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News Letter 5848-002
8th day of the 1st month 5848 years after the creation of Adam
The 1st Month in the Third year of the third Sabbatical Cycle
The Third Sabbatical Cycle of the 119th Jubilee Cycle
The Sabbatical Cycle of Earthquakes Famines, and Pestilences
March 31, 2012

Shabbat Shalom Brethren and Family,

We are now at the end of the first week of the third tithe year where we are commanded to look after the Levite, the widow and the orphan. I hope you have not forgotten. If you do then Yehovah may also forget to give you the blessing He has waiting for those who are obedient.

We have now just begun the third year of this the third Sabbatical cycle. Keep this year special by keeping this command to bless those widows and those who have lost their parents as you can.

Deu 26:12 “When you have completed tithing all the tithe of your increase in the third year, which is the year of tithing, and have given it to the Lĕwite, to the stranger, to the fatherless, and to the widow, and they have eaten within your gates and have been satisfied, 13 then you shall say before יהוה your Elohim, ‘I have put away the set-apart portion from my house, and also have given it to the Lĕwite, and to the stranger, and to the fatherless, and to the widow, according to all Your command which You have commanded me. I have not transgressed Your commands, nor have I forgotten. 14 ‘I have not eaten any of it when in mourning, nor have I removed any of it for any unclean use, nor given any of it for the dead. I have obeyed the voice of יהוה my Elohim, I have done according to all that You have commanded me. 15 ‘Look from Your set-apart dwelling place, from the heavens, and bless Your people Yisra’ĕl and the land which You have given us, as You swore to our fathers, “a land flowing with milk and honey.” ’

We are just one to two years away from the false 3 ½ years tribulation beginning, depending if it is 2016 or 2017. Do not be deceived by this. I do expect Israel to be surrounded by Muslim armies at this time and for NATO to come to the rescue in 2013.

We are now just 5 years away from the Sabbatical cycle of war.

We are also just 12 years away from the Sabbatical cycle of captivity.

We are 18 years away from the start of the Tribulation.

We are 33 years away from the Next Jubilee year in 2045 and the beginning of the 7th Millennium.

I was talking to Avi ben Mordichai in Israel this week and we need to know how many are interested in joining us in Israel this year 2012 for Sukkot? Please if this is of interest write Avi and Dena so we can get a head count. We hope to make this trip very cheap so as many as can afford it can come. Details will be announced later.

Also the rift between us the Petra group whom I left last year has been healed and we are working to have our feast together. But the two places we had planned on using both fell through. So keep this in your prayers as we work on this for all of us.
You can drop Avi a note at avinoam@m7000.com

This is not a commitment; just a note that you are interested. Once we have the prices then you can decide.

It is time again to go over the chronology of Passover with you all. We have covered it a number of times already. But the mail still comes in, asking when is Passover. I would also like to encourage you all to read the message from Set Apart People at http://www.setapartpeople.com/celebrate-pesach-feast-unleavened-bread?utm_source=Set+Apart+People+List&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=3608607b56-MailChimp_RSS2EMAIL_CAMPAIGN about this Passover. They answer many questions for those who are still wondering about this or that.

Here is one email though I found interesting;

Shalom Joseph,
do you keep the Nisan 14 “Last Supper” (since you and I both share much of the traditional teaching from the wwcog days should I assume a “Yes”?). Since it is not in Torah (Levit. 23) should we treat it the same as for Purim and Hanukah which you have definitely condemned as “adding to Torah”??

The person is asking, if Purim and Chanukah are adding to Torah, then did Yehshua add to torah by adding the symbols at the last supper.

1st of all Yehshua is the creator of all things and the one who told us about the Holy Days of Lev 23.

2nd He did not add another Holy Day to Lev 23 as Chanukah and Purim do. He merely showed us new symbols. But for the rest of this answer you need to read to the end of this article.

So which day is the Passover? Is it the beginning of the 14th or the end of 14th going into the 15th day at sunset?

The problem many are having is arising in Mathew, Mark and Luke.

In Mathew we read this;
Mat 26:17 And on the first day of Unleavened Bread the taught ones came to יהושע, saying to Him, “Where do You wish us to prepare for You to eat the Passover?”

So you must ask yourself the question “If this is the first day of Unleavened Bread, then Passover is already over with, right?” Because Passover always precedes Unleavened Bread.

So it is obvious that something is not kosher here in Mathew. A bad translation or just a real bad interpretation by someone who does not know the Holy Days. Mathew did know the Holy Days being Jewish, so I am leaning to a bad interpretation.

Keep in mind as you read this on important fact;
Heb 13:7 Remember those leading you, who spoke the Word of Elohim to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their belief. 8 יהושע Messiah is the same yesterday, and today, and forever. 9 Do not be borne about by various and strange teachings.1 For it is good for the heart to be established by favour, not with foods which have not profited those who have been occupied with them. Footnote: 1Eph. 4:14.

Yehshua does not change and has not changed. But strange teachings abound in these last days both from with the body as well as outside the body of believers. So study your bible and search it daily to find the truth.

And we also read in;
Mal 3:6 “For I am יהוה, I shall not change1, and you, O sons of Yaʽaqoḇ, shall not come to an end. Footnote: 1Jas. 1:17. 7 “From the days of your fathers you have turned aside from My laws and did not guard them. Turn back to Me, and I shall turn back to you,” said יהוה of hosts. “But you said, ‘In what shall we turn back?’

So many of you even now are so wrapped up in conspiracy teachings that it makes me sick. Always on the edge of your seat as this new thing or that new thing comes along. You swallow camels and believe these false teachings as if they came from the very word of Yehshua Himself.

The Torah does not change. And those of you who continue to jump on every new horse that goes by will soon find yourselves away from the truth and not have any way to know what is true and what is not true. You will have believed the lie and think it true; because you did not believe the truth to begin with.

2Th 2:11 And for this reason Elohim sends them a working of delusion, for them to believe the falsehood,1 Footnote: 1Eze. 20:25, John 9:39, John 12:40, Acts 7:42, Rom. 1:24-28. 12 in order that all should be judged who did not believe the truth, but have delighted in the unrighteousness.

We then read in Mark the following;
Mar 14:12 And on the first day of Unleavened Bread, when they were slaughtering the Passover lamb, His taught ones said to Him, “Where do You wish us to go and prepare, for You to eat the Passover?”

Here again we have a huge problem with the translation. You do not slaughter the Passover lamb on the first day of Unleavened bread. The first day of Unleavened Bread is always on the 15th day of the month and the Passover lambs were killed on the 14th.

Exo 12:3 “Speak to all the congregation of Yisra’ĕl, saying, ‘On the tenth day of this month each one of them is to take for himself a lamb, according to the house of his father, a lamb for a household. 4 ‘And if the household is too small for the lamb, let him and his neighbour next to his house take it according to the number of the beings, according to each man’s need you make your count for the lamb. 5 ‘Let the lamb be a perfect one, a year old male. Take it from the sheep or from the goats. 6 ‘And you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month. Then all the assembly of the congregation of Yisra’ĕl shall kill it between the evenings. 7 ‘And they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and on the lintel of the houses where they eat it. 8 ‘And they shall eat the flesh on that night, roasted in fire – with unleavened bread and with bitter herbs they shall eat it. 9 ‘Do not eat it raw, nor boiled at all with water, but roasted in fire, its head with its legs and its inward parts. 10 ‘And do not leave of it until morning, and what remains of it until morning you are to burn with fire. 11 ‘And this is how you eat it: your loins girded, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand. And you shall eat it in haste. It is the Passover of יהוה.

The Passover lamb was killed at the end of the 14th and eaten that evening as the 15th day which was the first day of Unleavened bread. This is why we are told to eat the Passover Lamb with unleavened bread.

8 ‘And they shall eat the flesh on that night, roasted in fire – with unleavened bread and with bitter herbs they shall eat it.

So once we read and understand the scriptures we know that something is wrong with both Mathew and Mark when they say it was the first day of Unleavened Bread and they were going to prepare the Passover. It is not kosher.

Now let’s look at Luke.

Luk 22:7 And the Day of Unleavened Bread came when the Passover had to be slaughtered. 8 And He sent Kĕpha and Yoḥanan, saying, “Go and prepare the Passover for us to eat.”

Luke also does the exact same thing. It is telling us that this day is already the 14th day and also the 15th day at the same time. Again this is not right.

As I discuss this subject those who want to hold to a certain position which I will soon explain quote the letter of Paul to Timothy.
2Ti 3:14 But you, stay in what you have learned and trusted, having known from whom you have learned, 15 and that from a babe you have known the Set-apart Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for deliverance through belief in Messiah יהושע. 16 All Scripture is breathed by Elohim and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for setting straight, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of Elohim might be fitted, equipped for every good work.

We have a very good research paper at http://www.tertullian.org/rpearse/nicaea.html which shows us that the New Testament was created by the Nicene council under Emperor Constantine’s orders in 352 AD.

In tracing the origin of the Bible, one is led to AD 325, when Constantine the Great called the First Council of Nicaea, composed of 300 religious leaders. Three centuries after Jesus lived, this council was given the task of separating divinely inspired writings from those of questionable origin.

If the New testament was put together 3 hundreds after the letter written to Timothy then what is Paul referring to when he says all scripture is breathed by Elohim and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for setting straight, for instruction in righteousness,

It most certainly could not be the New testament as it had not even been put together at that time.

It can be only the scriptures that he had at his disposal which we are told exactly what they are in Luke. In fact Luke is quoting Yehshua who tells us what the scriptures are and what Paul is referring to.

Luk 24:44 And He said to them, “These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all have to be filled that were written in the Torah of Mosheh and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.”

Clarke’s Commentary on the Bible
The law - the prophets - the psalms - This was the Jewish division of the whole old covenant. The Law contained the five books of Moses; the Prophets, the Jews divided into former and latter; they were, according to Josephus, thirteen. “The Psalms included not only the book still so named, but also three other books, Proverbs, Job, and Canticles.

These all,” says the above author, “contain hymns to God, and rules for the conduct of the lives of men.” Joseph. Cont. App. i. 8. This account is imperfect: the common Jewish division of the writings of the old covenant is the following, and indeed seems to be the same to which our Lord alludes: -

I. The Law, תורה thorah, including Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.

II. The Prophets, נביאים, nabiaim, or teachers, including Joshua, Judges, the two books of Samuel, and the two books of Kings: these were termed the former prophets. Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi: these were termed the latter prophets.

III. The Hagiographa, (holy writings), כתובים kethuvim, which comprehended the Psalms, Proverbs, Job, Canticles, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, Esther, Daniel, Ezra, Nehemiah, and the two books of Chronicles. The Jews made anciently only twenty-two books of the whole, to bring them to the number of the letters in the Hebrew alphabet; and this they did by joining Ruth to Judges, making the two books of Samuel only one; and so of Kings and Chronicles; joining the Lamentations to Jeremiah, and making the twelve minor prophets only one book.

I point this out because Paul is not talking about the New Testament which had not yet been put together. Paul was talking about the Old Testament.

Far too many believe in the Inerrancy and Infallibility of the Bible, yet we have just shown you that the New Testament does have three mistakes in it and that the saying of Paul’s applies to the Old Testament and not the new.

Getting back to the point of this article. The chronology of events of the last supper which is NOT and never was a Passover meal.

We now go to John who was there and rested on the breast of Yehshua.

Joh 13:1 And before the Festival of the Passover, יהושע knowing that His hour had come that He should move out of this world unto the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end. 2 And supper taking place, the devil having already put it into the heart of Yehuḏah from Qerioth, son of Shimʽon, to deliver Him up, 3 יהושע, knowing that the Father had given all into His hands, and that He had come from Elohim and was going to Elohim, 4 rose from supper and laid aside His garments, and having taken a towel, He girded Himself. 5 After that He put water into a basin and began to wash the feet of the taught ones, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded.

You will notice that it was BEFORE THE PASSOVER.

You cannot eat the Passover Lamb at the beginning of the 14th which was the night before when the lambs had not yet been killed!!!

Think brethren and stop being the dumb Christians we all used to be. Think!!!

Now I am going to lay out the Chronology of this night of the Last Supper which this year will be Thursday April 5th at sunset. This will be the start of the 14th of Aviv; the evening before the Passover Meal which comes at the end of the 14 and into the 15th or First day of Unleavened Bread.

You can do this if you are in a small group or at home alone with one other person.

But be very mindful of the seriousness of this night. It is not to be an evening of socializing or joking and talking and small talk. It is to be a very solemn and sober occasion. You are to think on the fact that your sins have caused the death of the Creator of the universe which took place beginning on this night 1981 years ago.

1Co 11:26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the death of the Master until He comes. 27 So that whoever should eat this bread or drink this cup of the Master unworthily shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Master. 28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread and drink of that cup. 29 For the one who is eating and drinking unworthily, eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the body of the Master. 30 Because of this many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep. 31 For if we were to examine ourselves, we would not be judged. 32 But when we are judged, we are disciplined by the Master, that we should not be condemned with the world.

If you do not consider the cost of this night but come together to have just another meal and eat this matzo and drink this wine just like any other night then you bring judgment down on yourself. It is a most serious night.

So turn off the phones, the computers and have a babysitter look after the kids for this one night. Each person is to have eaten before they arrive to take part in this service. It is not to be a meal and social gathering. I stress this so that you can get your head into the right frame of mind. You do not want to become sick or die nor your family to have this happen to them. Keep in Mind we are in the third Sabbatical cycle of pestilence.

What we have done in the past is to take a table and place a pure white linen cloth on it; Then the wine and the matzo bread unbroken. We then covered that with another pure white linen cloth so that is looked like a white casket. You should conduct yourself as if at the funeral parlour is how I would relate it. You are morning the sins that you have brought forward which have caused the Messiah to have to die this day.

Each person comes in and sits down quietly and does not talk and they read the bible about the events of this night to themselves until the service is ready to begin which it does promptly at sunset.

The following is the order of events and scriptures to be read on this night. This is a guide and is not a law.
Mat 26:26 And as they were eating, יהושע took bread, and having blessed, broke and gave it to the taught ones and said, “Take, eat, this is My body.”

Luk 22:19 And taking bread, giving thanks, He broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you, do this in remembrance of Me.”

The person conducting this service would now take the Matzo Bread which is the unleavened bread and begin to break it and the sound is like the whipping of Yehshua.

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

After this pass the broken bread around so that all could have a piece and eat it as soon as you take yours and pass the tray to the next person.

Once this part is done then the leader can read the follow.

Mat 26:27 And taking the cup, and giving thanks, He gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. 28 “For this is My blood, that of the renewed covenant, which is shed for many for the forgiveness of sins. 29 “But I say to you, I shall certainly not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on till that day when I drink it anew with you in the reign of My Father.”
.

Luk 22:14 And when the hour had come, He sat down, and the twelve emissaries with Him. 15 And He said to them, “With desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before My suffering, 16 for I say to you, I shall certainly not eat of it again until it is filled in the reign of Elohim.” 17 And taking the cup, giving thanks, He said, “Take this and divide it among yourselves, 18 for I say to you, I shall certainly not drink of the fruit of the vine until the reign of Elohim comes.”
Luk 22:20 Likewise the cup also, after supper, saying, “This cup is the renewed covenant in My blood which is shed for you.

Psa 22:1 My Ěl, My Ěl, why have You forsaken Me – Far from saving Me, far from the words of My groaning? 2 O My Elohim, I call by day, but You do not answer; And by night, but I find no rest. 3 Yet You are set-apart, Enthroned on the praises of Yisra’ĕl. 4 Our fathers trusted in You; They trusted, and You delivered them. 5 They cried to You, and were delivered; They trusted in You, and were not ashamed. 6 But I am a worm, and no man; A reproach of men, and despised by the people. 7 All those who see Me mock Me; They shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, 8 “He trusted in יהוה, let Him rescue Him; Let Him deliver Him, seeing He has delighted in Him!” 9 For You are the One who took Me out of the womb; Causing Me to trust while on My mother’s breasts. 10 I was cast upon You from birth. From My mother’s belly You have been My Ěl. 11 Do not be far from Me, For distress is near; For there is none to help. 12 Many bulls have surrounded Me; Strong ones of Bashan have encircled Me. 13 They have opened their mouths against Me, As a raging and roaring lion. 14 I have been poured out like water, And all My bones have been spread apart; My heart has become like wax; It has melted in the midst of My inward parts. 15 My strength is dried like a potsherd, And My tongue is cleaving to My jaws; And to the dust of death You are appointing Me. 16 For dogs have surrounded Me; A crowd of evil ones have encircled Me, Piercing My hands and My feet; 17 I count all My bones. They look, they stare at Me. 18 They divide My garments among them, And for My raiment they cast lots. 19 But You, O יהוה, do not be far off; O My Strength, hasten to help Me! 20 Deliver My life from the sword, My only life from the power of the dog. 21 Save Me from the mouth of the lion, And from the horns of the wild beasts! You have answered Me. 22 I make known Your Name to My brothers; In the midst of the assembly I praise You. 23 You who fear יהוה, praise Him! All you seed of Yaʽaqoḇ, esteem Him, And fear Him, all you seed of Yisra’ĕl! 24 For He has not despised Nor hated the affliction of the afflicted; Nor has He hidden His face from Him; But when He cried to Him, He heard. 25 From You is My praise in the great assembly; I pay My vows before those who fear Him. 26 The meek ones do eat and are satisfied; Let those who seek Him praise יהוה. Let your heart live forever! 27 Let all the ends of the earth Remember and turn to יהוה, And all clans of the nations Bow themselves before You. 28 For the reign belongs to יהוה, And He is ruling over the nations. 29 All the fat ones of the earth Shall eat and bow themselves; All who go down to the dust bow before Him, Even he who did not keep alive his own life. 30 A seed shall serve Him. It is declared of יהוה to the coming generation. 31 They shall come and declare His righteousness To a people yet to be born1, For He shall do it!

You would now pass around the wine and each one would drink it as they received it. Do not wait and do it all together as if in a toast. Drink it as soon as you receive it and consider the cost of your sins. Our savior’s blood.

Now that the Unleavened Bread and wine have been done we move on to the foot washing and begin to read John 13.

Joh 13:1 And before the Festival of the Passover, יהושע knowing that His hour had come that He should move out of this world unto the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end. 2 And supper taking place, the devil having already put it into the heart of Yehuḏah from Qerioth, son of Shimʽon, to deliver Him up, 3 יהושע, knowing that the Father had given all into His hands, and that He had come from Elohim and was going to Elohim, 4 rose from supper and laid aside His garments, and having taken a towel, He girded Himself. 5 After that He put water into a basin and began to wash the feet of the taught ones, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded. 6 And so He came to Shimʽon Kĕpha, and he said to Him, “Master, do You wash my feet?” 7 יהושע answered and said to him, “You do not know what I am doing now, but you shall know after this.” 8 Kĕpha said to Him, “By no means shall You wash my feet, ever!” יהושע answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.” 9 Shimʽon Kĕpha said to Him, “Master, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head!” 10 יהושע said to him, “He who has had a bath does not need to wash, except his feet, but is clean altogether. And you are clean, but not all of you.” 11 For He knew who would deliver Him up, so He said, “You are not all clean.” 12 So when He had washed their feet and taken His garments, and sat down again, He said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? 13 “You call me Teacher and Master, and you say well, for I am. 14 “Then if I, Master and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 “For I gave you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. 16 “Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is an emissary greater than he who sent him. 17 “If you know these teachings, blessed are you if you do them.

Having read this we then get up and go and wash each other’s feet; Men with men and women with women.

One time I lined up and ended up with an elderly gentleman. I let him sit and I removed his shoes and then his socks and then I washed his feet. It was most humbling for me to do this. I saw others where the father was doing the adult son and then the son doing his dads feet. After I had washed and dried this man’s feet and helped him to put on his socks and shoes. I sat down and let him do my feet. Again it was very humbling to allow someone to do my feet like this. I put my foot up on the chair so that he did not have to get down on his knees. But he insisted on doing everything himself without my help. Once we were done we would go back and sit and wait until everyone else was back, again maintaining the quiet and sobriety of this evening.

We would then begin to read the rest of this story. Note that the piece of bread Yehshua gives to Judas is bread and not Matzos. This is another clue as to the time we are in. It is the beginning of the 14th. All the leavened bread was to be out of the house by the 15th and the Passover meal was to be eaten with Matzo bread or unleavened Bread. So here again this is not the Passover meal Yehshua has just eaten.

Joh 13:18 “I do not speak concerning all of you. I know whom I have chosen, but that the Scripture might be filled, ‘He who eats bread with Me has lifted up his heel against Me.’ 19 “Now I say to you, before it takes place, that when it does take place, you shall believe that I am. 20 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who receives whomever I send, receives Me. And he who receives Me, receives Him who sent Me.” 21 When יהושע had said this He was troubled in spirit, and witnessed and said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, one of you shall deliver Me up.” 22 The taught ones looked at one another, doubting of whom He spoke. 23 And one of His taught ones, whom יהושע loved, was reclining on the bosom of יהושע. 24 Shimʽon Kĕpha then motioned to him to ask who it was of whom He spoke. 25 And leaning back on the breast of יהושע he said to Him, “Master, who is it?” 26 יהושע answered, “It is he to whom I shall give a piece of bread when I have dipped it.” And having dipped the bread, He gave it to Yehuḏah from Qerioth, son of Shimʽon. 27 And after the piece of bread, Satan entered into him. יהושע, therefore, said to him, “What you do, do quickly.” 28 But no one at the table knew why He said this to him, 29 for some were supposing, because Yehuḏah had the bag, that יהושע was saying to him, “Buy what we need for the festival,” or that he should give somewhat to the poor. 30 So, having received the piece of bread, he then went out straightaway, and it was night. 31 When, therefore, he went out, יהושע said, “Now the Son of Aḏam has been esteemed, and Elohim has been esteemed in Him. 32 “If Elohim has been esteemed in Him, Elohim shall also esteem Him in Himself, and straightaway esteem Him. 33 “Little children, yet a little while I am with you. You shall seek Me, and as I said to the Yehuḏim, ‘Where I am going, you are unable to come,’ I now also say to you. 34 “A renewed command I give to you, that you love one another, as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 “By this shall all know that you are My taught ones, if you have love for one another.” 36 Shimʽon Kĕpha said to Him, “Master, where are You going?” יהושע answered him, “Where I am going you are unable to follow Me now, but afterwards you shall follow Me.” 37 Kĕpha said to Him, “Master, why am I unable to follow You now? I shall lay down my life for You.” 38 יהושע answered him, “Shall you lay down your life for Me? Truly, truly, I say to you, the cock shall not crow at all until you have denied Me three times.

Joh 14:1 “Let not your heart be troubled. Believe in Elohim, believe also in Me. 2 “In My Father’s house are many staying places. And if not, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I shall come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, you might be too. 4 “And where I go you know, and the way you know.” 5 T’oma said to Him, “Master, we do not know where You are going, and how are we able to know the way?” 6 יהושע said to him, “I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. 7 “If you had known Me, you would have known My Father too. From now on you know Him, and have seen.” 8 Philip said to Him, “Master, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” 9 יהושע said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father, and how do you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 “Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak from Myself. But the Father who stays in Me does His works. 11 “Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, otherwise believe Me because of the works themselves. 12 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he shall do also. And greater works than these he shall do, because I go to My Father. 13 “And whatever you ask in My Name, that I shall do, in order that the Father might be esteemed in the Son. 14 “If you ask whatever in My Name, I shall do it. 15 “If you love Me, you shall guard My commands.1 Footnote: 1See Ex. 20:6, vv. 21&23, 1 John 5:2-3, 2 John v. 6. 16 “And I shall ask the Father, and He shall give you another Helper, to stay with you forever – 17 the Spirit of the Truth, whom the world is unable to receive, because it does not see Him or know Him. But you know Him, for He stays with you and shall be in you. 18 “I shall not leave you orphans – I am coming to you. 19 “Yet a little while, and the world no longer sees Me, but you shall see Me, because I live, and you shall live. 20 “In that day you shall know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you. 21 “He who possesses My commands and guards them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me shall be loved by My Father, and I shall love him and manifest Myself to him.” 22 Yehuḏah – not the one from Qerioth – said to Him, “Master, what has come about that You are about to manifest Yourself to us, and not to the world?” 23 יהושע answered him, “If anyone loves Me, he shall guard My Word. And My Father shall love him, and We shall come to him and make Our stay with him. 24 “He who does not love Me does not guard My Words. And the Word which you hear is not Mine but of the Father Who sent Me. 25 “These Words I have spoken to you while still with you. 26 “But the Helper, the Set-apart Spirit, whom the Father shall send in My Name, He shall teach you all, and remind you of all that I said to you. 27 “Peace I leave with you – My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. 28 “You heard that I said to you, ‘I am going away and I am coming to you.’ If you did love Me, you would have rejoiced that I said, ‘I am going to the Father,’ for My Father is greater than I. 29 “And now I have told you before it takes place, that when it does take place, you shall believe. 30 “I shall no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming,1 and he possesses none at all in Me, Footnote: 1See Lk. 4:6. 31 but, in order for the world to know that I love the Father, and that as the Father commanded Me, so I am doing. Rise up, let us go from here.

Joh 15:1 “I am the true vine, and My Father is the gardener. 2 “Every branch in Me that bears no fruit He takes away. And every branch that bears fruit He prunes, so that it bears more fruit. 3 “You are already clean because of the Word which I have spoken to you. 4 “Stay in Me, and I stay in you. As the branch is unable to bear fruit of itself, unless it stays in the vine, so neither you, unless you stay in Me. 5 “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who stays in Me, and I in him, he bears much fruit. Because without Me you are able to do naught! 6 “If anyone does not stay in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up. And they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. 7 “If you stay in Me, and My Words stay in you, you shall ask whatever you wish, and it shall be done for you. 8 “In this My Father is esteemed, that you bear much fruit, and you shall be My taught ones. 9 “As the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you. Stay in My love. 10 “If you guard My commands, you shall stay in My love,1 even as I have guarded My Father’s commands and stay in His love. Footnote: 1See 14:15. 11 “These words I have spoken to you, so that My joy might be in you, and that your joy might be complete. 12 “This is My command, that you love one another, as I have loved you.1 Footnote: 1See 13:34, 15:17. 13 “No one has greater love than this: that one should lay down his life for his friends. 14 “You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. 15 “No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing. But I have called you friends, for all teachings which I heard from My Father I have made known to you. 16 “You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in My Name He might give you. 17 “These words I command you, so that you love one another.1 Footnote: 1See 13:34, 15:12. 18 “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. 19 “If you were of the world, the world would love its own. But because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, for that reason the world hates you. 20 “Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they shall persecute you too. If they have guarded My Word, they would guard yours too. 21 “But all this they shall do to you because of My Name, because they do not know Him who sent Me. 22 “If I had not come and spoken to them, they would have no sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. 23 “He who hates Me hates My Father as well. 24 “If I did not do among them the works which no one else did, they would have no sin. But now they have both seen and have hated both Me and My Father, 25 but…that the word might be filled which was written in their Torah, ‘They hated Me without a cause.’ 26 “And when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of the Truth, who comes from the Father, He shall bear witness of Me, 27 but you also bear witness, because you have been with Me from the beginning.

Joh 16:1 “These words I have spoken to you, so that you do not stumble. 2 “They shall put you out of the congregations, but an hour is coming when everyone who kills you shall think he is rendering service to Elohim. 3 “And this they shall do to you because they did not know the Father, nor Me. 4 “But I have said these words to you, so that when the hour comes you remember that I told them to you. And these words I did not say to you at the beginning, for I was with you. 5 “But now I go away to Him who sent Me, and not one of you asks Me, ‘Where are You going?’ 6 “But because I have said these words to you, grief has filled your heart. 7 “But I say the truth to you. It is better for you that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper shall not come to you at all, but if I go, I shall send Him to you. 8 “And having come, He shall reprove1 the world concerning sin,2 and concerning righteousness, and concerning judgment – Footnotes: 1Or confute or prove wrong. 22 Chr. 24:20, Neh. 9:30, Ezek. 36:27, Mic. 3:8, Acts 28:25-27. 9 concerning sin because they do not believe in Me, 10 concerning righteousness because I go to My Father and you see Me no more, 11 concerning judgment because the ruler of this world1 is judged. Footnote: 1See Lk. 4:6. 12 “I still have many words to say to you, but you are not able to bear them now. 13 “But when He comes, the Spirit of the Truth, He shall guide you into all the truth. For He shall not speak from Himself, but whatever He hears He shall speak, and He shall announce to you what is to come. 14 “He shall esteem Me, for He shall take of what is Mine and announce it to you. 15 “All that the Father has is Mine. That is why I said that He takes from what is Mine and announces it to you. 16 “A little while, and you do not see Me, and again a little while, and you shall see Me.” 17 Therefore some of His taught ones said to one another, “What is this that He says to us, ‘A little while, and you do not see Me, and again a little while, and you shall see Me,’ and, ‘because I am going to the Father’?” 18 So they said, “What is this that He says, ‘A little while’? We do not know what He is saying.” 19 יהושע, therefore, knew that they were wishing to ask Him, and He said to them, “Are you asking one another about what I said, ‘A little while, and you do not see Me, and again a little while, and you shall see Me’? 20 “Truly, truly, I say to you that you shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice. And you shall be grieved, but your grief shall become joy. 21 “The woman has grief when she is in labour, because her hour has come, but as soon as she has given birth to the child, she no longer remembers the affliction, for joy that a man was born into the world. 22 “And you, therefore, have grief now, but I shall see you again and your heart shall rejoice, and no one takes your joy away from you. 23 “And in that day you shall ask Me none at all. Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My Name He shall give you. 24 “Until now you have asked naught in My Name. Ask, and you shall receive, in order that your joy might be complete. 25 “These words I have spoken to you in figures of speech, but an hour is coming when I shall no longer speak to you in figures of speech, but I shall declare the Father plainly to you. 26 “In that day you shall ask in My Name, and I do not say to you that I shall pray the Father on your behalf, 27 for the Father Himself does love you, because you have loved Me, and have believed that I came forth from Elohim. 28 “I came forth from the Father and have come into the world. Again, I leave the world and go to the Father.” 29 His taught ones said to Him, “See, now You are speaking plainly, and not using figure of speech! 30 “Now we know that You know all, and have no need that anyone should question You. By this we believe that You came forth from Elohim.” 31 יהושע answered them, “Do you now believe? 32 “See, an hour is coming, and has now come, that you are scattered, each to his own, and leave Me alone. Yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me. 33 “These words I have spoken to you, that in Me you might have peace. In the world you have pressure, but take courage, I have overcome the world.”

Joh 17:1 יהושע said these words, and lifted up His eyes to the heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come. Esteem Your Son, so that Your Son also might esteem You, 2 as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give everlasting life to all whom You have given Him. 3 “And this is everlasting life, that they should know You, the only true Elohim, and יהושע Messiah whom You have sent. 4 “I have esteemed You on the earth, having accomplished the work You have given Me that I should do. 5 “And now, esteem Me with Yourself, Father, with the esteem which I had with You before the world was. 6 “I have revealed Your Name to the men whom You gave Me out of the world. They were Yours, and You gave them to Me, and they have guarded Your Word.1 Footnote: 1See Ps. 138:2. 7 “Now they have come to know that all You gave to Me, is from You. 8 “Because the Words which You gave to Me, I have given to them. And they have received them, and have truly known that I came forth from You, and they believed that You sent Me. 9 “I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours.10 “And all Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine, and I have been esteemed in them. 11 “And I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to You. Set-apart Father, guard them in Your Name which You have given Me, so that they might be one,1 as We are. Footnote: 1See 10:30. 12 “When I was with them in the world, I was guarding them in Your Name which You have given Me, and I watched over them, and not one of them perished except the son of destruction, that the Scripture might be filled. 13 “And now I come to You. And I speak these words in the world, so that they have My joy completed in them. 14 “I have given them Your Word, and the world hated them because they are not of the world, as I am not of the world. 15 “I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You keep them from the wicked one. 16 “They are not of the world, as I am not of the world.17 “Set them apart in Your truth – Your Word is truth.1 Footnote: 1See Ps. 119:142, 151. 18 “As You sent Me into the world, I also sent them into the world. 19 “And for them I set Myself apart, so that they too might be set apart in truth. 20 “And I do not pray for these alone, but also for those believing in Me through their word, 21 so that they all might be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You, so that they too might be one in Us, so that the world might believe that You have sent Me. 22 “And the esteem which You gave Me I have given them, so that they might be one as We are one, 23 “I in them, and You in Me, so that they might be perfected into one, so that the world knows that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me. 24 “Father, I desire that those whom You have given Me, might be with Me where I am, so that they see My esteem which You have given Me, because You loved Me before the foundation of the world. 25 “O righteous Father, indeed the world did not know You, but I knew You, and these knew that You sent Me. 26 “And I have made Your Name known to them, and shall make it known,1 so that the love with which You loved Me might be in them, and I in them.” Footnote: 1See v. 6, Ps. 22:22, Heb. 2:12.

Joh 18:1 Having said these words, יהושע went out with His taught ones beyond the Qiḏron torrent, where there was a garden, into which He and His taught ones entered.
Mat 26:30 And having sung a song, they went out to the Mount of Olives

It is at this point that we would sing one hymn. Not a joyful one, but one that would reflect on the somberness of the evening. I am sorry I cannot think of one at this time.

Once we sung the hymn we would all leave and go home with nothing else said and no socialising. Let everyone think about the events of this night. If you talk to others then you would be interrupting them as they contemplated what they have just read and heard and done.

You could then go on to read the rest of John during the day when Yehshua was killed. I also watch the Passion to remind me of the suffering he went through.

Yehshua was the lamb, He was the Passover Lamb which was killed at 3 PM on the 14th day of Aviv. The meal Yehshua had the night before which we have just read about was not the Passover meal. Once the Passover lamb is killed on the 14th which is the exact same time when Yehshua was killed, then that lamb had to be roasted and taken back to the homes to be eaten.

We do not have a Temple today. You are not to kill a Passover lamb unless it is done at the Temple. You can purchase lamb at the store to eat but do not sacrifice a lamb on this day. It is murder as Torah states.

During this evening when you eat the Passover Lamb or chicken or fish or whatever kosher food you decide on, it is the beginning of the 15th, the First day of Unleavened Bread which is when the blood from that lamb killed at the Temple, is taken and placed on your door post and lintel. It is on this night of the 15th while you’re eating the lamb that the Death angel passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt. When Morning came the first born of all the Egyptians was dead and Israel then left Egypt traveling over the Sinai during the 7 days of Unleavened Bread arriving at Nuweiba where they would cross the Red Sea.

I like to watch the Ten Commandments on this night.

Brethren are you aware there is a relationship between this festival of Passover and the Patriarch Abraham. Yehovah first mentions foot washing, unleavened bread and wine in a religious ceremony with Abraham. There is more to the story than what we have been told so far. Yehshua did not implement something new and foreign in his day. Abraham did not think it unusual to take of the bread and the wine with Melchizedek when he brought it out to him after the battle.

Gen 14:17 And after his return from the defeat of Keḏorlaʽomer and the sovereigns who were with him, the sovereign of Seḏom came out to meet him at the Valley of Shawĕh, that is, the Sovereign’s Valley. 18 And Malkitseḏeq sovereign of Shalĕm brought out bread and wine. Now he was the priest of the Most High Ěl. 19 And he blessed him and said, “Blessed be Aḇram of the Most High Ěl, Possessor of the heavens and earth. 20 “And blessed be the Most High Ěl who has delivered your enemies into your hand.” And he gave him a tenth of all.

Gen 17:11 “And you shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin, and it shall become a sign of the covenant between Me and you. 12 “And a son of eight days is circumcised by you, every male child in your generations, he who is born in your house or bought with silver from any foreigner who is not of your seed. 13 “He who is born in your house, and he who is bought with your silver, has to be circumcised. So shall My covenant be in your flesh, for an everlasting covenant. 14 “And an uncircumcised male child, who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin, his life shall be cut off from his people – he has broken My covenant.”

Again when Abraham met the angels who were on their way to Sodom he again brought out bread and washed their feet. You will see the time of year when these angels arrive at Lots door.

Gen 18:1 And יהוה appeared to him by the terebinth trees of Mamrĕ, while he was sitting in the tent door in the heat of the day. 2 So he lifted his eyes and looked, and saw three men standing opposite him. And when he saw them, he ran from the tent door to meet them, and bowed himself to the ground, 3 and said, “יהוה, if I have now found favour in Your eyes, please do not pass Your servant by. 4 “Please let a little water be brought, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree. 5 “And let me bring a piece of bread and refresh your hearts, and then go on, for this is why you have come to your servant.” And they said, “Do as you have said.” 6 So Aḇraham ran into the tent to Sarah and said, “Hurry, make ready three measures of fine flour, knead it and make cakes.” 7 And Aḇraham ran to the herd, took a tender and good calf, gave it to a young man, and he hurried to prepare it. 8 And he took curds and milk and the calf which he had prepared, and set it before them, and he stood by them under the tree as they ate.

Gen 19:1 And the two messengers came to Seḏom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gate of Seḏom. And when Lot saw them, he rose up to meet them, and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground, 2 and he said, “Look, please my masters, please turn in to your servant’s house and spend the night, and wash your feet, and rise early and go your way.” And they said, “No, but let us spend the night in the open square.” 3 But he urged them strongly, and they turned in to him and came into his house. And he made them a feast, and baked unleavened bread, and they ate.

What did Abraham understand about the Plan of Yehovah?

Abraham knew about the meaning of the symbols of the covenant: foot washing, bread, wine, and circumcision. Yehshua did not add anything new to this day at the beginning of the 14th. What He did was to bring it back our attention the very same things that Abraham already knew.

May Yehovah bless you as you obey and keep His Passover according to His timing and in His order. And May He bless you as you consider the new symbols Yehshua showed us which were there from Abraham’s time until now.

We continue this weekend with our regular Triennial Torah reading which can be found at http://www.sightedmoon.com/files/TriennialCycleBeginningAviv.pdf

31/03/2012 Lev 21-22 Ezek 20-22 James 3:19-5:20

Leviticus 21-22

Laws for the Priests and Fitness for Service (Leviticus 21-22)
Because God is holy, His priests, who serve Him and represent Him to His people, must also be holy.

God is eternal and wholly separate from sin. Human death is the product of sin. So, God’s priests must be separate from defilement through death. To accomplish this, the priests were forbidden to become defiled with the death of any person who was not a direct and close family member. Proper mourning was appropriate, and hence mourning for a father or mother, brother or sister, son or daughter was permitted. But otherwise, the priest had to be kept far from the defilement of the dead. For the high priest, even defilement for parents was not permitted, nor outward signs of mourning allowed.

Again, tonsures (area shaving of the head), certain beard trimming and body piercing for the priests are prohibited. Such practices were pagan in origin and God wanted His priesthood to be distinctively non-pagan.

Priestly marriages were also subject to stipulations not bound upon the average Israelite. In the case of the high priest, it very clearly states that he could marry only an Israelite virgin. Moreover, the priests of God had to be physically unblemished to perform certain rites. A blemished or deformed priest could not enter within the Holy Place, nor could he officiate at the altar. He could, however, engage in the other duties of the priesthood and partake of the offerings. The spiritual parallels with Jesus Christ, our High Priest, should be obvious.

Not only did the priests’ conduct and station in life have to be holy before a holy God, but even their momentary circumstances had to be holy. To officiate at the altar, a priest had to have no ritual defilement upon him. If defiled by disease, bodily discharge, a dead body, a discharge of semen (which may have symbolized the unfruitful going forth of life), an unclean animal, an unclean person, or by any other means, the priest could not officiate until he was ritually cleansed. Ritual uncleanness was representative of sin. And the holy God cannot be defiled by sin—so everything connected with approach to Him must be without its stain.

Furthermore, if defiled, the priest could not partake of the holy offerings. The priests received portions of certain offerings, which they and their immediate families could eat. But those who partook of the offerings had to also be ritually pure. Thus, as we can see, those who serve God and benefit from His service, must all be clean.

The concluding portions of this section deal with sacrificial fitness. The animals sacrificed to God were symbolic of Christ in different ways. Christ was morally and spiritually perfect and unblemished. Thus, the animals that typified Him had to be physically perfect and unblemished. A sacrifice or offering made with a defective animal was rejected, and an insult to the perfect God. Carnal man would prefer to give God the defects and keep the good for himself. But this God will not allow. Moreover, it was required that sacrifices be from the worshiper’s own goods—not from a foreigner’s goods. Every sacrifice must “cost” the one sacrificing. Finally notice, once again, that the chapter closes with an emphasis on holiness.

Ezekiel 20-22

A History of Rebellion, a Future of Redemption (Ezekiel 20:1-44)
Chapter 20 begins a new section of the book of Ezekiel. The starting date in verse 1 equates to August of 591 B.C. The section continues to the end of chapter 23, as 24:1 gives a new date, January of 588 B.C. Our current reading encompasses the first 44 verses of chapter 20. “The chapter division in the MT [Masoretic Text, the authoritative Hebrew version] is between v. 44 and v. 45 in the English text. This division best follows the argument of the book at this point” (Expositor’s Bible Commentary, footnote on verse 44). This fact becomes even clearer in our next reading.

Again “certain of the elders of Israel” among the Jewish exiles come to Ezekiel to seek information from God as they did in chapter 14. Yet it is clear that when God addresses them, He is speaking not only to them—as they were probably not passing children through the fire at this time—but to the “house of Israel,” the nation they represented (verse 31). Moreover, since the latter part of the chapter concerns “all the house of Israel” (verse 40) being purged of sin and returning to the Promised Land from captivity in the future, it is likely that the message is intended not just for the Jews of Ezekiel’s day but for all Israel in the last days.
As God answered before, He says He refuses to be questioned by these elders or the nation (verse 3, 31). Instead, He has Ezekiel proclaim to them the “the abominations of their fathers” (verse 4). Israel’s history has been one long series of rebellions against God. The point is not that the Jews of Ezekiel’s time or Israelites of the future are to be punished for the sins of their forefathers (as Ezekiel 18 made clear). Rather, God recognized in the Jews of that day, and all Israel today, the same rebellious spirit that had characterized the nation historically. Evil cultural traditions were passed on from one generation to another. It is likely that the Jews of Ezekiel’s day were relying on their “noble heritage” to preserve them. God’s retort: Let’s take a hard look at that heritage—it’s not so good; better think again! Indeed, the actions of the people had many times brought severe judgment from God. Yet included here was a message of hope. While God purged rebellion through punishment, He never completely wiped out the nation—and never would.

The accounts of rebellion begin with Israel’s time in Egypt. In verses 7-8, “God spoke of something not explained in the Book of Exodus; that is, the Israelites had engaged in the idolatry of the Egyptians during their sojourn there. Thus, though not mentioned elsewhere, there was the threat of divine retribution against the people before the time of the Exodus (which is mentioned in [Ezekiel 20] v. 10)” (Nelson Study Bible, note on verse 8) .

In verses 9, 14 and 22, God explains that He acted “for My name’s sake.” God’s name carries His reputation and signifies all He stands for. When the Israelites sinned, they, as His representatives, essentially profaned His name before other nations (see also 36:20). Their unfaithfulness is labeled as “blasphemy” (see 20:27). God consistently upholds the honor of His name, so that all will be sure to take Him seriously. This necessitated punishment for disobedience—but also the preservation of Israel as a nation to fulfill His promises.

Profaning or blaspheming God’s name was a violation of the Third Commandment, against taking God’s name in vain. Israel also broke the First Commandment, against worshiping other gods, the Second against using idols or images in worship and the Fourth, against breaking God’s Sabbath. The first four of the Ten Commandments outline man’s duty to God—and the fact that all were transgressed clearly illustrates Israel’s rebellion against God. Indeed, the focus of Ezekiel 20 is Israel’s idolatry and Sabbath breaking as the primary basis for past judgment—as it would be for coming judgment (see Ezekiel 22). This was according to the specific terms of God’s covenant with the nation. In listing the blessings for national obedience and curses for disobedience, He began with a specific mention of idolatry and Sabbath breaking (see Leviticus 26:1-2).

The seventh-day Sabbath was to be a sign to show that Israel acknowledged Him as the one true Creator God and that they were His chosen people (Ezekiel 20:12, 20; Exodus 31:12-17). It continues, in fact, as the day God commands for rest and holiness—it is still a sign for distinguishing God’s people (see Hebrews 4:9-10, which states that the Sabbath rest remains, and our free booklet, Sunset to Sunset: God’s Sabbath Rest). It is not the only identifying sign, of course, because many keep the Sabbath without really knowing why or obeying God in all other areas—but it is nonetheless an important one and certainly one of the most visible. Sadly, the modern nations of Israel—those of northwest European heritage, chief of which are the United States and Britain—stand guilty of idolatry and, especially, of Sabbath breaking, which they do not even recognize as sin. It is partly because they don’t recognize and honor God’s Sabbath that they cannot truly understand and know God (see again Ezekiel 20:12, 20).

In verses 11, 13 and 21, God quotes Leviticus 18:5, which explains that God gave the people statutes and judgments that would enable them to live, and states that the people had rejected these. This verse in Leviticus had introduced laws of sexual morality, forbidding adultery, incest, homosexuality, etc. The clear implication is that Israel had sunk into sexual depravity (compare Ezekiel 22:9-11).

So, God says, He “gave them up to statutes that were not good, and judgments by which they could not live” (20:25). Some theologians gravely misinterpret this verse as meaning that, because of the Israelites’ disobedience, God imposed on them “bad laws,” such as sacrifices, tithing, the Holy Days, etc. Of course, God does not give “bad laws.” This verse has nothing to do with any laws that He gave—whether ceremonial laws instituted for a time or permanent statutes such as tithing and the Holy Days. Rather, as Psalm 81:12 explains, God gave them over to their own stubborn hearts’ desires and reasoning. In other words, He let Israel reap what it had sown. Romans 1:18-32 mentions how people who rejected God and His truth were given over to lewd and evil practices such as homosexuality—an exact parallel with Ezekiel 20. The Israelites descended so far as to burn their children in sacrifice (verse 26). In short, God allowed the Israelites to depart from His system of law and morality and embrace that of the world around them—to their great detriment, so they would ultimately learn a powerful lesson.
God decries Israel’s participation in pagan worship beginning not long after the nation came into Canaan. In verse 29 God says: “Then I said to them, ‘What is this high place to which you go?’ So its name is called Bamah [high place] to this day.” The Israelites had worshiped at pagan high places (hill shrines) so much that “high place” became a generic term for any place of worship, still in common usage in Ezekiel’s time.
In verses 30-31, God warns the people of Israel—the Jews of Ezekiel’s time and all Israel of the end time—that they are following the wicked example of their ancestors. The modern Israelite nations are, as mentioned, replete with idolatry and Sabbath breaking. Sexual immorality is commonplace and widely accepted among them. And, as mentioned in the Bible Reading Program commentary on Ezekiel 16, their people are guilty of child sacrifice—that is, through abortion or “offering” children over to society’s ultimately lethal values.

God will not allow the nation to cross-examine Him (20:31). Instead, its people will be punished. Still, “judgment isn’t a sign God has abandoned. It is evidence that He keeps on being committed to us [compare Hebrews 12:5-11]. Israel wanted to desert God and serve pagan deities ([Ezekiel 20] v. 32). God says ‘Never.’ His love is greater than all our sin. We can stray, but God will bring us back to Him” (Bible Reader’s Companion, note on verses 32-38). Of course, whether an individual remains faithful to God is ultimately that person’s choice. But, knowing the human heart, God is confident of saving the vast majority of His people.

God will ultimately deliver the Israelites with an outpouring of fury on the unrepentant among them and on their enemies (verses 33-34). Verse 34 shows that God planned to regather the Israelites even as He was determining to scatter them. As in the original Exodus, God will again lead the people through the wilderness in a journey of return to the Holy Land (verses 35-36). The passage here refers not to the Jewish return from Babylonian exile in ancient times but to a future return of all Israel.

But there is a warning here. God says, “I will make you pass under the rod” (verse 37). This terminology is used in Leviticus 27:32 in reference to a shepherd counting His sheep with respect to tithing, where one out of ten is devoted to God. This could mean an enumeration or the indication that many Israelites will die and that God will start over again with a “tithe” of those who go into captivity (compare Amos 5:3). This certainly fits the imagery of the purge God says He is conducting—to get rid of the rebels (not allowing them to return to the land of Israel) before bringing those who are left back to the Promised Land and into His covenant (Ezekiel 20:37-38).

Verse 39, in the New American Standard Bible, states, “Go ahead and worship your idols for now, you Israelites, because soon I will no longer let you dishonor me by offering gifts to them.” God will put a stop to their idolatry—through bringing the people to repentance and removing those who refuse to repent. God’s “holy mountain, on the mountain height of Israel” (verse 40) is here a reference to God’s future Kingdom, in which Jesus Christ will reign over Israel and all nations from Jerusalem (see Isaiah 2:2-4; Micah 4:1-3). At last, the Israelites will understand the evil of their ways and come to hate them. They will finally come to know the true God and embrace His ways in genuine repentance.

Fire and Sword Against the South (Ezekiel 20:45-21:32)
As noted in the previous reading, the authoritative Hebrew text of the Old Testament has a chapter break after Ezekiel 20:44, making verses 45-49 part of the next chapter. This makes sense, as there is a clear thematic break from the previous section. God goes from the promise of future national restoration to the call again for judgment. Verses 45-49 contain a parable in this regard that is interpreted in the first seven verses of chapter 21.

The message of this section is for the “south.” In fact, Ezekiel 20:46 uses three different Hebrew terms translated “south.” “The three words used for ’south’ in this verse are (1) temanah which basically means ‘right,’ so that when facing east in the normal orientation of that day, the ‘right’ would be ’south’; (2) darom is Ezekiel’s normal designation for ’south,’ used only for geographical directions in all O[ld] T[estament] occurrences; and (3) neghebh [or Negev], a term that denotes a ‘dried-up land,’ normally the region south of the Judean hill country from Beersheba south, though it is also used for geographical direction (especially here combined with the word ‘forest’)” (Expositor’s Bible Commentary, footnote on verse 46). “The southern forest referred to the southern kingdom of Judah, a forested area in biblical times, even into the upper Negev” (note on verses 45-49). The point is to emphasize whom the prophecy concerns—the Jews of the land of Judah in Ezekiel’s own day.

The “forest” is also a figurative reference to Jerusalem and its royalty, the royal buildings having been built from Lebanon cedars—the national armory even named the “House of the Forest of Lebanon” (see 1 Kings 7:2; 10:17). Through Jeremiah God had foretold the fall of Judah’s royal family this way: “They shall cut down your choice cedars and cast them into the fire” (Jeremiah 22:6-7).

Ezekiel complains to God that those hearing his message dismiss his words as too mysterious to understand (Ezekiel 20:49). So God directs him to explain matters more clearly.

The message is for Jerusalem, the holy places of the land and all those in “the land of Israel,” which, in context, meant Judah of that time (21:2). The “fire” that would spread “from the south to the north” (20:47-48) represented a “sword” of warfare “against all flesh from south to north” (21:3-4). “From the south to the north” may simply mean everywhere throughout the country. But it could also indicate the direction of destruction. Later in the chapter, the sword is referred to as “the sword of the king of Babylon” (verse 19). While the Babylonian invasion of Judah would initially come from the north, it is interesting to note that the Babylonians would withdraw from their siege of Jerusalem to march south to face oncoming Egyptian forces—and then turn around, wreaking devastation from south to north, in a final onslaught against Jerusalem.

God says to the land, “I will draw my sword…and cut off both righteous and wicked from you” (verse 3). “This pairing shows that God was going to allow the dreadful temporal consequences of sin to affect everyone in the land, both faithful and unfaithful” (Nelson Study Bible, note on verses 3-5). Yet it should be pointed out that if the faithful are allowed to die, that does not mean they are being punished as the wicked. Indeed, since they will be resurrected later, this could well be a way to spare them further suffering (compare Isaiah 57:1-2). There are many examples in Scripture of God allowing His true servants to be killed. However, the cutting off of the righteous from the land by the sword does not necessarily mean their death. This could also mean that they are deported—physically taken away from the land—as a result of military invasion. Indeed, this must at least be included in the meaning, as verse 4 says the sword is against “all flesh” in the land, and yet we know that many people were not killed. In any case, the removal of the righteous, through either death or deportation, removes the possibility of God preserving the nation for their sake (compare Genesis 18:16-33).

God tells Ezekiel to make a big display of emotion, sighing in great agony and distress, to illustrate what the reaction of the people will be when they receive news that their country is invaded and being destroyed. The phrase “breaking heart…translates words that literally mean, ‘breaking loins,’ suggesting great emotional upheaval” (Nelson Study Bible, note on verse 6). The feeble hands and weak knees of the people (verse 7) are also foretold in Ezekiel 7:17—in a passage representing ancient Judah’s destruction as typical of end-time destruction (which may be a hint of some duality in Ezekiel 21 even though the message was primarily for Ezekiel’s own day).

There are five sword oracles in chapter 21: verses 3-7, 8-17, 18-24, 25-27, 28-32. Again, the sword signifies the military power to make war. God says the sword belongs to Him (verse 3) but He gives it “into the hand of the slayer” (verse 11)—revealed in verse 19 to be the king of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar. God says this sword is set against “the scepter of My son” just as it is set against “all wood” in the country (verse 10) or, put better, “every tree” (KJV), bringing in again the figure of the forest that was to be cut down and burned. God had earlier explained that the nation of Israel was His “son” (Exodus 4:22; Hosea 11:1). And the “scepter” was the symbol of the nation’s rulers. “The sword has no more respect to the trivial ‘rod’ or scepter of Judah (Gen. 49:10) than if it were any common ‘tree.’ ‘Tree’ is the image retained from ch. 20:47″ (Jamieson, Fausset & Brown’s Commentary, note on Ezekiel 21:10).

Indeed, verse 12 explains that the sword will be against the people and princes of the nation. For this reason, Ezekiel is told to “cry and wail”—either as a lament or, perhaps more likely, as a further demonstration of the future reaction of the people to “terrors.” He is to “strike his thigh,” a sign of deep anguish and grief, “because it is a testing” (verse 13)—that is, a “trial,” as the word has been alternatively rendered. And if the trial of this invasion is directed against the scepter, would the scepter survive? This is a crucial question, as God had promised in Genesis 49:10 that the scepter would remain with Judah until the time of the coming of the Messiah to claim it. He had promised King David an unbreakable dynasty that would rule from a throne in all generations (2 Samuel 7; Psalm 89:4). The Davidic throne’s survival is addressed later in the chapter.

In Ezekiel 21:14, God tells Ezekiel to strike his hands together, perhaps clapping to gain attention or making a gesture of anger or readiness to fight similar to the modern fist punched into an open palm (compare Numbers 24:10). “Let the sword strike twice, even three times” (Ezekiel 21:14, NIV) may be idiomatic for the intensity of punishment (compare Proverbs 6:16). Yet it could signify an actual number of strikes. Ezekiel 21:12 had stated that the sword would strike the people and the princes (two strikes), and many who went into captivity would be struck later (a third strike to finish the job). It is also conceivable that the three strikes meant the three periods of destruction against the Jews in the Holy Land—the Babylonian invasion of Ezekiel’s day, the Roman destruction in apostolic times and the end-time destruction the Bible foretells. Of course, it may be that something else is intended. Commentators have offered a number of possibilities.

In verses 18-19, God tells Ezekiel to represent two possible routes of Babylonian conquest. This probably means he “drew a map, perhaps in the dirt or on a brick, on which he made a road from Babylonia toward Canaan. He placed a signpost in the road where it forked, one branch leading toward Rabbath-Ammon, the capital of Ammon [known today as Amman, Jordan], and the other branch descending to Jerusalem (vv. 18-20). Damascus was the normal junction where the road divided. The king of Babylonia, Nebuchadnezzar, was shown standing at the fork in the road, using all manner of magic and divination in order to determine which nation he should attack first (v. 21). The combined conspiracy of Judah and Ammon against Babylonia in 589 B.C. undoubtedly precipitated this coming of the Babylonian army. Shaking arrows inscribed with personal or place names (belomancy) was a form of casting lots. Each arrow was marked with a name, the arrows placed in the quiver, the quiver whirled about, and the first arrow to fall out was the gods’ decision. Household idols were intimately related to ancestral inheritance. Perhaps also they were consulted as mediums, representatives for their forefathers, who were supposed to give guidance (necromancy). The liver, being the seat of the life, was commonly examined with a decision of divination being determined from its color or markings (hepatoscopy). Nebuchadnezzar used all three means of divination with the same result. Though God did not condone divination in any form, he was the sovereign God who controlled all things. He could control these pagan practices to accomplish his will (cf. Jer 27:6)” (Expositor’s, note on verses 18-21).

God says the signs will point to Jerusalem, so Nebuchadnezzar will give the order to besiege the Jewish capital (verse 22). Verse 23 in the New Living Translation reads: “The people of Jerusalem will think it is a mistake, because of their treaty with the Babylonians. But the king of Babylon will remind the people of their rebellion. Then he will attack and capture them.”

Verses 25-32 are written against Zedekiah. He is to “remove the diadem and take off the crown” (verse 26, KJV). Some see diadem here as a reference to the miter of the priesthood, but that would not apply to Zedekiah. Rather, the imagery here is of stripping Zedekiah of the Israelite crown—of the kingship. Yet what of God’s scepter promise?

God continues in verse 26, “This shall not be the same” (KJV). There was a change occurring in regard to the national crown. Then notice: “Exalt him that is low and abase him that is high” (KJV). The abasement of the high is easy to understand: Zedekiah being brought down. But what is meant by the exaltation of him that is low in the same context? It must refer to crowning someone else with Davidic kingship. As explained in our online publication The Throne of Britain: Its Biblical Origin and Future, the Jewish monarchy continued through a daughter of Zedekiah who married into Israelite royalty, transplanting the Davidic scepter from Judah to Israel in ancient Ireland. As was noted in Ezekiel 17:22-24, the abasement of the high and the exaltation of the low concerned not just the rulers themselves but their nations—Judah, losing the Davidic monarchy, was brought low and Israel was raised up.

Where the New King James version repeats the word “overthrown” three times in Ezekiel 21:27, other versions repeat the word “ruined.” The King James Version has “overturn”—a toppling or pulling down to be sure but allowing for a shift and replanting elsewhere. Jeremiah’s commission was to pull down but also to plant and rebuild (Jeremiah 1:9-10)—and he was the key figure in transferring the throne.

Verse 27 then seems to say that the throne would “be no more” (KJV)—i.e., cease to exist—until centuries later with the coming of Him to whom it belongs, Jesus Christ. But remember that God had promised that David would have a descendant reigning on his throne in every generation. So it seems that a better translation of the verse would be: “I will overturn, overturn, overturn it; and it shall be no more [overturned] until He come whose right it is.” The mentioning of overturn three times would seem to imply that the throne would be pulled down and moved three times. As our online publication explains, the first transfer was from Judah to Ireland. The second was from Ireland to Scotland. And the third was from Scotland to England. The monarchy of Great Britain is the chief monarchy of David.

Finally we see that Nebuchadnezzar’s decision to destroy Jerusalem had not gotten the Ammonites off the hook. They were still slated for punishment by the sword of invasion and slaughter. The first part of Ezekiel 21:30 is clearer in the King James Version: “Shall I cause it to return to its sheath?” The answer is no—not without first destroying Ammon.

A number years prior, “while Jehoiakim was king (608-598 B.C.; 2 Kin. 24:2), the Ammonites joined other nations east of the Jordan in raiding Judean territory, in return for protection from Nebuchadnezzar. Later, during the reign of Zedekiah (c. 593 B.C.), Ammon, Moab, Edom, and others conspired against Babylon, but with false hopes of help from Egypt (Jer. 27:3-11)” (Nelson Study Bible, note on Ezekiel 21:28). The people of Ammon mocked the Jews, delighting in the destruction of Jerusalem and its temple—happy that they were not the subject of Babylon’s conquest. Yet “the fall of Jerusalem meant only that Judah would be judged first. Some Judeans took refuge in Ammon (see Jer. 41:1-3). God remembered Ammon’s animosity and foretold its future as a place that shall not be remembered. The events of Jer. 41 led to a Babylonian expedition against Ammon in which the capital city Rabbah was sacked and many inhabitants deported (see 25:1-7). Ammon was later invaded by Arabs and its autonomy ceased. Eventually it was absorbed into the Persian Empire” (note on Ezekiel 21:31-32).

Again, it is possible that there is some duality here regarding the end time, when Ammon will initially escape devastation at the hand of the future Roman/Babylonian dictator (see Daniel 11:41) but will later suffer judgment (see Amos 1:13-15; Jeremiah 49:1-6). Another prophecy against Ammon is given in Ezekiel 25:1-7.

The Bloody City; Dross in a Furnace; Standing in the Gap (Ezekiel 22)
Chapter 22 presents us with three messages from God. The first is a record of national abominations as the basis for judgment (verses 1-16). The second is metaphor of metal smelting to demonstrate that God’s judgment reveals the entire nation to be spiritually worthless (verses 17-22). And the third decries the wickedness of every stratum of society, from the nation’s religious and civil leaders to the average person (verses 23-31).

The first section concerns “the bloody city” (verse 2). It is not stated here what city is meant but the context shows it to be Jerusalem as representative of the entire Jewish nation in Ezekiel’s day—and probably of all Israel and Judah of future ages, especially the end time. That Jerusalem of Ezekiel’s day is intended is clear from the fact that when the Babylonian siege against the city begins, God tells the prophet to proclaim “woe to the bloody city” (see 24:1-3, 6, 9).

This is a horrible designation, given previously to the Assyrian capital of Nineveh (Nahum 3:1). The Assyrians had received this distinction for brutalizing other nations, but Jerusalem “sheds blood in her own midst” (Ezekiel 22:3). One way this came about was in connection with the nation’s terrible idolatry. The Valley of Hinnom was a renowned place for idol worship, where children were sacrificed to Molech. The nation’s leaders used their power to have others murdered (verse 6). Many people made false accusations against others to have them put to death (verse 9). In later centuries, Jesus Christ explained that Jerusalem was guilty of the blood of the righteous, putting many of God’s servants to death (Matthew 23:34-37). Indeed, Jesus Himself was killed there.

Throughout the nations of Israel today, murder rates are high—and the guilty are not justly punished. A million and a half unborn infants are murdered in the United States alone every single year—through the determination and ruling of many of our national leaders and judges. And the entire culture is taught a way of life leading to personal destruction and, ultimately, national suicide.

A whole host of sins, particularly among the nation’s leaders, are listed in this section. “Whenever the attitudes detailed here appear in a society, it is near collapse. What are the signs? The undermining of parental authority (v. 7a). Injustices that take advantage of the poor and helpless (v. 7b). Indifference of leaders to the best interests of those they rule, as well as indifference to the things of God (v. 8) . A legal reign of terror, including murders (v. 9a). Leaders engaging in sex sins (vv. 9b-11) and seeking illicit personal profit (v. 12). When any society forgets God and strays from its spiritual foundations, its leadership will become corrupt and the nation will ultimately fall. Where is our society today? Apply Ezekiel’s criteria and decide for yourself” (Bible Reader’s Companion, note on verses 7-12).

As in chapter 20, Sabbath breaking is shown to be a big reason for national punishment, being mentioned in both Ezekiel 22:8 and verse 26. Eating on the mountains in verse 9—as in 18:6 and verse 11—refers to participation in pagan worship.

God concludes that He will scatter the people of the nation in line with other prophecies of national deportation. This certainly happened to the Jews of Ezekiel’s day. It had already happened to the northern kingdom of Israel more than a century earlier. In early Christian times, it would again happen to the Jewish nation. And at the time of the end, it will happen to the nations of Israel and Judah together. Notice that God says that through this he would remove the nation’s filthiness, its spiritual defilement of sin, “completely.” While the removal of sinful behavior was accomplished by degrees through previous captivities, the complete removal of the nation’s sins would seem to point mainly to the captivity of the end time, in which the severe humbling of the people will pave the way for their acceptance of Jesus Christ. For only the acceptance of Christ’s sacrifice provides a true atonement for sin, and only His life within a person through the Holy Spirit enables that person to truly obey God as God requires. The Jewish people obviously have yet to accept Christ. But so do the supposedly “Christian” nations of modern Israel, as they have not really submitted to the true Christ and His ways.

The next section of Ezekiel 22 concerns the “house of Israel” being placed “into the midst of a furnace.” This applied on one level to the invasion and destruction of ancient Judah by the Babylonians. But as with other prophecies in Ezekiel, it also seems to point to the fire of the terrible Great Tribulation that will engulf Israel and Judah shortly before the return of Christ.

The focus of this section is the parable of the metal in a furnace being revealed as all dross. That is, the impurity is so pervasive that there is nothing of value left. Similar imagery was given in Jeremiah 6:27-30, where Jeremiah, as an “assayer,” was to label the nation “rejected silver.” In Isaiah 1:21-22, God had likewise lamented: “How the faithful city has become a harlot! It was full of justice; righteousness lodged in it, but now murderers. Your silver has become dross.”

Trials leading up to final destruction served to reveal the widespread corruption. “Judgment displays the people’s impurity ([Ezekiel 22] vv. 17-22)… Just as the hot fires of the smelter’s furnace cause the dross to come to the surface and reveal the purified silver, so in times of divine judgment human beings are driven to act according to their character. The selfish become more cruel and self-centered; the godly more compassionate and caring. Remember this when troubles come to you, and let the fires of God’s judgment on society bring out the best in you!” (note on verses 1-31).

Indeed, besides the focus on the destruction God would ultimately bring, the verses here “also point to the fiery ordeals and trials that force all of us into a more perfect relationship with our Lord (see v. 22; Ps. 66:10; Jer. 9:7; Dan. 11:35; 12:10; Zech. 13:9; Mal. 3:1-3; James 1:2-4)” (Nelson Study Bible, note on Ezekiel 22:17-22).

Verses 23-31 show that corruption pervades the entire society. The civil rulers use their positions for harm and personal gain (verse 27). The prophets and priests—the religious preachers and teachers—are causing the people to be destroyed (verse 25-26). They violate God’s law, setting an evil example. Moreover, they fail to distinguish “between the holy and unholy” or “between the unclean and the clean.” They do not teach the people of God’s Holy Days or of His holy tithes. They do not teach what God declares food fit for human consumption and what he forbids to be eaten. God even says that they have “hidden their eyes” from His Sabbaths—refusing to even look into the possibility that they should be observed. How true all of this is today throughout the churches of the nations of Israel!

Verse 28 repeats a theme from Ezekiel 13—prophets falsely claiming to be relaying God’s teachings or message, whitewashing over the sins of the nation and giving the people a false sense of security. The results are apparent. “The people of the land” (22:29)—the common people, average citizens—stand guilty of severely mistreating others, oppressing and robbing them.

Verse 30 reflects God’s continual hope that His wrath may be diverted. He does not rejoice in punishing even those deserving of punishment. So He looks for those who might “stand in the gap” for the people. This also repeats imagery from Ezekiel 13, where God said of Israel’s prophets, “You have not gone up into the gaps to build a wall for the house of Israel to stand in battle on the day of the Lord” (verse 5). This gives us further reason to see an end-time application of Ezekiel 22. Again, as pointed out in chapter 13 and 22:28, rather than repairing the gaps in Israel’s moral condition, which would give the nation real security, the false prophets effectively plaster over the gaps with a thin whitewash, leaving the people defenseless but deluded and complacent.

Standing in the gap is the mark of a man of God. It involves trying to protect others through interceding for them in prayer and seeing to it that they are told what God really wants them to know. Sadly, God says He cannot find anyone to fill this responsibility. Yet when Ezekiel wrote, did not he and Jeremiah both fit that description? And in the end time, will there not be true Christians with the proper mindset? Yes, but “a qualified leader is useless if the people refuse to be led” (Nelson Study Bible, note on verse 30). What God must be saying is that He is not able to find anyone to repair the society’s spiritual gaps because anyone who might actually be able to would be rejected by the people.

So God says He will pour out His fury on the nation (verse 31). Tragically, people today do not even conceive of God as ever being wrathful and righteously indignant. They make fun of that concept as backward and unenlightened. So many today see God as always gentle, always forgiving no matter what—never judging or punishing people for even the greatest crimes. People have forgotten about the God who flooded the earth, rained destruction on Sodom and Gomorrah, slew the firstborn of Egypt and brought famines, diseases and military invasion on ancient Israel and Judah as punishment for sin. The same God stands ready to justly punish our evil society today—not to punish for punishment’s sake, but rather for the sake of turning the collective hearts and minds of people away from the sin that destroys them, to lead mankind into a lawful way of living that will bring rich and abundant blessings for all who will submit to Him.

James 3:19-5:20

Fightings and strivings. Where do they come from in the assembly? James tells us: pleasures that battle in your members! What are the members used here? The word indicates that James is speaking of “parts of the body” as in a limb. Also, the eyes and ears are members of the body that lust and feed the selfish passions of the soul. We look around and compare what we do not have to what others do have and covet. Then with our words, we murder out of jealously and judgment upon others in our assembly who we are supposed to love as ourselves. Someone else has something we want and we ask Elohim for it. James tells us this is asking evilly! This word evilly means: badly (physically or morally): - amiss, diseased, evil, grievously, miserably, sick, sore. We ask for physical things into order to spend it on our own pleasures.

Then James tells us, this activity is adultery. Why? Because we are desiring things of the world over and above the things of Elohim! Pray and ask for Righteousness and the fruits of the Spirit. Friendship with the world is enmity with Elohim. He resists the proud, but gives favour to the humble. If we resist the adversary, he will flee from us.

Do not speak against one another. He who speaks against a brother and judges his brother, speaks against Torah and judges Torah. If we judge Torah, we are not a doer of Torah, but a judge. There is One Lawgiver and Judge, who is able to save and to destroy. Who are we to judge another?

In Chapter 5, James turns his attention to speak to the wealthy. He speaks of hardships coming their way, especially in the last days. The riches will rot, the garments will become moth-eaten. Their gold and silver will become rusty and the rust will be a witness against them. The word “rust” here is a corrosion or corruption and is likened to poison or venom of a viper! This kind of treasure is heaped up and will not deliver in the last days!

James admonishes those ones who live in luxury while the brothers of service are not paid, who condemn and murder the righteous. Elohim hears their cries and He remembers. He is waiting like a farmer for the precious fruits that are brought forth due to the early and the latter rain. We are to also be patient (as He is patient) for His coming. Each day it is nearer than the day before.

We are not to grumble against our brothers because our Master is the Judge and He is near. In grumbling against our brothers – we are judged! Remember the prophets in their suffering, endurance, and patience. We now call them blessed. Remember all they endured who spoke in the Name of YHWH.

Do not swear. For an honest person does not need this. Just say yes or no and let your word stand on its own merit and worth. Are you suffering evil? Pray. Are you in good spirits? Sing songs. Is any among you sick? Call for the elders to pray, anoint with oil in the Name of Yeshua. The prayer of the belief shall save the sick, Yeshua raise them us, and sins forgiven.

Confess to one another trespasses, pray for one another. Brothers, if anyone among you goes astray from the truth, and someone turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the straying of his way shall save a life from death and cover a great number of sins.

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