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News Letter 5851-008

12th day of the 2nd month 5851 years after the creation of Adam

The 2nd 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

The 28th day of Counting the Omer

Shabbat Shalom Brethren

Announcements

Yes I know the picture is an idol. I was looking for something about redemption and this image of Christ the Redeemer came up, so I went with it.

I would like to share with you that we have confirmation on two of our future speaking engagements. One is for Manila, Phillipines during Sukkot and the other is for Harrisburg, PA Sept 5-6. The week before Yom Teruah. So make your plans and we look forward to seeing you at these events.

We also have others from the SDA Camp meetings who want to know more about our teachings and if we can come to their Camp meetings. Please do keep all of these in your prayers, as we have sent each of these groups our teachings for them to study and share, or will be very soon.

We do have others being worked on but no firm dates as yet.

Over the past few months we have been visiting various Assemblies here in Southern Ontario and sharing with the leadership the teachings about the Sabbatical and Jubilee years.

In one group I attended two weeks ago I was hugged by many as I walked in the door, and over half of the group had been to the web site and been watching the videos. The brethren are eager for me to come and teach these Sabbatical years to them, but I have to go to the leadership and explain it to them and let them decide. They too, have all been to the web site and found it of great interest. They are now reading the books and thinking about having me. Please pray for them. With each week they study these truths out, it takes the time away from the Brethren who also need the time to study them as well. We have less than one year to the Sabbatical year and right now it the 3rd tithe year for the widows.

Last week I went to a Jewish Messianic group in Toronto, and was blown away by the depth of knowledge this young Rabbi had. He was very interested in what I had to say and took the two books and is going to read them.

We ask that you pray for the leadership of all the various groups to get this information in time to learn it and teach it to their assemblies, so that the brethren also have time to learn and prepare for the Sabbatical years. Please pray.

I am sharing this to show you that many of the groups I go to, and that you could go to, are becoming more open for discussion and learning. You can do this. Just go and begin to talk to the leadership about the Sabbatical years and how they can prove when they are.

I have been to a Church of God group this winter a few times and many in these groups are talking, but in some COG groups they are afraid of being put out. Pray they put you all out then. Once you have been kicked out you are then free to speak out on any subject you want. What kind of group is it when you’re not allowed to speak about things in the bible for fear of being put out? Write to those you know in these groups who cannot talk publicly – write them and tell them what you know. Do not be afraid, they cannot kick you out again. LOL. And they have to keep some people there so they can get their pension cheques. So speak out and keep doing it.

Read Ezekiel 33 about the warning to you if you see the sword coming and do not warn the brethren. This warning is talking to you. I cannot do it all. Warn them and keep warning them until they wake up. Keep going back and letting others know in every denomination. Yehovah is pouring out His spirit on all flesh, so it is much easier now when they have this desire to know more. The Earth mourns waiting for you to come to the knowledge of Yehovah…help others to get to the same level and more than where they are now.

We wrote a few weeks ago of a Bishop in Africa who has our books Remembering the Sabbatical year of 2016 and The 2300 Days of Hell. He also has all the videos. He has been teaching these truths to all of his 65 churches and to all of the deacons and elders and pastors.

He now needs your prayers. We were considering going there to help him understand and to teach others, but Satan is moving in and danger is on the horizon. You can read why we are so concerned as is our Bishop in this article about the Rwuwanda Genocide back in 1994 & the Burundi Genocides.

Here is his latest note to us.

Dear James,

I want to inform you that there is some disturbances in Burundi due to the upcoming presidential elections of June 26. Since Saturday, the opposition political parties started to make manifestations. Some of the Bujumbura roads are blocked, no traffic, 8 people passed away yesterday. Schools and Universities are closed.
Today we have been visited by the envoy of the UN in this Great Lakes, we are waiting for the outcome of his visit.
We are in terrible situation as we do not move from home for security reasons.
Keep praying for us for God’s protection as we serve Him in Truth and Spirit.
May the Lord keep you and bless you
Rev.
Yehovah Our Redeemer

As we count the Omer each day and each week, we are getting closer and closer to Shavuot. With this News letter we are now at the 4th week and the 28th day of Counting the Omer.

And then almost everyone, both Christian and Hebrew Roots as well as Jews, are all teaching and reading the Book of Ruth and learning something about Boaz the kinsman redeemer.

But does anyone stop and think about what they are talking about?

Does anyone know where this thing about the Redeemer comes from and who it is?

Everyone loves the story of Ruth and the great love story it is, but do you or they actually pause and consider some things here? A selah as it were.

Selah…..

In Lev 25 we are told about the Sabbatical and Jubilee years. Immediately after we are told of them we are told about the ability to redeem the land or property and persons from slavery or debts.

The Redeemer is connected to the Sabbatical and Jubilee years somehow, and we are told how in the remainder of Lev 25.

Who is our redeemer? Many of you will pipe up and say Yehshua is. But is that correct?
Lets read the scriptures and see. This kind of shocked me when I looked.

Psa_19:14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in Your sight, O Jehovah, my Rock and my Redeemer.

Isa_41:14 Do not fear, worm of Jacob and men of Israel; I will help you, says Jehovah, and your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.

Isa_43:14 So says Jehovah, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel; For your sake I have sent to Babylon, and have brought down all of them as fugitives, and the Chaldeans, whose shout is in the ships.

Isa_44:6 So says Jehovah, the King of Israel, and His redeemer Jehovah of Hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and besides Me there is no God.

Isa_44:24 So says Jehovah, your Redeemer, and He who formed you from the womb, I am Jehovah who makes all things; who stretches out the heavens alone; who spreads out the earth; who was with Me?

It is Yehovah alone who has created all things. Not Yehovah and Yehshua. Not Yehovah and the Holy Ghost! You just read it with your own eyes, Yehovah is the creator and He alone is our redeemer.

Isa_47:4 Our Redeemer, Jehovah of Hosts is His name, the Holy One of Israel.

Isa_48:17 So says Jehovah, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel, I am Jehovah your God who teaches you to profit, who leads you by the way that you should go.

Isa_49:7 So says Jehovah, the Redeemer of Israel, His Holy One, to Him whom man despises, to Him whom the nation hates, the servant of rulers: Kings shall see and arise, rulers also shall worship, because of Jehovah who is faithful, the Holy One of Israel, and He shall choose You.

Can you imagine, people and nations hate and despise Yehovah, our redeemer. Do you also despise Him? Do you also not want to keep His commandments and His Holy Sabbaths-the weekly Sabbath, the Holy Days of Lev 23 and the Sabbatical years?

Isa_49:26 And I will feed those who oppress you with their own flesh; and they shall be drunk with their own blood, as with sweet wine; and all flesh shall know that I Jehovah am your Savior and your Redeemer, the mighty One of Jacob.

Read that again. Yehovah is our Savior and our redeemer. Selah. Pause and think about this. It is huge. Now consider the other verse in Isaiah.

Isa 43:11 I, even I, Jehovah; and beside me there is no saviour.

Hos 13:4 Yet I am Jehovah your God from the land of Egypt, and you shall know no God but Me. For there is no Savior besides Me.

Returning to our verses on the redeemer;

Isa_54:5  For your Maker is your husband; Jehovah of Hosts is His name; and your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel; the God of the whole earth shall He be called.

Isa_54:8 In a little wrath I hid My face from you for a moment; but with everlasting kindness I will have mercy on you, says Jehovah your Redeemer.

Isa_59:20 And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and to those who turn from transgression in Jacob, says Jehovah.

Isa_60:16 You will also suck the milk of nations, and suck the breast of kings; and you will know that I Jehovah am your Savior and your Redeemer, the mighty One of Jacob.

Isa_63:16 For You are our Father, though Abraham does not know us, and Israel does not acknowledge us. You, O Jehovah, are our Father, our Redeemer; Your name is from everlasting.

Jer_50:34 Their Redeemer is strong; Jehovah of Hosts, is His name. He shall thoroughly plead their cause, so that he may give rest to the land, and give trouble to the people of Babylon.

Now here are all the verses that elude to Yehshua as the Redeemer. Not one of them says that Yehshua IS THE REDEEMER.

I want you to understand. Yehovah is Yehshua. They are one and the same. It was Yehovah that we hung on the tree and murdered. There is not three, as in the trinity, nor two. There is just one. Do we not state this each and every time we say the Shema?

Deu 6:4 Hear, O, Israel. Jehovah our God is one Jehovah.

We read in Exodus that Israel is Yehovah’s first born and because Pharoah would not release Israel, Yehovah slew Egypt’s first born.

Exo 4:21 And Jehovah said to Moses, When you go to return into Egypt, see that you do all those wonders which I have put in your hand before Pharaoh; but I will harden his heart, that he shall not let the people go. 22And you shall say to Pharaoh, Thus says the Lord: Israel is My son, My first-born. 23And I say to you, Let My son go, that he may serve Me. And if you refuse to let him go, behold, I am going to kill your son, your first-born.

Yehovah gave Pharaoh lots of time to repent before taking the first born. He warned them in Exodus 4 and then does it in Exodus 11.

Exo 11:4 And Moses said, Thus says Jehovah: About midnight I will go out into the midst of Egypt. 5And all the first-born in the land of Egypt shall die, from the first-born of Pharaoh that sits upon his throne, even to the first-born of the slave-girl that is behind the mill; also the first-born of beasts. 6And there shall be a great cry throughout all the land of Egypt, such as there was none like it, nor shall be like it any more.
Then, at the beginning of chapter 13, seemingly out of the blue, Yehovah ever-so-briefly introduces the setting apart of the firstborn: “Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, ‘Sanctify to Me all the firstborn, whatever opens the womb among the children of Israel, both of man and animal; it is Mine'” (Exodus 13:1-2).

In verses 3 to 10, He continues to give detailed instructions for the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Then, in verse 11, He returns to the subject of the firstborn and furnishes some more thorough rules:

And it shall be, when the Lord brings you into the land of the Canaanites, as He swore to you and your fathers, and gives it to you, that you shall set apart to the Lord all that open the womb, that is, every firstling that comes from an animal which you have; the males shall be the Lord’s. But every firstling of a donkey you shall redeem with a lamb; and if you will not redeem it, then you shall break its neck. And all the firstborn of man among your sons you shall redeem. (verses 11-13)

The word redeem means “buy back.” If a family’s firstborn donkey was critical to their livelihood, they could buy it back from God by offering a lamb in its place. Of course, God did not demand that His people offer their firstborn children as literal human sacrifices. They, too, were to be bought back by means of a lamb sacrifice.

So it shall be, when your son asks you in time to come, saying, “What is this?” that you shall say to him, “By strength of hand the Lord brought us out of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. And it came to pass, when Pharaoh was stubborn about letting us go, that the Lord killed all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both the firstborn of man and the firstborn of animal. Therefore I sacrifice to the Lord all males that open the womb, but all the firstborn of my sons I redeem.” It shall be as a sign on your hand and as frontlets between your eyes, for by strength of hand the Lord brought us out of Egypt. (verses 14-16)

This relationship between the firstborn and the Feast of Unleavened Bread is repeated later in Exodus:

The Feast of Unleavened Bread you shall keep. Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, as I commanded you, in the appointed time of the month of Abib; for in the month of Abib you came out from Egypt. All that open the womb are Mine, and every male firstling among your livestock, whether of ox or sheep. But the firstling of a donkey you shall redeem with a lamb. And if you will not redeem him, then you shall break his neck. All the firstborn of your sons you shall redeem. And none shall appear before Me empty-handed. (Exodus 34:18-20)

God gives additional instructions in Exodus 22:29-30:

You shall not delay to offer the first of your ripe produce and your juices [the outflow of your presses, RSV]. The firstborn of your sons you shall give to Me. Likewise you shall do with your oxen and your sheep. It shall be with its mother seven days; on the eighth day you shall give it to Me.

Here, God tells the Israelites that their firstborn cattle and sheep must be offered to Him on the eighth day of life. Likewise, the firstborn of the Israelite children—or rather the redeeming sacrificial lambs with which the parents bought back their newborn babies from God—must be offered on the babies’ eighth day of life. In the case of a boy, this coincides with the day of his circumcision. The baby was “presented” to God at this time, and, although the parents had redeemed the baby, God still claimed the firstborn as being special to Him and still belonging to Him!

Note that the eighth-day presentation and offering were peculiar to the firstborn and was in addition to the sin offering and burnt offering (pigeons, turtledoves, or lambs) that were required for every other newborn baby and for the ritual purification of the mother: “Speak to the children of Israel, saying, ‘If a woman has conceived, and borne a male child, then she shall be unclean seven days. . . . And on the eighth day [he] . . . shall be circumcised'” (Leviticus 12:2-3).

Thus, on the eighth day, a baby boy is to be both circumcised and redeemed. Later, another offering is to be given:

She shall then continue in the blood of her purification thirty-three days. She shall not touch any hollowed thing, nor come into the sanctuary until the days of her purification are fulfilled. But if she bears a female child, then she shall be unclean two weeks as in her customary impurity, and she shall continue in the blood of her purification sixty-six days. When the days of her purification are fulfilled, whether for a son or a daughter, she shall bring to the priest a lamb of the first year as a burnt offering, and a young pigeon or a turtledove as a sin offering, to the door of the tabernacle of meeting. (Leviticus 12:4-6)

Notice, she could not make this offering until the time of her purification ended.

Then [the priest] shall offer it before the Lord, and make atonement for her. And she shall be clean from the flow of her blood. This is the law for her who has borne a male or a female. And if she is not able to bring a lamb, then she may bring two turtledoves or two young pigeons—one as a burnt offering and the other as a sin offering. So the priest shall make atonement for her, and she will be clean. (verses 7-8)

Originally, it appears that God set apart all firstborn children as His to be used in His service. When He instituted the Levitical priesthood, however, He substituted Levite priests for His service in place of the firstborn of the other tribes.

Now behold, I Myself have taken the Levites from among the children of Israel instead of every firstborn who opens the womb among the children of Israel. Therefore the Levites shall be mine, because all the firstborn are Mine. On the day that I struck all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, I sanctified to Myself all the firstborn in Israel, both man and beast. They shall be Mine: I am the Lord. (Numbers 3:12-13)

Number all the firstborn males of the children of Israel, from a month old and above, and take the number of their names. And you shall take the Levites for Me—I am the Lord—instead of all the firstborn among the children of Israel, and the livestock of the Levites instead of all the firstborn among the livestock of the children of Israel.” . . . And all the firstborn males . . . were twenty-two thousand two hundred and seventy-three. (verses 40-41, 43)

Take the Levites instead of all the firstborn among the children of Israel, and the livestock of the Levites instead of their livestock. The Levites shall be Mine: I am the Lord. And for the redemption of the two hundred and seventy-three of the firstborn of the children of Israel, who are more than the number of the Levites, you shall take five shekels for each one individually. . . . And you shall give the money . . . to Aaron and his sons. (verses 45-48)

Also notice Numbers 8:16-18:

For they are wholly given to Me from among the children of Israel; I have taken them for myself instead of all who open the womb, the firstborn of all the children of Israel. For all the firstborn among the children of Israel are Mine, both man and beast; on the day that I struck all the firstborn in the land of Egypt I sanctified them to Myself. I have taken the Levites instead of all the firstborn among the children of Israel.

Additional instruction appears in Numbers 18:15:

Everything that first opens the womb of all flesh, which they bring to the Lord, whether man or beast, shall be yours [the Levitical priesthood’s]; nevertheless the firstborn of man you shall surely redeem, and the firstborn of unclean animals you shall redeem.

It appears that, even after the institution of the Levitical priesthood, God still claimed all the firstborn of Israel as His own and as special to Him. Later, after the Jews’ return from captivity in Babylon, they reinstituted ordinances “to bring the firstborn of our sons and our cattle, as it is written in the Law, and the firstlings of our herds and our flocks, to the house of our God, to the priests who minister in the house of our God” (Nehemiah 10:36).

Num 18:15  Everything that opens the womb in all flesh, which they bring to Jehovah, of men or animals, shall be yours. Nevertheless, the first-born of man you shall surely redeem, and the first-born of unclean animals you shall redeem.16 And those that are to be redeemed from a month old you shall redeem, according to your judgment for the silver of five shekels, according to the shekel of the sanctuary, which is twenty gerahs.17But the first-born of a cow, or the first-born of a sheep, or the first-born of a goat, you shall not redeem. They are holy. You shall sprinkle their blood upon the altar, and shall burn their fat, an offering made by fire, for a sweet savor to Jehovah.

Question: “Why was the redemption price for men and women different in Leviticus 27:3–8?”

Answer: In Leviticus 27, instructions are given regarding vows made on behalf of various people in dedication to the Lord. When a vow was made, the amount of the offering varied based on age and gender. The redemption price for men and women was different, as shown in the following list:

Males 60 and over: 15 shekels
Females 60 and over: 10 shekels
Males ages 20—60: 50 shekels
Females ages 20—60: 30 shekels
Males ages 5—20: 20 shekels
Females ages 5—20: 10 shekels
Males ages 0—5: 5 shekels
Females ages 0—5: 3 shekels

shekel was believed to be the value of a worker for an entire month, so even one shekel was a large amount for the average person. For those too poor to pay the set amount, the priest would determine an appropriate price.

Clearly, the males 20—60 years of age required the highest price, and males were more expensive to dedicate than females. The reason appears to be based on the person’s ability to work in an agricultural society and on how many years that person could work. A male aged 20—60 was seen as someone who could perform the best labor, therefore resulting in the highest price. Those over 60 and under 20 could do some work, but not as much, traditionally. Those 5 years old and under required the lowest price, as they would have been unable to work much or at all.

Read more:http://www.gotquestions.org/redemption-price.html#ixzz3YKFJTY00

In the Hebrew Bible the laws (see mitzvah) concerning the redemption of the first-born male are referred to in Exodus, Numbers and Leviticus:

Exodus 13:13–16 Every firstborn of man among your sons, you shall redeem. And it will come to pass that if your son asks you in the future, saying, “What is this?” you shall say to him, “With a mighty hand did God take us out of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. And it came to pass when Pharaoh was too stubborn to let us out, God slew every firstborn in the land of Egypt.

The redemption price was set at 5 shekels for each of 273 surplus firstborn Levites:

Numbers 3:45-47 Take the Levites instead of all the firstborns among the children of Israel . . . You shall take five shekels per head, according to the holy shekel, by which the shekel is twenty gerahs.

So here is what we have learned thus far. All the first born belong to Yehovah. Because Pharaoh would not let Yehovah’s first born go, He slew Egypt’s first born. There is a price associated with redeeming the first born. A cost that was involved in redeeming Israel, Yehovah’s first born.

The importance of this can not be emphasized enough.

The redemption of the firstborn is very significant as it is a visible sign or a symbol of YHVH’s deliverance of Israel. This phrase “so it shall serve as a sign on your hand and as phylacteries on your forehead” is used only four times in Scripture. The first time it is used, is just after the instructions for the Feast of Unleavened Bread were given; the second time after the instructions for the redemption of the firstborn son. These instructions for the redemption are neatly tucked in between the two phrases “So it shall serve as a sign on your hand and as phylacteries on your forehead, for with a powerful hand YHVH brought us out of Egypt.

Exo 13:6 You shall eat unleavened bread seven days, and in the seventh day shall be a feast to Jehovah. 7  Unleavened bread shall be eaten seven days. And there shall be no leavened bread seen with you, nor shall there be leaven seen with you in all your borders. 8  And you shall tell your son in that day, saying, This is because of what Jehovah did for me when I came out from Egypt. 9  And it shall be a sign to you upon your hand, and for a memorial between your eyes, that Jehovah’s Law may be in your mouth. For the Lord has brought you out of Egypt with a strong hand. 10  You shall therefore keep this law in its season from year to year. 11  And it will be, when Jehovah shall bring you into the land of the Canaanites, as He swore to you and to your fathers, and shall give it to you, 12  you shall set apart to Jehovah every one that opens the womb, and every first-born that comes of any animal which you have; the males shall be Jehovah’s. 13  And every first-born of an ass you shall redeem with a lamb. And if you will not redeem it, then you shall break its neck. And all the first-born of man among your sons you shall redeem. 14  And it shall be when your sons asks you in time to come, saying, What is this? you shall say to him, Jehovah brought us out of Egypt by the strength of His hand, from the house of bondage. 15  And it happened when Pharaoh hardened himself against sending us, Jehovah killed all the first-born of the land of Egypt, both the first-born of man, and the first-born of animals. Therefore I sacrifice to Jehovah all that opens the womb, that are males. But all the first-born of my sons I redeem. 16  And it shall be for a token upon your hand, and for frontlets between your eyes. For Jehovah brought us out from Egypt by strength of His hand.

The other two times this phrase is used are both in relation to the keeping of the commandments (Deut 6:8 and Deut 11:18.) The redemption of the firstborn is of great importance as it is a sign of YHVH’s deliverance. Every living, walking, talking Israelite firstborn son is a living testimony of YHVH’s deliverance to this day. Redeeming your firstborn son lifts up YHVH’s name; contrary to child sacrifice that profanes His name.

Jer_31:9  They shall come with weeping, and with prayers I will lead them. I will cause them to walk by the rivers of waters in a straight way; they shall not stumble in it, for I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is My firstborn.

But we also learned that this redemption was done on the 8th Day. The same day that the first born was circumcised. And we are learning about Boaz being the redeemer and how this is connected to the First Fruits offering of Shavuot.

Shavuot is the 8th Holy Day after the wave offering was made during Unleavened Bread. But the redemption price was paid with Egypt’s first born at Passover on the 15th, which began the week of Unleavened Bread. The commandments of how to redeem those things that once belonged to someone are found in the chapter about the Sabbatical and Jubilee years. The Sabbatical and Jubilee year mirror the Feast of Shavuot, as they also have 8 Holy Years. Those not redeemed at others times are set free with compensation each Sabbatical year and or the Jubilee year.

Selah……Think, Brethren – what is the connection in all of these things?

I urge you to once again watch the teaching we did on the 8th Day.

Now look at the 8th Millennium. The first wave offering took place when Yehshua came out of the grave, and the next day He led those saints who also came out with Him as that wave offering. Yehshua was the redeemer for these saints who came out of the grave at that time.

We now wait for Shavuot, when the next wave offering will take place and we all want to be in that one. In our book the 2300 Days of Hell, we show you that this next wave offering will take place in reality with the 144,000 on Shavuot at the end of the Tribulation in 2033. At this time we will then be redeemed and changed to spirit beings.

Both of these resurrections are those Saints who have been redeemed.

1Co 6:20 for you are bought with a price. Therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.

1Co 7:23 You are bought with a price, do not be the slaves of men

Mat 20:28 even as the Son of Man did not come to be ministered to, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.’

Heb 9:11 And Christ being come, chief priest of the coming good things, through the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands–that is, not of this creation–12neither through blood of goats and calves, but through his own blood, did enter in once into the holy places, age-during redemption having obtained;13for if the blood of bulls, and goats, and ashes of an heifer, sprinkling those defiled, doth sanctify to the purifying of the flesh, 14how much more shall the blood of the Christ (who through the age-during Spirit did offer himself unblemished to God) purify your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

Here this verse is tying in the redemption with the life of the lamb that was also to be offered.

1Pe 1:18 having known that, not with corruptible things–silver or gold–were ye redeemed from your foolish behavior delivered by fathers, 19 but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and unspotted–Christ’s–

Rev 5:8 And when he took the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell before the Lamb, having each one harps and golden vials full of perfumes, which are the prayers of the saints, 9 and they sing a new song, saying, `Worthy art thou to take the scroll, and to open the seals of it, because thou wast slain, and didst redeem us to God in thy blood, out of every tribe, and tongue, and people, and nation,10  and didst make us to our God kings and priests, and we shall reign upon the earth.’

We tend to focus on day number seven because we look to the return of Jesus Christ. We want to be done with the trials, the stresses and the troubles of this life and to see our redemption into glory. We want to rise to meet Christ in the air. These are things we should indeed look forward to and long for, but the plan of God does not focus ultimately on the return of Jesus Christ. That is incredibly important, but God the Father putting His throne on this earth on the Eighth Day is what everything ultimately moves toward. Christ’s return is part of the process. It’s pretty clear — seven days to cleanse, to consecrate, to prepare. But the eighth day is the broader, fuller restoration to God. It was on that day that males were circumcised. That is when the priests were allowed to begin to make sacrifices. That is when the firstborn offerings were to begin to be offered. That is when the Nazirites and those who were cleansed were restored to God. The symbolism of the Eighth Day, laid out like fingerprints throughout God’s Word, is incredibly significant.

The Eighth Day of the Feast of Sukkot represents the 8th Millennial Day of Mankind. We are about to finish the 6th day of man and begin the 7th Millennium with King David as our King here on earth. He and all the other saints in the faith will be redeemed on the Feast day of Shavuot in 2033, as we shared earlier.

We are told in Leviticus that when we are cleansed from a sickness, after 7 days we are to mikveh and then we are cleaned. The water represents the Holy Spirit washing over us. In this soon to come 7th Millennium, Yehovah’s Holy Spirit will be all over us, perfecting and purifying us so that when that 8th Millennial day does arrive, we can then dwell with Yehovah.

The rest of mankind will be redeemed in the 8th Millennium after the Great White Throne Judgement. See Revelation 20. Israel is Yehovah’s first born. Yehovah is our Redeemer and He does not come until the 8th Millennium. He has paid the price with His own blood on our behalf. Your redemption is priceless by the amount that was paid for you.

Think about the cost that was paid for you. What are you doing for your redeemer?

Counting the Omer

WEEK FIVE

Day Twenty-Nine | A Song of Thanksgiving | Psalm 67:1-7

Today is the first day of the fifth week of seven weeks. Today is the twenty-ninth 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)

Day Thirty | Yehovah & His People (Part I) | Psalm 78:1-16

Today is the second day of the fifth week of seven weeks. Today is the thirtieth 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 My people, give ear to my Torah.1 Incline your ears to the words of my mouth. (Psalm 78:1 | Footnote: 1In vv. 1-11 the words “teaching, words, witness, commands, covenant,” are used interchangeably, almost synonymously. We find the same in Psalm 119.)
2 I open my mouth in a parable; I utter riddles of old. (Psalm 78:2)

3 Which we have heard and known, for our fathers have related them to us. (Psalm 78:3)
We do not hide them from their children, relating to the generation to come the praises of Elohim and His strength and His wonders which He has done. (Psalm 78:4)
5 For He raised a witness in Ya’aqob (Jacob), and set a Torah in Yisra’el, which He commanded our fathers, to teach them to their children. (Psalm 78:5)
6 That it might be known to a generation to come, to children who would be born, to rise up and relate them to their children. (Psalm 78:6)
7 And place their trust in Elohim, and not forget the works of El, but watch over His commands. (Psalm 78:7)
8 And not be like their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation, a generation which did not prepare its heart, whose spirit was not steadfast to El. (Psalm 78:8)
9 The children of Ephrayim (Ephraim), armed bowmen, turned back in the day of battle. (Psalm )78:9
10 They did not guard the covenant of Elohim, and they refused to walk in His Torah. (Psalm )78:10

11 And they forgot His deeds and His wonders which He had shown them. (Psalm 78:11)
12 He did wonders in the sight of their fathers, in the land of Mitsrayim (Egypt), in the field of Tso’an (Zoan). (Psalm 78:12)
13 He split the sea and caused them to pass through, and He made the waters stand up like a heap. (Psalm 78:13)
14 And led them with the cloud by day, and all the night with a light of fire. (Psalm 78:14)
15 He split the rocks in the wilderness, and made them drink, as from the great depths. (Psalm )78:15
16 And brought forth streams from the rock, and caused waters to come down as rivers. (Psalm )78:16

Day Thirty-One | Yehovah & His People (Part II) | Psalm 78:17-31

Today is the third day of the fifth week of seven weeks. Today is the thirty-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)

17 Yet they sinned still more against Him to rebel against the Most High in the desert. (Psalm )78:17
18 And they tried El in their heart by asking food according to their desire. (Psalm 78:18)
19 And they spoke against Elohim. They said, “Is El able to set a table in the wilderness?” (Psalm )78:19

20 “Look, He struck the rock, so that the waters gushed out, and the streams overflowed. Is He able to give bread also? Would He provide meat for His people?” (Psalm 78:20)
21 Therefore Elohim heard, and He was wroth. So a fire was kindled against Ya’aqob (Jacob), and displeasure also came up against Yisra’el. (Psalm 78:21)

22 Because they did not believe in Elohim, neither did they trust in His deliverance. (Psalm )78:22
23 Yet He had commanded the clouds above, and opened the doors of the heavens. (Psalm 78:23) 24 And He rained down manna on them to eat, and He gave them the grain of the heavens. (Psalm )78:24

25 Men ate bread of the mighty; He sent them provisions to satisfaction. (Psalm 78:25)
26 He made an east wind blow in the heavens; and by His power He brought in the south wind. (Psalm 78:26)
27 And He rained meat on them like the dust, and winged birds like the sand of the seas. (Psalm )78:27
28 And let them fall in the midst of His camp, all around His Dwelling Place. (Psalm 78:28)
29 So they ate and were completely satisfied, for He brought them what they desired. (Psalm )78:29
30 They had not turned away from their desire, their food was still in their mouths. (Psalm 78:30) 31 When the wrath of Elohim came against them, and He slew among their fat ones, and He struck down the choice ones of Yisra’el. (Psalm 78:31)

Day Thirty-Two | Yehovah & His People (Part III) | Psalm 78:32-39

Today is the fourth day of the fifth week of seven weeks. Today is the thirty-second 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)

32 In spite of all this they still sinned, and did not believe in His wonders. (Psalm 78:32)
33 So He ended their days in a breath, and their years in trouble. (Psalm 78:33)
34 When He slew them, then they sought Him, and they returned and did earnestly seek El. (Psalm 78:34)
35 And they remembered that Elohim was their rock, and the Most High El their Redeemer. (Psalm 78:35)
36 But they flattered Him with their mouth, and they lied to Him with their tongue. (Psalm 78:36) 37 For their heart was not steadfast with Him, and they were not true to His covenant. (Psalm 78:37)
38 But He, the Compassionate One, pardoned crookedness, and did not destroy them. And many a time He turned His displeasure away, and did not stir up all His wrath. (Psalm 78:38)
39 For He remembered that they were but flesh, a passing breath that does not return. (Psalm 78:39)

Day Thirty-Three | Yehovah & His People (Part IV) | Psalm 78:40-55

Today is the fifth day of the fifth week of seven weeks. Today is the thirty-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)

40 How often they rebelled against Him in the wilderness, and grieved Him in the desert! (Psalm 78:40)
41 And again and again they tried El, and provoked the Set-Apart One of Yisra’el. (Psalm 78:41) 42 They did not remember His hand, the day when He redeemed them from the adversary. (Psalm 78:42)

43 How He worked His signs in Mitsrayim (Egypt), and His wonders in the field of Tso’an (Zoan). (Psalm 78:43)

44 He turned their rivers into blood, and they could not drink their streams. (Psalm 78:44)
45 He sent among them swarms of flies which devoured them, and frogs which destroyed them. (Psalm 78:45)
46 And gave their crops to the caterpillar, and their labor to the locust. (Psalm 78:46)
47 He destroyed their vines with hail, and their sycamore trees with frost. (Psalm 78:47)
48 And gave their beasts over to the hail, and their livestock to bolts of fire. (Psalm 78:48)
49 He sent on them the burning of His displeasure, wrath, and rage, and distress, a deputation of messengers of evils. (Psalm 78:49)
50 He made a path for His displeasure. He did not spare their being from death, but gave their life over to the plague. (Psalm 78:50)
51 And He smote all the first-born in Mitsrayim (Egypt), the first-fruits of strength in the tents of Ham. (Psalm 78:51)
52 Then made His own people go forth like sheep, and led them in the wilderness like a flock. (Psalm 78:52)
53 And He led them on safely, and they did not fear, but the sea covered their enemies. (Psalm 78:53)
54 And He brought them to the border of His set-apart place, this mountain which His right hand had gained. (Psalm 78:54)
55 And drove out nations before them, and allotted them a measured inheritance, and made the tribes of Yisra’el dwell in their tents. (Psalm 78:55)

Day Thirty-Four | Yehovah & His People (Part V) | Psalm 78:56-72

Today is the sixth day of the fifth week of seven weeks. Today is the thirty-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)

56 Yet they tried and rebelled against the Most High Elohim, and did not guard His witnesses. (Psalm 78:56)
57 But they turned back and acted treacherously like their fathers. They twisted like a treacherous bow. (Psalm 78:57)

58 For they enraged Him with their high places, and moved Him to jealousy with their carved images. (Psalm 78:58)
59 When Elohim heard this, He was wroth, and greatly despised Yisra’el, (Psalm 58:59)
60 And He left the Dwelling Place of Shiloh, the Tent which He had set up among men. (Psalm 58:60)

61 And He gave His strength1 into captivity, and His comeliness1 into the hand of the adversary. (Psalm 78:61 | Footnote: 1“Strength” & “comeliness” are used as symbolic names for His Ark. See also Psalm 63:2, Psalm 132:8, & II Chronicles 6:41)
62 And He gave His people over to the sword, and He was wroth with His inheritance. (Psalm 78:62)

63 His young men were consumed by fire, and His maidens were not praised. (Psalm 78:63) 64 His priests fell by the sword, and their widows could not weep. (Psalm 78:64)

65 Then Elohim awoke as one asleep, as a mighty man who shouts because of wine. (Psalm 78:65) 66 And He smote His adversaries backward. He put them to an everlasting reproach. (Psalm )78:66
67 Then He rejected the tent of Yoseph (Joseph), and did not choose the tribe of Ephrayim (Ephraim). (Psalm 78:67)
68 But chose the tribe of Yehudah (Judah), Mount Tsiyon (Zion), which He loved. (Psalm 78:68) 69 And He built His set-apart place like the heights, like the earth He founded it forever. (Psalm )78:69
70 And He chose Dawid (David) His servant, and took him from the sheepfolds. (Psalm 78:70)
71 He brought him in from tending the ewes, to shepherd Ya’aqob (Jacob) His people, and Yisra’el His inheritance. (Psalm 78:71)
72 And He shepherded them according to the integrity of His heart, and led them by the skill of His hands. (Psalm 78:72)

Day Thirty-Five | Yehovah, the King | Psalm 93:1-5

Today is the seventh day of the fifth week of seven weeks. Today is the thirty-fifth 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 fifth Sabbath of seven Sabbaths. Today completes the fifth 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)

Elohim shall put on strength. He shall gird Himself. Elohim shall reign, He shall put on excellency ELohim. 1 Indeed, the world is established, immovable. (Psalm 93:1)
2 Your throne is established from of old. You are from everlasting. (Psalm 93:2)
3 Rivers shall lift up, O Elohim. Rivers shall lift up their voice. Rivers lift up their breakers. (Psalm )93:3

Elohim on high is mightier than the noise of many waters, the mighty breakers of the sea. (Psalm 4 )93:4
5 Your witnesses have been very trustworthy. Set-apartness befits Your house, O Elohim, forever. (Psalm 93:5)

ERIKTOLOGY - ALEPH/BEYT

Lamed- lk-Torah- The Word- Teach and Learn.

This week Eric has just blown me away with his teachings. I do hope you are studying these things. I just do not have the words to express this teaching this week.

Triennial Torah Reading

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

 

02/05/2015   Ex 40   Jeremiah 16-18 Prov 13  Acts 10

 

The Finished Tabernacle Filled With God’s Glory (Exodus 40)

God gave Moses explicit instruction regarding every detail of the building of the tabernacle. And the Bible makes two interesting statements regarding the care with which Moses followed these instructions. Verse 16 says, “Moses did according to all that the Lord had commanded him,” while verse 33 simply says, “So Moses finished the work.” Moses was a faithful man of God. He strove for excellence in everything God gave him to do. The book of Hebrews comments on his faithfulness, “Moses indeed was faithful in all His house as a servant” (Hebrews 3:5).

The tabernacle was finally set up and its furnishings arranged on the first day of the first month, Abib or Nisan on the Hebrew Calendar, of the second year of Israel’s journey out of Egypt (verses 2, 17). This was around 10 months after the people had arrived at Sinai and nearly two weeks before their second keeping of the Passover. When everything God had commanded had been completed, He came near in a dramatic descent that manifested His glory among the Israelites, filling the tabernacle with His glory so that even Moses could not enter. The appearance of God’s glory is sometimes called the Shekinah or the Shekinah glory, coming from the Hebrew for “to dwell.” The Nelson Study Bible states: “The glory of the Lord filling the tabernacle demonstrated His Presence with the Israelites, His significance to them, and His awe-inspiring wonder. The words of John 1:1-18 are appropriate to recall here. In the Incarnation, the glory of God was manifest not in a tent, but in His Son…. How wonderful that the Book of Exodus concludes with this image of the gracious God, hovering protectively over His people…. A faithful Israelite follower of God could see the tabernacle and realize that God was there in His splendor and power. And with Him the people advanced to Canaan, the land He had promised to them.”

 

Jeremiah Not to Marry or Participate in Judah’s Social Life (Jeremiah 16) 

Jeremiah is commanded by God not to marry and have children while in Judah. He is also forbidden from taking part in social activities such as mourning and feasting. Both were to serve as a witness against Judah. “The prophet is ordered to behave in an eccentric manner [as prophets often were]…; celibacy was extremely uncommon, refusal to participate in funerary rites ill-mannered and disrespectful. Both actions had one meaning: There is no future here” (New Bible Commentary, note on verses 1-21). “The prohibition against marriage is to underscore the coming death and destruction that will face parents and children. Even burial will be denied the dead. The theme of lament is repeated in God’s refusal to allow Jeremiah to intercede on the people’s behalf (7.16; 14.11-12; 15.1). He is also forbidden to rejoice with them, for joy will be taken from the land during the impending destruction and exile” (HarperCollins Study Bible, note on 16:1-13). Jeremiah 16:9 is a repetition of 7:34—and will be repeated again in 25:10.

Moreover, the restrictions imposed on Jeremiah actually served his well-being. He would not have been able to have a normal family life anyway with his commission and the animosity it brought. Furthermore, the near future was going to be calamitous—”so severe that the single state would be then (contrary to the ordinary course of things) preferable to the married (cf. I Cor. 7:8; 26:29; Matt. 24:19; Luke 23:29)” (Jamieson, Fausset & Brown’s Commentary, note on verse 2). In times of great trial, worry over loved ones increases the pain of the circumstances. This being so, we can perhaps see how the prohibition against fraternizing in normal social contexts was also a great blessing to Jeremiah. It kept him from developing close friendships with those who were soon to suffer. Moreover, we should consider that many of the social customs of the people, such as those in Jeremiah 16:6, were derived from paganism. Jeremiah would, of course, have to separate himself from such practices.

Verses 10-13 illustrate the falsity of the people’s confession of sin in chapter 14. For they here do not even know what sins they are guilty of—even though they have committed terrible idolatry worse than their ancestors! So punishment is certainly coming—they will be taken away to another land where they will learn through painful experience what it really means to be subject to paganism and cut off from the true God (16:13).

Verses 14-15 (repeated in 23:7-8) offer a glimmer of hope about the future. God will bring Israel back in a second Exodus (compare Isaiah 11:11). This is speaking not of the Jewish return from Babylonian captivity in ancient times, but of the return of all Israel from captivity at the end of this age. This should be clear from the fact that the Jewish return from Babylonian exile never overshadowed the Mosaic Exodus from Egypt—as God said this return would.

In the next verse, Jeremiah 16:16, God seems to return to the theme of immediate punishment, as hunting and fishing are elsewhere used as metaphors for captivity by enemies (compare Ezekiel 12:13; Amos 4:2; Habakkuk 1:15; Micah 7:2). Yet perhaps God is actually using similar imagery to describe the bringing back of His people mentioned in the previous verse. Jamieson, Fausset & Brown’s Commentary states: “It is remarkable, the same image is used in a good sense of the Jews’ restoration, implying that just as their enemies were employed by God to take them in hand for destruction, so the same [i.e., hunters and fishers] shall be employed for their restoration. (Ezek. 47:9, 10). So spiritually… [God’s ministers are “fishers of men”], employed by God to be heralds of salvation, ‘catching men’ for life (Matt. 4:19; Luke 5:10; Acts 2:41; 4:4…II Cor. 12:16)” (note on Jeremiah 16:16).

But before any future regathering, God’s people are to receive “double” for their sins (verse 18). It is not clear exactly what is meant here. It may refer to the fact that God expects more from those to whom He gives special gifts so that Israel and Judah are to receive a more severe judgment than the rest of the nations (compare Luke 12:47-48; James 3:1). Some suggest that “double” is idiomatic for “fully” or “amply.” Others maintain that the double punishment actually refers to two periods of punishment, the ancient captivity and the one to come later—just prior to the ultimate restoration promised in the preceding verses.

The point of verses 19-21 is also not exactly clear. These seem to refer to the time of Messiah’s return, when the relationship between God and man is restored and all nations on earth come to know God and worship Him (compare Isaiah 2:1-4; 11:9). The word “gentiles” in verse 19 of Jeremiah 16 actually means “nations” and, in that sense, could include Israel and Judah. So the point may be the happy ending of Israel’s future return, followed by all nations. However, the point may also be that while God’s people have filled His land with foreign idols and are rejected (verse 18), many foreigners would come to forsake their pagan past and embrace the true God—that is, during the Assembly age (from apostolic times until Messiah’s return). This would serve as a point of shame against God’s own people (see Romans 11:11). Either way, we can still be thankful for the happy ending promised in verses 14-15 of Jeremiah 16 and throughout Scripture.

 

The Deceitful Heart of Man; Hallow the Sabbath (Jeremiah 17) 

Rather than the law of God, rebellious idolatry—including pagan offering and asherah worship—is ingrained in the heart, the inner character, of the people of Judah, being passed down from one generation to the next (17:1-2). This is much like the sin of modern Israelite nations. Messiahmas trees and other pagan traditions are clung to so strongly as to be considered part of the very heart of the people—again, passed down through the generations.

For the people’s rebellion, God will give their enemies the wealth of His “mountain [Jerusalem] in the field [of the nation of Judah]” and of all their “high places” (worship centers) in the land (verse 3). Indeed, even the people themselves will be given to their enemies—deported to a foreign land (verse 4). God’s anger will burn “forever”—that is, against the sin as long as the sin persists.

God then contrasts trust in man with trust in God. In verse 5, two different Hebrew words are translated “man”: “Cursed is the man [the person] who trusts in man [mankind].” The Jews should have realized this regarding their national and religious leaders. And we must understand this today. This does not mean we cannot place any trust in other human beings. But our ultimate faith and trust must not be in other people—or ourselves. Consider that God Himself gives human beings to guide and teach us. But He cautions that our allegiance must be to Him and His Word first. “We ought to obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29). In fact, Scripture contains many warnings about false teachers who will rise up, some even within the fellowship of the true Assembly (20:29; 2 Peter 2:1-4). And God makes it clear that people will not be excused if they choose to follow what a man says above what God says. Human beings have no authority to change any of God’s directives. Those who rely ultimately on other people or themselves are inevitably cursed.

Those who place faith and trust in God, on the other hand, are blessed. They are compared to fruitful trees, as in Psalm 1:3. They do not need to fear times of physical drought—as Judah was experiencing when Jeremiah prophesied—because the Almighty God is there to sustain them. He will ensure their fruitfulness on a physical level and, more importantly, on a spiritual level—granting them abundant eternal life in the end.

Failure to discern this is a problem of the heart—a person’s inner thoughts and feelings. God declares that the heart is deceitful—the original Hebrew word here coming from the same root as the name Jacob (the designation for unconverted Israel)—and “desperately wicked” (Jeremiah 7:9). For the latter expression, some margins have “incurably sick.” It is like a mental illness: “Truly the hearts of the sons of men are full of evil; madness is in their hearts while they live, and after that they go to the dead” (Ecclesiastes 9:3). Romans 8:7 tells us that “the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be.” Clearly, the human mind needs spiritual healing, which God ultimately will bring (see Jeremiah 31:33).

Lest any think that the heart is so deceitful that even God can’t see what it’s about, God assures us that He is quite aware of it and, knowing to what degree each person is culpable, is able to deliver just recompense to everyone (17:10).

The discussion then moves from those who trust in human beings to those who trust in wealth apart from right living. A “nest egg” won’t ultimately save anyone (verse 11). God is our only real source of hope (verse 12).

Those who depart from the Lord, “the fountain of living waters,” shall be “written in the earth” (verse 13). This apparently refers to being written in sand, which signifies no permanence at all—as opposed to being “written in heaven” (Luke 10:20) in the “book of life” (Revelation 13:8; 20:12, 15). Perhaps Jeremiah 17:13 explains why Yeshua, after declaring Himself the source of living waters (John 7:37-38) and being rejected as such by the religious leaders of His day (verses 45-53), “wrote on the ground” when these religious leaders came to entrap Him the next morning (8:1-9).

Jeremiah prays for his own spiritual healing (Jeremiah 17:14). He knows that his message will provoke further scorn, beyond what he has already suffered. In verse 15, he declares that his persecutors are essentially inviting the day of doom in their mocking. In verse 16, Jeremiah points out that he himself has not desired the coming of that day. He has taken no joy in pronouncing judgment on the people—certainly not on the nation as a whole. However, he does ask for vindication—that he would be protected (verse 17) and that his persecutors would suffer the judgment they themselves called for (verse 18), the “double destruction” here being what God had already foretold (see 16:18).

The remainder of chapter 17 is devoted to God’s admonition about keeping the Sabbath holy. In verses 19 and 20, Jeremiah addresses the “kings” of Judah. It may be that Jehoiakim’s son Jehoiachin (Jeconiah) was a coregent with his father at this time (a possibility we will later give more attention to). The people, be they kings or commoners, are told to stop violating the Sabbath—to stop bearing burdens and doing work on God’s Holy Day (verses 21-22). This should be understood within the teachings of Yeshua Messiah. He explained that it was acceptable and within the keeping of the Sabbath to take care of emergencies, to visit the sick and to carry one’s bedroll on the Sabbath (Luke 13:15; 14:5; Mark 3:4). Indeed, He spoke against the extreme limitations the Pharisees placed on the Sabbath and on all of God’s laws (Matthew 23:4).

But there are clearly things we should not be doing on the Sabbath, as the Fourth Commandment and Isaiah 58:13 make clear. The burdens Jeremiah spoke of referred to the typical errands of the people—for instance, lugging wares home from the market. And the work the people were doing referred to their regular business or household responsibilities. This should all have ceased so as to observe God’s holy time—from Friday sunset to Saturday sunset. Sadly, Israel and Judah both had a terrible record when it came to keeping God’s Sabbath. Ezekiel 20 makes it clear that the two main sins of Israel in the past were idolatry and Sabbath breaking—and that they had been severely judged for these. Now their continued violation of the Sabbath would be met with judgment again (see Ezekiel 22:8, 14-16, 26, 31).

The Sabbath was very important. Besides being enjoined in one of the Ten Commandments, God had given the Sabbath as a special sign between Him and His people (Exodus 31:12-17). It identified Him as the true God, the Creator. If the people had continued in its faithful observance, perhaps they would have continued to worship the Creator rather than elements of creation as the pagan world around them did.

In verse 25 of Jeremiah 17, God states that even at this last moment He could change His mind and stay the punishment against Judah—allowing Jerusalem to remain standing and the line of David to continue to rule from it—if they would just start hallowing the Sabbath. Of course, this would have required keeping it properly from the heart—not the hypocritical way in which the people engaged in various ritual practices. But they would not. Nor will the nations of Israel do so today. Thus, punishment was coming in Jeremiah’s day—and it is likewise coming in the not-too-distant future. The warning of destruction with which the chapter ends is essentially a quote from the prophets Hosea and Amos—concerning ancient and future calamity (see Hosea 8:14; Amos 1:4-2:5).

With such strong declarations from God about the Sabbath, it is utterly foolhardy to think and teach, as many do today, that the Sabbath can be changed to Sunday or that it no longer matters. It obviously mattered a great deal to God—and still does. It should likewise matter to us. (To learn more, send for or download our free booklet Sunset to Sunset: God’s Sabbath Rest.)

 

Clay in the Potter’s Hands (Jeremiah 18) 

God here uses the example of a potter forming clay vessels. Almost a century earlier, Isaiah had written, “But now, O LORD, You are our Father; we are the clay, and You our potter; and all we are the work of Your hand” (Isaiah 64:8). Thus, the potter and clay was a familiar image of God’s absolute authority over His creation. But “the message God intended to communicate through this illustration was not, as some have thought, one of divine sovereignty. It was a message of grace. Judah had resisted the divine potter. Yet even now God was willing to begin anew and reshape His people into that good vessel He had had in mind from the beginning” (Lawrence Richards, The Bible Reader’s Companion, 1991, note on Jeremiah 18:6). God desires that all Israel be saved (Romans 11:26)—in fact, all mankind (1 Timothy 2:4).

In verses 7-8 of Jeremiah 18, we see what Jonah well knew when he “dragged his feet” in bringing God’s warning message to Nineveh (see Jonah 3:10). If people will repent at God’s warning of destruction, He will call off the destruction. But the opposite is also true. If God pronounces good on a nation and it turns to evil, He will bring punishment on it instead (Jeremiah 18:9-10). So there was a warning inherent in the potter-and-clay analogy as well. But the main focus here was on mercy. God was fashioning disaster but was willing to start over with the people if they would soften their hearts and allow Him to work with them.

“But when Jeremiah preached this good news the people continued to resist the heavenly potter! It was too late to surrender their passion for idolatry and sin. What a tragedy! In the coming invasion the people who were unwilling to change would be crushed by suffering. The few survivors would become workable clay in His hands” (note on verse 6).

In verse 12, it is interesting to consider that people here see obedience to God as hopeless—perhaps viewing it as impossible. It may be that the false prophets had corrupted them by a message of “cheap grace”—teaching that since they supposedly couldn’t obey God, the only thing to do was mouth confessions and rely on their sacrifices and other acts of piety. This is not so different from what is often espoused in modern mainstream Christianity. Furthermore, the people’s concept of God had been corrupted by pagan teachings so that they were essentially appealing to pagan gods while believing they were trusting in the true God. He is astonished that they would forsake Him and His ways for false religion. “Snow water of Lebanon” (verse 14) refers to the waters from high Mount Hermon, which looms over the northern part of the land of Israel (Lebanon actually means “White Mountain”). These waters sank into the ground and emerged in the form of many springs, providing most of the water for the Jordan River to water the Promised Land. God likewise provided their physical and spiritual needs. Why would they look elsewhere?

Since the people have forgotten God and forsaken His ways, the land will be desolate and the people taken captive and scattered (verses 15-17). God will turn His back on His people (verse 17), just as they had turned their backs on Him (2:27). While this was, no doubt, difficult for God, being a loving Father (compare Hosea 11:8), the evil of the people had to stop. Today some might call this needed approach “tough love.” Indeed, the need for intervention was made even more pressing by the people’s mistreatment of each other and of God’s servants.

In Jeremiah 18:18, we find the people again plotting against the prophet, whereupon he cries out to God (verses 19-23). Jeremiah has done all he could to intercede for them, and yet they are trying to bring him down (verse 20). So he now cries out for God to act in terms that seem to violate Messiah’s instruction that we love our enemies and pray for them (Matthew 4:43-48). But we should suspend such judgment, not really knowing all the facts. It is likely that Jeremiah understood the truth of the second resurrection—that these people would be given an opportunity for salvation at a later time—and that he was here asking that God not provide a present atonement so as to relent from present destruction (as God had said earlier in Jeremiah 18 that He would upon repentance), for the sake not only of himself but of God’s message. “Some have questioned the bitter prayer for vengeance. But those Jeremiah inveighs against have not only slandered him, but distorted the truth and so brought judgment upon the entire nation” (note on verses 19-23).

Moreover, God Himself may have inspired His prophet with this call for judgment. Jamieson, Fausset & Brown’s Commentary states: “In this prayer he does not indulge in personal revenge, as if it were his own cause that was at stake; but he speaks under the dictation of the Spirit, ceasing to intercede, and speaking prophetically, knowing they were doomed to destruction as reprobates; for those not so, he doubtless ceased not to intercede. We are not to draw an example [of how to pray concerning our enemies in general] from this, which is a special case” (note on verse 21). In any case, as with other calls for vengeance in Scripture, what is expressed is that the perfect vengeance of God is awaited rather than any hint of personal acts of revenge being taken by God’s servant (see Romans 12:17-21).

The Psalms of David contain several calls for God to exact vengeance. Regarding these, the Tyndale Commentary remarks, “We may summarize [these] as the plea that justice shall be done and the right vindicated” (note on Psalms 1-72, p. 26).

 

First Part of Major Solomonic Collection Cont’d (Proverbs 11:1-27)

  1. What the Lord Abhors (11:1-21)

“In 11:1-21 a group of proverb collections are held together by the inclusio formed by ‘the Lord abhors’ and ‘he delights’ in vv. 1,20 [NIV].

  • “MORAL INTEGRITY AND GOD’S JUDGEMENT. Type: Chiastic (11:1-4)….Verse 1 describes God’s abhorrence of fraud, and v. 4 answers it with the promise that the wrongfully gained wealth of the wicked will do them no good in the day of judgment. Between these verses vv. 2-3 assert that humility and integrity, rather than their opposites, are the best guides in life” (NAC).

In its note on verse 1, The Bible Reader’s Companion says: “Leviticus 19:35-36 forbids the use of ‘dishonest standards,’ weighted to favor the merchant rather than the seller [he buys from] or buyer [to whom he sells]. The Jewish Talmud calls for meticulous efforts to keep this command, decreeing that ‘the shopkeeper must wipe his measures twice a week, his weights once a week, and his scales after every weighing,’ to keep any substance from throwing them off. We can’t be too careful trying to be fair with others.”

As previously noted, the language of Proverbs 11:4 is similar to that of 10:2.

  • “SALVATION FOR THE RIGHTEOUS. Type: Thematic, Parallel Proverb Pair (11:5-6)….These two proverbs parallel each other and describe the respective fates of the righteous and the wicked…
  • “DEATH OF A SINNER. Type: Inclusio, Proverb Pair (11:7-8)….As the text stands, these two proverbs are bound by the inclusio of the word ‘wicked’ in v. 7a and v. 8b…. In addition, these verses assert that God brings utter destruction to the wicked and imply a promise of eternal life to the righteous” (NAC).

As earlier noted, v. 7 contains language similar to that of 10:28.

  • “DESTRUCTIVE LIPS. Type: Chiastic, with an Afterward (11:9-13)….Verses 10-11 are an obvious pair in parallel, whereas vv. 9,12 are bound by the theme of the slanderous gossip of the wicked against restrained silence of the righteous….Verse [13] is an afterword on the subject of the tongue” (NAC).

Verse 10 may seem odd in light of the unpopularity of God’s servants among the nations of the world. However, despite persecution, it does make sense that others rejoice when the righteous are doing well: “Why should the community rejoice in the prosperity of the righteous? Because both the way a righteous man gains his wealth and the way he uses it benefits society. The righteous businessman employs others, supports schools and government with his taxes and in the O[ld] T[estament] tradition, shares generously” (Bible Reader’s Companion, note on verses 10-11). And often people enjoy seeing justice where the good guy wins.

  • “NATIONAL AND PERSONAL PRUDENCE. Type: Parallel (11:14-15)….Both proverbs here follow the pattern ‘imprudent action brings disaster / prudent action gives security,’ but the first involves national matters where the second concerns personal business” (NAC).

Verse 14 explains that it’s vital to get counsel from a number of sources than can be weighed together in making important decisions (see also 15:22; 20:18; 24:6).

Proverbs 11:15 should also be read in light of the next listed proverb in verse 16. “These two proverbs balance each other. The first warns against rashly giving surety or a pledge for a stranger. The second praises generosity [as being ‘gracious’ or ‘kindhearted’ (NIV) surely includes]; generosity begets honor” (Nelson Study Bible, note on verses 15-16). Verse 16, discussed next, should also be read in the context of the next verse, with which it is parallel.

  • “KINDNESS AND CRUELTY. Type: Parallel (11:16-17)….The pattern of these two proverbs is ‘kind woman / cruel man // kind man / ruthless man.’ By itself v. 16 could be read cynically (‘A kind woman gets respect, but a cruel man gets rich’…to justify unscrupulous behavior. In conjunction with v. 17, however, the self-destructive nature of the ‘hard-nosed’ approach to life is apparent….
  • “THE WAGES OF SIN AND RIGHTEOUSNESS. Type: Chiasmus (11:18-19)….This pair has the chiastic pattern [in this case a-b-b-a] ‘wicked man / he who sows righteousness / righteousness / he who pursues evil’….Note that this pair has links to vv. 16-17. The wealth of the cruel man corresponds to deceptive wages as the honor given a kind woman is genuine. Also the health/self-inflicted pain of v. 17 corresponds to the life and death of v. 19.
  • “DIVINE JUDGMENT. Type: Parallel (11:20-21)….God’s attitude toward individuals (disgust / pleasure) in v. 20 corresponds to the outcome of their lives (inescapable trouble / deliverance) in v. 21″—which also impacts their children (NAC).
  1. Beauty Without Discretion (11:22)

“TYPE: INDIVIDUAL PROVERB”(NAC).

  1. Generosity and Selfishness (11:23-27)

“TYPE: INCLUSIO….Verses 23,27 closely parallel each other and form an inclusio around vv. 24-26, all of which center on the theme of generosity and selfishness. The inclusio states the general truth that one receives back according to one’s own behavior while vv. 24-26 deal with the concrete issue of hoarding [and refusing to sell currently at a fair price]” (NAC).

The picture of the one who scatters abroad increasing more—the generous person being made rich—is similar to Ecclesiastes 11:1: “Cast your bread upon the waters, for you will find it after many days.” The good we do will be returned to us in different ways. Just on a human level, a selfish, stingy person will likely make enemies, a factor that will probably hurt him later—even financially perhaps. The generous person will make friends who will be there to contribute to his prosperity and well-being later. But there is more to the universe than that—as there is a real God who blesses generosity and curses greed and selfishness.

Yeshua likewise taught: “Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you” (Luke 6:38).

Of course, the passages here are not a promise of material wealth in this lifetime in return for being generous. The greatest riches are spiritual ones—though this does include the promised hope of possessing the entire universe as co-heirs with Messiah.

See also Proverbs 13:7.

 

Acts 10

 

9 The next day, as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the housetop about the sixth hour to pray. 10 And he became hungry and wanted something to eat, but while they were preparing it, he fell into a trance 11 and saw the heavens opened and something like a great sheet descending, being let down by its four corners upon the earth. 12 In it were all kinds of animals and reptiles and birds of the air. 13 And there came a voice to him: Rise, Peter; kill and eat. 14 But Peter said, By no means, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is common or unclean. 15 And the voice came to him again a second time, What God has made clean, do not call common. 16 This happened three times, and the thing was taken up at once to heaven. 17 Now while Peter was inwardly perplexed as to what the vision that he had seen might mean behold, the men which were sent from Cornelius had made enquiry for Simon’s house, stood at the gate

 

Open up most Christian commentaries on the book of Acts and you’ll see that most commentators interpret God’s words in verse 13 as a command for Peter to eat unclean animals, and verse 15 as a declaration that all foods are now clean.  Thus, in this passage, God is hereby overturning all of the OT dietary laws, essentially nullifying two whole chapters of the bible (Leviticus chapter 11 and Deuteronomy chapter 14), and calling into question a great many passages in the NT, in which believers are told to avoid ‘uncleanness’ (Rom 6:19, 2 Cor 12:21, Gal 5:19).

 

The traditional interpretation of Peter’s Vision however, leaves a great many questions unanswered.  For example:

Why does Peter refer to what is on the sheet with the words ‘common’ [koinos] and ‘unclean’ [akathartos] in verses 14 & 15, and what’s the difference between these words?  Why does God only correct Peter’s use of the word ‘common,’ and not his use of the word ‘unclean’ in verse 15?  When God tells Peter to kill and eat, why doesn’t Peter just obey God, take a clean animal from the sheet (like a cow or a chicken), kill it, and eat it?  After all, the sheet contained “all kinds” of animals.  And why, after walking with Yeshua all that time, was Peter still under the impression that he could not eat anything unclean?  And why does Peter still not understand his own, even after having the sheet lowered three times? And lastly, why doesn’t Peter ever interpret his own dream as having anything to do with food?

 

The traditional interpretation of Peter’s Vision also raises many important hermeneutical questions.  For example, one of God’s most important attributes is the fact that he does not change and always stays the same (Psalm 102:27, Malachi 3:6), and God does not change his mind, as a man would change his mind (Numbers 23:19, Psalm 110:4).  So it seems to be a very important hermeneutical principle that in interpreting scripture and dealing with seemingly ambiguous passages, one errs on the side of maintaining God’s unchanging nature, rather than being quick to point out a fundamental change in God’s nature or his dealings with humans.  A good example of this principle is found in Hebrews 7, where the author argues in a sustained way, that there is a logical necessity for a change in the priesthood (vv.11-14), and that there is a strong scriptural basis in the OT for such a change (Psalm 110:4), which the author quotes three times in the book of Hebrews (5:6, 6:20, & 7:17), going out of his way to defend the fact that “God does not change.”  Now compare that careful analysis in Hebrews to Peter’s dream in Acts 10, where apparently, two whole chapters of the OT are nullified, yet nobody seems to mind.  Luke doesn’t even mention this as being a challenge to the OT law, and Peter even retells his dream – to the circumcision party of all people.  These were the ultra-conservative pharisaic believers in Yeshua.  And rather than question any change in the Torah, they heard about Peter’s vision and:

 

“they fell silent. And they glorified God, saying, Then to the Gentiles also God has granted repentance that leads to life” (Acts 11:18).

 

So what is the difference between common [koinos] and unclean [akathartos]?

14 But Peter said, By no means, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is common [koinos] or unclean [akathartos]. 15 And the voice came to him again a second time, What God has made clean, do not call common [koinos].

The Greek words ????????? [akathartos / unclean] and ????????? [akatharsia / uncleanness] occur around 200 times in the Septuagint (the first century Greek bible, aka. LXX), and around 40 times in the New Testament.  In the LXX they refer to all manner of uncleanness, including the unclean meats in Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14.  Almost any time the word ‘unclean’ is used anywhere in the Septuagint, the Greek words akathartos or akatharsia are being used.

The Greek words ?????? [koinos, “common”] and ?????? [koino?, “to make common”] are used only 4 times in the canonized books of the LXX, each time referring to things “shared in common” (in the LXX, see for example, Proverbs 1:14, 21:9).  So in the LXX, the Greek words koinos and koino? are never used to refer to “uncleanness” or to something as “unclean.”  Thus, it can be inferred that Luke would not have used these words interchangeably.  They would have represented distinct concepts in his mind and in the minds of his Greek speaking audience.

This is strong evidence for the fact that referring to things as “common” (koinos) was a later pharisaic development (i.e. a manmade tradition), not found in the Law of God (Torah).  A tradition which served to differentiate 1st century Jews from the surrounding gentile culture.  If you’ve studied the history leading up to the first century, this might make more sense because it’s not until the book of Maccabbees that we see koinos/koino? start to gain the connotation of ‘defilement’ or ‘unacceptableness’ that we see in Acts 10 — but this would be a separate study in itself.

 

So if “common” isn’t used in the LXX to refer to defilement or uncleanness, what did Jews in the first century understand this word to mean?  Well in the NT, “common” [koinos / koino?] is used around 25 times, but carries two different meanings.  The first meaning is the same one used in the LXX, referring to things “shared in common” (see for example Acts 2:44, 4:32, and Titus 1:4).   The second meaning of koinos, however, is more difficult to pinpoint.  If you look up all the instances of the words koinos and koino? in the NT, and compare them to the passages that use akathartos/akatharsia, you should get a pretty good sense of how the NT writers understood these terms.  Here’s a rough definition of koinos/koino? based on the verses they appear in:

 

Koinos refers to situations not covered in the Law of God (Torah), in which something clean (a pot, a utensil, a clean animal, or even a person) comes into contact with something unclean (an unclean animal, dirt, etc), rendering the clean thing defiled or unacceptable.  The Pharisees viewed these previously clean things as now being “common” [koinos].

So in a sentence, the difference between koinos and akathartos (common and unclean), is that koinos (common) connotes the pharisaic belief (based in tradition) that a clean thing can be made ‘common’ through contact – whereas akathartos (unclean) connotes that which God has declared to be unclean.

 

Even though Mark 7 isn’t a part of this study, it deals with this exact problem (for a full explanation of Mark 7, read the article here).  Remember this is where the disciples were eating with ‘common’ [koinos] hands, and the Pharisees reprimand them for not abiding by their traditions.  Mark 7 isn’t about food – rather, it’s about Pharisaic traditions that were being put on par with the Law of God (the Torah).  Thus, Yeshua reprimands the Pharisees right back, telling them what really makes a person common.  But I digress.

 

A better understanding of Acts 10

When the sheet comes down in front of Peter, on it are, “all manner of fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air” (Acts 10:12).   In other words, clean and unclean animals, all writhing and tossing and turning over one another.  This is the purpose of the image of a sheet coming down, held up by its four corners.  It emphasizes that these animals aren’t just close to each other – they are squirming all over one another.

So even though there are clean animals on the sheet, Peter refuses to eat any of them because some were unclean, and the rest were clean, but they had been made common [koinos] according to the Pharisees, because they were in direct contact with unclean animals on the sheet.  Keep in mind, there is no mention in Leviticus or Deuteronomy that an unclean animal can touch a clean animal and make that clean animal unclean, which makes this a Pharisaic prohibition very similar to the washing of hands in Mark 7, where it was taught by the Pharisees that all Jews must wash their hands before eating (and wash various vessels and utensils before ordinary use).  In fact, you will notice that the term “common” [koinos] is also used in Mark 7:1, referring to the disciples’ dirty hands, because it was believed that dirt defiled their hands, and that this defilement would transfer to the individual if a person ate or drank with dirty (common) hands.  This, in their eyes, would make the person common [koinos] or defiled – but please note that this is nowhere found in God’s Law (Torah).

 

Note that the image of a sheet being brought down by its four corners is crucial to understanding this passage because it emphasizes the fact that the animals were forced towards the center of the sheet, touching one another, crawling all over each other, etc.  To a Jew who kept both the Torah and the traditions of the Pharisees, this would have made for a very disturbing presentation – thus Peter’s strong denial when God commands him to ‘take and eat.’

So this explains why Peter would not grab a clean animal from the sheet and eat it, and why God corrects this inclination in verse 15: “And the voice came to him again a second time, ‘What God has made clean, do not call common [koinos].’”  Notice that God doesn’t correct Peter’s use of the word ‘unclean’ [akathartos] in verse 15.  He doesn’t tell Peter “what God has made clean do not call unclean.”  This is because God would be contradicting himself when he gave the food laws back in Leviticus and Deuteronomy.  So in effect, Peter did not obey God because he was following the traditions of men – thus the rebuke.

 

It also explains why Peter, after walking with Yeshua all that time, never understood him to have overturned God’s instructions on eating a holy (set apart) diet.  Surely Peter would have realized at some point, “oh yea, God did away with all that food stuff.”  And yet Peter’s interpretation of his own dream has nothing to do with food.

It also explains the connection Peter draws between his dream and his meeting with Cornelius.  According to the Jewish traditions of the day, many products and practices of Gentiles were regarded as being “common” or conveying “commonness” to Jews.  This is why Peter was not going to enter the house of Cornelius up until this point.  Just like Pharisaic traditions prevented Peter from eating common [koinos] food, they also prevented him from meeting with common [koinos] people (i.e. Gentiles), shaking their common hands, entering their common home, sitting in their common chairs, eating at their common table, etc. But God used this dream to show Peter that he should not call any person common or unclean (verse 29) — effectively breaking down a large dividing wall that these manmade traditions had erected.

 

To quote Yeshua, the Pharisees once again make void the word of God by the tradition that they have handed down (Mark 7:13), because God has always intended Israel to be a light to the nations (gentiles), so that salvation may reach the end of the earth, yet Israel’s own traditions kept her from doing just this.  So God, then, used Peter’s Vision to break down a barrier (a dividing wall) that the Jewish traditions of the day had erected – a barrier that severely hindered the spread of the gospel to the nations.

 

This interpretation brings to light the fact that it was not God himself who was hindering Peter’s meeting with Cornelius and the spread of the gospel to the gentiles.  God’s call for Israel to be holy (set apart) was never intended to negate her call to be a light to the nations (gentiles!):

Isaiah 42:6 “I am the LORD; I have called you in righteousness; I will take you by the hand and keep you; I will give you as a covenant for the people, a light for the nations,

Isaiah 49:6 “It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring my salvation to the ends of the earth.”

 

The food laws as they are given in the Torah were never intended to impede this.  The Torah is intended to point out how God’s people might live holy (set apart) lives, by the power of the holy spirit.  God’s intent was that by her light, Israel might draw the surrounding nations to herself.  However, according to Acts 10 it was the manmade traditions of the day (many of which carried the force of law, cf. Acts 10:28) that kept Jews from associating with gentiles, and kept the gospel from traveling out into the nations.

As members of the Household of God then, let us be wise in the traditions we choose to keep and not keep.  Traditions can be good if they enrich our lives and serve the will of God as it is revealed in scripture.  But they can be a burden and a hindrance when they conflict with God’s greater purposes.

 

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