout. The Hebrew word is tsemach, pronounced “say-mock”. This is the sprout that comes from Jesse in Isaiah 11:1, and “The Branch of YHWH in Isaiah 4:2. And finally the prophecy of God concerning the Greater Exodus to come when He performs the re-gathering of His people in v 7-8.
Through Jeremiah, God continues to delineate the offenses carried out by the prophets and priests. They are defiled, meaning they are unclean, performing evil in the House of Yehovah, they were prophesying by Ba’al and leading God’s people astray. They were committing adultery and walking in falsehood. They would not tell people their sin, but comforted them such that there was no repentance. Think about the preachers and pastors these days that refuse to preach about sin and what it is. This is what God is angry about here in these verses.
What is their punishment? God will make them eat wormwood, and make them drink poisoned water. This is the drinking of the bitter waters of jealousy that we find in Numbers chapter 5. God tells the people not to listen to these priests who continue to tell them that everything is fine, all is well and ok, and that their end will be peaceful. They are saying, “No evil comes upon you.” What is Yehovah’s answer? He is sending a storm, a whirlwind to fall upon the head of these ones! “Let all the shepherds be devoured by the wind and your lovers go into captivity. Then you shall be ashamed.”
Verses 22 – 27 God begins to remind us Who He is. He is omnipresent, He is omnipotent, He knows all, sees all, and is everywhere. There is nothing that is hidden from Him. There are no secrets. These prophets are prophesying all types of dreams and words and claim they are from Him. He says “NO” they are not saying His Word. They are even trying to make His people forget His Name! God is against those who declares, “Thus says YHWH” when they do not speak His Words. God clearly lets us know in verses 30-the end of chapter 23 that He is against prophets and priests who begin creating their own words and claim to have received them from Him. He tells us in no uncertain terms that He has already given us His Word, and there is no need to add to or take away from them. God makes it clear we are not to run to and fro asking dreamers and prophets of new words asking what they have heard from Him. He has already made His Word clear and they have not nor will they change.
End of First Part of Major Solomonic Collection (Proverbs 15:1?16:8)
32. Two Collections (15:1?16:8)
“TYPE: A-B ENVELOPE SERIES.This text is, in effect, random repetition but with recognizable clusters of proverbs. It is composed of two collections, 15:1-17 and 15:18 16:8, which parallel each other not structurally so much as in content. Each major collection begins with a word on patience versus the provocation of wrath (15:1,18), and each ends with ‘better sayings’ on apparent versus real prosperity (15:16-17; 16:8). Between these markers the two collections (here referred to as ‘I’ and ‘II’) contain teachings that correspond to one another in remarkable detail. In the following chart, collection I is set forth in its normal order, while units in collection II are set out in an order that corresponds to those in collection I. This does not imply that verses in collection II need to be transposed; it is done merely to make the comparison clearer?. Similarly, this analysis does not dispute that there are other parallels and ties among these verses other than those mentioned here.
“Collection II (twenty-four verses) is not only longer than collection I (seventeen verses) but it also contains one verse that has no parallel in collection I (15:23). On the other hand, 15:23 concerns the ability to give an appropriate answer and thus obliquely relates to the lead verses, 15:1,18″ (NAC).
Verse 1 concerns not only what we say, but how we say it. It is important to maintain calm in most situations, for peaceful dialogue is usually much more effective in a dispute than screaming. This need not convey weakness for, as Proverbs 25:15 says figuratively, a gentle tongue can break a bone.
Regarding the chiasms (concentric arrangements) of the second section here, The New American Commentary states: “In the first series (vv. 2-4) a single proverb on God’s [omniscience serving His perfect] administration of justice (v. 3) falls between two proverbs on the use of the tongue (vv. 2,4). In the second series (vv. 24-27) two proverbs on divine justice (vv. 25-26) fall between two proverbs on behavior that leads either to life and prosperity or to the grave (vv. 24,27). In both sections the middle proverbs reveal that the moral principles that govern the world are not mere abstractions but are actively maintained by God’s intervention” (note on verses 15:2-4, 24-27). In verse 24, “grave” (NIV) rather than “hell,” as it is commonly defined today, is the proper translation of the Hebrew sheol.
The verses of section 6 (15:8-9, 29) show the importance of proper attitude and manner of life in the worship of God. He will not accept a mere pretense of piety (see also 21:27). The Soncino Commentary notes on Proverbs 15:9: “As a pendant to what precedes [in verse 8], this verse is of the highest importance, because it clearly defines the final test of a man’s religion. The criterion is not his scrupulous performance of rites such as sacrifice and prayer, but the way of life he treads and his ardent (the form of the verb is intensive) pursuit of righteousness” (note on verse 9).
In verse 11, “Hell [sheol, the grave] and Destruction” represent the fate of all people, the coming of death and what lies beyond being a great mystery in ancient times, as it is to most today. If this inscrutable mystery is “before the LORD” that is, laid out before Him as within His purview and understanding how much more is He able to discern the inner heart of human beings, which is not so hidden as the greater mystery.
Verse 20 is similar to the opening proverb of Solomon’s major collection, beginning with an identical first colon (10:1). Proverbs 15:22 recalls 11:14.
In verse 30, where the KJV and NKJV have “the light of the eyes” (which rejoices the heart), the NIV says “a cheerful look” (that is, from someone else). The Contemporary English Version paraphrases this as “a friendly smile.” Compare the “light of the king’s face” in 16:15.
The verses of what is marked above as section 7 of collection II (15:33 16:7), linked by their focus on how the Lord deals with people, bring to a conclusion the first half of Solomon’s core collection. In fact Proverbs 16:4, as the Zondervan NIV Study Bible points out, is “the middle verse of this section of Proverbs (10:1 -22:16), aptly summarizing the Lord’s sovereignty over every human thought and action. The verse also occupies the central position in a series of seven verses (1-7) at the beginning of ch. 16 the middle chapter in the book of Proverbs. Each of the seven verses features the name Yahweh [typically represented in English translations as “LORD” but meaning “He Is Who He Is” the Eternal or Self-Existent One], again stressing his supreme position as Lord over all” (note on verse 4).
While Proverbs 15:28 shows the importance of studying how to answer, 16:1 balances this with the fact that human preparation has its limitations. Having done what we can, we must rely on God to enable us to always say what we need to. And He will help us in what we need to say in critical situations (compare Mark 13:11; Luke 21:12-15).
Since we are a little behind on Acts we will break up the scheduled chapters until we catch up to the other Torah Study Portions
Acts 7:23- 9
Verse 23 continues Stephen’s testimony before the Sanhedrin and picks up at the point where he is recounting Moses’ killing of an Egyptian taskmaster for abusing one of his Israelite brothers. Stephen points out to the members of the Sanhedrin the fact Moses was chosen by Yehovah to deliver Israel but was rejected. Verse 35 “This Moses whom they had refused saying, ‘who made you a ruler and a judge?’
Stephen reminds them also the words of Moses “יהוה your Elohim shall raise up for you a Prophet like me from your brothers. Him you shall hear.’ He recounts the rejection of Yehovah by the generation of Israel in the wilderness, the indwelling of the Shekinah in the Tabernacle, and the Messenger who led Joshua and the children of Israel to defeat the people in the Land of Promise. He reminds the Sanhedrin how King David also desired to build a house for YHVH and the completion of it under King Solomon. Remember that accusation against Stephen was blasphemy: that he continually spoke of this Yahshua of Nazereth, that He will destroy the Temple and change the Law of Moses.
On this, Stephen quotes the prophet Isaiah v 66:1 “The heaven is My Throne and the earth is My footstool.” The Most High does not dwell in dwellings made with human hands! And Stephen’s next words to them – they felt their judgment in that they were stiff-necked, hard of heart and ears just like their fathers who murdered the messengers of YHVH throughout the years whenever they announced the coming of the Righteous One.
Upon this v 54, they were cut to the heart, covered their ears, rushed him, and took him outside the city. They stoned him there and we are introduced to the man named Saul for the first time. The false witnesses against Stephen laid their garments at the feet of this Saul. This same Saul is the one spoken about above in the Newsletter who Yehovah used to spread the Gospel even through his persecution of the early believers in Yahshua.
Chapter 8 tells us that v. 1 ‘great persecution against the assembly which was at Jerusalem, and they (the assembly) were scattered throughout the countries of Judea and Samaria’ and v. 4 ‘those who had been scattered went everywhere bringing the Good News: the Word!’
We are told the work of Philip in Samaria for healing and casting out demons and many believed. We encounter Simon the magician again who attempts to buy the Holy Spirit with money and is strongly admonished by Peter who tells him in v 20 “Let your silver perish with you, because you thought to buy the gift of Elohim through money!” However Peter tells him he need only repent for his heart to be healed. This is the same Simon who went on to found the church in Rome. This church would later grow into a worldwide huge religion but it was all based on the teachings of Simon the magician and not Peter the Apostle.
Verse 26 Philip is visited by a Messenger and he obeys immediately to “arise and go”. Because of his obedience, Philip is able to share truth with a eunuch traveling to the land of the Kushites that will also spread the Good News!
Chapter 9 Back in Jerusalem, this Saul is still persecuting the taught ones of Messiah Yahshua and obtains legal letters from the High Priest to go to Damascus to arrest and imprison anyone of the sect called “The Way” This is the action that placed Saul on the road to Damascus where he encounters the Messiah Himself. Notice the Words of Messiah to him “Sha’ul, Sha’ul, why do you persecute Me? Just as Messiah has stated, He is in the Father, and anyone who is in Him is in the Father also. Messiah and the assembly are One. Sha’ul believes and asked immediately in v 6 “Master, what do You wish me to do?” Saul is blinded and has a predetermined encounter with Hananiah, a believer in Damascus who had also been instructed by the Spirit of Messiah to care for him and comfort him.
Many believers continued to be fearful of Saul because of the history of his strong persecution of them. But through the work and empowering of Messiah in him, he continued in strength, teaching and preaching the Gospel of the Good News to them, the Jewish people there – proving the Messiah had come. Interestingly, we come full circle through verse 29 with plots by the leaders in Jerusalem (the men of the Sanhedrin) to now kill Saul, just as with Messiah and Stephen. Proving the words of Stephen earlier, that whenever messengers are sent to them concerning the Righteous One – they harden their hearts!
The rest of chapter 9 ends on a very uplifting record… Paul is able to convince the disciples in Jerusalem that he is no longer persecuting the assembly and he is sincere in his belief of Messiah, with the help of Barnabas. The believing assembly continued to be increased in Caesarea and Tarsus, Judea, Galilee and Samaria. Peter is also traveling and healing, sharing the Good News in Lod and Joppa.
We continue with our study of the 613 laws.
We are doing 7 laws each week during our septennial study. We shall study laws 576-582
We also have commentary, with editing from me, again from http://theownersmanual.net/The_Owners_Manual_02_The_Law_of_Love.Torah
We are still in the area of Ritual Purity
The waters of separation defile one who is clean, and cleanse the unclean from pollution by a dead body. “And for an unclean person they shall take some of the ashes of the heifer burnt for purification from sin, and running water shall be put on them in a vessel. A clean person shall take hyssop and dip it in the water, sprinkle it on the tent, on all the vessels, on the persons who were there, or on the one who touched a bone, the slain, the dead, or a grave.” (Numbers 19:17-18) Here we see the instructions for preparing the “water of purification” used in the ordinance of the so-called “Red Heifer” (See also Mitzvot #574 and #575). The ashes of the red bull are put within a container (metaphorical of one’s body) and mixed with running or flowing water— the word chay actually means “living” or “alive.” It’s another symbolic reference to Yahshua.
The water-ash mixture was to be sprinkled upon whatever had become defiled by contact with death. Two things bear notice here. First, the person doing the sprinkling had to be “clean.” In the end, there is only One such Person—Yahshua Himself. Second, the implement with which the sprinkling was done was hyssop, the humble shrub that was burned along with the red bull. Hyssop, you’ll recall, was used to smear the blood of the original Passover Lamb (another Messianic symbol) onto the upright doorposts of the believing Israelite’s homes. It was also referred to by a chastised King David after the disastrous Bathsheba affair: “Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean. Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Make me hear joy and gladness, that the bones You have broken may rejoice. Hide Your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence, and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.” (Psalm 51:7-11) David is asking Yahweh to fulfill the promise of the ordinance of the Red Bull. He’s pleading that the sins that have defiled him—sins through which he has touched death—might be washed away through the sprinkling of the waters of purification upon him—“purging him with hyssop.” And his plea tells us the effect the precept of the Red Bull will have upon the repentant believer: cleanness in God’s sight, joy, healing, fellowship with Yahweh, a dismissal of our sins, a renewal of our spirit, and the continued indwelling of Yahweh’s Spirit within us. Who could ask for more?
Moses wasn’t finished relating the instructions. “The clean person shall sprinkle the unclean on the third day and on the seventh day; and on the seventh day he shall purify himself, wash his clothes, and bathe in water; and at evening he shall be clean. But the man who is unclean and does not purify himself, that person shall be cut off from among the assembly, because he has defiled the sanctuary of Yahweh. The water of purification has not been sprinkled on him; he is unclean. It shall be a perpetual statute for them.” (Numbers 19:19-21) We are reminded that although He lived a sinless life, Yahshua “became sin” on our behalf. He willingly subjected Himself to the uncleanness of the human condition so that we might have the opportunity to become clean. As we saw in Mitzvah #575, the third-day and seventh-day cleansings were executed by Yahshua Himself in fulfillment of the Feasts of Yahweh, and in so doing, He also fulfilled the requirements of the “clean person” who sprinkles mankind with the waters of purification.
Further, the precept fairly screams that the principle of the Red Bull’s cleansing extended beyond Theocratic Israel to all of Man’s generations: this is a “perpetual statute.” How many different ways has Yahweh told us about His plan for saving us? Scores? Hundreds? When you know what to look for, they’re ubiquitous in the Scriptures. I’ll bet nobody’s ever found them all. The pity is, Maimonides never even found one.
Maimonides did, however, point out something that we shouldn’t overlook. “He who sprinkles the water of purification shall wash his clothes; and he who touches the water of purification shall be unclean until evening. Whatever the unclean person touches shall be unclean; and the person who touches it shall be unclean until evening.” (Numbers 19:21-22) There is a “catch” with the waters of purification. Though he upon whom it is sprinkled is made clean, he who does the sprinkling is thereby rendered unclean. Our analysis in the previous mitzvot should tell us why. Eleazar, not Aaron, is tasked with purifying the lost and defiled world with the waters of purification, the ashes of the red bull dissolved in living water. That is, it is not Christ (our High Priest) directly who administers cleansing in this world, but rather His disciples, His followers—us! In order to have a cleansing effect upon the world, we must be here, being in the world but not of it. When we rub shoulders with an unclean world, our sleeves sometimes get dirty. That’s why the Holy Spirit dwells within us. As Yahshua explained, “The Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.” (John 14:26; see also John 15:26) That is the process that Paul described as the “washing of water by the Word” (cf. Ephesians 5:26), in other words, the cleansing process we undergo in this life.
I would be remiss in neglecting to mention that the Holy Spirit will not always be here cleansing the world through the agency (the “hyssop,” if you will) of His called-out people. Paul describes it: “Now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains [He’s referring to the Holy Spirit, restraining evil and cleansing the earth through the presence and purpose of Yahshua’s Ekklesia] will do so until He is taken out of the way.” This will happen at the rapture of the Church, for Yahshua’s promise in John 14:16 assures us that the Holy Spirit will abide with us forever. No Spirit, no Church, no cleansing influence upon the earth. “And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming. The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” (II Thessalonians 2:6-12) That’s a graphic but sober assessment of what it will be like when God’s people are no longer here on earth to present Yahshua, to sprinkle the water of purification, the living water imbued with the ashes of the red bull, upon a world that insists on touching death.
Do not shave off the hair from the scale. And on the seventh day the priest shall examine the sore; and indeed if the scale has not spread, and there is no yellow hair in it, and the scale does not appear deeper than the skin, he shall shave himself, but the scale he shall not shave. And the priest shall isolate the one who has the scale another seven days. (Leviticus 13:32-33) We’re back in leprosy land, folks, territory we explored in Mitzvot #502 and #565-568, and will continue to do for the rest of this chapter, through #580. Leviticus 13 and 14 are all about the examination, isolation, and declaration of “leprosy,” which as we have seen is a catch-all metaphor for spiritual sickness, heresy, or false teaching.
Though Maimonides’ mitzvah zeroes in on one small detail, the precept is considerably more complicated. The instruction begins, as usual, with the realization that something might be amiss, followed by a close examination of the problem. “If a man or woman has a sore on the head or the beard, then the priest shall examine the sore; and indeed if it appears deeper than the skin, and there is in it thin yellow hair, then the priest shall pronounce him unclean. It is a scaly leprosy of the head or beard….” There’s an old saying: “Beauty is only skin deep, but ugly goes all the way to the bone.” It’s kind of like that with spiritual things. You can manage to look spiritually intact some of the time, but what you believe deep down will eventually come to light. If you’re merely practicing religion instead of enjoying a familial relationship with Yahweh, your lack of trust will tend to announce itself at the first sign of adversity. And when things begin to look hopeless, you’ll feel like following the advice of Job’s wife: “Curse God and die.”
And then there’s the converse situation—it may not be “leprosy”—spiritual sickness—but it is a “sore spot,” so to speak, something that doesn’t line up with the commonly accepted view. Maybe it’s heresy, but maybe it’s something true and valuable that everybody missed until now. “But if the priest examines the scaly sore, and indeed it does not appear deeper than the skin, and there is no black hair in it, then the priest shall isolate the one who has the scale seven days.” (Leviticus 13:29-31) After examination, the next step is isolation—carefully and lovingly making sure the afflicted soul is not in a position to pass his “disease” on to others until it can be determined if that’s really what it is. In spiritual terms, that means being cautious about what doctrines we embrace. If you don’t know from experience and study that what someone is telling you is compatible with God’s truth, then isolate him until you’ve had a chance to check it out. This precludes the two other possible courses of action—accepting the teaching uncritically (blindly pronouncing it “clean,” in other words) or rejecting it out of hand merely because it’s unfamiliar or not commonly understood (a knee-jerk diagnosis of uncleanness).
I’ll give you a couple of examples of how this works. In the mid 1800s, a fellow named Darby “rediscovered” the doctrine of the rapture. Even today, some reject his findings (’cause they’re new, something the Church had ignored for seventeen centuries) and some heartily embrace them without any sort of critical examination. Both paths can lead to error. In this case, the doctrine of the rapture holds up beautifully when tested in the crucible of scriptural truth.
In the second example, I’m the suspected “leper.” When doing research for my book on Biblical prophecy, Future History, I noticed that multiple avenues of evidence converged on a single date, to the exclusion of all others, for the commencement of Yahshua’s kingdom on earth, a date from which numerous other last-days events could be calculated. My conclusion wasn’t based on vague feelings, wishful thinking, or speculative estimates, but scriptural data—cold, hard numbers that had to have been given to us for a reason. This, of course, flies in the face of generations of Bible expositors who’ve taken half a verse out of context and made doctrine out of it: Jesus said “No man knows the day or the hour,” so we can’t know anything about the timing of the last days. Don’t even ask! Then I come along and point out stuff that all those really smart guys before me never saw. In the parlance of Moses, it’s a “scaly sore that does not appear deeper than the skin.” Now, according to the law of leprosy, you are neither to accept my findings without a second thought, nor flatly reject them just because you’ve never heard of this before. You’re supposed to “isolate” my teachings—compare what I’ve said to scripture, mull it over, pray about it, put my logic to the test, and only then decide whether I’m right or wrong, clean or unclean. (The date, by the way, is revealed and discussed in an appendix to Future History.)
At this point, we’re where Maimonides put his toe in the water. Our initial text, Leviticus 13:32-33, takes us to the next step. We’re to take away everything that might be confusing us or obfuscating the issue—our previously held notions, traditions, and the opinions of men—in other words, we must “shave.” Then we’re to continue our contemplation and examination of the “sore.” We’re not to shave the suspected area, however. That is, don’t misquote the presumed heretic, don’t edit what’s been proposed. Judge what he really said, not what you might be inclined to read into it. In the example I’ve used, for instance, don’t go off saying “Ken knows when the rapture is going to occur.” I said no such thing.
Moses’ instructions continue. “On the seventh day the priest shall examine the scale; and indeed if the scale has not spread over the skin, and does not appear deeper than the skin, then the priest shall pronounce him clean. He shall wash his clothes and be clean. But if the scale should at all spread over the skin after his cleansing, then the priest shall examine him; and indeed if the scale has spread over the skin, the priest need not seek for yellow hair. He is unclean. But if the scale appears to be at a standstill, and there is black hair grown up in it, the scale has healed. He is clean, and the priest shall pronounce him clean.” (Leviticus 13:34-37) The spiritual application: after due consideration and study, the proposed doctrine should be either rejected or accepted, depending solely upon how it holds up in the light of God’s truth. I can’t help reflecting that if this procedure had been followed throughout the church age, we never would have fallen into the error and apathy that plague us today.
The procedure of cleansing leprosy, whether of a man or of a house, takes place with cedar-wood, hyssop, scarlet thread, two birds, and running water. “This shall be the law of the leper for the day of his cleansing: He shall be brought to the priest. And the priest shall go out of the camp, and the priest shall examine him; and indeed, if the leprosy is healed in the leper, then the priest shall command to take for him who is to be cleansed two living and clean birds, cedar wood, scarlet, and hyssop. And the priest shall command that one of the birds be killed in an earthen vessel over running water. As for the living bird, he shall take it, the cedar wood and the scarlet and the hyssop, and dip them and the living bird in the blood of the bird that was killed over the running water. And he shall sprinkle it seven times on him who is to be cleansed from the leprosy, and shall pronounce him clean, and shall let the living bird loose in the open field.” (Leviticus 14:2-7) It may seem like I’m splitting straws, but there is an important difference between being “healed” and being “cleansed” (as the unfortunate English translation puts it), though they sound like very similar concepts to our ears. The leper in this case has already been healed when he is brought to the priest for “cleansing.” “To heal” in Hebrew is rapha, a verb meaning “to cause or promote restoration of health or a right state after being sick, diseased, or injured.” (Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains) It is Yahweh who does the healing, not the priest. In fact, as I pointed out in Mitzvah #502, the only Biblical record we have of anyone being healed of leprosy under the rules of the Torah is when Yahshua—Yahweh in the flesh—did it.
Rapha, the healing that has been accomplished, is contrasted here with the noun tahara, translated “cleansing” or the related verb taher, meaning to cleanse or purify, whether physically, ceremonially, or morally. Because of its juxtaposition with rapha (healing), it is clear that the ceremonial element is being stressed here: the priest pronounces the restored leper to be clean; he performs the ceremony that announces his cleansing to the community. And if we recall that leprosy is a metaphor for spiritual sickness, the moral purification aspect becomes clear as well.
This pronouncement of cleanness (as opposed to the actual healing) is the subject of our mitzvah. The ritual has details similar to some others we have seen. First, the use of cedar wood, scarlet, and hyssop was seen in the ordinance of the so-called “Red Heifer” (See Mitzvah #574), which provided cleansing for one who had been defiled by touching death. To reprise my conclusion, “These three substances together represent the irony of the human condition—its irrational pride, its irrelevance apart from Yahweh, and the indelible stain of its defilement.” There they were burned in the fire that was reducing the Red Bull to ashes; here they are dipped in the blood of the sacrificial bird. This brings to mind a second parallel: one bird was sacrificed while another was dipped in the blood of the first and then released. This is reminiscent of the two goats of the Day of Atonement, one of which was slain while the other was set free in the wilderness. Both the birds and the goats speak of the substitutionary death of the Messiah—allowing us the freedom to live in God’s grace. A third parallel is the mention of running (or “living” water), which as we have seen (Mitzvot #569 and #576) is symbolic of the cleansing power of Yahshua the Messiah.
It should be noted that there is a completely separate group of sacrifices the cleansed leper was to offer up upon this confirmation of his restoration to health. They’re covered in Leviticus 14:10-32, and include offerings of grain and oil (the minha), a trespass offering (asham), sin offering (chata’t) and a burnt offering (olah). There’s a detailed explanation of what these signify toward the end of Chapter 12 of this book. All these sacrifices are offered in response to the leper’s cleansing, not given in order to attain it.
The order of events in the law of leprosy (something that applies to all of us on a spiritual level) is: (1) We contract the disease, which I believe is a thinly veiled euphemism for the mortal state we all inherited from Adam; (2) We come to terms with the fact that we are ill, sinful, stricken with a malady that defiles and can ultimately kill us; (3) We are examined, found to be unclean, and isolated from the household of faith; (4) We receive the healing provided by Yahweh through the life of His Son Yahshua; (5) This healing is thankfully recognized as we are pronounced clean, though we still inhabit our formerly leprous bodies, (6) We relegate religious observance to its proper place—not a path to salvation, but a response to it, and (7) The state of being clean and whole is brought to fruition on the “eighth day” (verse 10), pointing toward the eternal state in which we will be forever free of the evil that plagues us in this life. (This interpretation, of course—that the law of leprosy is prophetic of Yahweh’s plan of redemption—would have given Maimonides a rash.)
The leper shall shave all his hair. “He who is to be cleansed shall wash his clothes, shave off all his hair, and wash himself in water, that he may be clean. After that he shall come into the camp, and shall stay outside his tent seven days. But on the seventh day he shall shave all the hair off his head and his beard and his eyebrows—all his hair he shall shave off. He shall wash his clothes and wash his body in water, and he shall be clean.” (Leviticus 14:8-9) It isn’t just any leper who is to shave all his hair off—only the one who has been healed of his disease, the one “who is to be cleansed (taher—pronounced clean).”
The commentaries typically speak of this shaving (Hebrew: galah) as merely part of the purification process, but I think there’s more to it. In Mitzvah #577, we were instructed to shave off the hair of the leper in order to get a better look at the “scaly sore,” but we were not to shave the sore spot itself—where the “thin yellow hair,” if any, was an indicator of the leprosy. There I concluded that “shaving” was a euphemism for scraping off the things that tend to obfuscate a spiritual issue—our traditions, religious customs, or the opinions of men that our peers have embraced. We are, in other words, to judge a matter on its own merit in the light of scripture, recognizing that sometimes our religious traditions are themselves the problem!
Actually, there are two “shavings” the ex-leper is to perform, one at the beginning of his week-long cleansing ceremony, and another at the end. If the spiritual ramifications of the seven-step leprosy/redemption timeline I proposed at the end of Mitzvah #578 have any merit, these two “shavings” are significant instructions of how we’re to live as believers in Yahweh. When we first recognize our condition and receive the “cure,” we are to do it without reference to religion, custom, or dogma—our healing is to be shorn of the trappings of religion that tend to obscure the core issues of our redemption. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that the habits and traditions we adopt in the practice of our faith are necessarily a bad thing (though they can be). We shouldn’t have to reinvent the wheel every time we wish to approach Yahweh in a corporate setting. But they are not in themselves the point, and should never become the point. We are to begin our walk of faith naked before God (for indeed we are), and whatever religious habits we develop over our life as believers should grow naturally into place, not be imposed by others from outside our own personal experience.
The second “shaving” is done on the seventh day. Yahweh’s ubiquitous six-plus-one metaphor—six units of effort and endeavor capped by one unit of God’s grace, followed by an eternity of fellowship and communion—leads us to conclude that man-made religious tradition will be eliminated completely when Yahshua comes to reign among us upon the earth. That’s not to say that our corporate worship will devolve into anarchy during the Millennium, however. The rites of the Torah (which as we have seen all point toward the Messiah) will be revisited for the benefit of the progeny of the Tribulation survivors. (See Future History, Chapters 26-28, for a detailed discussion of the Millennial reign.)
Do not pluck out the marks of leprosy. “Take heed in an outbreak of leprosy, that you carefully observe and do according to all that the priests, the Levites, shall teach you; just as I commanded them, so you shall be careful to do. Remember what Yahweh your God did to Miriam on the way when you came out of Egypt!” (Deuteronomy 24:8) As you can see, the “proof text” for this mitzvah offers no new instruction, but rather is an admonition to pay attention to the law of leprosy. The lesson, it is implied, is contained within the record of Miriam’s curse. We would be remiss, then, if we neglected to check it out. It’s in Numbers, Chapter 12….
“Then Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the Ethiopian woman whom he had married; for he had married an Ethiopian woman. So they said, ‘Has Yahweh indeed spoken only through Moses? Has He not spoken through us also?’ And Yahweh heard it.” Note that their ulterior motive, racial bigotry, led to something totally unrelated, a grab for power disguised in fancy religious clothes. Yahweh knows our hearts, and He understands what we’re up to. “(Now the man Moses was very humble, more than all men who were on the face of the earth.)” This editorial insertion (probably made by Joshua) tells us that Moses was not of a mind to defend his leadership position against challenges from his brother and sister. Mo would have said, “If God wants me to serve, I’ll serve; if He wants me to step aside, that’s okay too.”
“Suddenly Yahweh said to Moses, Aaron, and Miriam, ‘Come out, you three, to the tabernacle of meeting!’ So the three came out. Then Yahweh came down in the pillar of cloud and stood in the door of the tabernacle, and called Aaron and Miriam. And they both went forward.” Uh-oh. “Then He said, ‘Hear now My words: If there is a prophet among you, I, Yahweh, make Myself known to him in a vision; I speak to him in a dream. Not so with My servant Moses; He is faithful in all My house. I speak with him face to face, even plainly, and not in dark sayings; and he sees the form of Yahweh. Why then were you not afraid to speak against My servant Moses?’” When Yahweh defends you, consider yourself defended.
“So the anger of Yahweh was aroused against them, and He departed. And when the cloud departed from above the tabernacle, suddenly Miriam became leprous, as white as snow.” The irony, in light of her issue with Moses’ Ethiopian wife, is hilarious. “Then Aaron turned toward Miriam, and there she was, a leper. So Aaron said to Moses, ‘Oh, my lord! Please do not lay this sin on us, in which we have done foolishly and in which we have sinned. Please do not let her be as one dead, whose flesh is half consumed when he comes out of his mother’s womb!” We are left to wonder why Aaron was not stricken as well. It is evident that he knew and acknowledged that he was equally guilty, equally foolish, equally deserving of the same fate. Perhaps it was the responsibility that Yahweh had assigned to him—being the high priest, prophetic of one of the coming Messiah’s roles. After all, somebody had to plead Miriam’s case, and God had just reminded them that Moses was the only one to whom He spoke face to face. Aaron (unlike us, who since Calvary have direct access to the throne of grace) had to appeal to Moses on behalf of Miriam.
“So Moses cried out to Yahweh, saying, ‘Please heal her, O God, I pray!’” No hesitation, no recrimination. This is one of the few times a prayer is quoted in the Torah, though the word for “prayer” (Hebrew: palal) isn’t used (See Mitzvah #22). When Moses said, “I pray,” he used the word ’na, meaning “please, I beg you,” spoken to stress the urgency or intensity of the situation. Aaron used the same word in his entreaty to Moses: “Please do not let her be as one dead….”
“Then Yahweh said to Moses, ‘If her father had but spit in her face, would she not be shamed seven days? Let her be shut out of the camp seven days, and afterward she may be received again.’ So Miriam was shut out of the camp seven days, and the people did not journey till Miriam was brought in again.” (Numbers 12:1-15) The repentant Miriam bore the marks of her sin in her body, for a while at least. Yahweh is merciful, so in response to Moses’ plea, He didn’t make it permanent (as He would the unrepentant King Uzziah). I should point out, however, that repentant or not, Miriam’s sin affected more than her: it prevented Israel from making any forward progress as long as she was afflicted. Our sins may be done in private, but they can have very public consequences.
Laws 581- 582 begin a new category: Politics
Politics - Introduction
It is said that in polite conversation, one should never discuss one’s views on either religion or politics. In the Torah, however, these two subjects collide with gleeful alacrity. I guess if you’re into small talk, Yahweh would make a terrible dinner guest.
Because God told them to remain separate from the nations, the Jews have traditionally viewed politics as a case of “us vs. them”—Israel against the rest of the world. And because a plethora of yet-to-be-fulfilled Bible passages predict their national restoration to greatness, these same Jews (those who still believe there’s a God, that is) assume that He’s on their side. And He is, for the long haul, but that doesn’t mean He’s blind to their national rebellion—even if they can’t see it. Unfortunately, the Jewish sense of political destiny has become inexorably intertwined with the rabbinical view of the Torah: the idea that keeping rules and observing traditions are what binds a people to God and purges their iniquity—and that the Messiah will come to their aid only when they’ve proved themselves worthy.
On the other hand, the “blessings and cursings” passages in Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28 clearly indicate that Israel should be able to gauge their spiritual condition—their success at “observing all these commandments”—by taking notice of whether or not they are actually being blessed (and by this, I mean more than merely continuing to exist as a separate people, for God promised that to them unconditionally). Judging by the standards of scripture, the Jews are still worlds away from the center of God’s will: half of them (at least) are still scattered throughout the world; they serve “gods” other than Yahweh, gods of tradition, intellect, and wealth; they are hounded and persecuted in the nations in which they are scattered, irrationally hated and ostracized; and their very national existence in their own land is threatened daily by enemies both foreign and domestic (cf. Deuteronomy 28:64-66). If the rabbis’ approach is right, then why hasn’t God kept His promise: “If you walk in My statutes and keep My commandments and perform them…you shall dwell in your land safely…I will give you peace in the land…none shall make you afraid…I will set my tabernacle among you…I will walk among you and be your God, and you shall be My people.” (Leviticus 26:3-12, highlights) Needless to say, none of that is the case today. They aren’t walking in His statutes, no matter what they think.
The prophet Isaiah describes the epiphany of Israel when they finally realize how wrong they were: “We are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags. We all fade as a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. And there is no one who calls on Your name, who stirs himself up to take hold of You. For You have hidden Your face from us, and have consumed us because of our iniquities…Do not be furious, O Yahweh, nor remember our iniquity forever.” And lest there should be any doubt that Israel is the petitioner here, he goes on to say, “Indeed, please look—we are your people. Your holy cities are a wilderness, Zion is a wilderness, Jerusalem a desolation.” (Isaiah 64:6-7, 9-10)
Yahweh’s reply is like a bucket of cold water in the face. “I was sought by those who did not ask for Me; I was found by those who did not seek Me. I said, ‘Here I am, here I am,’ to a nation that was not called by My name.” In case you missed it, He’s talking about the gentile believers who (unlike the Jews, for the most part) were “made right with God by faith,” as Paul puts it in his epistle to the Romans, which we’ll visit in a moment. God says that these people—we who were so dumb we didn’t even know we were looking for Yahweh—gladly received salvation when it was presented to them, whereas the Jews stubbornly refused to either keep His Law or accept what (and Whom) it signified: “ I have stretched out My hands all day long to a rebellious people who walk in a way that is not good, according to their own thoughts, a people who provoke Me to anger continually to My face.” And what are they doing that so arouses Yahweh’s ire? Religious things: “…Who sacrifice in gardens [see Leviticus 17:8-9 for instruction on what they should have been doing], and burn incense on altars of brick [Exodus 20:24-25, 30:1-6]; who sit among the graves and spend the night in the tombs [Numbers 19:16]; who eat swine’s flesh and the broth of abominable things is in their vessels [Leviticus 11:7, 41]; who say, ‘Keep to yourself [especially you pesky gentiles], do not come near me, for I am holier than you!’ These are smoke in My nostrils, a fire that burns all the day. Behold, it is written before Me: ‘I will not keep silence, but will repay—even repay into their bosom—your iniquities and the iniquities of your fathers together,’ says Yahweh.” (Isaiah 65:1-7) Each of the examples listed is a perversion of God’s Torah instructions, one way or another, just as we have seen to be the case with the majority of Maimonides’ mitzvot. The Jews’ true heart has been revealed by their lack of respect for God’s Word. While claiming to be “Torah observant,” these religious rebels actually “walk in a way that is not good, according to their own thoughts.”
Now Paul picks up the thread. “The Gentiles have been made right with God by faith, even though they were not seeking him [just like Isaiah said]. But the Jews, who tried so hard to get right with God by keeping the law [whether the real thing or their twisted version of it—Paul is willing to give them the benefit of the doubt here], never succeeded. Why not? Because they were trying to get right with God by keeping the law and being good instead of by depending on faith.” (Romans 9:30-32 NLT)
It’s kind of like illegal aliens in America. Judging by their normal behavior, most of them are basing their hope (in this case, the hope of being able to stay in the country long enough to build a good, prosperous life) on “keeping the law and being good.” They work hard, obey the laws of the land (excuse the immigration laws), and try to keep their heads down, because they don’t want to make waves. Waves can get you deported. Now, not exceeding the speed limit and coming to a full and complete halt at stop signs are good things—the law requires them. But keeping these laws does nothing to legitimize an illegal alien. Even if he’s keeping all the traffic rules perfectly while driving a properly registered car, it doesn’t matter—he’s breaking the law just by being here! In fact, until he takes advantage of the country’s “grace through faith” program—taking whatever steps are mandated to become a legal resident—everything he does, in a manner of speaking, is a crime against the state. Being “good” doesn’t help him if he isn’t legally entitled to be here in the first place. Likewise, keeping the “Laws” of the Kingdom of Heaven is a relatively pointless exercise if we haven’t become citizens of the realm.
The politically correct view would chastise Paul for being so hard on his fellow Jews. But open-mindedness concerning their errant approach would do them no practical good, and he loved his people so much, he desperately wanted to rescue them from their blunder. If there is such a thing as absolute truth, then tolerance for error is the antithesis of love. “Dear brothers and sisters, the longing of my heart and my prayer to God is that the Jewish people might be saved. I know what enthusiasm they have for God, but it is misdirected zeal. For they don’t understand God’s way of making people right with Himself. Instead, they are clinging to their own way of getting right with God by trying to keep the law. They won’t go along with God’s way. For Christ has accomplished the whole purpose of the law. That’s because “the whole purpose of the Law” was to demonstrate man’s need for a Savior—and God’s plan to reveal Him. “All who believe in Him are made right with God….”
“For Moses wrote that the law’s way of making a person right with God requires obedience to all of its commands [something none of us has ever accomplished, making “the law’s way” a dead-end street if you’re depending upon it to save you]. But the way of getting right with God through faith says, ‘You don’t need to go to heaven’ (to find Christ and bring Him down to help you). And it says, ‘You don’t need to go to the place of the dead’ (to bring Christ back to life again). Salvation that comes from trusting Christ—which is the message we preach—is already within easy reach. In fact, the Scriptures say, ‘The message is close at hand; it is on your lips and in your heart….’” In a nutshell, Paul is saying that we can’t reach God. He reaches us. And we can’t keep the Law, but the Law—the fulfillment of which is Yahshua—keeps us from death, for “the whole purpose of the Law” is summed up in that one word: Yahshua—which literally means “Yahweh is salvation.”
The bottom line, then, is this: “For if you confess with your mouth that Jesus [i.e., Yahshua] is Lord and believe in your heart that God [i.e., Yahweh] raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved. As the Scriptures tell us, ‘Anyone who believes in Him will not be disappointed.’ Jew and Gentile are the same in this respect. They all have the same Lord, who generously gives his riches to all who ask for them. For ‘Anyone who calls on the name of the Lord [actually, it’s Yahweh here—Paul is quoting Joel 2:32] will be saved.’” (Romans 10:1-13 NLT) Believing and confessing: it’s precisely the same procedure through which Abraham was accounted righteous before God. Some things never change.
Do not curse a ruler, that is, the King or the head of the College in the land of Israel. “You shall not revile God, nor curse a ruler of your people.” (Exodus 22:28) Maimonides has removed one admonition and replaced it with another more to his liking. What happened to “You shall not revile God?” The Hebrew word for “revile” is qalal, meaning to take lightly, treat with contempt, dishonor, or curse. It seems to me that by tampering with God’s Torah like this, that’s precisely what the rabbis were doing to Him. Qalal is the perfect antonym of the verb we saw in the Fifth Commandment: “Honor (kabad: literally, make weighty) your father and your mother…” which goes a long way toward proving my contention that honoring our earthly father and mother is fundamentally a metaphor for taking seriously our Heavenly Father, Yahweh, and our Heavenly Mother (so to speak), His Holy Spirit.
And what about “to curse?” This is the Hebrew ’arar, which literally means “to bind (as with a spell), hem in with obstacles, render powerless to resist.” Therefore, the meaning is more like, “Do not be a curse to a ruler of your people through your resistance or rebellion.” And who, precisely is a “ruler of your people?” Though Yahweh parallels God and the ruler, implying that the ultimate “ruler” is King Yahshua, nasi, the word translated “ruler” here, is never used to denote the reigning Christ in the Old Covenant Scriptures. (Ezekiel, describing the Millennial kingdom, says “My servant David will be their prince (nasi) forever,” (Ezekiel 37:35) and most commentators interpret this as meaning the Messiah, but I am convinced that the actual resurrected David, and not King Yahshua, is being identified. We are, after all, in a post-rapture world at that point. David will be sporting his new immortal body, just like the rest of the raptured saints. See Future History, Chapter 27, for a more complete exploration of the subject.) Nasi denotes a prince, captain, chief, leader, or ruler, without regard to his degree of exaltation or worthiness. Even Gog, leader of the Islamic hordes seen invading Israel in the last days (Ezekiel 38-39), is called a nasi. (The similarity between nasi and Nazi, though delicious, is purely coincidental).
The Messiah is called a ruler in Scripture, of course, but a different word is employed. Daniel 9:25 calls Him “Messiah the prince,” using the same word translated “ruler” in this passage: “Since the day that I brought My people out of the land of Egypt, I have chosen no city from any tribe of Israel in which to build a house, that My name might be there, nor did I choose any man to be a ruler over My people Israel. Yet I have chosen Jerusalem, that My name may be there; and I have chosen David to be over My people Israel.” (II Chronicles 6:5-6) The word for “ruler” here is nagid, whose root verb means “to tell or make known, to make a matter conspicuous.” The nagid is thus a fundamentally different kind of ruler than a nasi, whose linguistic root means “to lift, carry, or take.” The nasi has received his leadership role; the nagid rules by virtue of his very nature.
So basically, this precept tells us not to actively sabotage the leader/ruler with whom God has “blessed” us (without regard to whether he’s a saint or a scoundrel). The classic example of how to do this is David’s dealing with King Saul. Though Saul repeatedly tried to kill David in fits of jealous rage, David (whose name means “love,” by the way) refused to harm “God’s anointed,” even when it would have been an easy, justifiable, and arguably prudent thing to do. Yahshua, following the same principle, didn’t trash Herod, Pilate, or Emperor Tiberius (who were doing a fine job of condemning themselves); He merely went about doing His divinely appointed job, just as we are all to do.
This is where Maimonides’ take on the whole thing derails. He and his fellow rabbis would have you believe God wants you to refrain from “being a curse” to them—a self-appointed religious elite, people who want you to submit to and honor them in obsequious obeisance. Nothing could be further from the truth. Again, Yahshua is our example. While saying nothing against the flawed political rulers that God in His wisdom saw fit to place in positions of power for His own purposes (cf. Romans 13:1-7), Yahshua lost no opportunity to lambaste the scribes and Pharisees for their hypocrisy, ambition, and greed. Therefore, when God says, “You shall not revile God, nor curse a ruler of your people,” He is indeed saying the same thing two different ways: don’t revile Yahweh, and don’t curse the political rulers He has entrusted with your well being, whether or not they are fulfilling their mandate. The bad news? We tend to get the governments we deserve. Ouch!
Appoint a king. “When you come to the land which Yahweh your God is giving you, and possess it and dwell in it, and say, ‘I will set a king over me like all the nations that are around me,’ you shall surely set a king over you whom Yahweh your God chooses….” (Deuteronomy 17:14-15) Yahweh is not commanding Israel to appoint a king over themselves. Quite the contrary. Having perfect foreknowledge must be a pain sometimes. God knew Israel would someday cast His rule aside in favor of an earthly king (see I Samuel 8:6‑9). This is merely instruction about what to do after they make their dumb decision. It’s like saying, If and when you get it into your head to jump out of a perfectly good airplane, wear a parachute, and don’t forget to pull the rip cord. Then the rabbis come along and tell their gullible audience that they all have to take up skydiving. Oy!
Of course, Maimonides didn’t have much choice in the matter. If he’d properly communicated Yahweh’s precept, it would have led Israel straight to the Messiah, God’s Anointed—Yahshua—the One “whom Yahweh your God chooses,” a.k.a. “the Stone whom the builders rejected.” And that would have caused him and his fellow rabbis to loosen their grip on power and prestige. Can’t have that, now, can we?