A Look at the History of Postponement Rules

Joseph F. Dumond

Isa 6:9-12 And He said, Go, and tell this people, You hear indeed, but do not understand; and seeing you see, but do not know. Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their hearts, and turn back, and be healed. Then I said, Lord, how long? And He answered, Until the cities are wasted without inhabitant, and the houses without man, and the land laid waste, a desolation, and until Jehovah has moved men far away, and the desolation in the midst of the land is great.
Published: Jan 23, 2014

News Letter 5849-049
23rd day of the 11th month
5849 years after the creation of Adam
The 11th Month in the Fourth year of the third Sabbatical Cycle
The Third Sabbatical Cycle of the 119th Jubilee Cycle
The Sabbatical Cycle of Earthquakes Famines, and Pestilences

January 25, 2014


Shabbat Shalom Brethren,

Two weeks ago we showed you the history of the conjunction moon calendar. Although my title may have caused some to think I was endorsing the conjunction moon I was, in fact, showing how hypocritical it is to follow the conjunction moon in light of the Talmud which they so often quote. We have shown you that the sighted moon/sighted crescent was the method used continually up until about the 11th century when Rambam made it the law everywhere. You should now realize that the last sitting council of the Sanhedrin never did change the calendar. It was not done until the 11th century C.E. All Hillel did was make the methods of calculations known with which they would check with the witnesses who came to report the sighting of the moon.

Yehshua would not have had to correct them on this as it had not yet been changed at the time He was here.

This week we want to follow up on that article by pointing out the postponement rules which are now used in the Hebrew calendar and show you when they came into being. Some of you may be shocked to know about the postponement rules and also when they first began to be used. Again, they never came into use until about the 11th century and then not all at once. It was over time.

The following article is an very well researched explanation of this very fact produced by Brian Hoeck of Truth on the Web Ministries.

The reason we point these truths out to you is very simple. If you keep the Sabbath on Sunday you are sinning. We all know that. If you keep the Holy Days at the wrong time, you again have sinned and missed your appointment with Yehovah on the day He sanctioned. By using the Hebrew calendar you are gathering on days that men sanctioned. And let me also say if you keep the Sabbatical year in the wrong year you have not kept the Sabbatical Year Yehovah sanctioned. By not keeping these appointments with Yehovah at the right time you are sinning. We all know sin is the transgression of the law as  1 John 3:4 tells us.
Here are a couple of Scriptures to meditate on.

Pro 28:9  He who turns away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer is a hateful thing.

Joh 9:31  But we know that God does not hear sinners, but if anyone is God-fearing and does His will, He hears him.


¬† ¬† ¬†What are “postponements?” What purpose do they serve? Were they in use by ancient Israel under Moses? ¬†Did Jesus heed or even know of these rules? Did God ordain them? ¬†Did Hillel II ordain them? Does the Mishnah or Talmud enjoin their use? What is their origin?¬†Let us delve deeply into the matter.

     The following quote divulges the workings of postponements. It may take a few readings to grasp some understanding of it.

“The¬†dehiyyot¬†[postponements]¬†are as follows:

(a) If the Tishri molad falls on day 1, 4, or 6, then Tishri 1 is postponed one day. [This postponement is often referred to as ADU, which is an acronym formed from the Hebrew letters alef (1 for Sunday), daled (4 for Wednedsday), & vov(6 for Friday)]

(b) If the Tishri molad occurs at or after 18 hours (i.e., noon), then Tishri 1 is postponed one day. If this causes Tishri 1 to fall on day 1, 4, or 6, then Tishri 1 is postponed an additional day to satisfy dehiyyah (a).

(c) If the Tishri molad of an ordinary year (i.e., of twelve months) falls on day 3 at or after 9 hours, 204 halakim, then Tishri 1 is postponed two days to day 5, thereby satisfying dehiyyah (a).

(d) If the first molad following a leap year falls on day 2 at or after 15 hours, 589 halakim, then Tishri 1 is postponed one day to day 3.

3.1.2 Reasons for the Dehiyyot

Dehiyyah (a) prevents Hoshana Rabba (Tishri 21) from occurring on the Sabbath and prevents Yom Kippur (Tishri 10) from occurring on the day before or after the Sabbath.

Dehiyyah (b) is an artifact of the ancient practice of beginning each month with the sighting of the lunar crescent. It is assumed that if the molad (i.e., the mean conjunction) occurs after noon, the lunar crescent cannot be sighted until after 6 P.M., which will then be on the following day.

Dehiyyah (c) prevents an ordinary year from exceeding 355 days. If the Tishri molad of an ordinary year occurs on Tuesday at or after 3:11:20 A.M., the next Tishri molad will occur at or after noon on Saturday. According to dehiyyah (b), Tishri 1 of the next year must be postponed to Sunday, which by dehiyyah (a) occasions a further postponement to Monday. This results in an ordinary year of 356 days. Postponing Tishri 1 from Tuesday to Thursday produces a year of 354 days.

Dehiyyah¬†(d) prevents a leap year from falling short of 383 days. If the Tishri¬†molad¬†following a leap year is on Monday, at or after 9:32:43 1/3 A.M., the previous Tishri¬†molad¬†(thirteen months earlier) occurred on Tuesday at or after noon. Therefore, by¬†dehiyyot¬†(b) and (a), Tishri 1 beginning the leap year was postponed to Thursday. To prevent a leap year of 382 days,¬†dehiyyah¬†(d) postpones by one day the beginning of the ordinary year.”

(Explanatory Supplement to the Astronomical Almanac, P. Kenneth Seidelmann, editor; document online at: http://astro.nmsu.edu/~lhuber/leaphist.html

     Now, if these postponement rules were in force and in use by ancient Israel, both under Moses and on through the Temple periods, we should expect to find mention of them in his and their writings.

The Scriptural Record

¬† ¬† ¬†First and foremost, our foundation, is the Word of God—The Holy Scriptures. ¬†Beginning our search here, does one find any instance of postponement rules? Does it state in the Torah—say, Leviticus 23 for example, that the Day of Shouting¬†(aka “Yom Teruah”/”Day of Trumpets”)¬†is the first day of the seventh lunar cycle¬†unless¬†that day of the seventh new moon happens to occur on a Sunday, Wednesday, or Friday–in which cases, please observe it the day following?

     One may search even the whole of Scriptures, but will never find such.

     Leviticus 23:24 plainly states that it is the first day of the seventh moon of the year that is to be sanctified with a holy assembly.  Nowhere does Scripture state that this God-appointed holy assembly can be shifted to a day different than the seventh new moon day of the year.

The Historical Record

¬† ¬† ¬†Looking into historic documents, we find that the postponements were not yet in use in Jesus’ day, nor for even centuries thereafter.

     The Mishnah (spanning the time period of 200 B.C. Р200 A.D.), which came to make up the first part of Talmud, states:

“R.¬†[If]¬†the Day of Atonement coincides with the Sabbath, the loaves¬†[of the showbread in the Temple]¬†are divided in the evening. S.¬†[If]¬†it coincided with the even of the Sabbath¬†[i.e., Friday], the goat of the Day of Atonement is eaten in the evening.”¬†(Rabbi Jacob Neusner,¬†The Mishnah, a New Translation, “The Fifth Division: Holy Things,” under “Menahot,” p.758).

“Footnote (16) If it were of immediate importance, the¬†shebuth¬†would have been permitted. But in any case when the Day of Atonement falls on a Friday, the vegetables, even if trimmed, cannot be cooked on the Sabbath.”¬†(Mas. Shabbath 114b)

“Footnote (12) The Day of Atonement. Where the Day of Atonement fell on a Friday, the Shewbread was then baked on a Thursday.”¬†(Mas. Menachoth 100b)

¬† ¬† ¬†“…if his menstruant wife and his sister were with him in his house and he united, in error,¬†9¬†with one of them and does not know with which, or if Sabbath and the Day of Atonement [followed each other]¬†10…”

“Footnote (10) i.e., when the Day of Atonement fell upon a Friday or Sunday.”¬†(Mas. K’rithoth 19a)

¬† ¬† ¬†As shown above, even well after Christ’s time in the flesh, the Day of Atonement was still being observed on both Fridays and Sundays which cannot be done under modern CRC rules.

    Further readings from the Mishnah provide historical proof that other Appointed Times likewise were not postponed:

¬† ¬† ¬†“The bones and sinews¬†[of the Jewish Passover–the 15th]¬†and what remains over must be burnt on the 16th. If the 16th falls on a Sabbath they must be burnt on the 17th, since they override neither the Sabbath nor a festival day”¬†(The Mishnah, translated by Danby, p.146,¬†Pesahim 7:10)

¬† ¬† ¬†This shows the “Passover festival”¬†(i.e., the first day of the Feast of Unleavens)¬†occuring on a day not allowed by the current CRC (i.e., Friday). ¬†Also, utilizing the current fixed calendar, an Abib 16 Sabbath occurance would put Sivan 6 (which is the post-Mishna rabbinical reckoning of Pentecost¬†[1]) on the Sabbath. This is yet another CRC no-no.

¬† ¬† ¬†“During the Second Commonwealth down to¬†the fourth century C.E.¬†[at the earliest], the festival of Passover could fall on any day of the week including Friday.”¬†(Dr. Solomon Zeitlin, “The Judean Calendar During the Second Commonwealth and the Scrolls,”¬†Jewish Quarterly Review, July 1966)

¬† ¬† ¬†While we of the “Church of God” do not observe the fasts added by the Jews, we shall look at one of them here now in the context of this study. The fast of the ninth of Av is never allowed to occur upon a Friday under the rules of the current CRC. ¬†However, in Bible times, and on through the Mishnaic period, this was not so:

“They may not decree a public fast on the first day of a month or during [the Feast of] the Dedication or at Purim. But if they had begun they may not interrupt the fast. So Rabban Gamaliel. ¬†R. Meir said: Although Rabban Gamaliel has said, ‘They may not interrupt the fast,’ he admitted that they need not fast the whole day. So, too, with the Ninth of Av if it fell on the eve of a Sabbath¬†[i.e., a Friday].”¬†(The Mishnah, Danby, p.197,Taanith 2:10)

¬† ¬† ¬†The Mishnah also records the following concerning the Day of Shouting (“Trumpets”), which is the day that these Postponement rules are based around:

“A child can be circumcised on the eighth, ninth, tenth, eleventh, or twelfth day, but never earlier and never later. How is this? The rule is that it shall be done on the eighth day; but if the child was born at twilight the child is circumcised on the ninth day; and if at twilight on the eve of Sabbath, the child is circumcised on the tenth day; if a Festival-day falls after the Sabbath the child is circumcised on the eleventh day; and if the two Festival-days of the New Year fall after the Sabbath [that is, on Sunday and Monday] the child is circumcised on the twelfth day”¬†(The Mishnah, Danby, p.117,¬†Shabbath 19:5).

¬† ¬† ¬†This Mishnaic quote shows¬†that “Festival-days” can immediately follow Sabbath.[2]¬†It likewise clearly states that specifically “Rosh HaShanah”¬†(Tishri 1)¬†could fall on the first day of the week, and thus it is seen that the postponement of this Day of Shouting¬†(a.k.a. “Feast of Trumpets”/”Rosh HaShanah”)¬†from Sunday to Monday was not yet established during Temple times nor in the Mishnaic period.

¬† ¬† ¬†Why is it that the first day of Ethanim¬†(a.k.a. “Tishri”) ¬†is not allowed to fall on a Sunday according to the rabbinical calendar anyway?

¬† ¬† ¬†“If Rosh Hashanah fell on a Sunday, Hoshanah Rabbah would fall on the Sabbath and would call for the elimination of certain rituals which the pharisaic rabbis did not want to forgo”¬†(Jewish Quarterly Review, Vol 25, No 1, 1997; Article by Rabbi Saul Leeman, “Why is Pesach So Late This Year?”).

¬† ¬† ¬†“Sunday is considered unfit, because with Rosh ha-Shanah falling thereon, the seventh day of the Feast of Tabernacles (Hosha’na Rabbah) on which the ceremony of “beating the willow-twigs” is an important part of the service, would fall on the Sabbath, and the observance of the ceremony could not be permitted.”¬†(Henry Malter,¬†Saadia Gaon: His Life and Works)

¬† ¬† ¬†“Rosh Hashana never falls on a Sunday because that would mean that Hoshana Rabba (the last day of Sukkot, which always falls on 21 Tishri) would fall on a Saturday, which would not be desirable. In talmudic times, Hoshana Rabba¬†was regarded as a day much like Yom Kippur. It brought to an end the long holiday period beginning with Rosh Hashana, and was considered to be the one final opportunity to reverse an unfavorable decree issued against the individual on the High Holidays. If Hoshana Rabba¬†were to fall on the Sabbath, this would interfere with the ceremony of beating a bunch of¬†hoshanot¬†(willows) during the synagogue services, an action forbidden on the Sabbath¬†[Both the action of beating the willow-twigs, and the forbiddance thereof on the Sabbath, are by later rabbinical decree, not by God]. Beating the willows was an act of self-flagellation and a sign of remorse, similar to the¬†malkot¬†ceremony practiced on Yom Kippur” (Alfred J. Kolatch,¬†The Jewish Book of WHY, p.228)

¬† ¬† ¬†Do you agree that we should not observe “Trumpets” on the correct day because of this rabbinical tradition and reasoning? How many of the CRC-observant brethren are even aware that this is why “Trumpets” is never observed on a Sunday within the so-called “Hebrew calendar”?

¬† ¬† ¬†The following Mishnaic quote proves that Ethanim 21 (“HoShana Rabba”) was not postponed from falling upon the Sabbath in the Temple and, at the least, pre-Talmudic times, and thereby likewise further shows that “Trumpets” was not postponed from being observed on the first day of the week:

“4:1 A. [The rites of] the lulav and the willow branch [being carried around the altar by the priests] are for six or seven [days]…

“4:3 A. The willow branch rite is for seven days: How so?

B. [If] the seventh day of the willow branch coincided with the Sabbath, the willow branch [rite] is for seven days…

“4:5 F. And on that day¬†[i.e., “the seventh day of the willow branch” (Ethanim 21)]¬†they walk around the altar seven times…

“4:6 A. As the rite concerning it [is performed] on an ordinary day, so the rite concerning [is performed] on the Sabbath”¬†(Rabbi Jacob Neusner,¬†The Mishnah, a New Translation, “The Second Division: Appointed Times,” pp.286-287,¬†Sukkah 4:1,3,5,6)

     The following historical records of the Jews, also from the Talmudic period, show that the 1st day of the seventh new moon was not postponed from occuring on a Friday:

“1. IN THE SEVENTH MONTH, IN THE FIRST DAY OF THE MONTH SHALL BE A SOLEMN REST (XXIII, 24).¬†1¬†This bears on what is written in Scripture:

For ever, O Lord, Thy word standeth fast in heaven (Ps. CXIX, 89).¬†2¬†It was taught in the name of R. Eliezer: The world was created on the twenty-fifth of Elul. The view of Rab agrees with the teaching of R. Eliezer. For we have learned in the Shofar Benediction¬†3¬†composed by Rab: ‘ This day, on which was the beginning of work, is a memorial of the first day, for it is a statute for Israel, a decree of the God of Jacob. Thereon also sentence is pronounced upon countries, which of them is destined to the sword and which to peace, which to famine and which to plenty; and each separate creature is visited thereon, and recorded for life or for death.‚Äô4¬†Thus you are left to conclude¬†5¬†that on New Year’s Day, in the first hour the idea of creating man entered His mind, in the second He took counsel with the Ministering Angels, in the third He assembled Adam’s dust, in the fourth He kneaded it, in the fifth He shaped him, in the sixth He made him into a lifeless body, in the seventh He breathed a soul into him, in the eighth He brought him into the Garden of Eden, in the ninth he was commanded [against eating of the fruit of the tree of knowledge], in the tenth he transgressed, in the eleventh he was judged, in the twelfth he was pardoned. ‚ÄėThis,‚Äô said the Holy One, blessed be He, to Adam, ‚Äėwill be a sign to your children. As you stood in judgment before Me this day and came out with a free pardon, so will your children in the future stand in judgment before Me on this day and will come out from My presence with a free pardon.‚Äô When will that be? In the seventh month, in the first day of the month.

(1) New Year’s Day; the day on which God sits in judgment upon the world. The exposition that follows is intended to explain why the first day of the year was chosen as the day of judgment.

(2) The bearing is not clear. In¬†Pes. R. XL, 2 this verse is expounded as showing that mercy governs God’s attitude in His judgment of man and that this was so in the case of Adam who was judged on the first day of the year.

(3) I.e. in the second of the special passages inserted in the Additional Service on New Year’s Day. This second benediction is now known as Zikronoth, remembrance.

(4) V. A.P.B., p. 250.

(5) The conclusion is only that Adam was created on New Year’s Day, the first of Tishri, this being the sixth day from the twenty-fifth of Elul.” (Midrash Rabbah¬†– Leviticus 29:1)

¬† ¬† ¬†The Talmud likewise claims that Adam was created on Ethanim 1¬†(aka, “Tishri 1”):

“He was created on New Year’s Day, the first of Tishri, and all that is related of him occurred on that very day. In the first hour his dust was assembled; in the second he was rough-hewn; in the third his limbs were articulated; in the fourth the soul was breathed into him; in the fifth he stood erect; in the sixth he gave names to all creatures; in the seventh Eve was brought to him; in the eighth they begot Cain and Abel; in the ninth they were forbidden to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil; in the tenth they sinned; in the eleventh sentence was passed; and in the twelfth they were driven out of Eden (Sanh. 38b; cf. also Lev. R. 29:1).” (Encyclopaedia Judaica, Volume 2, article: Adam, pp.236,237)

¬† ¬† ¬†Now we, as the rabbinic Jews who authored the material above, are quite aware what day Adam was created, aren’t we? ¬†The Book of Genesis explains clearly to us that he was created on the sixth day–the day before the Sabbath (Gen. 1&2). This being the fact, it is clear that the “rabbis” who authored these Midrash and Talmudic quotes did not believe Ethanim 1 was to be postponed from occuring on the day before the weekly Sabbath (that is, on Friday).

The Origin of Postponements

     We have examined the Scriptural and historical records and have found them replete with proof that the postponement rules of the CRC were not in use in either the 1st of 2nd Temple periods, nor thereafter during the Mishnaic period.

¬† ¬† ¬†So when did these man-made rules come into place? ¬†Did Hillel II institute them in 358/359 C.E. when he published the, up til then, “secret” astronomical information which had been used by the Sanhedrin to determine if the witnesses who came to testify of their sighting of the fresh crescent were lying or not?

¬† ¬† ¬†“The plain fact is that, as seen by recent scholars, the system of the fixed calendar was not developed until fully three or four centuries after the close of the Talmudic period, about A.D. 485.¬†[therefore, around the eighth or ninth century C.E.]…Nor can anything be found in the Talmud about the weighty calendaric matters as the regulated succession of full and defective months within the year, the four postponements of New Year’s Day, the 19-year cycle, or the number and succession of intercalated years in this or any cycle.”¬†(The Code of Maimonides, Book Three Treatise Eight¬†SANCTIFICATION OF THE MOON, translated from the Hebrew by Solomon Ganz; Introduction by Julian Obermann, Astronomical Commentary by Otto Neugebauer, New Haven: Yale University Press, 1956, p xli-xlii)

¬† ¬† ¬†“There is…unimpeachable evidence from the works of writers with expert knowledge of the calendar that the present¬†ordo intercalationis¬†[sequence of intercalations–the 19 year cycle]¬†and epochal¬†molad¬†were not intrinsic parts of the calendar of Hillel II, these being seen still side by side with other styles of the¬†ordo intercalationis¬†and the¬†molad¬†as late as the 11th century. Also the four¬†dehiyyot¬†[postponement rules]¬†developed gradually. …By the tenth century the Jewish calendar was exactly the same as today.”¬†(Cecil Roth, editor,¬†Encyclopaedia Judaica, Vol. 5, p.50, article: Calendar)

¬† ¬† ¬†While we cannot be positively sure as to when the postponement rules were added alongside the other man-made rules of the then-developing calculated rabbinical calendar, we know with complete confidence that these rules were not in use, nor even conceived of and known, during Jesus’ day. There are some indications that the initial elements of these postponements began to creep in near the end of the Talmudic period, but as theEncyclopaedia Judiaca¬†quote states above, these rules developed gradually, along with the rest of the rabbinic calendar rules, over the course of many years.

Pushed Off For Preparation?

¬† ¬† ¬†It is claimed that we need this “ADU” postponement to block Sabbath and annual Holy Days from occurring back-to-back, lest there be no day of preparation in between to prepare for the second of the two Appointed Times. Is this claim genuine in God’s eyes?

¬† ¬† ¬†The concept of “preparation day” stems from Exodus 16 with:

“…on the sixth day they shall prepare that which they bring in; and it shall be twice as much as they gather daily…bake what you shall bake, boil what you shall boil, for tomorrow is the Sabbath.” (Exodus 16:5,23)

     What preparation is needed for Atonement (a day of fasting) that its observation is to be moved from a Sunday to Monday on such years, as in 2000, when it rightfully is to be observed Sunday?

¬† ¬† ¬†What are we “baking and boiling” for the Day of Atonement that one must bump it over one day to have a preparation day in its rightful place when nothing is eaten on this God-appointed fast day anyway???

¬† ¬† ¬†The fallacy of such a rule is further disproved by this very fact: God specifically declared one of His appointed times to occur on “the morrow after the Sabbath”!

¬† ¬† ¬†IF¬†God is truly against Sabbaths and annual Holy Days being back-to-back, and He feels and understands that they are “impractical” for us humans to keep,¬†why¬†then did He Himself ordain at least one back-to-back Sabbath/Holy Day every year¬†(i.e., the seventh Sabbath of the count from Elevation Sheaf day followed by Pentecost—Leviticus 23:15-21)?

¬† ¬† ¬†Facts are facts, brethren. ¬†Through the whole of Scripture, there are no indications of postponements rules. ¬†Through the late 2nd Temple (Jesus’ day) and early post-2nd Temple records, we find significant evidence against postponements being used or even known.

¬† ¬† ¬†It has been claimed by many who hold to the CRC that the burden of proof to change from it lies upon those of us who already have left it–that we need to present the evidence to them. But the Biblical fact is this: ¬†We are each admonished through the apostle Paul to prove all things–not to others, but to our own selves. ¬†We, individually, are to put all doctrines and the like to the test BEFORE we hold fast to them. ¬†Dear friends, how many of us can claim we have done such testing and proving of this so-called Hebrew Calendar?


1.  See our article Determining Elevation Sheaf Day & Pentecost   BACK

2.  This Mishnaic quote below, in agreeance with Shabbat 19:5 and other historical quotes given, shows that Festival days can occur immediately following Sabbath:

¬† ¬† ¬†‚ÄúThe Two Loaves were consumed never earlier than the second and never later than the third day. Thus if they were baked on the eve of the Festival-day and consumed on the Festival-day, that would be the second day. If the Festival-day fell on the day after the Sabbath, they must be consumed on the third day.‚Ä̬†(Menahoth 11:9)¬†¬†BACK

Author: Brian Hoeck

©2001 Truth On The Web Ministries: All the articles originated by Kenneth Hoeck and/or Brian Hoeck may be freely distributed or mirrored as long as presented in their entirety (including this statement), attributed to Truth on The Web, and proper author credit given




Triennial Torah Cycle


We continue this weekend with our regular Triennial Torah Reading Cycle

Gen 21 – Judges 18-19 – Ps 45-47 – Mat 26

The Birth of Isaac (Genesis 21)

Finally, after 25 years, God fulfilled His promise to provide a son and heir to Abraham and Sarah! The wait had been difficult, sometimes dispiriting, sometimes frustrating. But, true to His word, God did just as He promised‚ÄĒand just when He promised the previous year (18:10, 14).

But the birth of the promised son did not lead to peace and joy. Instead, the fruit of Abraham and Sarah’s attempt to fulfill God’s promise through Hagar was now beginning to be borne. Strife rent the household of Abraham, with Sarah seeking to ensure Isaac’s preeminence and resenting Abraham’s love for Ishmael, his other son. Although the narrative presents the entire transaction in a relatively brief space, it is likely that the tensions in the household had been building for quite some time. Ishmael’s ill treatment of Isaac was merely the straw that broke the camel’s back.

Abraham was distressed by the entire affair. He truly loved Ishmael (17:18) and, given God’s pointed mention of Hagar in 21:12, Abraham may have had tender feelings toward her. He probably tried everything he could to keep peace in the house. But it was to no avail. In this circumstance, God told Abraham to heed the words of Sarah. Whether or not Sarah had a right to feel and behave as she did, God’s plan necessitated the separation of Ishmael from the household.

In requiring the separation, however, God reassured Abraham that Ishmael would be blessed, “because he is your seed” (verse 13). In other words, although God had not obligated Himself to provide for Ishmael, nor bless him, God would graciously bless Ishmael because God loved Abraham and Abraham loved Ishmael. God’s grace sometimes falls on others because of His love toward His people. When we become His children, God’s love and affection is extended to more than simply ourselves. Because He loves us and we love others, God, for our sake, sometimes extends His protection and blessing to those we love. This is born out explicitly in 1 Corinthians 7:14, where Paul tells us that an unbelieving spouse is sanctified by the believer‚ÄĒan extension of God’s love toward us. So, though we are separated from the world by the plan and call of God, nevertheless we are given the sure knowledge that because of our separation to God, our unconverted loved ones will often share in the overflow of God’s grace.

We should also stress in this context the kinds of problems that can arise whenever we depart from God’s pattern for marriage‚ÄĒthat a man and woman unite for life in a loving monogamous relationship (Matthew 19:5-6). As we see from the example of Abraham, Sarah and Hagar‚ÄĒhere in Genesis 21 and earlier in chapter 16‚ÄĒrelationships contrary to this pattern lead to heartache, jealousy, bitterness and misery. We see many of the same problems again when we come to the life of Abraham’s grandson Jacob. These stark examples should remind us of the kinds of consequences we saddle ourselves and others with when we decide to ignore God’s laws and instructions.


Dan Adopts Micah’s Error and Takes Laish (Judges 18)

When the Danite force moved north from Judah through Ephraim on their way to conquer Laish, they moved through the highlands of Ephraim, probably because the lowlands were still occupied by Canaanites. To aid them in their battle, the Danites decided to take the shrine of Micah and the Levite with them, probably in imitation of the Israelite practice of having a priest head their fighting forces (compare Deuteronomy 20). We are told that Laish was “far from the Zidonians, and they had no ties with anyone” (18:7). Thus, they appear to have lived an isolated life, having neither trading nor diplomatic relations with outsiders. In such a condition, without allies, Laish fell to Dan.

After the conquest of Laish, the men of Dan set up Micah’s idolatrous figures and consecrated Jonathan, who may very well have been the grandson of Moses (see earlier highlight on Judges 17, “History Out of Sequence”), as their priest, and his sons as their priesthood. The northern Danites retained this idolatrous worship until the time of the captivity of northern Israel around 722 B.C. Moreover, all Israel knew about it, but did nothing to stop it, as required by the law God had given (see Deuteronomy 13:12ff.).


Prelude to the War Against Benjamin (Judges 19)

The disastrous war against the Benjamites began with a single incident, the brutal gang rape of a Levite’s concubine. As horrible as this incident was, we still might wonder how it was able to spark such a major war.

There are two major relevant factors involved in what happened, one cultural and the other historical. The cultural factor involves proper treatment of a guest. Life in the Middle East has always been difficult, and to cope with the arduous conditions of nomadic life an elaborate system of social customs was developed. One social custom required every person to kindly entertain a guest, to provide comfort, lodging and food for a brief period to any stranger who happened upon one’s camp, even if that stranger was a member of an enemy tribe in a time of peace. If the due benevolence was not shown, it was deemed an act of hostility and impiety before God. If the offence was serious enough, clan or tribal wars could be ignited.

A second factor was the persistent memory of what God had done to Sodom and Gomorrah‚ÄĒnot only from the Pentateuch but even, no doubt, from regional stories passed down through generations. The filthy, abominable behavior of the inhabitants of these cities and others around them was a major factor in the cry that went up to God against them. The destruction against Sodom and her neighbors was so complete that even today their exact whereabouts remain unknown. By comparing the behavior of the Gibeahite “sons of Belial” (19:22) and the old man (19:23) with the conduct of the men of Sodom (Genesis 19:4-5) and Lot (verses 6-8), one should be able to see a very clear parallel.

Factoring the understanding of these elements into the story, one can see why an incident of this nature could ignite such a war. The Levite was a representative of God, to whom the Gibeahites were extremely inhospitable and showed open and flagrant impiety. Knowing the social requirements to care for the traveler, the natural conclusion was that such an affront would be repaid with vengeance by the One the Levite served‚ÄĒGod. Therefore action needed to be taken.

Of course, the Levite does not appear very God-oriented, surrendering his concubine to be abused as he did and being so cold and uncaring toward her the next morning before he knew she was actually dead. The Ephraimite’s offer to surrender up his own daughter does not paint him any better. We see here the low status that women had in that society. Truly, this story is utterly horrendous all the way around. It illustrates how low things had sunk‚ÄĒto the depravity of Sodom and Gomorrah. The prophet Hosea later cited this episode as one of the most corrupt events in Israel’s history (Hosea 9:9; 10:9).


 Psalm 44

Psalm 44, another maskil of the sons of Korah, is written as a community lament and plea. The perspective throughout is normally first-person plural (i.e., we, our, us), yet verses 4, 6 and 15 use first-person singular (I, my and me). It could be that the singular usage is intended to denote the nation collectively‚ÄĒor just to have each person singing the prayerful song identify with it personally. It is also conceivable that these verses were intended to be solo parts. Or they may simply indicate a single author praying collectively throughout the psalm using “we” but sometimes speaking personally using “I”‚ÄĒjust as each of us does in our own prayers today. For instance, you as an individual might pray collectively, “Our Father…give us…our daily bread,” and yet also ask personally in the same prayer, “Help me to do your will.”

The occasion of this psalm is a time of military defeat wherein people have been captured by the enemy (see verses 9-12). It may be one of those taken captive who wrote the song in Psalms 42-43.

Psalm 44 begins with the people rehearsing a portion of Israel’s history that their parents taught them (verse 1)‚ÄĒthat their ancestors didn’t gain the Promised Land because of their own military strength and actions, but because God drove out the nations who lived there and planted the Israelite ancestors there instead (verses 2-3). The psalm further eschews trust in military might and expresses faith that God, as Israel’s King and commander, is the One through whom the nation will gain victory against its enemies now and in the future‚ÄĒjust as in the past (verses 4-8).

Yet for the moment things look terribly bleak‚ÄĒin the face of military defeat, scattering, shame and enemy taunts (verses 9-16, 19). The song bemoans God having sold His people away for almost nothing (verse 12). Despite this, the people have remained faithful to God and His covenant, mindful that He would know of any idolatry on their part (verses 17-18, 20-21).

Indeed, the song maintains that it is because of the people’s refusal to compromise with God’s way that they are suffering and in danger among their enemies (verse 22). The statement here about being sheep for the slaughter applied in the greatest sense to the Messiah, who would come as the Lamb of God to be sacrificed, as the prophet Isaiah foretold in similar wording (see Isaiah 53:7). Yet this metaphoric description would also characterize all Christ’s followers, His flock, who would be persecuted for their faith. And in fact the apostle Paul quotes Psalm 44:22 in this very regard (see Romans 8:36)‚ÄĒspeaking of the fact that we endure this for the sake of the wonderful outcome God has in mind for us.

The people beseech God to awake out of sleep and rise up to help them (verses 23, 26). Since they know He does not actually sleep (see Psalm 121:4), their words here have a sense of pleading with God to focus His awareness on their need and to rouse Himself into action. And where the song spoke before of God having sold His people away (44:12), it ends with a plea for Him to redeem them (verse 26)‚ÄĒto buy them back.

 Psalm 45

Psalm 45, another maskil of the Korahites, is, according to its superscription, a love song set to the tune of another song. The perspective is first-person singular (see “My” and “I” in verse 1), with the psalmist unusually declaring his excitement over the writing of the psalm. This is evidently a royal wedding song‚ÄĒcelebrating a marriage of David or one of his later successors but with a very clear focus on God’s marriage to His chosen nation (ultimately the Messiah and His Bride). The song may have become customary for royal weddings.

In verses 2-9 the psalmist addresses the king. Verses 2-5 portray him as a mighty warrior and majestic, just and godly ruler. As Israel’s king ruling at God’s appointment, David enjoyed glory, majesty, prosperity, blessings and military victories. Yet David was only a stand-in for Israel’s true King, God Himself. And this God who interacted with Israel as its divine King was the One who would later be born into the world as Yeshua Messiah (see 1 Corinthians 10:4 and our free booklet Who Is God?). The glories laid out in Psalm 45 were fulfilled in Him when the psalmist wrote: “God has blessed You forever” (verse 2); “O Mighty One” (verse 3); “You are fairer than the sons of men” (verse 2). And they will find complete expression when Yeshua takes over David’s throne at His return and reigns over all mankind.

In verse 6 we find the direct statement, “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever.” Since it is clear in context that this is the same person being addressed throughout verses 2-9‚ÄĒthe King‚ÄĒsome have thought that the psalmist is referring to the human king as God. Others, seeing this as rather problematic, which it certainly is, do not accept the verse as written and assume some missing words must be read into it. The confusion here is cleared up if we realize that the psalmist is throughout these verses primarily addressing the true King, God, in His marriage to Israel‚ÄĒand the physical ruler in only a secondary, representative sense.

Yet many do not like what the next verse then implies. To “God” the King (verse 6), the psalmist says, “Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You…” (verse 7). Thus there are two Persons referred to here as God. In fact, it could even read, “Therefore, God, Your God has anointed you…,” making the point even clearer. The New Testament quotes verses 6-7 to prove the divinity of Christ (see Hebrews 1:8-9). That is, God the Father anointed God the Son.

Indeed, the title Christ means “Anointed”‚ÄĒequivalent to the Hebrew derivative Messiah. Anointing with oil represented special consecration for service to God‚ÄĒthis being symbolic of the application of God’s Spirit. David and his successors were all anointed‚ÄĒyet his ultimate successor bore the title of Anointed (Messiah or Christ) in a special way.

Verses 7-8 of Psalm 45 speak of the anointing with fragrant oils making the king glad. That is, he enjoyed the feeling and the smells. Yet this would seem to be symbolic of the Messiah receiving joy through the consecration and application of God’s Holy Spirit through various experiences. This also tells us something about the Messiah’s personality. Because He was “a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief” (Isaiah 53:3), some have the impression that Yeshua went through His human life always mournful, dour and gravely serious. Yet here we learn that Yeshua was “anointed with the oil of gladness more than [His] companions”‚ÄĒthe truth expressed here being that Yeshua was actually happier and more joyful than other people. And, of course, why would He not be? For He lived God’s law perfectly‚ÄĒthe way of true happiness in life‚ÄĒand He understood God’s plan and purpose in detail in full faith without worry or fear. The sorrows He experienced from and for others were within this overall context.

In verse 9, “kings’ daughters” evidently refers to the queen’s attendants (see verse 14) and may signify a representation of other nations at the wedding (just as “daughter of Tyre” in verse 12 does not refer to an actual daughter but a national power). Perhaps verse 9 means that of all the women before Him on earth, the King has chosen the queen, who is dressed in “gold from Ophir” (meaning from Africa, India or the Americas‚ÄĒdenoting the finest quality). On a higher level, this would mean that of all the nations on earth, God has chosen Israel. Yet the psalm does not seem to be merely reflecting on the past relationship of God (the preincarnate Christ) and the physical nation of Israel. Rather, the focus appears to be forward-looking to the future marriage of Christ to spiritual Israel, chosen from among all nations and adorned in the true riches of godly character.

In verses 10-12 the psalmist addresses the bride. He tells her to shift her allegiance from her father’s house and people to the king‚ÄĒher Lord. She is even to worship Him, again showing that the King here is divine, as only God is worthy of worship (compare Revelation 19:10; 22:8-9). Those of God’s Assembly are to put our relationship with Yeshua Messiah above our loyalty to human parents‚ÄĒand we are to forsake entirely all ties with our former spiritual “father,” Satan the Devil (compare John 8:44).

The “daughter of Tyre” (Psalm 45:12), besides meaning the city of Tyre at the time of David and his successors, is likely the end-time power bloc of Ezekiel 27, also referred to in Revelation 18 as Babylon. Those who escape its destruction at the end will present a gift or offering in honor of the messianic King and His glorified Bride.

Verses 13-17 of Psalm 45 again address the King. Verses 13-14 speak of the preparation of the queen’s bridal attire. Related imagery is found in Revelation 19:7-8: “‘For the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.’ And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.”

The final two verses (Psalm 45:16-17) speak of children as a product of the king and queen’s marriage who will continue as royal leaders in Israel. In the greater picture, the marriage of the Lamb brings sons and daughters into the family of God, resulting in praise of God forever and ever.


“The City of the Great King…He Is Known As Her Refuge” (Psalms 46-48)

We come now to the next grouping of psalms, also composed by or for the sons of Korah. As The Nelson Study Bible states: “There is reason to believe that Ps. 46-48 form a trilogy that focuses on God’s special love for Jerusalem….three great psalms of praise to God for his kingship and his love for the holy city…. [which] has led many scholars to speak of these psalms as ‘Songs of Zion'” (notes on Psalms 46; 48). The Zondervan NIV Study Bible explains: “Following the cluster of psalms that introduce Book II of the Psalter (…Ps 42-45), the next thematically related cluster of psalms all express confidence in the security of God’s people in the midst of a threatening world. Ps 46 and 48 focus on the security of Jerusalem, ‘the city of {our} God’ (46:4; 48:1), and Ps 47 on the worldwide reign of ‘the great King’ (47:2) whose royal city Jerusalem is (48:2)” (note on Psalms 46-48).

The superscription of Psalm 46 says this song is “for Alamoth” or “according to alamoth” (NIV). Note the occurrence of this word in 1 Chronicles 15:20, where a list of Levitical musicians is said to perform “with strings according to Alamoth.” The word appears to mean “maidens” or “young women.” Some have suggested that it is a musical notation for soprano voices or high-pitched flutes or pipes. Others see it as a reference to women assigned to play accompaniment on tambourines (Psalm 68:25).

The Zondervan NIV Study Bible suggests that in public worship, “the citizens of Jerusalem (or the Levitical choir in their stead) apparently sang the opening stanza (vv. 1-3) and the responses (vv. 7, 11) [i.e., the repeated refrain], while the Levitical leader of the liturgy probably sang the second and third stanzas (vv. 4-6, 8-10)” (note on Psalm 46).

Each stanza here ends with the Hebrew word Selah, which, as noted before, may indicate a musical interlude. “This term is derived from the verb salal, ‘to lift up.’ It occurs in 39 psalms and in the ‘psalm of Habakkuk’ (Hab. 3). No one is certain of the exact meaning of this word‚ÄĒthat is, what is to be lifted up. Some think that Selah is an emphatic word, marking a point in the psalm for ‘lifting up’ one’s thoughts to God. But most scholars think it is simply some form of musical notation, such as a marker of a musical interlude, a pause, or a change of key” (Nelson Study Bible, WordFocus on Psalm 39:5).

The opening stanza of Psalm 46 begins powerfully: “God is our refuge and strength” (verse 1). The Protestant Reformer Martin Luther appropriately translated these words in his famous hymn as “A mighty fortress is our God.” It could be rephrased to say that God is “our impenetrable defense” (Nelson Study Bible, note no verse 1).

Three times the psalmist repeats the theme that God is with His people to help and defend them‚ÄĒin the opening words and in the repeated refrain (verses 1, 7, 11). Because of this extraordinary assurance, he confidently asserts, “We will not fear” (verse 2). The poet intensifies this confidence in the first stanza, maintaining that it will endure through the worst of circumstances: even if the earth gives way and the mountains tumble into the sea; even if the oceans surge and roar; even if tidal waves rattle the mountains (verses 2-3). It matters not‚ÄĒthere is still no cause to fear.

The song’s second stanza mentions a river that brings happiness to God’s city and tabernacle (verse 4). “Jerusalem had no river, unlike Thebes (Na 3:8), Damascus (2Ki 5:12), Nineveh (Na 2:6, 8) or Babylon (137:1)‚ÄĒyet she had a ‘river.’ Here the ‘river’ of [Psalm] 36:8 [of God’s pleasures flowing from Him as the fountain of life]…serves as a metaphor for the continual outpouring of the sustaining and refreshing blessings of God, which make the city of God like the Garden of Eden (see [46:] v. 5; Ge 2:10; Isa 33:21; 51:3; cf. also Eze 31:4-9)” (Zondervan, note on Psalm 46:4).

This would also seem to be prophetic. Later prophecies foretell an actual river that will eventually flow out of Jerusalem when Christ returns to rule the earth‚ÄĒthe river also symbolizing the outpouring of God’s Spirit and blessings (Ezekiel 47:1-12; Zechariah 14:8). Flowing from beneath the temple and dividing to east and west, the river’s water will miraculously heal all it touches. Ever-bearing fruit trees with healing leaves will grow along its banks. Truly this river “will make glad the city of God.” Jerusalem, then a peaceful city, will be the location of God’s temple and the seat of Christ’s rule on earth.

The great blessing of the city of God is that “God is in the midst of her” (Psalm 46:5). Today we have the same blessing. For spiritual Jerusalem or Zion is the Household of God, also referred to as the spiritual temple of God. Ephesians 2:20-22 explains in this context that the Temple is “a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.” And no power in heaven or earth can separate us from Him and His love for us (Romans 8:31-39).

The judgment on the nations at the end of the second stanza and through the third likely refers in part to God’s past victories on behalf of His people. But the primary picture here is of Christ’s return in power and glory to establish God’s Kingdom, when He will defeat the physical and spiritual forces arrayed against Him and truly “make wars cease to the end of the earth” (Psalm 46:9).

In verse 10, God Himself is quoted within the words of the psalm, calling for stillness and to know that He is God. This message appears to be directed to God’s enemies, telling them to give up their vain fight against Him. Yet it might relate to delivering a court judgment, telling all the world to be quiet and hear the sentence from the Judge (see Habakkuk 2:20; Zephaniah 1:7; Zechariah 2:13). Or it could perhaps be a word of encouragement to God’s people, as when Moses told the Israelites at the Red Sea: “Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which He will accomplish for you today…. The LORD will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace” (Exodus 14:13-14).

On the other hand, some interpret these words in Psalm 46:10 in conjunction with the call in verses 8-9 to come and behold God’s works of destroying the enemy and bringing peace. That is, that after the victory is accomplished the people are to settle down and think about what has transpired, reaching the conclusion that God is God.

Whatever the specific intent here, it is clear that God will be exalted among all nations and His people will find an eternally secure future with Him. This psalm is a great comfort to all who trust in God for daily help and protection, for deliverance from hardship and trials and for ultimate salvation.

In theme, Psalm 47 follows right on from the previous psalm. Where Psalm 46 ended with God coming in the person of Messiah Yeshua to establish His authority and peace throughout the earth, Psalm 47 speaks of not only the subduing of the nations (verse 3) but also of the enthronement of God as the Great King over the entire earth. While God is already the King of all creation, this psalm focuses on His future intervention to assume direct rule over the kingdoms of mankind (compare Revelation 11:15).

“This psalm belongs to a group of hymns to the Great King found elsewhere clustered in Ps 92-100. Here it serves to link Ps 46 and 48, identifying the God who reigns in Zion as ‘the great king over all the earth’ (v. 2; see v. 7; 48:2…)” (Zondervan, note on Psalm 47).

The clapping of hands and shout in verse 1 is to applaud Christ’s victory as well as His coronation and enthronement (as when Joash was crowned king of Judah in 2 Kings 11:12). God having “gone up” (Hebrew ‘alah) in Psalm 47:5 speaks in context of His ascending the throne‚ÄĒwhere we afterward find Him seated (verse 8). The words “greatly exalted” at the end of verse 9 are also translated from the word ‘alah. Furthermore, in verse 5 we again see the shout of verse 1 as well as the sound of a trumpet or ram’s horn. Such a trumpet blast was part of Solomon’s coronation (see 1 Kings 1:32-39). It seems likely that trumpets and applause were regular features in the crowning of Davidic kings‚ÄĒas it will be in the enthronement of the ultimate King in David’s lineage, Yeshua Messiah. In later Jewish worship, Psalm 47 became associated with the Feast of Trumpets‚ÄĒsymbolic of the future time described here.

In verse 7, where the NKJV has “understanding,” the Hebrew word is actually maskil, a term seen in the titles of other psalms (most recently other Korahite psalms, 42-45) that may designate an instructional psalm or, as the NKJV usually translates this, contemplation.

Verse 9 tells us that in His reign over the whole world, “the shields of the earth [will] belong to God.” Nations will no longer strive to thwart God’s power. They will lay down their armaments and take up implements of peace (Isaiah 2:4). It should be noted, however, that the Greek Septuagint translators instead of “shields” understood this as “kings”‚ÄĒperhaps because kings served as the protectors of their people (compare 89:18). In any case, all will submit to God’s rule.


Matthew 26

2  Ye know that after two days is the feast of the passover, and the Son of man is betrayed to be crucified.

Note that Yeshua speaks of a connection between Passover and His destiny. All of the feasts of the Lord have some bearing on His cosmic plan. They are a “shadow” of what is to come (Hebrews 8:5, 10:1; Colossians 2:17). The study and observance of these Feasts (and the rest of Torah – Romans 2:13; James 1:22), is fundamental to faith in God.

3  Then assembled together the chief priests, and the scribes, and the elders of the people

Although the leadership was clearly instigating matters against Yeshua, He does not miss the people as a whole, as we will see in the next chapter. This generation was given more blessing than any other as they had the Messiah in their midst (Hebrews 11:39-40). Some, like John the Baptist were fortunate in this respect (Luke 7:28), but the generation as a whole failed to respond to what God had given them (Matthew 25:15) and thus their punishment would be great (Luke 12:47).

6  Now when Yeshua was in Bethany, in the house of Simon the leper,

This is a mistranslation. Lepers were not permitted to live in the city (see Leviticus 13:46). Since ancient Hebrew and Aramaic were written without vowels, there was no distinction between the Aramaic words GAR’BA (leper) and GARABA (jar maker or jar merchant). Since in this story a woman pours oil from a jar it is apparent that Simon was a jar merchant or jar maker and not a leper.1

7  There came unto him a woman having an alabaster box of very precious ointment,

This ointment is called “spikenard,” as revealed in Mark 14:3.

17¬† Now on the first day of the Feast of the Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Yeshua, saying to Him, “Where do You want us to prepare for You to eat the Passover?”

Again, the Lord’s Feasts play an important role and still should for anyone following Yeshua and the ways of God. The modern religious holidays of Christmas and Easter are pagan in origin and are alien and contrary to what God has established. (The King James version of the Bible even has the audacity to replace Passover with “Easter” in Acts 12:4 — a clear case of tampering with the Word of God.)

God commanded His people to keep the Feast of Passover/Unleavened Bread in Exodus 12:14-20; 13:6-10; 23:15; 34:18, Leviticus 23:5-8; Numbers 28:17-18, Deuteronomy 16:8,16).

In addition, all males who were able, were required to appear at the Temple in Jerusalem for three feasts: Pesakh (Passover), Shavout (Pentecost), Succot (Tabernacles), as found in Deuteronomy16:16.

23  And he answered and said, He that dippeth his hand with me in the dish, the same shall betray me.

This would indicate that Judas was sitting on one side of Yeshua (with John on the other). As dipping in the bowl (at Pesakh/Passover) is done to the left, this places Judas to His right, in the seat of honor at the seder table.

This alludes to one of the Psalms:

Psalm 41:9 – Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me.

26  And as they were eating, Yeshua took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body.

Another incorrect translation that has led to erroneous doctrine. Yeshua does not bless the bread. “Blessing things” as such is foreign to Judaism. Rather, Yeshua blessed God, the maker of the bread, as is still done today at Passover seders.

This the blessing He would be reciting at this point of the meal:

Baruch atah Adonai Elohenu Melech haOlam, hamotzi lehem, min ha’aretz.

Blessed are you Lord God, King of the Universe, Who brings forth bread from the earth.

28  For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.

Exodus 24:6-8 -And Moses took half the blood and put it in basins, and half the blood he sprinkled on the altar.Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read in the hearing of the people. And they said, “All that the LORD has said we will do, and be obedient.”And Moses took the blood, sprinkled it on the people, and said, “This is the blood of the covenant which the LORD has made with you according to all these words.”

This Exodus passage shows that Israel accepted the covenant that was being offered to them. They were to do this by faith in the same way we accept a relationship with Yeshua. Both require a committment, sprinkling of blood to institute, and faith.

29¬† But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.

Blood was sprinkled on the people at the initiation of the Covenant in Exodus 24.

“New Testament” is a term that takes away from a correct understanding. Yeshua is referring to what is also called the “New Covenant” in English, but according to the Tenakh, is more correctly considered a “renewed Covenant.” This Covenant renewal is found in the book of Jeremiah and also referred to in other places in the Tenakh. Unfortunately, the English word “new” in either case, falsely implies that the “old” covenant, with Torah as its foundation, is done away with. We know from Yeshua’s own words that this is not the case. None of God’s covenants have been disposed of.

It would seem in verse 29, that Yeshua Himself does not drink of this cup. This is because the “New Covenant” is not fully established by Him at this time. The Hebraic understanding is that of a “Renewed Covenant” that God will make when Judah and Ephraim are reunited one day at the time of Messiah’s coming — hence He will drink of the cup only, “… in my Father’s kingdom.”

There are specific conditions for the New Covenant, and these were are not in place at the time of Yeshua, nor are they yet in place today. They will come to fruition only upon His return.

31  All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad.

Not long after this came a series of altercations between the Jews and Rome, including major wars around 70 and 132 AD. The result of these actions was not only the further dispersion of Jews across the empire, but also the suppression of the faith of the original Messianic (Nazarene) community. This led to the development of a “faith” that was decidedly “anti-Torah,” and incorporated many pagan elements, that eventually organized itself into the Catholic/Christian religion and its “spinoff” Protestant children.

35  Peter said unto him, Though I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee.

It is interesting to note the change in Peter before and after the giving of the Ruach haKodesh (Holy Spirit). He goes from being impetuous and rebuked by Yeshua (Matthew 16:23), even denying the Messiah to save his own skin (at the end of this chapter), to being a chief spokesperson for the Lord among his Jewish brethren (as seen in the book of Acts).

54  But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?

56  But all this was done, that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled.

63  And the high priest answered and said unto him, I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God.

The text implies that the high priest had an understanding of Scripture that correlated the Messiah to the “Son” of God. This is not easily found in Scripture when read at the literal level. Our Revelation study will reveal the deeper aspects (“sod” level) of Hebraic understanding of concepts such as “the living God,” Messiah, and “Son of God.”

64  Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.

Daniel 7:13 – I was seeing in the visions of the night, and lo, with the clouds of the heavens as a son of man was [one] coming, and unto the Ancient of Days he hath come, and before Him they have brought him near.

One of the “puzzles” that concerned the Jewish sages was that some parts of the Tenakh seemed to indicate that the Messiah would arrive triumphantly on the clouds, while others said he would come on a donkey. The conclusion they reached was that if Israel merited it, he would come on the clouds, but if they failed, he would come on a donkey:

Yeshua, as we know, first came to his people on the back of a donkey (Matthew 21:5), and is destined to return in the clouds.

65  Then the high priest rent his clothes, saying, He hath spoken blasphemy;

Again, the reaction of the High Priest is that of someone claiming in some fashion to be God, as all Jews were considered “sons of God” in a greater sense.

1. Credit to James Trimm of www.nazarene.net for this corrected translation.