Are you Marked and Sealed by Yehovah? How you keep the Sabbath or not, shows you the answer

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: Sep 2, 2011

News Letter 5847-025
3rd day of the 6th month 5847 years after the creation of Adam
The 6th Month in the Second year of the third Sabbatical Cycle
The Third Sabbatical Cycle of the 119th Jubilee Cycle
The Sabbatical Cycle of Earthquakes Famines, and Pestilences.

September 3, 2011


Shabbat Shalom Brethren,


We have now got confirmation of the moon being sighted in Jerusalem. This means that in one month’s time the next new moon will be the new moon of the seventh month. It will be on either the 29th or the 30th day of September.
Karaite Korner Newsletter #528

New Moon Report
August 2011 (2) – Part 2
Sixth Biblical Month

On Wednesday August 31, 2011 the new moon was sighted from Jerusalem at 6:56pm by David Cachicas followed by numerous observers all over Israel. My photo of the new moon from the Baka neighborhood of Jerusalem at 7:25pm is posted at:

Rosh Chodesh Sameach!
Happy New Moon!

Nehemia Gordon
Jerusalem, Israel

The day before this though we received this email;

Karaite Korner Newsletter #527

New Moon Report
August 2011 (2)
Sixth Biblical Month

On Tuesday August 30, 2011 observers across Israel looked for the new moon but it was not sighted. Visibility was uncertain even under ideal weather conditions due to a short lagtime of only 35 minutes. Lagtime refers to the time between sunset and moonset. This month the moon set only 35 minutes after the sun. During those 35 minutes, the light of the sun had not faded enough for the moon to be visible, and by the time it got dark enough, the moon had already set or was too close to the horizon to see. Normally when the moon has a short lagtime, it coincides with a small percentage of the moon’s surface facing Earth being illuminated. This month the short lagtime of 35 minutes coincided with an unusually high illumination of 3.71% making a concerted effort at sighting the moon worthwhile. Despite our efforts we did not see the moon. Clouds may have played a factor in our negative sighting. New moon day will be tomorrow evening, Wednesday August 31, 2011.

Nehemia Gordon
Jerusalem, Israel

The question is why are we not sure which day it will be?

This is because the sighting of the moon is what determines the new month as the Talmud and history clearly show us. The Current Hebrew Calendar using the conjunction moon or the dark moon only started once the Jews were forced into Diaspora. It was at this time that Hillel came up with the Hebrew calendar so that those who were far from Jerusalem could calculate approximately when the Feast of Trumpets would occur. And because of the human factor of actually seeing the moon could not be known until word was sent most of those in the Diaspora kept two days for this feast.

The Talmud clearly shows the sighting of the moon was the method to begin each month before the Diaspora.

[The Jewish diaspora (or simply the Diaspora) is the English term used to describe the Galut ???? (Yiddish: ‘Golus’), or ‘exile’, of the Jews from the region of the Kingdom of Judah and Roman Iudaea and later emigration from wider Eretz Israel.

The diaspora is commonly accepted to have begun with the 6th century BC conquest of the ancient Kingdom of Judah, destruction of the First Temple (c. 586 BC), and expulsion of the population, which is recorded in the Bible. The second major event in the dispersal is popularly thought to be the destruction of the Second Temple and aftermath of the Bar Kokhba revolt during the Roman occupation of Judea in the 1st and 2nd centuries AD, although scholars generally believe that the effect of these events on the dispersal of the Jewish community was much less than their role in later communal narratives would indicate. ]

And word was only sent once Two Witnesses had come forward. This ties right into the Two Witnesses at the end of this current age and when they will be doing a work.

The other part of this time of the year that I find most amazing; and most Christians just can’t grasp because of their ignorance to obey the commandments of Lev 23; is the clear statement Yehshua made of when he would return.

They are quick to quote Mat 24:36 “But concerning that day and the hour no one knows, not even the messengers of the heavens, but My Father only.1 Footnote:1Mk. 13:32. 37 “And as the days of Noah?, so also shall the coming of the Son of Adam be.

Yehshua was clearly stating what was common knowledge in His day. The Feast that no one knows the day or the hour of is the Feast of Trumpets and it is not known because we have to wait and see if anyone saw the moon. If it is cloudy then the moon will not be seen. If the haze is too thick then the moon will not be seen as was the case this month. If it sets to close after the sun sets then the moon will not be seen; All variables that Yehovah could send to change the day by one day. In the same way the growth of the Barley to begin the year can change the calendar year by one month. It is Yehovah who determines the seasons and when the Feast days are to occur, not man.

And the second part to the verse above referring to Noah is clear statement to the sabbatical cycle. As it was in the day of Noah, that is at the same time in the 6th Sabbatical cycle in the 3rd year of that 6th Sabbatical cycle, so shall the coming of man be; that is in our sixth Sabbatical cycle in the 3rd year of that cycle which is the year 2033 at Atonement.

Those who keep Yehovah’s Sabbaths. Plural!!!!! The Weekly Sabbath, the Annual Holy Days as shown to you in Lev 23 and only them, and the Sabbatical years as shown to you in Lev 25. These are His Sabbaths and those who keep them no matter who you are will be blessed and those who do keep them understand when Yehshua is to return and why.

Isa 56:1 Thus said ????, “Guard right-ruling, and do righteousness, for near is My deliverance to come, and My righteousness to be revealed. 2 “Blessed is the man who does this, and the son of man who lays hold on it, guarding the Sabbath lest he profane it, and guarding his hand from doing any evil. 3 “And let not the son of the foreigner who has joined himself to ???? speak, saying, ‘???? has certainly separated me from His people,’ nor let the eunuch say, ‘Look I am a dry tree.’ ” 4 For thus said ????, “To the eunuchs who guard My Sabbaths, and have chosen what pleases Me, and hold fast to My covenant: 5 to them I shall give in My house and within My walls a place and a name better than that of sons and daughters – I give them an everlasting name that is not cut off. 6 “Also the sons of the foreigner who join themselves to ????, to serve Him, and to love the Name of ????, to be His servants, all who guard the Sabbath, and not profane it, and hold fast to My covenant – 7 them I shall bring to My set-apart mountain, and let them rejoice in My house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and their slaughterings are accepted on My altar, for My house is called a house of prayer for all the peoples.” 8 The Master ????, who gathers the outcasts of Yisra’?l, declares, “I gather still others to him besides those who are gathered to him.”

Everyone who keep the Sabbaths, the Holy Days and the Sabbatical years will be grafted into Israel and be a part of the Kingdom of Yehovah. Those who will not keep these Sabbaths will be told when Yehshua returns, Mat 7:23 “And then I shall declare to them, ‘I never knew you, depart from Me, you who work lawlessness!’1 Footnote: 1 See v. 15.

We will be on this weekend talking about a whole host of things as usual. So tune in and write a comment about those things we are sharing.



In the mail this week is the following;

Shalom Bro Joseph.

Thank you for addressing the issue of who can baptize.
My understanding is this anyone who is a true believer in Yeshua is also a person who stands in authority. And anyone who has Yahweh’s Authority can carry out acts of redemption such as baptisms or deliverance and healing etc. So it is clear it doesn’t matter if your a deacon or minister or a disciple or a follower. What matters is do you stand in Gods Authority. If so then all things are possible.
Bro Steve

I have come across this trailer for an upcoming movie. I think it something all of us men need to stop and consider.

Last week a brother send me this video of all the earthquake activity around the world including the one in Virginia and Colorado. He says there are more earthquakes happening now than ever before. This also happens to be the curse of the third Sabbatical cycle.

Then once the earth quake news had been on the air for less than a week we were told of Hurricane Irene that came up the East Coast and it was monster storm before it came ashore. At the same time on the other side of the world Cyclone Nanmadol was barrelling down on the Philippines.

August 26, 2011 – MANILA – The storm has winds of 150 mph, and wind gusts close to 190 mph. It is a monster. According to the latest forecasts, the storm will retain much of its strength after passing over the Philippines enroute to Taiwan. At least 18 provinces in the northeastern Philippines have been placed under a storm alert as typhoon Nanmadol lashes the region. Some sixteen thousand families have been evacuated in the northeastern provinces of Albay and Aurora due to floods and landslides. Sandbags were used to protect communities from overflowing river and dikes breached by another cyclone – Nock Ten – which hit the province last month. Relief supplies have been distributed to evacuees. Schools were closed in the northeast. Officials braced for stormy weather over the weekend due to typhoon Nanmadol which carried peak winds reaching 185 kilometres an hour. –Radio Australia News

Have you figured it out yet? Do you know what is going on? Why are all the storms around the world getting bigger and larger and becoming monsters and seems to be the norm?

Why are there more earthquakes and in places that never have them?

Just to the west of me was a tornado that wrecked havoc on a small town. Why do they happen and to “good people”?

If you have not watch the video about the Sabbatical and Jubilee years; if you have not read the book The Prophecies of Abraham then you cannot and will not understand. But know this Israel and Judah had not kept the Sabbatical years prior to going into captivity and were kicked off the land for not doing so. Now the same events are taking place on the nightly news in our time. We too will be removed from our land for not obeying Yehovah.

One of my long time readers has sent me the following report. He had earlier sent me the booklet which I have only just had time to skim. For all of you who are from or still a part of the SDA church, then read the following. Mormons too.

To Grandpa Joseph. If you can use this, please include it in one of your newsletters.
This is written for your SDA readers; you have many I know.

As we learned the truth about the “feasts of the Lord,” the new moon’s, Shmita and Jubilee years (thank you Grandpa Jo for the last two), many of us began actually keeping Yah’s set apart times, and abandoned X-Mass, Easter, St. Valentine’s Day, and perhaps the hardest of all for our families, – stopped celebrating birthdays. Speaking out about these pagan feasts in our midst, we quickly became outcasts in our churches. The ruach (Holy Spirit) instructed many of us to leave our beloved SDA church, while other members were kicked out after ignoring warnings to shut up about Yah’s mo’edim. Certain we’d either lost our minds, or fallen under the spell of some Jewish cult, friends and relatives shunned us. This has happened before, and will increasingly continue to happen.

When Seventh day Adventists Rejected the Feasts

In 1888, the Seventh day Adventist’s had a close encounter with Yah’s feasts. A well-researched 46-page pamphlet: Exposing The Skeleton in the SDA Closet, by Norman Bradley, reveals the sad truth, of the 1888 General Conference meetings in Minneapolis, and the rejection by SDA leadership of the feasts.

At the pre-meetings, before the official meeting of the 1888 General Conference, young ministers, Alonzo T. Jones, and Ellet J. Waggoner wanted to have observation of the feasts of Leviticus 23 added to agenda, to be voted on as official SDA doctrine. This idea was met by the Conference President with explosive hostility. Using Galatians 8:4-11 the leadership declared the mean and beggarly rituals Paul claimed the Galatians were returning to, were the Jewish feasts and rituals, which they assured us, had all been securely nailed to the cross with Jesus.

Jones and Waggoner correctly pointed out that the Galatians converted directly out of Celtic paganism. They worshiped their own pantheon of false deities, venerated dead ancestors, practiced divination, and ordered their lives according to the astrologically lucky, and unlucky days of their birth. The Galatians knew practically nothing about Judaism!

Reading official books penned by those in power on the subject, you’d never think the 1888 conference had anything to do with keeping the feasts. Records of the heated debates, threats and explosive arguments that preceded the conference have all disappeared, and a cover-up has been in place ever since. Feasts, what feasts?

Dumb Sheppard’s and deluded flocks are being directed to the wedding supper of the Lamb, but will arrive naked. All around, upheavals in the earth, hurricanes, drought, tsunamis, and floods swarming insects, plagues of mice, pestilence, and war should be echoing in the watchman’s ear. Arise sound the alarm, the bridegroom cometh! And what do we hear about Yehovah’s feast days from SDA pulpits? Nothing!

Interestingly, in the 19th century, feast-keeping missed becoming part of Mormon service, and official doctrine by one vote Peter, in Oregon

Brethren each of you has a responsibility to again and to continuously bring to the attention of your former churches the importance of the Sabbaths, the Holy Days and the Sabbatical years. Begin a letter writing campaign. Even if the leadership do not respond the person in the letter room will be reading your letter week after week and they might begin to look into it. You have no idea who you will reach once you have written or spoken out. Many are watching and curious but do not know where to look or what to look for. Get out there and do your job!

I get many emails from the leadership of the SDA trying to defend their positions. They are reading this News letter and they have many brethren in their churches who are telling others about the Feast days and the leadership wants to stop it but does not know how.

Each of us must stand up and be heard in all of our respected groups. Not for the leaderships sake but for those others too shy to ask and unsure where to look.

Also this week my friend from down Under Rodney Baker has sent another article about the hard sayings of Paul and it just so happens to dove tail in to this week’s subject and torah study. I love how Yehovah works with each of us individually and yet together as a whole.

Romans chapter 14 is often quoted as proof that Paul (Rabbi Sha’ul of Tarsus) taught and believed that the dietary laws and holy days of the Torah (especially Shabbat) have been done away with.

This is very easy to do when we read those verses from a 21st century western Christian paradigm as if they were written to us, about things pertinent to us today, as instructions on how to live. They weren’t. They were written to a mixed congregation of new gentile believers, Jews who accepted Yeshua as Messiah and Jews who didn’t, but aimed mainly at the gentile believers living in that community (in 1st century Rome) and worshipping with their Jewish brethren in the synagogue. We’re reading someone else’s mail and we only have half the conversation.

It would take way too long to go right back to the beginning of the letter to give you the full context. For background, I would like to refer you to the excellent book, “The Mystery of Romans” by Mark D. Nanos. You should read it. Follow up with 3 books by Prof. Brad H Young (Professor of Biblical Studies at Oral Roberts University) – “Jesus, The Jewish Theologian”, “Paul, The Jewish Theologian”, and “Meet the Rabbis”. [I would like to thank Dr Skip Moen of At God’s Table ( for recommending those books to me, and for his insights into the Hebrew and Greek languages and cultures. They have been extremely helpful in my learning.]

Beginning in Romans 13:1, Paul is exhorting the gentile believers to “be subject to the governing authorities” (in the context of the letter, as Nanos points out, this refers to the leaders of the synagogue, not the pagan, Roman government). He goes on to talking about the “temple taxes” – the contributions that all Jews living in the diaspora made through the synagogue towards the upkeep and operations of the temple in Jerusalem (these are also mentioned in Acts).

When we get to Romans 14, bearing in mind the audience, Paul gives instructions about how to deal with those who are “weak in faith”. Who are these “weak in faith”? It is not completely clear; Nanos suggests that Paul may be referring to Jews who have not yet accepted Yeshua as Messiah (perhaps implied by the condition, “…not to quarrel over opinions”, which is a very “Jewish” thing to do), but it may also be referring to new believers coming into the community.

The understanding of verse 2 – One person believes he may eat anything, while the “weak person” eats only vegetables – is perhaps helped by Acts 15, the letter to the gentiles, in which James dictates the four minimum requirements for gentiles coming to faith in Yeshua to come into fellowship with their Jewish brethren in the synagogue; “abstinence from sexual immorality, meat sacrificed to idols, things strangled and from blood.” This may very well pertain to one who has the confidence to “eat whatever is sold in the marketplace” as contrasted with “I don’t know if it has been sacrificed to idols or not, therefore I won’t eat any meat at all” (c.f. 1 Cor 10).

We also tend to have a very limited view of the phrase “weak person”. The Greek ??????? – asthene? – has a much wider range of meanings than just “weak in faith” – it can also mean sick or poor. It is used in the LXX to translate the Hebrew root kaf-shin-lamed which in its various verb forms can mean fall, stumble, fail, cast down, ruin, overthrow(n), offense and offend. Paul almost certainly had this word in mind when he wrote the letter. Exactly what he meant must be determined from the context.

Verse 3 – “Let not the one who eats despise the one who doesn’t, and let not the one who doesn’t pass judgement on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him.” Again, the context is whether or not one believes it is OK to eat meat sold in the marketplace. Paul says, “you’re not qualified to judge your brother in this matter”. (verse 4).

Rom 14:5 ESV – [5] One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind.

One must be aware of the debates that took place between the two major rabbinic schools of thought in the 1st century Jewish world – Beyt Hillel and Beyt Shammai. It was a rabbinic custom that everyone should fast at least 2 days every week. (Note – this is not commanded in Torah but it was a custom of the rabbis, of whom Paul was one, of the house of Hillel). One group taught that it had to be two specific days, the other that it could be any two days (other than Shabbat as I understand it, but I could be wrong on that point) and that each individual was free to choose which two days on which they’d fast. Literally, one esteemed one day as better than another (for tasting), while another esteems all days alike. How do I know that this is about fasting?

Rom 14:6 ESV – [6] The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God.

Eating or not eating and observance of specific days is clearly linked – Paul is talking here about the rabbinic custom of fasting and the dispute as to whether or not it had to be on any specific days or could be any day of the week.

Paul goes on to deal with the divisions that this was causing in the community:

Rom 14:10-13 ESV – [10] Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God; [11] for it is written, “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.” [12] So then each of us will give an account of himself to God. [13] Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother.

Rom 14:17-19 ESV – [17] For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. [18] Whoever thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men. [19] So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.

In other words, lets concentrate on the things that unite rather than the things that divide.

Now, verse 20:
Rom 14:20 ESV – [20] Do not, for the sake of food, destroy the work of God. Everything is indeed clean, but it is wrong for anyone to make another stumble by what he eats.

“Everything is indeed clean…” – Paul is clearly talking about food as understood by the Jews of the 1st century. Unclean meats (that which God defined as unclean in Leviticus) were not considered to be food, therefore they cannot be included in “everything” in the context of this letter. Paul is referring again to food that may or may not have been sacrificed to idols. The same issue is addressed in 1 Cor 10 (almost exactly).

Just in case you doubt that this is in fact the context, the next verse removes all doubt:
Rom 14:21 ESV – [21] It is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that causes your brother to stumble.

The word “meat” is the Greek word ???? – krea, a form of ????? – kreas – which has a very specific meaning: the flesh of an animal that has been sacrificed! I can assure you that it was the flesh of an animal that had been sacrificed in Rome it would not have been sacrificed to YHVH – it would only have been to an idol.

In summary, Romans 14 has absolutely nothing to do with the definition of what animals are considered food and what are not (the definitions given in Leviticus), nor does it have anything to do with the Feasts of YHVH or Sabbath (again, Leviticus 23). It is solely concerned with issues that confronted the community of faith living in a pagan city (in this case, Rome).

This week I want to explain how to keep the Sabbath Holy and how do we keep the Holy Days Holy. We have many new people reading our news letter each week and many of them write in to ask how to do it.
We read in Exodus 20

Exo 20:8 “Remember the Sabbath day, to set it apart.
Exo 20:9 “Six days you labour, and shall do all your work,
Exo 20:10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath1 of ???? your Elohim. You do not do any work – you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. Footnote: 1There are other Sabbaths, but this is the weekly Sabbath.
Exo 20:11 “For in six days ???? made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore ???? blessed the Sabbath day and set it apart.

We read here that no one in our home is to work on the Sabbath. But many of us have spouses and children who do not and will not believe as we do.

So now let me explain what I do. As you may remember I have an unconverted wife and grown children who do not believe.

First of all, I do not work on the Sabbath. When asked to, I refuse it. When pressured to work, I decline it still. The emergency on Friday afternoon will still be there come Monday and is never that important any more. If we break a water main Friday afternoon then I would stay and get it fixed in order to help others get ready for the Sabbath so they had water. That is an ox in the ditch for me.

Yehshua explained this type of Ox in the ditch. You will notice, that Yehshua did not do away with the Sabbath nor say you could work on it as Christians teach. No He healed a woman on the Sabbath and explained it like this.

Luk 13:10 And He was teaching in one of the congregations on the Sabbath, 11 and see, there was a woman having a weakening spirit for eighteen years, and was bent over and was unable to straighten up at all. 12 And ?????, seeing her, called her near and said to her, “Woman, you are loosened from your weakness.” 13 And He laid His hands on her, and immediately she was straightened up, and praised Elohim. 14 But the ruler of the congregation, responding, much displeased that ????? had healed on the Sabbath, said to the crowd, “There are six days on which men should work, so come and be healed on them, and not on the Sabbath day.” 15 Then the Master answered him and said, “Hypocrite! Does not each one of you on the Sabbath loosen his ox or his donkey from the stall, and lead it away to water it? 16 “And this one, being a daughter of Ab?raham, whom Satan has bound, look, for eighteen years, should she not be loosened from this bond on the Sabbath?” 17 And when He said this, all His opponents were put to shame. And all the crowd rejoiced for all the splendid works being done by Him.

The Religious leaders in His day just as they do today have placed many other things upon us. Each one is meant for our good but over time becomes a burden. In the Talmud are many teachings and additional laws that have been added to protect the Sabbath. This is what is called fencing in the Sabbath so as to protect you from breaking it.

What happens is that there are so many things added to it that you then lose perception of why you are keeping the Sabbath in the first place and concentrating on all these other laws that were manmade to protect it.

Luk 14:1 And it came to be, as He went into the house of one of the rulers of the Pharisees to eat bread on the Sabbath, that they were watching Him closely. 2 And see, there was a certain man before Him suffering from dropsy. 3 And ????? responding, spoke to those learned in the Torah and the Pharisees, saying, “Is it right to heal on the Sabbath?” 4 But they were silent. So taking hold of him He healed him, and let him go. 5 And to them He said, “Which of you, having a donkey or an ox that has fallen into a pit, shall not immediately pull him out on the Sabbath day?”6 And they were unable to answer Him regarding these matters.

In both cases the Sabbath was not done away with; no Yehshua explained that good deeds could be done when emergencies arose on the Sabbath.

So when the Sabbath comes around and as I explained last week Sabbath is from Sunset to Sunset. It is not when you see three stars. It is not just the day only or the night only part. It is NOT based on the Lunar orbit of the moon. It is the seventh day of the week; Saturday.

The Babylonians named each day of the week after the planets in heaven. They named Saturday after the Planet that was, to the observers, at rest. That is the planet Saturn never seemed to move in the sky. Night after night it seemed to be at rest. So they named the seventh day of rest after the planet that was at rest; Saturn which is now known as Saturday.

The weekly seventh Day Sabbath has never changed as some will try to convince you. Many of the new twists on keeping the Sabbath are all inventions of those who have come to know the Sabbath in the past 20 years or so. Judah has ever since they went into captivity never let the Sabbath out of their sight. You will not see Jewish groups following the Lunar Sabbath, or the day only Sabbath. No, only messed up Ephramites do this.

When the Sabbath comes I go to my office and read the questions people send in. I also work on next week’s News Letter by studying into the subjects that have come to my attention. Some times by those things people write. Such as how do we keep the Sabbath?

When my kids were little, I would not let them do the chores on Shabbat. They came to know this and would try to put things off until Sabbath came and then they knew I would not force them to do the work they had not done.

Years ago I used to travel up to three hours one way to attend a Sabbath service every week. This became a chore after some time. Now I find I am able to learn so much more about subjects that are of interest to me if I stay home and study on Shabbat.

I do not have the luxury of having a group of like minded believers nearby to attend with.

You should not do anything on the Sabbath that requires you to do business such as paying for gas or eating in restaurants. Those serving you are working. You are employing the taxi driver if you take a taxi.

If everyone were to stop doing business on Shabbat then those working on Shabbat would also stop as it would not be worth their while. One of the great things about going to Israel is to see children playing in the streets where cars normally race. On Shabbat cars are almost nonexistent on Shabbat in the orthodox neighborhoods. It is truly a pleasure to see this and be a part of this whole picture of keeping this day Holy.

How far should we travel on Shabbat?

Act 1:12 Then they went back to Yerushalayim from the Mount of Olives, which is near Yerushalayim, a Sabbath day’s journey.

This is about a 20 minute walk or there about. But are we limited as to how far we are to travel on Shabbat? You are about to learn one of the fenced in laws that was contrived after Judah went into captivity.

In New Testament times, Jewish rabbis used this term as the limit in distance a Jew could go from his or her home on the Sabbath. The rabbis set this distance by their tradition as 2,000 cubits or about 1,000 yards (a cubit was slightly less than 18 inches).

First, the rabbis based their tradition on the last part of Exodus 16:29,30, which forbade the Israelites to go out on the Sabbath to gather manna. “Bear in mind that the Lord has given you the Sabbath; that is why on the sixth day he gives you bread for two days. Everyone is to stay where he is on the seventh day; no one is to go out. So the people rested on the seventh day.”* Then, since the distance separating the people from the ark as they marched across the Jordan was 1,000 yards (Joshua 3:4), the rabbis believed this was the distance between the peoples’ tents and the tabernacle during their wilderness journeys. They concluded it was reasonable for the people to travel that far to approach the tabernacle and worship. Rabbis supported this contention further by the fact 1,000 yards around the towns were given to the Levites (Numbers 35:5).

What was the purpose of this limit of a Sabbath day’s journey? Leviticus 23:3 identifies the Sabbath as a day of “rest, a day of sacred assembly…a Sabbath to the Lord.” The word rest (Hebrew, menuchah) has the basic meaning of “ceasing.” God ceased from His work of creating on the seventh day (Genesis 2:2,3). For the Sabbath to be a day of rest, the Israelites were to plan their work so they could put it aside by sundown on the sixth day. This would enable them to come together on the seventh day for a sacred assembly of worship and teaching. The Sabbath was to be a day devoted to the Lord. By putting a travel limit of 1,000 yards on the people, the rabbis made sure everyone would be present for this sacred assembly every Sabbath.

Some later rabbis invented a tradition that enabled them to get around this limitation. For example, since they were allowed to go 1,000 yards from their home, they defined their home as anywhere their personal possessions were. They would take a bag of worthless possessions, go 1,000 yards, put down a personal possession, and say, “This is my Sabbath home; I can go another 1,000 yards.” By this means, they could go anywhere they wanted. No wonder Jesus said, “You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men” (Mark 7:8).

Since the walled cities were rather small, ranging from 6 to about 23 acres (Jerusalem being larger from Solomon’s time on) and the many unwalled villages were even smaller, each city would form a small congregation. Everyone would know each other and would unite in worship and in presenting their needs to the Lord. These small groups were important.

So should we not travel on Shabbat?

Since the Christian believers were not under law, That is under the Talmudic law; there is no evidence that they had any concern about the limitations of a Sabbath Day’s journey. At first, as seen in the Book of Acts, believers gathered “in one accord” (one of Luke’s favorite expressions). However, by the time of what must have been largely second-generation Christians, some must have needed the exhortation of Hebrews 10:25: “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” The “Day” refers to the coming Day of the Lord, a day we are fast approaching. Believers today need the same exhortation. They need to be encouraged to be faithful to their local assemblies.

Many believe that He came to do away with the law and that He deliberately ignored or broke this commandment to keep Holy the Sabbath. However, since the Gospels mention the Sabbath almost 50 times, we have an ample record of Yehshua’s approach toward the day.

“And He said to them, ‘The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath. Therefore the Son of Man is also Lord of the Sabbath'” (Mark:2:27-28).

How did Yehshua view the Sabbath? Many people see only what they want to see regarding His approach to the seventh day. Some believe, based on misunderstandings, that Jesus came to do away with the law and thus ignored or deliberately broke the Sabbath commandment.

Actually, the Sabbath is mentioned almost 50 times in the four Gospels (more than in the entire first five books of the Bible!), so we have ample historical record of His attitude toward the Sabbath. To understand the Gospel accounts, however, we must consider how Sabbath observance had changed—or, more properly, had been changed—since its inception and later inclusion in the Ten Commandments.

The Sabbath in history

Sabbath observance underwent a dramatic transformation in the centuries leading up to the time of Christ.

Yehovah warned Israel not to forget His mighty works and laws. The ancient Israelites’ sad record shows they didn’t listen. Eventually Israel did forget Yehovah and disintegrated as a nation, dividing into the separate kingdoms of Israel and Judah before being taken away into captivity by Assyrian and Babylonian invaders in the eighth and sixth centuries B.C., respectively.

One of the Israelites’ most flagrant sins leading up to their national captivity was the violation of Yehovah’s Sabbath. Even as the kingdom of Judah was self-destructing from its citizens’ sinful behavior, Yehovah continued to warn them through the prophet Jeremiah to “bear no burden on the Sabbath day . . . nor do any work, but hallow the Sabbath day, as I commanded your fathers . . . But if you will not heed Me to hallow the Sabbath day . . . then I will kindle a fire . . . , and it shall devour the palaces of Jerusalem, and it shall not be quenched” (Jeremiah:17:21-22, 27).

Through the prophet Ezekiel, in Babylon after he and much of the kingdom of Judah had been taken into captivity, Yehovah said of the Israelites: “I also gave them My Sabbaths, to be a sign between them and Me, that they might know that I am the Lord who sanctifies them. Yet . . . they greatly defiled My Sabbaths . . . They despised My judgments and did not walk in My statutes, but profaned My Sabbaths” (Ezekiel:20:12-13, 16).

Yehovah also said of His people, “Her priests have violated My law and profaned My holy things; they have not distinguished between the holy and unholy, nor have they made known the difference between the unclean and the clean; and they have hidden their eyes from My Sabbaths, so that I am profaned among them” (Ezekiel:22:).

Later, many of the Jewish captives returned from Babylon and were restored to their former lands several centuries before Yehshua’s time. They knew from the messages of Jeremiah and Ezekiel that their nation had been destroyed for breaking Yehovah’s law, and violating the Sabbath was one of their chief sins.

Once restored as a nation, they determined never to make the same mistake again. Consequently, over several centuries Jewish religious authorities crafted meticulous regulations detailing exactly what they considered permissible and impermissible on the Sabbath. They veered from one ditch to the other—from ignoring and abusing the Sabbath to imposing an oppressive, legalistic observance of the day.

Religious authorities added burdensome Sabbath regulations

The Zondervan Pictorial Bible Dictionary describes how extreme these measures had become by Yehshua’s day. The religious code regarding the Sabbath listed “39 principal classes of prohibited actions: sowing, plowing, reaping, gathering into sheaves, threshing, winnowing, cleansing, grinding, sifting, kneading, baking . . . Each of these chief enactments was further discussed and elaborated, so that actually there were several hundred things a conscientious, law-abiding Jew could not do on the sabbath.
“For example, the prohibition about tying a knot was much too general, and so it became necessary to state what kinds of knots were prohibited and what kind not. It was accordingly laid down that allowable knots were those that could be untied with one hand . . .

“The prohibition regarding writing on the sabbath was further defined as follows: ‘He who writes two letters with his right or his left hand, whether of one kind [of letter] or of two kinds, . . . is guilty. He even who should from forgetfulness write two letters is guilty . . . Also he who writes on two walls which form an angle, or on the two tablets of his account-book, so that they can be read together, is guilty” (1967, “Sabbath,” p. 736).

Authorities defined “work” in extreme ways

The religious authorities’ definition of “work” that could violate the Sabbath command was vastly different from any ordinary definition of work. For example, plowing was a prohibited-work category, and few would dispute that plowing is difficult work. However, according to first-century rabbinic opinion, the prohibition against plowing could be violated by simply spitting on the ground. The spit could disturb the soil, which in the rabbis’ view was a type of plowing! Women were forbidden to look into a mirror on the Sabbath, because they might see a gray hair and pull it out, and that would constitute work.

Wearing nailed shoes on the Sabbath was prohibited, because in the authorities’ view the addition of the nails meant they were carrying an unnecessary burden. Even walking through grass was not allowed, because some of the grass might be bent and broken, which constituted threshing, one of the forbidden categories of work.

The religious leaders taught that if a house caught on fire on the Sabbath, its inhabitants couldn’t carry their clothes out of the house to spare them from the flames because that would be bearing a burden. However, they were allowed to put on all the layers of clothing they could wear and thus remove the clothes by wearing them, which was acceptable.

This was the kind of charged, hypercritical religious atmosphere Yehshua entered with His teaching and preaching. Today, without this historical context of how religious authorities had twisted and distorted Yehovah’s Sabbath commandment, many people draw wrong conclusions about how Yehshua viewed the Sabbath.

The writers of the Gospel accounts record numerous confrontations between Yehshua and the religious leaders of His day concerning the Sabbath. His healings on the Sabbath and His teachings about Sabbath observance stirred frequent controversy. A brief view of the biblical record of His actions and teachings will help us understand how Yehshua viewed the Sabbath.

As we review these accounts of His life, keep in mind their chronology. Bible scholars generally agree that the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke were written in the first century, from the 50s through the 70s, some 20 to 40 years after the events recorded in them occurred (John, they believe, wrote his Gospel near the end of the first century). If Yehshua intended to change, abolish or annul the Sabbath, that intent should be apparent in the Gospel writers’ historical records of His life. But as we will see, there is simply no evidence to support that view.

Yehshua proclaims He is the Messiah on the Sabbath

The first mention of the Sabbath in the life of Yehshua is Luke:4:16: “So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read.”

In this, the Gospels’ first mention of the Sabbath, at the very beginning of Yehshua’s ministry, we find that Yehshuas’ custom—His normal activity—was to go “into the synagogue on the Sabbath day.” This was not an isolated incident; He would later continue to teach in the synagogue on the Sabbath as well (Mark:6:; Luke:13:10).

Continuing in Luke’s account: “He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written: ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.’ Then He closed the book . . . And He began to say to them, ‘Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing'” (Luke:4:17-).

That acceptable year was 28 AD and it was a Sabbatical year.

Yehshua quoted Isaiah:61:1-2, which those in the synagogue recognized as a prophecy of the messianic age. By saying, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing,” Yehshua claimed to be fulfilling this prophecy—and thereby proclaimed Himself the expected Messiah! Yehshau went on to compare His ministry to that of the prophets Elijah and Elisha. His listeners, clearly understanding His meaning, promptly tried to kill Yehshua for this claim, but He escaped from them (verses 23-30).

This is the first mention of the Sabbath during His ministry. On that day Yehshua first proclaimed that He was the prophesied Messiah—introducing His mission as Savior and Lord of all humanity. This was a significant event. Nazareth was where He grew up. Now, on that Sabbath, the people of Nazareth were the first to hear, directly from Him, that He was the Messiah. He pointed them to the hope of His future reign—the gospel, or good news, in both its present and future fulfillment.

Yeshua heals and casts out demons on the Sabbath

Immediately, Yehshua began to use the Sabbath to proclaim the coming Kingdom of Yehovah and to manifest His miraculous power as the Messiah. “Then He went down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee, and was teaching them on the Sabbaths. And they were astonished at His teaching, for His word was with authority” (Luke:4:31-32).

Next, Yehshua ordered a demon out of a man, and those in the synagogue “were all amazed and spoke among themselves, saying, ‘What a word this is! For with authority and power He commands the unclean spirits, and they come out'” (verses 33-36).
Yehshua then went to Peter’s house, where He healed Peter’s mother-in-law of a fever. Finally, as the Sabbath day drew to a close, “all those who had any that were sick with various diseases brought them to Him; and He laid His hands on every one of them and healed them. And demons also came out of many, crying out and saying, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of God!’ And He, rebuking them, did not allow them to speak, for they knew that He was the Christ” (verses 38-41).

As the Savior, Yehshua understood the purpose of the Sabbath, that it was a perfectly appropriate time to bring His message of healing, hope and redemption to humanity and to live that message through His actions. Even the demons recognized that He was the prophesied Messiah (which is the meaning of “Christ,” John:1:41), the promised King and Deliverer. Yehshua used the Sabbath to point people to Him as the Healer and Savior of mankind.

The Sabbath is a time to Study His word, pray to Yehovah, and meditate on those things you have learned, to rest and relax and to spend time with the family. Not at the local football game, but on a picnic or walk together discussing those subjects you studied earlier in your reading time.

Do not incorporate the Talmudic burdens of what you cannot do or are not allowed to do but rather begin to learn and teach what you can do with your family together.

Before some of you write me about working on the Sabbath doing these News Letters, read what Yehshua said in Mat 12:1 At that time ????? went through the grain fields on the Sabbath. And His taught ones were hungry, and began to pluck heads of grain, to eat. 2 And when the Pharisees saw it, they said to Him, “Look, Your taught ones are doing what is not right to do on the Sabbath!” 3 But He said to them, “Have you not read what Dawid? did when he was hungry, he and those who were with him: 4 how he went into the House of Elohim and ate the showbread which was not right for him to eat, nor for those who were with him, but only for the priests? 5 “Or did you not read in the Torah that on the Sabbath the priests in the Set-apart Place profane the Sabbath, and are blameless?

Those who teach, i.e. work on the Sabbath teaching about the Torah do not break the Sabbath. It has to be this way in order for those who want to learn on the Sabbath to grow. This is what the Sabbath is for; to learn about Yehovah and to study His words.

Some of you are nurses and your shifts require you to work on the Sabbath. I know of some who just follow the rules and I also know of others who will not work on the Sabbath. They are able to trade shifts and the hospitals do accommodate them after some trials.

It is up to you if you will obey or not. If you show Him you will obey He will make a way out for you. But far too many of you find all kinds of excuses why you cannot do it. Stop the madness and begin to find reasons why you can keep Shabbat.

But some will say the sick are still sick on the Sabbath what about them?

The commandment is not to work on the Sabbath. If you are able to heal the sick on the Sabbath then go and do that. If you are working on the Sabbath, then you are the one who must make account to Yehovah. If you are collecting a wage for what you do on the Sabbath you are working.

Police and firefighters and other emergency people fall into this same situation. Anything is possible for Yehovah to work out if you are serious about keeping the Sabbath Holy. I used to work pipeline where we had a seven day a week job. I was the foreman and then the Superintendant and even with all of this responsibility I was able to keep the Sabbath. At first it was very hard and I even wanted to give up. And with the threat of losing my job I persevered. Some jobs I was not welcomed on. And when this door closed another opportunity arose; A better one.

It is the keeping of the Sabbath and the Holy Days and the Sabbatical years that is how Yehovah test us. It is in these test that we show that have His Mark as opposed to having the Mark of the Beast and Satan. Yehovah’s mark is the Sabbath. When you keep it you become sealed in your determination to obey Him. Those who have the mark of Satan keep any other day such as Sunday as their sabbath and they also keep many other holidays not found in Lev 23. These are the mark of Satan and if keep these other holidays you bare the mark of the beast and not Yehovah.

This is explained in the article:


Triennial Torah Cycle

We now return to our 3 1/2 year Torah studies

Ex 31       Isaiah 59-62      Prov 2      Acts 1


Ex 31

Bezalel of the tribe of Judah and Aholiab of the tribe of Dan were chosen to build the items for the tabernacle. Though naturally born with these talents—and, as a result, skilled in working with gold, silver, bronze, stone and wood, as well as in carving and embroidered work—the most important thing to notice is that, just as He did with the garment makers, God also filled them with wisdom by His Spirit to enable them to accomplish this most important responsibility.

Also in this chapter, God stresses that it is important to keep His Sabbaths (weekly and annual), as they are a sign between God and His people. It serves as a visible badge and witness to others manifesting those who serve the true God. Furthermore, verse 12 says, “It is a sign…that you may know that I am the Lord who sanctifies you.” Thus, it is a sign that regularly points us to the true God. Indeed, the weekly Sabbath memorializes creation, as stated in this passage—and creation points to the Creator, the true God. The Sabbath is a reminder that we do not worship “gods” of rocks and trees, sun moon or sky, or figments of human imagination, but the very Creator who made all these things—including the human mind. And all of God’s Sabbaths reveal His plan for the salvation of all mankind. Notice that the Sabbath is given as a special covenant—a perpetual covenant—distinct from the Sinai covenant (verse 16).

Indeed, God’s Sabbaths are important for us even today, as He said they would be “a sign between Me and the children of Israel forever” (verse 17). Notice: “…for in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth…” (same verse). Why would this only be for the Jews alone? That wouldn’t make any sense. Rather, it is clear that, as Christ said, “the Sabbath was made for man” (Mark 2:27-28)—that is, for all mankind. What ties it all together is that all people must become part of spiritual Israel (compare Romans 11:17, 24; Galatians 3:28-29; 6:16)—and that is defined as those who obey God’s law (Romans 2:25-29), which includes His Sabbath.

After God finished talking with Moses, He gave him the two stone tablets of His Ten Commandments, which He had already written (24:12) with His very finger (31:18). Though we often think of each of these tablets as containing separate sections of the Ten Commandments, it is possible that “all ten commandments appeared on each tablet. Middle Eastern treaties were typically written in duplicate” (Nelson Study Bible, note on 24:12). As these were “tablets of testimony,” it would seem that this would provide the testimony of “two witnesses,” a requirement of God’s law for judgment to be carried out (Numbers 35:30; Deuteronomy 17:6; 19:15). Perhaps that is even one reason the Ten Commandments are recorded twice in the Bible (Exodus 20; Deuteronomy 5). Still, as the front and back of the tablets were written on (Exodus 32:15), it is possible that the first four commandments, concerning duty to God, were inscribed on one side, while the last six commandments, concerning duty to man, were engraved on the other side. In that case, putting the two tablets together, with one turned over, would still yield the traditional picture.


Isaiah 59-62

Chapter 59 is a continuation of a catalog of Israel’s national and individual sins (in addition to those already described in chapters 57-58). It is sin that cuts people off from God and leaves them groping in confusion and darkness (59:1-2). When Paul cited a string of statements from the Psalms regarding the wickedness of man (Romans 3:10-18), he also included a passage from Isaiah, taken from 59:7-8.

The New Bible Commentary: Revised states in its note on verse 15: “Perhaps the most revealing touch [of how bad things are] is the victimizing of the decent man, the only one out of step. It is a worse breakdown than that of Amos 5:13 [see verses 12-15]; i.e., not only public justice has warped, but public opinion with it.”

In the midst of this evil, God finds no one to intercede and “wonders” at it (see verse 16). “The Lord’s concern is even sharper than our versions suggest. Wondered should be ‘was appalled,’ as at 63:5” (New Bible Commentary, note on verse 16). So God Himself will intervene, symbolically putting on the spiritual armor Paul elaborates on in Ephesians 6:10-17 (Isaiah 59:16-17). We will see a description of this taking place in Isaiah 63:1-6, which foretells the righteous war Jesus Christ will make at His return (see Revelation 19:11). Paul says Israel will eventually be saved (Romans 11:26), citing Isaiah 59:20 to support his statement.

“At v. 19 they [the Israelites] are introduced as making an ample confession of their sins, and deploring their wretched state in consequence of them. On this act of humiliation a promise is given that God, in His mercy and zeal for His people, will rescue them from this miserable condition; that the Redeemer will come like a mighty Hero to deliver them; He will destroy His enemies, convert both Jews [i.e., Israelites] and Gentiles to himself, and give them a new covenant, and a law which shall never be abolished” (Adam Clarke’s Commentary, note on chap. 59).

In verse 21, the New King James Version and some other modern translations refer to God’s Spirit as a “who.” But the word should be “that,” as it is in the earlier King James Version and in the New Revised Standard Version.

Chapter 60 focuses on the glory of Zion to come. It begins and ends with allusions to the light that will come—the light being God Himself, and His glory (verses 1-3, 19-20).

Several of these verses were cited by John in the book of Revelation as he described the New Jerusalem of the final age. Yet the millennial Jerusalem, prior to the New Jerusalem, will experience a limited measure of this glory. The gates will not be shut, so that the wealth or glory and honor of the nations can be brought in (verse 11; Revelation 21:25-26). There will no longer be a need for the sun to give light, and the light of God will continue day and night (verse 19)—true of the millennial Jerusalem (Zechariah 14:7) and the New Jerusalem (Revelation 21:23; 22:5).

And those who have afflicted the city and its people, or at least the descendants of the guilty, will come and bow down at the feet of its inhabitants (Isaiah 60:14). Several passages in this chapter and elsewhere in the Bible describe people flowing to Jerusalem and generously bringing fine gifts. God’s purpose for this seems twofold—for the humbling of those who in the past have been hostile to physical and spiritual Israel, and for the building and beautification of Jerusalem and God’s temple.

While the bowing down by others may occur in a limited sense toward the human Israelites of the millennial age, it will occur in a much more profound way toward the truly converted of this age who will be the glorified inhabitants of the Holy City. Jesus said they will even be worshiped, showing that they will have been elevated to divine existence (Revelation 3:9; compare 19:10; 22:8-9).

Chapter 61 begins with “the song of the Lord’s anointed. Although the term ‘the Servant of the Lord’ is absent from this song…it seems artificial to make the ‘me’ of v. 1 a new speaker” (New Bible Commentary, note on verses 1-4). Indeed, God was speaking in Isaiah 60:22. And He is still speaking in the next verse, 61:1. Yet He mentions another here as God. This makes sense only when we understand that God the Father and Jesus Christ are both God.

When Jesus was visiting the synagogue of Nazareth, He read from the scroll of Isaiah (Luke 4:18-19). The passage He read was the beginning of chapter 61. This passage—concerning the proclamation of liberty, release and time of acceptance—is also reminiscent of the year of jubilee (Leviticus 25:9-13). Indeed, this ties back to the “acceptable time” of Isaiah 49. There it was referred to as the “day of salvation.” Isaiah 61:2 says, “acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God.” Isaiah 34:8 says, “the day of the Lord’s vengeance, the year of recompense for the cause of Zion.” Isaiah 63:4 says, “the day of vengeance…and the year of My redeemed.” A day in this usage represents a year—apparently the final year before Christ’s return.

Take note the Acceptable year mentioned is the Sabbatical year. The years Yehshua read this was 28 AD at Passover. This was the beginning of this Sabbatical year. A clue as to when certain events would take place in the future according the Sabbatical cycles.

But the Day of the Lord can have a broader application. In one sense, it represents all of future eternity from the time of God’s intervention. In another sense, it can even be seen to have started with the New Testament era—the forerunners in God’s plan of spiritual redemption. Indeed, as mentioned in the highlights for Isaiah 49, Peter related a prophecy of the “last days” and “Day of the Lord” to the event’s beginning in his day (see Acts 2:14-21). Indeed, the seven-day week is thought by many to represent 7,000 years in God’s plan for mankind (each day representing a thousand years, compare 2 Peter 3:8)—thus, 6,000 of man’s history followed by a seventh 1,000-year period (a millennial Sabbath day, compare Hebrews 3-4). In such a plan, anything beyond the midway point—as apostolic times were—would be the “last days” (though “last days” is normally a clear reference to the period much closer to Christ’s second coming).

At the time of this writing we are in the 5847 year since the creation of Adam. Each Millennial day is 20 Sabbatical cycles of 49 years, or a total of 980 years for each Millennial day and not a thousand. The sixth day will end when we have had 6, 980 year Millennial days. That will be after 5880 years. The 5880th year comes in 2044 on our current calendar. But Yehshua comes much earlier than that.

In quoting Isaiah 61:1-2 in Luke 4, Jesus explained that He came in fulfillment of this prophecy. Included in what He quoted was the part about the acceptable year of the Lord—but He did not quote the next phrase regarding the day of vengeance. This perhaps indicates that, while the Day of the Lord was actually in the future, it would have a measure of advance fulfillment for some in His day (just as Peter indicated in Acts 2 regarding another end-time prophecy)—that is, the liberty and acceptance of redemption would begin for some in Christ’s day. But the vengeance-on-the-nations aspect of the Day of the Lord was not to come in any sense in His human lifetime. It was completely for the future. He would fulfill it at His return to earth in power and glory.

The remainder of Isaiah 61 speaks of a future time of renewal, both physical and spiritual. God hates “robbery and iniquity” (verse 8, NIV)—”robbery for burnt offering” (NKJV) apparently being a mistranslation (see also Jamieson, Fausset & Brown’s Commentary, note on verse 8, available on-line at But He loves judgment and truth (same verse). He will clothe the city in righteousness (verse 10; see also Revelation 21:2)—clothing in Scripture often representing spiritual condition. And righteousness and praise will spring forth (verse 11).

Isaiah, and by extension God, will not rest in continuing the warning until righteousness has been established (62:1-2, 6-7, 10-11). At that time Jerusalem will no longer be called “Forsaken” and “Desolate” but Hephzibah (“My Delight Is in Her”) and Beulah (“Married”). Hephzibah was “the name of Hezekiah’s wife [2 Kings 21:1], a type of Jerusalem, as Hezekiah was of Messiah (ch. 32:1)” (JFB Commentary, note on Isaiah 62:4).

God is seen as married to Jerusalem and its land—although it should be understood that physical Jerusalem is also symbolic of the spiritual Zion, the bride of Christ. Yet all of Israel and Judah are to eventually come into the same covenant marriage with Him—their God (see 1 Corinthians 10:4). There seems to be some confusion in the metaphor in verse 5, where Jerusalem is told, “So shall your sons marry you.” The JFB Commentary explains: “Rather, changing the [vowel] points, which are of no authority in Hebrew [since they were not part of the original Hebrew text], [the phrase “your sons” should actually be translated] ‘thy builder’ or ‘restorer,’ i.e., God; for in the parallel clause, and in vs. 4, God is implied as being ‘married’ to her; whereas her ‘sons’ could hardly be said to marry their mother; and in ch. 49:18 they are said to be her bridal ornaments, not her husband” (note on 62:5). The NIV Study Bible’s note on the same verse also states that “the Hebrew for ‘sons’ could be read as ‘Builder.'”

God will at last not only deliver His people, but establish them forever.

Prov 2

Whereas the wicked sought through evil means to be enriched by the precious possessions of others in the previous chapter (Proverbs 1:13), it is here in the second exhortation (2:1-22) stated that God’s commands, wisdom and proper understanding constitute the treasures the son should be seeking (verses 1-7; compare 3:13-15; 8:10-11). As one would mine for silver, so the son so we must dig, in a sense, exerting effort to uncover the wonderful hidden treasures that God has laid in store (2:4-7). The focus here is on coming to properly fear God and choosing to follow his ways. The choice before the son, the choice before all of us, is presented as two paths of life. The “paths of justice,” by which God’s saints are preserved through wisdom (verses 8-11), stand in stark contrast to the crooked and devious “ways of darkness” (verses 12-15).

The need for deliverance from the way of evil is illustrated by the immoral woman (verses 16-22). “As the father instructs his son in the first nine chapters, there is really one teaching that prevails: avoid immoral women. Proverbs 2:16-22; 3:13-18; 4:4-9; 6:20-35, and the entirety of chapters 5 and 7 are occupied with this theme. The father pulls out all of his stops to bombard his son with this warning. After all, as he points out to his son, the consequences of this foolish act are dire. After this major emphasis, it is a bit surprising, perhaps, to see how little attention is given to the subject in the second part of the book (only Prov 22:14; 23:26-28; 31:2). Indeed, the relevant proverbs simply reinforce the teaching of the discourses in the first part of the book. Who are these women that young men are told to avoid? There are two types: the prostitute and the promiscuous wife. These women, in Hebrew, are referred to as “strange” (zara, translated [in 2:16 as] ‘immoral woman’ in [the NKJV and] NLT [New Living Translation, 2002]) and ‘foreign’ (nokriyya; translated [in the same verse as ‘seductress’ in the NKJV and] ‘promiscuous woman’ in NLT). They are strange and foreign because they act outside the bounds of law and social convention, seeking sexual liaisons outside of marriage” (Tremper Longman III, How to Read Proverbs, p. 133). Indeed, this should have been more characteristic of women of foreign nations, not God’s people.

While we are to understand the immoral woman literally on one level, we should also realize a figurative representation here. We have already seen wisdom portrayed as a woman and folly is later represented as a woman too. The immoral woman can be seen to represent the faithless way of foolishness and evil generally. Again, there is a choice to be made between two paths?between two ways of life?the right one leading to life and ultimately an eternal inheritance in God’s Kingdom and the wrong one leading to suffering and death.

Acts 1
with editing on my part to remove church replacement theology.

What in the world should the believers be doing as we face a new millennium? Jesus’ missionary mandate, which is a preview of the content of Acts, gives us the answer: You will be my witnesses . . . to the ends of the earth (1:8). The entire preface so undergirds and clarifies this command that we are led not only to the conviction that Acts must be viewed from a missionary perspective but to realize that we too must find our places in fulfilling that mandate, which is also a promise. Review of the Gospel of Luke (1:1-5)

Luke’s review of his gospel stresses comprehensiveness: all that Jesus began to do and to teach (v. 1). It also provides forward-looking continuity with the second volume: presumably Acts will report what Jesus continued to do and teach (as in 2:47; 9:34; 14:3; 16:14; 18:10).

The review focuses on Jesus’ post resurrection preparation of the apostles to be authoritative guarantors of the truth of his resurrection and the gospel’s content. Luke notes that the risen Lord instructed the apostles whom he had personally chosen through the Holy Spirit (Lk 6:13), thereby emphasizing the authoritative link between the words and work of Jesus and the message and mission of those chosen.

Jesus qualified the apostles as guarantors of the truth of the resurrection by appearing to them repeatedly over a period of forty days (Acts 1:22; 10:41-42). The many pieces of empirical evidence could lead to no other conclusion than that he was alive.

During his post resurrection appearances, Jesus spoke to the apostles “things pertaining to the kingdom of God.” “Kingdom of God” became for Luke a shorthand phrase for the content of the early church’s preaching (see 8:12; 19:8; 28:31). And rightly so, for the final reign of God has arrived “in the events of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, and to proclaim these facts, in their proper setting, is to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom of God” (Dodd 1964:24; Is 33:22; Zech 14:9; Lk 11:20).

The importance of such continuity for Luke’s evangelistic purpose and the believer’s fulfillment of its missionary mandate cannot be overestimated. Here is the proof that a gospel message that claims to go back to the apostles can be trusted: the apostles received it from Jesus. Here too is the clearly articulated basis for belief that the gospel’s key salvation event has actually happened. The empirical evidence of the empty tomb and the resurrection appearances point steadily in only one direction: Jesus is alive! We can boldly and unashamedly invite unbelievers to hear our witness and consider the evidence.

Luke’s review climaxes with Jesus’ command to wait for the Holy Spirit’s coming (1:4-5; see also Lk 24:49). Jesus gave this instruction on a number of occasions (not only one, as in the NIV).

Luke understands the Spirit’s baptism as occurring at Pentecost. It is a foreshadowing of the end-time deluge of the Spirit and fire (Is 66:15; Ezek 36:25-27; 39:29; Joel 2:28; Acts 2:1-13). “The future encounter with God’s Holy Spirit-and-fire will be like an angry sea engulfing and sinking a boat, or like a massive surge of flood water suddenly sweeping down on a man as he attempts to cross the river and overwhelming him. It will be immense, majestic and devastating” (Turner 1981:51). This coming baptism, then, is to be an overwhelming eschatological experience of God’s Spirit. It is unique, unrepeatable in history.

Jesus promises that in a little while God will supply the believers with all the resources they needs for fulfilling its missionary mandate. Lloyd Ogilvie observes, “We have been instructed in the things Jesus did, but know too little of what He continues to do today as indwelling Spirit and engendering power” (1983:26). Believers who have not done so need to appropriate the power that is already theirs, all because Jesus’ promise was fulfilled at Pentecost. Preview of Acts (1:6-11)

The disciples’ question Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?–which they asked repeatedly (NIV indicates only one asking)–was most natural for Jews to address to the resurrected Messiah.

Central to Old Testament faith was the conviction that God would in the end time fully restore his people to their inheritance in the land, where they would live securely without foreign domination (Jer 16:15; 23:8; 50:19; Hos 11:11; Joel 3:17). In response to Jesus’ resurrection or to his teaching about the kingdom (Acts 1:3; also see Lk 22:28-30), the disciples want to know a date. Such a question is selfishly nationalistic and betrays an eagerness for the end of history and an ushering in of God’s perfect reign. The disciples had consistently asked such questions throughout Jesus’ ministry (Lk 19:11; 21:7).

Jesus’ mild rebuke affirms that God alone is qualified to know such things, since by means of his own authority he has established the times or dates, the stages and critical events through which humankind must pass until the kingdom comes (compare Acts 17:26).

Acts 1:8 sets out clearly what the church is to be doing until Jesus returns. Through a command-promise, Jesus tells his disciples of the resources, content and scope of their primary task. The essential resource is God the Holy Spirit, who will come on them at Pentecost as he did on Mary at the incarnation (Lk 1:35). By this Spirit-baptism they will receive the supernatural ability to work miracles and preach effectively (Acts 4:7-10, 31, 33; 6:5, 8; 8:13). Their witness will be bold and will produce conviction leading to positive or negative decisions (2:37, 41; 4:8, 13, 31; 6:5, 10; 7:54-58).

The whole body, and each member of it, must take up this task. All who receive the apostles’ teaching become witnesses (14:2-3; 22:15-18, 20). Richard Longenecker rightly concludes, “This commission lays an obligation on all brethren. . . . according to Acts, this is a missionary body that responds obediently to Jesus’ commission” (1981:256).

The mandate, expressed with a future-tense verb (will be), can be taken as both a command and a prophetic promise. Luke may well have intended that it be understood in both ways. Not only does he show the church obediently carrying out this mandate (2:47; 4:31, 33; 6:4, 7; 8:4; 11:19-20), but he also shows how God intervenes at strategic points to give impetus and direction for taking the mission across another cultural threshold or into a another geographical region (8:16-17, 26, 29; 10:9-16, 19-20; 11:20-21; 13:2; 16:9-10; 18:9-10; 23:11). God in his grace makes sure the mandate is completely fulfilled.

And so today the call for the brethren to be a missionary body is still in force.

Jesus says to be his witnesses. To be a witness (martys) is to speak from personal knowledge of facts and their significance. The apostles, as eyewitnesses of the saving events, were witnesses in a unique sense. But all those who will believe and appropriate the truth of their testimony also qualify as witnesses.

The scope of the task is given in geographical terms. Acts presents the evangelization of the first two geographical regions (Jerusalem, 2:42–8:3; Judea and Samaria, 8:4–12:25). Luke probably has no particular place in mind when he uses the phrase to the ends of the earth. He is thinking of a mission that will reach throughout the whole earth in fulfillment of Isaiah 49:6 (Acts 13:47). Since the narrative concludes geographically in Rome–the empire’s center, from which roads reach to the limits of the then-known world–the mission is potentially complete but actually remains unfinished.

When the scope of the task is viewed ethnically, however, we realize that by the time of the Jerusalem Council (15:1-35) “the gospel has already reached all possible manner of men” (Menoud 1978b:123). The gospel has been extended to Palestinian and Hellenistic Jews (2:5-13), Samaritans (8:4-13), a proselyte (8:26-40), a Gentile God-fearer (10:1-48) and pagan Gentiles (11:20-21; 13:46-48; 14:8-20).

Today the unfinished task remains a formidable challenge. But it is possible to complete the task–to take the witness to the ends of the earth and plant the truth in all groups. It is here in Acts one that the truth was high jacked by those who now call themselves Christians. It is to these very same people that we must take the truth of Torah and re educate them in what Yehshua actually did say and do.

There are 1.7 billion professing Christians in the world, most of whom have no idea what the scriptures actually do say. We have an enormous task in front of us, but we are only to plant the seed and let Yehovah do the work of calling those whom He wants to call. Only a few are chosen.

Immediately after Jesus gives this command, as the disciples are watching, he is taken up from the earth, and a cloud so envelopes him that the disciples can no longer see him. The cloud probably refers to the Shekinah glory, which at once manifests and hides the divine presence (Ex 19:16; 40:34). It may also point to Christ’s return (Dan 7:13; Lk 21:27; Acts 1:11).

The disciples stand in awe, looking intently up into the sky for an extended period. Luke will use the verb “to look intently” often in Acts in connection with the miraculous (3:4, 12; 6:15; 10:4; 11:6; 13:9; 14:9).

Suddenly two angels appear–two witnesses (Deut 19:15)–to interpret God’s mighty act in Jesus’ ascension. Their gentle rebuke to the sky-gazing disciples implies that in the interim there is a task to be done: fulfillment of the missionary mandate.

The angels describe in simple terms what has just happened: Jesus has been taken up into heaven. The implications are unmistakable. Jesus will no longer be with the disciples in the way he was with them during his earthly ministry or in post resurrection appearances. In heaven Jesus is in a position of authority, at the Father’s right hand, whence he can pour out salvation blessings as by his Spirit he directs and empowers those doing His will (Acts 2:33; 4:10-12; 5:30-31). The angels conclude with an affirmation of the certainty of Christ’s return. He will come in the same way that he has gone.

The fact that the Great Commission is the last instruction of the risen, now ascended and imminently returning Lord gives it great weight. He is not mentioning an optional ministry activity for individuals with cross cultural interests and churches with surplus funds. The Great Commission is the primary task the Lord left his church. The brethren must always be a missionary body.


The 613 Mitzvot
We are doing 7 laws each week. We shall study laws 528-534
We also have commentary, with editing from me, again from

(528) One who sanctifies to the Lord a portion of his field shall pay according to the estimation appointed in the Scriptural portion. “If a man dedicates to Yahweh part of a field of his possession, then your valuation shall be according to the seed for it. A homer of barley seed shall be valued at fifty shekels of silver. If he dedicates his field from the Year of Jubilee, according to your valuation it shall stand. But if he dedicates his field after the Jubilee, then the priest shall reckon to him the money due according to the years that remain till the Year of Jubilee, and it shall be deducted from your valuation. And if he who dedicates the field ever wishes to redeem it, then he must add one-fifth of the money of your valuation to it, and it shall belong to him. But if he does not want to redeem the field, or if he has sold the field to another man, it shall not be redeemed anymore; but the field, when it is released in the Jubilee, shall be holy to Yahweh, as a devoted field; it shall be the possession of the priest. And if a man dedicates to Yahweh a field which he has bought, which is not the field of his possession, then the priest shall reckon to him the worth of your valuation, up to the Year of Jubilee, and he shall give your valuation on that day as a holy offering to Yahweh. In the Year of Jubilee the field shall return to him from whom it was bought, to the one who owned the land as a possession.” (Leviticus 27:16-24) The principle here was that all land in Israel ultimately belonged to Yahweh. He in turn entrusted it to families within Israel, to whom it would “belong” in perpetuity—as long as they didn’t forsake Yahweh and get themselves thrown out of the Land, of course. Just as with an animal or a house, this land could be voluntarily dedicated to Yahweh. That is, the produce that a plot of land yielded year by year could be given to the priests in honor of Yahweh. This was strictly at the discretion of the landowner/worshipper—there was no stigma for not doing so.

As we have seen in the rules of Jubilee, however, land in Israel could change hands. It could be “leased” to someone else with the understanding that the landowner or his heirs would get it back at Jubilee—a once in a lifetime (once every fifty years) event. Therefore, two types of land dedication were possible. The land could be dedicated by its actual owner, or it could be dedicated by someone who has leased it from the owner until the next Jubilee. In each case, the field’s value was based on how much produce it yielded, and a formula is provided here in case the owner wished to redeem it—as usual, for six fifths of its actual value. As we have come to expect, a field dedicated by a lessee would revert back to its owner at Jubilee. But here’s the interesting twist: if the owner dedicated his land and did not redeem it, it would become the possession of the priesthood in perpetuity—that is, its “ownership” would transfer from the worshipper back to Yahweh (whose land it was anyway, truth be told).

Why was this so? Land is representative of an inheritance, that which one gains by virtue of his relationship with his father—in this case, our heavenly Father. In other words, it is symbolic of eternal life. This life, of course, is the very nature of Yahweh—He exists from eternity past to eternity future. And we can inherit that everlasting life (at least in the forward direction) from Him—but only if our “land,” our inheritance, has been redeemed, and redeemed at a very high price, six fifths of its actual value. That’s what Yahweh did for us by sending His human “Son” to die to atone for our sins—He redeemed our inheritance. If we choose not to avail ourselves of so great a gift, this inheritance will revert to Him. Worse still, the Leviticus passage mentions the case of a man who has dedicated his land to the priesthood, but then has turned around and sold or leased it to a third party, thus making the redemption of his inheritance impossible. Unless I miss my guess, this is a picture of the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit Yahshua warned against in Mark 3:29—the “third party” is metaphorical of Satan.

(529) Do not transfer a beast set apart for sacrifice from one class of sacrifices to another. “But the firstborn of the animals, which should be Yahweh’s firstborn, no man shall dedicate; whether it is an ox or sheep, it is Yahweh’s.” (Leviticus 27:26) The point here is that you can’t “give” to Yahweh what already belongs to Him. A selem offering was the voluntary sacrifice of something the worshipper owned. On the other hand, a firstborn ox or sheep was by definition already the property of Yahweh. The application is obvious: Yahshua plays the role of Yahweh’s “firstborn.” Since He is thus set apart to Yahweh, His is the only suitable sacrifice to atone for our sins. If we, then, attempt to approach Yahweh with vows of good behavior or sacrifices of our own invention, we’ve missed the point, for these things are not efficacious in reconciling us to God. Everything we have is a gift from Yahweh, even our lives. And it’s a good thing to dedicate what we’ve been given back to Him. But we can’t purchase His forgiveness. Only the Firstborn can do that. The Firstborn is Yahweh’s because the Firstborn is Yahweh.

(530) Decide in regard to dedicated property as to which is sacred to the Lord and which belongs to the Kohein. “Nevertheless no devoted offering that a man may devote to Yahweh of all that he has, both man and beast, or the field of his possession, shall be sold or redeemed; every devoted offering is most holy to Yahweh.” (Leviticus 27:28) In the English, this sounds contradictory to the precepts we’ve been studying in the previous few mitzvot, where Yahweh has declared that things dedicated to Him may be redeemed—going so far as to set the price of redemption in several cases. But here He says that redemption will not be allowed. What’s up?

The inconsistency is an illusion precipitated by an inadequate translation of the Hebrew verb haram and its related noun herem, rendered here as “devote” and “devoted offering.” Far from being a mere synonym for “dedicate” (the Hebrew verb qadash, related to the noun qodesh, meaning something holy or set-apart), haram means to ban, prohibit, or dedicate for destruction. For example, the city of Jericho (Joshua 6:17) was “put under the ban,” or “devoted to destruction,” meaning that the Israelites were to kill or destroy whatever they found there, even if it had intrinsic value. A fellow named Achan got himself in deep dung for disregarding the herem concerning Jericho. Likewise, Samuel instructed King Saul to wipe out the nation of Amalek, including all their livestock. But Saul took it upon himself to substitute haram with qadash, intending (so he said) to sacrifice the captured booty to God—in direct defiance of Leviticus 27:28. Yahweh considered the breach so fundamental, it would cost Saul the throne. Samuel summed it up: “To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed [better] than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry.” (I Samuel 15:22-23)

Meanwhile, Maimonides, like a guy obsessed with rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic, is concerned only with divvying up the loot between Yahweh and the priests. That’s probably because the authority of the priesthood had been usurped by the rabbis during the time of Akiba, and Yahweh hadn’t had much to say since then. Well, somebody has to take care of God’s property, right? It would be funny if it weren’t so sad.

(531) Do not sell a field devoted to the Lord. “Nevertheless no devoted offering that a man may devote to Yahweh of all that he has, both man and beast, or the field of his possession, shall be sold or redeemed; every devoted offering is most holy to Yahweh.” (Leviticus 27:28) Again, Jericho is the classic example. The fields supporting the city were declared to be “most holy” to Yahweh, and were thus removed from the potential roster of lands to be distributed among the Israelite clans entering Canaan under Joshua. One couldn’t sell (i.e. lease) them to another, since they were the property of Yahweh.

(532) Do not redeem a field devoted to the Lord. “Nevertheless no devoted offering that a man may devote to Yahweh of all that he has, both man and beast, or the field of his possession, shall be sold or redeemed; every devoted offering is most holy to Yahweh.” (Leviticus 27:28) This is the third mitzvah Maimonides has wrung from this verse, apparently without having a clue as to what it meant. Obviously, if a man couldn’t “sell” lands under the ban (herem), neither could he redeem them. The rules of Jubilee did not apply. In practical terms, the herem only had significance to Israel during the years of the conquest of Canaan. There were seven people groups singled out for destruction: the Amorites, Perizzites, Canaanites, Hittites, Giragshites, Hivites, and Jebusites. Not everything they possessed would be placed under the ban, however. Keil and Delitzsch explain: “The owner of cattle and fields was only allowed to put them under the ban when they had been either desecrated by idolatry or abused to unholy purposes. For there can be no doubt that the idea which lay at the foundation of the ban was that of a compulsory dedication of something which resisted or impeded sanctification; so that in all cases in which it was carried into execution by the community or the magistracy, it was an act of the judicial holiness of God manifesting itself in righteousness and judgment.” Or as Moses put it, “You shall utterly destroy all the places where the nations which you shall dispossess served their gods, on the high mountains and on the hills and under every green tree. And you shall destroy their altars, break their sacred pillars, and burn their wooden images with fire; you shall cut down the carved images of their gods and destroy their names from that place. You shall not worship Yahweh your God with such things.” (Deuteronomy 12:2-4)

And by the way, this precept is not without significance for us. In these last days, virtually the whole world has become a “place where the nations served their false gods.” The Israelite conquest of Canaan was supposed to be a metaphorical microcosm of Yahweh’s ultimate global housecleaning during the coming Tribulation. The seven dispossessed peoples thus represent the totality of the God-rejecting world. If I’m reading this correctly, I believe Leviticus 27:28 is telling us that the infrastructure used to support Satan’s agenda in this present world—the corridors of power in government, the military, business, finance, education, the media, and even the pulpit, will not simply be retasked to other purposes during the Millennium. Rather they will be considered “most holy” to Yahweh—either used for His glory or obliterated from the earth.

(533) Make confession before the Lord of any sin that one has committed, when bringing a sacrifice and at other times. “When a man or woman commits any sin that men commit in unfaithfulness against Yahweh, and that person is guilty, then he shall confess the sin which he has committed. He shall make restitution for his trespass in full, plus one-fifth of it, and give it to the one he has wronged. But if the man has no relative to whom restitution may be made for the wrong, the restitution for the wrong must go to Yahweh for the priest.” (Numbers 5:6-8) There is an important principle being voiced here that is all too easy to miss. Moses at first speaks of sins committed against Yahweh, but then proceeds to prescribe how restitution is to be made to the person who has been wronged. His point is that a trespass against a man is in reality a sin against the man’s Creator. When a man is wronged, Yahweh considers it “unfaithfulness” against Himself. That’s even worse than it sounds: the word in Hebrew is ma’al, meaning treachery, disloyalty, treason—perfidy (though that’s a word nobody uses anymore). Would we act the way we do toward our fellow men if we realized that God takes it personally when we abuse them? Would we “screw” our neighbor if we knew God considered it adultery against Him when we did?

As we have seen before, God’s idea of justice is restitution, not punishment. The wronged party is to be reimbursed for his trouble—and not just made whole, but given six-fifths of the damages. And what if your victim isn’t around anymore to receive the overdue restitution? What if he has no heirs? Restitution must still be made, paid to the one who was really offended—Yahweh Himself. And how does one reimburse Yahweh? Through the priesthood—those whose role it is to intercede between God and man. These days, that’s any and every believer.

(534) Do not put olive oil in the meal-offering of a woman suspected of adultery. “If any man’s wife goes astray and behaves unfaithfully [ma’al] toward him, and a man lies with her carnally, and it is hidden from the eyes of her husband, and it is concealed that she has defiled herself, and there was no witness against her, nor was she caught—if the spirit of jealousy comes upon him and he becomes jealous of his wife, who has defiled herself; or if the spirit of jealousy comes upon him and he becomes jealous of his wife, although she has not defiled herself—then the man shall bring his wife to the priest. He shall bring the offering required for her, one-tenth of an ephah of barley meal; he shall pour no oil on it and put no frankincense on it, because it is a grain offering of jealousy, an offering for remembering, for bringing iniquity to remembrance.” (Numbers 5:13-15) We saw this passage (Numbers 5:11-31) once before, in Mitzvah #74. It derails the he-said-she-said games that stem from marital infidelity, protecting an innocent wife from the suspicions of a jealous and paranoid husband, while forcing a wife who actually is guilty of adultery to either confess or perjure herself before the Almighty, leaving the wronged husband guiltless. As it turns out, there are prophetic ramifications to this, as well (see #535).

Maimonides’ current mitzvah and the next one concentrate on relatively minor details in the Levitical truth-resolving process: what two things not to put onto the minha, or grain offering, that accompanied the inquiry. If you’ll recall, the fine flour of the minha was ordinarily supposed to have olive oil and frankincense (as well as salt) added to it. The grain offering commemorates the provision we enjoy from Yahweh’s hand—the most significant facet of which is His provision of forgiveness, the atonement for our sins. The olive oil that’s usually poured onto the minha is symbolic of the Holy Spirit’s indwelling of the life of the worshipper. But in this case, oil would be inappropriate, because when the inquiry begins, it is unclear whether or not the accused wife is innocent, as she claims. The Holy Spirit is willing to cleanse us of our sins, of course, but only if we confess them and repent. Adultery symbolized the treachery of giving our love and devotion to a “god” other than Yahweh—and was thus punishable by death. If we have been “born from below” instead of “born from above,” that is, if we have embraced Satan’s eternal spirit instead of Yahweh’s, then no amount of olive oil on our grain offering is going to extricate us from our predicament. It is an “offering for remembering.” Our iniquity will be brought to remembrance, forever.