Hochen a Hanukah Hair Ball

Joseph F. Dumond

Isa 6:9-12 And He said, Go, and tell this people, You hear indeed, but do not understand; and seeing you see, but do not know. Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their hearts, and turn back, and be healed. Then I said, Lord, how long? And He answered, Until the cities are wasted without inhabitant, and the houses without man, and the land laid waste, a desolation, and until Jehovah has moved men far away, and the desolation in the midst of the land is great.
Published: Dec 15, 2011

News Letter 5847-039
21st day of the 9th month 5847 years after the creation of Adam
The 9th Month in the Second year of the third Sabbatical Cycle
The Third Sabbatical Cycle of the 119th Jubilee Cycle
The Sabbatical Cycle of Earthquakes Famines, and Pestilences.

December 17, 2011


Shabbat Shalom Brethren,



I would like to start off this News letter with an exchange I had with a brother over those things I have said in my News letter last week about Chanukah. Indeed I have been caught up in this argument once again this year on a number of forums. I felt this exchange was most brotherly.

Shalom Joseph,

I hope you are doing well with all the brethren on your side. I also hope that your family is doing well.

I was pricked in my heart today when I received your news letter in which you equated Chanukah with some pagan festivals. I completely disagree with you that such interpretations on your part are not essentially part of Mainstream Judaism. Of course there many man-made ‘torah shel baal peh’ assertions that Yeshua couldn’t tolerate. Yeshua’s halacha is far much more greater than Rabbinical halacha. He is Mashiyach and we as His followers expect that to be the case as plainly expounded in the Brit Chadasha.

You know that Chanukah is coming and maybe that is why you are warning people not to partake of it. I am one of those who celebrate Chanukah and I totally disagree with your labelling and I quote direct from your sighted moon newsletter, ‘But do not be deceived and jump from one pagan ditch to another. That is by jumping from pagan Christian festival of lights to a Jewish festival of lights called Chanukah. It is the exact same festival only with a different name given to it. It is not found in Lev 23 and you should not be keeping it”.

The word Chanukah simply mean ‘dedication’ as you may already know. The celebration of Chanukah is not pagan excercise at all. By celebrating Chanukah Jews (myself included among them) are telling the world that their hatred against Torah values will not stand. Heaven will eventually intervene; Jews and all those who fear Elohim will be overcomers, defeating the dense darkness has fallen upon the world since the rule of Nebucchadnezzar. Antiochus Epiphanes was an evil man beyond comprehension and description. On the 15 of Kislev he and his evil hordes broke into the Hechal and desecrated it. They took out the the Torah Scroll (the Word of YHWH), torn it into pieces and burn it into ashes. Mothers who circumcised their children against the evil king’s decreee not to Jewish boys were murdered and infants hanged by their necks in public arena.

When Yehudah Macabi saw the atrocities done by these wretched Greeks he decided to fight for the sake of Torah and the promises given to Avraham, Yitzhack and Ya’akov. The word Macabi is an acronym taken from Shirat Hayam (Song of the Sea, of Mosheh), also mentioned in Rev.15:3, which the Faithful will sing again on Eretz Yisrael’s soil as the Kingdom is inaugurated at the coming of Y’shua. Yehudah the priest formed this word (Macabi) from each Hebrew word in Shemot 15:11- Mi Chamocha BaEliim YHWH. The last ‘I’ of this acronym is the first letter of our Father’s Name ‘Yod’. Bt you have to read the actual text in Hebrew in order to be convinced. Also read genuine history of Chanukah and see how a tiny group of people managed to defeat the enemy against all odds.

Chanukah lights have nothing to do with paganism. The ner tamid (perpetual lights) that were lit in the Hechal after the enemy was defeated originated in the Torah itself since the Menorah was meant to accomplish that. The Channukiah was a letter introduction and I do not think it is right to major in trivial matters at this point. Just about that miracle means. There is nothing pagan about the event unless you decided to interpret it that way. Christianity is plainly a pagan ditch but Judaism is not a pagan ditch if we put things into their proper context. You would agree that Y’shua came to redeem mankind and reform Judaism from within and not from outside. He conflicted with authority but in no way does he tell His people to invent halacha.

Yochanan 10: 22, At that time the Feast of Dedication took place at Yerushalayim.

This verse refers to Chanukah. I believe Y’shua approved of it as he was a fellow Jew or just by his presence. Remember people vote with their feet. The Hebrew word ‘regel’ means habbit and action. If you doubt Y’shua’s intentions, look at the preceeding verse 21. He taught them and they were all amazed. But did he said to them and why?

Yochanan 21: 25 tells us that there are many other things that Y’shua did but were never recorded since the volume of books would have been so many that our short lifespan would elapse without not even gone through some of those books. However, the spirit of all Truth speaks to our Lev (our Heart, the centre of beingness) that what is recorded in the books we have is essentially the intention of Heaven, and that those who joined themselves to Elohim will know His ways.

You say ‘It is the exact same festival only with a different name given to it. It is not found in Lev 23 and you should not be keeping it”. Again, I would like to say again that Chanukah is not pagan. It simply relive the memories of the great redemption that Elohim accorded His people at a time of great peril. What about paganism coping from Torah principles and turning them into an abomination? Do you also see that happening? No, lighting the menorah was not a pagan idea but was given on Mount Sinai as part of Torah. Flavius Josephus (Antiquities of the Jews) in explaining the Urim and the Thummim plainly said that nations stole from Torah. Therefore we should not see things in the light of what a pagan does with their abominable things but from Torah perspective. The Macabi’s fought for Torah’s sake and because of this we ought to recognize the miracles that ensued.

A thousand jews (mothers, fathers and children) were murdered on Shabbat as they did not want to break Shabbat by defending themselves. Their blood cries out from the ground just as the blood of righteous Hevel does to this very day. That is why we need to remember it. The same thing applies to the Holocaust event. But there is no real difference between the holocaust between the holocaust and Chanukah; the difference is basically the medium of extermination, otherwise they are essentially the same- destroy Jews and their love for Torah. I suppose you would want to Yerzheit those who perished during the holocaust in Germany and yet you won’t recognize their horrors of the evil Grecian emphire. Is it because one happened years ago and the other one occurred in the 19th century? By denying Chanukah you are saying that those events never happened. At least recognize Elohim for what did for you and me.

Chanukah is NOT an addition to the Torah of Mosheh or else you would also question Nechemiah’s writings, because he made a degree that all Jewry and their offsprings afterward must remember purim.Also, there is not single verse in the Brit Chadasha alluding to the fact that Y’shua and his talmidim kept purim. But they (Y’shua included) literally did keep it given the peshat intepretation of Nechemiah’s text! Purim and Chanukah are times of gladness for all those who fear Elohim; they are not an addition to the Torah at all. It all depend on how you want to interpret the texts. Did you notice that NO Saharon nor Rosh Chodesh is mentioned in Vayyikra 23? I know Chanukah is not there either.

Historically, celebrating Chanukah was banned during the Seleucids (Greeks) reign and was only allowed to be celebrated during the Roman occupation of Eretz Yisrael. The Romans were happy to see Jews celebrate the defeat of their enemies who were apparently also enemies of Roman.

My advice to you as a brother is that you acknowledge the saving acts of Merciful and compasionate Father. To reject Chanukah (and most likely puirm) on the basis of supposed paganistic ideas is not supported by history. It is all upto you but please allow the Jewish world and Fearers of Elohim to thank Him for the wonderful acts He accomplished in a time of great despair. As for me and my family we will continue to remember Chanukah and purim in honour of Elyon and His redemptive work (Shemot 15: 11- Who is like you YHWH?). I fully trust Elohim we will sing again the Song of Mosheh used by Yehudah as his banner for battle. This is how understand Chanukah.


I wrote back to Shimon the following;

Shalom Shimon, I want to thank you for your lovely email. It is well written. I would like to address those things you have said and to use it in next weeks News Letter. I pray I have time to do so.

But let me just say here to you, that I do appreciate your letter. I think we agree on a number of things. The Macabees and the deeds they performed with Yehovah’s help.

This is not what I am fighting against. What I am against is the lie that the Chanukiah or 9 candle menorah is used and that the Menorah stayed lit miraculously for eight days. Macabess does not say this. This was added by Rabbinic sources to promote the day.

The Chanukiah Bush now used by some is nothing more than a Jewish Christmas tree. Again this is what I am fighting against.

The Festival of lights began long before there was ever a Jew or Israelite born much less a Macabee. It was created for the worship and memorial of Nimrod after he was executed by Shem.

This same festival of lights is called Diwali in India and Christmas and something else I forget right now in China.

I am well aware of the history of the Macabees and I hope to begin to teach the 2 books soon. But the holiday that now surrounds it is what I am against.

If you separate the traditions that most keep to celebrate Chanukah and throw them out and then teach what the Macabees did and how this is to come again. I have nothing to say but would encourage it. But once you begin to dress this event up and make it look like Xmas then I have a lot to say.

We are commanded not to add to Torah. There was no exception clause in that statement. None. So why do so many try to justify this additional Holy day season? To compete with Xmas? Yehovah said not to add to the torah yet people do with this holiday, without blinking an eye.

I agree with the true story of the Macabees, but the dreidel and the chanukah bush and the nine candle stick Menorah and the story it remained lit for eight days I simply cannot accept.

When you get time off because of Christmas does this mean you kept it. Yet you use this type of logic to say Yehshua kept Chanukah because He was at the Temple at that time of year. It is a reference to the time of year and cannot be said to be any more than that. It does not say Yehshua kept it. Not at all. It does not say any of the apostles kept it.

We are given the Sabbath to test us each week and each Holy Day. We are given Chanukah and Purim to again test us and see if we will keep just those days in Lev 23 or if we will add others of our own choosing to the Torah.

I have not had the privilege to be raised in a Jewish Home. I many times wish I had. But coming from a Christian religion and then realizing how much we were lied too, has made me want to check each and everything else I am going to now believe in. Chanukah was one of those I did check. And I found it wanting.

I am not going to get everyone to stop keeping this festival. But I am not going to stop trying. It has been corrupted into the pagan customs of this time of year. What people say now is that they would agree and that they are not going to do the same thing but will still keep it in the pure form. This is the same line Christians use to justify the keeping of Christmas in its pure form of the birth of Jesus. They then do not do the Santa thing but keep the tree and make sure they think about Jesus on this day.

This is the festival of lights dedicated to the memory of Satan the angel of light who was represented by Nimrod.

Chanukah is called the festival of lights. Christmas is called the festival of lights. They all occur at about the same time of year. As the day is at its shortest time. So lights were lit to encourage the Sun to come back. Or to encourage the return of Nimrod from death.

It is not the Macabeans I am against it is the false traditions that are now promoted around this event.

Each of the Holy Days are kept the same around the world by people because we have directions on how to keep them. Do we have any on how to keep the Festival of Chanukah or Purim? Again nothing can be found in Lev 23.

Christmas was a lovely time and the family would get together and have a great meal. But the whole event was based on lies. So I gave it up once I had proven it to be lies. Chanukah is a great time for family get together and etc….I understand the reluctance to give it up. But it is based on lies and corrupted with traditions that are not true.

Hezekiah destroyed the Bronze Serpent that Moses made which Yehovah told him to make. Why?  Because the Bronze Serpent on the pole had become an object of worship or an idol and so Hezekiah had it destroyed to prevent the people from sinning.

Is this not the same sort of thing here? The promotion of lies during Christmas and the promotion of lies at Chanukah.

Show me the miracle in Macabees of the menorah staying lit for eight nights. Quote me the chapter and verse. It is not there because it never happened.

I hope I have stated my case respectfully. I only want to do what Yehovah has said in His Torah, especially after having been deceived for so long and now seeing those lies for what they were.
Shalom from
Grandpa Joseph F Dumond

He then wrote back to me the following;

I also thank you for changing your position on what you wrote. In other words you are simply warning people against any additions (Rabbinical) that may not have been part of Chanukah. I know of people who have rejected Chanukah altogether just because of some rabbinical things. However, I completely still disagree with you on the very name of the Feast of Chanukah. Josephus himself referred to this Feast as the Festival of Lights, implying that the menorah was ceremoniously lit as people rejoice and thank Elohim for His mighty deeds. So do not blame the rabbis as they didn’t coin the name. Josephus himsel called it the Festival of Lights. And by the way, Flavius Josephus is not highly regarded by the Rabbinical world. I have come across lots of brethren who blame the rabbis for everything. They think the rabbis coined the tallit, they think the rabbis coined some of the ancient prayers written in the siddur. This sort of political wrangling within the Body is not healthy at all. People simply need to settle, study the Word and trust in Elohim for all their needs. As for me, the Feast of Chanukah is necessary. Each one of us must be a Macabi. We have to stand up and resist the dense darkness that has engulf the world. That is what Chanukah is all about.

I believed they lit the Menorah NOT the channukiah we know today. The concepts of gifts and Gelts must have been later additions. These are trivial matters if we focus on YHWH as our Redeemer and not man. However, these practices do not diminish the original intention of the Feast. Therefore, let your readers clearly understand that you celebrate Chanukah but you disagree with somethings. According to your faith so be it.

Brethren I shared with you two articles in last weeks News letter which explained the Festival of Lights and how it was for the worship of Nimrod. I do hope each of you will be Berean and do your homework and look into the festival of lights as Chanukah is called and learn the truth and do not just follow the crowd.

Also the lighting of candles in a religious situation also stems from the festival of lights to give honour to the enlightened one; Satan. So be sure you know why you do what you do. Do Not add to torah, Do not Add to Torah. Yehovah says it over and over Do Not Add to Torah and yet people say no I won’t but this is OK because it is to give honour to God.

Yehovah says do not worship me the way the heathen do. And do not add to Torah. Do you get it yet???? DO not add to Torah.

And for the Record I do not celebrate Chanukah. It is not found in Lev 23 and I will not add to Torah a new holi day. The story of the Macabees is just another chapter in a book. It is a history of the Jewish people the same as Judges or Samuel are.


The Stories of Hanukah

by Benjamin Mordecai Ben-Baruch

Hanukah is first and foremost a historical holiday, originally proclaimed by Judah Maccabee at the end of a bloody and violent guerrilla war that was both a rebellion against the Seleucid empire as well as a civil war among Jews. It took several generations before Hanukah was universally celebrated by Jews all over the world. There are several stories about Hanukah in the original and rabbinic texts from which we can delineate the history of how early generations reinterpreted the historical significance of the holiday and of its central ritual, the lighting of the hanukiyah, or eight-branched menorah.

When Judea achieved full autonomy and de facto independence from the Seleucid empire, the guerilla army of peasants removed the items used by their Jewish foes in the Temple Service, made new items (including a menorah which provided light while they cleaned the inside of the Temple), tore down the “profaned” altar and built a new altar, and (on Kislev 25) celebrated with the first sacrifice on the new altar. At the end of this service, Judah proclaimed to the assembled people that “days of dedica¬tion” should be celebrated for eight days every year. ( ch. 4. [1] Unable to celebrate their favorite festival, Succot, () for two or three years because of the wars, the first Hanukah celebration was “Succot in Kislev” and celebrated like Succot (replete with lulavim). (II Maccabees ch. 10.)[2]

Lighting candles soon became part of the holiday celebration. A variety of rabbinic stories began to be told to answer the questions: (1) Why do we light candles on Hanukah? (2) Why is Hanukah 8 days? Each story represents part of the oral tradition of the Pharisees and rabbis whose relationship to the Hasmoneans changed over time.

“[At Hanukah] we commemorate the dedication of the Temple by the Hasmoneans who fought and defeated the Hellenists, and we kindle lights — just as when [we] finished the Tabernacle in the Wilderness . . . .” (Pesikta Rabbati, ch. 6)

“Why do we kindle lights on Hanukah? Because when the sons of the Hasmoneans, the High Priest, defeated the Hellenists, they entered the Temple and found there eight iron spears. They stuck candles on them and lit them.” (Pesikta Rabbati ch. 2)

“Why did the rabbis make Hanukah eight days? Because . . . the Hasmoneans entered the Temple and erected the altar and whitewashed it and repaired all of the ritual utensils. They were kept busy for eight days. And why do we light candles? Because . . . when the Hasmoneans entered the Temple there were eight iron spears in their hands. They covered them with wood and lit candles on them. They did this each of the 8 days.” (Megilat Ta’anitch. 9)

After a descendant of the Hasmoneans joined forces with the Sadducees and after the decline of the Hasmonean dynasty and after a civil war (ca. 67-61 BC) during which perhaps more than 100,000 Jews were killed, another “traditional” story gained dominance:

“What is Hanukah? When the Hellenists entered the Temple, they desecrated all of the oil. And when the Hasmonean dynasty grew and defeated them, they searched but found only one cruse of oil sealed with the stamp of the High Priest, and there was only enough in it to burn for one day. A miracle happened and it burned for eight days. The next year they made these days a fixed annual commemoration . . .” (TB Shabbat 21b; also Schol. Megilat Taanith 25 Kislev)

Each of these classical texts represents the point of view of a particular political group at a specific point in time with conflicting visions of the present and future needs of the Jewish people. One of the crucial issues for them was whether or not Jews should glorify the Hasmoneans, the leaders of the fight for independence who devolved into the tyrants that led Israel to one of its greatest catastrophes. Our tradition answered by honoring the earlier generation that achieved independence and by criticizing their heirs who corrupted the polity and plunged it into an escalating spiral of 100 years of internal and external wars culminating in the destruction of the Second Commonwealth and the end of Jewish sovereignty.

Then having prepared all of this, I was then sent a teaching by Michael Rood. I could not believe what I was hearing, so I have copied it here for you to hear. Michael does a great job of explaining the story of the Macabees which I have no problem with; but then goes on to say that the first Chanukah was declared on Kislev 25 which that year was December 25 in 165 BC.

So right here at the start, Chanukah was to replace the pagan worship of Nimrod on Dec 25. Listen to Michael say this in his own words. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9hV3nXzZMEs&feature=player_embeddedListen to him speak at the 3:30 mark. December 25 was Kislev 25 that year.

According to 1 Maccabees 4:52-59 and Wentzel’s A Chronology of Biblical Christianity, the Holy Place was properly restored on Kislev (December) 25, 165 B.C.


Judas Maccabees and his followers came back into Jerusalem and solemnly cleansed the Temple from the profanations to which it had been subjected under Antiochus. He removed the polluted altar, and put the stones in a separate place on the Temple mount, and restored the worship of the Lord (1 Maccabees 4:52, 56, 59). This “cleansing of the Sanctuary” (Daniel 8:13-14) took place on the 25th day of Chisleu (December the 25th), and the joyous celebration lasted for eight days.

Yehshua when questioned about the apostles spoke back to the Rabbis and indeed to each of us today;

Matt 15:3 – He answered and said to them, “Why do you also transgress the commandment of Elohim because of your tradition?

He didn’t like the traditions of the Scribes and Pharisees because they transgressed Yehovah’s clear commandments.

Christmas is also transgressing the commandment of Yehovah in favour of tradition. But first, notice that He goes on to say:

Matt 15:7 – “Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying: 8 `These people draw near to Me with their mouth, And honor Me with [their] lips, But their heart is far from Me. 9 And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ “

We have always equated this scripture with those who kept the pagan feast days, ie Christmas. But it equally applies to those Messianics who are justifying the keeping of Chanukah and Purim. Commandments of men that are now taught as Dotrines from Torah.

Deu 12:28 “Guard, and obey all these words which I command you, that it might be well with you and your children after you forever, when you do what is good and right in the eyes of ???? your Elohim. 29 “When ???? your Elohim does cut off from before you the nations which you go to dispossess, and you dispossess them and dwell in their land, 30 guard yourself that you are not ensnared to follow them, after they are destroyed from before you, and that you do not inquire about their mighty ones, saying, ‘How did these nations serve their mighty ones? And let me do so too.’1 Footnote: 1See also 18:9, Lev. 18:3, Jer.10:2, Ezek. 11:12 & 20:32, Eph. 4:17, and 1 Peter 4:3

Deu 18:9 “When you come into the land which ???? your Elohim is giving you, do not learn to do according to the abominations of those gentiles.

Lev 18:3 ‘Do not do as they do in the land of Mitsrayim, where you dwelt. And do not do as they do in the land of Kena?an, where I am bringing you, and do not walk in their laws.

How much clearer does Yehovah have to say it? Do not copy the pagan feast days. Do not change them and dedicate them to Yehovah. Do not change the celebration of Jupitor or Nimrod at Christmas time on Dec 25 and call it Chanukah on Kislev 25 the exact same day that very first year and dedicate it to Yehovah.

Do you get it??? Yehovah even makes this very specific by describing what went on, on this December 25 each year and it is because of this that He wanted nothing to do with it. Read it yourself again in Deuteronomy.

Deu 12:31 “Do not do so to ???? your Elohim, for every abomination which ???? hates they have done to their mighty ones, for they even burn their sons and daughters in the fire to their mighty ones.

He does not want you to change the day of burning your infants on December 25 which was dedicated to Nimrod and then to change it and call it Chanukah and call it the day of Cleansing the Temple. Both feasts are called the Fesitval of Lights. It is the same feast with a different name. And Yehovah says not to do it. They killed the children on this very same day and in Deut 12:31 Yehovah is even referring to it.

I do not care one iota about all the biblical teachings you can draw on for Chanukah. Christians can do the same for Christmas. Yehovah says not to do it; PERIOD.

No Ya buts. Stop the sinning and the justifying of your sinning and open rebellion against the most High. He says not to do it so do not keep these pagan days and justify it by dedicating it to Him. Stop the rebellion.

I have often wondered why Judah has suffered these past 2000 years if they were keeping Torah. It used to bother me that Yehovah did not bless them with peace and bounty for keeping Torah. Then it occurred to me that they had mixed seed in their keeping of Torah and each time they were persecuted was Yehovah trying to get them to repent and return to Him, but they kept doing it their way and not His.

We are told in Deut why we should guard the commands; “ that it might be well with you and your children after you forever, when you do what is good and right in the eyes of ???? your Elohim.”

Hoch up another Chanukah hair ball excuse not to obey and as you do keep in mind the sword is at the door. It will soon be here in all its fury.

We are going to remind you each week of our upcoming Speaking engagements as they come along so that you can plan on being there.

Go out and find your friends and invite them. If you know of any Church of God people invite them. Or SDA people or Baptists even tell them to come as the things I am going to share will blow them away. Things they can see in the bible which no one else is teaching.

If you have Methodist friends…..do not bring them, they will not understand. LOL. Just kidding of course they can come.

NOTE: Change of Venue!!!
Dear family, we have been waiting on a quote for the brand new conference room at the Courtyard Mariott and it finally came. The cost of one day was going to be $750. This price is out of our price range. We are moving the meeting to:

Sleep Inn Abilene TX
3225 South Danville Drive
Abilene TX
Phone for reservations: 325-437-1525
Rooms are @ $89 per night.
January 7, 2012 10 AM to 8 PM

The meeting room is reserved already for us, there shouldn’t be any more changes on this issue. For those of you who have already made reservations at the Courtyard, the Sleep Inn is only a few blocks away or you can change your reservation to the Sleep Inn – I believe there is still time in that the meeting is 3 weeks away. We apologize for this change, but it is much more economical and makes more sense.

Also when you come bring a lunch, So we can visit you and we may continue right through lunch with questions and then get right back at the rest of the teachings after a short lunch break.

Then the next teaching is to take place on;

Saturday, January 28, 2012 In Ashland Kentucky
Time 2:00pm until 6:00pm

The hall is in the Kyova Mall , Fairfield Inn 1/4 mile away 10945 US Rte.60, Ashland, Kentucky

We will explain in detail The Sabbatical years and how you can know them; The Prophecies of Abraham and what they show us now; The 70 Shabua and the Prophecy in The Law of Niddah and how they point to the coming war in just a few years time in the USA; Mathew 22 and the Deep Sleep of Abraham which warns us of the coming persecution.
Come out and learn these truths and bring your loved ones to hear these things. Then decide if they are true or not.

Keep in Mind The Reason I am doing this is because 270,000,000 Americans are about to die as a result of this war and the captivity that is also coming. 270 Million. This does not include the 53 Million Britain’s, or the 27 Million Canadians, or the 23 million Australians. All of these are prophesied to die in the next number of years. Do you know why? I will show you in no uncertain terms exactly why.

We have tried to share this with other groups, but to no avail; once you see it you will be telling them all about it. So come out and learn, there is a ton of biblical information to learn from.

As I teach about the Sabbatical and Jubilee years whether in public or here in the Newsletter, I am constantly asked these two questions repeatedly. I explain them but never to the satisfaction I would like to.

I have two friends in Holland whom I have introduced to you before who write in Set Apart People, with a clarity and insight that is to be admired.

In the past month they have tackled these two questions and addressed them with a grace and eloquence I can only dream of.

So it is that I would like to share what they have shown in their weekly News Letter about the question of; keeping the Sabbatical years only when you are in the land of Israel. And the other question of; A Day is as a Thousand years. Not 980 as I claim.

I am going to give you the link so you can go to their site and read the article along with the charts which I cannot reproduce here for you.

When you enter the land – Understanding the full context leads to better understanding
I have often heard the phrase “When you enter the land” mentioned in discussions on the applicability to a specific commandment. I have previously spoken about our logic getting in the way of our obedience. Could the use of this condition be another example of us trying to reason which of the instructions of YHVH to obey? A good example of this is the sabbatical year. Should we or shouldn’t we keep the instructions regarding the sabbatical year? Is it only applicable to people living in Israel or is it applicable to all? Let us do a detailed study of this phrase and see what conclusions we can make and how that needs to be applied in our lives today.

The second article is to found at http://www.setapartpeople.com/day-thousand-years-prophetic-significance-2?utm_source=Set+Apart+People+List&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=b0908cad0e-MailChimp_RSS2EMAIL_CAMPAIGN

Which I have reproduced below.
“One day is like a thousand years” and it’s prophetic significance

What does this mean?

What is implied when Peter writes, “one day is like a thousand years” (2 Pet 3:8)? Is this a literal thousand years? We have been taught to believe that; I for one have never questioned it before. We also have to determine the context and how broad we can apply it. This study started out as a quick look-up of this phrase but, as I studied, I realized that it is a key to understanding some of the Bible prophecies.

2 Peter 3:3–10
3 Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, 4 and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.” 5 For when they maintain this, it escapes their notice that by the word of Yahovah the heavens existed long ago and the earth was formed out of water and by water, 6 through which the world at that time was destroyed, being flooded with water. 7 But by His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men. 8 But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with Yahovah one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. 9 Yahovah is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. 10 But the day of Yahovah will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up.

The discussion in this passage is about the coming of the Messiah at the end of the age. People were expecting it to be in their time. Since it has not occured yet; they are now mocking it. A. Robertson explains it well when he says:

“Peter applies the language of Ps. 90:4 about the eternity of Yahovah and shortness of human life to “the impatience of human expectations” (Bigg) about the second coming of Christ. “The day of judgment is at hand (I Pet. 4:7). It may come tomorrow; but what is tomorrow? What does Yahovah mean by a day? It may be a thousand years”. Precisely the same argument applies to those who argue for a literal interpretation of the thousand years in Rev. 20:4–6. It may be a day or a day may be a thousand years. Yahovah’s clock does not run by our timepieces. The scoffers scoff ignorantly.”

Robertson, A. (1997). Word Pictures in the New Testament (2 Pe 3:8). Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems.
To explain it further we must look at the meaning of the word “like”. The Greek word “hos” means an approximation of time.
4. hos (??, 5613) usually means “as.” Used with numerals it signifies “about,” e.g., Mark 5:13; 8:9; John 1:40; 6:19; 11:18; Acts 1:15; Rev. 8:1.
5. hosei (????, 5616), “as if,” before numerals, denotes “about, nearly, something like,” with perhaps an indication of greater indefiniteness than No. 4, e.g., Matt. 14:21; Luke 3:23; 9:14, 28; Acts 2:41; with a measure of space, Luke 22:41, “about a stone’s cast.” See LIKE.
Vine, W. E., Unger, M. F., & White, W. (1996). Vol. 2: Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words (4). Nashville, TN: T. Nelson.
If we look at all the other passages where this word was used with numerals it was translated as “about.”
(I did not include John 1:40 in the examples as it uses a different greek word “heis”)

Mark 5:13
13 Jesus gave them permission. And coming out, the unclean spirits entered the swine; and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea, about(hos) two thousand of them; and they were drowned in the sea.

Mark 8:9
9 About(hos) four thousand were there; and He sent them away.

John 6:19
19 Then, when they had rowed about(hos) three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and drawing near to the boat; and they were frightened.

John 11:18
18 Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, about(hos) two miles off;

Acts 1:15
15 At this time Peter stood up in the midst of the brethren (a gathering of about( hosei) one hundred and twenty persons was there together), and said,

Revelation 8:1
1 When the Lamb broke the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about(hos) half an hour.

2 Peter 3:10
10 But the day of Yahovah will come like (hos) a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up.
I have included the last passage to illustrate to you that the word “like” (hos), is meant as a comparative phrase. It does not mean that Y’shua will literally come as a thief to steal, but it means that He will come unexpectedly. The phrase “as a thousand years” is equally not meant in a literal sense. It alludes to a time period, likened to a thousand years.
There is a similar passage comparing a thousand years with a day in Ps 90.

Psalm 90:4–6
4 For a thousand years in Your sight Are like yesterday when it passes by, Or as a watch in the night. 5 You have swept them away like a flood, they fall asleep; In the morning they are like grass which sprouts anew. 6 In the morning it flourishes and sprouts anew; Toward evening it fades and withers away.

In this passage “a thousand years” is compared to two things:
• Yesterday
• A night watch

919 ???????? (????môl): adv.; ? Str 865; TWOT 2521—1. LN 67.201–67.208 yesterday, i.e., the day before today (Ps 90:4+), see also 9453; 2. LN 67.17–67.64 lately, before, heretofore, i.e., a period of time prior to another time, either short or long (Isa 30:33; Mic 2:8+); 3. LN 67.17–67.64 unit: ???????? ?????????? (????môl šil?šôm) formerly, before, in the past, i.e., formally, yesterday and day before, i.e., pertaining to a point in time prior to another time (1Sa 4:7; 10:11; 14:21; 19:7+); 4. LN 67.17–67.64 unit: ???? ???????? ???? ?????????? (g?m ????môl g?m šil?šôm) formerly, before, in the past, i.e., formally, yesterday and day before, i.e., pertaining to a point in time prior to another time (2Sa 5:2+)

Swanson, J. (1997). Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains : Hebrew (Old Testament) (electronic ed.). Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
The word “yesterday” can refer to either a period of time prior to another time( short or long), or to the past.

A watch in the night was approximately four hours (Jud. 7:19 refers to a middle watch, suggesting three periods). Such a portion of the night, when man sleeps, is brief.
Walvoord, J. F., Zuck, R. B., & Dallas Theological Seminary. (1983-). The Bible knowledge commentary : An exposition of the scriptures (Ps 90:1–6). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
We can conclude the same for this passage in Psalms as for the passage in 2 Peter. These time periods do not have to be a literal thousand years, although it could be.
How do we apply this to the interpretation of Bible prophecy?

In order for us to apply this prophetic principle of “one day is like a thousand years” further, we must first find proof in scripture. In the second book of Genesis, we get a good example of the prophetical application and fulfillment of this principle:

Genesis 2:17
17 but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.”
It is no coincidence that those who lived before the Flood died just short of a 1000 years of age. Thus figuratively speaking, Adam, and all his offspring before the flood, died within a “day”—that is, within a thousand years.


Can we assume that whenever the word “day” is used, it could mean a thousand years? I don’t think so. It is more complex than that. As always, context is king when interpreting scripture. Let’s look at some verses to illustrate this point.

The Scripture says that the world was created in six days. Was the world actually created in 6000 years? I would not go so far as to say that. Plants were created before the sun and won’t be able to survive for a 1000 years without photosynthesis. Therefor, I support a literal six-day creation.
Another example would be the time Y’shua spend in the grave. Those were a literal three days and three nights. We can find many more examples.
Both verses Psalm 90 and 2 Peter 3 speaks about the return of our Messiah. Therefor, we can conclude: the phrase “one day is like a thousand years” can only be applied in a prophetic context.

It is often said that Genesis 6:3 points to a prophetic time period. It refers to the period of man on earth before Y’shua returns. The calculation is as follows 120 x 50 =6000. The 50 refers to the amount of years of a Jubilee cycle.

Genesis 6:3
3 Then Yahovah said, “My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, because he also is flesh; nevertheless his days shall be one hundred and twenty years.”
Only problem is that a Jubilee cycle is only 49 years. Shall we investigate this further?

How long is a Jubilee?

Leviticus 25:10–11
10You shall thus consecrate the fiftieth year and proclaim a release through the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you, and each of you shall return to his own property, and each of you shall return to his family. 11‘You shall have the fiftieth year as a jubilee; you shall not sow, nor reap its aftergrowth, nor gather in from its untrimmed vines.

From the above Scripture, clearly the 50th year is the Jubilee. Why do I say 49 years?
How do we calculate a Jubilee?
We calculate the Jubilee year in the same way we calculate the 50 days for Shavuot.

Leviticus 23:15–16
15 ‘You shall also count for yourselves from the day after the sabbath, from the day when you brought in the sheaf of the wave offering; there shall be seven complete sabbaths. 16 ‘You shall count fifty days to the day after the seventh sabbath; then you shall present a new grain offering to Yahovah.

• We are to count from the day after the weekly sabbath -the first day of the week
• There shall be seven complete sabbaths
• You shall count 50 days to the day after the seventh sabbath -the first day of the week

It is very important to follow the instructions carefully. We are to commence counting on the first day of the week and end the count on the first day of the week. Take note: the fiftieth day is also the first day of the weekly cycle. This is a pattern for us for the calculation of the Jubilee years. Thus, the 50th year -the Jubilee year – is also the first year of the next sabbatical cycle. Don’t you think it’s awesome to see how Abba Yahovah uses the same pattern?
How do we apply all we have learned in this study?

We have just proven from Scripture that the Jubilee cycle is 49 years instead of 50 years. We also have the prophetic scripture in Gen 6:3. If we apply what we have learned, our calculation of prophetic years would be as follows: 120 x 49 = 5880. We can conclude in saying that one day is like 980 years.

Psalm 90:12–13
12 So teach us to number our days, That we may present to You a heart of wisdom. 13 Do return, O Yahovah; how long will it be? And be sorry for Your servants.
We can only ask Abba Yahovah for His wisdom to live our lives according to His plan. Time is short. We have to number our days.


Triennial Torah Cycle

We continue this weekend with our regular Triennial Torah reading which can be found online

Lev 8      Jer 32-33      Prov 19       Acts 16

Leviticus 8

Aaronic Priesthood Consecrated (Leviticus 8)

The incredible mercy of God is demonstrated in the appointment of Aaron as Israel’s ecclesiastical leader. Aaron, after all, had presided over Israel’s idolatry with the golden calf. Yet, now forgiven, God gives him another chance—this time to serve as God’s own high priest, with Aaron’s sons serving as priests under him. Indeed, the priesthood was to be perpetuated through his family from then on.

This also serves as a reminder that when God forgives, He forgives us completely. In Psalm 103:12, King David proclaims that God removes our transgressions “as far as the east is from the west.” Isaiah 43:25 and Jeremiah 31:34 tell us that He remembers our sins no more. In Isaiah 1:18 God says that our sins, formerly as scarlet, “shall be white as snow.” God’s mercy and forgiveness toward Aaron are proof that God is equally merciful toward us, both forgiving and forgetting our sins. This is possible because, although God has perfect memory of the past, while we continue in the process of repentance and overcoming He looks on the new person within that He is forming and shaping as distinct from the sinful nature we battle (see Romans 7:17). Our old sinful self will one day be eliminated at our transformation to immortal incorruption (see 1 Corinthians 15) and only the sinless new self will remain. But thankfully, we don’t have to wait until then to be considered forgiven and reckoned as sinless. When we repent, God forgives us totally right then and there.

Leviticus 8 records the consecration, or setting apart, of Aaron and His sons for their important responsibility. The entire nation came out to witness the important event. As God’s prophet and chief servant on earth, Moses was the only one qualified to ordain Aaron and his sons to their offices. Aaron, as the high priest, was anointed through the pouring out of oil upon his head (Leviticus 8:12)—symbolic of a special dispensation of God’s Holy Spirit (compare Acts 10:38). In ancient Israel, the high priests and kings were anointed. Interestingly, both offices looked forward to the coming of an “Anointed One”—which is the meaning of Mashiach (or Messiah) in Hebrew and Christos (or Christ) in Greek. And indeed, Yeshua Messiah now fills both of these positions, king and high priest.

Though Aaron’s sons were not anointed in the same manner he was, they were, along with him, sprinkled with anointing oil and blood (Leviticus 8:30; compare 10:7). Furthermore, Aaron and his sons were all specially consecrated by the blood of a ram being applied to the right ear, right thumb and right big toe of each of them. Some have speculated that this anointing of their extremities, top to bottom, represented a total covering by the sacrificial blood. Or perhaps it meant something else. The ear often represents hearing—so perhaps their willingness to listen to and heed God’s instructions was being sanctified. After all, the phrase “this is what the Lord commanded,” or similar words, is stated 10 times in this chapter (verses 4, 5, 9, 13, 17, 21, 29, 34, 35, 36). The right thumb is the part of the right hand that allows it to function—and the right hand is often symbolic in the Bible of a person’s actions. The priest’s actions had to be holy. And as for the big toe, it enables balance in walking and standing—which are often representative in Scripture of walking with God, i.e., leading a godly life, and remaining steadfast in the faith respectively. These are important qualities for God’s priests—qualities we must exemplify too, as we are now God’s chosen holy priesthood (1 Peter 2:5, 9).

We should also take note of the washing of Aaron and his sons. The Keil & Delitzsch Commentary states regarding Leviticus 8:6 that Moses “directed them to wash themselves, no doubt all over, and not merely their hands and feet. This cleansing from bodily uncleanness was a symbol of the putting away of the filth of sin; the washing of the body, therefore, was a symbol of spiritual cleansing, without which no one could draw near to God, and least of all those who were to perform the duties of reconciliation” (Vol. 1, p. 544). Many of the washing rituals of the Old Testament foreshadowed the baptism of the New Testament, and that would seem to be true in this case. Again, the New Testament Church is a holy priesthood, each individual being cleansed symbolically through washing in water when baptized—although it is actually the grace of God through “the blood of Jesus Christ” that “cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7).

Jeremiah 32

Jeremiah Buys His Cousin’s Field—A Sign of Hope (Jeremiah 32)

The events of this chapter occur during the 10th year of Zedekiah (verse 1), which equates to the 11th year of Ezekiel’s captivity—for even though Zedekiah’s reign and Ezekiel’s captivity began at the same time, Zedekiah’s first year seems to have followed an uncounted accession year (see Edwin Thiele, The Mysterious Numbers of the Hebrew Kings, 1983, pp. 184, 190).

Zedekiah’s 10th year was the second year of the siege of Jerusalem (587 B.C.). As we earlier read, the Egyptian army had approached (Jeremiah 37:5), prompting Nebuchadnezzar to order his Babylonian forces to temporarily depart from Jerusalem to confront them. The Egyptians suffered a terrible defeat (see Ezekiel 30:21-22) and withdrew back into Egypt. Now the Babylonians had returned and their siege of Jerusalem was again underway. On King Zedekiah’s orders, Jeremiah was still confined in the courtyard of the guard at the palace (32:2). “Zedekiah should have known by this time that Jeremiah’s message was not his own. Yet he found fault with the prophet’s predictions because they were wholly unfavorable to the country and to Zedekiah himself. In plain, unequivocal terms Jeremiah foretold Zedekiah’s fate” (Expositor’s Bible Commentary, note on verses 3-5).

God informs Jeremiah in advance of the visit of his cousin Hanamel. The prophet is to agree to Hanamel’s offer to sell him his field in their hometown of Anathoth under the terms of property redemption: “Family property must not pass into the hands of an outsider (v. 7). The purpose of this law was to keep property in the family and preserve the bond between family and their property. For the seller this was duty; for the relative or kinsman-redeemer it was a right… The passage reveals that the ancient laws of land tenure were still followed in Judah in spite of its apostasy. In addition to the general law for all Israel, these land-tenure laws would in Jeremiah’s time have special relevance to alienation of property belonging to priestly families—property that should not pass into non-priestly hands. The situation is all the more dramatic since the field Jeremiah was to buy had already been captured by the invading Babylonians” (Expositor’s, note on verses 6-7).

Expositor’s suggests that Hanamel might have been in financial straights (same note). Biblical historian Eugene Merrill, however, concludes: “Hanamel obviously believed that, whereas he would soon be exiled, Jeremiah would be left behind and, hence, in a position to care for the estate” (Kingdom of Priests, p. 465).

With the Chaldeans outside, the request would have seemed preposterous to anyone who found out about it. Yet God directs Jeremiah to go through with the transaction, which the prophet does, committing the deed scrolls to his scribe Baruch. “According to custom, one copy of a deed was sealed for safekeeping; a second copy was left open for future consultation”(Nelson Study Bible, note on verses 10-11). Jeremiah, at God’s command, tells Baruch to put both copies in a clay jar to be kept safe for a long time to come (verse 14). Interestingly, the oldest copies of the Old Testament, those among the Dead Sea scrolls, were found preserved in just such clay jars in the Judean desert—and they had been preserved more than 2,000 years!

Jeremiah relays the point of what God has told him to do: “Houses and fields and vineyards shall be possessed again in this land” (verse 15). The exiles will one day return. But the prophet then prays to God, seemingly to gain understanding of what was happening, mentioning the presently dire circumstances of the nation (verses 16-25). Some commentators “have seen a need on Jeremiah’s part for confirmation of the transaction. Still others feel that Jeremiah slipped into an attitude of doubt… Given all the circumstances and the tension of the political and military situation, such an attitude would be understandable. Jeremiah may have longed for some reconciliation of the purchase with his prophecies of Jerusalem’s destruction… Although he had explained the meaning of the episode (v. 15), [it is possible that] he was still troubled by its improbabilities; furthermore, he also longed for reassurance for the people” (Expositor’s, note on verse 16).
God then gives His reply reassuring Jeremiah (verse 26-44). Even though the situation seemed hopeless, God reminded Jeremiah that nothing is too hard for Him.

Yes, for the time being He would deal severely with Judah, destroying the very rooftops where they burned incense to idols (versed 29). Israel and Judah, in spite of God’s magnificent promises to them, had rebelled from the very beginning when they were a young nation. Amazingly, God says of the “holy city” of Jerusalem: “For this city has been to Me a provocation of My anger and My fury from the day that they built it, even to this day” (verse 31). How ironic that the Jews thought that being in that city would save them! The idolatry and rebellion became so bad in the end that they even set up their idols in God’s temple. Josiah had removed the idols, but the pagan worship was still in their hearts, and it hadn’t taken long for them to revert to their old ways. God knew what human nature was like, but even He hadn’t expected Judah to stoop so low that they would actually murder their children, sacrificing them to the false god Molech (see verse 35, where He uses words He had spoken to Jeremiah many years earlier in 7:31). So again, yes, the nation would now be punished as Jeremiah had announced (32:36).

But, as God explains in the remainder of the chapter, He would, in the future, gather the exiles back from captivity and resettle them in the land. While the Jewish return from Babylonian captivity in the days of Ezra may have been in mind on one level, it is clear that this is not the primary meaning of this section. God repeats His promise from chapter 31 to make a new covenant with the people of a changed inner being. He refers to it as an “everlasting covenant” (verse 40) as in Ezekiel 16:60. And this covenant will be made with all the people, who are described as having a unified heart (Jeremiah 32:39). This is obviously describing not the ancient return of the Jews from Babylonian captivity but the future return of all Israel and Judah at the time of Jesus Christ’s second coming, when the Kingdom of God is established on earth. Note the nature of the Kingdom Age. It is not described as transpiring in some “heavenly” place above the clouds. People will buy land, sign and seal deeds, and through business become prosperous (verse 44). Indeed, this comes back to “the main theme of this chapter. [Jeremiah’s] transaction was an example to be universally followed in the future restoration (v. 43). What he did will be repeated by many others in that coming day” (note on verses 43-44).

Notice that Jeremiah placed this hopeful chapter right after chapter 31, the New Covenant chapter. Indeed, chapters 30-33 are sometimes referred to by commentators as the Book of Consolation, as this section looks forward to the wonderful time when Israel will at last be restored, spiritually converted and richly blessed.

National Restoration and the Righteous Branch (Jeremiah 33)
This chapter concludes what some have called the “Book of Consolation,” the section containing God’s promise of national restoration, before the book of Jeremiah returns to the historical aspects of Judah’s downfall.

The inhabitants of Jerusalem were trying desperately to save their city. As had happened in Hezekiah’s day, the people pulled down houses, including some within the palace complex, to strengthen the walls (verse 4; see Isaiah 22:10). “Houses that were built along the city walls could be torn down and filled with rubble to produce a wider, more solid wall. This was one means of combating the sloping earthen siege ramparts that armies constructed opposite domestic quarters rather than at heavily fortified towers or gates” (Nelson Study Bible, note on Jeremiah 33:4-5). But this effort would prove to be in vain because it was God they were really fighting against (verse 5).

Verse 6 then switches immediately to a message of great hope, when God will bring “health and healing.” The captives of both Judah and Israel will return (verse 7), clearly pointing to the time of Jesus Christ’s second coming. Jeremiah was still in prison (verse 1) but God was now going to encourage him and give him an even greater insight into the wonderful world to come, revealing His secrets (verse 3).

God again tells Jeremiah about the coming new world—prosperity, peace, rebuilt cities, forgiveness, fertile pastures, peace for the flocks, safety and an example to the whole world. It would be so good that even God Himself will be made happy by it. The New Living Translation brings out the impact of this: “Then this city will bring me joy, glory and honor before all the nations of the earth! The people of the world will see the good I do for my people and will tremble with awe!” (verse 9). The people will be so happy that they will again sing praises to God and offer Him their thanks. With regard to the “sacrifice of praise” or “thank offerings,” the Harper Study Bible comments: “Jeremiah seems to refer to spiritual sacrifices, not animal offerings, i.e., thanksgivings made with the mouth, or what Hosea calls ‘the fruit of our lips’ (Hos 14:2)” (note on Jeremiah 33:11).

In verses 14-16, God repeats the prophecy about the coming “Branch,” given earlier in chapter 23. “The Messiah is here called a righteous Branch, a true shoot of the stock of King David. Many of David’s descendants had become kings of injustice; now the people were looking for the coming of a righteous king who would come as the Lord’s anointed or Messiah. The phrase The LORD is our righteousness must be understood as, ‘Jesus is our righteousness.’ The word ‘LORD’ here is ‘Yahweh’ [‘He Is Who He Is’; the Eternal]; in this context, it can only mean Jesus the Messiah. Thus Jesus is Yahweh, or God. And the N[ew] Testament refers to Jesus our Righteousness (cf. 1 Cor 1.30). His righteousness is imputed to us [through His death atoning for our sins and His life in us helping us to obey God]. We have no righteousness in ourselves, only his righteousness (2 Cor 5.21)” (Harper Study Bible, note on Jeremiah 23:5-6). In Jeremiah 33, the name “The Eternal Our Righteousness” is given to Jerusalem (verse 16)—as God’s people bear His name and receive His righteousness.


Continuity of the Royal and Priestly Lines (Jeremiah 33)

The latter part of Jeremiah 33 is a remarkable section concerning two important family lineages. God had promised David that his royal line would continue forever (2 Samuel 7:12-16). This is repeated here with the addition of a second part, the promise of continuity for the Levitical priests. The Expositor’s Bible Commentary states: “Monarchy and priesthood were the two bases of the Old Testament theocracy. When these appeared to be in most danger of extinction in Jeremiah’s day, we find their continuance couched in sure and irrevocable terms. What is affirmed of the monarchy in v. 17 is promised the priesthood in v. 18. The Levitical priesthood is assured a permanent ministry (cf. the promise to Phinehas in Num. 25:13). As legitimate priests, they will serve the Lord” (note on Jeremiah 33:17-18).

Yet these promises have appeared to many to contradict history. Neither the occupation of the Davidic throne nor the Levitical priesthood’s offering of burnt and grain offerings has been continuous. Expositor’s explains in its note on verses 17-18: “If one sees in them a constant presence and succession of Davidic rulers and Levitical priests, then, of course, history does not validate this interpretation. But the passage claims no such thing. It says only that David’s dynasty will never cease. Temporary interruption is only apparent, not true cessation.”

Yet when would the two offices, brought down with the Babylonian conquest, resume? The physical sacrifices of the Levitical priesthood were reactivated when the Jews returned to the land of Judah in the days of Ezra and Nehemiah. But a few centuries later they were again cut off for a short time under Syrian oppression in the second century B.C. After their next restoration, they continued until the Romans destroyed the second temple in A.D. 70. Since then, nearly 2,000 years have gone by and they have never been reestablished. Of course, the priestly descendants have always been there—recognized even. Many Jews today bear the names Cohen, Cohn, Kahane, Kagan, Kahn or some other variant, meaning “priest.” No doubt many of priestly descent have continued to serve in a “priestly capacity” as teachers and officiators at religious functions. In fact, some have speculated that the true ministry of Jesus Christ has always had descendants of the Levitical priesthood among its numbers, and that may well be. But the prophecy here specifically mentions burnt and grain offerings. Sacrifices are elsewhere prophesied to be reestablished among the Jews soon before Christ’s return—to be performed once again, no doubt, by the Levitical priesthood. But these too will be cut off. Then, as the last section of Ezekiel informs us, sacrifices will be reinstated under Levitical priests after Jesus Christ returns to set up His 1,000-year reign over the earth. Indeed, this ultimate resumption appears to be the main focus of this passage in Jeremiah—or, more accurately, the continuity of the priestly line that will make this millennial resumption possible.

What then of the Davidic throne? Since the prophecy of David’s descendants is intertwined with that of the Levites, they are usually viewed as being similarly fulfilled. Based on the gaps in the Levitical service, many have interpreted this section of Jeremiah with the view of a very long gap in the occupation of David’s throne—from Jerusalem falling to the Babylonians more than 2,500 years ago until David’s descendant, Jesus Christ, comes to claim the throne at His yet-future return to then reign forever. But while that is no doubt the ultimate focus of verse 17, parallel with the messianic prophecy of verses 14-16, it does not fully consider the section that immediately follows, which speaks of a vast pool of Davidic descendants (verse 22) from which God will draw “rulers” (plural) to set over the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (verse 26). Since this multiplicity of rulers of Davidic descent cannot logically apply solely to Christ’s millennial rule, it must mean that David’s throne would be reestablished before Christ’s coming to allow multiple occupants of the throne. So we see that we should view the prophecy here about the Davidic line somewhat differently from that of the Levitical priesthood and sacrifices. The prophecies are intertwined not because they are fulfilled in exactly the same way and time frame, but to show that these two bedrocks of Israelite government, both civil and ecclesiastical, would both be reestablished. God says His promises in this regard are more certain than the cycle of day and night (verses 20, 25). Of course, the ultimate fulfillment of both prophecies would come in the same time frame—when Christ comes to rule the earth.

Again, though, it should be clear that David’s throne would be reestablished even before the coming of Christ. In fact, Psalm 89 adds a very important detail in this regard. God there reveals that He promised to David, “Your seed I will establish forever, and build up your throne to all generations” (verse 4). So although there could be vacancies in the occupation of David’s throne, a generation could not pass before that vacancy was filled. This means a generation could not have passed from the deposing of Zedekiah at the fall of Jerusalem until the reestablishment of the throne. But that throne was never reestablished in Judah. So what happened?

Notice that Jeremiah 33:17 says that, from the time this prophecy was given, David would not lack a descendant to sit on the throne not of the house of Judah, but of the house of Israel. This makes sense when we recall from Ezekiel 17:22-24 the prophecy of the transfer of the Davidic throne from Judah to Israel. Jeremiah himself would be instrumental in this transfer, with his curious commission “to root out and to pull down” and then “to build and to plant” (Jeremiah 1:10). God would use him to transplant the Davidic dynasty through a daughter of Zedekiah from Judah to the Israelites in ancient Ireland, from where it would later be transferred to Scotland and then to England—eventually becoming the British royal family of today. (For more details documenting this little-understood history, see our online publication The Throne of Britain: Its Biblical Origin and Future at http://www.ucg.org/brp/materials/throne/index.html.)


Proverb 19 – a Commentary this week from Matthew Henry on chapter 19

A poor man who fears God, is more honorable and happy, than a man without wisdom and grace, however rich or advanced in rank.

What good can the soul do, if without knowledge? And he sins who will not take time to ponder the path of his feet
Men run into troubles by their own folly, and then fret at the appointments of God.
Here we may see how strong is men’s love of money.

Those that tell lies in discourse, are in a fair way to be guilty of bearing false-witness.
We are without excuse if we do not love God with all our hearts. His gifts to us are past number, and all the gifts of men to us are fruits of his bounty.

Messiah was left by all his disciples; but the Father was with him. It encourages our faith that he had so large an experience of the sorrows of poverty.

Those only love their souls aright that get true wisdom. Lying is a damning, destroying sin.
A man that has not wisdom and grace, has no right or title to true joy. It is very unseemly for one who is a servant to sin, to oppress God’s free-men.

He attains the most true glory who endeavors most steadily to overcome evil with good.
Christ is a King, whose wrath against his enemies will be as the roaring of a lion, and his favor to his people as the refreshing dew.

It shows the vanity of the world, that we are liable to the greatest griefs where we promise ourselves the greatest comfort. A discreet and virtuous wife is more valuable than house and riches. A sluggish, slothful disposition makes men poor; it brings them to want. And this applies both to the present life and that which is to come.

If we keep God’s word, God’s word will keep us from every thing really hurtful. We abuse the doctrine of free grace, if we think that it does away the necessity and advantage of obedience. Those that live at random must die. This truth is clearly taught in words enough to alarm the stoutest sinner.

God has chosen the poor of this world, to be rich in faith, and heirs of his kingdom. When parents keep under foolish tenderness, they do their best to render children a comfort to them, and happy in themselves. The spared and spoiled child is likely to become a man of great wrath.

Those that would be wise in their latter end, must be taught and ruled when young.
What should we desire, but that all our purposes may agree with God’s holy will? It is far better to have a heart to do good, and want ability for it, than to have ability for it, and want a heart to it. Those that live in the fear of God, shall get safety, satisfaction, and true and complete happiness.

Indolence, when indulged, so grows upon people, that they have no heart to do the most needful things for themselves. A gentle rebuke goes farthest with a man of understanding.

The young man who wastes his father’s substance, or makes his aged mother destitute, is hateful, and will come to disgrace. It is the wisdom of young men to dread hearing such talk as puts loose and evil principles into the mind. Those are the worst of sinners, who are glad of an opportunity to sin.

The unbelief of man shall not make God’s threatening’s of no effect. Christ himself, when bearing sins not his own, was not spared. Justice and judgment took hold of our blessed Surety; and will God spare obstinate sinners?

Acts 16

We left last week with Paul and Barnabas going in different directions to spread the Good News of Messiah. Paul took with him Silas and traveled through Syria and Kilikia and they have now come to Derbe and Lustra. Derbe and Lustra were located in the Roman province of Galatia in South Central Asia Minor. This is where Paul and Barnabas had fled to when the people of Iconia wanted to stone them. We are introduced to Timothy in v 1 as a “taught one” and we are told Timothy has a believing Jewish mother and a Greek father. Many of the brothers in Lustra and Iconion spoke very highly of Timothy, and Paul wanted to bring him along for the work. We are told that Paul had Timothy circumcised for the work because of the Pharisaic Jews in those areas – and they already knew that Timothy was the son of a Greek. One wonders why Paul did this, in light of the decision made in Jerusalem and Paul, Silas, and Timothy were traveling around the young believing assemblies sharing this decision with them. We can assume it was to minimize contention – and all the assemblies were strengthened and increased in number every day, v.5.

In verses 6 & 7 we are told the first time of the Holy Spirit blocking Paul, Silas, and Timothy from going into Asia (to the east). We are not given the reason why except that later we are told that Paul has a dream in which a man came to him from Macedonia pleading with them to come to Macedonia. A good assumption would be that as we are told in Scripture “man makes his plans, by Yehovah guides his steps.” Proverb 16:9. Believing this was a dream given by the Spirit of Elohim, they arose and made their way to Macedonia.

They sailed through a few port cities and made their way to Phillipi, the principle city in Macedonia and stayed there. On the Sabbath day, Paul, Silas, and Timothy made their way down to a place by a river there (where there used to be prayer) and were sharing the Good News of the Master with the people there. A woman named Ludia was also there and she was hearing what the Spirit was witnessing through Paul and others and we are told that the Messiah “opened” her to hear and receive the Message in belief. Ludia was immersed and all her household and she urged them to stay with her in her home.

In v 16 we are told of a “slave girl” who is possessed. She was possessed by the spirit of Puthon. Interesting that not only is she possessed but we are told she is a slave girl. So she is in bondage both literally and spiritually. Puthon was known to be the spirit of divination and future telling. She begins following Paul and the crowd and verbally she sounds as if she is supporting their message saying, “These men are the servants of the Most High Elohim, who proclaim to us the way of deliverance.” v 17. She was with them and following them many days we are told. Paul is given insight to see through her and her words and is greatly annoyed with her. So even though her words are one declaration, we are to still listen to the Voice of the Spirit to discern what is going on with people.

Paul turns to her and says, “I command you in the Name of Yeshua Messiah to come out of her.” v 18, and the spirit of Puthon left her that very hour. Her masters did not like this, for she was the way by which these men made their money. This caused them to take hold of Paul, Silas, and Timothy and drag them to the rulers of the city. They accused them of disturbing the city (now that their message was effecting their pocket-books) and trying to disrupt their “Roman ways” and get them to do things “Romans” do not do. Then the crowd also turned against Paul, the rulers (captains) tore off the cloths of Paul, Silas, and Timothy and commanded them to be beaten with rods and then threw them into prison.

In prison, the witnesses began singing and praising Elohim and all the prisoners were hearing them. About midnight, an earthquake, and the foundations of the prison were shaken, the doors were opened, and the chains fell off of them! The ruckus awakened the prison guard who, when seeing the doors opened and the missing prisoners was going to take his own life because he knew his punishment for escaped prisoners was death. Paul cried out to him not to do this because they (the prisoners) were all still there, they had not run away. To this jailer, this was tantamount to saving his life! He ran in and fell to the feet of Paul and Silas, and his heart was softened toward them. His question, “Masters, what do I have to do to be saved?” v30

The answer to the jailer, “Believe on the Master Yeshua Messiah, and you shall be saved, you and your household.” v 31. Paul, Silas, and Timothy witnessed to them the Word of Yehovah, the jailer and his family washed the wounds of the men, and all were immersed. They sat down and shared a meal together. Daylight came and they all received word that they were to be released, though secretly. Paul would have no part in a secret release for he was a Roman citizen and had been beaten publicly without trial which was against Roman law. This word was returned to the captains who were terrified when they heard they were Roman citizens, so they did as Paul asked and lead them publicly and publicly “asked” them to leave the city. They went back to Ludia’s place and were strengthened when they saw their brothers in Messiah.


The 613 laws

We are doing 7 laws each week during our septennial study. We shall study laws 603-609
We also have commentary, with editing from me, again from http://theownersmanual.net/The_Owners_Manual_02_The_Law_of_Love.Torah

We continue in the category of Politics

Do not destroy fruit trees (wantonly or in warfare). “When you besiege a city for a long time, while making war against it to take it, you shall not destroy its trees by wielding an ax against them; if you can eat of them, do not cut them down to use in the siege, for the tree of the field is man’s food. Only the trees which you know are not trees for food you may destroy and cut down, to build siegeworks against the city that makes war with you, until it is subdued.” (Deuteronomy 20:19-20) The disposition of resources is one key to the mindset of God. Man’s agenda (and Satan’s) in war is: “defeat the enemy.” This may seem to make sense until we compare it to God’s agenda in warfare: “Cleanse the land of evil.” Killing the bad guys isn’t the point—in fact, Yahweh doesn’t really want anyone to perish, though He leaves the choice of whether to live or die up to us. During the conquest of Canaan, as with the coming global cleansing, the land (whether Israel or Earth) would have to support a population of the redeemed after the smoke had cleared. God’s not done with the planet quite yet. There’s the little matter of Christ’s Millennial Kingdom to prepare for.

It seems ironic that Muhammad’s tactics when besieging the Jewish Beni al-Nadir tribe of Yathrib (Medina) included cutting down their date palms (cf. Qur’an Sura 59:5; Al-Tabari, Volume II:158; Ibn Ishaq:437). This, of course, left his faithful followers no way to make an “honest” living on their newly stolen lands—they had to continue to rely on piracy, kidnapping for profit, the slave trade, and murder. And some things never change: when the “Palestinian” Muslims finally bamboozled the pathetically naïve Sharon/Olmert Israeli government out of the Gaza strip in 2005, the first thing they did was destroy the productive hydroponic farms the Israeli settlers had no choice but to leave behind. Muslims apparently don’t have the sense God gave geese.

Deal with a beautiful woman taken captive in war in the manner prescribed in the Torah. “When you go out to war against your enemies, and Yahweh your God delivers them into your hand, and you take them captive, and you see among the captives a beautiful woman, and desire her and would take her for your wife, then you shall bring her home to your house, and she shall shave her head and trim her nails. She shall put off the clothes of her captivity, remain in your house, and mourn her father and her mother a full month; after that you may go in to her and be her husband, and she shall be your wife.” (Deuteronomy 21:10-13) Maimonides may finally be getting it: “Do what the Torah says.” This is a precept that applies to Israelite warfare with pagan nations other than the seven Canaanite tribes who were supposed to be completely destroyed—man, woman, and child, “everything that breathes” (see Mitzvot #601 and #602). God knew there would be cases when an Israelite army took captives, and among them, beautiful women. And on that basis alone, a soldier might “desire to take her for his wife.” Never mind the fact that physical beauty shouldn’t rank above tenth or twelfth on the list of things a guy should logically consider when choosing a bride—if a man expects to live a long, happy life with her. Yahweh was dealing with reality here: having designed man’s endocrine system, he knows how hormones work. On a practical note, He didn’t want the conquest of Canaan devolving into an ongoing enterprise of rape and pillage—the idea was to cleanse the land.

God’s instructions are a perfect balance between the realities of bronze age warfare and the gruesome task He had set for His holy people. He says to the love-struck soldier, “You think she’s a beauty, and you want to marry her? Okay, but first, you have to see her at her worst for an entire month—shorn of all the trappings of fashion—forget hair style: she’s got to shave her head so you can see her as ugly as she ever gets. She’ll be in mourning for her lost life and loved ones—expect tears and depression—and she’ll be living right in your face under these conditions. You’ll have her under your roof for a whole month, so you’ll even get to see what she’s like with PMS. If you’re still smitten with her after all that, go ahead and marry her. At least you’ll be going into this with your eyes wide open.” Okay, that’s a paraphrase.

Do not sell a beautiful woman (taken captive in war). “…And it shall be, if you have no delight in her, then you shall set her free, but you certainly shall not sell her for money; you shall not treat her brutally, because you have humbled her.” (Deuteronomy 21:14) This is a continuation of the previous mitzvah. What if the captured beauty queen doesn’t look so hot to the love-struck soldier after her one-month visit to the ugly parlor? What then? Can he sell her as a slave to somebody else? No. It’s not her fault she’s pretty (or was). And it’s not her fault the smitten Israelite soldier has no perseverance, no imagination, and no common sense. She’s suffered enough humiliation; she must be set free.

Although the text doesn’t spell it out, I believe it is understood that the marriage has not been consummated at this point—i.e., she has not become the soldier’s legal wife—when and if he decides not to “keep” her. If she had been married to him, and only after that did he decide that he “had no delight in her,” then the ordinary rules of divorce would apply: a man may divorce his wife only if “he has found some uncleanness in her.” (Deuteronomy 24:1) Yahshua later defined this as meaning adultery and nothing less. Women are not a man’s disposable possessions (which is how Islam portrays them). They are his equal—though instructed to submit to their husbands primarily because they symbolize the Church’s unique role in relationship to her Messiah—she is the Bride of Christ.

Do not degrade a beautiful woman (taken captive in war) to the condition of a bondwoman. “And it shall be, if you have no delight in her, then you shall set her free, but you certainly shall not sell her for money; you shall not treat her brutally, because you have humbled her.” (Deuteronomy 21:14) Part III of the Captive Bride saga…. Suppose our smitten soldier thinks like Muhammad, deciding his beauty-queen captive would make a fine sex slave, married or not. He has no intention of making her his partner, only his plaything. Yahweh’s precept has cut this one off at the knees, for a “marriage” of this sort is no marriage at all in His eyes. It’s serial rape. The Hebrew word for “treat brutally” is amar, meaning “to manipulate, to deal tyrannically with, to treat as a slave.” (S)

The vast majority of Torah instructions dealing with slaves or bondservants deal with Hebrews who have sold themselves into bondage (until the sabbatical year or Jubilee) in return for the payment of their debts, and Yahweh’s admonition is invariably to treat them with kindness and respect, for everyone is a slave to sin at some point in their lives. The present precept is one of the very few that deal with what to do with captives of war, and there is a simple reason for that—Yahweh expected this scenario to be very rare. The seven Canaanite nations who populated the Land (see Mitzvot #601 and #602) were to be utterly destroyed—no captives at all were to be taken. But as we saw in Mitzvah #600, there was a proper procedure for dealing with pagan communities who were not of these seven specific nations: they had the option of surrender and servitude. If they chose instead to fight, the men were to be slain and the women and children enslaved. The “beautiful woman” of which these last three mitzvot have spoken is the rare standout among this already rare category.

We have seen this kind of thing before: God spending inordinate amounts of Torah text on situations that would rarely if ever actually occur in the normal course of Israelite life in the Land, and invariably we have come to the conclusion that some larger issue is being addressed. What, then, is Yahweh trying to tell us here? Let’s examine the scenario. First, the woman is a member (through no fault of her own) of a rebellious pagan society, one whose leaders have chosen to fight against God rather than submit, surrender, and repent. (Sound familiar?) Second, she’s a captive, a slave with no power or privileges of her own. Third, she is naturally attractive to God’s Man, but he is required by God to disregard her beauty. And fourth, God’s people may not abuse or misuse her.

Here’s the lesson (I think). The beautiful woman represents the world—spiritually neutral, but presumably having both positive qualities (obvious to everybody) and negative ones (maybe not so much). She has no intrinsic power over God’s people, but they are attracted to her nevertheless. Yahweh wants to make sure that His people see the unvarnished truth about whatever the world has to offer, the good and the bad alike. Surprisingly, He is not necessarily forbidding a union between His people and the world, for some are called and equipped to make a successful home with her—the occasional believing businessman, pastor, or (extremely rare) politician who is gifted with the ability to work within the world’s corrupt system to advance Yahweh’s cause. But God doesn’t want any of His children to be seduced by her beauty and charm while being blindsided by her less obvious shortcomings. Now here’s the interesting part: even if the believer decides after a while that the world isn’t so attractive after all, and he doesn’t wish to form a union with her (which ought to be the case with most of us), he isn’t to “manipulate her, deal tyrannically with her, or treat her as a slave” (Hebrew: amar). In other words, just because “Christians” may find themselves in positions of power or influence (as they did in Europe for over a millennium following Constantine’s 313 AD Edict of Toleration) they have been specifically warned not to abuse the world they find under their control (as the Catholics subsequently did). Rather, they are to “set her free”—in other words, they are to let the world make her own spiritual choices.

Do not offer peace to the Ammonites and the Moabites before waging war on them, as should be done to other nations. “An Ammonite or Moabite shall not enter the assembly of Yahweh; even to the tenth generation none of his descendants shall enter the assembly of Yahweh forever, because they did not meet you with bread and water on the road when you came out of Egypt, and because they hired against you Balaam the son of Beor from Pethor of Mesopotamia, to curse you. Nevertheless Yahweh your God would not listen to Balaam, but Yahweh your God turned the curse into a blessing for you, because Yahweh your God loves you. You shall not seek their peace nor their prosperity all your days forever.” (Deuteronomy 23:3-6) Maimonides has conjured up a non-existent corollary to the rules concerning going to war with nations other than the Canaanite Seven (see Mitzvah #600). He has conveniently forgotten that Ammon, Moab, and Edom had been specifically declared off-limits to territorial conquest by Yahweh back in Deuteronomy 2. There He says quite plainly, “Do not harass Moab” (verse 9), and “When you come near the people of Ammon, do not harass them or meddle with them” (verse 19). Of course, refraining from attacking your neighbors is not remotely the same thing as purposely getting chummy with them. Moab and Ammon (today’s Jordan, along with Edom) had proved their undying antagonism to Yahweh and His people through the “Balaam episode,” recorded in Numbers 22:1-25:2, in which the Israelites were seduced into Ba’al worship after it became clear that they couldn’t be cursed. That explains why Ammonites and Moabites were not to be admitted to “the assembly of Yahweh,” that is, the fellowship of believers. They had a history of leading people astray into the worship of false gods, which is about the worst thing you can do—a stoning offense in Israel.

At issue here is what believers are to do with people who attempt to entice Yahweh’s children into denial of their God. First, we are to be alert to the danger, and remember the lessons we’ve learned from our past contact with them. At this point, it would be instructive to compare Yahweh’s words concerning Edom with those about Ammon and Moab. Later in the same passage we’re studying, Yahweh says, “You shall not abhor an Edomite, for he is your brother. You shall not abhor an Egyptian, because you were an alien in his land. The children of the third generation born to them may enter the assembly of Yahweh.” (Deuteronomy 23:7-8) Both the Edomites and the Egyptians had been hindrances to Israel: Egypt had enslaved the Jews for hundreds of years, and Edom had refused them peaceful passage to the Promised Land. But neither nation had attempted to lead them away from Yahweh into the worship of false gods as Ammon and Moab had. God is really serious about this. In fact, as I demonstrated in Future History chapter 29: “The Three Doors,” it is this issue that separates the victims from the perpetrators, the merely “lost,” doomed to destruction, from the damned, destined to eternal torment in hell.

Second, we are instructed not to “seek their peace nor their prosperity.” Don’t make treaties with them, trade with them, or have anything to do with them. We are not told to attack them. On the contrary, we are told to avoid contact altogether, as much as possible. (If they attack us, of course, it’s perfectly okay to defend ourselves. But we aren’t to be the aggressors.) The bottom line is the same as that repeated several times in scripture when we are being told how believers are to deal with “Babylon,” the collective influence that seeks to lead us away from Yahweh’s love: “Flee from the midst of Babylon, and every one save his life! Do not be cut off in her iniquity, for this is the time of Yahweh’s vengeance; He shall recompense her.” (Jeremiah 51:6) Don’t fight it, don’t negotiate with it, don’t work within the system trying to fix it—just flee! Yahweh Himself will deal with Babylon, and you don’t want to be anywhere nearby when that happens.

Anyone who is unclean shall not enter the Camp of the Levites. “When the army goes out against your enemies, then keep yourself from every wicked thing. If there is any man among you who becomes unclean by some occurrence in the night, then he shall go outside the camp; he shall not come inside the camp. But it shall be, when evening comes, that he shall wash with water; and when the sun sets, he may come into the camp.” (Deuteronomy 23:9-11) We discussed the issues of “clean” versus “unclean” in detail in Chapter 15 of this book. There we concluded that being “ritually defiled”—the kind of thing being spoken of in our present mitzvah—is not a picture of overt sin, but of the inevitable uncleanness to which we are subjected merely by virtue of being human. Thus no sacrifices are necessary for its atonement, but cleansing is required anyway if we are to dwell within “the camp,” that is, be a useful and effective member of God’s faithful army. When Yahweh speaks of “going out against your enemies,” he’s ultimately talking about living our daily lives in this filthy world: we must endeavor to prevail against it while we “do battle,” while at the same time remaining untouched by “every wicked thing” we find there. It’s a tall order, but contamination by the world can easily render us unclean—unfit for active duty, if only temporarily.

Note that Maimonides has thrown a monkey wrench into the works by calling the assembly “the Camp of the Levites.” Levi, the priestly tribe, has not been mentioned in this context. Tracey Rich explains the rabbinical view: “According to the Talmud, in the present day this [“the Camp of the Levites”] means the Temple mount.” That’s something of a tasteless joke these days. The temple mount is controlled by the Muslims (who according to the Torah’s definition aren’t exactly “clean”), and it has been since long before Maimonides began codifying his 613 hallucinations. Incredibly, even when the victorious Israeli armies re-took Jerusalem in the 1967 Six Day War, their top general, Moshe Dayan, gave the temple mount back to the Muslims (I still can’t believe he did that) in exchange for a hollow promise of equal access. We all know how well that’s worked out in the intervening half-century. Needless to say, the Talmud’s take on what this precept means is (as they say in theological parlance) dumb as a bag of hammers.

Have a place outside the camp for sanitary purposes. “You shall have a place outside the camp, where you may go out; and you shall have an implement among your equipment, and when you sit down outside, you shall dig with it and turn and cover your refuse.” (Deuteronomy 23:12-13) Warfare from the dawn of time has been accompanied by disease. As recently as the American Civil War, far more soldiers died of disease (mostly dysentery, diarrhea, typhoid, and malaria) than from wounds sustained on the battlefield (in the Union army alone, 560,000 dying of disease vs. 200,000 from trauma). And yet here we are reading simple instructions written some 3,500 years ago that would go a long way toward keeping disease in any mobile military encampment to a minimum. It seems basic and obvious now, but it wasn’t until quite recently: when you set up camp, assign a place some distance from the troops’ bivouac to serve as a latrine, and make sure every soldier is equipped (with a shovel or some other means) to cover his excrement, so germs won’t easily be spread by insects or get into the local water supply. Was Moses really that smart, or do you think he might have been getting help with this from the One who designed not only the human body but the microbes that could make us sick?


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