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News Letter 5848-005
15th day of the 1st month 5848 years after the creation of Adam
The First Day of Unleavened Bread & Passover
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
April 7, 2012

Shabbat Shalom Brethren and Family, May you have a blessed Passover. This message is for after the Passover events are over in your house and before the 1st day of the week.

Last weeks News Letter has brought out a number of varied responses. This caused me to send out the second one on ‘Ben Ha Arbayim or Between the Evenings-When is it?’ To help those who are not sure, to understand when the Passover is to be eaten.

Here is one letter I would like to share.

Joe,
I have never seen the Last Supper presented like this before, but it most beautiful, most powerful.

We should be in remembrance on this night of what our Messiah suffered for us. “Could we not watch with Him one hour?”

It also clearly lays out the distinction of the Last Supper and the Passover. We go from the somber, heavy cost of our redemption to the joyful celebration of our deliverance.

How beautiful and effective!
As I think on it, it is only right that we who follow Him and claim Him as our Messiah and King, should remember Him and “be with Him” at this time. We are with Him and remembering Him now as our Messiah. In the future Messianic Kingdom, we will be with Him and celebrate with Him as our King!

I think from now on, this will be a part of our celebration of this time.

Thank you, Joe, for sharing the insight the Father gave you.

Peace and Blessings,
Fran

I received the following from a man I greatly admire. His words to me mean a great deal and I love and cherish his encouragement that he has sent to me these past 7 years. His name is withheld but Thank you my friend very much.
Hi Joe,

It has been a while, but thanks for the article on ‘ben ha arbayim’.
It has indeed been a bone of contention in the COGs for as long as I remember, and all because some men assumed understandings which were quite wrong - including HWA.

Fred Coulter has done some good work, but his claim to be a ‘Hebrew scholar’ falls quite short of the mark. Unfortunately, many have mistakenly followed ‘experts’ into error - and partial truth is error, whether 40, 60, or 90%. Not that we know everything, or can know everything, but we should be able to establish the basics if we study hard enough. The truth about Passover is all-important in that all the Feasts follow from it.

The truth about ben ha arbayim should have been reasonably clear from the beginning, but men with their own agendas have brought in smoke and mirrors to obfuscate the issue. I have long argued from the ’simple’ English of the KJV, and those translators were far better Hebrew, Greek, and Latin scholars than most - even though they kept Sunday and Easter, a quite separate subject.

The point is that ‘ben ha arbayim’ might best be translated into modern English as ‘mid- afternoon’ which is to say between noon and sunset. More specifically it means about the ninth hour, or 3 p.m.
our time, at which time Jesus died on the stake having uttered His final prayer as a man.

What is most egregious is that leaders of the churches claim that Jesus and His disciples sacrificed a paschal lamb immediately after sunset of the 13th, which is an absolutely impossible thing for the Lord Himself to have done, contrary to the instructions which He Himself gave to Moses (and the patriarchs) as the Word of God. These men don’t know what they are saying! One ‘expert’ who was instrumental in establishing doctrine told me, in response to my opposition to parts of the Paper on Passover, that it was not necessary for the Lord to have been sacrificed at the same time as the paschal lambs!

I’m glad that you feel the need to correct this heresy despite the opposition of ‘eminent authorities’ who will no doubt accuse you of blasphemy. Par for the course Joe.
Have a rewarding Feast,
Name withheld by me.

Another wrote to say;
Thanks Joe,
I have been doing this correctly. Probably because I have been reading your material for a long time now.
When you explain things biblically it make perfect since.
Shalom!

Mr. Dumond,

Happy Passover,

It is good to challenge and study YHVH’s word. I am blessed by reading this article.
What the Holy Spirit showed me here in this verse :

“Deut 16:2 “You shall sacrifice the Passover to YHVH your God from the flock and the herd, in the place where YHVH chooses to establish His name. 3 “You shall not eat leavened bread with it; seven days you shall eat with it unleavened bread, the bread of affliction (for you came out of the land of Egypt in haste), so that you may remember all the days of your life the day when you came out of the land of Egypt. 4 “For seven days no leaven shall be seen with you in all your territory,”

is that the part about unleavened bread is to “remember all the days of your life **the day** when you came out of the land of Egypt. To remember the previous life of affliction.

The bread of life - Yeshua is the source of life and He is our provision for the source of life and He wants us to see the contrasting difference and to give Him glory for the life He now gives a follower.
Just my personal take on this for this year. Each passover the Lord shows me new truths about Him. Praise YHVH

One Brother who was debating with me wrote this;

Dear Bro Joseph;
Yes, this topic is in the midst of controversy, and probably as you say misunderstanding. My “hat is off” to you for taking this bull by the horns, even if I wonder if you have been unduly swayed by the leaven of the Pharisees, in going with the mid afternoon “beyn ha’Arbaiim”. I have only begun to read your letter, so do not expect a reply, but just want to give you a heads up I expect to ask you some unanswerable questions on this topic, asap hopefully before late morning.
YHWH bless,
Walter the nit picker

Bro Joseph;
I agree with you Colter is wrong to translate baErev as sunset. Sunset is best I know “bo hashemesh”, going IN of the sun. Emphasize, not going DOWN, but going IN of the sun. This important point deflates the Pharisaic definition of the decline from zenith of the sun as “bo hashemesh”. It is only the going in (to the horizon) that defines “bo hashemesh”. Regardless, “bo hashemesh initiates “erev”, so baerev (in, with, or by erev), would be defined as the proximity of sunset. Colter is wrong, but not excessively so.

Says The New Westminster Dictionary of the Bible:
“It [the daylight portion of the day] was divided into morning, noon, and evening (Psa. 55:17; cf. Dan. 6:10)” (”Day,” p. 214).
NYDictionary, I’m afraid, goes with the leaven of the Pharisees. Morning, noon, and afternoon are “boker, tsohoraiim, and achar tsohoraiim”. Only kowtowing to the rabbis causes the definition disconnect to accommodate the takkanoth and alternately define Afternoon as equivalent to evening. Erev in the real world is the murkiness of mixed light and darkness that occurs after the sun goes in. You have worked outside enough to know the blessing of daylight for work. As Yahshua said, the night cometh when no man can work. Beware the leaven of the Pharisees.

Regarding Lev 23:32, the key is the latitude of definition of prefix “B” in “b’erev”. Not only at erev, but also “by” erev, allowing the brief time just before sunset to give a few moments extra fasting time to ensure we do not encroach on the day. Funny how the modern Pharisees talk out of both sides of the mouth, as Yahshua warned. They teach erev is mid afternoon, but how many Pharisees fast on yom kippur from mid afternoon to mid afternoon? Flexible definitions based on the situation? Far as I know, the Jews who do not wish to be cut off from their people fast from a bit before sunset late on the 9th to a bit after sunset as it goes into the 11th, and ALL OF THE 10th. Compare the talk to the walk, and beware the leaven of the Pharisees.

Well, nuff out of me. Let’s go keep a good pesach to YHWH, each as best we understand, and may YHWH take the glory . Incidentally, “Glory” is not a bad word. Its etymology is derived from “Gilah Or Yah”, (rejoicing in the light of Yahweh, according to the book of 1st Imaginations, according to the Walter translation).
Walter

Ps we can’t quit without the REAL definition of beyn ha’arbaiim according to the book. Evening and morning is day one. Gen 1. evening of day one starts in (relative) darkness, as do all others. Great light rules day, lesser lights rule night. Great light ceases ruling at sunset (end of day), “first evening”. Lesser lights rule night when stars come out 20 or 30 or 40 minutes or so later. “second evening”. There is a time when neither are directly visible. This Time between the two evenings is “beyn ha’arbaiim.

Just so you all know, this has been a huge discussion with many brethren. I have also received a number of phone calls from those who are now rethinking their current or previous stance because of this News letter about Ben Ha Arbayim or between the evenings understanding. Or should I say misunderstanding. And this is good that many are able to still seek the truth even if it means they have to change. Here is another who has spoken up;

Joseph Dumond
About 15 years ago I did an in depth study re Ben Ha Arbayim, between the evenings or in the evening. What was important for me to know is when a day actually ends and begins. Otherwise how could you determine when to keep any of God’s Sabbaths/Holy Days? God’s annual festivals (holy convocations) are to kept in their season at their proper time in order to please our Father in heaven and His Son, Jesus Christ.

Once I satisfied myself that I understood God’s commandments I began writing a paper which has taken many months to accomplish. I was attending the Christian Biblical Church of God, Fred Coulters group, at the time and I began to doubt whether Fred was correct in his teachings. Ben Ha Arbayim can also be translated within the evening as well as between (betwix) the evenings. To kill the Passover, roast it for a sacrificial meal and then burn up any evidence that a sacrifice ever took place before going out of the houses in the morning would be “within the eveining” rather than between the eveinings.

I am forwarding my paper for your perusal and critique.
I am sending three attachments. The first two attachments are from files in Microsoft Windows and the third attachment is from a file in Microsoft Excel.

May the Lord smile down on you and your work and please have a profitable Passover. Jack Hassler

Enjoyed your article on the timing of Passover. There is definitely debate over the subject. I appreciate the info on the morning and evening, this has been a study point of mine for many years. I have attached an article on the “Daily” that I did, thought you might have some use for it.
Thank-you
Tom

Thank you for posting this article Joseph, may Yahweh Tzevaot continue to keep you stead fast, faithful and submissive to His precious Torah !!….Shalom Alechem

Not everyone was pleased with what I had to say. One Pastor wrote the following;
Die in hell you devil! “malcolm taylor” His email is the following ablessedpreacher@
You might want to include this man in your prayers.

And one final one on a positive note from a sister;

Hi Joe

Sorry to hear you have a barrage of mail on this. For the record our fellowship agrees with your understanding on the events of Passover.

I think that much confusion arises because people think the 14th is Passover due to the lamb being killed that day. If people think that killing the lamb is the Passover then they have missed the plain meaning of the later event of the angel passing over the Israelites.

Passover is 2 distinct events over 2 days - first the Passover preparation on the 14th then the Passover itself on the 15th, 1st day of Unleavened Bread. The confusion would be dispelled if the 14th was referred to as Preparation Day and the 15th called Passover/Day 1 Unleavened Bread.

That makes it obvious that the meal on the 14th did not include unleavened bread - especially in view of John 13:18, 26-30. The ‘artos’ can also be rendered ’shewbread’ which is of course leavened. A ’sop’ dipped must also be leavened as you cannot effectively dip Matzoh. As a side issue, the meal concerned must not have been a roast but more of a stew - perhaps of lentils - which could be dipped into.

Anyway, until Messiah comes, we will probably all remain in very different places in our understanding of many things. So it was when he came the first time and he corrected our fathers with patience. I suspect the bigger challenge for us is to accept where others are at and love them anyway, knowing that we too will be corrected of our blind spots in time. We are at this stage still a motley crew! I think you have been quite forebearing in your answers - an achievement when your in-tray is overflowing! Just goes to show that Torah is not yet etched on our hearts and minds or we would not be having these differences.

Shabbat shalom
Tessa

Today is Passover which began on the Friday Evening before. The Passover Lamb was to be eaten with unleavened Bread and last night Friday April 6 and today Saturday April 7 was and is the beginning of this Feast of Unleavened Bread. It goes for 7 days, not 8. This year we have the exact same situation for Passover that Joshua had when he crossed the Jordan 3348 years ago.

We read in Jos 5:9 And יהוה said to Yehoshua, “Today I have rolled away the reproach of Mitsrayim from you.” So the name of the place is called Gilgal to this day. 10 And the children of Yisra’ĕl camped in Gilgal, and performed the Passover on the fourteenth day of the month at evening on the desert plains of Yeriḥo. 11 And they ate of the stored grain of the land on the morrow after the Passover, unleavened bread and roasted grain on this same day. 12 And the manna ceased on the day after they had eaten the stored grain of the land. And the children of Yisra’ĕl no longer had manna, but they ate the food of the land of Kenaʽan that year.

I would urge you all to read the first 6 chapters of Joshua today. It all took place at this same time of year and the events of Joshua 5:9-12 took place on this same type of weekend when we have the Passover Preparation day on the Friday and the first Day of Unleavened Bread on the Saturday and the wave Sheaf day taking place on the Sunday, the very next day.

As we all know the Passover can be on any day of the week from one year to the next; but the wave Sheaf offering day can be on only one day; One very precise day.

Lev 23:9 And יהוה spoke to Mosheh, saying, 10 “Speak to the children of Yisra’ĕl, and you shall say to them, ‘When you come into the land which I give you, and shall reap its harvest, then you shall bring a sheaf of the first-fruits of your harvest to the priest. 11 ‘And he shall wave the sheaf before יהוה, for your acceptance. On the morrow after the Sabbath the priest waves it.

They were to bring the Sheaf in to be waved on the day after the Sabbath.

The problem then comes up as to which Sabbath. Was it the weekly Sabbath or the High Day of the first day of Unleavened Bread?

If we only read Joshua 5:10 which is what some do, then they conclude that it must be after the 1st Day of Unleavened Bread. Now the first day Unleavened Bread comes on the 15 day of Aviv. So they conclude that the wave sheaf day is the 16th. And they base this on Joshua 5:10. Many an Ephramite has blindly followed the Rabbis in this teaching.

But let us all understand and just do some simple math.

The Passover Lamb is killed on the 14th in the late afternoon at 3 PM.

We just read “10 And the children of Yisra’ĕl camped in Gilgal, and performed the Passover on the fourteenth day of the month at evening on the desert plains of Yeriḥo.”

They kept the Passover preparations on the 14th day.

We then read “11 And they ate of the stored grain of the land on the morrow after the Passover, unleavened bread and roasted grain on this same day.”

The reason they would be eating the stored grain is because this first year they entered the Land of Israel, the Promised Land was a Jubilee year and the Israelites would have stored the grains from two years previous. The Year before would also have been a 49th Year and a Sabbatical year as well. But the Canaanites also had stored food from the winter which was just finishing.

The next line reads; 12 “And the manna ceased on the day after they had eaten the stored grain of the land. And the children of Yisra’ĕl no longer had manna, but they ate the food of the land of Kenaʽan that year.”

This is the reason some begin the count to Pentecost on the 16th of Aviv. But what this verse does not say is that they made a wave offering. Why does it not say that they waved the first fruits of the land before they ate the food of the land? Because they had not planted, it was a Jubilee year, and because it was a year not to sow or plant then they could not harvest a sheaf of Barley to wave. This is why it is not mentioned, in my opinion.

We are told in Lev 23 to wave the sheaf “On the morrow after the Sabbath the priest waves it.”

So which Sabbath is it? Is it the one after the 15th of Aviv, the High day of Unleavened Bread or is the after the weekly Sabbath? The answer is given to you in the scriptures; all we have to do is read.

Lev 23:15 ‘And from the morrow after the Sabbath, from the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering, you shall count for yourselves: seven completed Sabbaths. 16 ‘Until the morrow after the seventh Sabbath you count fifty days, then you shall bring a new grain offering to יהוה.

When you count 50 days the day after the Sabbath that you begin with has to end up on the day after the 7 Sabbath days is completed. Seven Sabbaths are 49 Days and the day after the Seventh Sabbath has to be the 50th day. Therefore the 50th Day is Sunday or the first day of the week, which means that the day you begin to count from has to be a Sunday and now you are forced to conclude that the Sabbath you start your count the day after is the weekly Saturday Sabbath and not the High Day of Unleavened Bread.

Once you understand this teaching then you will be able to understand how the Jubilee year which is the 50th year is also the first year, the same as the 50th day of Pentecost is also the first day.

We all know about the Holy Days of Leviticus 23. We are keeping Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread right now.

But why is the wave sheaf day so important?

Let us now walk through this momentous event that Yehshua played out in real life which was typified by the wave offering.

It is on this day of the 14th when Yehshua was killed. That was the Friday this year of 2012. And there is nothing good about good Friday. We must deviate right here to explain this. Most Christians do not know how to count. Yehovah requires you to be able to at least count to 7 in order to understand his plan of Salvation and yet most Christians fail this simple counting process all the time.

As we have said the Passover can be on any day of the week from one year to the next.
In the year that Yehshua died, and in fact all the years Yehshua lived He kept each Holy Day by counting them from the Sighted Crescent Moon to begin the month. How can I prove this?

It is simple. The year Yehshua died had to be 3 days and 3 nights from Passover the 14th day when He was killed until that Saturday afternoon when He was raised from the grave. And this Passover must be 14 days after the Crescent moon was seen to begin the month.

There are only two years that we can consider as candidates for this. One of those years was 28 C.E. and the other was 31 C.E.

We also know that Yehshua was born on September 11, 3 B.C., this was the Feast of Trumpets that year. And that he began his ministry in his 30th year.

Luk 3:23 And when יהושע Himself began, He was about thirty years of age, being, as reckoned by law, son of Yosĕph, of Ěli,
Yehshua`s 30th birthday from 3 B.C. is the fall of 27 C.E. We then read in Luke what came after the test with Satan.

Luk 4:16 And He came to Natsareth, where He had been brought up. And according to His practice, He went into the congregation on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read. 17 And the scroll of the prophet Yeshayahu was handed to Him. And having unrolled the scroll, He found the place where it was written: 18 “The Spirit of יהוה is upon Me,1 because He has anointed Me to bring the Good News to the poor. He has sent Me to heal the broken-hearted, to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to send away crushed ones with a release, Footnote: 1Isa. 61:1-3. 19 to proclaim the acceptable year of יהוה.”1 Footnote: 1Isa. 61:1-2. 20 And having rolled up the scroll, He gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the congregation were fixed upon Him.

Isa 61:1 The Spirit of the Master יהוה is upon Me, because יהוה has anointed Me to bring good news to the meek. He has sent Me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim release to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound, 2 to proclaim the acceptable year of יהוה, and the day of vengeance of our Elohim, to comfort all who mourn, 3 to appoint unto those who mourn in Tsiyon: to give them embellishment for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness. And they shall be called trees of righteousness, a planting of יהוה, to be adorned.

What is the acceptable year that Yehshua was to proclaim?

Many assume this to be the Jubilee year. But history and knowing when the Jubilee years fell prove this wrong. Could this acceptable year then be a Sabbatical year? When we check all the known sabbatical years then we are able to prove this is in fact true. The year of 28 C.E. when Yehshua read this was in fact a Sabbatical year. So Yehshua began to speak in the acceptable year or the Sabbatical year of 28 C.E.

When we go to http://www.torahcalendar.com/MOON.asp?JDN=1731360&TDAY=1 we can see that in the year 28 C.E. the New Crescent Moon was on a Tuesday Evening and therefore 14 days later would bring us to the 14th day of the 1st month when the Passover Lamb was to be killed which this year was on a Wednesday.

The problem with this year of 28 C.E is that Yehshua was still in his 30th year and had not preached for the 3 years.

Some teach that Yehshua preached for 70 weeks. They also agree that He was 30 in 27 C.E. But in order to end up on a Wednesday crucifixion they cannot do it because the new moon in 29 C.E. which is when the 70 weeks is finished, was on a Monday evening and would be a day early for Passover. http://www.torahcalendar.com/MOON.asp?JDN=1731744&TDAY=1

Now when we look at 31 C.E. the New Moon is visible on the Tuesday March 13, 31 C.E.; Tuesday evening. http://www.torahcalendar.com/MOON.asp?JDN=1732452&TDAY=1 This then means that the Passover lamb would be killed on the Wednesday.

The reason this is important to understand it that the only sign that we have that Yehshua was and is our Messiah was that He would be dead 3 Days and 3 nights.

Mat 12:38 Then some of the scribes and Pharisees answered, saying, “Teacher, we wish to see a sign from You.” 39 But He answering, said to them, “A wicked and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign shall be given to it except the sign of the prophet Yonah. 40 “For as Yonah was three days and three nights in the stomach of the great fish, so shall the Son of Aḏam be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

Mat 16:1 And the Pharisees and Sadducees came, and trying Him asked that He would show them a sign from heaven. 2 And He answering, said to them, “When it is evening you say, ‘Fair weather, for the heaven is red,’ 3 and in the morning, ‘Stormy weather today, for the heaven is red and overcast.’ You know how to discern the face of the heaven, but you are unable to discern the signs of the times! :4 “A wicked and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign shall be given to it except the sign of the prophet Yonah.” And He left them and went away.

We read in Jonah that he was inside the fish for three days and three nights.
Jon 1:17 But יהוה appointed a great fish to swallow Yonah. And Yonah was in the stomach of the fish three days and three nights.

Knowing that the Passover Lamb was to be killed on the Wednesday in 31 C.E. and that Yehshua was our Passover Lamb killed for us and that He was killed at 3 PM on the 14th Day. The Ninth hour is from 6 AM, the 9th hour of this watch which is 3 PM in the afternoon.

Mat 27:46 And about the ninth hour יהושע cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Ěli, Ěli, lemah sheḇaqtani?” that is, “My Ěl, My Ěl, why have You forsaken Me?”

Luk 23:44 And it was now about the sixth hour, and darkness came over all the land, until the ninth hour. 45 And the sun was darkened, and the veil of the Dwelling Place was torn in two. 46 And crying out with a loud voice, יהושע said, “Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit.” And having said this, He breathed His last.

Once Yehshua had died they had to hurry to bury Him as this 14th day was the preparation day for the 15th day which is the day the actual angel passed Over the Israelites in Egypt. It was also the first day of Unleavened Bread which was also called the High Day. And the body had to be buried before this Sabbath and it had to be off the tree before nightfall.

Luk 23:50 And see, a man named Yosĕph, a council member, a good and righteous man – 51 he was not agreeing with their counsel and deed – from Ramathayim, a city of the Yehuḏim, who himself was also waiting for the reign of Elohim, 52 he, going to Pilate, asked for the body of יהושע. 53 And taking it down, he wrapped it in linen, and laid it in a tomb hewn out of the rock, where no one was yet laid. 54 And it was Preparation day, and the Sabbath was approaching.

Joh 19:30 So when יהושע took the sour wine He said, “It has been accomplished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit. 31 Therefore, since it was the Preparation Day, that the bodies should not remain on the stake on the Sabbath – for that Sabbath was a high one – the Yehuḏim asked Pilate to have their legs broken, and that they be taken away. 32 Therefore the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first, and of the other who was impaled with Him, 33 but when they came to יהושע and saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs. 34 But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and instantly blood and water came out. 35 And he who has seen has witnessed, and his witness is true. And he knows that he is speaking the truth, in order that you might believe. 36 For this took place in order for the Scripture to be filled: “Not one of His bones shall be broken.” 37 And again another Scripture says, “They shall look on Him whom they pierced.” 38 And after this, Yosĕph of Ramathayim, being a taught one of יהושע, but secretly, for fear of the Yehuḏim, asked Pilate that he might take the body of יהושע, and Pilate gave permission. Therefore he came and took the body of יהושע. 39 And Naḵdimon, who at first came to יהושע by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds. 40 Then they took the body of יהושע, and bound it in linen wrappings with the spices, as was the habit of the Yehuḏim for burial. 41 And at the place where He was impaled there was a garden, and in the garden a fresh tomb in which no one had yet been laid. 42 There, then, because of the Preparation Day of the Yehuḏim, they laid יהושע, because the tomb was near.

We have now established that the month began with the sighted moon on the Tuesday evening of March 13, 31 C.E. None of the other years match up, not 30 or 29 or 32, 33 or 34. We count out the 14 days to the Preparation day of Unleavened bread when the Passover Lambs would be killed. Yehshua was killed at 3 PM on the 14th day. The next day was Thursday in 31C.E. and it was the first day of Unleavened Bread. It was the 15th day and a High Sabbath Day. From the time Yehshua was in the grave we now have one night and one day.

Friday is then the preparation day for the weekly Sabbath. Thursday night and Friday day would be the second night and the second day.

Shabbat would begin at sunset Friday night. And Saturday would be the conclusion of Shabbat, which is now the third night and third day since he was in the tomb, just like Jonah who was in the belly of the fish, entombed for 3 days and 3 night.

We then read about the events that occurred on the first day.
Mat 28:1 Now after the Sabbath, toward dawn on the first day of the week,1 Miryam from Maḡdala and the other Miryam came to see the tomb. Footnote:1See Explanatory notes - First Day of the Week. Also Luke 24:1 and John 20:1.

Mar 16:1 And when the Sabbath was past, Miryam from Maḡdala, and Miryam the mother of Yaʽaqoḇ, and Shelomah bought spices, to go and anoint Him. 2 And very early on the first day of the week, they came to the tomb when the sun had risen. 3 And they said among themselves, “Who shall roll away the stone from the entrance of the tomb for us?” 4 And looking up, they saw that the stone had been rolled away, for it was extremely large. 5 And having entered into the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right, wearing a white robe, and they were greatly astonished.

Luk 24:1 And on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb, bringing the spices which they had prepared, 2 and they found the stone rolled away from the tomb. 3 And having entered, they did not find the body of the Master יהושע.

Joh 20:1 And on the first day of the week1 Miryam from Maḡdala came early to the tomb, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb.

We can read from all four gospels that the women came in the dark before dawn to the tomb and it was the first day of the week. But the body of Yehshua was already gone.

Shabbat had ended and so Friday night and Sabbath would make the third day and third night that Yehshua was in the grave. The exact same way Jonah was in the belly of the fish for three days and three nights.

These scriptures show us that they came on the first day of the week and Yehshua was gone. All of this goes to prove that Yehshua had to be killed on a Wednesday in order to be dead three days and three nights and to not be there on the first day of the week when these women came. It also proves that the month begins with the sighted moon or first crescent moon to begin the month. And the only year that this all could happen according to the sighted moon was 31 C.E.

What happened when Mary did find Yehshua?

Joh 20:10 Therefore the taught ones went away again, by themselves. 11 But Miryam was standing outside by the tomb weeping. Then as she wept, she stooped down to the tomb, 12 and saw two messengers in white sitting, one at the head and the other at the feet, where the body of יהושע had been laid. 13 And they said to her, “Woman, why do you weep?” She said to them, “Because they took away my Master, and I do not know where they laid Him.” 14 And having said this, she turned around and saw יהושע standing, but she did not know that it was יהושע. 15 יהושע said to her, “Woman, why do you weep? Whom do you seek?” Thinking He was the gardener, she said to Him, “Master, if You have carried Him away, say to me where You put Him, and I shall take Him away.” 16 יהושע said to her, “Miryam!” She turned and said to Him, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher). 17 יהושע said to her, “Do not hold on to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father. But go to My brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My Elohim and your Elohim.’ ” 18 Miryam from Maḡdala came announcing to the taught ones that she had seen the Master, and that He had told her this.

What did Yehshua mean when He said “Do not hold on to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father. But go to My brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My Elohim and your Elohim.’ ”?

We have already explained to you about the wave Sheaf, but let’s again look at it.

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

This wave offering was done on this same Sunday Morning that Mary discovered Yehshua.

Joh 20:19 When therefore it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and when the doors were shut where the taught ones met, for fear of the Yehuḏim, יהושע came and stood in the midst, and said to them, “Peace to you.” 20 And having said this, He showed them His hands and His side. The taught ones therefore rejoiced when they saw the Master. 21 Then יהושע said to them again, “Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” 22 And having said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Set-apart Spirit. 23 “If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they have been retained.”

This same first day Yehshua was now standing amongst the Apostles and was now allowing them to touch Him. He had already performed what had to be done on this first day.

This first day during the Days of Unleavened bread which is this Sunday April 8th 2012 is call יוֹם הֲנָפַת הָעֹמֶר Yom Hanafat Ha’omer (Day of the Waving of the Sheaf). When the Temple stood this day marked the official commencement of the grain harvest (Dt 16:7) and sheaves of barley were cut and brought to the Temple as a wave-offering (Lev 23:9-14). This day also marks the beginning of the 50-day count to חַג הַשָּׁבֻעוֹת‏ Shavuot (Pentecost; Feast of Weeks). Yom Hanafat Ha’omer is counted as Day 1 and Shavuot as Day 50.

The reason we must wait for the barley to be at a certain stage of growth is precisely for this wave offering to take place. No barley means we can’t do this commandment. This is why we search for the barley to see if it is going to be Aviv.

From http://www.karaite-korner.org/abib.shtml we read the following.

The month of the Abib is the month which commences after the barley has reached the stage of Abib. 2-3 weeks after the beginning of the month the barley has moved beyond the stage of Abib and is ready to be brought as the “wave-sheaf offering” (Hanafat HaOmer). The “wave-sheaf offering” is a sacrifice brought from the first stalks cut in the harvest and is brought on the Sunday which falls out during Passover (Hag HaMatzot). This is described in Lev 23,10-11:

“When you come to the land which I give you, and harvest its harvest, you will bring the sheaf of the beginning of your harvest to the priest. And he will wave the sheaf before YHWH so you will be accepted; on the morrow after the Sabbath the priest will wave it.”

From this it is clear that the barley, which was Abib at the beginning of the month, has become harvest-ready 15-21 days later (i.e by the Sunday during Passover). Therefore, the month of the Abib can not begin unless the barley has reached a stage where it will be harvest-ready 2-3 weeks later.

That the barley must be harvest-ready 2-3 weeks into the month of the Abib is also clear from Dt 16,9 which states:

“From when the sickle commences on the standing grain you will begin to count seven weeks.”

From Lev 23,15 we know that the seven weeks between Passover (Hag Hamatzot) and Pentecost (Shavuot) begin on the day when the wave-sheaf offering is brought (i.e. the Sunday which falls out during Passover):

“And you shall count from the morrow after the Sabbath, from the day you bring the sheaf of waving; they will be seven complete Sabbaths.”

Therefore, the “sickle commences on the standing grain” on the Sunday during Passover, i.e. 2-3 weeks after the beginning of the month of the Abib. If the barley is not developed enough so that it will be ready for the sickle 2-3 weeks later, then the month of the Abib can not begin and we must wait till the following month.

It should be noted that not all the barley ripens in the Land of Israel at the same time. The wave-sheaf offering is a national sacrifice brought from the first fields to become harvest-ready. However, the first-fruit offerings brought by individual farmers can vary in ripeness anywhere from “Abib parched in fire” to fully ripe grain which may be brought “crushed” or “coarsely ground”. This is what is meant in Lev 2,14:

“And when you bring a first-fruit offering to YHWH; you shall bring your first-fruit offering as Abib parched in fire or crushed Carmel” (Carmel is grain which has hardened beyond Abib to the point where it can be “crushed” or “coarsely ground”).

All of the above passages have been translated directly from the Hebrew and it is worth noting that the King James translators seem to have only understood the various Hebrew agricultural terms very poorly. In Lev 2,14 they translated Carmel as “full ears” and “Abib” as “green ears” whereas in Lev 23,14 they translated Carmel as “green ears”!

The barley is the first fruits offering. It is the wave offering done on this Sunday morning during the days of Unleavened Bread.

Paul has some things to say about this first fruits offerings.

1Co 15:20 But now Messiah has been raised from the dead, and has become the first-fruit of those having fallen asleep. 21 For since death is through a man, resurrection of the dead is also through a Man. 22 For as all die in Aḏam, so also all shall be made alive in Messiah . 23 And each in his own order: Messiah the first-fruits, then those who are of Messiah at His coming, 24 then the end, when He delivers up the reign to Elohim the Father, when He has brought to naught all rule and all authority and power. 25 For He has to reign until He has put all enemies under His feet. 26 The last enemy to be brought to naught is death.

Yehshua once He came out of the grave became the first fruits of all those who had died.

Paul also gives you the order of each time when the dead will be raised up. And each in his own order: Messiah the first-fruits, then those who are of Messiah at His coming, 24 then the end,

The first resurrection is with Messiah which are those that are the first fruits when He rose from the dead in 31 C.E. Then those Saints at his coming which is yet future and then all the rest at the end.

Col 1:12 giving thanks to the Father who has made us fit to share in the inheritance of the set-apart ones in the light, 13 who has delivered us from the authority of darkness1 and transferred us into the reign of the Son of His love, Footnote: 1Lk. 11:35, John 8:12, John 12:46-50, Acts 26:18, Eph. 5:8. 14 in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, 15 who is the likeness of the invisible Elohim, the first-born of all creation.1 Footnote: 1Heb. 1:6, Rev. 3:14.

Yehshua was the first born of all creation and the first born of the dead.

Col 1:18 And He is the Head of the body, the assembly, who is the beginning, the first-born from the dead, that He might become the One who is first in all.

Paul again says this in Act 26:22 “Therefore, having obtained help from Elohim, to this day I stand, witnessing both to small and great, saying nil else than what the prophets and Mosheh said would come – 23 that the Messiah would suffer, would be the first to rise from the dead, He would proclaim light to the people and to the gentiles.” 24 And while saying this in his defence, Festus said with a loud voice, “Sha’ul, you are mad! Much learning is turning you to madness!”

Yehshua was the first to rise from the dead. Why is this so amazing? The answer is found in John. Yehshua sated plainly that not one person has gone up to heaven. None, no one at all.

Even the thief on the tree with Yehshua had not gone up to Heaven, even though Yehshua said

Luk 23:42 And he said to יהושע, “Master, remember me when You come into Your reign.” 43 And יהושע said to him, “Truly, I say to you today, you shall be with Me in Paradise.”

So what did Yehshua mean?

He was speaking of this 4th millennial day which was not going to end until 85 C.E.

Joh 3:1 And there was a man of the Pharisees, Naḵdimon was his name, a ruler of the Yehuḏim. 2 This one came to יהושע by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from Elohim, for no one is able to do these signs You do if Elohim is not with him.” 3 יהושע answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born from above, he is unable to see1 the reign of Elohim.” Footnote: 1Or perceive. 4 Naḵdimon said to Him, “How is a man able to be born when he is old? Is he able to enter into his mother’s womb a second time and be born?” 5 יהושע answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he is unable to enter into the reign of Elohim. 6 “That which has been born of the flesh is flesh, and that which has been born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 “Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You have to be born from above.’ 8 “The Spirit1 breathes where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who has been born of the Spirit.” Footnote: 1Or wind. 9 Naḵdimon answered and said to Him, “How is it possible for this to take place?” 10 יהושע answered and said to him, “Are you the teacher of Yisra’ĕl, and do not know this? 11 “Truly, truly, I say to you, We speak what We know and witness what We have seen, and you do not receive Our witness. 12 “If you do not believe when I spoke to you about earthly matters, how are you going to believe when I speak to you about the heavenly matters? 13 “And no one has gone up into the heaven except He who came down from the heaven – the Son of Aḏam.

But now for the very first time someone had come from the grave. The grave is represented as those held captive by Satan.

And Yehshua has now broken this captivity.

Eph 4:8 That is why it says, “When He went up on high, He led captivity captive, and gave gifts to men.” 9 But what does “He went up” mean, except that He also first went down into the lower parts of the earth? 10 He who went down is also the One who went up far above all the heavens, to fill all.

Read what Clarke has to say on this.

Ephesians 4:8

Wherefore he saith - The reference seems to be to Psa_68:18, which, however it may speak of the removal of the tabernacle, appears to have been intended to point out the glorious ascension of Christ after his resurrection from the dead. The expositions of various commentators have made the place extremely difficult. I shall not trouble my reader with them; they may be seen in Rosenmuller.

When he ascended up on high - The whole of this verse, as it stands in the psalm, seems to refer to a military triumph. Take the following paraphrase: Thou hast ascended on high: the conqueror was placed in a very elevated chariot. Thou hast led captivity captive: the conquered kings and generals were usually bound behind the chariot of the conqueror, to grace the triumph. Thou host received gifts for (Paul, given gifts unto) men: at such times the conqueror was wont to throw money among the crowd. Even to the rebellious: those who had fought against him now submit unto him, and share his munificence; for it is the property of a hero to be generous. That the Lord God might dwell among them: the conqueror being now come to fix his abode in the conquered provinces, and subdue the people to his laws.

All this the apostle applies to the resurrection, ascension, and glory of Christ; though it has been doubted by some learned men whether the psalmist had this in view. I shall not dispute about this; it is enough for me that the apostle, under the inspiration of God, applied the verse in this way; and whatever David might intend, and of whatever event he might have written, we see plainly that the sense in which the apostle uses it was the sense of the Spirit of God; for the Spirit in the Old and New Testaments is the same. I may venture a short criticism on a few words in the original: Thou hast received gifts for men, לקחת מתנות באדם lakachta mattanoth baadam, thou hast taken gifts in man, in Adam. The gifts which Jesus Christ distributes to man he has received in man, in and by virtue of his incarnation; and it is in consequence of his being made man that it may be said, The Lord God dwells among them; for Jesus was called Immanuel, God with us, in consequence of his incarnation. This view of the subject is consistent with the whole economy of grace, and suits well with the apostle’s application of the words of the psalmist in this place.

Now notice what Gifts Yehshua gave out; this is what Paul is speaking about

Eph 4:11 And He Himself gave some as emissaries, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as shepherds and teachers 12 for the perfecting of the set-apart ones, to the work of service to a building up of the body of the Messiah, 13 until we all come to the unity of the belief and of the knowledge of the Son of Elohim, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the completeness of Messiah,

Psa 68:18 You have ascended on high, You have led captivity captive, You have received gifts among men, And even the rebellious, That Yah Elohim might dwell there. 19 Blessed be יהוה, Day by day He bears our burden, The Ěl of our deliverance! Selah. 20 Our Ěl is the Ěl of deliverance; And to יהוה, the Master, belong escapes from death.

Yehshua Himself refers to the barley offering when He says in Joh 12:23 And יהושע answered them, saying, “The hour has come for the Son of Aḏam to be esteemed. 24 “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone. But if it dies, it bears much fruit. 25 “He who loves his life shall lose it, and he who hates his life in this world shall preserve it for everlasting life.

Yehshua was our wave offering that died and then came out of the grave and led a host of captives, including that one thief on the tree; that is a host of those who had died and were dead.

Read now Mat 27:50 And יהושע cried out again with a loud voice, and gave up His spirit. 51 And see, the veil of the Dwelling Place was torn in two from top to bottom, and the earth was shaken, and the rocks were split, 52 and the tombs were opened, and many bodies of the set-apart ones who had fallen asleep were raised, 53 and coming out of the tombs after His resurrection, they went into the set-apart city and appeared to many.

When Yehshua died the graves were marked just like the Barley is marked off the first night of Passover. When Yehshua rose from the grave, three days and three night later, at the end of Shabbat, these people who were in those marked graves came back to life and walked into Jerusalem and this is the exact same time the barley is harvested on the Saturday evening after susnet. It is then prepared for the offering the next morning at 9 AM.

This is the barley offering, the wave offering in real life. This is what it all means. The Barley being presented represented the rest of the harvest that was to come. In reality those Saints who rose from the grave with Yehshua went to heaven. They were the first ones to come out of the grave and go to heaven as Yehshua had said no one else had gone except the son of man who comes down from heaven. This is why this so amazing and so awesome.

But there is more. There is another wave offering which begins with this Barley wave offering. It is the wave offering done at Pentecost. You will have to wait until then to hear the rest of this story. What an awesome time that will be as this time of Pentecost is speaking about those of us who are alive at that time and all of those who have died and were obedient to the torah and died from this time when Yehshua came out of the grave up until this very special time of this coming Pentecost day.

We will speak more about this as Pentecost draws closer.

When you count from the Wave offering of the barley to Pentecost it is called the counting of the Omer. You are to count each day up to the 50th day. This Sunday April 8 is day one. We are to count the Omer. Here is one way that it is done for the first week.

Counting of the Omer סְפִירַת הָעֹמֶר
WEEK 1 שבוע 1

April 8, 2012:
Today is the 1st day of the 1st week of seven weeks. Today is the 1st day of the counting of fifty days from the day of the waving of the Omer on the morrow after the Sabbath.

28 אפריל 2012:
הַיּוֹם יוֹם רִאשׁוֹן‏ לַשָּׁבוּעַ רִאשׁוֹן‏ מִשִׁבְעָה שָׁבֻעוֹת. הַיּוֹם יוֹם אֶחָד‏ מִסְפִירַת חֲמִשִּׁים יוֹם מֵהֲנָפַת הָעֹמֶר מִמָּחֳרַת הַשַּׁבָּת.

April 9, 2012:
Today is the 2nd day of the 1st week of seven weeks. Today is the 2nd day of the counting of fifty days from the day of the waving of the Omer on the morrow after the Sabbath.

9 אפריל 2012:
הַיּוֹם יוֹם שֵׁנִי לַשָּׁבוּעַ רִאשׁוֹן‏ מִשִׁבְעָה שָׁבֻעוֹת. הַיּוֹם שְׁנַיִם יָמִים‏ מִסְפִירַת חֲמִשִּׁים יוֹם מֵהֲנָפַת הָעֹמֶר מִמָּחֳרַת הַשַּׁבָּת.

April 10, 2012:
Today is the 3rd day of the 1st week of seven weeks. Today is the 3rd day of the counting of fifty days from the day of the waving of the Omer on the morrow after the Sabbath.

10 אפריל 2012:
הַיּוֹם יוֹם שְׁלִישִׁי לַשָּׁבוּעַ רִאשׁוֹן‏ מִשִׁבְעָה שָׁבֻעוֹת. הַיּוֹם שְׁלֹשָׁה‏ יָמִים‏ מִסְפִירַת חֲמִשִּׁים יוֹם מֵהֲנָפַת הָעֹמֶר מִמָּחֳרַת הַשַּׁבָּת.

April 11, 2012:
Today is the 4th day of the 1st week of seven weeks. Today is the 4th day of the counting of fifty days from the day of the waving of the Omer on the morrow after the Sabbath.

11 אפריל 2012:
הַיּוֹם יוֹם רְבִיעִי לַשָּׁבוּעַ רִאשׁוֹן‏ מִשִׁבְעָה שָׁבֻעוֹת. הַיּוֹם אַרְבָּעָה יָמִים‏ מִסְפִירַת חֲמִשִּׁים יוֹם מֵהֲנָפַת הָעֹמֶר מִמָּחֳרַת הַשַּׁבָּת.

April 12, 2012:
Today is the 5th day of the 1st week of seven weeks. Today is the 5th day of the counting of fifty days from the day of the waving of the Omer on the morrow after the Sabbath.

12 אפריל 2012:
הַיּוֹם יוֹם חֲמִישִׁי‏ לַשָּׁבוּעַ רִאשׁוֹן‏ מִשִׁבְעָה שָׁבֻעוֹת. הַיּוֹם חֲמִשָּׁה יָמִים‏ מִסְפִירַת חֲמִשִּׁים יוֹם מֵהֲנָפַת הָעֹמֶר מִמָּחֳרַת הַשַּׁבָּת.

April 13, 2012:
Today is the 6th day of the 1st week of seven weeks. Today is the 6th day of the counting of fifty days from the day of the waving of the Omer on the morrow after the Sabbath.

13 אפריל 2012:
הַיּוֹם יוֹם שִׁשִּׁי לַשָּׁבוּעַ רִאשׁוֹן‏ מִשִׁבְעָה שָׁבֻעוֹת. הַיּוֹם שִׁשָּׁה‏ יָמִים‏ מִסְפִירַת חֲמִשִּׁים יוֹם מֵהֲנָפַת הָעֹמֶר מִמָּחֳרַת הַשַּׁבָּת.

April 14, 2012:
Today is the 7th day of the 1st week of seven weeks. Today is the 7th day of the counting of fifty days from the day of the waving of the Omer on the morrow after the Sabbath. Today is Sabbath, the 1st Sabbath of seven Sabbaths. Today completes the 1st week of seven weeks.

14 אפריל 2012:
הַיּוֹם יוֹם שְׁבִיעִי לַשָּׁבוּעַ רִאשׁוֹן‏ מִשִׁבְעָה שָׁבֻעוֹת. הַיּוֹם שִׁבְעָה יָמִים‏ מִסְפִירַת חֲמִשִּׁים יוֹם מֵהֲנָפַת הָעֹמֶר מִמָּחֳרַת הַשַּׁבָּת. ‏הַיּוֹם שַׁבָּת, שַׁבָּת רִאשׁוֹנָה‏ מִשֶׁבַע שַׁבָּתוֹת. הַיּוֹם נִשְׁלַם שָׁבוּעַ רִאשׁוֹן‏ מִשִׁבְעָה שָׁבֻעוֹת.

During each of these days Jewish tradition has developed around reading the psalms on certain days. Last year I found this very beneficial and I will do the same this year. It is customary that following the counting of the omer, one recites Psalm 67, for according to tradition that psalm has forty nine words, corresponding to the days of the omer.

And as you do these readings and this counting, keep in mind what this also symbolises. It is the counting of the Sabbatical and Jubilee years and where we are in that cycle. We are in the 17th year which corresponds to the 17th day of counting the Omer.
As I said, this is the most special time of year for me and in years past I couldn’t put my finger on exactly why, other than it had something to do with Yehshua’s resurrection and waiting in anticipation for Shavuot. While I cannot put into words how my understanding of this has grown, all I can say is that “it clicked!” and “now I get it!”, at least more than before. Understanding follows obedience. So OBEY and learn.

Psa 67:1 Elohim does favour us and bless us, Cause His face to shine upon us. Selah.
Psa 67:2 For Your way to be known on earth, Your deliverance among all nations.
Psa 67:3 Let the peoples praise You, O Elohim, Let all the peoples praise You.
Psa 67:4 Let the nations be glad and sing for joy! For You judge the peoples uprightly, And lead the nations on earth. Selah.
Psa 67:5 Let the peoples praise You, O Elohim; Let all the peoples praise You.
Psa 67:6 The earth shall give her increase; Elohim, our own Elohim, blesses us!
Psa 67:7 Elohim blesses us! And all the ends of the earth fear Him!

Day Meditation/Declaration Psalm Reading
WEEK ONE
Day 1 The Law of Yehovah 119:1-8
Psa 119:1 Blessed are the perfect in the way, Who walk in the Torah of יהוה!
Psa 119:2 Blessed are those who observe His witnesses, Who seek Him with all the heart!
Psa 119:3 Yea, they shall do no unrighteousness; They shall walk in His ways.
Psa 119:4 You have commanded us To guard Your orders diligently.
Psa 119:5 Oh, that my ways were established To guard Your laws!
Psa 119:6 Then I would not be ashamed, When I look into all Your commands.
Psa 119:7 I thank You with uprightness of heart, When I learn the right-rulings of Your righteousness.
Psa 119:8 I guard Your laws; Oh, do not leave me entirely!

Day 2 Obedience to Law of Yehovah 119:9-16

Psa 119:9 How would a young man cleanse his path. To guard it according to Your word?
Psa 119:10 I have sought You with all my heart; Let me not stray from Your commands!
Psa 119:11 I have treasured up Your word in my heart, That I might not sin against You.
Psa 119:12 Blessed are You, O יהוה! Teach me Your laws.
Psa 119:13 With my lips I have recounted All the right-rulings of Your mouth.
Psa 119:14 I have rejoiced in the way of Your witnesses, As over all riches.
Psa 119:15 I meditate on Your orders, And regard Your ways.
Psa 119:16 I delight1 myself in Your laws; I do not forget Your word. Footnote: 1See also vv. 24, 35, 47, 70, 77, 92, 143, 174, Rom. 7:22.

Day 3 Happiness in Law of Yehovah 119:17-24
Psa 119:17 Do good to Your servant, Let me live and I guard Your word.
Psa 119:18 Open my eyes, that I might see Wonders from Your Torah.
Psa 119:19 I am a sojourner in the earth; Do not hide Your commands from me.
Psa 119:20 My being is crushed with longing For Your right-rulings at all times.
Psa 119:21 You rebuked the proud, cursed ones, Who are straying from Your commands.
Psa 119:22 Remove from me reproach and scorn, For I have observed Your witnesses.
Psa 119:23 Though princes sat, speaking against me, Your servant meditates on Your laws.
Psa 119:24 Your witnesses also are my delight, My counsellors.

Day 4 Determination to obey Law of Yehovah 119:25-32

Psa 119:25 My being has been clinging to the dust; Revive me according to Your word.
Psa 119:26 I have recounted my ways and You answered me; Teach me Your laws.
Psa 119:27 Make me understand the way of Your orders; That I might meditate on Your wonders.
Psa 119:28 My being has wept from grief; Strengthen me according to Your word.
Psa 119:29 Remove from me the way of falsehood, And favour me with Your Torah.
Psa 119:30 I have chosen the way of truth; Your right-rulings I have held level.
Psa 119:31 I have clung to Your witnesses; O יהוה, do not put me to shame!
Psa 119:32 I run the way of Your commands, For You enlarge my heart.

Day 5 A prayer for understanding 119:33-40
Psa 119:33 Teach me, O יהוה, the way of Your laws, And I observe it to the end.
Psa 119:34 Make me understand, that I might observe Your Torah, And guard it with all my heart.
Psa 119:35 Make me walk in the path of Your commands, For I have delighted in it.
Psa 119:36 Incline my heart to Your witnesses, And not to own gain.
Psa 119:37 Turn away my eyes from looking at falsehood, And revive me in Your way.
Psa 119:38 Establish Your word to Your servant, Which leads to the fear of You.
Psa 119:39 Turn away my reproach which I dread, For Your right-rulings are good.
Psa 119:40 See, I have longed for Your orders; Revive me in Your righteousness.

Day 6 This year is the Last Day of Unleavened Bread Trusting the Law of Yehovah 119:41-48
Psa 119:41 And let Your kindnesses come to me, O יהוה; Your deliverance, according to Your word,
Psa 119:42 So that I answer my reprover, For I have trusted in Your word.
Psa 119:43 And do not take away from my mouth The word of truth entirely, For I have waited for Your right-rulings;
Psa 119:44 That I might guard Your Torah continually, Forever and ever;
Psa 119:45 That I might walk in a broad place, For I have sought Your orders;
Psa 119:46 That I might speak of Your witnesses before sovereigns, And not be ashamed;
Psa 119:47 That I might delight myself in Your commands, Which I have loved;
Psa 119:48 That I might lift up my hands to Your commands, Which I have loved; While I meditate on Your laws.

Day 7 Is the First Shabbat Confidence in Law of Yehovah 119:49-56
Psa 119:49 Remember the word to Your servant, On which You have caused me to wait.
Psa 119:50 This is my comfort in my affliction, For Your word has given me life.
Psa 119:51 The proud have utterly scorned me, I did not turn aside from Your Torah.
Psa 119:52 I remembered Your right-rulings of old, O יהוה, And I comfort myself.
Psa 119:53 Rage has seized me because of the wrong Who forsake Your Torah.
Psa 119:54 Your laws have been my songs In the place of my sojournings.
Psa 119:55 I have remembered Your Name in the night, O יהוה, And I guard Your Torah.
Psa 119:56 This has become mine, Because I have observed Your orders.

I want to remind you all that this coming Friday April 13 beginning the evening before is the Last Day or the seventh day of Unleavened Bread. It is another High day and you are not to work on this day. You should gather if you can for services with other of like mind if you can.

You are to eat Unleavened Bread for all seven days. You are not to eat Leavened Bread at all during this time. You are not to work on the first or the 7th day of Unleavened Bread.

May Yehovah bless you with greater understanding as you obey and keep these Holy Days in their proper order and may we also bless Yehovah by our obedience which shows Him our love for Him.

Joh 14:13 “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.

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

07/04/2012 Lev 23 Ezek 23-25 1 Peter 1-2

Leviticus 23

The Feasts of the Eternal (Leviticus 23) If the Holy Days you keep are not found in this chapter then you have added to the law. Stop keeping them and keep only those in this book.

This chapter provides the first full listing in Scripture of the feasts of God, which lay out His incredible plan of salvation for mankind. Stressed here is the fact that these are not just the Israelites’ feasts but God’s feasts, including the weekly Sabbath, as well as the fact that the Holy Days within them are “holy convocations”—commanded assemblies. We must always obey God in observing these feasts—to be in His presence and receive instruction from Him. They are His appointed times to show Him proper appreciation, respect and honor.

The general instructions apply fully to mankind today. The instructions about what offerings to make are included here because the book of Leviticus focuses on the responsibilities of the priests and Levites. Some instructions given here are especially valuable because they are more complete than elsewhere in the Bible, including those about the wave-sheaf, the counting for determining the timing of Pentecost, and staying in booths (tabernacles or tents)—emphasizing temporarily staying in dwellings other than one’s home—during the Feast of Tabernacles.

To learn more about God’s feasts, request or download our free booklet,God’s Holy Day Plan: The Promise of Hope for All Mankind. The supplementary readings are found in this publication.

Ezekiel 23-25

Chapter 23 of Ezekiel is a scathing pronouncement upon both Houses of Israel by the Almighty through the prophet Ezekiel. He gives the Northern Kingdom and the Southern Kingdom names of Oholah and Oholibah respectively. Oholah means “in her own tent” and would seem to signify that she was not in the tent of her husband Yehovah, but going her own way with her own covering. Oholibah for Jerusalem or Judah means “woman of the tent” or “the tent is in her” 1) (metaph) Jerusalem as adulterous wife of Yehovah. The indications are the same for both – adulterous women. Yehovah declares that they both whored while they are yet His, Samaria (House of Israel) with Asshur and Jerusalem (House of Judah) with Babylon. The prophet goes into extraordinary graphic detail of how their actions were viewed by Elohim.

Yehovah is so wroth with them both that He declares He is handing them both over to their lovers. They are defiled and disgusting to Him. They will be judged as adulteresses and shall be stoned by the assembly. He is going to put an end to the wickedness by the way of Assyria and Babylon.

Chapter 24
Here are two sermons in this chapter, preached on a particular occasion, and they are both from Mount Sinai, the mount of terror, both from Mount Ebal, the mount of curses; both speak the approaching fate of Jerusalem. The occasion of them was the king of Babylon’s laying siege to Jerusalem, and the design of them is to show that in the issue of that siege he should be not only master of the place, but destroyer of it. I. By the sign of flesh boiling in a pot over the fire are shown the miseries that Jerusalem should suffer during the siege, and justly, for her filthiness (v. 1-14). II. By the sign of Ezekiel’s not mourning for the death of his wife is shown that the calamities coming upon Jerusalem were too great to be lamented, so great that they should sink down under them into a silent despair (v. 15-27).

Verses 1-14 We have here,I. The notice God gives to Ezekiel in Babylon of Nebuchadnezzar’s laying siege to Jerusalem, just at the time when he was doing it (v. 2): “Son of man, take notice, the king of Babylon, who is now abroad with his army, thou knowest not where, set himself against Jerusalem this same day.’’ It was many miles, it was many days’ journey, from Jerusalem to Babylon. Perhaps the last intelligence they had from the army was that the design was upon Rabbath of the children of Ammon and that the campaign was to be opened with the siege of that city. But God knew, and could tell the prophet, “This day, at this time, Jerusalem is invested, and the Chaldean army has sat down before it.’’

Note, As all times, so all places, even the most remote, are present with God and under his view. He tells the prophet, that the prophet might tell the people, that so when it proved to be punctually true, as they would find by the public intelligence in a little time, it might be a confirmation of the prophet’s mission, and they might infer that, since he was right in his news, he was so in his predictions, for he owed both to the same correspondence he had with Heaven.

The notice which he orders him to take of it. He must enter it in his book, memorandum, that in the ninth year of Jehoiachin’s captivity (for thence Ezekiel dated, ch. 1:2 , which was also the ninth year of Zedekiah’s reign, for he began to reign when Jehoiachin was carried off), in the tenth month, on the tenth day of the month, the king of Babylon laid siege to Jerusalem; and the date here agrees exactly with the date in the history, 2 Ki. 25:1 . See how God reveals things to his servants the prophets, especially those things which serve to confirm their word, and so to confirm their own faith.

Note, It is good to keep an exact account of the date of remarkable occurrences, which may sometimes contribute to the manifesting of God’s glory so much the more in them, and the explaining and confirming of scripture prophecies. Known unto God are all his works. III. The notice which he orders him to give to the people thereupon, the purport of which is that this siege of Jerusalem, now begun, will infallibly end in the ruin of it. This he must say to the rebellious house, to those of them that were in Babylon, to be by them communicated to those that were yet in their own land. A rebellious house will soon be a ruinous house.1. He must show them this by a sign; for that stupid people needed to be taught as children are. The comparison made use of is that of a boiling pot. This agrees with Jeremiah’s vision many years before, when he first began to be a prophet, and probably was designed to put them in mind of that (Jer. 1:13 , I see a seething pot, with the face towards the north; and the explanation of it, v. 15, makes it to signify the besieging of Jerusalem by the northern nations); and, as this comparison is intended to confirm Jeremiah’s vision, so also to confront the vain confidence of the princes of Jerusalem, who had said ch. 11:3 ), This city is the caldron and we are the flesh, meaning, “We are as safe here as if we were surrounded with walls of brass.’’ “Well,’’ says God, “it shall be so; you shall be boiled in Jerusalem, as the flesh in the caldron, boiled to pieces; let the pot be set on with water in it (v. 4); let it be filled with the flesh of the choice of the flock (v. 5), with the choice pieces (v. 4 ), and the marrow-bones, and let the other bones serve for fuel, that, one way or other, either in the pot or under it, the whole beast may be made use of.’’

A fire of bones, though it be a slow fire (for the siege was to be long), is yet a sure and lasting fire; such was God’s wrath against them, and not like the crackling of thorns under a pot, which has noise and blaze, but no intense heat. Those that from all parts of the country fled into Jerusalem for safety would be sadly disappointed when the siege laid to it would soon make the place too hot for them; and yet there was not getting out of it, but they must be forced to abide by it, as the flesh in a boiling pot.

He must give them a comment upon this sign. It is to be construed as a woe to the bloody city, v. 6. And again (v. 9), being bloody, let it go to pot, to be boiled; that is the fittest place for it. Let us here see,(1.) What is the course God takes with it. Jerusalem, during the siege, is like a pot boiling over the fire, all in a heat, all in a hurry. [1.] Care is taken to keep a good fire under the pot, which signifies the closeness of the siege, and the many vigorous attacks made upon the city by the besiegers, and especially the continued wrath of God burning against them (v. 9): I will make the pile for fire great. Commission is given to the Chaldeans (v. 10) to heap on wood, and kindle the fire, to make Jerusalem more and more hot to the inhabitants.

Note, The fire which God kindles for the consuming of impenitent sinners shall never abate, much less go out, for want of fuel. Tophet has fire and much wood, Isa. 30:33 . [2.] The meat, as it is boiled, is taken out, and given to the Chaldeans for them to feast upon. “Consume the flesh; let it be thoroughly boiled, boiled to rags. Spice it well, and make it savoury, for those that will fees sweetly upon it. Let the bones be burnt.’’ either the bones under the pot (”let them be consumed with the other fuel’’) or, as some think, the bones in the pot—”let it boil so furiously that not only the flesh may be sodden, but even the bones softened; let all the inhabitants of Jerusalem be by sickness, sword, and famine, reduced to the extremity of misery.’’ And then (v. 6), “Bring it out piece by piece; let every man be delivered into the enemy’s hand, to be either put to the sword or made a prisoner. Let them be an easy prey to them, and let the Chaldeans fall upon them as eagerly as a hungry man does upon a good dish of meat when it is set before him. Let no lot fall upon it; every piece in the pot shall be fetched out and devoured, first or last, and therefore it is no matter for casting lots which shall be fetched out first.’’

It was a very severe military execution when David measured Joab with two lines to put to death and one full line to keep alive, 2 Sa. 8:2 . But here is no line, no lot of mercy, made use of; all goes one way, and that is to destruction. [3.] When all the broth is boiled away the pot is set empty upon the coals, that it may burn too, which signifies the setting of the city on fire, v. 11. The scum of the meat, or (as some translate it) the rust of the meat, has so got into the pot that there is no making it clean by washing or scouring it, and therefore it must be done by fire; so let the filthiness be burnt out of it, or, rather, melted in it and burnt with it. Let the vipers and their nest be consumed together.(2.) What is the quarrel God has with it.

He would not take these severe methods with Jerusalem but that he is provoked to it; she deserves to be thus dealt with, for, [1.] It is a bloody city (v. 7, v. 8) : Her blood is in the midst of her. Many a barbarous murder has been committed in the very heart of the city; nay, and they have a disposition to cruelty in their hearts; they inwardly delight in blood-shed, and so it is in the midst of them. Nay, they commit their murders in the face of the sun, and openly and impudently avow them, in defiance of the justice both of God and man. She did not pour out the blood she shed upon the ground, to cover it with dust, as being ashamed of the sin or afraid of the punishment. She did not look upon it as a filthy thing, proper to be concealed (Deu. 23:13 ), much less dangerous. Nay, she poured out the innocent blood she shed upon a rock, where it would not soak in, upon the top of a rock, in despite of divine views and vengeance. They shed innocent blood under colour of justice; so that they gloried in it, as if they had done God and the country good service, so put it, as it were, on the top of a rock. Or it may refer to the sacrificing of their children on their high places, perhaps on the top of rocks. Now thus they caused fury to come up and take vengeance, v. 8.

It could not be avoided but that God must in anger visit for these things; his soul must be avenged on such a nation as this. It is absolutely necessary that such a bloody city as this should have blood given her to drink, for she is worthy, for the vindicating of the honour of divine justice. And, the crime having been public and notorious, it is fit that the punishment should be so too: I have set her blood on the top of a rock. Jerusalem was to be made an example, and therefore was made a spectacle, to the world; God dealt with her according to the law of retaliation. It is fit that those who sin before all should be rebuked before all; and that the reputation of those should not be consulted by the concealment of their punishment who were so impudent as not to desire the concealment of their sin.

It is a filthy city. Great notice is taken, in this explanation of the comparison, of the scum of this pot, which signifies the sin of Jerusalem, working up and appearing when the judgments of God were upon her. It is the pot whose scum is therein and has not gone out of it, v. 6. The great scum that went not forth out of her (v. 12), that stuck to the pot when all was boiled away, and was molten in it (v. 11), some of this runs over into the fire (v. 12), inflames that, and makes it burn the more furiously, but it shall all be consumed at last, v. 11.

When the hand of God had gone out against them, instead of humbling themselves under it, repenting and reforming, and accepting the punishment of their iniquity, they grew more impudent and outrageous in sin, quarrelled with God, persecuted his prophets, were fierce to one another, enraged to the last degree against the Chaldeans, snarled at the stone, gnawed their chain, and were like a wild bull in a net. This as their scum; in their distress they trespassed yet more against the Lord, like that king Ahaz, 2 Chr. 28:22 .

There is little hope of those who are made worse by that which should make them better, whose corruptions are excited an exasperated by those rebukes both of the word and of the providence of God which were designed for the suppressing and subduing of them, or of those whose scum boiled up once in convictions, and confessions of sin, as if it would be taken off by reformation, but afterwards returned again, in a revolt from their good overtures; and the heart that seemed softened is hardened again. This was Jerusalem’s case: She has wearied with lies, wearied her God with purposes and promises of amendment, which she never stood to, wearied herself with her carnal confidences, which have all deceived her, v. 12.

Note, Those that follow after lying vanities weary themselves with the pursuit. Now see her doom, v. 13, v. 14. Because she is incurably wicked she is abandoned to ruin, without remedy. First, Methods and means of reformation had been tried in vain (v. 13): “In thy filthiness is lewdness; thou hast become obstinate and impudent in it; thou hast got a habit of it, which is confirmed by frequent acts. In thy filthiness thee is a rooted lewdness; as appears by this, I have purged thee and thou wast not purged. I have given thee medicine, but it has done thee no good. I have used the means of cleansing thee, but they have been ineffectual; the intention of them has not been answered.’’

Note, It is sad to think how many there are on whom ordinances and providences are all lost. Secondly, It is therefore resolved that no more such methods shall be sued: Thou shalt not be purged from thy filthiness any more. The fire shall no longer be a refining fire, but a consuming fire, and therefore shall not be mitigated and shortened, as it has been, but shall be continued in extremity, till it has done its destroying work. Note, Those that will not be healed are justly given up and their case adjudged desperate. There is a day coming when it will be said, He that is filthy, let him be filthy still. Thirdly, Nothing remains then but to bring them to utter ruin: I will cause my fury to rest upon thee. This is the same with what is said of the later Jews, that wrath has come upon them to the uttermost, 1 Th. 2:16 . They deserve it: According to thy doings they shall judge thee, v. 14. And God will do it. The sentence is bound on with repeated ratifications, that they might be awakened to see how certain their ruin was: “I the Lord have spoken it, who am able to make good what I have spoken; it shall come to pass, nothing shall prevent it, for I will do it myself, I will not go back upon any entreaties; the decree has gone forth, and I will not spare in compassion to them, neither will I repent.’’ He will neither change his mind nor his way. Hereby the prophet was forbidden to interceded for them, and they were forbidden to flatter themselves with hopes of an escape. God hath said it, and he will do it.

Note, The declarations of God’s wrath against sinners are as inviolable as the assurances he has given of favour to his people; and the case of such is sad indeed, who have brought it to this issue, that either God must be false or they must be damned.

Verses 15-27 These verses conclude what we have been upon all along from the beginning of this book, to wit, Ezekiel’s prophecies of the destruction of Jerusalem; for after this, though he prophesied much concerning other nations, he said no more concerning Jerusalem, till he heard of the destruction of it, almost three years after, ch. 33:21 . He had assured them, in the former part of this chapter, that there was no hope at all of the preventing of the trouble; here he assures them that they should not have the ease of weeping for it. Observe here,I. The sign by which this was represented to them, and it was a sign that cost the prophet very dear; the more shame for them that when he, by a divine appointment, was at such an expense to affect them with what he had to deliver, yet they were not affected by it1. He must lose a good wife, that should suddenly be taken from him by death. God gave him notice of it before, that it might be the less surprise to him (v. 16): Behold, I take away from thee the desire of thy eyes with a stroke.

Note, A married state may very well agree with the prophetical office; it is honourable in all, and therefore not sinful in ministers. Much of the comfort of human life lies in agreeable relations. No doubt Ezekiel found a prudent tender yoke-fellow, that shared with him in his griefs and cares, to be a happy companion in his captivity. Those in the conjugal relation must be to each other not only a covering of the eyes (Gen. 20:16 ), to restrain wandering looks after others; but a desire of the eyes, to engage pleasing looks on one another. A beloved wife is the desire of the eyes, which find not any object more grateful.

That is least safe which is most dear; we know not how soon the desire of our eyes may be removed from us and may become the sorrow of our hearts, which is a good reason why those that have wives should be as though they had none, and those who rejoice in them as though they rejoiced not, 1 Co. 7:29, 1 Co. 7:30 . Death is a stroke which the most pious, the most useful, the most amiable, are not exempted from. (5.) When the desire of our eyes is taken away with a stroke we must see and own the hand of God in it: I take away the desire of thy eyes. He takes our creature-comforts from us when and how he pleases; he gave them to us, but reserved to himself a property in them; and may he not do what he will with his own? (6.) Under afflictions of this kind it is good for us to remember that we are sons of men; for so God calls the prophet here. If thou art a son of Adam, thy wife is a daughter of Eve, and therefore a dying creature. It is an affliction which the children of men are liable to; and shall the earth be forsaken for us? According to this prediction, he tells us (v. 18), I spoke unto the people in the morning; for God sent his prophets, rising up early and sending them; then he thought, if ever, they would be disposed to hearken to him. Observe, [1.] Though God had given Ezekiel a certain prospect of this affliction coming upon him, yet it did not take him off from his work, but he resolved to go on in that.

We may the more easily bear an affliction if it find us in the way of our duty; for nothing can hurt us, nothing come amiss to us, while we keep ourselves in the love of God.2. He must deny himself the satisfaction of mourning for his wife, which would have been both an honour to her and an ease to the oppression of his own spirit. He must not use the natural expressions of sorrow, v. 16. He must not give vent to his passion by weeping, or letting his tears run down, though tears are a tribute due to the dead, and, when the body is sown, it is fit that it should thus be watered.

But Ezekiel is not allowed to do this, though he thought he had as much reason to do it as any man and would perhaps be ill thought of by the people if he did it not. Much less might he use the customary formalities of mourners. He must dress himself in his usual attire, must bind his turban on him, here called the tire of his head, must put on his shoes, and not go barefoot, as was usual in such cases; he must not cover his lips, not throw a veil over his face (as mourners were wont to do, Lev. 13:45 ), must not be of a sorrowful countenance, appearing unto men to fast, Mt. 6:18 .

He must not eat the bread of men, nor expect that his neighbours and friends should send him in provisions, as usually they did in such cases, presuming the mourners had no heart to provide meat for themselves; but, if it were sent, he must not eat of it, but go on in his business as at other times. It could not but be greatly against the grain to flesh and blood not to lament the death of one he loved so dearly, but so God commands; and I did in the morning as I was commanded. He appeared in public, in his usual habit, and looked as he used to do, without any signs of mourning.

Here there was something peculiar, and Ezekiel, to make himself a sign to the people, must put a force upon himself and exercise an extraordinary piece of self-denial. Note, Our dispositions must always submit to God’s directions, and his command must be obeyed even in that which is most difficult and displeasing to us. Though mourning for the dead be a duty, yet it must always be kept under the government of religion and right reason, and we must not sorrow as those that have no hope, nor lament the loss of any creature, even the most valuable, and that which we could worst spare, as if we had lost our God, or as if all our happiness were gone with it; and, of this moderation in mourning, ministers, when it is their case, ought to be examples.

We must at such a time study to improve the affliction, to accommodate ourselves to it, and to get our acquaintance with the other world increased, by the removal of our dear relations, and learn with holy Job to bless the name of the Lord even when he takes as well as when he gives.

The explication and application of this sign. The people enquired the meaning of it (v. 19): Wilt thou not tell us what these things are to us that thou doest so? They knew that Ezekiel was an affectionate husband, that the death of his wife was a great affliction to him, and that he would not appear so unconcerned at it but for some good reason and for instruction to them; and perhaps they were in hopes that it had a favourable signification, and gave them an intimation that God would now comfort them again according to the time he had afflicted them, and make them look pleasant again.

Note, When we are enquiring concerning the things of God our enquiry must be, “What are those thing to us? What are we concerned in them? What conviction, what counsel, what comfort, do they speak to us? Wherein do they reach our case?’’ Ezekiel gives them an answer verbatim—word for word as he had received it from the Lord, who had told him what he must speak to the house of Israel.

Let them know that as Ezekiel’s wife was taken from him by a stroke so would God take from them all that which was dearest to them, v. 21. If this was done to the green tree, what shall be done to the dry? If a faithful servant of God was thus afflicted only for his trial, shall such a generation of rebels against God go unpunished? By this awakening providence God showed that he was in earnest in his threatenings, and inexorable. We may suppose that Ezekiel prayed that, if it were the will of God, his wife might be spared to him, but God would not hear him; and should he be heard then in his intercessions for this provoking people? No, it is determined: God will take away the desire of your eyes.

Note, The removal of the comforts of others should awaken us to think of parting with ours too; for are we better than they? We know not how soon the same cup, or a more bitter one, may be put into our hands, and should therefore weep with those that weep, as being ourselves also in the body. God will take away that which their soul pities, that is, of which they say, What a pity is it that it should be cut off and destroyed! That for which your souls are afraid (so some read it); you shall lose that which you most dread the loss of. And what is that? That which was their public pride, the temple: “I will profane my sanctuary, by giving that into the enemy’s hand, to be plundered and burnt.’’

This was signified by the death of a wife, a dear wife, to teach us that God’s sanctuary should be dearer to us, and more the desire of our eyes, than any creature-comfort whatsoever. Christ’s church, that is his spouse, should be ours too. Though this people were very corrupt, and had themselves profaned the sanctuary, yet it is called the desire of their eyes. Note, Many that are destitute of the power of godliness are yet very fond of the form of it; and it is just with God to punish them for their hypocrisy by depriving them of that too.

The sanctuary is here called the excellency of their strength; they had many strong-holds and places of defense, but the temple excelled them all. It was the pride of their strength; they prided in it as their strength that they were the temple of the Lord, Jer. 7:4 . Note, The church-privileges that men are proud of are profaned by their sins, and it is just with God to profane them by his judgments. And with these God will take away. That which was their family-pleasure, which they looked upon with delight: “Your sons and your daughters (which are the dearer to you because they are but few left of many, the rest having perished by famine and pestilence) shall fall by the sword of the Chaldeans.’’

What a dreadful spectacle would it be to see their own children, pieces, pictures, of themselves, whom they had taken such care and pains to bring up, and whom they loved as their own souls, sacrificed to the rage of the merciless conquerors! This, this, was the punishment of sin. Let them know that as Ezekiel wept not for his affliction so neither should they weep for theirs. He must say, You shall do as I have done, v. 22. You shall not mourn nor weep, v. 23. Jeremiah had told them the same, that men shall not lament for the dead nor cut themselves (Jer. 16:6 ); not that there shall be any such merciful circumstance without, or any such degrees of wisdom and grace within, as shall mitigate and moderate the sorrow; but they shall not mourn, for.

Their grief shall be so great that they shall be quite overwhelmed with it; their passions shall stifle them, and they shall have no power to ease themselves by giving vent to it. Their calamities shall come so fast upon them, one upon the neck of another, that by long custom they shall be hardened in their sorrows (Job. 6:10 ) and perfectly stupefied, and moped (as we say), with them. They shall not dare to express their grief, for fear of being deemed disaffected to the conquerors, who would take their lamentations as an affront and disturbance to their triumphs. They shall not have hearts, nor time, nor money, wherewith to put themselves in mourning, and accommodate themselves with the ceremonies of grief: “You will be so entirely taken up with solid substantial grief that you will have no room for the shadow of it.’’

Particular mourners shall not need to distinguish themselves by covering their lips, and laying aside their ornaments, and going barefoot; for it is well known that every body is a mourner. There shall be none of that sense of their affliction and sorrow for it which would help to bring them to repentance, but that only which shall drive them to despair; so it follows: “You shall pine away for your iniquities, with seared consciences and reprobate minds, and you shall mourn, not to God in prayer and confession of sin, but one towards another,’’ murmuring, and fretting, and complaining of God, thus making their burden heavier and their wound more grievous, as impatient people do under their afflictions by mingling their own passions with them. An appeal to the event, for the confirmation of all this (v. 24): “When this comes, as it is foretold, when Jerusalem, which is this day besieged, is quite destroyed and laid waste, which now you cannot believe will ever be, then you shall know that I am the Lord God, who have given you this fair warning of it. Then you will remember that Ezekiel was to you a sign.’’

Note, Those who regard not the threatenings of the word when they are preached will be made to remember them when they are executed. Observe,1. The great desolation which the siege of Jerusalem should end in (v. 25): In that day, that terrible day, when the city shall be broken up, I will take from them, (1.) That which they depended on—their strength, their walls, their treasures, their fortifications, their men of war; none shall stand them in stead. (2.) That which they boasted of—the joy of their glory, that which they looked upon as most their glory, and which they most rejoiced in, the temple of their God and the palaces of their princes. (3.) That which they delighted in, which was the desire of their eyes, and on which they set their minds.

Note, Carnal people set their minds upon that on which they can set their eyes; they look at, and dote upon, the things that are seen; and it is their folly to set their minds upon that which they have no assurance of and which may be taken from them in a moment, Prov. 23:5 . Their sons and their daughters were all this—their strength, and joy, and glory; and these shall go into captivity.2. The notice that should be brought to the prophet, not be revelation, as the notice of the siege was brought to him (v. 2), but in an ordinary way (v. 26): “He that escapes in that day shall, by a special direction of Providence, come to thee, to bring thee intelligence of it,’’ which we find was done, ch. 33:21 . The ill-news came slowly, and yet to Ezekiel and his fellow-captives it came too soon.3. The divine impression which he should be under upon receiving that notice, v. 27. Whereas, from this time to that, Ezekiel was thus far dumb that he prophesied no more against the land of Israel, but against the neighbouring nations, as we shall find in the following chapters, then he shall have orders given him to speak again to the children of his people ch. 33:2, ch. 33:22 ); then his mouth shall be opened.

He was suspended from prophesying against them in the mean time, because, Jerusalem being besieged, his prophecies could not be sent into the city,—because, when God was speaking so loudly by the rod, there was the less need of speaking by the word,—and because then the accomplishment of his prophecies would be the full confirmation of his mission, and would the more effectually clear the way for him to begin again. It being referred to that issue, that issue must be waited for.

Thus Christ forbade his disciples to preach openly that he was Christ till after his resurrection, because that was to be the full proof of it. “But then thou shalt speak with the greater assurance, and the more effectually, either to their conviction or to their confusion.’’ Note, God’s prophets are never silenced but for wise and holy ends. And when God gives them the opening of the mouth again (as he will in due time, for even the witnesses that are slain shall arise ) it shall appear to have been for his glory that they were for a while silent, that people may the more certainly and fully know that God is the Lord.

Judgment on Judah’s Neighbors (Ezekiel 25)
It is not known exactly when God gave Ezekiel the prophecies of this chapter, though it is reasonable to assume that they were given prior to the next chronologically dated section of the book. The Expositor’s Bible Commentary says: “The four short oracles against Judah’s immediate neighbors are a continuation of Ezekiel’s dated judgment message that began at 24:1 and concludes at 25:17. This, therefore, was originally a singular series of messages, all delivered at the same time according to Ezekiel’s normal chronological notices. The messages in this series announce judgment on Judah [our previous reading] and then turn to denounce the surrounding nations that had rejoiced over Judah’s downfall and had hoped for personal spoil and gain. God announced judgment on these nations lest their gleeful taunts continue and the exiles question his faithfulness to his promises” (note on verses 1-7).

The siege of Jerusalem had begun but the city would not fall for more than two years. However, much of Judah had no doubt been devastated rather quickly with the invasion of the Babylonian forces. Recall also that the Chaldeans had invaded a few times before—stripping the temple of treasure and deporting many people. The Ammonites and Moabites had actually taken part in one of these invasions during the reign of Jehoiakim (2 Kings 24:1-2). Though this was part of God’s judgment on Judah, these ancient enemies rejoiced in Judah’s calamity not for any righteous reason but out of envy and their undying hatred against God’s people. This provides some background for the prophecies of Ezekiel 25.

God says to the Ammonites that they will suffer His judgment “because you said, ‘Aha!’ against My sanctuary when it was profaned, and against the land of Israel when it was desolate, and against the house of Judah when they went into captivity” (verse 3). This might seem to apply to their attitude after the fall of Jerusalem, and certainly God could have foreseen this even before it happened. Indeed, prophecies often portray things that are yet future in the past tense, demonstrating the certainty of their fulfillment. Nevertheless, the statement could just as well describe what had already happened by the early stages of the siege—the period in which we are chronologically placing this section. God’s temple was profaned when, as already mentioned, it was twice stripped of treasure by the Babylonians. In fact, “profaned” seems to go much better with that than with the ultimate razing of the temple—which was much more than defilement. The desolation of the land of Israel could apply to what happened much earlier to the northern kingdom. It could also apply to the last item mentioned in verse 3: the massive deportations Judah had already suffered, including any carrying away of people that happened early in the current invasion.

Moab and Seir (the latter denoting the territory of Edom) are to be judged for saying, “Look! The house of Judah is like all the nations” (verse 8) . Essentially, they are mocking the concept of Judah being some special nation. It’s like saying, “So they think they’re the ‘chosen’ people of the ‘true’ God, do they? Well look at what’s happening to them now. They’re going the way of all other nations by being conquered and carried away. Guess they’re not so special after all!” Such sentiments, in fact, mocked God, as He had revealed through His inspired servants that Judah and Israel were indeed His special, chosen people.

As punishment, Ammon and Moab would be given into the hands of “the men of the East” (verses 4, 10). “The ‘people of the East’ are not identified specifically anywhere in Scripture. The phrase was used to refer to any peoples living east of another people. However, the immediate context, parallel passages…and ancient history all argue for the designation of Babylonia as Ezekiel’s contemporary people of the East. Moreover, Josephus (Antiq[uities] of the Jews, [Book 10, chapters 180-81, sec. 9]) recorded that Nebuchadnezzar brought Ammon and Moab into subjection in the fifth year after the Fall of Jerusalem (c. 582/581 B.C.)” (Expositor’s, note on verses 1-7).

Of the Edomites, God said they “greatly offended” by taking vengeance on His people. While Edom did this at the time of Judah’s fall, it had a long history of such action: “The transgressions most characteristic of Edom were its perpetual animosity and repeated, vindictive acts of violence against Israel. The Hebrew words rendered greatly offended (’be guilty’) may indicate continuous or repeated rather than intensive behavior” (Nelson Study Bible, note on verse 12).

In verse 14 God surprisingly declares, “I will lay My vengeance on Edom by the hand of My people Israel.” This certainly did not happen in Ezekiel’s day. The Expositor’s Bible Commentary states: “Other passages in the O[ld] T[estament] indicate that…[Edom’s] punishment would be executed by Nebuchadnezzar (Jer 9:26; 25:21; 27:1-11). Certainly Ezekiel 32:29 and Malachi 1:2-5 assume that Edom’s desolation was past. However, God also declared that he would execute his vengeance on Edom in return for its vengeance on Judah and would do so through the instrumentality of Israel. The historical context of Ezekiel’s day precluded this event from happening at that time. However, Ezekiel and other prophets declared that Israel would possess Edom in the end time as well (cf. 35:1-36:15; Isa 11:14; Dan 11:41; Amos 9:12; Obad 18)” (note on Ezekiel 25:12-14, emphasis added).

Observe that God punishes the Ammonites, Moabites and Philistines so that they will come to know He is the true God (verses 5, 7, 11, 17)—and consider that they will not come to truly understand this until the time of Christ’s return. Of course, it should be remembered that the rulers of these peoples in Ezekiel’s day would have understood it in a limited sense—as God had warned them through Jeremiah that they would either submit to Nebuchadnezzar or suffer sword, famine, pestilence and the yoke of slavery (see Jeremiah 27). Nevertheless, none of these peoples really came to understand who the true God was at that time.

In Ezekiel 25, God does not mention the Edomites coming to know Him as the true God. Rather, He simply says, “They shall know My vengeance” (verse 14). In an end-time context, this may be because Edom will apparently be completely destroyed, with no survivors left, when Christ returns (see Obadiah 18). (The Edomites will apparently have to wait for the second resurrection mentioned in Revelation 20:5 to be given their opportunity to turn to God in sincere repentance.)

As mentioned in previous comments in the Bible Reading Program, the modern descendants of Edom are likely to be found among the Turkish peoples, the Palestinians and other Middle Eastern groups. Indeed, today’s Palestinians, who are concentrated in Jordan and Israel, appear to be a blending of all the peoples mentioned in Ezekiel 25—Ammonites, Moabites, Edomites and Philistines—along with others. For centuries virtually all of these peoples have been Muslims, convinced that Allah is the one true God and that the worship of Jews and Christians is corrupt. Only after Jesus Christ returns and establishes true Christianity as the religion of the world will these people—and all other Muslims worldwide—come to know and worship the true God of the Bible.

The chapter ends with God declaring vengeance to befall the Philistines (or Cherethites, as the Philistines or a major part of them are also called). “God’s great vengeance against the Philistines was a judgment ‘in kind’ for their revengeful attitude and actions against Judah. His destruction of Philistia would be complete, even consuming the remnant of them that were on the coast… Though the time of this punishment on Philistia was not stated, the context assumes time in harmony with the three verdicts executed on Ammon, Moab, and Edom by Babylon (cf. Jer 25:20; 47:1-7). The ultimate fruition of this judgment would be realized when Israel possesses Philistia in the end time (cf. Isa 11:14; Joel 3:1-4; Obad 19; Zeph 2:4-7)” (note on Ezekiel 25:15-17). Interestingly, today’s Palestinians are actually named after the Philistines—and many Palestinians live in the Gaza Strip on the southern Israeli Mediterranean coastline, the region of ancient Philistia. This land will eventually be returned to the Israelites.

1 Peter 1-2 (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)

Chapter 1

The apostle blesses God for his special benefits through Christ. (1-9) Salvation by Christ foretold in ancient prophecy. (10-12) All are exhorted to holy conversation. (13-16) Such as is suitable to their principles, privileges, and obligations. (17-25)
Verses 1-9 This epistle is addressed to believers in general, who are strangers in every city or country where they live, and are scattered through the nations. These are to ascribe their salvation to the electing love of the Father, the redemption of the Son, and the sanctification of the Holy Ghost; and so to give glory to one God in three Persons, into whose name they had been baptized. Hope, in the world’s phrase, refers only to an uncertain good, for all worldly hopes are tottering, built upon sand, and the worldling’s hopes of heaven are blind and groundless conjectures.

But the hope of the sons of the living God is a living hope; not only as to its object, but as to its effect also. It enlivens and comforts in all distresses, enables to meet and get over all difficulties. Mercy is the spring of all this; yea, great mercy and manifold mercy. And this well-grounded hope of salvation, is an active and living principle of obedience in the soul of the believer. The matter of a Christian’s joy, is the remembrance of the happiness laid up for him. It is incorruptible, it cannot come to nothing, it is an estate that cannot be spent. Also undefiled; this signifies its purity and perfection. And it fadeth not; is not sometimes more or less pleasant, but ever the same, still like itself. All possessions here are stained with defects and failings; still something is wanting: fair houses have sad cares flying about the gilded and ceiled roofs; soft beds and full tables, are often with sick bodies and uneasy stomachs.

All possessions are stained with sin, either in getting or in using them. How ready we are to turn the things we possess into occasions and instruments of sin, and to think there is no liberty or delight in their use, without abusing them! Worldly possessions are uncertain and soon pass away, like the flowers and plants of the field. That must be of the greatest worth, which is laid up in the highest and best place, in heaven. Happy are those whose hearts the Holy Spirit sets on this inheritance. God not only gives his people grace, but preserves them unto glory.

Every believer has always something wherein he may greatly rejoice; it should show itself in the countenance and conduct. The Lord does not willingly afflict, yet his wise love often appoints sharp trials, to show his people their hearts, and to do them good at the latter end. Gold does not increase by trial in the fire, it becomes less; but faith is made firm, and multiplied, by troubles and afflictions. Gold must perish at last, and can only purchase perishing things, while the trial of faith will be found to praise, and honour, and glory. Let this reconcile us to present afflictions. Seek then to believe Christ’s excellence in himself, and his love to us; this will kindle such a fire in the heart as will make it rise up in a sacrifice of love to him. And the glory of God and our own happiness are so united, that if we sincerely seek the one now, we shall attain the other when the soul shall no more be subject to evil. The certainty of this hope is as if believers had already received it.

Verses 10-12 Jesus Christ was the main subject of the prophets’ studies. Their inquiry into the sufferings of Christ and the glories that should follow, would lead to a view of the whole gospel, the sum whereof is, That Christ Jesus was delivered for our offences, and raised again for our justification. God is pleased to answer our necessities rather than our requests. The doctrine of the prophets, and that of the apostles, exactly agree, as coming from the same Spirit of God. The gospel is the ministration of the Spirit; its success depends upon his operation and blessing. Let us then search diligently those Scriptures which contain the doctrines of salvation.

Verses 13-16 As the traveller, the racer, the warrior, and the labourer, gathered in their long and loose garments, that they might be ready in their business, so let Christians do by their minds and affections. Be sober, be watchful against all spiritual dangers and enemies, and be temperate in all behaviour. Be sober-minded in opinion, as well as in practice, and humble in your judgment of yourselves. A strong and perfect trust in the grace of God, is agreeable with best endeavours in our duty. Holiness is the desire and duty of every Christian. It must be in all affairs, in every condition, and towards all people. We must especially watch and pray against the sins to which we are inclined. The written word of God is the surest rule of a Christian’s life, and by this rule we are commanded to be holy every way. God makes those holy whom he saves.

Verses 17-25 Holy confidence in God as a Father, and awful fear of him as a Judge, agree together; and to regard God always as a Judge, makes him dear to us as a Father. If believers do evil, God will visit them with corrections. Then, let Christians not doubt God’s faithfulness to his promises, nor give way to enslaving dread of his wrath, but let them reverence his holiness. The fearless professor is defenceless, and Satan takes him captive at his will; the desponding professor has no heart to avail himself of his advantages, and is easily brought to surrender. The price paid for man’s redemption was the precious blood of Christ. Not only openly wicked, but unprofitable conversation is highly dangerous, though it may plead custom.

It is folly to resolve, I will live and die in such a way, because my forefathers did so. God had purposes of special favour toward his people, long before he made manifest such grace unto them. But the clearness of light, the supports of faith, the power of ordinances, are all much greater since Christ came upon earth, than they were before. The comfort is, that being by faith made one with Christ, his present glory is an assurance that where he is we shall be also, ( John 14:3 ) . The soul must be purified, before it can give up its own desires and indulgences. And the word of God planted in the heart by the Holy Ghost, is a means of spiritual life, stirring up to our duty, working a total change in the dispositions and affections of the soul, till it brings to eternal life. In contrast with the excellence of the renewed spiritual man, as born again, observe the vanity of the natural man. In his life, and in his fall, he is like grass, the flower of grass, which soon withers and dies away.

We should hear, and thus receive and love, the holy, living word, and rather hazard all than lose it; and we must banish all other things from the place due to it. We should lodge it in our hearts as our only treasures here, and the certain pledge of the treasure of glory laid up for believers in heaven.

Chapter 2

A temper suitable to the Christian character as born again, is recommended. (1-10) Holy conversation among the Gentiles directed. (11,12) Subjects exhorted to pay all proper obedience to their civil governors. (13-17) Also servants to their masters, and all to be patient, according to the example of the suffering Saviour. (18-25)

Verses 1-10 Evil-speaking is a sign of malice and guile in the heart; and hinders our profiting by the word of God. A new life needs suitable food. Infants desire milk, and make the best endeavours for it which they are able to do; such must be a Christian’s desires after the word of God. Our Lord Jesus Christ is very merciful to us miserable sinners; and he has a fulness of grace. But even the best of God’s servants, in this life, have only a taste of the consolations of God. Christ is called a Stone, to teach his servants that he is their protection and security, the foundation on which they are built. He is precious in the excellence of his nature, the dignity of his office, and the glory of his services.

All true believers are a holy priesthood; sacred to God, serviceable to others, endowed with heavenly gifts and graces. But the most spiritual sacrifices of the best in prayer and praise are not acceptable, except through Jesus Christ. Christ is the chief Corner-stone, that unites the whole number of believers into one everlasting temple, and bears the weight of the whole fabric. Elected, or chosen, for a foundation that is everlasting. Precious beyond compare, by all that can give worth. To be built on Christ means, to believe in him; but in this many deceive themselves, they consider not what it is, nor the necessity of it, to partake of the salvation he has wrought. Though the frame of the world were falling to pieces, that man who is built on this foundation may hear it without fear. He shall not be confounded.

The believing soul makes haste to Christ, but it never finds cause to hasten from him. All true Christians are a chosen generation; they make one family, a people distinct from the world: of another spirit, principle, and practice; which they could never be, if they were not chosen in Christ to be such, and sanctified by his Spirit. Their first state is a state of gross darkness, but they are called out of darkness into a state of joy, pleasure, and prosperity; that they should show forth the praises of the Lord by their profession of his truth, and their good conduct. How vast their obligations to Him who has made them his people, and has shown mercy to them! To be without this mercy is a woful state, though a man have all worldly enjoyments. And there is nothing that so kindly works repentance, as right thoughts of the mercy and love of God. Let us not dare to abuse and affront the free grace of God, if we mean to be saved by it; but let all who would be found among those who obtain mercy, walk as his people.

Verses 11-12 Even the best of men, the chosen generation, the people of God, need to be exhorted to keep from the worst sins. And fleshly lusts are most destructive to man’s soul. It is a sore judgment to be given up to them. There is a day of visitation coming, wherein God may call to repentance by his word and his grace; then many will glorify God, and the holy lives of his people will have promoted the happy change.

Verses 13-17 A Christian conversation must be honest; which it cannot be, if there is not a just and careful discharge of all relative duties: the apostle here treats of these distinctly. Regard to those duties is the will of God, consequently, the Christian’s duty, and the way to silence the base slanders of ignorant and foolish men. Christians must endeavour, in all relations, to behave aright, that they do not make their liberty a cloak or covering for any wickedness, or for the neglect of duty; but they must remember that they are servants of God.

Verses 18-25 Servants in those days generally were slaves, and had heathen masters, who often used them cruelly; yet the apostle directs them to be subject to the masters placed over them by Providence, with a fear to dishonour or offend God. And not only to those pleased with reasonable service, but to the severe, and those angry without cause. The sinful misconduct of one relation, does not justify sinful behaviour in the other; the servant is bound to do his duty, though the master may be sinfully froward and perverse. But masters should be meek and gentle to their servants and inferiors.

What glory or distinction could it be, for professed Christians to be patient when corrected for their faults? But if when they behaved well they were ill treated by proud and passionate heathen masters, yet bore it without peevish complaints, or purposes of revenge, and persevered in their duty, this would be acceptable to God as a distinguishing effect of his grace, and would be rewarded by him. Christ’s death was designed not only for an example of patience under sufferings, but he bore our sins; he bore the punishment of them, and thereby satisfied Divine justice. Hereby he takes them away from us.

The fruits of Christ’s sufferings are the death of sin, and a new holy life of righteousness; for both which we have an example, and powerful motives, and ability to perform also, from the death and resurrection of Christ. And our justification; Christ was bruised and crucified as a sacrifice for our sins, and by his stripes the diseases of our souls are cured. Here is man’s sin; he goes astray; it is his own act. His misery; he goes astray from the pasture, from the Shepherd, and from the flock, and so exposes himself to dangers without number. Here is the recovery by conversion; they are now returned as the effect of Divine grace. This return is, from all their errors and wanderings, to Christ. Sinners, before their conversion, are always going astray; their life is a continued error.

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