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News Letter 5848-028
20th day of the 6th month 5848 years after the creation of Adam
The 6th 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
This is also the end of the twenty-fourth week of this the Third Tithe Year for the Levite, the alien, the fatherless and the widow Deuteronomy 26:12
September 8, 2012

Shabbat Shalom Family,
We left off last week with the woman fleeing into the wilderness at the beginning of the final three years of the 10 years of Awe. These three years are the years of tribulation. The woman had fled to Moab which is now Jordan and the Jordanians are told not to turn us over to the ruler of the world at this time.

We are now at the year 2030 and it is Passover time. But you must now decide which Passover you will keep. One will save your life, the other will result in the martyrdom of the Saints that will take place at the same time as the two witnesses are killed. So choose wisely.

Rev 12:6 And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by Elohim, to be nourished there one thousand two hundred and sixty days. 7 And there came to be fighting in the heaven: Miḵa’ĕl and his messengers fought against the dragon. And the dragon and his messengers fought, 8 but they were not strong enough, nor was a place found for them in the heaven any longer. 9 And the great dragon was thrown out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who leads all the world astray. He was thrown to the earth, and his messengers were thrown out with him. 10 And I heard a loud voice saying in the heaven, “Now have come the deliverance and the power and the reign of our Elohim,1 and the authority of His Messiah, for the accuser of our brothers, who accused them before our Elohim day and night, has been thrown down. Footnote: 1See 11:15. 11 “And they overcame him because of the Blood of the Lamb, and because of the Word of their witness, and they did not love their lives to the death. 12 “Because of this rejoice, O heavens, and you who dwell in them! Woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, knowing that he has little time.” 13 And when the dragon saw that he had been thrown to the earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male child. 14 And the woman was given two wings of a great eagle, to fly into the wilderness to her place, where she is nourished for a time and times and half a time, from the presence of the serpent. 15 And out of his mouth the serpent spewed water like a river after the woman, to cause her to be swept away by the river. 16 And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed up the river which the dragon had spewed out of his mouth. 17 And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to fight with the remnant of her seed, those guarding the commands of Elohim and possessing the witness of יהושע Messiah.

This now brings us right up to the beginning of the 3 1/2 years of tribulation. And we shall save this until next weeks News letter.
One of the things most do not see or think about is this.

If the women is gone into the wilderness then who are those the dragon is going after spoken of in verse
17 And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to fight with the remnant of her seed, those guarding the commands of Elohim and possessing the witness of יהושע Messiah.

Those who are keeping the sighted moon Passover in 2030 will be doing so according to the Barley being Aviv.

Under the codified rules, the Jewish calendar is based on the Metonic cycle of 19 years, of which 12 are common years (12 months) and 7 leap years (13 months). The leap years are years 3, 6, 8, 11, 14, 17, and 19 of the Metonic cycle.

In 2029 there will be an extra month added on to the end of the year in the Jewish Hebrew Calendar system. Thus Passover in 2030 could very well have 30 days separating the two calendared systems depending on whether or not the barley is ripe early. Passover 2030 according to the Hebrew Calendar is on April 18. But the sighted moon in March shows us that the Passover in 2030 according to the barley and the sighted moon could very well be on March 19-20, 2030.

Those of the first group of March 19, 2030 will flee and then the Dragon will pursue them and the earth swallow that army up. But then we read of what comes next. 17 And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to fight with the remnant of her seed, those guarding the commands of Elohim and possessing the witness of יהושע Messiah.

Those who are keeping the Hebrew calendar will still be left and so will the two witnesses.
These dramatic events set the stage for the seventh angel’s trumpet sounding and Yehshua’s return to begin the rule of His government over the entire earth.

Rev 11:15 And the seventh messenger sounded, and there came to be loud voices in the heaven, saying, “The reign of this world has become the reign of our Master, and of His Messiah, and He shall reign forever and ever!”1 Footnote: 1See 12:10, Ps. 2:8, Ps. 22:28, Dan. 2:44, Dan. 7:13-14, Obad. 15-21, Hag. 2:22, Zech. 14:9.

Of this same scenario, Matthew 24 says;
Mat 24:29 “And immediately after the distress1 of those days the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give its light, and the stars shall fall from the heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken. Footnote:1Or pressure. 30 “And then the sign of the Son of Aḏam shall appear in the heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth shall mourn, and they shall see the Son of Aḏam coming on the clouds of the heaven with power and much esteem. 31 “And He shall send His messengers with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together His chosen ones from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.

We are now up to the 3rd and final year of these 10 years of Awe. Pentecost of this year 2033 the angels gather 144,000 from the four winds. These are those who are dead being raised back to life and also those amongst the women in the wilderness.

Incredibly, when Yehshua returns to the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, the nations of the earth will gather to fight against Him
Zec 14:1 See, a day shall come for יהוה, and your spoil shall be divided in your midst. 2 And I shall gather all the gentiles to battle against Yerushalayim1. And the city shall be taken, the houses plundered, and the women ravished. Half of the city shall go into exile, but the remnant of the people shall not be cut off from the city. Footnote: 1Joel 3:2, Zeph. 3:8, Rev. 16:14. 3 And יהוה shall go forth, and He shall fight against those gentiles, as He fights in the day of battle. 4 And in that day His feet shall stand upon the Mount of Olives, which faces Yerushalayim on the east. And the Mount of Olives shall be split in two, from east to west, a very great valley, and half of the mountain shall move toward the north and half of it toward the south. 5 And you shall flee to the valley of My mountain – for the valley of the mountains reaches to Atsal. And you shall flee as you fled from the earthquake in the days of Uzziyah sovereign of Yehuḏah. And יהוה my Elohim shall come – all the set-apart ones with You.

Revelation 19:19And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army.

Also at the time of Yehshau’s return, His faithful followers will be resurrected to immortality.
Rev 20:1 And I saw a messenger coming down from the heaven, having the key to the pit of the deep and a great chain in his hand. 2 And he seized the dragon, the serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years, 3 and he threw him into the pit of the deep, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, so that he should lead the nations no more astray until the thousand years were ended. And after that he has to be released for a little while. 4 And I saw thrones – and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them – and the lives of those who had been beheaded because of the witness they bore to יהושע and because of the Word of Elohim, and who did not worship the beast, nor his image, and did not receive his mark upon their foreheads or upon their hands. And they lived and reigned with Messiah for a thousand years 5 (and the rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended) – this is the first resurrection. 6 Blessed and set-apart is the one having part in the first resurrection. The second death possesses no authority over these, but they shall be priests of Elohim and of Messiah, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.

This is describing the “first resurrection,” which is also a “better resurrection”
Heb 11:1 And belief is the substance of what is expected, the proof of what is not seen. 2 For by this the elders obtained witness. 3 By belief, we understand that the ages were prepared by the word of Elohim, so that what is seen was not made of what is visible. 4 By belief, Heḇel offered to Elohim a greater slaughter offering than Qayin, through which he obtained witness that he was righteous, Elohim witnessing of his gifts. And through it, having died, he still speaks. 5 By belief, Ḥanoḵ was translated so as not to see death, “and was not found because Elohim had translated him.” For before his translation he obtained witness, that he pleased Elohim. 6 But without belief it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to Elohim has to believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who earnestly seek Him. 7 By belief, Noaḥ, having been warned of what was yet unseen, having feared, prepared an ark to save his house, through which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to belief. 8 By belief, Aḇraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he was about to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. 9 By belief, he sojourned in the land of promise as a stranger, dwelling in tents with Yitsḥaq and Yaʽaqoḇ, the heirs with him of the same promise, 10 for he was looking for the city having foundations, whose builder and maker is Elohim. 11 By belief also, Sarah herself was enabled to conceive seed, and she bore a child when she was past the normal age, because she deemed Him trustworthy who had promised. 12 And so from one, and him as good as dead, were born as numerous as the stars of the heaven, as countless as the sand which is by the seashore. 13 In belief all these died, not having received the promises,|super 1 but seeing them from a distance, welcomed and embraced them, and confessed that they were aliens and strangers on the earth. Footnote: 1See v. 39. 14 For those who speak this way make it clear that they seek a fatherland. 15 And yet, if they had indeed kept remembering that place from which they had come out, they would have had the chance to return. 16 But now they long for a better place, that is, a heavenly. Therefore Elohim is not ashamed to be called their Elohim, for He has prepared a city for them. 17 By belief, Aḇraham, when he was tried, offered up Yitsḥaq, and he who had received the promises offered up his only brought-forth son, 18 of whom it was said, “In Yitsḥaq your seed shall be called,” 19 reckoning that Elohim was able to raise, even from the dead, from which he received him back, as a type. 20 By belief, Yitsḥaq blessed Yaʽaqoḇ and Ěsaw concerning that which was to come. 21 By belief, Yaʽaqoḇ, when he was dying, blessed each of the sons of Yosĕph, and did reverence on the top of his staff. 22 By belief, Yosĕph, when he was dying, made mention of the outgoing of the children of Yisra’ĕl, and gave orders concerning his bones. 23 By belief, Mosheh, having been born, was hidden three months by his parents, because they saw he was a comely child, and were not afraid of the sovereign’s command. 24 By belief, Mosheh, having become great, refused to be called the son of the daughter of Pharaoh, 25 choosing rather to be afflicted with the people of Elohim than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a time, 26 deeming the reproach of Messiah greater riches than the treasures in Mitsrayim, for he was looking to the reward. 27 By belief, he left Mitsrayim, not fearing the wrath of the sovereign, for he was steadfast, as seeing Him who is invisible. 28 By belief, he performed the Passover and the sprinkling of blood, lest he who destroyed the first-born should touch them. 29 By belief, they passed through the Red Sea as by dry land, and when the Mitsrites tried it, they were drowned. 30 By belief, the walls of Yeriḥo fell, having been surrounded for seven days. 31 By belief, Raḥaḇ the whore did not perish with those who did not believe, having received the spies with peace. 32 And what more shall I say? For the time would fail me to relate of Gidʽon and Baraq and Shimshon and Yiphtaḥ, also of Dawiḏ and Shemu’ĕl and the prophets, 33 who through belief, overcame reigns, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, 34 quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became mighty in battle, put foreign armies to flight. 35 Women received back their dead by resurrection. And others were tortured, not accepting release, to obtain a better resurrection. 36 And others had trial of mockings and floggings and more, of chains and imprisonment. 37 They were stoned, they were tried, they were sawn in two, they were slain with the sword. They went about in sheepskins, in goatskins, being in need, afflicted, mistreated, 38 of whom the world was not worthy – wandering in deserts and mountains and caves and holes of the earth. 39 And having obtained witness through the belief, all these did not receive the promise,1 Footnote: 1See v. 13. 40 Elohim having provided what is better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us.

This change to immortal life was the hope of early believers and remains the fervent hope of those who understand the plan of salvation and the plan of Yehovah.

In the book of Romans, Paul depicts this resurrection as a glorious deliverance from bondage:
Rom 8:18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the esteem that is to be revealed in us. 19 For the intense longing1 of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of Elohim. Footnote: 1Lit. anxiously looking with outstretched head. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not from choice, but because of Him who subjected it, in anticipation, 21 that the creation itself also shall be delivered from the bondage to corruption into the esteemed freedom of the children of Elohim. 22 For we know that all the creation groans together, and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. 23 And not only so, but even we ourselves who have the first-fruits of the Spirit, we ourselves also groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body.

We see that, even though tragic events lie ahead, the good news is that Yehovah will intervene to save humanity and guide mankind into His abundant way of life.

Yehshua will return to raise His followers from death and establish Yehovah’s perfect rule over the earth. This is the wonderful, inspiring meaning of the Feast of Trumpets and the Ten Days of Awe concluding with the Day of Atonement.

Go back and read Rev 20 above once again. Do you see where that comes from in our Torah?
Lev 23:26 And יהוה spoke to Mosheh, saying, 27 “On the tenth day of this seventh month is the Day of Atonement. It shall be a set-apart gathering for you. And you shall afflict your beings, and shall bring an offering made by fire to יהוה. 28 “And you do no work on that same day, for it is the Day of Atonement, to make atonement for you before יהוה your Elohim. 29 “For any being who is not afflicted on that same day, he shall be cut off from his people. 30 “And any being who does any work on that same day, that being I shall destroy from the midst of his people. 31 “You do no work – a law forever throughout your generations in all your dwellings. 32 ‘It is a Sabbath of rest to you, and you shall afflict your beings. On the ninth day of the month at evening, from evening to evening, you observe your Sabbath

This is the Day of Atonement. This is the day the books that were opened on Trumpets for the 10 days of Awe are now going to be closed and it is your name that needs to be found in these books before they are closed.

“May your name be found in the book of life” is a common expression at this time of year but it is very serious.
At this time, at this solemn occasion the events of Rev 20 are shown to us in the acts of High Priest in Lev 16.
Lev 16:1 And יהוה spoke to Mosheh after the death of the two sons of Aharon, as they drew near before יהוה, and died. 2 And יהוה said to Mosheh, “Speak to Aharon your brother not to come in at all times to the Set-apart Place inside the veil, before the lid of atonement which is on the ark, lest he die, because I appear in the cloud above the lid of atonement.

It is only on this one day of the whole year that you come into the Holy of Holies. ON the Day of Atonement.
Lev 16:3 “With this Aharon should come into the Set-apart Place: with the blood of a young bull as a sin offering, and of a ram as a burnt offering. 4 “He should put on the set-apart linen long shirt, with linen trousers on his flesh, and gird himself with a linen girdle, and be dressed with the linen turban – they are set-apart garments. And he shall bathe his body in water, and shall put them on. 5 “And from the congregation of the children of Yisra’ĕl he takes two male goats as a sin offering, and one ram as a burnt offering.

At Passover you will remember that you could offer either a ram one year old or a goat one year old.
Exo 12:3 “Speak to all the congregation of Yisra’ĕl, saying, ‘On the tenth day of this month each one of them is to take for himself a lamb, according to the house of his father, a lamb for a household. 4 ‘And if the household is too small for the lamb, let him and his neighbour next to his house take it according to the number of the beings, according to each man’s need you make your count for the lamb. 5 ‘Let the lamb be a perfect one, a year old male. Take it from the sheep or from the goats.

This choice of a lamb or goat reflects forward to this Day of Atonement. It was right there at Passover how they are connected.
Lev 16:6 “And Aharon shall bring the bull as a sin offering, which is for himself, and make atonement for himself and for his house. 7 “And he shall take the two goats and let them stand before יהוה at the door of the Tent of Meeting. 8 “And Aharon shall cast lots for the two goats, one lot for יהוה and the other lot for Azazel.

Why were lots cast for the two goats?

The two goats represent Yehshua and Satan and yet only Yehovah could tell which was which and did so by the casting of lots. It is the same today. People can’t tell the truth from the lie. We just read how the world will gather to fight the Messiah. Think about that! They are going against the Messiah and it is because they have been deceived by the liar Satan.

In this annual reminder we are shown that Satan does come as an angel of light and does look just like our messiah.
2Co 11:13 For such are false emissaries, deceptive workers, masquerading as emissaries of Messiah. 14 And no wonder! For Satan himself masquerades as a messenger of light! 15 It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness,1 whose end shall be according to their works!2 Footnotes: 1Mt. 7:15-23, 2 Peter 2:1-22. 2Mt. 13:41-42.

2Pe 2:1 But there also came to be false prophets1 among the people, as also among you there shall be false teachers, who shall secretly bring in destructive heresies, and deny the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction on themselves. Footnote: 1See Mt. 7:15-23 v. 7-8, and again v. 21. 2 And many shall follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of, 3 and in greed, with fabricated words, they shall use you for gain. From of old their judgment does not linger, and their destruction does not slumber.

Even today there are many who follow a false Jesus who does away with the law and oppose the true Messiah who has always endorsed and kept the Torah and teaches those that follow Him to keep the torah as well. But unless Yehovah chooses you, you will not know. Unless He reveals these truths to you.

Lev 16:9 “And Aharon shall bring the goat on which the lot for יהוה fell, and shall prepare it as a sin offering.
Lev 16:10 “But the goat on which the lot for Azazel fell is caused to stand alive before יהוה, to make atonement upon it, to send it into the wilderness to Azazel.

Yehshua was the lamb that was slain for the sins of the world. Yehshua was the sin offering the same as that spoken of in verse 9.
There has been some confusion as to which was which. Satan is the Azazel goat.

Clarke’s commentary has this to say.

Aaron shall cast lots upon the two goats - The Jews inform us that there were two lots made either of wood, stone, or any kind of metal. On one was written לשם Lashshem, for the Name, i. e., יהוה Jehovah, which the Jews will neither write nor pronounce: on the other was written לעזאזל Laazazel, for the Scape-Goat: then they put the two lots into a vessel which was called קלפי kalpey, the goats standing with their faces towards the west. Then the priest came, and the goats stood before him, one on the right hand and the other on the left; the kalpey was then shaken, and the priest put in both his hands and brought out a lot in each: that which was in his right hand he laid on the goat that was on his right, and that in his left hand he laid on the goat that was on his left; and according to what was written on the lots, the scape-goat and the goat for sacrifice were ascertained. See the Mishna, in Tract. Yoma. The determining this solemn business by lot, the disposal of which is with the Lord, Pro_16:33, shows that God alone was to select and point out the person by whom this great atonement was to be made; hence he says: Behold I lay in Zion a stone, elect (that is, chosen by himself) and precious - of infinite value.

Etymology

Coined by Tyndale from scape +‎ goat, interpreting Hebrew עזאזל (“Azazel”) (Leviticus 16:8, 10, 26), from an interpretation as coming from עז (ez, “goat”) and אוזל (ozél, “escapes”). First attested 1530.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Azazel

Now read once again the events of Rev 20
Rev 20:1 And I saw a messenger coming down from the heaven, having the key to the pit of the deep and a great chain in his hand. 2 And he seized the dragon, the serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years, 3 and he threw him into the pit of the deep, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, so that he should lead the nations no more astray until the thousand years were ended. And after that he has to be released for a little while.

It was on Yom Kippur, also called Yom haPeduth (or the “Day of Redemption,” the holiest day of the Hebrew year), that the high priest performed the sin atonement and removal ceremonies. Thus, it also is known as the “Day of Atonement.”

Lev 16:11 “And Aharon shall bring the bull of the sin offering, which is for himself, and make atonement for himself and for his house, and shall slaughter the bull as the sin offering which is for himself, 12 and shall take a fire holder filled with burning coals of fire from the altar before יהוה, with his hands filled with sweet incense beaten fine, and shall bring it inside the veil. 13 “And he shall put the incense on the fire before יהוה, and the cloud of incense shall cover the lid of atonement which is on the Witness, lest he die. 14 “And he shall take some of the blood of the bull and sprinkle it with his finger on the lid of atonement on the east side, also in front of the lid of atonement he sprinkles some of the blood with his finger seven times. 15 “And he shall slaughter the goat of the sin offering, which is for the people, and shall bring its blood inside the veil, and shall do with that blood as he did with the blood of the bull, and sprinkle it on the lid of atonement and in front of the lid of atonement. 16 “And he shall make atonement for the Set-apart Place, because of the uncleanness of the children of Yisra’ĕl, and because of their transgressions in all their sins. And so he does for the Tent of Meeting which is dwelling with them in the midst of their uncleanness. 17 “And no man should be in the Tent of Meeting when he goes in to make atonement in the Set-apart Place, until he comes out. And he shall make atonement for himself, and for his household, and for all the assembly of Yisra’ĕl. 18 “And he shall go out to the altar that is before יהוה, and make atonement for it. And he shall take some of the blood of the bull and some of the blood of the goat, and put it on the horns of the altar all around. 19 “And he shall sprinkle some of the blood on it with his finger seven times, and cleanse it, and set it apart from the uncleanness of the children of Yisra’ĕl. 20 “And when he has finished atoning for the Set-apart Place, and the Tent of Meeting, and the altar, he shall bring the live goat. 21 “Then Aharon shall lay both his hands on the head of the live goat, and shall confess over it all the crookednesses of the children of Yisra’ĕl, and all their transgressions in all their sins, and shall put them on the head of the goat, and shall send it away into the wilderness by the hand of a fit man. 22 “And the goat shall bear on itself all their crookednesses, to a land cut off. Thus he shall send the goat away into the wilderness. 23 “Aharon shall then come into the Tent of Meeting, and shall take off the linen garments which he put on when he went into the Set-apart Place, and shall leave them there. 24 “And he shall bathe his body in water in the set-apart place, and shall put on his garments, and shall come out and prepare his burnt offering and the burnt offering of the people, and make atonement for himself and for the people, 25 and burn the fat of the sin offering on the altar. 26 “And he who sent away the goat to Azazel washes his garments, and shall bathe his body in water, and afterward he comes into the camp. 27 “And the bull for the sin offering and the goat for the sin offering, whose blood was brought in to make atonement in the Set-apart Place, is brought outside the camp. And they shall burn their skins, and their flesh, and their dung with fire. 28 “And he who burns them washes his garments, and shall bathe his body in water, and afterward he comes into the camp. 29 “And this shall be for you a law forever: In the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, you afflict your beings, and do no work, the native or the stranger who sojourns among you. 30 “For on that day he makes atonement for you, to cleanse you, to be clean from all your sins before יהוה. 31 “It is a Sabbath of rest for you, and you shall afflict your beings – a law forever. 32 “And the priest, who is anointed and ordained to serve as priest in his father’s place, shall make atonement, and shall put on the linen garments, the set-apart garments, 33 and he shall make atonement for the Most Set-apart Place, and make atonement for the Tent of Meeting and for the altar, and make atonement for the priests and for all the people of the assembly. 34 “And this shall be for you a law forever, to make atonement for the children of Yisra’ĕl, for all their sins, once a year.” And he did as יהוה commanded Mosheh.

At the end of these 10 days of awe, Satan is then locked away. The tribulation is now over and the names of those in the book of life have been sealed and shut. May Your name be found in the Book of Life.

Yehshua taught us to pray to the Father, “Thy kingdom come” (Matthew 6:10Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. How urgently we need the answer to that prayer!

Next we shall cover the Feast of Tabernacles.

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

08/09/2012 Num 18 Dan 10-12 Romans 9

The Levites’ Responsibility and Portion (Numbers 18)
The congregation now seems to have a healthy reverence and respect for the holy things of God. The people are to generally keep their distance from the tabernacle. But as we glimpsed in yesterday’s reading, they are apparently very concerned that they could be annihilated for some random mistake or oversight when they were required to approach the tabernacle, such as when bringing offerings. And indeed, God reveals that if mistakes happen at the tabernacle, someone will be called to account. But God lets it be known that the responsibility for ensuring the proper care and appropriate service of the tabernacle belongs to the priests and other Levites, and that they will be held individually accountable if anything goes awry.

The thought is expressed this way: “You and your sons and your father’s house with you [i.e., all the Levites] shall bear the iniquity related to the sanctuary, and you and your sons [i.e., just the priests] shall bear the iniquity associated with your priesthood” (verse 1). The word “iniquity” can throw us off a little. The word translated “iniquity” (Hebrew ‘avon) means “perverseness” and derives from a root meaning “to be bent or crooked.” The English word “wrong,” which originally connoted being “wrung out of course,” gives us the same word picture (E.W. Bullinger, Companion Bible, appendix 44, sec. 4.) While it can mean deliberate evil, it can also simply mean that something is incorrect or not the way it is supposed to be for whatever reason. And if some aspect is out of kilter in the service of the priesthood or tabernacle due to slackness, incompetence, neglect or any such thing on the part of an individual who is supposed to be keeping watch over this aspect, that individual will be held guilty.

In reading through these passages, we should desire to understand the import they hold for us now. Leadership today, as in ancient Israel, carries great responsibility and accountability. Every consideration must be given to lead in a righteous way, using mature wisdom in following all the laws and principles of God. Those in God’s Church are told not to take too much upon themselves. Just as the Levitical priesthood was not for all Israelites, so being ordained as a minister of Jesus Christ or appointed by the ministry to teach is not for all spiritual Israelites, i.e., true Christians. The apostle James wrote to fellow Christians, “Let not many of you become teachers [which was anciently the responsibility of the priests and Levites], knowing that we [teachers, as James was] shall receive a stricter judgment” (James 3:1). Leaders today will “bear the iniquity” if they misuse their offices.

To Aaron and his sons, and their families, belonged all the tabernacle offerings for their sustenance. This required Aaron and his sons to live by faith. Having no worldly jobs or income, they depended entirely on God. Aaron’s family had no inheritance in the land and looked to God to be their inheritance. “I am your portion and your inheritance among the children of Israel,” God said (verse 20). The Levites would only have small lots of land for the purpose of keeping a few animals to provide their daily needs. So to the Levites went the tithes that were received of all Israel as their inheritance (verse 21). The Levites, in turn, then tithed on their income to Aaron the priest (verses 26-28). And now, as the book of Hebrews explains, God has directed that tithes and offerings go to different recipients—those who represent the Melchizedek priesthood (see Hebrews 7).

Spirit Wars and Geopolitics (Daniel 10:1-11:4)
The events and prophecy of Daniel 10-12 are set in the third year of Cyrus (10:1)—which must mean the third year of his reign as king of Babylon—in the first month (see verses 3-4). So the date was Nisan of 536 B.C. It is the 70th year since Daniel’s captivity. He is now in his mid-80s. And here at the end of his life he receives an amazing prophecy of the future.

The NKJV translates a latter part of Daniel 10:1 as “The message was true, but the appointed time is long.” Yet an alternative rendering of the second clause here is given in the margin: “…and of great conflict.” In fact, the NIV renders this: “Its message was true and it concerned a great war.” This rendering makes sense considering the long interpretation given in chapter 11. The Expositor’s Bible Commentary states: “We are not given any hint as to what symbols may have appeared in the vision (statues, beasts, trees, or whatever). We are simply told that it related to ‘a great war’ (saba). Since it is referred to simply as a dabar (’word,’ ‘message,’ ’saying’), it may not even have come in a pictorial form at all. Its message, however, clearly portended times of testing and crisis for the people of God” (note on verse 1).

Daniel entered three weeks of “mourning,” with this period, Nisan 4-24, overlapping the Passover (Nisan 14) and Feast of Unleavened Bread (Nisan 15-21). Expositor’s states: “Daniel was so deeply impressed by this revelation that he resorted to three weeks of mourning (mitabbel, a word often used in connection with lamenting the death of a loved one). From v. 12 we know that this mourning and the semifast that accompanied it (v. 3) marked a prolonged period of intense supplication and prayer. Daniel abstained altogether from meat, wine and delicacies so that he might give himself over to beseeching and waiting on God. Daniel even neglected the usual niceties of personal grooming, such as fragrant oil on his hair or body. His consuming desire was to intercede for his people and obtain assurance from Yahweh that the nation would survive and carry out with honor and faithfulness its holy mission as God’s witness to the world. He wanted to be certain that the remnant of forty-two thousand that had already gone back to Jerusalem with Zerubbabel and Joshua and had reinstituted public worship at the site of the temple would not fail in their trust, and that the commonwealth they had established would carry on till the last days and the coming of Messiah, the Son of Man” (note on verses 2-3).

At the end of the three weeks, Daniel receives a remarkable vision of a glorious being (verses 4-9). There are striking resemblances to Ezekiel’s description of the glory of God (see Ezekiel 1:4-28) and to the apostle John’s vision of the glorified Jesus (see Revelation 1:9-20). Yet the being of this vision seems to be a powerful angel, like the being of Revelation 10:1, who is also robed in a cloud with a rainbow above his head, his face shining as the sun and his legs like fiery pillars. Indeed, both the being of Revelation 10 and the one in this section of Daniel raise hands to heaven and swear about a length of time (see Daniel 12:7; Revelation 10:5).

Continuing in Expositor’s: “Verse 7 tells us that when Daniel received his vision, he was not alone. His companions, however, did not see the vision of the angel but sensed his presence. Overwhelmed with terror, they fled. Similarly, in 2 Kings 6 at first Elisha alone saw the angelic host encircling Dothan [or perhaps by faith simply knew that they were there without actually seeing them]; only after intercessory prayer was his young assistant enabled to [actually] see them…. Also, in Acts 9:7 the companions of Saul [i.e., Paul] saw something of the light but could not behold the vision of the risen Christ, they could only tell that there was a voice from heaven but could not distinguish its words (Acts 22:9)…. [Daniel now] found himself emotionally overwhelmed (v. 8) , just as he had been at the end of the vision in 8:27. His face paled and his strength left him. After hearing the angel speak to him—presumably some words of greeting—Daniel swooned (v. 9). Yet he was soon aroused, for the angel reached out and actually touched him (v. 10)” (note on verses 7-10).

The angel who now speaks to Daniel and later explains the prophetic message to Daniel appears to be the same glorious being of verses 4-6. The identity of this angel is not revealed here. He is often assumed to be Gabriel, as Gabriel had been dispatched to relate messages to Daniel before. And that may well be. Perhaps Daniel does not say so because, if the angel is Gabriel, he has not come in the familiar human guise in which he has appeared before—appearing now instead as this glorious being so that there is less recognition. In any case, the being who speaks to Daniel does not appear to be the preincarnate Jesus, the One the ancient Israelites knew as God, as demonic forces are able to resist him.

This brings us to what is surely the most remarkable part of this entire exchange. The Bible here reveals that there are unseen spirit wars going on around us. The “prince of the kingdom of Persia” (verse 13; see verse 20) and the “prince of Greece” (verse 20) are evidently spirit rulers over these empires under the chief of demons, Satan the Devil. Jesus made it clear that Satan is the “ruler of this world” (see John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11). And within his demonic kingdom are various echelons of power—”forces and authorities and…rulers of darkness and powers in the spiritual world” (Ephesians 6:12, Contemporary English Version). Mention is even made in Daniel 10:13 of the “kings of Persia” (plural)—evidently demonic sub-kings under the leading prince of Persia, himself subject to Satan. These evil forces were able to impede the divine messenger until he received help from another powerful angel. (Though this was only within the limits that God permitted.)

Expositor’s explains it this way: “The powers of evil apparently have the capacity to bring about hindrances and delays [when God allows it], even of the delivery of the answers to believers whose requests God is minded to answer. God’s response was immediate, so far as his intention was concerned [as the messenger was dispatched when Daniel’s prayerful seeking for help in understanding began]. But ‘the prince of the Persian kingdom’ (v. 13)—apparently the satanic agent assigned to the sponsorship and control of the Persian realm—put up a determined opposition to the actual delivery of the divine answer. While God can, of course, override the united resistance of all the forces of [evil] if he chooses to do so, he accords to demons certain limited powers of obstruction and rebellion somewhat like those he allows humans. In both cases the exercise of free will in opposition to the Lord of heaven is permitted by him when he sees fit. But as Job 1:12 and 2:6 indicate, the malignity of Satan is never allowed to go beyond the due limit set by God, who will not allow the believer to be tested beyond his limit (1 Cor 10:13). Verse 13 [of Daniel 10] shows that the angels of God have power to counteract and thwart the agents of the Devil. Here it was the archangel, Michael (’one of the chief princes’), who broke the hindrance put up by the demonic ‘king of Persia’ and paved the way for the interpreting angel to deliver God’s answer to Daniel” (note on verses 12-13).

Michael is evidently one of the most powerful of God’s angels. He is mentioned three times in the Old Testament, all in the book of Daniel (10:13, 21; 12:1), and twice in the New Testament (Jude 9; Revelation 12:7). The latter citation refers to a future spirit war in heaven. As for how spirit beings fight and what weapons they are able to use against one another we have no idea. But both sides evidently have powerful forces at their disposal. Of course, the omnipotent God will ultimately cause all wickedness to be overthrown. Indeed, He could have eliminated the resistance altogether in the case of delivering the message to Daniel. Yet He did not. He evidently saw some use in permitting it—perhaps for the sake of Daniel, for the messenger and His other angels or even for us reading the account today.

Returning to Daniel 10,observe that “one basic principle of prayer is set forth by this example of delayed response. It is the principle of undiscourageable persistence. Jesus taught his disciples that ‘they should always pray and not give up’ (Luke 18:1). There may be hindering factors of which a praying Christian knows nothing as he wonders why the answers to his requests are delayed. Nevertheless, he is to keep on praying. It may be that he will not receive an answer because he has given up on the twentieth day when he should have persisted to the twenty-first day” (note on Daniel 10:12-13).

The draining of Daniel’s strength due to being overwhelmed at the presence of the divine messenger finally ceases. “For the third time in this chapter Daniel is supernaturally strengthened by one who touched him (see also vv. 10, 16). The first touch enabled him to arise from the ground, the second to speak, and the third to carry on a conversation” (Nelson Study Bible, note on verse 18). At last, Daniel is able to hear the interpretation.

The angel begins by telling Daniel that the spirit war was not yet over (verses 20-21). This appears to have relevance to the message he brought. Consider that the angel was battling the spirit forces behind the Persian Empire. Next, he says, “the prince of Greece will come” (verse 20). The Persian Empire would eventually fall to the Hellenistic Greek empire of Alexander the Great. Perhaps the messenger’s fight with its demons would not come until then. Interestingly, it may well be that Satan’s forces fight against each other. Perhaps the demonic forces behind Persia were dominant at this time and those behind Greece would gain dominance later—all within God’s ultimate allowance to fulfill prophecy.

Expositor’s offers this interesting suggestion about the context of the spirit fight: “The occasion for the spiritual warfare [at this time of Persian dominance] was the restoration of the believing remnant of Israel to the Holy Land and their survival there as a commonwealth of the faithful, living in obedience to Holy Scripture. Knowing that such a development could lead to the ultimate appearance of the Son of God as the Messiah for God’s redeemed, Satan and all his hosts were determined to thwart the renewal of Israel and the deliverance of her people from destruction. The supreme effort to exterminate them altogether was to take place some fifty-five years later, in the reign of Ahasuerus (Xerxes), when Haman secured his consent to obliterate the entire Jewish race. The conflict between Michael and the ‘prince of Persia’ (10:13) may have had some bearing on this event, and it may have been Michael’s victory over his satanic foes that paved the way for Queen Esther to thwart this genocide. The second effort of Satan was to take place under [the Greek rule of] Antiochus Epiphanes, who sought to obliterate the Jewish faith by forbidding its practice on pain of death. The momentous events of 167-164 B.C. [or 168-165, foretold by the prophecy now explained to Daniel in chapter 11] may well have been profoundly affected by this supernatural warfare between the forces of heaven and [the demons]. Though this is not explicitly stated here, in the light of subsequent events it is reasonable to assume that these were some of the issues over which Michael was locked in combat with Satan’s deputies to Persia and Greece” (note on 11:1).

Something else interesting to observe in this exchange is the angel’s statement, “I will tell you what is noted in the Scripture of Truth” (10:21). This was before Daniel even wrote it down. Evidently, the prophecy now being related to Daniel was, amazingly, already written down in the “Bible of heaven,” so to speak. He was merely transcribing it for us.

The angel then begins the specifics of the prophecy. And what specifics they are! As The New Open Bible, quoted in the Bible Reading Program’s introduction to the book of Daniel, says, “Daniel 11 alone contains over one hundred specific prophecies of historical events that literally came true.” This chapter is amazing proof of the divine inspiration of Scripture.

The prophecy begins by stating that “three more kings will arise in Persia, and the fourth shall be far richer than them all; by his strength, through his riches, he shall stir up all against the realm of Greece” (verse 2). This is not to say that there would be only four more kings in the Persian Empire following Cyrus—for there were in fact 12 more. Rather, only the first four are being documented here before the fact. First came Cyrus’ elder son Cambyses (530-522 B.C.). Next an imposter named Gaumata or Bardiya reigned for a short time (522). He is often referred to as Pseudo-Smerdis because he passed himself off as Cyrus’s younger son, Smerdis (the real Smerdis having been assassinated by his brother’s agents). Next was Darius the Persian (522-486), a cousin of Cyrus, who killed the imposter and took his place as king. The fourth king was Darius’ son Xerxes (486-465) who, being the wealthiest of them all, launched an all-out war against Greece. In fact his assault is reckoned to be one of the greatest in all of ancient history. The Greek historian Herodotus estimated his army at about a million men. Yet Xerxes did not ultimately triumph. After united Greek forces defeated his navy at the Battle of Salamis in 480 B.C., he was forced to beat a hasty retreat.

The period that followed saw the steady rise of Greece and the steady decline of Persia. According to the prophecy, a mighty king would arise (verse 3). It does not say he would come immediately. Nor does it say what nationality he would represent. However, the implication is that this ruler would be greater than Xerxes—and no such person would fit the bill until the conquest by the Greco-Macedonian ruler Alexander the Great. Moreover, when we compare this prophecy of how the mighty king would be broken and his empire divided into four parts (verse 4) with an almost identical prophecy given earlier in Daniel 8, it becomes rather obvious what is meant here. Alexander is the only one who could be meant. The empire ended up divided between Alexander’s generals Ptolemy Soter, Seleucus Nicator, Cassander and Lysimachus. Ptolemy ruled Egypt and Palestine. Seleucus ruled Syria, Mesopotamia and Persia. Cassander ruled Greece and Macedonia. And Lysimachus ruled Asia Minor.

As we will see, the kingdoms of Cassander and Lysimachus drop out of the prophecy at this point, as they are no longer relevant to the story being revealed to Daniel. The rest of the prophecy follows the progress of Seleucid Syria to the north and Ptolemaic Egypt to the south and their successors—and how God’s people would fare through the infighting between them—all the way to the end time. As the angel had told Daniel in 10:14: “Now I have come to make you understand what will happen to your people in the latter days, for the vision refers to many days yet to come.”

Ongoing Wars Between North and South (Daniel 11:5-35)
To help in understanding this section, please refer to the supplemental reading items, which go into considerable detail. One of the items gives the entire New King James Version text of Daniel 11 with explanatory notes provided in bracketed inserts. It also provides a timeline of the ancient rulers mentioned in the chapter as well as a map of the divisions of Alexander’s empire. More information on Antiochus Epiphanes and the Abomination of Desolation is available in the supplementary material for our next reading.

End-Time Events (Daniel 11:36-12:13)
Please read the supplementary material listed below for this section first before proceeding to the highlights in the commentary that follows, which gives some additional details not thoroughly covered in the supplementary reading.

Verses 36-39 of Daniel 11 appear to show the Roman emperor, as the next king of the North, proclaiming himself divine and later honoring and expanding the power of a previously unrecognized “god” in a high religious office, the former occurring early in the succession of Roman emperors and the latter commencing with Constantine the Great in the fourth century A.D. The honoring of this false religion would progress through various resurrections of the western part of the Roman Empire until the end time. This “god” seems parallel to the “little horn” of Daniel 7, which appears to be the Roman papacy.

Yet has anyone actually ever looked on the pope as a god? Consider that the pope is called “Holy Father”—the name of God the Father (John 17:11; compare Matthew 23:9)—as well as the “Vicar of Christ,” meaning substitute for Christ. According to one Catholic publication, “all the names which are attributed to Christ in Scripture, implying His supremacy over the church, are also attributed to the Pope” (Bellamin, On the Authority of Councils, Book 2, chap. 17, quoted by A. Jan Marcussen, National Sunday Law, 58th ed., p. 77). He has been called “another God on earth” (Labbe and Cossart, History of the Councils, Vol. 14, col. 109) and “our Lord God the Pope” (Extravagantes of Pope John XXII, title 14, chap. 4, Declaramus, quoted by Marcussen, p. 77). Furthermore, Catholic teaching has in the past claimed that “the Pope is not only the representative of Jesus Christ, but he IS Jesus Christ, hidden under a veil of flesh” (The Catholic National, July 1895). All of this is a forerunner to the blasphemy of the end time, when, as the apostle Paul foretold, the leader of the false religious system will sit “as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God” (2 Thessalonians 2:4).

Verses 40-45 detail events of the end time, where the European beast power of the north is ultimately brought to his end at Christ’s return.

In Daniel 12:1, the events of the last days are related to the unparalleled “time of trouble,” synonymous with “Jacob’s trouble” in Jeremiah 30:7 and the “great tribulation” of Matthew 24:21. After this will come the resurrection (Daniel 12:1-3). Some are resurrected to everlasting life and some to shame and everlasting contempt (verse 2). It is important to note that this does not say that those raised to life and those raised to contempt are all raised at the same time. From other passages, it is evident that these are different resurrections.

Daniel is then told to seal up the scroll of his book, the understanding of which would not be unlocked until the end time (verse 4). The work of his long life is at last done. But then we are told of two more angels in addition to the first. Apparently they have been listening to this amazing prophecy. One asks how long it would be to the end of “these wonders”—evidently the final trials ending in the resurrection (verses 5-6). Notice the answer: “It shall be for a time, times, and a half. And when they have made an end of scattering the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished” (verse 7, Green’s Literal Translation). This ties directly back to the prophecy of Daniel 7, where it was said that the saints would be given into the hands of the persecuting “little horn” for this exact same period (7:25)—which, as was explained in the comments on that verse, equates to three and a half years, the last three and a half years before Christ’s return (equating also to the 1,260 days or 42 months of other prophecies in Revelation).

Daniel, however, is quite confused. Though he has been told to seal the prophecy, he still has questions. He asks how it’s all going to work out (12:8). The order to seal the prophecy is then reiterated (verse 9). Nevertheless, a few more things are told to him at this point—which Daniel may have found even more confusing. The angel explains that the wise of the end time would understand the time frame being described.

In verse 11, Daniel is specifically told that the time from the taking away of daily sacrifices and the setting up of the end-time abomination of desolation would be 1,290 days. Verse 12 then mentions an enigmatic 1,335 days. The key to understanding appears to be verse 13, where Daniel is told that he will rise to his inheritance “at the end of the days.” This seems to mean the end of the various groupings of days mentioned. That is, the three and a half years (1,260 days), the 1,290 days and the 1,335 days all seem to end at the time Daniel is resurrected at Christ’s return. A possible scenario is that breaking of the power of the saints—the cutting off of their public preaching—will come 1,335 days before Christ’s return. Then, 45 days later, 1,290 days before Christ’s return, the abomination of desolation will be set up. And then, 30 days later, 1,260 days before Christ’s return, the Great Tribulation will commence. Thankfully, Christ will return in just three and a half years from this point to bring deliverance to the people of Israel and Judah (as the commencement of His deliverance of all mankind) and everlasting life to his saints. The dead in Christ will live again.

Daniel, whose time to rest came not long after the sealing of his prophecy, will at that future time be raised—but then, with all of us who remain faithful, to perfect understanding. At last, all of Daniel’s questions will be answered—and, as amazing as it is to contemplate, so will all of ours.

End-Time Events (Daniel 11:36-12:13)
Please read the supplementary material listed below for this section first before proceeding to the highlights in the commentary that follows, which gives some additional details not thoroughly covered in the supplementary reading.

Verses 36-39 of Daniel 11 appear to show the Roman emperor, as the next king of the North, proclaiming himself divine and later honoring and expanding the power of a previously unrecognized “god” in a high religious office, the former occurring early in the succession of Roman emperors and the latter commencing with Constantine the Great in the fourth century A.D. The honoring of this false religion would progress through various resurrections of the western part of the Roman Empire until the end time. This “god” seems parallel to the “little horn” of Daniel 7, which appears to be the Roman papacy.

Yet has anyone actually ever looked on the pope as a god? Consider that the pope is called “Holy Father”—the name of God the Father (John 17:11; compare Matthew 23:9)—as well as the “Vicar of Christ,” meaning substitute for Christ. According to one Catholic publication, “all the names which are attributed to Christ in Scripture, implying His supremacy over the church, are also attributed to the Pope” (Bellamin, On the Authority of Councils, Book 2, chap. 17, quoted by A. Jan Marcussen, National Sunday Law, 58th ed., p. 77). He has been called “another God on earth” (Labbe and Cossart, History of the Councils, Vol. 14, col. 109) and “our Lord God the Pope” (Extravagantes of Pope John XXII, title 14, chap. 4, Declaramus, quoted by Marcussen, p. 77). Furthermore, Catholic teaching has in the past claimed that “the Pope is not only the representative of Jesus Christ, but he IS Jesus Christ, hidden under a veil of flesh” (The Catholic National, July 1895). All of this is a forerunner to the blasphemy of the end time, when, as the apostle Paul foretold, the leader of the false religious system will sit “as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God” (2 Thessalonians 2:4).

Verses 40-45 detail events of the end time, where the European beast power of the north is ultimately brought to his end at Christ’s return.

In Daniel 12:1, the events of the last days are related to the unparalleled “time of trouble,” synonymous with “Jacob’s trouble” in Jeremiah 30:7 and the “great tribulation” of Matthew 24:21. After this will come the resurrection (Daniel 12:1-3). Some are resurrected to everlasting life and some to shame and everlasting contempt (verse 2). It is important to note that this does not say that those raised to life and those raised to contempt are all raised at the same time. From other passages, it is evident that these are different resurrections.

Daniel is then told to seal up the scroll of his book, the understanding of which would not be unlocked until the end time (verse 4). The work of his long life is at last done. But then we are told of two more angels in addition to the first. Apparently they have been listening to this amazing prophecy. One asks how long it would be to the end of “these wonders”—evidently the final trials ending in the resurrection (verses 5-6). Notice the answer: “It shall be for a time, times, and a half. And when they have made an end of scattering the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished” (verse 7, Green’s Literal Translation). This ties directly back to the prophecy of Daniel 7, where it was said that the saints would be given into the hands of the persecuting “little horn” for this exact same period (7:25)—which, as was explained in the comments on that verse, equates to three and a half years, the last three and a half years before Christ’s return (equating also to the 1,260 days or 42 months of other prophecies in Revelation).

Daniel, however, is quite confused. Though he has been told to seal the prophecy, he still has questions. He asks how it’s all going to work out (12:8). The order to seal the prophecy is then reiterated (verse 9). Nevertheless, a few more things are told to him at this point—which Daniel may have found even more confusing. The angel explains that the wise of the end time would understand the time frame being described.

In verse 11, Daniel is specifically told that the time from the taking away of daily sacrifices and the setting up of the end-time abomination of desolation would be 1,290 days. Verse 12 then mentions an enigmatic 1,335 days. The key to understanding appears to be verse 13, where Daniel is told that he will rise to his inheritance “at the end of the days.” This seems to mean the end of the various groupings of days mentioned. That is, the three and a half years (1,260 days), the 1,290 days and the 1,335 days all seem to end at the time Daniel is resurrected at Christ’s return. A possible scenario is that breaking of the power of the saints—the cutting off of their public preaching—will come 1,335 days before Christ’s return. Then, 45 days later, 1,290 days before Christ’s return, the abomination of desolation will be set up. And then, 30 days later, 1,260 days before Christ’s return, the Great Tribulation will commence. Thankfully, Christ will return in just three and a half years from this point to bring deliverance to the people of Israel and Judah (as the commencement of His deliverance of all mankind) and everlasting life to his saints. The dead in Christ will live again.

Daniel, whose time to rest came not long after the sealing of his prophecy, will at that future time be raised—but then, with all of us who remain faithful, to perfect understanding. At last, all of Daniel’s questions will be answered—and, as amazing as it is to contemplate, so will all of ours.

Romans 9

Paul continues trying to teach the ways of Elohim here in chapter nine of Romans, with some very delicate topics. He touches on the lineage and relationships “by flesh” or in other words simply who is born from whom in a purely genealogical sense; yes, these are all Israel according to the flesh. He is also an Israelite with brothers and sisters, mother and father, cousins, fellow tribesmen… and he could have wished himself to be born of a different birth. Perhaps he could have been born a Roman, but this was not the plan of Elohim.

Even though many are born after the flesh – born into the lineage of Israel, not all Israel are “of” Israel. He then goes on to explain what he is trying to get across and he uses many powerful examples.

The seed of promise was Isaac according to the Word of Elohim as we also read, “In Isaac your seed shall be called,” and “At this time I shall come and Sarah shall have a son.” These statements were made by God Himself to Abraham concerning Isaac. Therefore, Isaac was the seed of promise. Abraham had other sons, who may be his seed through other women such as Hagar and Keturah, but they are not Abraham’s seed through which the promise was made. In Isaac, the seed shall be called.

Paul then takes it up a notch to the seed of Isaac: Jacob and Esau. Both Jacob and Esau were according to the flesh, both born of Isaac and Rebekah, but Elohim “chose” Jacob. Elohim chose Jacob even before the children were born, before either of them knew to do evil or good. Why is this important? Because it is only by the choosing of Elohim concerning “the chosen” it cannot be based upon our works. God said, “The greater shall serve the younger,” to Rebekah even before they were born. The order was set forth by the Word and Will of Elohim, not according to either of their works!

God favors who He wishes to and hardens who He wishes to according to His Purpose alone.

So why did Israel stumble during the times of the prophets and exile? Because they were attempting to accomplish righteousness through works of Torah (these are the rituals done according to what was mandatory by the Nation and Leaders of Israel). An example would be having to keep your lawn mowed to remain in good standing with the neighborhood club or something. The heart of the instruction of the Torah given at Sinai had been lost… and so Israel stumbled.

There rituals were not based upon belief, but of rituals, there was no heart or spirit or love of the instruction for the life it brought to them. Because of this also, they stumbled on Yeshua when He came as was prophesied, “See, I lay in Tsiyon a Stone of stumbling and a Rock that makes for falling, and everyone who is believing on Him shall not be put to shame.”

Providing a way for peoples who were not born Israelites according to the flesh to now become Israelites according to promise and the choosing of Elohim – just as His purpose had been from the very beginning!

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