News Letter 5849-039
4th day of the 9th month
5849 years after the creation of Adam
The 9th 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
November 9, 2013
Shabbat Shalom Family,
The Vineyard Update
It has now been one year since we began work on the vineyard project. As such I would like to bring you all up to date; and for those who are new to the News Letter let you know what we are doing in Israel.
For a number of years now we believed we needed to have a place in Israel for the brethren to go to and a place to help them learn about Israel. At the same time we wanted to have a place that would keep the Sabbatical years.
We looked for three years and raised some money for this cause. But most of the properties we found were well over $1 Million and then needed considerable repair work. We did not have enough and I had decided to return the brethren their money by July of 2012 if nothing had changed.
In June of 2012 the people I had agreed to purchase the property with told me they had to leave the agreement due to a personal situation and that I was free to work with others if I wanted. It was now just 3 weeks to July and then I met Boaz and Rinah Dreyer through an email they sent out looking for help to plant an essential oil herb garden. We began to write each other and by the end of the week we had agreed to give a small amount to help with the herb plants and the placing of two trailers on the property. One was for a storage room and the other a two-bedroom unit with a kitchen.
In exchange, sightedmoon.com would own 10% of the herbs, which would keep the Sabbatical year in 2016, and every year up until the Jubilee year in 2045. After that time the herbs would become the sole possession of Boaz and Rinah.
Boaz and I have some very different beliefs and I figured this would never work and that we could not get along together. He was wondering what kind of Christian strings I was going to bring to the table.
A week after we agreed to this and I had sent him the money, Boaz mentions he wants to plant a vineyard and that he has 10 Dunam upon which to do it and again he needed some help. I asked him how much that would cost. Without his knowing how much we had in our account, Boaz wrote back and said it would cost the exact same amount we had and that would include everything. I asked him if I was to help could we do the same agreement with the vines and sightedmoon.com would own 10% of the vines, which will keep the Sabbatical year from Aviv 2016 to Aviv 2017. Our section would keep the Sabbatical year each year up to the Jubilee year of 2045 and we could harvest our section and profit from it during the other years. Boaz would own the other 90% and he would be keeping the Jewish Sabbatical year from Rosh Hashanah 2014 to Rosh Hashanah 2015.
Boaz looked at the charts and the information I had from the Prophecies of Abraham and could not find fault with them even though they did not agree with what he believed to be the Sabbatical year.
Boaz, to my surprise, wrote back and said he was willing to do this.
We both agreed on the terms and we did this without lawyers. We gave each other our word and we did this before Yehovah. If either one of us does not honour this agreement it is Yehovah who will judge us.
So that July, instead of sending the brethren back their donations, we invested in this vineyard with Boaz and Rinah and we sent them the money for the water piping and the vines and all the material to build this vineyard.
I was there just before Sukkot in 2012 and helped to pound in the fence posts. Others have come from around the world to help in whatever needed to be done and with the actual planting of the vines. While we were there the drone that was flown into Israel flew over us and was shot down near us. We heard the loud explosion but could not see where it came from. The vineyard is less than a mile from the Egyptian Sinai border.
That winter it rained for the first time in 7 years. It also flooded cutting of the vineyard from everyone else. Then we had a mild sand storm and the protective jackets were blown off. A better quality one was then put on to replace the old ones. Then we had a severe sand storm, but the jackets protected the vines. That spring they were just beginning to grow when they were attacked by wave after wave of locusts, which destroyed the vines, and we had to replant them all.
Boaz wrote me to tell me that the locust did not destroy 10% of the vines and I was ecstatic. I had been praying to Yehovah on how to decide which portion would be ours. He has now decided for us.
We then helped Boaz to replant the rest of the vineyard with another.
So that is our first year and all that has happened in the vineyard in Israel. And hear are many pictures and videos of much of what I have said here and those who have helped. You will also be able to se the current state of the vines.
Current update: http://www.shefaisrael.com/vineyard-update.html.
History of those who have helped: http://www.shefaisrael.com/vineyard-main.html
What we are growing: http://www.shefaisrael.com/vine-varieties.html
Staying at the Vineyard and Tours from there: http://www.shefaisrael.com/staying-at-shefa.html
This past week we sent Boaz $1000 so that he can repair his truck. That is all we had available to us for the vineyard. If you are able to help support this effort then we thank you in advance and ask Yehovah to bless you as we seek to prove openly and publicly the Sabbatical years.
You can help by going to the give page at the link below and help with this and with our promotion of the Sabbatical and Jubilee year message.
Latest update from Shefa:
Our summer season is done and the vineyard has started its shut down period for the winter. The Merlot was the first, followed by the Shiraz and the noble Cabernet held on until the last before the leaves started to turn a beautiful purple. It is a privilege to be a small part of the fulfillment of prophecy for the end of days. We are thankful for the continued support that has been coming from the nations to ensure the continuation of this project.
The gooseberries have started to produce fruit. It is late in the season but we anticipate a good season come spring next year. This will help to lift the financial burden of the vineyard as we will only start to see income from the vineyard in 2017. We are however enjoying the fruit of this late harvest!
We continue to see the hand of HASHEM at work upon our fellow Israelis with whom we are in contact daily. There is a definite awareness and hunger for the ways of HASHEM. Torah studies are growing in size and numbers all around the country and the focus is firmly on redemption. We are privileged to witness this fulfillment of prophecy in our lifetime and may Mashiach come soon!
The summer season was hard as it was a hotter summer than normal; everyone survived except ‘Gandhi’ our jeep. Last week we heard a terrible noise coming from below the vehicle and sent it in for a check. The verdict was that the transmission had literally disintegrated. This has left us with a bill for $3000 for the replacement of the transmission. It is an expense that we had not planned for and comes at a time when we need our jeep to haul all the garbage off the farm and for Boaz to get to work sites in our area. We ask that if the Father moves it upon your heart to help us in some small way to help to meet this repair.
Donations can be made through our website at www.shefaisrael.com or for those that would prefer a transfer we can supply you with bank details in the USA or in Israel.
We thank you in advance for your consideration of our immediate need.
Boaz and Rinah
The Second Curse is being seen just not recognized.
USA today ran this article on Nov.1 2013. You can read the whole article at http://www.usatoday.com/story/theoval/2013/11/01/obama-climate-change-task-force/3348083/
Climate change is a major issue for Obama’s political base, and Democrats are likely to stress it in the 2014 congressional elections.
Obama’s efforts to win congressional legislation on climate change have run afoul of Republicans who say that new environmental regulations would slow the economy.
A new poll, however, indicates that Republicans are divided on the topic.
The Pew Research Center reports that “just 25% of Tea Party Republicans say there is solid evidence of global warming, compared with 61%of non-Tea Party Republicans.
Overall, Pew reported, “two-thirds of Americans (67%) say there is solid evidence that the earth has been getting warmer over the last few decades, a figure that has changed little in the past few years. While partisan differences over climate change remain substantial, Republicans face greater internal divisions over this issue than do Democrats.”
From Obama’s executive order:
“The impacts of climate change — including an increase in prolonged periods of excessively high temperatures, more heavy downpours, an increase in wildfires, more severe droughts, permafrost thawing, ocean acidification, and sea-level rise — are already affecting communities, natural resources, ecosystems, economies, and public health across the Nation. …
Brethren the 2nd curse of Lev 26 is;
Lev 26:18 And if you will not yet listen to Me for all this, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins. 19 And I will break the pride of your power, and I will make your heaven like iron and your earth like bronze. 20 And your strength shall be spent in vain. For your land shall not yield its increase, neither shall the trees of the field yield their fruits.
We have been posting on my facebook page articles about the pride of the U.S. power being removed. But here is the President of the United States taking action to do battle with or against the Most High Yehovah.
Instead of repenting as a nation for the evil that it now does on a daily basis, President Obama and the people of the USA are going to accept the “NEW NORMAL” and prepare for all future disasters. A whopping 67% of the people of the USA admit in this survey that they are seeing the curses coming upon them; only they do not call them curses, they call it climate change.
As the U.S. hardens it heart the curses are now going to become worse.
It is my belief that the reason we have not seen any of the pestilences that we expected in this Sabbatical cycle are explained in Malachi.
Mal 4:4 Remember the Law of Moses My servant, which I commanded to him in Horeb for all Israel, the statutes and judgments. 5 Behold, I am sending you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of Jehovah. 6 And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the sons, and the heart of the sons to their fathers, that I not come and strike the earth with utter destruction.
Because many of you have now come to understand the importance of the Sabbatical years and are now actively planning how you’re going to keep the next one in 2016, you are demonstrating to Yehovah how you are turning your heart back to Him by keeping the weekly Sabbath, the Holy Days of Lev 23 and the Sabbatical years. If we did not do this, if we all were not getting ready and learning this and planning to keep the next Sabbatical year- then Yehovah would be sending the curses as he says in Malachi 4:6.
Next fall there are going to be many who will blindly follow the Jewish teaching that the Sabbatical year begins at Rosh Hashanah in 2014. Are you able to explain to them why this is wrong?
In our book Remembering the Sabbatical Years of 2016 we explain this for you starting on page 209- The Rise of the False Teachings; Where it all began. This is Rabbi Jose and the Seder Olam which is now the basis of Jewish chronology. In the Seder Olam Jose changes the dates for when the Temples were destroyed in an effort to make Simon bar Kochbah the Messiah. In order for Simon to be the Messiah according to the Daniel 9 Prophecy Rabbi Yose under the guidance of Rabbi Akiva fudged the dates of the first Temple being destroyed and said the second Temple was destroyed in 69 C.E. and not 70 C.E.
It was proven that Simon Bar Kochbah was not the Messiah; but the false teaching of Rabbi Jose was left unchanged and excepted as truth by the sages from that point onwards down to today.
You need to study this chapter of the book in order to help others understand why the year 2014 is not the Sabbatical year.
Bela Or Zoar Which are you?
This week again I am going to use an article from Chad and Marilyn Wilhelms and adapt it and add to it.
Why was Sodom and Gomorrah judged by Yehovah and destroyed by brimstone and fire and not all the other cities during that time or any other time up until present day? The gay Pride Parade is being flaunted in city after city around the world. Toronto is the number one city in the world for this. There are now gay pride love boat cruises and they are sold out in advance. So why did Yehovah only single out these 2 cities?
Here is the story;
Gen 14:1 And it happened in the days of Amraphel king of Shinar, Arioch king of Ellasar, Chedorlaomer king of Elam, and Tidal king of nations, 2 they made war with Bera king of Sodom, and with Birsha king of Gomorrah, Shinab king of Admah, and Shemeber king of Zeboim, and the king of Bela, which is Zoar. 3 All these were joined together in the valley of Siddim, which is the Salt Sea. 4 They served Chedorlaomer twelve years, and in the thirteenth year they rebelled. 5 And in the fourteenth year Chedorlaomer and the kings that were with him came and struck the giants in Ashteroth Karnaim, and the Zuzim in Ham, and the Emim in Shaveh Kiriathaim, 6 and the Horites in their Mount Seir, as far as the oak of Paran, which is by the wilderness. 7 And they returned, and came to En-mishpat, which is Kadesh, and struck all the country of the Amalekites, and also the Amorites who lived in Hazazon-tamar. 8 And the king of Sodom went out, and the king of Gomorrah, and the king of Admah, and the king of Zeboim, and the king of Bela (which is Zoar). And they joined battle with them in the valley of Siddim; 9 with Chedorlaomer the king of Elam, and with Tidal the king of nations, and Amraphel the king of Shinar, and Arioch the king of Ellasar, four kings with five. 10 And the valley of Siddim was full of asphalt pits. And the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled, and fell there; and they that remained fled to the mountain. 11 And they took all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah, and all their food, and went their way. 12 And they took Lot, Abram’s brother’s son, who lived in Sodom, and all his goods, and went away.
Amraphel and Tidal are Cush and Nimrod.
Gen 10:8 And Cush fathered Nimrod. He began to be a mighty one in the earth. 9 He was a mighty hunter before Jehovah. Therefore it is said, Even as Nimrod the mighty hunter before Jehovah.
Nimrod was a hunter of “MEN” as he and Cush, who in mythology is known as “Kaos” or “Chaos” and the leading god of rebellion against Yehovah, are defeating all who will not submit to their authority. It was the first ruling Empire.
Take a look at the cities that rebelled and fought against the kings of the north.
(Gen 14:1-2). The cities that rebelled were:
5) Bela (which is Zoar).
Gen 14: 2 they made war with Bera king of Sodom, and with Birsha king of Gomorrah, Shinab king of Admah, and Shemeber king of Zeboim, and the king of Bela, which is Zoar.
If you look carefully at the above verse, you will see 5 cities, but only 4 Kings listed. Also, of the 5 cities, one city has its name change to another name.
So let’s take a look at the Hebrew and try and figure out the meaning of these cities.
1) Sodom: H5467 ??? sedôm sed-ome’
From an unused root meaning to scorch; burnt (that is, volcanic or bituminous) district; Sedom, a place near the Dead Sea: – Sodom.
2) Gomorrah H6017 ???? ??môrâh am-o-raw’
From H6014; a (ruined) heap; Amorah, a place in Palestine: – Gomorrah.
3) Admah H126 ???? ‘admâh ad-maw’
Contracted for H127; earthy; Admah, a place near the Dead Sea: – Admah.
H127 ???? ?dâmâh ad-aw-maw’
From H119; soil (from its general redness): – country, earth, ground, husband [-man] (-ry), land.
H119 ??? ‘âdam aw-dam’
To show blood (in the face), that is, flush or turn rosy: – be (dyed, made) red (ruddy).
4) Zeboiim H6636 ????? ?????? ?????o tsebô’??ym tseb??y??ym tseb??yim tseb-o-eem’, tseb-ee-yeem’, tseb-ee-yeem’
Plural of H6643; gazelles; Tseboim or Tsebijim, a place in Palestine: – Zeboiim, Zeboim.
H6643??? tseb??y tseb-ee’
From H6638 in the sense of prominence; splendor (as conspicuous); also a gazelle (as beautiful): – beautiful (-ty), glorious (-ry), goodly, pleasant, roe (-buck).
H6638 ??? tsâbâh tsaw-baw’
A primitive root; to amass, that is, grow turgid; specifically to array an army against: – fight, swell. (Pride)
5) Bela H1106 ???? bela? beh’-lah
The same as H1105; Bela, the name of a place, also of an Edomite and of two Israelites: – Bela.
H1105 ???? bela? beh’-lah
From H1104; a gulp; figuratively destruction: – devouring, that which he hath swallowed up.
H1104 ???? bâla? baw-lah’
A primitive root; to make away with (specifically by swallowing); generally to destroy: – cover, destroy, devour, eat up, be at end, spend up, swallow down (up).
The meaning of these cities is interesting. Scorch/Burnt, Ruined Heap, Earthy/Worldly, Pride… Wait, what about Bela: Destruction? It says in Gen 14:2 “…Bela , which is Zoar.”. So, what is the meaning of Zoar?
Zoar H6820 ??? tsô?ar tso’-ar
From H6819; little; Tsoar, a place East of the Jordan: – Zoar.
H6819 ??? tsâ?ar tsaw-ar’
A primitive root; to be small, that is, (figuratively) ignoble: – be brought low, little one, be small. *TO BE HUMBLE
When we read the destruction account of these cities in Genesis 19, pay particular attention to Gen 19:18-25. Lot asks to escape to Zoar (formerly called Bela).
Gen 19:18 And Lot said to them, Oh no, Lord, 19 please now, Your servant has found grace in Your sight, and You have magnified Your mercy, which You have shown to me in saving my life. And I cannot escape to the mountain, lest some evil take me and I die. 20 Behold now, this city is near to flee to, and it is a little one. Oh let me escape there (is it not a little one?) and my soul shall live. 21 And He said to him, See, I have accepted you concerning this thing also, that I will not overthrow this city for which you have spoken. 22 Hurry and escape there! For I cannot do anything till you have come there. Therefore the name of the city was called Zoar. 23 The sun had risen upon the earth, and Lot entered into Zoar. 24 Then Jehovah rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire, from Jehovah out of the heavens. 25 And He overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground.
Once again here is the question:
Why was Sodom and Gomorrah judged by Yehovah. destroyed by brimstone and fire and not all the other cities during that time or any other time up until this present day?
Although my friend provided the answer, he does not yet see this as I do. I have been looking at this based on the Prophecies of Abraham. And I have not understood how this part of Abraham’s life was a prophetic message to us. Almost all of the rest of his life I have explained in the Prophecies of Abraham which you can get at http://bookstore.authorhouse.com/Products/SKU-000366309/The-Prophecies-of-Abraham.aspx
But this part of his life I did not understand until this study.
Before I get ahead of myself, lets answer the first question. The answer is because it is a prophetic message to us today.
When Abraham rescued his nephew Lot and defeated the Northern Kings, he also rescued the people of Sodom as well as those from the other cities (including their wealth) that were captured by the Northern Kings. And this included Jerusalem. Abraham also captured all the wealth of the Northern Kings. Abraham did not accept anything from the King of Sodom but he did accept 10% from the king of Salem. I believe the reason Abraham refused has something to do with this verse in Deuteronomy.
Deu 23:17 There shall be no harlot of the daughters of Israel, nor a sodomite of the sons of Israel. 18 You shall not bring the hire of a harlot, or the price of a dog, into the house of Jehovah your God for any vow. For even both these are hateful to Jehovah your God.
Gen 14:16 And he brought back all the goods, and also brought back his brother Lot and his goods, and the women also, and the people. 17 And the king of Sodom went out to meet him after his return from the slaughter of Chedorlaomer and of the kings with him, at the valley of Shaveh, which is the king’s valley. 18 And Melchizedek the king of Salem brought forth bread and wine. And he was the priest of the most high God. 19 And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of Heaven and earth. 20 And blessed be the most high God, who has delivered your enemies into your hand. And he gave him tithes of all. 21 And the king of Sodom said to Abram, Give me the people and take the goods for yourself. 22 And Abram said to the king of Sodom, I have lifted up my hand to Jehovah, the most high God, the possessor of Heaven and earth, 23 that I will take from all that is yours, not from a thread even to a shoestring, lest you say, I have made Abram rich. 24 Nothing for me, only that which the young men have eaten, and the portion of the men who went with me, Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre; let them take their portion.
Was it only Abraham and his 318 men who saved all the people or do you think that Yehovah has something to do with this?
Melchizedek had it correct. Read again what he said: 20 And blessed be the most high God, who has delivered your enemies into your hand.
It was Yehovah who redeemed all of these people. Yehovah did it through Abraham.
These people were REDEEMED by Yehovah. Now the test was to take place. For the next 20 years Yehovah would watch to see if Sodom, Gomorrah and the other cities that were redeemed would change their ways.
In Genesis 18 we read how Abraham and Yehovah are discussing the destruction that was about to come.
Gen 18:17 And Jehovah said, Shall I hide from Abraham the thing which I do, 18 And Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the persons of the earth shall be blessed in him? 19 For I know him, that he will command his sons and his house after him, and they shall keep the way of Jehovah, to do justice and judgment, that Jehovah may bring upon Abraham that which He has spoken of him. 20 And Jehovah said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous, 21 I will go down now and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which has come to Me. And if not, I will know. 22 And the men turned their faces away from there, and went toward Sodom. But Abraham still stood before Jehovah. 23 And Abraham drew near and said, Will You also destroy the righteous with the wicked? 24 Perhaps there are fifty righteous within the city. Will You also destroy and not spare the place for the fifty righteous that are in it? 25 Far be it from You to act in this manner, to kill the righteous with the wicked. And far be it from You, that the righteous should be as the wicked. Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right? 26 And Jehovah said, If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sakes. 27 And Abraham answered and said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak to Jehovah, who am but dust and ashes. 28 Perhaps there will be five lacking from the fifty righteous. Will You destroy all the city for lack of five? And He said, If I find there forty-five, I will not destroy it. 29 And he spoke to Him yet again, and said, Perhaps there shall be forty found there. And He said, I will not do it for forty’s sake. 30 And he said, Oh let not Jehovah be angry, and I will speak. Perhaps there shall be thirty found there. And He said, I will not do it if I find thirty there. 31 And he said, Lo now, I have taken upon me to speak to Jehovah. Perhaps there shall be twenty found there. And He said, I will not destroy it for twenty’s sake. 32 And he said, Oh do not let Jehovah be angry, and I will speak only once more. Perhaps ten shall be found there. And He said, I will not destroy it for ten’s sake. 33 And Jehovah went His way as soon as He had left off talking with Abraham. And Abraham returned to his place.
After being rescued and redeemed from the northern armies these cities went back to idolatry and their wicked ways.
Gen 18:20 And Jehovah said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous.
SO, what does this have to say about us? If the blood of the lamb has redeemed us, are we going to go back to our old ways?
We are about to enter the time when the King of the North is going to over-run Israel. And it will be Yehovah who will redeem us as we can read in Isaiah as we are rescued from the coming captivity.
Isa 14:1 For Jehovah will have mercy on Jacob, and will yet choose Israel and set them in their own land; and the stranger shall be joined with them, and they shall cling to the house of Jacob. 2 And the peoples shall take them and bring them to their place; and the house of Israel shall possess them in the land of Jehovah for slaves and slave girls. And they shall be captives of their captors; and they shall rule over their oppressors. 3 And it shall be in the day that Jehovah shall give you rest from your sorrow, and from your fear, and from the hard bondage which was pressed on you, 4 you shall take up this song against the king of Babylon and say, How the exacter, the gold gatherer has ceased! 5 Jehovah has broken the staff of the wicked, the scepter of the rulers 6 who struck peoples in wrath, a blow without turning away, ruling the nations in anger, a persecution without restraint. 7 All the earth is at rest and is quiet; they break out into singing. 8 Yea, the fir trees rejoice at you, the cedars of Lebanon, saying, Since you have fallen, no woodcutter will come up against us. 9 Hell from below is moved for you, to meet you at your coming. It stirs up the dead for you, all the he-goats of the earth. It has raised from their thrones all the kings of the nations. 10 All of them shall speak and say to you, Are you also as weak as we? Are you like us? 11 Your pride is brought down to the grave, and the noise of your harps. The maggot is spread under you, and the worms cover you. 12 How you are fallen from the heavens, O shining star, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, you who weakened the nations! 13 For you have said in your heart, I will go up to the heavens, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north. 14 I will go up above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the Most High. 15 Yet you shall be brought down to hell, to the sides of the Pit. 16 Those who see you shall stare and closely watch you, saying, Is this the man who made the earth to tremble; who shook kingdoms; 17 who made the world as a wilderness, and destroyed its cities; who did not open the house for his prisoners? 18 All the kings of the nations, even all of them, lie in glory, every one in his own house. 19 But you are cast out of your grave like a hateful branch, and like the clothing of those who are slain, thrust through with a sword, that go down to the stones of the pit; like a dead body trampled under foot. 20 You shall not be joined with them in burial, because you ruined your land and killed your people; the seed of evildoers shall never be famous. 21 Prepare slaughter for his sons, because of the iniquity of their fathers, so that they do not rise, nor possess the land, nor fill the face of the world with cities. 22 For I will rise up against them, says Jehovah of Hosts, and cut off from Babylon the name and remnant, and son, and grandson, says Jehovah. 23 I will also make it a possession of the hedgehog, and pools of water; and I will sweep it with the broom of ruin, says Jehovah of Hosts. 24 Jehovah of Hosts has sworn, saying, Surely as I have thought, so it shall come to pass; and as I have purposed, it shall stand; 25 to break Assyria in My land, and on My mountains, trample him under foot. Then his yoke shall be removed from them, and his burden shall be taken off their shoulders. 26 This is the purpose that is purposed on all the earth; and this is the hand that is stretched out on all the nations. 27 For Jehovah of Hosts has purposed, and who shall reverse it? And His hand is stretched out, and who shall turn it back? 28 This burden was in the year that King Ahaz died: 29 Rejoice not, O Philistia, all of you, that the rod of your striking is broken. For a viper comes forth from the root of a snake, and his fruit shall be a fiery flying serpent. 30 And the first-born of the poor shall feed, and the needy shall lie down in safety; and I will kill your root with famine, and he shall slay your remnant. 31 Howl, O gate! Cry, O city! O Philistia, all of you, are melted away; for from the north a smoke comes, and no straggler in his ranks. 32 What shall one then answer the messengers of the nation? That Jehovah has founded Zion, and the poor of His people shall trust in it.
As was said earlier, Yehovah redeemed the peoples of these cities (Genesis 14). Yehovah wanted to see if the people would CHANGE for the better and turn from their wicked ways. Today Yehovah has blessed the nations of Israel more than all the other nations of the world and what have we done with it?
We now deny there is a God and remove all those things that relate to the commandments from our public buildings. We teach our children in schools that the homosexual lifestyle is normal and that there are no absolutes.
Deu 29:17 And you have seen their abominations and their idols, wood and stone, silver and gold, which were among them) 18 lest there should be among you man, or woman, or family, or tribe, whose heart turns away today from Jehovah our God, to go serve the gods of these nations; lest there should be among you a root that bears gall and wormwood, 19 and it happens when he hears the words of this curse, that he shall bless himself in his heart, saying, I shall have peace, though I walk in the stubbornness of my heart, to snatch away the drunken with the thirsty. 20 Jehovah will not be willing to forgive him, but then the anger of Jehovah and His jealousy shall smoke against that man, and all the curses that are written in this book shall lie on him, and Jehovah shall blot out his name from under heavens. 21 And Jehovah shall set him apart to evil out of all the tribes of Israel, according to all the curses of the covenant that are written in this book of the Law; 22 so that the generation to come of your sons that shall rise up after you, and the stranger that shall come from a far land, shall say (when they see the plagues of that land, and the sicknesses which Jehovah has laid on it) 23 the whole land shall be burned with brimstone, and salt; it shall not be sown; nor shall it sprout; nor shall there be any grass in it. It shall be like the overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboim, which Jehovah overthrew in His anger, and in His wrath, 24 even all nations shall say, Why has Jehovah done this to this land? For what is the heat of this great anger? 25 Then men shall say, Because they have forsaken the covenant of Jehovah, the God of their fathers, which He made with them when He brought them forth out of the land of Egypt. 26 For they went and served other gods, and worshiped them, gods whom they did not know, and who had not given to them any portion. 27 And the anger of Jehovah was kindled against this land, to bring on it all the curses that are written in this book. 28 And Jehovah rooted them out of their land in anger and wrath, and in great indignation, and cast them into another land, as it is today. 29 The secret things belong to Jehovah our God, but the revealed things belong to us and to our sons forever, so that we may do all the words of this Law.
Four cites were destroyed- but one repented and changed their ways. Bela was not destroyed. Instead, they were brought low; they humbled themselves and turned away from the evil way they pursued- and in so doing they saved their city from destruction.
Have you “Zoared” yourself yet? Have you “meeked” yourself yet? Have you submitted to Yehovah or are there areas you will not change in? Once the fire and sulpher starts to fall it will be to late. Do it now while you can.
For more teaching on what it means to be “meeked” may I suggest you read this newsletter about how Moses was the meekest man on earth and why?
- Newsletter 5842-010 Blessed is the Peace Maker
3 ½ Year Triennial Torah Reading
We continue this weekend with our regular Triennial Torah Reading Cycle
Gen 9 | Josh 21-22 | Ps 19 | Mat 12:22-13:23
The Noachian Covenant (Genesis 9)
When Noah and his family disembarked from the ark, releasing the animals, God evidently de-pacified the animals (as they had apparently been made docile by Him for their voyage on the ark). At this point He also delegated the administration of the death penalty to man. At the same time God permitted meat to be eaten (verse 3). Some seize on this as proof that men were supposed to be vegetarians before the Flood. However, Abel sacrificed an animal and, as Leviticus shows, parts of sacrifices were eaten. Moreover, the apostle Paul later explained that some animals—those the Bible designates as “clean” (see Leviticus 11; Deuteronomy 14)—were created to be eaten (1 Timothy 4:3-4). Indeed, we already saw the distinction drawn between clean and unclean—i.e., edible and inedible—animals before the Flood in Genesis 7. Why would there have been a distinction at that time if animals were not then eaten? Thus it appears that God was simply telling Noah and his family that it was okay to eat animals again—which likely means they had not been permitted to eat any of the animals on the ark. Perhaps that would have depleted some species before they had a chance to amply multiply after the Flood.
God also established a special covenant with man, promising never to send a universal deluge again. As a token (or sign) of the promise, God “set” the rainbow in the sky (verse 13). The Hebrew word translated “set” is nathan, meaning give. This has led some to suggest that the rainbow had never been seen before. If this suggestion is true, it would mean that God either modified the laws of physics governing optics, for a rainbow is just the product of the refraction of light through the medium of airborne water droplets, or that He altered the atmosphere of the earth, perhaps by removing some kind of upper vapor canopy that formerly altered the character of the light reaching the earth’s surface. Such a vapor canopy may help to explain the rain of 40 days and 40 nights when the “windows of heaven were opened” (7:11-12). And this may have constituted the “waters which were above the firmament” in Genesis 1:7.
A Curse on Canaan (Genesis 9)
Some decades after the Flood (time enough for Noah’s sons to father their own sons and for these grandchildren to grow up), Noah became a husbandman, growing grapes and making wine. Then, when he drank the wine, he became intoxicated and fell asleep in his tent, whereupon, the Bible records, his nakedness was uncovered. This expression is used throughout Leviticus 18 to denote sexual relations. When Noah’s son Ham discovered him, he told his brothers, who then covered their father. When Noah awoke, he learned of what happened and called forth a curse upon Ham’s youngest son, Canaan. Why? Why should Canaan be cursed?
Verse 24 states that Noah “knew what his younger son had done to him.” This is often interpreted to mean that Noah “knew what his [Noah’s] younger son [Ham] had done to him.” Yet if Ham himself were guilty of whatever wrong had been committed, we might assume that Noah would have cursed him personally or, if his offspring were to be cursed, that it would apply to all his offspring or perhaps the eldest and his family rather than just Ham’s youngest son Canaan and those who would spring from him. So the most likely scenario is that Canaan himself had committed the wrong—apparently some sexual sin against Noah while Noah was intoxicated—which Ham discovered. Thus verse 24 should probably be understood to read that Noah “knew what his [Ham’s] younger son [Canaan] had done to him”—particularly if we consider verse 23 as parenthetical.
In its note on the end of chapter 21, verses 43-45, The Nelson Study Bible states: “This glorious conclusion to these two chapters and to the entire section (chs. 13-21) celebrates the fact that all came to pass exactly as God promised. [That is, it should be clarified, while there was still more to come, all had so far gone exactly as God had said it would.] What has been visible all along is now said plainly—the God of Israel is a promise-keeping God, who gave Israel the land in accordance with the promises He had made with its ancestors, including Moses and the patriarchs. And in addition to giving them the land, He also granted them rest.”
The Altar by the Jordan (Joshua 22)
The land has been apportioned, and the eastern tribes have fulfilled their responsibilities. Joshua now dismisses them to return home. The time and sacrifice has not been without its rewards, as they return with much wealth from the spoils of Canaan, which Joshua urges them to share with those who remained to take care of their land and families (verse 8). Before they go, Joshua exhorts them to follow God’s law wholeheartedly (verse 5). So it comes as a great shock when word comes back that they have built a large altar beside the Jordan River apparently contrary to God’s explicit commands (compare Deuteronomy 12). In their zeal, a war party forms at Shiloh to deal with this brazen transgression. Before heading off to battle, a delegation of tribal leaders, headed by Phinehas, the son of the high priest, is sent to find out just why they have done this. The delegation reminds them of some of Israel’s past transgressions, and suggests that perhaps it would be better if they came over to the western lands after all.
The tribes explain, however, that things are not how they look to the western delegation. They say they built it as a “replica of the altar of the Lord which our fathers made” (Joshua 22:28), i.e., apparently a copy of the stone one that had been set up at Mount Ebal (compare Joshua 8:30-31). And, most importantly, this altar, they maintain, was not to be used for sacrifices as the original was, but rather to serve as a witness and reminder in years to come to Israelites on both sides of the Jordan that they too are a part of Israel, who also worship the true God (Joshua 22:27-28). The explanation is quite acceptable to Phinehas and the tribal leaders. They return to Shiloh, and a civil war is averted (verses 30-34).
God’s Perfect Revelation; His Deliverance in Time of Trouble (Psalms 19-21)
Psalm 19 is a wisdom psalm in which David praises God’s creation and instruction. David calls attention to the heavens because the sun, the moon, and the stars declare the Creator’s glorious activity. The radiance of the sun and the orderly appearance of the moon and stars bear witness to the existence of a Master Designer (see also Romans 1:20).
Verse 4 of Psalm 19 reads variously, “their line has gone out” (perhaps meaning orbit) and “their voice goes out” (NRSV). Even in English, the word “line” can denote a geometric line, a line of text or the text an actor is given to speak aloud. David mentions that the voice of the celestial bodies can be heard everywhere (verse 3). “The poem talks of hearing the glory of God. It declares that behind the whole majesty of nature there is sound, the sound of the Word of God. The whole creation, even without the use of words, sounds forth the divine Word; when put into Greek, this is the word Logos that we meet in John 1:1” (George Knight, Psalms, The Daily Study Bible Series, comments on Psalm 19:1-6).
Some see in these verses the idea that, prior to His written revelation in Scripture, God formed the constellations to communicate the story of His plan for humanity—imagery that was corrupted in pagan mythology (see, for instance, E.W. Bullinger’s book The Witness of the Stars and E. Raymond Capt’s book The Glory of the Stars). Yet even apart from that, the heavens certainly have a powerful message to communicate. As verse 1 shows, they demonstrate the sublime majesty, creativity, genius and power of God.
David compares the sun to a bridegroom, cheerfully leaving his chamber, and to the strength of a champion prepared for his race. “Nothing,” he adds, “is hidden from the sun’s radiance and strength,” just as nothing is hidden from the glory of God. It is interesting to consider that in the New Testament, Yeshua, God the Word made flesh, is referred to as both the “bridegroom” (Matthew 25:1-10) and the “light of the world” (John 8:12)—His followers also have this latter distinction through reflecting the “light” of His character (Matthew 5:14).
Just as God (both Father and Son) is brilliant in glory and illuminating, so also is God’s law. Indeed, the psalm now moves from the heavenly revelation to the written revelation of God. The word “law” is translated from the Hebrew torah and means instruction (verses 7-10). “This portion of the psalm “presents six words for the law of God—law, testimony, statutes, commandment, fear, and judgments; six evaluations of the law—perfect, sure, right, pure, clean, and true; and six results—converting the soul, making wise the simple, rejoicing the heart, enlightening the eyes, enduring forever, and righteous altogether” (Nelson Study Bible, note on vv. 7-10). Curiously, the terms here are thoroughly elaborated on exactly 100 psalms later—in Psalm 119.
Consideration of God’s majesty as revealed in the heavens and the stark perfection of His law, David is reminded of his own inadequacies. He asks a searching question, “Who can understand his [own] errors?” (verse 12). God says that a man’s heart is desperately wicked and that only He really understands it (Jeremiah 17:9). Since a man can’t get to the bottom of his nature and rid himself of his faults, God must intervene to forgive him of his shortcomings and help him to obey (Psalm 19:12). God’s power can enable us to stay away from deliberate sins and reveal the secret faults over the course of our years of seeking to follow His way of life (verse 13; 139:23-24).
David prays that his words and thoughts will be pleasing in God’s sight, similar to the request he makes in Psalm 141:3: “Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips.” Such a “guard” is the Holy Spirit reminding us of right and wrong, which we learn from our study of God’s Word. The Spirit helps us to do what we should. But the choice to do the right and the effort to control the lips remains up to us.
Mat 12:22 – 13:23
12:23 Is not this the son of David?
The miracles Yeshua had been performing in God’s name were beginning to have an effect on the minds of the people. Many of them were now considering that He was the Messiah.(The term “son of David” was a euphemism for the Messiah.)
12:25 And Jesus knew their thoughts …
Whose thoughts? When closely examined, the text indicates He is considering the thoughts of the people (in verse 23), not the Pharisees. His ensuing comments are directed toward them more than their leaders.
12:28 But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you.
Again, the direct connection is made between the miracles He is doing and their specific purpose, to declare to them that the Kingdom of God is being offered. There is no argument as to the validity of these being “real miracles.” The discussion at hand is by whose authority these miracles are being done. If by God, then this was there opportunity to usher in His Kingdom on earth. It is interesting that Scripture tells us that many of the physical problems people were experiencing at that time, were directly attributed to the work of Satan or a demon.
The time period of the Kingdom offer extended for a brief while after Yeshua’s death. Peter reiterated the offer to his kinsmen. Peter let them know that if they were to accept the message of Yeshua, He would immediately return and usher in the Kingdom:
Acts 3:18-21 – But those things, which God before had shewed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled. Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord. And he shall send Yeshua Messiah, which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.
NOTE: One of the criticisms of the “New Testament” until recent times, has been the great mention of demonic activity within its pages, in light of the fact that there was little other historical evidence that witnessed to such things in the Second Temple period. This changed with the Dead Sea Scrolls. Among the parchments (dated about 100 years prior to Yeshua), are found detailed instructions on casting away demons, using either chants or the placing of an amulet upon the body. Many of these demons were directly connected to physical ailments. (Scrolls 4Q560 and 11Q11.)
12:29 Or else how can one enter into a strong man’s house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man?
The idea of binding a spiritual enemy being, before accomplishing an earthly deed, is found both in Scripture (see study on Daniel 10)
12:30 He that is not with me is against me;
On the surface, this would seem to contradict the following words from Yeshua:
Luke 9:49-50 – And John answered and said, Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name; and we forbad him, because he followeth not with us. And Yeshua said unto him, Forbid him not: for he that is not against us is for us.
It is important to consider here, that Yeshua is not telling John that, “it’s OK as long as they are using my name.” Yeshua had already said that this is no guarantee of anything:
Matthew 7:22-23 – Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
The context of Luke 9:49-50 is again that of miracles being performed as a sign that the Kingdom of God was being offered. Yeshua evidently knew that the men John was referring to, were also performing these miracles for this same purpose, otherwise they would have fallen under the condemnation of His words of Matthew 7:22-23. Therefore, even though they weren’t directly “in the camp,” they were “on the same team,” as the miracles they were performing were properly grounded in the Torah’s Kingdom message and God’s authority.
This situation is remarkably similar to an occurence in Moses’ time:
Numbers 11:26-29 – But there remained two of the men in the camp, the name of the one was Eldad, and the name of the other Medad: and the spirit rested upon them; and they were of them that were written, but went not out unto the tabernacle: and they prophesied in the camp. And there ran a young man, and told Moses, and said, Eldad and Medad do prophesy in the camp. And Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of Moses, one of his young men, answered and said, My lord Moses, forbid them. And Moses said unto him, Enviest thou for my sake? would God that all the LORD’S people were prophets, and that the LORD would put his spirit upon them!
Returning to Matthew 12:30, Yeshua is speaking in the context of His message of the Kingdom offer being rejected. The Pharisees, who attributed His works to Satan, were making a concious decision to discard His claim that the authority behind the miracles was God, even though they were being given a taste of what was one day to come in full. Thus, they were wilfully rejecting the work of the Holy Spirit (the Ruach haKodesh – through whom Yeshua’s works were performed). They were therefore aligning themselves against Yeshua, and with the kingdom of Satan, in this grand spiritual battle.
12:32 … blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men
The proof that what Yeshua was doing was of God, was not that He said so, nor was it the miracles themselves. (Satan and his demons can claim to be doing things of God and perform wonderful deeds.) Rather, Yeshua’s “litmus test” for the Pharisees was Torah.
He had previously told them to go properly understand what was meant in the verse, “I will have mercy, and not sacrifice.” Why did He tell them to do this? Had they done so, they would have learned that they were seeking their own righteousness and not submitting to God’s. (This is a purpose and function of Torah.) They would have then known Yeshua for who He was and His works as being of God. Rather than doing thing however, these Pharisees choose to view themselves as righteous, walk away from the Kingdom offer, and attribute the work of the Ruach haKodesh to Satan.
The warning of the “unforgivable sin” is given in the book of Hebrews, only in a different setting. (As Yeshua has died and resurrected by this time, which holds additional signficance). Again, this has to do with experiencing the work of the Ruach and rejecting it, when you have enough understanding to know better:
Hebrews 6:4-6 – For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Spirit, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.
There is a bit of a paradox here that needs to be addressed. Although Yeshua says that this generation is condemned, later in Acts chapter 3 (see above) Peter tells these people that they still have yet one more chance. Anyone cognizant of the Hebrew Scriptures knows that this is common. The prophets, on more than one occasion, told the people they were doomed as they would not listen, while still preaching repentance to them.
12:39 An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign;
It is a fact of Scripture that some generations end up cursed, while others especially blessed. Those in the position to receive the greatest blessings from God, and who fail Him, end up in the former category.
The other generation in Scripture, cursed in such a fashion, was that which came out of Egypt. They received the offer of the Kingdom and the written Torah. Those in Matthew’s narrative, receive the Kingdom offer and the walking, talking, Torah – Yeshua.
12:43-45 When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none … Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation.
This generation had the greatest preacher of the Kingdom in their midst. Yeshua’s miracles were not only physical cures, they were spiritual gains, each contributing to the binding of Satan and his own legions of angels (demons). The great physician was making them well by bringing God’s light into the world, forcing out the darkness of the enemy, and ushering in the Kingdom of God. Here was there chance! Their rejection of this opportunity is worse for them than if He had never come and preached to them at all. For now they will be beyond repentance (i.e., Hebrews 6:4).
12:50 For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven,
What is the “Will of God” that each of us, without exception, is to do?
Learn of the “Image of God,” as presented in the Torah, and become conformed to it
Grow in intimacy with Him, by following the commandments of His Torah, and going beyond the “letter of Torah,” by performing acts of kindness in our day to day activities
The subject of the Kingdom of God is the essential lesson of the Bible, beginning with creation account in Genesis and its final realization in the book of Revelation.
The message of the Kingdom is the message of the Gospel:
Mark 1:14 – Now after that John was put in prison, Yeshua came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God.
A study of the Kingdom is one of the more interesting and complex that a Bible student can undertake. Not only are there many aspects to the Kingdom, but there are also different “levels” at which one can investigate all of that Scripture presents and hints at.
A detailed description of these aspects and levels is found in our Revelation study. For now, we will simply say that a study of the Kingdom can be approached at these levels:
A basic level where we are concerned mostly with the literal text
A level where we seek to understand some of the deeper truths
A mystical level
Such mystical teachings will mostly be left to our Revelation study. For now, we will provide two examples. One can be found in the book of Zechariah. The prophet, speaking of this time, says that this is when the “name” of the Lord will be made one:
Zechariah 14:9 – And the LORD shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and his name one.
Another, found in the Talmud, says that the Temple represents the Kingdom of God:
The goal of Creation is that the Kingdom of God (represented by the Temple) shall be established on earth, as it is in heaven; and finally, the name of the Messiah, i.e., the assurance that God’s purpose will ultimately be achieved.1
In this analysis of Matthew, we will remained focused on the more basic aspects of the Kingdom, looking to a degree at some of its deeper truths. We will first present an overview of the Kingdom, then examine some of Yeshua’s parables from this chapter of Matthew as well as the other gospels.
THE KINGDOM OF GOD
The Kingdom of God is spoken of throughout Scripture and in Jewish writings as an everlasting Kingdom where God and those who are faithful to Him exist in harmony. The Kingdom of God is also called the Kingdom of Heaven (especially in the book of Matthew), as “heaven” is often substituted for “God” in Jewish texts.
Depending on context, the Kingdom can mean one or both of two “time periods.” It can be said to be the 1000-year Messianic Kingdom on earth, and/or eternity in Olam Haba, the world to come. The former, a time when there is still some degree of sin and death, leads directly into the latter, where sin and death will be no more:
1 Corinthians 15:24-26 – Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.
Both the Tenakh and “New Testament” show us that the Kingdom is also the restored kingdom of Israel. King David was promised that the Kingdom of Israel, established through his offspring, would one day be this everlasting Kingdom of God:
2 Samuel 7:8-16 – “Now then, tell my servant David, `This is what the LORD Almighty says: I took you from the pasture and from following the flock to be ruler over my people Israel. I have been with you wherever you have gone, and I have cut off all your enemies from before you. Now I will make your name great, like the names of the greatest men of the earth. And I will provide a place for my people Israel and will plant them so that they can have a home of their own and no longer be disturbed. Wicked people will not oppress them anymore, as they did at the beginning and have done ever since the time I appointed leaders over my people Israel. I will also give you rest from all your enemies. “`The LORD declares to you that the LORD himself will establish a house for you: When your days are over and you rest with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, who will come from your own body, and I will establish his kingdom. He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be his father, and he will be my son. When he does wrong, I will punish him with the rod of men, with floggings inflicted by men. But my love will never be taken away from him, as I took it away from Saul, whom I removed from before you. Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me ; your throne will be established forever.'”
Mark 11:9-10 – And they that went before, and they that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna; Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord: Blessed be the kingdom of our father David, that cometh in the name of the Lord: Hosanna in the highest.
Acts 1:6 – Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?”
THE “KINGDOM” OF SATAN
Counter to the Kingdom and God’s plan to establish it, is Satan and his efforts to establish his own unholy Kingdom. The book of Revelation shows the final chapters of this story, including mention of the Kingdom coming at the time of Satan’s defeat:
Revelation 12:10 – And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Messiah: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.
Perhaps the earliest reference to the battle between these two kingdoms is the dialogue between God and the serpent in the Garden of Eden:
Genesis 3:15 – And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.
Those in opposition to God’s truth can be said to be supporting Satan and his kingdom:
John 8:44 – Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.
Revelation 2:9 – I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.
It is important to note here, that the two verses above are often misused to say that the Pharisees were blind to who Yeshua was, because they “kept the Law.” Nothing could be further from the truth, as Yeshua Himself said that the Tenakh (Old Testament) spoke of Him (Luke 24:44-45), and He Himself kept the Torah and said none of it was done away with (Matthew 5:17-21).
The correct understanding of these statements has to do with the fact that many of the Pharisees (who were the most powerful religious group of the time, but not the only one) had misused Torah and established their own righteousness, based on their ability to do the works of the Torah, and/or their simply being born Jews. Both Yeshua and Paul castigate such people and say that this is why they missed Messiah. A correct understanding of Torah, resulting in obeying the commandments of God in faith (i.e., Hebrews 4:2), will point a person to Yeshua, as He is the goal of the Torah (Romans 10:4)2
Our Revelation study shows that the “battles” between these kingdoms are waged both in the heavenly realms as well as on earth. In the earthly realm, Satan’s kingdom is identified with Edom, the (non-believing) world, Babylon or Rome. God’s Kingdom is associated with Israel, and specifically with David or Jacob:
Luke 1:33 – And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.
THE KINGDOM PRIOR TO YESHUA
God’s work to establish His Kingdom can be seen by tracing the “faithful remnant” that has existed in every generation. With Abraham, he set aside a specific people, Israel, to be His “Messiah,” that would bring about the Kingdom. The promise continued through Jacob and his sons, the 12 tribes of Israel.
Finally, with Moses and the children of Israel who were taken out of Egypt, the opportunity came to usher in the Messianic age. Due to the unbelief of the people, (including the sins of the Golden Calf and the episode of the 12 spies), this chance was forfeited.
The earthly kingdom of Israel was established at David’s time, with the building of the Temple by Solomon. As seen above, a promise was made that this would be an everlasting kingdom — but there was still much to occur before that would happen.
THE KINGDOM AT YESHUA’S TIME
As we have discussed earlier in this study, another offer of the Kingdom came again, with the arrival of Yeshua:
Matthew 4:17 – From that time Yeshua began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
Matthew 10:7 – And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.
Matthew 12:28 – But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you.
Once more however, the sin of the people prevented this from happening, although the offer continued to be extended after Yeshua’s death (Acts 3), probably until around the time the Temple was destroyed, at which point it was again withdrawn.
There will not be another offer of the Kingdom, dependent on the faithfulness of human beings. God will “forcibly” usher in His Kingdom at a future date, as seen in the book of Revelation (as well as Scriptures such as Matthew chapters 24 and 25).
THE KINGDOM TODAY
Although there is a literal earthly and heavenly Kingdom to come, there is also a degree to which we can “experience” the Kingdom in our lifetime. The “New Testament” states that those who are following God in faith are said to already belong to the Kingdom. This is similar to saying that although we are presently “saved,” we are not yet experiencing the “totality” of that salvation until we are actually with God.
As the Kingdom is a time where we are “one with God,” those things that would presently be considered “miraculous,” would be the regular state of being in the Kingdom. Yeshua’s twelve apostles could be said to have been “walking in the Kingdom,” as they had superior God-given insight into the Scriptures, and were able to perform open miracles (those outside of the laws of nature).
This idea is not foreign to Jewish interpretation of Scripture, however it is definitely belongs in the area of mystical studies. As a for instance however, consider the following from a recent book on Nachmanides, one of the most famous teachers in Jewish history.
Teaching on Deuteronomy 11:22, he says:
Possibly this cleaving includes the remembering of God and continually loving Him, that is, don’t separate your thoughts from Him while you walk on the road, when you lie down, and when you get up. Such an individual will relate to people, but his heart, his innermost thoughts and feelings are always facing God. Furthermore, possibly the souls of such elevated individuals are bound up with the mystical life source, even while alive, for they themselves are a dwelling place for the Shekhinah.3
Conversely, the kingdom of Satan, has its own “opportunity” for the miraculous. Some of the more common occurrences seen today, are the actions of popular “psychics,” seen on television and in magazine advertisements. Although many of these people are charlatans, some do possess uncanny power to reveal hidden truths about people. Offering people a “shortcut” into the spiritual realm is one of Satan’s oldest tricks.
It should be noted however, that not all things done in opposition to God, are blatantly “unbiblical.” Yeshua warned (Matthew chapter 7), that there would even be those who did things in His name that He would turn away.
Scripture teaches us that we are to pray for the coming of God’s Kingdom (i.e., the “Our Father” [Matthew 6] which, as we have seen, is a typical Jewish prayer.) Yeshua Himself prayed for this time in terms of our unification with God:
John 17:21-23 – That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.
THE KINGDOM IN MATTHEW 13
Matthew 13 is the single chapter of the “New Testament” with the most references to the Kingdom of God. Here, Yeshua speaks of the Kingdom, using a series of parables. When asked by His disciples why He spoke in parables, He replied:
Matthew 13:11 – … Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.
Here, Yeshua is not saying that there was some elite group that could understand while others could not. Every person has the choice of responding to God in faith, and receiving greater understanding of all of the word of God. The key is humility (i.e., Moses was a great prophet due to his humble nature. Yeshua compare this characteristic to the faith of little children).
Matthew 18:4 – Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
On the other hand, the pitfalls are many, including any religious doctrine not based in God’s revealed will as found in His Torah:
Matthew 7:21 – Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
There are several other direct and indirect references to the Kingdom of God, in the Gospel of Matthew, the other Gospels and the epistles. We will also examine these as part of this study section.
Yeshua offers eight parables in Matthew 13, which can be divided into several categories:
Acceptance and rejection of the Kingdom (13:3-8)
Growth of the Kingdom (13:31-32 & 33), with possible reference to evil within it
Evil mixed in the Kingdom (13:24-30 & 47-48)
The Kingdom being worth everything to be part of (13:44 & 45-46)
The Kingdom with regard to teachers (13:52)
THE FIRST PARABLE (v. 3-8)
In two places, Yeshua explains the meaning of His parables to some degree. In verses 19-23 he explains this first parable, by showing four possible scenarios involving people who hear the gospel message of the Kingdom. The interpretation is as follows:
Some won’t understand the message when it is presented. Why they don’t Yeshua doesn’t exactly say. However, it could be that they had given little time to learning about the things of God, and when the “secrets” of the Kingdom (see verses 11 & 35) were presented, they were clueless as to the importance. This lesson is reflected in the opposite (positive) sense, in the two short parables in verses 44-46, where Yeshua shows that the Kingdom is worth more than anything this life has to offer, and the wise man would give up anything of this life for it.
The second person is one who grasps the message, but is overcome by certain “negative” influences (i.e., incorrect doctrine from others) and pressured into letting go of it.
The third type of person also has some understanding, but in this case is overcome by certain “positive” things (i.e., love for the cares of the world) and also loses hold.
Lastly, are those who are prepared, understand, and take hold.
THE SECOND PARABLE (v. 24-30)
The second parable is also another that Yeshua gives some explanation to (in verses 37-43). These verses are really a synopsis of what is seen in the book of Revelation, which is in turn based on prophecies from the Tenakh (Old Testament) showing God’s vengeance being carried out by His angels of judgment. Here, the concept of belonging to one of two Kingdoms is seen with the reference to Children of the Kingdom and Children of the wicked one. Note that the latter, though part of “Satan’s kingdom” are also said to be in the Kingdom of God, until it is time for them to be cast out.
Interestingly, even those in Satan’s kingdom are serving the will of God:
Revelation 17:17 – For God hath put in their hearts to fulfil his will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled.
THE THIRD AND FOURTH PARABLES (v. 31-32 & 33)
These short parables are the most peculiar. The first, involving the mustard seed, would indicate that the Kingdom of God would grow enormously despite its humble beginnings. However, the reference to the birds coming to land in the branches may be an indication of evil in the Kingdom. The latter parable involves leaven, which is also normally a metaphor for sin or evil. In this case as well, it may seem that Yeshua is saying that evil spreads throughout the Kingdom.