News Letter 5850-003
19th day of the 1st month 5850 years after the creation of Adam
The 1st Month of Aviv in the Fifth year of the Third Sabbatical Cycle
The Third Sabbatical Cycle of the 119th Jubilee Cycle
The Sabbatical Cycle of Earthquakes, Famines and Pestilence
April 19, 2014
Shabbat Shalom, family. As you read this I will be on my way back to Canada from Israel, where I have had a very busy week tending to some business that needed taking care of over here at the vineyard. Boaz and I have had some tough talks about the upcoming Sabbatical years. He is very impressed by my zeal, but in spite of that the vineyard still needs your prayers. The work here is ongoing and there is nothing easy to be done anywhere. In other words, it is all hard work and almost all of it has fallen on Boaz to do. Please keep him in your prayers. Like me, he is not getting any younger.
We will be arriving back in Canada in time to attend services with Rico Cortes, Stephen Spykerman and Andrew Hodkinson in Hanover, Ontario. We hope to meet some of you there.
Last week you may or may not have heard Michael Rood rant on about the Blood Moons. That was on Thursday, and on Friday night Keith Johnson gave a much calmer explanation of the Blood Moon. So by now all of you have had the opportunity to watch the first blood moon come and go on April 15th. If you did, then you must have noticed that it was not canceled as Michael Rood claimed it would be nor was the hype over them “eclipsed” by Keith Johnson’s critique. All still arrived on schedule, just as Yehovah had planned.
It was just a few weeks ago that we presented our position on these blood moons in a Newsletter. You can read about it at:
Newsletter 5849-060 6 Blood Moons – 4 Solar Eclipses – 3 Years in a Row. What Does It All Mean?
Again we tell you, there is much more information that you are not being told by any of these teachers. Those suggesting the Messiah is about to return after 2017 are doing so based on their notions concerning the Daniel Timeline lie. This theory fell into the pit of false teachings once and for all after the UN-biblical day of Purim came and went in 2014. According to those who promoted the Daniel Timeline lie, this timeline had to begin on Purim 2014 in order for the 2300 days to even begin to work out. Obviously, that did not happen. Thus, we have yet another failure to predict the “end times” attempting to use a timetable that ignores Yehovah’s method of reckoning time: His Sabbatical and Jubilee Years!
But there are those who are using the blood moons to promote the belief that the rapture is about to happen. And those people, despite not keeping the Torah, the weekly Sabbath, the Holy Days nor the Sabbatical years, believe they are about to be “raptured out of here”, before all the Jews get wiped out along with the rest of us who do not believe in the “rapture.” I can say with all the knowledge and understanding I have gained in studying the Sabbatical Years that these folks are greatly deceived, and it is not the Jews who are about to get wiped out but the Christians.
Mark Biltz, John Hagee, Michael Rood (and his rant) along with Keith Johnson have all explained these events of the 4 blood moons by trying to make them revolve around the Joel Prophecy, either in favor of it or opposed to it. But not one has considered what the blood moons truly mean! None have taken into consideration just WHO they are for! Ignorance of who Israel is today is rampant and it is that ignorance that will get many believers killed. Yes, that is right – believers will be killed. They will be killed because they did not heed the warning – they did not keep the 4th commandment! Despite the Bible telling us that those who say they love Yehovah and do not keep the commandments are liars.
1 John 2:4 He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.
How are they not keeping the commandments?
If they are Christian, they do not keep the Sabbath. If they are SDA, they do not and will not keep the Holy Days of Lev 23. If they are Messianic, they will add to those Holy Days days not found in Lev 23 and they will not keep the Sabbatical Years. By breaking one or all three of these Holy Appointments with Yehovah, you are sinning. And we are told in the very last verse of the Old Testament that:
Mal 4:6 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 the world has not turned back to the Father by keeping the weekly Sabbath, the Holy Days of Lev 23 and the Sabbatical Years, the next one being 2016, then the curses have already been released by the Father. We have been telling you this since 2005. We have told you how there are five of them and they are found in Lev 26. The first three have already begun throughout the world. The next curse is the curse of the sword! After that comes the curse of captivity! Both of these will begin in 2017 and 2024, respectively.
1Pe 4:17 For the time has come for the judgment to begin from the house of God.
Judgment comes to Israel first – Israel, all 12 tribes – not just the one tribe in the State of Israel today (primarily Judah, but includes some of Benjamin and some of the Levites as well). This is what both Michael Rood and Keith Johnson do not seem to understand. All of these blood moons, as I show you, occur over the 12 tribes of Israel. However, you need to know where those 12 tribes are today. I explain this in great detail in the video teaching which you can watch for free at our media tab. Watch it and then tell these teachers that do not understand. Your letters and emails to them do make a difference! So, once you understand, please write them and let them know.
We believe that these blood moons are our final warning, brethren. They are the 12 tribes of Israel’s last warning before the 4th curse of Lev 26 is released. Our last warning before the curse of the Sword which will be coupled with rape, murder, torture, starvation and cannibalism epidemics! Every horror you can imagine, and then some, will take hold in our great countries.
Do not be lulled to sleep by those who say these blood moons mean nothing. Do not be deceived by those who say the Messiah is about to come. Read our article about the 6 Blood Moons and then begin to learn about the Sabbatical Cycles. Your life as well as the lives of your children, your spouse, your grandchildren – virtually anyone you know and do not want to see destroyed – depends on your obedience to Yehovah by obeying all of the Sabbaths. That includes keeping the next Sabbatical year in 2016, along with the Holy Days and weekly Sabbaths. Yes, these blood moon warnings are important. Now prove it for yourself and do not let any one steal your crown.
This year, “Earth Day” falls on Tuesday April 22, 2014 which will also be the day after the last day of Unleavened Bread. Earth Day will be marked by communities and cities around the world, with people going out and picking up garbage, planting a tree or perhaps even reinstating a park or riverside area with natural plants. Whole families get involved and make it a family-day affair. Schools have children color earth day pictures of Gaia and include “save-the-earth-focused” events. But do you, do they understand what is really going on here? Why is the UN behind this event around the world? Why do we have the Kyoto Accord and Agenda 21 as well as the United Nations Environmental Program and the many, many other things that have spun out of this program from the UN? Do you know and understand how the “gay agenda” ties into all of this?
I would encourage all of you to, once again, (if you have not already done so) watch our two-part video on the Great Enlightenment of Mankind. You can find it on our media tab.
In this video teaching we show you where the Environmental Movement came from and how it manifested from the Stockholm meeting in 1972. We show you how this is, in fact, the “covenant made with many” we read about in Daniel 9:27. We also show you how this is tied directly into the Sabbatical and Jubilee Cycles and why the year 2020 continues to show up in the middle of this Jubilee cycle.
We must warn you: do not worship at the tree of good and evil. It appears to be a good tree with what would appear to be good fruit. It’s name is Gaia, and she is also known as Mother Earth and the Mother of all living. Some also call her Mother Nature. Another name for this tree is “Easter;” a “holiday” which some of you reading this just took part in. Brethren, this is not going to turn out well for those who are worshiping and eating the fruit of this tree, even though the fruit of this false god looks so good! It is just that! It is still a false god and it has been here since the Garden of Eden. Watch the video and share them with those you love.
The 8th Day:
This week we wanted to make things easy because I am traveling and you are busy with The Days of Unleavened Bread. Sunday is the Wave Sheaf Offering. It is not a Holy Day but it is such an extremely important day to understand! We are now finally releasing our video about The 8th Day. The Wave Sheaf Day is the 8th day, as is Pentecost Sunday (Shavuot) and so is the 8th day of the Feast of Sukkot. You’ll notice that all of these days have a common theme.
Each one occurs at each of the three respective “Hags” which are set-apart times when we are to go up to Jerusalem for the Feasts three times a year.
Also, this day begins the “counting of the Omer,” leading us towards the 50th day which is the Feast of Shavuot. In the back to the our book Remembering the Sabbatical year of 2016 you will find the prayers you can read for each of the days as you count the Omer towards Shavuot.
Lev 23:9 And Jehovah spoke to Moses, saying,
Lev 23:10 Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, When you have come into the land which I give to you, and shall reap the harvest of it, then you shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest to the priest. 11 And he shall wave the sheaf before Jehovah to be received for you. On the next day after the sabbath the priest shall wave it. 12 And you shall offer that day when you wave the sheaf, a male lamb without blemish of the first year for a burnt offering to Jehovah. 13 And its food offering shall be two-tenths part of fine flour mixed with oil, a fire offering to Jehovah for a sweet savor. And the drink offering of it shall be of wine, the fourth part of a hin. 14 And you shall eat neither bread, nor parched grain, nor green ears, until the same day, until you have brought an offering to your God. It shall be a statute forever throughout your generations in all your dwellings.
Lets take a quick look at verse 11:
11 And he shall wave the sheaf before Jehovah to be received for you. On the next day after the Sabbath the priest shall wave it.
The word for “Sabbath” here is:
H7676 ????? shabba?th shab-bawth’
Intensive from H7673; intermission, that is, (specifically) the Sabbath: – (+ every) sabbath.
If Yehovah was talking about the day after the First Day of Unleavened Bread, as Judah teaches, to begin our count to this Holy Day, then the word would have been Sabbathon and not Sabbath. Sabbathon is found in the Strong’s Concordance as:
H7677 ??????? shabba?tho?n shab-baw-thone’
From H7676; a sabbatism or special holiday: – rest, sabbath.
A few weeks ago we wrote to you about the Zeroah of Yehovah; that portion of the lamb that was eaten at Passover. I would now like you to look at the following verses and ponder them as we continue this study.
Lev 9:21 And the breasts and the right shoulder Aaron waved for a wave offering before Jehovah, as Moses commanded.
Lev 10:14 And the wave breast and heave shoulder you shall eat in a clean place, you, and your sons and your daughters with you. For they have been given for your portion and the portion of your sons out of the sacrifices of peace offerings of the sons of Israel.
Exo 29:24 And you shall put all in the hands of Aaron and in the hands of his sons, and shall wave them for a wave offering before Jehovah.
Returning to Lev 23, after Yehovah explains to us when the wave sheaf day is, then Yehovah tells us to count 50 days to the next “WAVE” offering (and just so you understand, this is the very reason you must have barley that is ripe and ready for this offering, which is why we make sure the barley is near the ripe stage to start the year).
Lev 23:15 And you shall count to you from the next day after the sabbath, from the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven Sabbaths shall be complete. 16 To the next day after the seventh sabbath you shall number fifty days. And you shall offer a new food offering to Jehovah. 17 You shall bring out of your homes two wave loaves of two-tenth parts. They shall be of fine flour. They shall be baked with leaven, firstfruits to Jehovah. 18 And you shall offer with the bread seven lambs without blemish of the first year, and one young bull, and two rams. They shall be for a burnt offering to Jehovah, with their food offering, and their drink offerings, a fire offering of sweet savor to Jehovah. 19 Then you shall sacrifice one he-goat for a sin offering, and two lambs of the first year for a sacrifice of peace offerings. 0 And the priest shall wave them with the bread of the firstfruits, a wave offering before Jehovah, with the two lambs. They shall be holy to Jehovah for the priest. 21 And you shall proclaim on the same day that it may be a holy convocation to you. You shall do no work of labor. It shall be a statute forever in all your dwellings throughout your generations. 22 And when you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not completely reap the corner of your field. When you reap the gleaning of your harvest, you shall not gather. You shall leave them to the poor and to the stranger. I am Jehovah your God.
This is Shavuot, or as the church calls it, Pentecost. Did you notice that for Shavuot you are to “wave” the bread with leaven in it? Again, this is called the “first fruits.”
Every ceremony and every Holy Day are significant and you need to pay attention to them and learn from them. Read and understand what took place at Passover when Yehshua was killed.
Mat 27:50 And crying again with a loud voice, Jesus released His spirit. 51 And, behold! The veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. And the earth quaked, and the rocks were sheared, 52 and the tombs were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep arose, 53 and coming out of the tomb after His resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many.
When Yehshua died, one of the events that took place was that the tombs were opened and the bodies of the Saints arose. Let’s look now at what this word “arose” means:
G1453 ???????? egeiro? eg-i’-ro
Probably akin to the base of G58 (through the idea of collecting one’s faculties); to waken (transitively or intransitively), that is, rouse (literally from sleep, from sitting or lying, from disease, from death; or figuratively from obscurity, inactivity, ruins, nonexistence): – awake, lift (up), raise (again, up), rear up, (a-) rise (again, up), stand, take up.
Their dead bodies, which had decomposed and disappeared as dust, had now come back together. Were they alive yet? No. Rather, they came out of the tomb; only AFTER the resurrection of Yehshua did they come back to life.
In ancient Israel, the beginning of the Spring grain harvest was marked with an unusual ceremony—the waving of the first sheaf of grain to be accepted by Yehovah. This simple act holds great spiritual significance!
Joh 3:12 If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how shall you believe if I tell you heavenly things? 13 And no one has ascended up to Heaven except He who came down from Heaven, the Son of Man who is in Heaven.
Until this event, not Moses nor Elijah, not John the Baptist nor the thief on the tree had gone up to heaven. No one had gone up until this moment in time. This is such a great event and Mathew only mentions it in passing. This is huge!
These and many others are that Barley wave offering – they are the Firstfruits. You could not eat any of your grains until you made this grain offering. Yehovah could not reap any human souls until this wave offering took place. It is such a huge event and it just blows my mind to even consider it.
When you look at the 24 elders in Revelation and do the word search, you will learn that the word “elder” means: Ancestor. Our Ancestors are now ruling in Heaven and have a crown! People try to convince you, but none of this religious garbage about “going to heaven when you die” is true. Here it happened for the first time; and for the only time since, we have men who were resurrected and brought to heaven as first fruits.
Also, keep in mind this took place on the 8th day of the week. Sunday! WHY? What does it mean? We are about to answer this so pay attention. This was the first “Hag” when you are to come up to Jerusalem.
Now for the second one:
That one is a wave offering, as we have just read. Only this one is not Unleavened bread but rather, it contains yeast. It is not without sin. You have many analogies in the New Testament about wheat. We are considered the wheat and are supposed to have the characteristics of wheat. Remember, we are not to be the tares that ARE GROWING amongst us. Tares are those who are attacking the brethren and deceiving the brethren even though they may look just like or are other brethren.
Before the wheat crop can be harvested, in the same way as the barley could not be harvested until a wave offering had been made, the wheat had to be prepared for the wave offering for the two leavened loaves. Then it is waved on the 50th day – a Sunday – which is, again, the 8th day of the week. Do you see the pattern yet?
All of those who have died since Yehshua came out of the grave will, at this time, be raised up and will meet Yehshua in the clouds. Since the day when Yehshua came out of the grave, no one else has gone to heaven. They rest in the grave and await this coming day of Shavuot, and this also includes all of the apostles!
1 Thes 4:13 But I would not have you ignorant, brothers, concerning those who are asleep, that you be not grieved, even as others who have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will also bring with Him all those who have fallen asleep through Jesus. 15 For we say this to you by the Word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord shall not go before those who are asleep. 16 For the Lord Himself shall descend from Heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ shall rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air. And so we shall ever be with the Lord. 18 Therefore comfort one another with these words.
Rev 20:1 And I saw an angel come down from Heaven, having the key of the abyss and a great chain in his hand. 2 And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him a thousand years. 3 And he cast him into the abyss and shut him up and set a seal on him, that he should deceive the nations no more until the thousand years should be fulfilled. And after that he must be loosed a little time. 4 And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the witness of Jesus and for the Word of God, and who had not worshiped the beast nor his image, nor had received his mark on their foreheads, nor in their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. 5 But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. 6 Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. The second death has no authority over these, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and will reign with Him a thousand years. 7 And when the thousand years have expired, Satan will be loosed out of his prison.
Rev 20:11 And I saw a great white throne, and Him sitting on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And a place was not found for them. 12 And I saw the dead, the small and the great, stand before God. And books were opened, and another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. 13 And the sea gave up the dead in it. And death and hell delivered up the dead in them. And each one of them was judged according to their works. 14 And death and hell were cast into the Lake of Fire. This is the second death. 15 And if anyone was not found having been written in the Book of Life, he was cast into the Lake of Fire.
It is only once that all of these events take place, which is what all the Feast are about. When speaking of the “plan of salvation,” then and only then does the final event which the 8th day represents takes place.
King David asks a prophetic question in 2 Chronicles and most readers assume that he is talking about the building of the Temple. He is not, however, talking about an earthly temple. Rather, he is asking a much bigger question than that.
2Ch 6:17 And now, O Jehovah, the God of Israel, let Your Word be proven true, which You have spoken to Your servant David. 18 But truly will God indeed dwell with men on the earth? Behold, Heavens and heaven of the heavens cannot contain You! How much less this house which I have built?
Rev 21:1 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth. For the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. And the sea no longer is. 2 And I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down from God out of Heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her Husband. 3 And I heard a great voice out of Heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they will be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God. 4 And God will wipe away all tears from their eyes. And there will be no more death, nor mourning, nor crying out, nor will there be any more pain; for the first things passed away. 5 And He sitting on the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And He said to me, Write, for these words are true and faithful.
This event takes place in the 8th Millennium. The 1000 years (980) of rest under the ruler-ship of the Messiah ends and the Great White Throne Judgment takes place. Afterwards, Yehovah Himself comes to dwell with men on earth. Once that takes place, we who are there will see Him face to face. Darkness is the absence of light. When Yehovah dwells with mankind, there will be no more night/darkness. It will be light all the time, which means no more days and nights.
Rev 22:1 And he showed me a pure river of Water of Life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. 2 In the midst of its street, and of the river, from here and from there, was the Tree of Life, which bore twelve fruits, each yielding its fruit according to one month. And the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. 3 And every curse will no longer be; but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and His servants will serve Him. 4 And they will see His face, and His name will be in their foreheads. 5 And there will be no night there. And they need no lamp, or light of the sun; for the Lord God gives them light. And they will reign forever and ever. 6 And he said to me, These sayings are faithful and true. And the Lord God of the holy prophets sent His angel to show to His servants the things which must shortly be done. 7 Behold, I come quickly. Blessed is he who keeps the Words of the prophecy of this Book.
Did you read that? Do you see it? Every curse will be gone. All of those things I currently teach about the curses of Lev 26 will be over with. I will be out of a job. Yehovah will dwell with us. This is the 8th Millennium that is hinted at in the events of the 8th day for the wave offering at Passover. It is again shown to us in the wave offering on the 8th day. Pentecost, the 50th day, is also the 8th day. The Year of Jubilee is also the 8th Sabbatical year of rest. It comes in the 8th year once at the end of 50 years. And the Great White Throne Judgment takes place on the 8th day, the 8th Millennial day, when Yehovah comes to dwell with men forever and ever.
I hope you find time to watch the video we recorded this past year during Sukkot that explains the 8th Day.
Triennial Tanach Cycle
Gen 34 1Sam 25-27 Ps 70 Mark 12:18-13:37
The Violation of Dinah (Genesis 34)
Genesis 34:2 says that Shechem took Dinah and “lay with her, and violated her.” Does this indicate that Shechem raped Dinah or was what happened consensual? Verse 1 says that Dinah “went out to see the daughters of the land.” Some commentators suggest that she was in her late teens and was possibly going to attend some kind of public affair or celebration. It is then suggested that, perhaps because she had no sisters, she was seeking to fit in a little too much with the other girls her age and got herself into a situation she was not ready to handle, losing her virginity not by violence, but by indiscretion.
Still, the vengeful reaction of Dinah’s brothers might imply that Dinah had not wanted this to happen. It is possible that Shechem had plied her with alcohol or wouldn’t back down from any protestations she gave—at which point she didn’t fight. Perhaps it was what we today often call date rape, which is itself a hideous offense. And considering that Dinah appears to have been around 14 or 15 years of age, we would today also call it the crime of statutory rape. Yet that was often considered marriageable age in the ancient Middle East—the society of arranged marriages of that day being often unconcerned with the maturity of those matched together.
Shechem clearly did wrong by taking advantage of Dinah and not betrothing her with her father’s consent prior to their physical relations. However, the violation seems non-violent as he spoke kindly to the young woman after the event and even “loved” her (verse 3). (Contrast Shechem’s attitude to Tamar’s rape by Amnon in 2 Samuel 13, where Amnon wanted nothing to do with Tamar after he violated her by force.)
Further, Shechem seemed very willing to meet all the demands of Dinah’s brothers in order to marry her, as painful as the conditions would turn out to be. His men’s willingness to go through the same sacrifice on his behalf could perhaps lend credence to his reconciliatory attitude—though they were also persuaded by the prospect of sharing in the wealth of Jacob’s family, which circumcision would make possible. However, verse 19 does say that Shechem was “more honorable than all the household of his father,” seeming to indicate this was a good-faith attempt to right the wrong he had done. Perhaps the omission of any objection by Dinah could possibly indicate her feelings about what had happened.
Jacob’s attitude also seems to indicate that he did not see it as a violent rape, though he surely was not pleased with the situation. He had done business with Shechem’s father, Hamor, in the past (33:19) and was certainly disturbed—perhaps even enraged—at what had now happened. However, he was clearly willing to give Dinah as wife according to the agreement his sons offered, as she was found in the city with her new husband after the arrangement was made (verse 26). God later instructed the nation of Israel on how to handle this kind of situation, leaving it in the hands of the father whether the offender could still marry the woman, the offender having to pay a financial penalty regardless of the father’s decision (Exodus 22:16-17; Deuteronomy 22:28-29). So Jacob could have refused to give her as wife if he really felt strongly that this marriage should not have taken place—which he probably would have felt had there been a violent rape. Indeed, God equates the heinousness of rape with that of murder (Deuteronomy 22:25-27).
Cruel and Unusual Punishment? (Genesis 34)
Simeon and Levi’s violent revenge was not looked upon favorably by their father. He believed that their treachery would give the family a bad name and that their neighbors might unite and destroy his household. It was Esau who was to live by the sword (27:40), not Jacob. The brothers’ attack seemed exceedingly brutal, since not only did they kill Shechem, the one who committed the offense, but they slew all the men in Shechem’s hometown.
Although Jacob’s sons offered justification for their behavior, their father’s displeasure was not abated. For even after Jacob’s prediction that his family would be wiped out did not come to pass—due to God’s protection (35:5)—Jacob still showed deep disapproval with Simeon and Levi’s actions long afterward. Shortly before his death, Jacob delivered this prophecy from God: “Simeon and Levi are brothers; instruments of cruelty are in their habitation…. Cursed be their anger, for it is fierce; and their wrath, for it is cruel! I will divide them in Jacob and scatter them in Israel” (49:5-7). Here we see that family traits are passed down, probably through a combination of heredity and family upbringing. And in the case of Simeon and Levi, God judged that their descendants would be too volatile to be all together, having their own nations. Indeed, more than likely, this would only spell trouble for the rest of the world.
Later, we will see the fiery, emotional demeanor of the family of Levi channeled into a zeal for serving God.
David Joins the Philistines (1 Samuel 27:1-28:2; 1 Chronicles 12:1-7; 1 Samuel 29; 1 Chronicles 12:19-22)
As 1 Samuel 27 opens, we see an example of one who was instrumental in God’s hands apparently at a point of weakness in his faith and perhaps fallen into depression. As is clear from other biblical examples, such as Elijah (1 Kings 19:4) and Jonah (Jonah 4:3), servants of God sometimes suffered terrible depression. With evidence to the contrary, David here imagines that Saul will one day succeed in killing him (verse 1). One would think that with God having already had David anointed as king (16:13) and having delivered him on so many occasions, there would be no reason to be depressed. In this chapter, we can understand David’s weaknesses as much as we can acknowledge our own. The Bible reveals both the ups…AND the downs of God’s servants.
So David, ironically, seeks refuge in Gath, one of the royal cities of the Philistines, home of Achish the king. Accompanying David are his two wives, Ahinoam and Abigail (remember that David’s first wife, Michal, had been given to another man by Saul in contempt for David, 1 Samuel 25:44). Also with him were his 600 men with their wives and children. So the total number of people would, no doubt, exceed 1,000. Being under the constant watchful scrutiny of the enemy of Israel probably proved to be rather strenuous for David and his company. After a time, David is given his own city, called Ziklag, about 20 miles south of Gath, as a city of refuge from Saul. When Israel first entered the Promised Land under Joshua, Ziklag belonged to Judah but was eventually ceded to Simeon (Joshua 19:1-9). Using Ziklag as his fortress, David now has the freedom to attack neighboring nations. However, he is not forthright in his explanation to Achish of his attacks on these nations. Even though David is accomplishing what the Israelites have previously failed to do in driving out the Canaanites (Numbers 33:51-53), he gives Achish the impression that he is warring against his own people. Therefore Achish says, “He has made his people Israel utterly abhor him” (1 Samuel 27:12). We are skipping over the remainder of chapter 28 at this point, and will return to it just before the death of Saul.
In 1 Samuel 29, we find the Philistines gathering for battle at Aphek, about 30 miles north of Gath and “about 13 miles northeast of Joppa” (Nelson Study Bible, note on 29:1-2)—close to modern Tel Aviv. The Israelites under Saul are approximately 40 miles further to the north in Jezreel. David has evidently gathered his forces and marched behind Achish and his troops as they come together at Aphek. Whether David sincerely intends to fight against Saul and his own people is not made evident. It certainly would not be consistent with David’s established pattern, however, as he has previously refused to fight against Saul
But we do know this: God gives David a way of escaping this volatile situation (compare 1 Corinthians 10:13). The Philistine generals do not have the confidence in David that Achish does and strongly persuade the king to send him back to Ziklag. Thus, David will not have to fight against Saul in the upcoming battle—but neither will he be there to help Saul in defense of his own country against the Philistines. And this battle, as we will shortly learn, will be Saul’s last.
Saul Consults a Medium and Pays the Price (1 Samuel 28:3-25; 31; 1 Chronicles 10)
The Philistines move from Aphek, where they had dismissed David (1 Samuel 29), to Jezreel (29:11) to confront Saul and the Israelites. They gather at the town of Shunem, a place we will again read about in the days of the prophet Elisha (see 2 Kings 4:8ff), while Saul pitches his camp at Mount Gilboa, about four miles south (1 Samuel 23:4).
David had previously stated regarding Saul, “As the LORD lives, the LORD shall strike him, or his day shall come to die, or he shall go out to battle and perish” (26:10). Saul’s time to die is now at hand. It is a very gloomy and depressing time for him. Samuel has died and any appeal to God goes unanswered. God explains to us, “But your iniquities have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear” (Isaiah 59:2). Saul does not have the confidence he possessed when God’s Spirit was working with him (compare 1 Samuel 11:6; 16:14). The day before the battle (28:19), he becomes fearful and desperate and, instead of true repentance, once again turns away from God—this time by essentially turning to Satan for an answer.
God’s instructions to Israel are quite clear in this matter:
“Give no regard to mediums and familiar spirits; do not seek after them, to be defiled by them: I am the LORD your God” (Leviticus 19:31).
“And the person who turns to mediums and familiar spirits, to prostitute himself with them, I will set My face against that person and cut him off from his people” (20:6).
“There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, or one who practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. For all who do these things are an abomination to the LORD, and because of these abominations the LORD your God drives them out from before you” (Deuteronomy 18:10-12). The original King James Version renders “medium” as “consulter with familiar spirits.”
Saul in fact, during his reign, did obey God’s instruction in this matter by removing these “abominations” from the land (1 Samuel 28:3). Evidently, though, there is at least one who evaded detection, a woman of the town of En Dor.
Now we come to a two-part question that many, including many biblical scholars, do not know how to answer: Does the woman really conjure up a spirit? And is that spirit actually the prophet Samuel? Let’s look at some facts:
Some would argue that there is no entity really brought up here because Saul does not actually see one himself—he only reasons that Samuel is present from the woman’s description. But whether or not the woman is a fraud and trickster, what happens surprises even her (verse 12). And even though Saul does not see anyone, the account says that “the woman saw Samuel” (verse 12). Moreover, there is clearly spoken communication from this “Samuel” (verses 15-16). But is this truly Samuel, the deceased prophet of God? It would not have to be from the wording here. For instance, a person on a hallucinogenic drug might say he saw something that was not really there, and we would consider that he did “see” it—seeing in this context being a matter of perception rather than sensory input from light actually entering the eye. Since the Bible says the entity spoke, something was definitely present. But what the woman sees is not actually visible to the naked eye—or Saul would be able to see it too. This means that the image the woman sees must be projected into her mind through supernatural means. So we ask: Is the prophet Samuel the one doing this?
First of all, the Bible very clearly points to a future resurrection of the dead. Many “orthodox” believers, however, maintain that this is simply the rejoining of a conscious, disembodied soul with a new body. Yet the Bible repeatedly describes the current state of the dead as one of “sleep” (Daniel 12:2; 1 Corinthians 11:30; 1 Thessalonians 4:14-15; 2 Peter 3:4). Ecclesiastes makes it even more clear: “For the living know that they will die; but the dead know nothing…. for there is no work or device or knowledge or wisdom in the grave where you are going” (9:5, 10). Thus, a dead person is completely unconscious. The resurrection is an awakening—a return to consciousness.
What this means is that there is no such thing as ghosts, as they are commonly defined—the spirits of the dead still wandering the earth. But there certainly are spirit beings who, unable to materialize, can appear as ghostly apparitions (compare Luke 24:39—where Christ shows His disciples that He is not one of these). The Bible elsewhere calls these beings unclean spirits—or demons. They are fallen angels, spirit beings who have rebelled against God under the arch-demon, Satan the Devil.
Now, the woman of En Dor is a medium, consulting with, as already noted, “familiar spirits” (1 Samuel 28:7 KJV). Are these dead people? No. For we have already seen that there is no consciousness in death. Consider also: Why would God impose the death penalty for communicating with dead friends and relatives if that were really possible? One scholar explains: “The reason the death penalty was inflicted for consulting ‘familiar spirits’ is that these were ‘evil spirits,’ or fallen angels impersonating the dead…. God hardly could have prescribed the death penalty for communicating with the spirits of deceased loved ones if such spirits existed and if such a communication were possible. There is no moral reason for God to outlaw, on pain of death, the human desire to communicate with deceased loved ones. The problem is that such communication is impossible, because the dead are unconscious and do not communicate with the living. Any communication that occurs is not with the spirit of the dead, but with evil spirits” (Samuele Bacchiocchi, Immortality or Resurrection?, 1997, p. 168).
Furthermore, it would be quite odd for God to send a message to Saul through the prophet Samuel when the account very clearly states that God will not answer Saul’s inquiries “either by dreams or by Urim or by the prophets” (verse 6). And consider that this is because of Saul’s disobedience (compare Isaiah 59:2). So why would God now go ahead and answer him in the face of even greater disobedience on Saul’s part in the use of a medium? That just does not seem reasonable.
Thus, the being the medium sees ascending out of the earth (1 Samuel 28:13) is nothing more than a demon. Even “the church fathers [early Catholic theologians] believed that a demon impersonated Samuel and appeared to Saul” (Nelson Study Bible, note on 28:12). Saul only perceives that it must be Samuel. He certainly wants it to be Samuel! The apostle Paul is inspired to write: “And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into [or disguises himself as] an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into [or disguise themselves as] ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works” (2 Corinthians 11:14-15). So it would not be unusual for a demon to appear as Samuel. And we know from all other scriptures that pertain to this subject that this is not the prophet Samuel speaking.
Let’s look at the conclusion of Saul’s deed. He certainly doesn’t come away with anything profitable. In fact, he is so disheartened that he can barely eat! These scriptures should once again remind us of God’s instructions against consulting with the evil spirit realm.
Continuing on, in 1 Samuel 31 and 1 Chronicles 10, we arrive at the very sad conclusion to Saul’s reign as king over Israel. Severely wounded, he commits suicide. Yet not only Saul, but also three of his sons, including David’s close friend Jonathan, die in this battle. Afterward, in a particularly heinous incident, the Philistines cut off Saul’s head and put it on display in the temple of Dagon while his body and those of his sons are fastened to the wall of Beth Shan, at the junction of the Jezreel and Jordan valleys, to advertise their victory.
In a daring move, the men of Jabesh Gilead swoop in under cover of darkness and recover the bodies of Saul and his sons. In our highlights on 1 Samuel 11, we mentioned that Saul may have had ancestral roots in Jabesh Gilead in relation to Judges 21. Furthermore, this was the city that had been rescued from the Ammonites by Saul in his first act as king, and the Jabesh Gileadites apparently had a very fond remembrance and debt of gratitude to him, which they repaid in their recovery and burial of his and his sons’ bones and a week of fasting. The bodies they burned—quite unusual among the ancient Israelites and perhaps done because these bodies had been mutilated by the Philistines. Years later, David will have the bones of Saul and Jonathan exhumed and reburied in Benjamin, in the tomb of Saul’s father Kish (2 Samuel 21:11-14).
The account in 1 Chronicles 10 describes the reason for the death of Saul: “So Saul died for his unfaithfulness [or ‘transgressions’ KJV] which he had committed against the LORD, because he did not keep the word of the LORD, and also because he consulted a medium for guidance. But he did not inquire of the LORD; therefore He killed him [by the circumstances He directed], and turned the kingdom over to David the son of Jesse” (verses 13-14).
One may ask, Did not David also commit transgressions before God?
Yes, allhave sinned and fallen short of God’s glory (Romans 3:23). The difference is in the heart. When David sins, he has a pattern—a habit—of acknowledging his sins before God and repenting. By contrast, Saul took no responsibility for his actions, seeking to deny his sins or reverse their consequences instead of repenting of them. Moreover, Saul’s habit was that of continually seeking his own will. Remember that when Saul did not follow God’s instruction, Samuel said, “But now your kingdom shall not continue. The LORD has sought for Himself a man after His own heart [David], and the LORD has commanded him to be commander over His people, because you have not kept what the LORD commanded you” (1 Samuel 13:14).
As for Jonathan’s death, we don’t know why God allowed it. Perhaps his presence would not have fit into God’s continuing plan for David’s life. In the same way, we might wonder why God allowed Herod to put James the brother of John to death early in the New Testament era, while Peter was miraculously delivered from Herod. God has not revealed His reasons, but we can always be confident that His decisions are for the ultimate good of His servants (see Romans 8:28).
Psalm 70, as mentioned earlier, repeats Psalm 40:13-17 with several minor word changes-these changes perhaps suggesting a different tune. It is interesting that Psalm 70, being taken from Psalm 40, follows Psalm 69, which itself carries imagery over from Psalm 40. Thematically, Psalm 70 appears to be a condensed version of the material in Psalm 69-and it also seems to introduce Psalm 71 (compare 70:1-2; 71:12-13).
The superscription of Psalm 70, like that of Psalm 38, in the NIV says, “A petition.” But the KJV and NKJV give the literal rendering of the words here as “To bring to remembrance.” In the present case, this terminology could reflect this psalm being a reprise of the end of Psalm 40 and a summary of Psalm 69-i.e., a recounting of the need for deliverance.
One point of indirect contact between Psalms 70 and 69 is found in 70:3. This verse, with enemies saying “Aha, Aha!” (also 40:15), finds a counterpart in Psalm 35:21. These enemies, it is said two verses earlier in Psalm 35:19, “hate me without a cause”-a phrase that also appears in Psalm 69:4 (all of these being messianic psalms).
David focuses on God throughout his trial-continually praising Him (70:4) and seeking His help.
The Sadducees came to Yeshua to try Him concerning matters of the topic of resurrection (for they did not believe in resurrection of the dead). They proposed the ordinance of the Leverite marriage involving one woman and several brothers who had successive deaths and married the woman each time to raise up children for their brother. So they wanted to know, who’s wife will she be in the resurrection.
Yeshua responds, “You do not know the Scriptures.”
“When they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are as messengers in the heavens.
Then a Pharisees asks Him, “Which is the first command of all?”
Yeshua answered, “The first of all the command is, ‘Hear, O Yisra’el, YHWH our Elohim, YHWH is one. And you shall love YHWH your Elohim with all your heart, and with all your being, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’
Yeshua asks and teaches the crowd, “How is it that the scribes say that the Messiah is the Son of David? David himself said by the Set-apart Spirit, ‘YHWH said to my Master, “Sit at My right hand, until I make Your enemies a footstool of Your feet.”’
“David himself calls Him ‘Master.’ In what way then is He his Son?”
Yeshua warns them to beware of the Pharisees who put on a outward display of righteousness but inwardly they only desire power and recognition.
Yeshua notices the poor woman who gave all she had to the treasury even though it was comparatively a small amount, it was the greatest gift because it was all she had.
The disciples were marveling at all the stone buildings and Yeshua tells them that not one stone will be left standing upon another. They ask Him, “when will these things be?” Yeshua answers with telling them what will take place first:
Many will come in His Name saying, “I am He” and lead many people astray. Hearing of fighting’s, reports of fightings, nation against nation, reign against reign. Earthquakes, famine, disturbances. All these are the beginnings of the birth pains.
They will be delivered up before councils as a witness and testimony. The Good News has to be proclaimed first to all the nations. Brother will deliver up brother, father to children and children against parents and these will be put to death. You will be hated by all because of Me, Yeshua says.
But he who should have endured to the end shall be saved.
When you see the abomination that lays waste that Daniel spoke of, run to the mountains quickly and do not tarry for any reason. Things will be worse than they have ever been since the beginning of mankind. And do not believe when people say, “Messiah is here, or Messiah is out in the desert, or over there.” For false Messiahs and Prophets will come so that many will be deceived, even the chosen if it were possible.
Stay alert, watch, pray, look for these signs and be ready.