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News Letter 5851-003

14th day of the 1st month 5851 years after the creation of Adam

The 1st Month in the Sixth year of the Third Sabbatical Cycle

The Third Sabbatical Cycle of the 119th Jubilee Cycle

The Sabbatical Cycle of Earthquakes, Famines and Pestilence

The Year of the Tithe for the Widows, Orphans & Levites

April 4, 2015

Passover Preparation on The Sabbath

Shabbat Shalom Brethren,

This year the controversies continue. First, let me ask Yehovah to bless each of you with a great Feast of Unleavened Bread. May Yehovah guide you into all His truths.

I am sending this out to you a few days early. I will be on my way to Switzerland for the Passover with many new to the faith brethren. We are going to be answering questions for the four days I will be there so this makes this presentation more difficult, as you do not know how to prepare your notes. So I am asking you for your prayers for safety as I fly and for Yehovah to guide my words as we explain these truths in French to many who will be keeping their first Passover.

I have been talking to Elsa Klee of Set Apart People, great friends of mine. They too, are being bombarded with questions about this Passover Season. We both agree that too many of you are overthinking the Holy Days. Yes, it is great that you are considering them and questioning what you now do, comparing it to the lies you used to live, but take a breath and keep it all in perspective.

Passover is prepared on the Sabbath day this year. Passover each year moves from one day to the next. It is not always at the same time of year. So those of you asking me how you can count from Passover this year 3 days and 3 nights are showing you are ignorant of this simple fact: The Passover in the year Yehshua was killed, 31 C.E., was on the Wednesday and 3 days and 3 nights later was Saturday Evening.

But this year Passover preparation day is on the weekly Sabbath. NOW WHAT DO WE DO? AGHHH!

First, take a breath and think about why you’re doing this. You are trying to obey the commandments of Yehovah. Period. Not to impress those you are having over. Not to impress the group you are with. You are doing this because Yehovah said to. Period.

He said to kill the Passover lamb as the sun sets on the 14th. There are no postponement rules in Torah. I know the those who keep the conjunction calendar use those postponement rules for the fall feast days which is against Torah, but even they have no postponement rules for the spring Holy Days.

He said that you eat the Passover meal with Unleavened Bread for 7 days and this must be done during the days of Unleavened Bread. You eat the meal this year Saturday Evening, the start of the 15th of Nisan.

Yehovah also said in Lev 23 that you must make the wave offering during, DURING the Days of Unleavened Bread, which means that in the Temple the Priest would have been working through the night harvesting and preparing the barley for the offering the next day. And if Passover was on the Saturday Evening as it is this year then the Priests would have gone out after the sun had set on Sabbath day, and they would have done the barley ceremony of harvesting the barley with the large crowd right after sunset, which would have been the 15th day, which is also the first High Holy Day. Exactly as we have it this year.

Why would they be doing this? Because there is only one day during the 7 days of unleavened Bread that can be the day after the Sabbath and that is always Sunday. Each and every year the 7 days of Unleavened Bread have only one Sunday during that time. We covered this in last weeks News Letter so I am not going to do so again now.

This week we are talking about preparing the Passover on the Sabbath.

If it is a big deal then some of you will prepare on the Friday the same as you would prepare for the weekly Sabbath.

But let me share with you what Yehovah told His people to do. Once you understand this then you should also understand Yehovah better. I believe the answer is very simple.

Yehovah ordained that the priests were to offer sacrifices each weekly Sabbath day. In fact, the Sabbath sacrifices were double that of the daily sacrifice, which in turn means the priests had twice the normal work on the weekly Sabbath. Thus, in spite of the fact that the Israelites were commanded to not work on the weekly Sabbath, the priests were still obligated to carry out the required sacrifices on that day. Therefore, it can be rightly stated that no work is to be done on the weekly Sabbath UNLESS Yehovah specifies otherwise.

With this understanding in mind, it seems to me that in John 7:21-24 Yehshua provided the answer as to what should be done when the weekly Sabbath coincides with a day on which any work is commanded to be done.

Joh 7:21  Jesus answered and said to them, I have done one work, and you all marvel. 22  Because of this Moses gave you circumcision (not because it is of Moses, but of the fathers,) and you circumcise a man on the sabbath day. 23  If a man receives circumcision on the sabbath day so that the Law of Moses should not be broken, are you angry at Me because I have made a man entirely sound on the sabbath day? 24  Do not judge according to sight, but judge righteous judgment.

Also, please notice what Yehshua said in Matthew 12

Mat 12:1  At that time Jesus went through the grain fields on the sabbath day. And His disciples were hungry, and began to pluck the heads of grain and to eat. 2  But when the Pharisees saw, they said to Him, Behold, your disciples do that which it is not lawful to do on the sabbath day. 3  But He said to them, Have you not read what David did when he was hungry, and those who were with him, 4  how he entered into the house of God and ate the showbread, which was not lawful for him to eat, nor for those who were with him, but only for the priests? 5  Or have you not read in the Law that on the sabbath days the priests in the temple profane the sabbath and are blameless? 6  But I say to you that One greater than the temple is in this place.

The above verses make it very plain that the priests, although they “profaned the Sabbath,” were considered “blameless.” Why? Because they were not released from their commanded obligation to perform various duties associated with temple work, including the “double sacrifices.” In the same way, I believe it is important to understand that on the day of Passover, the entire nation of Israel was considered to be priests, and as priests they became obligated to offer that sacrifice on Abib 14, regardless of the day of the week upon which it might happen to fall. Just as Yehovah commanded that the priests perform a special work on the weekly Sabbath, in the same way the entire nation of Israel, on that one day of the year, Passover, became as priests, including being required to slay the Passover lambs, regardless of the day on which it fell.

Once the lambs were killed, they still had to roast them that Sabbath day and into the first day of Unleavened Bread, another Holy Day. To do this they had to light fires. We went through ‘not lighting of fires’ in last weeks News letter in our triennial Torah study.

So brethren, take a breath and think. Consider who is commanding you to do what and when. This year you can prepare your Passover meal on Saturday and eat it Saturday evening at the start of the 15th of Aviv. And you will not be sinning or profaning the Sabbath.

This is a special time that comes once a year.

I hope this helps you with your planning this year.

This information comes from Larry & June Acheson

Deleavening with an Unconverted Mate

Many of us who are now walking out the Torah do so with our families and spouses still firmly planted in the ways of this world. How do we keep the Passover and how do we deleaven our homes when our spouses and family members will not and do not take part in any of it?

I have now been married to the same woman for 37 years. I began to keep the Sabbath and Holy Days four years after we were married and when we had two of our now three kids. From the get-go my wife was dead set against doing anything. Not the Sabbath or the Holy Days. She mellowed a bit for a while and then went back to not doing anything again, when too many self-righteous types thought they could convert her. They just made my life more difficult. Please stop trying to convert the unconverted spouse of your friends. You hurt your friend all the time.

For Passover I, or you who are in the faith, should remove all the leaven in the home. NOT THE UNCONVERTED SPOUSE. The believer does this. So, I have vacuumed the entire house. I have checked all the heat vents and the couch cushions. I have done my truck and her car. I cleaned out the freezer and the fridge and under the stove and fridge. And I have emptied the vacuum and put the trash with the leavened bread out for the garbage man to pick up.

I did this. You, the one in the faith, you do this, not the Spouse.

Having done this, my wife this week has gone out and stocked up on bread that was on sale. I got mad but let it alone. I had done my part. I had cleaned out the freezer. Now she has put bread in it. Not going to have a major fight over this and not speak for months on end. I have done what Yehovah commanded. I am not responsible for what others do who are not in the faith.

My wife and adult son will be eating donuts in the car that I cleaned out. That is okay. I did what I had to do.

I have never kept Passover in my home except for two times. Once, when my spouse was away working and another time when I had begged her to join me and to invite the rest of the kids and nieces over. It was a very strained evening, as I tried to explain why we did this and all they wanted to do was talk about anything else except the importance of Passover. It was all just awkward.

So, do not force your unconverted spouse to join you. If they want to, then awesome, but never force or blackmail them to come. It just never seems to be blessed.

Another time I was with a group and only found out the day I joined them that they were doing things on the wrong days. I then went away to my room and kept the events at the proper time in silence by myself.

If you have no one to join you for Passover and no one has asked you to come with them, then make a special date night with you and Yehovah. Just the two of you. You can wash your own feet Friday night this year. And you can read the events of that fateful night with our espoused husband, Yehvoah. Here is an article for this night.

Basically, you will read the events of this night in the gospel of John. He is the only one who has the events leading up to the death of Yehshua in the proper order.

Now that you have washed your own feet and read this story from John you can watch the Ten Commandment and or the Passion movies. I try to do that each year. It is my tradition. And sometimes my family watches with me.

Then for Passover you can prepare your lamb and wine and go through these events by yourself. Again, do not force your spouse to join you. They may take an interest in time after watching you for a while.

1Co 7:14  For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband; else your children would be unclean, but now they are holy.

Do not fret that you are all alone. Do not be concerned that no one is walking this walk with you. You are learning things that those who have their mates in the faith with them can never learn. Your calling is much higher than theirs. So rejoice in this trial. Yehovah has called you out for special anointing.

Keep the Feasts alone if you have to. Keep the Passover alone if you have to. Deleaven your home so that you and your spouse are sanctified before Yehovah.

When it comes to the Sabbatical year and stocking up for that, it is the same thing. I will be cooking all my own meals that year. I will be stocking up on my own all the food I will need for the year. I would love to have some help, but it is what it is, and I am dealing with it. I love my wife. I love her a lot. But Yehovah is the one who called me and you, and not our spouses. We must accept that and work with it.

Go read Matthew 10 again. Remind yourself of who is in charge.

Mat 10:34  Do not think that I have come to bring peace on earth. I did not come to send peace, but a sword. 35  For I have come to set a man against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. 36  And a man’s foes shall be those of his own household. 37  He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. 38  And he who does not take up his cross and follow Me is not worthy of Me. 39  He who finds his life shall lose it. And he who loses his life for My sake shall find it. 40  He who receives you receives Me, and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me. 41  He who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward. And he who receives a just one in the name of a just one will receive a just one’s reward. 42  And whoever shall give to one of these little ones a cup of cold water to drink, only in the name of a disciple, truly I say to you, He shall in no way lose his reward.

And know that you cannot convert your spouse. Nor did you choose this way of life. Out of the 7-8 Billion people on this earth Yehovah reached down and removed the veil from your eyes only at this time. Think about it. Yehovah chose you. He could have picked someone else. He could have picked your spouse and not unveiled your eyes. How ironic that would be. But He chose you!

Joh 6:44  No one can come to Me unless the Father who has sent Me draw him, and I will raise him up at the last day. 45It is written in the Prophets, “And they shall all be taught of God.” Therefore everyone who hears and learns from the Father comes to Me.

Yehovah is working with you personally. He has not called the spouse for some reason that only He knows. Yehovah is working directly with you at this time. What an honour. What a privilege.

So rejoice in this Passover, even if you are at home alone. Even if you’re alone with a crowd of family around you. Rejoice. You may have saved their lives by your actions of obedience.

And know there are many like us receiving this special training directly from Yehovah. You are not alone.

Counting the Omer

Counting Of the Omer

WEEK ONE |  Day One

The Law of Yehovah

Psalm 119:1-8 This first day will begin on the Sunday during the Days of Unleavened Bread.

Today is the first day of the first week of seven weeks.

Today is the first day of the counting of fifty days from the day of the waving of the Omer on the morrow after the Sabbath.

1 Elohim does favor us and bless us. Cause His face to shine upon us. Selah. (Psalm 67:1) 2 For Your way to be known on earth, Your deliverance among all nations. (Psalm 67:2) 3 Let the peoples praise You, O Elohim, let all the peoples praise You. (Psalm 67:3) 4 Let the nations be glad and sing for joy! For You judge the peoples uprightly, and lead the nations on earth. Selah. (Psalm 67:4) 5 Let the peoples praise You, O Elohim; let all the peoples praise You. (Psalm 67:5) 6 The earth shall give her increase; Elohim, our own Elohim, blesses us! (Psalm 67:6) 7 Elohim blesses us! And all the ends of the earth fear Him! (Psalm 67:7)

 

1 Blessed are the perfect in the way, who walk in the Torah of ????! (Psalm 119:1) 2 Blessed are those who observe His witnesses, who seek Him with all their heart! (Psalm 119:2) 3 Yea, they shall do no unrighteousness; they shall walk in His ways. (Psalm 119:3) 4 You have commanded us to guard Your orders diligently. (Psalm 119:4) 5 Oh, that my ways were established to guard Your laws! (Psalm 119:5) 6 Then I would not be ashamed, when I look into all Your commands. (Psalm 119:6) 7 I thank You with uprightness of heart, when I learn the right-rulings of Your righteousness. (Psalm 119:7) 8 I guard Your laws; oh, do not leave me entirely! (Psalm 119:8)

 

 Day Two

Obedience To the Law of Yehovah Psalm 119:9-16

Today is the second day of the first week of seven weeks.

Today is the second day of the counting of fifty days from the day of the waving of the Omer on the morrow after the Sabbath.

Elohim does favor us and bless us. Cause His face to shine upon us. Selah. (Psalm 67:1) 2 For Your way to be known on earth, Your deliverance among all nations. (Psalm 67:2) 3 Let the peoples praise You, O Elohim, let all the peoples praise You. (Psalm 67:3) 4 Let the nations be glad and sing for joy! For You judge the peoples uprightly, and lead the nations on earth. Selah. (Psalm 67:4) 5 Let the peoples praise You, O Elohim; let all the peoples praise You. (Psalm 67:5) 6 The earth shall give her increase; Elohim, our own Elohim, blesses us! (Psalm 67:6) 7 Elohim blesses us! And all the ends of the earth fear Him! (Psalm 67:7)

 

9 How would a young man cleanse his path? To guard it according to Your Word? (Psalm 119:9) 10 I have sought You with all my heart; let me not stray from Your commands! (Psalm 119:10) 11 I have treasured up Your word in my heart, that I might not sin against You. (Psalm 119:11) 12 Blessed are You, O ????! Teach me Your laws. (Psalm 119:12) 13 With my lips I have recounted all the right-rulings of Your mouth. (Psalm 119:13) 14 I have rejoiced in the way of Your witnesses, as over all riches. (Psalm 119:14) 15 I meditate on Your orders, and regard Your ways. (Psalm 119:15) 16 I delight myself in Your laws; I do not forget Your Word. (Psalm 119:16)

 

Day Three | Happiness In the Law of Yehovah | Psalm 119:17-24

Today is the third day of the first week of seven weeks.

Today is the third day of the counting of fifty days from the day of the waving of the Omer on the morrow after the Sabbath.

1 Elohim does favor us and bless us. Cause His face to shine upon us. Selah. (Psalm 67:1) 2 For Your way to be known on earth, Your deliverance among all nations. (Psalm 67:2) 3 Let the peoples praise You, O Elohim, let all the peoples praise You. (Psalm 67:3) 4 Let the nations be glad and sing for joy! For You judge the peoples uprightly, and lead the nations on earth. Selah. (Psalm 67:4) 5 Let the peoples praise You, O Elohim; let all the peoples praise You. (Psalm 67:5) 6 The earth shall give her increase; Elohim, our own Elohim, blesses us! (Psalm 67:6) 7 Elohim blesses us! And all the ends of the earth fear Him! (Psalm 67:7) 17 Do good to Your servant, let me live and I guard Your Word. (Psalm 119:17) 18 Open my eyes, that I might see wonders from Your Torah. (Psalm 119:18) 19 I am a sojourner in the earth. Do not hide Your commands from me. (Psalm 119:19) 20 My being is crushed with longing for Your right-rulings at all times. (Psalm 119:20) 21 You rebuked the proud, cursed ones, who are straying from Your commands. (Psalm 119:21) 22 Remove from me reproach and scorn, for I have observed Your witnesses. (Psalm 119:22) 23 Though princes sat, speaking against me, Your servant meditates on Your laws. (Psalm 119:23) 24 Your witnesses also are my delight, my counselors. (Psalm 119:24)

 

Day Four | Determination To Obey the Law of Yehovah | Psalm 119:25-32

Today is the fourth day of the first week of seven weeks.

Today is the fourth day of the counting of fifty days from the day of the waving of the Omer on the morrow after the Sabbath.

1 Elohim does favor us and bless us. Cause His face to shine upon us. Selah. (Psalm 67:1) 2 For Your way to be known on earth, Your deliverance among all nations. (Psalm 67:2) 3 Let the peoples praise You, O Elohim, let all the peoples praise You. (Psalm 67:3) 4 Let the nations be glad and sing for joy! For You judge the peoples uprightly, and lead the nations on earth. Selah. (Psalm 67:4) 5 Let the peoples praise You, O Elohim; let all the peoples praise You. (Psalm 67:5) 6 The earth shall give her increase; Elohim, our own Elohim, blesses us! (Psalm 67:6) 7 Elohim blesses us! And all the ends of the earth fear Him! (Psalm 67:7)

 

25 My being has been clinging to the dust; revive me according to Your Word. (Psalm 119:25) 26 I have recounted my ways and You answered me; teach me Your laws. (Psalm 119:26) 27 Make me understand the way of Your orders; that I might meditate on Your wonders. (Psalm 119:27) 28 My being has wept from grief; strengthen me according to Your Word. (Psalm 119:28) 29 Remove from me the way of falsehood, and favor me with Your Torah. (Psalm 119:29) 30 I have chosen the way of truth; Your right-rulings I have held level. (Psalm 119:30) 31 I have clung to Your witnesses; O ????, do not put me to shame! (Psalm 119:31) 32 I run the way of Your commands, for You enlarge my heart. (Psalm 119:32)

 

Day Five | A Prayer For Understanding | Psalm 119:33-40

Today is the fifth day of the first week of seven weeks.

Today is the fifth day of the counting of fifty days from the day of the waving of the Omer on the morrow after the Sabbath.

1 Elohim does favor us and bless us. Cause His face to shine upon us. Selah. (Psalm 67:1) 2 For Your way to be known on earth, Your deliverance among all nations. (Psalm 67:2) 3 Let the peoples praise You, O Elohim, let all the peoples praise You. (Psalm 67:3) 4 Let the nations be glad and sing for joy! For You judge the peoples uprightly, and lead the nations on earth. Selah. (Psalm 67:4) 5 Let the peoples praise You, O Elohim; let all the peoples praise You. (Psalm 67:5) 6 The earth shall give her increase; Elohim, our own Elohim, blesses us! (Psalm 67:6) 7 Elohim blesses us! And all the ends of the earth fear Him! (Psalm 67:7)

 

33 Teach me, O ????, the way of Your laws, and I observe it to the end. (Psalm 119:33) 34 Make me understand, that I might observe Your Torah, and guard it with all my heart. (Psalm 119:34) 35 Make me walk in the path of Your commands, for I have delighted in it. (Psalm 119:35) 36 Incline my heart to Your witnesses, and not to own gain. (Psalm 119:36) 37 Turn away my eyes from looking at falsehood, and revive me in Your way. (Psalm 119:37) 38 Establish Your Word to Your servant, which leads to the fear of You. (Psalm 119:38) 39 Turn away my reproach which I dread, for Your right-rulings are good. (Psalm 119:39) 40 See, I have longed for Your orders; revive me in Your righteousness. (Psalm 119:40)

 

Day Six | Trusting the Law of Yehovah | Psalm 119:41-48

Today is the sixth day of the first week of seven weeks.

Today is the sixth day of the counting of fifty days from the day of the waving of the Omer on the morrow after the Sabbath.

1 Elohim does favor us and bless us. Cause His face to shine upon us. Selah. (Psalm 67:1) 2 For Your way to be known on earth, Your deliverance among all nations. (Psalm 67:2) 3 Let the peoples praise You, O Elohim, let all the peoples praise You. (Psalm 67:3) 4 Let the nations be glad and sing for joy! For You judge the peoples uprightly, and lead the nations on earth. Selah. (Psalm 67:4) 5 Let the peoples praise You, O Elohim; let all the peoples praise You. (Psalm 67:5) 6 The earth shall give her increase; Elohim, our own Elohim, blesses us! (Psalm 67:6) 7 Elohim blesses us! And all the ends of the earth fear Him! (Psalm 67:7)

 

41 And let Your kindnesses come to me, O ????; Your deliverance, according to Your Word. (Psalm 119:41) 42 So that I answer my reprover, for I have trusted in Your Word. (Psalm 119:42) 43 And do not take away from my mouth the word of truth entirely, for I have waited for Your right-rulings. (Psalm 119:43) 44 That I might guard Your Torah continually, forever and ever. (Psalm 119:44) 45 That I might walk in a broad place, for I have sought Your orders. (Psalm 119:45) 46 That I might speak of Your witnesses before sovereigns, and not be ashamed. (Psalm 119:46) 47 That I might delight myself in Your commands, which I have loved. (Psalm 119:47) 48 That I might lift up my hands to Your commands, which I have loved; while I meditate on Your laws. (Psalm 119:48)

 

Day Seven | Is the 1st Shabbat | Confidence In the Law of Yehovah | Psalm 119:49-56

Today is the seventh day of the first week of seven weeks.

Today is the seventh day of the counting of fifty days from the day of the waving of the Omer on the morrow after the Sabbath.

Today is Sabbath, the first Sabbath of seven Sabbaths.

Today completes the first week of seven weeks.

1 Elohim does favor us and bless us. Cause His face to shine upon us. Selah. (Psalm 67:1) 2 For Your way to be known on earth, Your deliverance among all nations. (Psalm 67:2) 3 Let the peoples praise You, O Elohim, let all the peoples praise You. (Psalm 67:3) 4 Let the nations be glad and sing for joy! For You judge the peoples uprightly, and lead the nations on earth. Selah. (Psalm 67:4) 5 Let the peoples praise You, O Elohim; let all the peoples praise You. (Psalm 67:5) 6 The earth shall give her increase; Elohim, our own Elohim, blesses us! (Psalm 67:6) 7 Elohim blesses us! And all the ends of the earth fear Him! (Psalm 67:7)

 

49 Remember the word to Your servant, on which You have caused me to wait. (Psalm 119:49) 50 This is my comfort in my affliction, for Your word has given me life. (Psalm 119:50) 51 The proud have utterly scorned me, I did not turn aside from Your Torah. (Psalm 119:51) 52 I remembered Your right-rulings of old, O ????, and I comfort myself. (Psalm 119:52) 53 Rage has seized me because of the wrong who forsake Your Torah. (Psalm 119:53) 54 Your laws have been my songs in the place of my sojournings. (Psalm 119:54) 55 I have remembered Your Name in the night, O ????, and I guard Your Torah. (Psalm 119:55) 56 This has become mine, because I have observed Your orders. (Psalm 119:56)

Triennial Torah Protion

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

 

04/04/2015      Ex 36   Jeremiah 5-6   Prov 8  Acts 6-7:22

 

The People Bring Too Much (Exodus 36)

Even though many of the Israelites had stiff necks and hard hearts, those whose hearts were willing gave more than enough for the house of God, which was at that time the tabernacle. The Nelson Study Bible notes: “The offerings for the tabernacle are perhaps the most impressive offering ever taken from God’s people for any endeavor! The key was the stirring of the heart and the willingness of the spirit of those who gave. Both men and women gave. Even in this patriarchal time, women participated actively in God’s work. All people came with gifts that were sumptuous, varied, and abundant. At last they had to be told to stop giving (see 36:2-7)!” Perhaps they were inspired to be extra generous after receiving God’s abundant forgiveness for their idolatry in the golden calf incident. This should give us the example we need to follow when God wants something done—we should have this same willingness of heart and generosity of spirit (see Acts 20:35; 2 Corinthians 9:6-7). Like the Israelites, we should be stirred to give generously when we realize the abundance of mercy God has given to us.

Among the gifts the people brought was the wood for the tabernacle. The wood was from the acacia tree (shittim tree in the older King James). The Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible makes some interesting comments about it. “Ideally suited for cabinet making, the hard orange-brown wood…is still common in the desert regions of the Negeb and Sinai. These acacias produce a very durable wood.”

Although the account of the Israelites’ generosity is inspiring, it didn’t necessarily mean that they would be just as zealous about opportunities that were more spiritual in nature, and it didn’t mean that such zeal would necessarily last for long. Indeed, as we will see, the people would sink into rebellion again and again. For this is the nature of human beings unaided by spiritual conversion from God.

 

“And My People Love to Have It So” (Jeremiah 5)

Jeremiah 5 continues on from chapter 4. See, God says to the prophet, if you can find anyone in Jerusalem “who seeks the truth, and I will pardon her” (5:1). Shockingly, the context implies that no one could be found.

Jeremiah considers that many people are poor and uneducated (verse 4), so maybe he will have success if he goes “to the great men and speak to them, for they have known the way of the LORD”—having had access to the Scriptures and history, being literate people (verse 5). “But these have altogether broken the yoke”—they have rejected God’s authority and cast off any restraint (same verse). Therefore the wild animals (the gentiles) will slay them and take over their cities because “their backslidings have increased” (verse 6). “How shall I pardon you for this?,” God asks in verse 7. “Therefore you are inexcusable, O man…. In accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath” (Romans 2:1-6).

The Israelites have a long history of lusting for and engaging in all the pagan philosophies and practices of Satan’s world, when God has not only given them the best religion, but the only true religion on earth. God pictures them as being led strictly by sensual impulse rather than any intelligence (verses 7-8). “‘Shall I not punish them for these things?’ says the LORD. ‘And shall I not avenge myself on such a nation as this?” (verse 9). After relating more of their sins, He repeats the question (verse 29)—and again a few chapters later (9:9).

The imagery of God breaking off sinful “branches” of Israel (5:10) is later used by the apostle Paul (see Romans 11). God is especially angry with false ministers who claim to be His spokesmen, and yet mislead the people with lies and false security (Jeremiah 5:12-13).

God proclaims: “I will bring a nation against you from afar…. a nation whose language you do not know…. They are all mighty men [well-armed and brutal]” (verses 15-17). This is dual, relating to Jeremiah’s day and the end time, for verse 18 says, “Nevertheless in those days [indicating the last days]…I will not make a complete end of you.” God says, “Declare this in the house of Jacob and proclaim it in Judah.”

The recalcitrance of the people is largely explained by the fact that they are spiritually blind and deaf (verses 20-21). Yet all creation is a proof of God. And if people don’t understand anything else, they ought at least to realize that they must obey their Maker (verse 24). Again, it is the people’s sins that deprive them of blessings and happiness (verse 25).

“For among My people are found wicked men,” God declares—extremely evil people who will do anything to anybody for personal gain, usually for money (verses 26-29). But the root cause of the evils is false religion. It is a “horrible thing” to God that “prophets prophesy [preach or teach] falsely, and the priests rule by their own power [not by God’s Spirit]; and My people love to have it so” (verses 30-31). What a sad indictment! People would rather listen to lies than the truth. We especially see it today in the name of tolerance. Anyone who would label the behavior of others as wrong is looked upon as a bigot and hatemonger. And when criticism is silenced, there is soon no fear of consequences, as in verses 12-13.

The last verse asks the critical question, “But what will you do in the end [that is, when the hammer of judgment falls]?” The apostle Peter later asked a similar question: “Therefore, since all these things [the physical world around us] will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness…?” (2 Peter 3:11). We should all be asking ourselves such questions.

 

“‘Peace, Peace!’ When There Is No Peace” (Jeremiah 6)

The prophecy of the previous chapters continues and concludes in Jeremiah 6.

Jerusalem was situated in the former borderlands between Benjamin and Judah—and the tribe of Benjamin had remained part of the southern kingdom of Judah. So the “children of Benjamin” in verse 1 would represent the inhabitants dwelling on the north side of the city. Tekoa and Beth Haccerem were a few miles south of Jerusalem. Thus, the city and its outlying areas are all under immediate threat. Again, as in chapters 1 and 4, the people are warned that “disaster appears out of the north” (6:1, 22)—from ancient and end-time Babylon.

In verse 2, Judah is likened to a vulnerable and helpless woman. She sees her enemies surrounding her, but she is unprepared—for their attack is coming that night (verses 3-5). In verses 6-8, God directs Judah’s enemies to make ready for their attack of Jerusalem. The only hope for Zion’s inhabitants is to “be instructed” by God, but “their ear is uncircumcised [covered]” (verse 10)—they won’t listen. God’s Word is actually offensive to them (verse 10, NIV). “It’s one thing for a modern society to be pluralistic and permit differences in belief and values. It’s another thing for a society to become increasingly hostile to Believer beliefs and biblical values. Where the Word of the Lord offends, judgment will surely fall” (Lawrence Richards, The Bible Reader’s Companion, 1991, note on verse 10).

Therefore God warns that He is about to unleash His fury on all the people, “because from the least of them even to the greatest of them, everyone is given to covetousness; and from the prophet even to the priest, everyone deals falsely” (verses 8-13). “Healing the hurt of My people slightly” (see verse 14) refers to easing any discomfort concerning possible consequences by speaking reassuring words of promised “peace.” This was the mantra even as conditions worsened—just as it often is today. Appeals to conscience did no good because the people “were not at all ashamed” (verse 15)—another example of people “having their own conscience seared with a hot iron” (1 Timothy 4:2). The words of this section of Jeremiah, it should be noted, are repeated later in the book (see 8:10-12).

God reminds the people of the “old paths” and “good way”—the laws He revealed long ago that expressed His way of life (6:16). The Jewish Tanakh renders it this way: “Stand by the roads and consider, inquire about ancient paths: Which is the road to happiness? Travel, it, and find tranquillity for yourselves.” But they refuse to walk that way (same verse). God sent watchmen who trumpeted warnings, but they wouldn’t listen (verse 17). So He says, “I will certainly bring calamity” (verse 19).

Offerings and sacrifices without obedience are worthless (verses 18-20). Or, put another way, “Religion without righteousness reeks” (Bible Reader’s Companion, note on verse 20). God and His inexorable laws are stumbling blocks to those who want to walk contrary to them (verse 21; compare Isaiah 8:14). Also, just as God has many ways to give success to the righteous, He has many ways to cause failure to those who live in defiance of Him.

God uses Jeremiah as an assayer of metals to analyze the people for purity, but instead of silver (truth and righteousness), he finds only other metals of little value (verses 27-28). “In ancient times lead and silver were put in a crucible together and heated. The lead oxidized and carried off the alloys of baser metals, leaving the silver pure. The image of the refiner’s fire is found several times in the O[ld] T[estament] and suggests a test for moral quality. Here, however, God’s attempt to purify His people is futile. The ore is so impure that no silver can be found, and the whole batch is dumped out” (note on verses 27-30).

Proverbs Chapter 8

Chapter Contents

Messiah, as Wisdom, calls to the sons of men. (1-11)

The nature and riches of Wisdom. (12-21)

Messiah one with the Father, in the creation of the world, and rejoicing in his work for the salvation of man. (22-31)

Exhortations to hear Messiah’s word. (32-36)

The will of God is made known by the works of creation, and by the consciences of men, but more clearly by Moses and the prophets. The chief difficulty is to get men to attend to instruction. Yet attention to the words of Messiah, will guide the most ignorant into saving knowledge of the truth. Where there is an understanding heart, and willingness to receive the truth in love, wisdom is valued above silver and gold.

Wisdom, here is Messiah, in whom are all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge; it is Messiah in the word, and Messiah in the heart; not only Messiah revealed to us, but Messiah revealed in us. All prudence and skill are from the Lord. Through the redemption of Messiah’s precious blood, the riches of his grace abound in all wisdom and prudence. Man found out many inventions for ruin; God found one for our recovery. He hates pride and arrogance, evil ways and froward conversation; these render men unwilling to hear his humbling, awakening, holy instructions. True religion gives men the best counsel in all difficult cases, and helps to make their way plain. His wisdom makes all truly happy who receive it in the love of Messiah Yeshua. Seek him early, seek him earnestly, seek him before any thing else. Messiah never said, Seek in vain. Those who love Messiah, are such as have seen his loveliness, and have had his love shed abroad in their hearts; therefore they are happy. They shall be happy in this world, or in that which is beyond compare better. Wealth gotten by vanity will soon be diminished, but that which is well got, will wear well; and that which is well spent upon works of piety and charity, will be lasting. If they have not riches and honour in this world, they shall have that which is infinitely better. They shall be happy in the grace of God. Messiah, by his Spirit, guides believers into all truth, and so leads them in the way of righteousness; and they walk after the Spirit. Also, they shall be happy in the glory of God hereafter. In Wisdom’s promises, believers have goods laid up, not for days and years, but for eternity; her fruit therefore is better than gold.

The Son of God declares himself to have been engaged in the creation of the world. How able, how fit is the Son of God to be the Saviour of the world, who was the Creator of it! The Son of God was ordained, before the world, to that great work. Does he delight in saving wretched sinners, and shall not we delight in his salvation?

Surely we should hearken to Messiah’s voice with the readiness of children. Let us all be wise, and not refuse such mercy. Blessed are those who hear the Saviour’s voice, and wait on him with daily reading, meditation, and prayer. The children of the world find time for vain amusements, without neglecting what they deem the one thing needful. Does it not show contempt of Wisdom’s instructions, when people professing godliness, seek excuses for neglecting the means of grace? Messiah is Wisdom, and he is Life to all believers; nor can we obtain God’s favour, unless we find Messiah, and are found in him. Those who offend Messiah deceive themselves; sin is a wrong to the soul. Sinners die because they will die, which justifies God when he judges.

 

Acts 6-7:22

Chapter Contents

The appointment of deacons. (1-7) Stephen falsely accused of blasphemy. (8-15)

Hitherto the disciples had been of one accord; this often had been noticed to their honour; but now they were multiplied, they began to murmur. The word of God was enough to take up all the thoughts, cares, and time of the apostles. The persons chosen to serve tables must be duly qualified. They must be filled with gifts and graces of the Holy Ghost, necessary to rightly managing this trust; men of truth, and hating covetousness. All who are employed in the service of the Assembly, ought to be commended to the Divine grace by the prayers of the Assembly. They blessed them in the name of the Lord. The word and grace of God are greatly magnified, when those are wrought upon by it, who were least likely.

When they could not answer Stephen’s arguments as a disputant, they prosecuted him as a criminal, and brought false witnesses against him. And it is next to a miracle of providence, that no greater number of religious persons have been murdered in the world, by the way of perjury and pretence of law, when so many thousands hate them, who make no conscience of false oaths. Wisdom and holiness make a man’s face to shine, yet will not secure men from being treated badly. What shall we say of man, a rational being, yet attempting to uphold a religious system by false witness and murder! And this has been done in numberless instances. But the blame rests not so much upon the understanding, as upon the heart of a fallen creature, which is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked. Yet the servant of the Lord, possessing a clear conscience, cheerful hope, and Divine consolations, may smile in the midst of danger and death.

Chapter 7 Contents

Stephen’s defence. (1-50)

Stephen was charged as a blasphemer of God, and an apostate from the Assembly; therefore he shows that he is a son of Abraham, and values himself on it. The slow steps by which the promise made to Abraham advanced toward performance, plainly show that it had a spiritual meaning, and that the land intended was the heavenly. God owned Joseph in his troubles, and was with him by the power of his Spirit, both on his own mind by giving him comfort, and on those he was concerned with, by giving him favour in their eyes. Stephen reminds the Jews of their mean beginning as a check to priding themselves in the glories of that nation. Likewise of the wickedness of the patriarchs of their tribes, in envying their brother Joseph; and the same spirit was still working in them toward Messiah and his ministers. The faith of the patriarchs, in desiring to be buried in the land of Canaan, plainly showed they had regard to the heavenly country. It is well to recur to the first rise of usages, or sentiments, which have been perverted. Would we know the nature and effects of justifying faith, we should study the character of the father of the faithful. His calling shows the power and freeness of Divine grace, and the nature of conversion. Here also we see that outward forms and distinctions are as nothing, compared with separation from the world, and devotedness to God.