News Letter 5851-016
2nd day of the 4th month 5851 years after the creation of Adam
The 4th 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
June 20, 2015
Shabbat Shalom Family,
We want to again remind those of you learning the Paleo Hebrew from Eric Bissel that he is going to be teaching in the following two areas which we support. Here are the directions for this weekend’s teachings and next weekend.
Eric Bissel will be with us in Sarnia, Ontario,on June 27.
The times are June 27th, 9-12 and 1-4 (depending on Eric, in which case it could be longer)
In the debate about the Shmeta by Rabbi Cahn and Remembering the Sabbatical years of 2016 one person said this about my research:
Joseph’s calculations differ from Jonathan’s. I have read Jonathan’s and studied Joseph’s on you tube. I side with Joseph’s because the path Father has taken me and my knowledge of the sighted moon for Rosh Chodesh / New Moon and the moed’im. I have not yet found any errors in Joseph’s thorough study to calculations from both historic and biblical evidences available. Study for yourself and let the Holy Spirit confirm. All said, we need to know about the sabbatical’s and their importance designed and created right from the beginning into the fabric of YHWH’s Created universe. Be BLESSED in the DIGGING and study. Shalom, Shalom
I have been studying along with this from Joseph Dumond for over 6 months. I already have come to agree with the Sighted moon as being Rosh Chodesh, that has been over the last 12 years, have fully looked into every doctrine out there. You have to start with Joseph’s teaching on the blessings and curses from Lev. for not keeping the Shemitah’s. This is them here. He is VERY THOROUGH! takes it ALL apart to make it clear. I have not found any error in his calculations about which year we are now in, and I have studied these issues for 40 years. They are in a series on Youtube..
When I was inquiring about the lack of interest in our message from Great Britain one woman wrote to me the following. I had shared my thoughts on how dark it seems to be for this message of the Sabbatical and Jubilee years to be heard in Great Britain. And I share this with you all the response I got so that you can pray for Britain.
That’s not surprising to hear. The UK only has one defined sin – speaking the truth. And given your outspokenly honest words on, for example, Islam… well the home office probably wouldn’t even permit you to enter the UK. The Islamic population has now reached critical mass here and the corrupt political elite have taken them under their scales as important allies. For the most part, there is no awakening to YHWH and His Torah in this nation, and the messianic movement is a false dawn which is already starting to descend into either christian hocus pocus or the equally aberrant traditions of orthodox Judaism. Despite a handful – of which I hope and pray myself and my family are included – the Israelite population of the UK is utterly and perhaps irreversibly disarmed both spiritually and physically. This nation is already dead. I believe Yhwh has already turned his face from the UK. But we work with what we’ve got right, Joseph? And what we’ve got is a whole Crap storm to navigate not only ourselves but others through, too. Looks like we’re gonna have to be the ones paying you a visit state side in the near future to see you in person. Have a wonderful shabbat. YHWH bless you and those near to you.
I also want to thank those of you are stepping up and assisting the widows we have featured in our News Letters. This is not some theory the bible has suggested we do. These are real situations being endured by real people on a daily basis. Last week we wrote of Elaine and her son Cory. Some of you have asked to help. I thank Yehovah for each of those who actually do help even those who say they can’t afford to, but they can’t afford not to help now. May Yehovah bless you in so many ways you cannot count them all. Let me say that again. May Yehovah bless you for helping these widows in so many ways, that you cannot count all the blessings coming at you. A double blessing in this 6th year of the double portion.
On our radio show on Tuesday we talked about the widows and we read the following two letters we received from Elaine and Ella who are thanking all of you who have step forward to help them.
Joe thank you so much, I have no way to thank you enough. I believe that enough will come to fix our roof and get us a refrigerator. I have people from my assembly willing to fix it when we get the supplies so I won’t have to pay any labor cost. I have spent so much time alone Joe since my beloved left this world. It is like springtime to hear from those with such love in their hearts and willing to share what they have. I believe in miracles, this is truly one, but I also believe that we as believers should be living the lives of the supernatural. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not talking about superman and flying faster than a speeding bullet. The world has distorted the meaning of supernatural. We are taught in the book of the Messianic (new covenant) Yeshua said we would do the things He did and more. Yeshua lived a life of supernatural, He walked through walls, He walked on water, He commanded demons, He controlled the weather, He ruled over the law of increase, He rebuked sickness and dis-ease, He raised the dead, all these things are the supernatural. In Heb 6:1 Therefore, leaving the elementary message about the Messiah, let us go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, faith in God,Heb 6:2 teaching about ritual washings, laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment (HCSB), Paul calls raising the dead elementary. Can you imagine!!! Raising the dead elementary? I believe that we as believers have had a veil pulled over our eyes, I believe that miracles are for unbelievers so that they might believe, and the believers should be walking in the Divine supernatural. One might say, “well Lane look at you, you’re sitting there with that child in an RV and a limb came through the roof and now your house is going to be ruined if it is not fixed, where’s your life of supernatural living now?”. Where? I will tell you where…………….15 years ago, I met a couple from Australia at the bible college I was attending, we became very close friends, one day the man sent me a link to a book called The Prophecies of Abraham, and I began following the teachings of a man named Joseph Dumond for years, who ask me one day if I was still a widow because he helped widows, and ask me to tell him the story of my son Cory and I, and he put it in a news letter and Ya’s people responded, and now help is on the way and our roof will be fixed.The secular church has us believe that WE DARE not believe we could possibly be more than mere humans!! How dare we believe we could do the things that the Son of Elohim Yeshua did!!!!Joh_1:12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of Elohim, even to them that believe on his name:Yourr SisLane
Ella is another widow who asked for help a while back and has written to me to say the following;
Brother Joe. Just a note say thank you again for putting my request for help in front of believers. I have been truly blessed at a very crucial time since my mothers stroke and I have not been able to work. The care, love and generosity others have shown has made a difference in my being able to care for her without the additional worry of finances to overwhelm me. I appreciate each and everyone that has blessed us financially and with friendship and prayers. She has made improvement, getting stronger, but how much can be expected from a 99 year old( birthday tomorrow). Continue to pray for us- her for health and me for strength and patience to care for her in a loving way at all times. Thank you again Bro Joe and may Father continue to bless you and all who have responded.
Fourth New Moon
The Fourth Hebrew Month will begin Thursday June 18, 2015
On Wednesday June 17, 2015 the new moon was not sighted from Israel. Unless we receive further reports of a sighting, new moon day will be Thursday June 18, 2015 at sunset.
Roy Hoffman? from New Moon Society working for the Temple Mount wrote this folling note.
I did not see the Moon with the naked eye tonight (Wednesday 17th June 2015) but I saw it with binoculars (25 x 100 mm) at 19:48 (UTC+03) until it set over the Mountains at 20:04. I was observing from Hachilazon, Ma’aleAdummim, Israel. My daughter, Na’ama, aged 8, saw the Moon with the binoculars only starting at 19:56. Temperature 26.5°C, humidity 39%, pressure 949 mbar. The sky was very clear but would have had to be extremely clear to see the Moon with the naked eye. The photograph was taken at 20:03.
I want to let you know that Mitch and Krista Houston have begun a project of reading the Annual Torah Portions on a weekly basis. Krista is a great reader. You can tune in to these readings with no commentary or midrash. Just the plain reading. The show is called Moses Seat. May these readings be a blessing to you as you listen in.
On our radio show on Hebrew Nation Radio we went after those people promoting the false notions that they are following Yehovah when they study and spread conspiracy teachings. We discussed on this show that this is, in fact, following after Satan from the Tree of knowledge of Good and Evil. We also shared how it was and is the curse of Balaam in these last days.
No, you are not being a watchman on the wall by studying and sharing with everyone the Jade Helm possibilities or all the so-called HAARP weather events. You are not a watchman on the wall when you do this. In fact, you are undermining the authority of Yehovah by spreading these lies of Satan and attributing them to Yehovah.
When you go to the show make sure you read the comments. Yes, we upset those who are steeped in conspiracy teachings and we have no regrets for doing so. Feel free to add your comments to this subject as well.
After the show my co-host Mitch Houston wrote the following which I thought was extremely insightful and wanted to share it with you.
All of you who are into the whole gamut of conspiracy teachings are worshipping the wrong god. Yes, you read that right. Take it to heart and stop it now, completely.
Many people can lay down Christmas and Easter. Some people can keep from doing their own pleasure on Shabbat. VERY FEW PEOPLE can lay down the conspiracy theories. Does the enemy have the power to pull a fast one on YHVH? Can he slip one past the CREATOR of all things? NO! Where is our salvation? Is it in how much we know about Babylon? Or is it in how much we know YHVH? Choose wisely how you spend your time. Each conspiracy video you watch is time taken from studying the truth in scripture about what is really going on, and let me tell you this, what’s really going on is FAR WORSE THAN ANY CONSPIRACY THEORY EVER MADE! Shalom.
1Ti 4:1 But the Spirit expressly says that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and teachings of demons,
1Ti 4:2 speaking lies in hypocrisy, being seared in their own conscience,
After posting this I forced myself to listen to one lady’s dreams on TruNews Radio show. Both she and the host are all about the dreams or visions or mind melts that people have. The vague reference to the bible is tossed in once in while.
The whole show was to give credibility to the dream and then in order to get you to come back, they withhold “secret” information that only they have access to.
Does no one consider the warning we are given in Deuteronomy?
Deu 13:1 If a prophet rises among you, or a dreamer of dreams, and gives you a sign or a wonder, 2 and the sign or the wonder which he foretold to you occurs, saying, Let us go after other gods which you have not known, and let us serve them, 3 you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams. For Jehovah your God is testing you to know whether you love Jehovah your God with all your heart and with all your soul. 4 You shall walk after Jehovah your God and fear Him, and keep His commandments, and obey His voice, and you shall serve Him and hold fast to Him. 5 And that prophet or that dreamer of dreams shall be put to death, because he has spoken to turn you away from Jehovah your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt and redeemed you out of the house of slaves, to thrust you out of the way in which Jehovah your God commanded you to walk. So you shall put the evil away from the midst of you. 6If your brother, the son of your mother, or your son, or your daughter, or the wife of your bosom, or your friend who is like your own soul, lures you secretly, saying, Let us go and serve other gods which you have not known, you nor your fathers, 7that is, of the gods of the people who are around you, near you or far off from you, from the one end of the earth even to the other end of the earth, 8you shall not consent to him nor listen to him. Nor shall your eye pity him, nor shall you spare, nor shall you hide him. 9But you shall surely kill him. Your hand shall be first on him to put him to death, and afterwards the hand of all the people. 10And you shall stone him with stones so that he dies, because he has sought to drive you away from Jehovah your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of slaves. 11And all Israel shall hear, and fear, and shall do no more any such wickedness as this among you. 12If, in one of your cities which Jehovah your God has given you to dwell in, you shall hear one saying, 13Men, the sons of Belial, have gone out from among you and have drawn away those who live in their city, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which you have not known, 14then you shall inquire and make search, and ask carefully. And behold, if it is true, and the thing is certain, that such an abomination is done among you, 15you shall surely strike those who live in that city with the edge of the sword, destroying it completely, and all that is in it, and all the cattle of it, with the edge of the sword. 16And you shall gather all its spoil into the middle of its street, and shall burn the city with fire, and all its spoil, every bit of it, for Jehovah your God. And it shall be a heap forever. It shall not be built again. 17And let nothing of the cursed thing cling to your hand, so that Jehovah may turn from the heat of His anger and show you mercy, and give mercies to you, and multiply you as He has sworn to your fathers, 18when you listen to the voice of Jehovah your God, to keep all His commandments which I command you today, to do the right in the eyes of Jehovah your God.
The question is how are these people who are having these dreams causing you or others to go and serve other gods or to serve the gods of the people around them as stated in verse 7?
That question then begs this question. What are the other gods the people around us serve?
The people around serve the god of christianity. That is the answer to the second question.
Christianity does not serve Yehovah, because they will not keep the commandments and in fact claim the commandments were nailed to the cross and done away with. So although they claim that the law is done away with, they still tithe, and keep the last 6 commandments or even all nine of the ten commandments but they absolutely refuse to keep the fourth commandment by resting on the Sabbath, and Keeping the Holy Days of Lev 23 and the Sabbatical and Jubilee years of Lev 25.
Do those people telling you about their dreams, visions and mind melts tell you to repent and return to keeping the Sabbath and Holy Days and Sabbatical and Jubilee years?
Almost all of them do not. Instead they encourage you to walk in your Christianity, which is anti Yehovah and anti Torah. These dreamers are then telling you they spoke directly with Yehovah or that they went up into heaven to speak with Him. You can hear tons of them say as much on any Sid Roth show.
Has everyone forgotten the scriptures when they say these things?
Joh 3:13 And no one has ascended up to Heaven except He who came down from Heaven, the Son of Man who is in Heaven.
Joh 9:31 But we know that God does not hear sinners, but if anyone is God-fearing and does His will, He hears him.
Pro 15:29 Jehovah is far from the wicked, but He hears the prayer of the righteous.
If you are not keeping the Sabbath or Holy Days of Lev 23 nor adding to them; if you are not keeping the Sabbatical year in 2016 then you are a sinner by scripture definition.
Righteousness are those who keep the commandments; all of them.
Psa 119:172 My tongue shall speak Your Word, for all Your Commandments are righteousness.
What is God-fearing and what is Yehovah’s will so that He will hear us?
1 John 2:3 And by this we know that we have known Him, if we keep His commandments. 4 He who says, I have known Him, and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5 But whoever keeps His Word, truly in this one the love of God is perfected. By this we know that we are in Him. 6 He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk even as He walked.
1Jn 5:2 By this we know that we love the children of God, whenever we love God and keep His commandments. 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments, and His commandments are not burdensome.
Ecc 12:11 The words of the wise are like goads; yes, their collected words are like nails driven home; they are given from one Shepherd. 12 And further, by these, my son, be warned: The making of many books has no end, and much study is a weariness of the flesh. 13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter. Fear God, and keep His commandments. For this is the whole duty of man. 14 For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it is good, or whether evil.
And again what does Christianity teach you?
They quote you Luke 16:16
Luk 16:16 The Law and the Prophets were until John. Since that time the kingdom of God is proclaimed, and everyone is pressing into it.
They have no idea what that word ‘until’ is in Hebrew nor what it means. We wrote of this last week in our Erictology teaching. Let me repeat it here.
This word “until” is ud But this word does not mean until. It means “witness and testimony”.
What Yehshua was saying was not that the Law was only until John. He was saying that the Torah and Prophets were a testimony proving John and proving the things Yehshua was saying were and are true.
But Christianity does not even read nor understand the next verse in Luke 16 which Yehshua also said.
Luk 16:17 And it is easier for the heaven and earth to pass than for one tittle of the Law to fail.
So the Law has never been done away with as Christianity says. This then makes Christianity a false religion and those supporting it worshipping a false god. A god who makes a law and does away with it. Sounds just like Satan in the garden with Eve.
“Surely Yehovah god does not mean you have to keep the law that He said with His own voice at Mount Sinai. He only meant those for the Jews. You’re a New Testament person and are saved by grace and free from the old testament laws. They were nailed to the cross by Jesus.”
This week I was asked to comment about a certain person’s dreams and visions. The lady asking wrote me and said:
How can we not take into consideration things that people say they have been given by the holy spirit? Our job is to examine for truth.
I wrote them back the following.
Christianity likes to build up cases of those who have had dreams and visions. And those who have them become celebrities and live in the limelight for a time.
I pay no attention to this sort of thing. I have exposed it as gossip and all of it, every last part of the conspiracy teachings and secret backroom men, Illuminatti and FEMA type stuff as coming from the tree of good and evil. The False tree and those deviling in this sort of thing are hooked on it, the same as a crack addict or a porn addict, and none of them are in the Kingdom of Yehovah because they continue to eat from the tree of good and evil.
I do not coddle nor give any room for sin. And everyone is in love with this sort of sin that leads them all away from the truth and into confusion and darkness. I warn you now to stop reading these dreamers’ crap. Stop listening to those who promote conspiracy teachings and dreams as their message to you from God.
Get back to the Torah and stick close to it. If it is boring to you, then go and get your ears tickled by these crackers and good luck to you.
If you were to stick close to the Torah and read it daily, then you would know that the things you have posted to me are mostly garbage wasting your time. They do not line up with prophecy. They are the inventions of men with a few scriptures tossed in to help give them credibility, which they do not.
Jas 2:19 You believe that there is one God, you do well; even the demons believe and tremble.
I have been speaking out since 2005 about the Sabbatical years. During this time I have been informed by many many many people who claim to be led by the holy spirit. The things they say tell me by which spirit they are being led, and it is never to the understanding of Yehovah. In almost all cases it is to the understanding of the things put out by the tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.
This information sounds great and in truth is evil. Who in their right mind would pursue evil? So of course it has to be wrapped up in the light of goodness, but it is not truly goodness. Even the covenant made with many is made to sound good for mankind but in truth is going to kill millions. We write of this in our book The 2300 Days of Hell. It is the Balaam story all over again only much, much bigger with more about to die.
Here is the next verse in James:
Jas 2:20 But will you know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?
Almost all of these so-called people moved by the holy spirit are moved by Satan’s spirit. The one that does not keep the Sabbath or the Holy Days or the Sabbatical years.
Even those who do keep these things can also be tares amongst us. Tares do not know they are tares. They always think they are the wheat. There is only one way to tell a tare from the wheat, and that is by the fruit they produce. Tares produce next to no fruit. That is why they are not harvested but are gathered to be burned in the fire. Wheat produces large amounts of fruit and it is the reason they are harvested.
The only way you can tell is if they are directing you towards Yehovah or towards themselves or something they are promoting.
The word Apostle is one sending you to Yehovah. A similar word, Apostate, is one taking you away from Him. A Netsar is a shoot from a root connected to the main tree. Those that lead you away are not connected and use the spirit of Satan to lead others away with them.
Hos 4:12 My people seek advice from their wooden idols, and their rod declares to them. For the spirit of harlotry has caused them to go astray, and they have gone lusting away from under their God.
Hos 5:4 Their doings will not allow them to turn to their God; for the spirit of fornication is in their midst, and they have not known Jehovah.
People who follow these enchanters and dreamers are doing so by an unclean spirit. It is fornication with another god. That false god is Satan and it is not of Yehovah.
So, check those promoting these dreams. Are they keeping the Sabbath and Holy Days and Sabbatical years? If not then they are of their father Satan. I do not care how Christian they sound, they are of Satan. None of them tell you what you are to repent of. They may say that you need to repent, but of what?
While you are checking them, check the things I am saying. Do I tell you to return the Torah? Do I promote the Torah and those things it teaches? Am I producing fruits for the Kingdom or for myself? Our motto has been and remains “Prove All Things”. It is not something people like to hear and we do not mix Torah with conspiracy teachings or dreams.
As we have said above it is the 4th commandment they refuse to keep. The one that identifies Yehovah’s people as His-Those who keep the commandments and love Him and are doing His will.
Fools love conspiracy teachings and the dreams of others that match their own vanities. The wisdom of Yehovah is only found in His words, in His Torah. If you’re not in His Torah searching then you had better reassess what you are wasting your time studying. Read Proverbs and think about it. It is not telling you to search for dreamers of dreams or those having visions, and follow them. Proverbs is telling you to search out wisdom and understanding and knowledge, all of which you get from Torah.
Pro 4:4 He also taught me, and said to me, Let your heart hold fast my words, keep my commandments and live. 5 Get wisdom, get understanding; forget not; nor turn away from the words of my mouth. 6 Do not forsake her, and she shall preserve you; love her, and she shall keep you. 7 Wisdom is the main thing; get wisdom; and with all your getting get understanding. 8 Prize her, and she shall lift you up; she shall bring you to honor when you embrace her.
Pro 1:1 The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel; 2 to know wisdom and instruction; to recognize the words of understanding; 3 to receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, and judgment, and uprightness; 4 to give sense to the simple, knowledge and judgment to the young man; 5 the wise hears and increases learning; and understanding ones get wisdom; 6 to understand a proverb and its meaning; the words of the wise, and their acute sayings. 7 The fear of Jehovah is the beginning of knowledge; but fools despise wisdom and instruction. 8 My son, hear the instruction of your father, and forsake not the law of your mother; 9 for they shall be an ornament of grace to your head and chains around your neck. 10 My son, if sinners lure you, do not be willing. 11 If they say, Come with us, let us lie in wait for blood, we will watch secretly for the innocent without cause; 12 let us swallow them up alive as the grave, and whole, as those who go down into the pit; 13 we shall find all precious goods; we shall fill our houses with plunder; 14 cast in your lot among us, and let us have one purse. 15 My son, do not walk in the way with them! Keep back your foot from their path, 16 for their feet run to evil and make haste to shed blood. 17 Surely in vain the net is spread in the sight of any bird, 18 And they lie in wait for their own blood; they watch secretly for their own lives. 19 So are the ways of everyone who gains unjust gain; it takes away its owners’ life. 20 Wisdom cries outside; she utters her voice in the streets; 21 she cries in the chief place of gathering, in the openings of the gates; in the city she utters her words, saying, 22 How long will you love simplicity, simple ones? And will scorners delight in their scorning? And will fools hate knowledge? 23 Turn at my warning; behold, I will pour out my Spirit to you; I will make my words known to you. 24 Because I called, and you refused; I stretched out my hand, and no one paid attention; 25 but you have despised all my advice, and would have none of my warning. 26 I also will laugh at your trouble; I will mock when your fear comes; 27 when your fear comes as a wasting away, and your ruin comes like a tempest when trouble and pain come upon you. 28 Then they shall call upon me, and I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me; 29 instead they hated knowledge and did not choose the fear of Jehovah. 30 They would have none of my counsel; they despised all my correction, 31 and they shall eat the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own desires. 32 For the turning away of the simple kills them, and the ease of fools destroys them. 33 But whoever listens to me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil.
This article comes from Qedesh La Yahweh Press and is Chapter 2. I wanted to share this with you this week for a couple of reasons. It helps to show you the truth about how the year was changed and when it was changed from Nisan to the 7th month.
It also explains to you that the blowing of the Shofar was done on the Day of Atonement in the 50th year. It was not blown the year before, as some suggest and many think. The Yobe,l which means one long blast, was blown in the 50th year and this is the reason it is called Yobel because of the long blast of the Shofar. It was not blown the year before as a warning that the Yobel was coming.
I hope this article is a blessing to you as you come to understand the Sabbatical and Jubilee cycles.
The Tishri 1 New Year Question
The end of the Bar Kochba revolt (135 C.E.), officially began their sabbath years with Tishri (Sept./Oct.) 1 of the sixth year of the sabbath cycle, as had be- come their custom sometime after the Bar Kochba war. This view is held as gospel not only by those advocating system “B” but even by historians like Ralph Marcus and Zion Wacholder (system “C”).1 This view, as we shall prove, is false.he next issue we must contend with is the concept that the Jews, from the time of their return to Judaea from Babylon in 538 B.C.E. until the
The supposition that the sabbath year officially began with the first of Tishri arose as a Jewish Talmudic “interpretation” which had gained popularity among their chronographers during the second century C.E. As a preliminary to dispelling this error, the following facts must be considered.
The Seventh Month and the Jubilee
To begin with, a close examination of all the scriptural verses relevant to the sabbath years (both regular and Jubilee) proves that there is no commandment to begin any of these years with the seventh month of the preceding year.2 The only time that the seventh month, later identified as Tishri, is mentioned in association with a sabbath year is in Leviticus, 25:8–13, and here it has only to do with the year of Jubilee. Furthermore, even in this passage from Leviticus it is specifically called “the seventh month,” not the first or the beginning of any year system. In fact, Scriptures specifically define the feast of the seventh month as occurring at “the going out of the year,” while events which happened during the spring are said to have taken place “at the return of the year.”3
The Talmudists misinterpreted Leviticus, 25:8–13, to mean that the observances of the Jubilee rituals designated for the seventh month belonged to the 49th year in the cycle. Nevertheless, a careful reading proves that the seventh month spoken of actually belongs to the 50th year, not the 49th.
And you shall count seven sabbaths of years, seven years seven times, and shall be to you the days of the seven sabbaths of years, forty-nine years. And you shall let sound a ram’s horn, a signal in the seventh
1 HUCA, 44, pp. 153–196; Marcus, Jos., vii, pp. 196f, n. a, pp. 694f, n. a, viii, p. 5, n. e. Also see Chart A.
2 E.g. Exod., 23:10–11; Lev., 25:1–28, 27:16–24; Num., 36:4; Ezek., 46:16–18.
3 Exod., 23:16, “going out of the year”; 1 Kings, 20:26; 2 Chron., 36:10, “the return of the year”; NBD, p. 178, equates the “going out of the year” with the autumnal equinox and the “re- turn of the year” with the vernal or spring equinox. Also see THP, p. 116, n. 5.
moon, on the tenth of the moon. On the Day of Atonement the ram’s horn shall sound in all your land. AND YOU SHALL MAKE SACRED ta (AYTH; THIS) YEAR, THE FIFTIETH YEAR, and you shall proclaim liberty in the land to all its dwellers. A Jubilee it shall be for you. And you shall return a male to his possession; and each to his family you shall return him. A Jubilee it is, the fiftieth year. A year it is for you, not shall you sow it and not shall you harvest that which grows of itself and not gather the unkept vine, for a Jubilee it shall be. Sacred it shall be to you. (Lev. 25:8ff)
This passage clearly states that 49 years had already been counted before one was to consider the seventh month, thereby placing the seventh month in the 50th year. Furthermore, the statement attaches to the duties of the seventh month the phrase, “and you shall make sacred this year, the 50th year, and you shall proclaim liberty in the land to all its dwellers.” Also, on the tenth day of the seventh month, the Day of Atonement, a ram’s horn or trumpet was to be sounded. The passage in no way implies that the trumpets were to be sounded because it announced the coming of the Jubilee, which would yet be six months off. Rather, it was to be sounded because one was in the seventh month of the Jubilee year and the nation was proclaiming “liberty.” Further, the very fact that the seventh month is mentioned without a qualifying statement, such as, “being the first month of the sabbath year,” demonstrates that this seventh month belongs to a year already in progress.
lbwy (Jubil; Jubilee) literally means, “the blast of a horn (from its continuous sound).”4 The year of Jubilee, therefore, is named from the fact that in that year the trumpet is blown. It would make no sense if the trumpet was blown in the middle of the 49th year, for in that case the 49th year would be the year of Jubilee (trumpet blowing). Josephus, accordingly, pronounced that “the 50th year is called by the Hebrews Jubil; at that season debtors are absolved from their debts and slaves are set at liberty.”5 Philo adds clarification by noting that Yahweh “consecrated the whole of the 50th year.”6 Nothing is said about consecrating the last six months of the 49th year as the beginning of the Jubilee.
The awkwardness created by the explanation that the Jubilee year began with the seventh month of the 49th year in the cycle is further manifested by the fact that many of the Talmudic Jews actually started this year not with the first day of the seventh month but with the tenth day—the day that the trumpets of Jubilee were actually sounded. The Babylonian Rosh haShanah, for example, argues: “(Is the New Year for) Jubilees on the first of Tishri? Surely (the New year for) Jubilees is on the tenth of Tishri, as it is written, on the Day of Atonement shall you make proclamation with the horn.”7 It is clear that the original scheme of the Jubilee and sabbath cycles came to be obscured by inventive over-interpretations of later ill-informed theologians.
4 SEC, Heb. #3104.
5 Jos., Antiq., 3:12:3.
6 Philo, Spec. Laws, 2:22.
7 B. R.Sh., 8a.
The prophetic character attached to the year of Jubilee and the seventh month of that year further compels us to place the trumpet blowing of the seventh month within the 50th year. The seventh month, for example, brings with it the Feast of Trumpets on the first day, the Day of Atonement on the tenth, and the Feast of Tabernacles from the fifteenth to twenty-second days. These celebrations point towards the final atonement of man by his death, resurrection into the Judgment which follows,8 the final quickening of man- kind into immortal beings, and the attainment of true liberty from sin after the Judgment. At that time the great inheritance of land will be parceled out to those attaining salvation. This liberty is symbolized by such things as the redemption of slaves and the land being freed from debt and returning to its original owner.9 The rightful time for “liberty” to be proclaimed, therefore, is within the seventh month of the Jubilee year.
The Tishri Year
The Talmudic doctrine that the month of Tishri in the sixth year of a sabbath cycle should officially begin the sabbath year is not proclaimed in any writ- ings before the end of the second century C.E. Important works from the first century C.E. and prior, which delve heavily into this subject, never even imply such an arrangement. They hold that the month of Abib (Nisan) is al- ways the first month in determining scriptural practices.10
Josephus (c. 90 C.E.) states that before the Exodus the Israelites in Egypt, following Egyptian practice, observed the month of Marheshuan, called Dios (Oct./Nov.)11 in Greek, as the second month making the first month Tishri, yet with Moses it became the eighth month. “Moses,” he points out, “appointed Nisan, that is to say Xanthicus (March/April), as the first month for the festivals, because it was in this month that he brought the Hebrews out of Egypt; he also reckoned this month as the commencement of the year FOR EVERYTHING RELATING TO DIVINE WORSHIP, but for selling and buying and other ordinary affairs he preserved the ancient order.”12
Notice that the month of Tishri, the seventh month, was the beginning of a year system practiced among the pagans in Egypt. We also know that the month of Tishri was used by the pagan Macedonians as the first month of their year. Yahweh changed this system for the Israelites just before their famous Exodus out of Egypt during the month of Abib, 1439 B.C.E.13
Josephus, living in the latter part of the first century C.E., points out that even in his day, writing some 20 years after the destruction of the Temple at Jerusalem, “the ancient order,” which began with Tishri, was only “for selling and buying and other ORDINARY AFFAIRS.” Since the sabbath year is part of divine worship, and in no way is to be construed as in the category of
8 Cf. Heb., 9:27; Rev., 20:11–15.
9 Lev., 25:11–17.
10 E.g. Jub., 49:1–10, 50:1–4; Philo, Spec. Laws, 1:35(180–189), 2:17–23(71–119); Jos., Antiq.,
3:10:1–6, 3:8:4; a first century Jewish omen text (JNES, 48, pp. 201–214) and the Meg. Taan. (JQR, 10, pp. 237–243).
11 For the equivalency between the Greek, Hebrew, and Roman months see Chart G.
12 Jos., Antiq., 1:3:3.
13 Exod., 12:1–20, 13:4–10. For the date of the Exodus see our forthcoming book entitled Is- raelite Chronology.
“ordinary affairs,” Josephus is here understood to mean that the sacred year was required to begin with the month of Nisan (Abib), roughly our April. His comment also reveals the seed for the later view of the Talmudic Jews, the transition from the system used for “ordinary affairs” to things of “divine worship” being but a short step.
Philo (c. 40 C.E.) indicates the same thing as Josephus. He writes that the year began in the spring and that Moses “proclaimed a rest for the land and made the husbandman stay his work di’ (di; after completing) six years.”14 He does not say “from the latter part of the sixth year” but “after completing six years.”
From the First Revolt (66–70 C.E.) against Rome, continuing through the Bar Kochba revolt (133–135 C.E.), the records show that the Jewish year was still reckoned from Nisan and not Tishri.15 As we shall later see, the sabbath year was still determined in this period by this same Nisan method.16
The first time that we notice the reckoning of a sabbath year as officially beginning with the month of Tishri in the year prior to the seventh year is from a passage in the Mishnah (about 200 C.E.):
There are four ‘New Year’ days: on the first of Nisan is the New Year for kings and feasts; on the first of Elul is the New Year for the Tithe of cattle (Rabbi Eleazar and Rabbi Simeon say: the first of Tishri); on the first of Tishri is the New Year for [the reckoning of] the years [of foreign eras], the Years of Release and Jubilee years, for the planting [of trees] and for vegetables; and the first of Shebat is the New Year for [fruit-]trees (so the School of Shammai; and the School of Hillel say: on the 15th thereof).17
This claim of four New Year days in one year is not substantiated in Scriptures, which proclaims only one New Year’s day, the first of Abib (Nisan).18 It is also important to notice that even in the Mishnah the first of Nisan was the New Year for “(Israelite) kings and feasts.” Tishri was used for “the years (of foreign eras).”19 There can be little doubt that the foreign era referred to means the Macedonian Seleucid era, which began its year with Hyperberetaeus (Sept./Oct.). Yet it was an era used by foreign peoples, not an early Israelite (i.e. from the time of Moses) or scriptural calendar system.
An important Talmudic work called Abodah Zarah confirms that the be- ginning month for the year had indeed been changed and that it now differed from the days when the Jews had their own kings. While commenting upon the issues presented by the above passage from the Mishnah, it states:
The one refers to Jewish kings, the other to kings of other nations—the year of other nations’ kings being
14 Philo, Spec. Laws, l:35, par. 180ff, 2:21, par. 104.
15 IEJ, 21, pp. 40f and n. 11.
16 See Chaps. XXVI–XXIX.
17 R.Sh., 1:1.
18 Exod., 12:1–19, 13:4, 23:15, 34:18; Deut., 15:1.
19 Danby, Mishnah, p. 188, n. 7; cf. Gitt., 8:5.
counted from Tishri, and of Jewish kings from Nisan. Now, IN THE PRESENT TIME we count the years from Tishri; were we then to say that our Era is connected with the Exodus it is surely from Nisan that we ought to count. Does this not prove that our reckoning is based on the reign of the Greek kings (and not the Exodus)? That indeed proves it.20
The Transition to the Tishri Year
The New Year date of Tishri 1 for the sabbath year is an offshoot of late Talmudic interpretation. As has been previously noted, the Scriptures never claim that the seventh month began a regular sabbath year. The deduction that Tishri began a Jubilee year was itself a misreading of Leviticus, 25:8–13. The rabbis of the post-Bar Kochba period, in an effort to “build a fence around the Law,”21 merely extended their misreading of Leviticus 25:8–13, which dealt only with the year of Jubilee, to the regular sabbath year.
Nowhere is the superimposition of a Tishri year by the Jews of the post- Bar Kochba period (after 135 C.E.) more self-evident than when we compare Deuteronomy, 31:10–13, with Josephus (Antiq., 4:8:12) and the Mishnah (Sotah, 7:8). Deuteronomy commands that, “?qm (in the last part)22 of the seven years,” there would be a public reading of the Torah, “in the appointed time of the year of the shemitah (sabbath year),23 in the feast of Tabernacles (i.e. in the seventh month).” Josephus (late first century C.E.) proves that this was still the understanding in his time. The Sotah (200 C.E.), meanwhile, contradicts it, making this public reading occur at the beginning of the eighth year. Further, there is no record of Tishri as the official beginning of the sabbath year until some 65 years after the Bar Kochba revolt. Earlier records make no such claim. As a result, there is no justification for assuming that it was common practice before the post-Bar Kochba period.
There can be little doubt that part of this transition from an Abib (spring) to a Tishri (fall) New Year date was influenced by the dominance of foreigners and pagans in Jerusalem and Judaea after the overthrow of the Bar Kochba revolt, and the decrees and ordinances established by Hadrian thereafter. These foreigners utilized the Macedonian version of the Seleucid era, which began the year in Hyperberetaeus (Sept./Oct.; Tishri). The Seder Olam, for example, states, “And in the Exile they write in documents according to the reckoning of the Greeks (i.e. Seleucid Era).”24 After the rabbis had deter- mined that the sabbath year should begin with Tishri, it was an easy step to determine every year as starting from this same point.
A further indication that the sabbath and Jubilee years, up until the Bar Kochba revolt, continued among the Judaeans to begin with the month of Abib (Nisan) can be drawn from these facts. It is inconceivable, for example, that the Jews of the late sixth century B.C.E., having left their Babylonian exile
20 B. A.Zar., 10a.
21 Ab., 1:1–5, e.g., 3:1–4.
22 HEL, p. 234, ?qm, “from the end” or “at the end,” meaning in the last part of something.
23 That the shemitah is the sabbath year see below Chap. XI, p. 159, ns. 2, 3.
24 S.O., 30.
in 538 B.C.E. to resettle Judaea, would not have known the correct way of observing scriptural years. Several sabbath years and a Jubilee year transpired during this exile and those faithful Yahwehists who returned to Judaea, such as the high priest Yahushua (Joshua), the son of the high priest Yahuzadaq (Jozadak), would certainly have continued to count them. Also, many who lived in Judah before the destruction of the first Temple and their exile into Babylonia in 587 B.C.E. were still alive. One noted example was the prophet Daniel.25 When a portion of the Jews returned from their Babylonian captivity in 538 B.C.E., this older generation was available for guidance.
In the mid-fifth century B.C.E., the knowledge and timing of the sabbath and Jubilee years would still be known. It was during this period that the scribe Ezra (author of the books of Chronicles and Ezra) and Nehemiah (of the book of Nehemiah fame) settled in Judaea. The devout prophets of Yahweh named Haggai and Zechariah, among others, also lived there. These men, well-versed in scriptural knowledge and inspired of Yahweh, would undoubtedly be aware of which years and seasons represented the sabbath and Jubilee years. In full support of this view, we know that the Jews who re- turned from their Babylonian captivity took a pledge to keep the sabbath year.26 That they continued to keep the sabbath year is verified in the records of Josephus, who points out that Alexander the Great (331 B.C.E.) permitted them to continue this practice, as did the Romans in the first century B.C.E.27
Interpretations with regard to the understanding of the laws of the Torah began to change when Antiochus Epiphanes tried to Hellenize Judaea (169– 165 B.C.E.). At this time there arose a Jewish party called the Pharisees. They believed in a system of oral laws, based upon rabbinic traditions, that were later to be codified in the Mishnah. This sect was opposed by the older and more conservative party of the Sadducees, who held to a strict understanding of the Torah and gave no regard to oral tradition. In the reign of Hyrcanus (134/133–105/104 B.C.E.) the Pharisees had already gained great influence among the masses and, during the reign of Queen Alexandra (76/75–68/67 B.C.E.), they rose to power over Judaea.28
At the time of King Herod, 37–4 B.C.E., the legitimate line of Hasmonaean high priests was removed and in their place Herod set up “some insignificant persons who were merely of priestly descent.”29 This degenerated priesthood, combined with the rise of the scribes as a religious power (who brought into being the Pharisee sect and the Talmudic traditions), soon perverted the sound doctrines originally practiced. Traditions and interpretations replaced the authority of Scriptures and from the time of Herod onwards the doctrine of “traditions” dominated Jewish life. These numerous traditions were condemned by Yahushua the messiah (whose name is often translated into English as “Jesus Christ”) as actually being opposed to sound scriptural doctrine.30 It was by these lower ranked, “insignificant” priests and the new
25 Dan., 1:1–21, 5:1–31, 8:1, 9:1–2, 10:1; 2 Kings, 24:1–25:21; 2 Chron., 36:5–23; Ezra, 1:1–3:13.
26 Neh., 10:31.
27 Jos., Antiq., 11:8:5–6, 14:10:5–6.
28 Jos., Antiq., 13:10:5, 13:16:1–3, Wars, 1:5:2.
29 Jos., Antiq., 14:16:4, 20:10:5.
30 E.g. Matt., 15:1–9; Mark, 7:1–13; Col., 2:8; 1 Pet., 1:18.
scribe class that Yahushua the messiah was wrongfully tried and executed.
Josephus refers to a Judaean high priest of the first century C.E., named Ananus, as “rash in his temper and unusually daring” and tells of his conspiracy to kill Jacob (James) the brother of the messiah, Yahushua.31 The servants of a subsequent priest named Ananias are called “utter rascals” who combined their operations with “the most reckless men.” These men “would go to the threshing floors and take by force the tithes of the priests. Neither did they refrain from beating those who refused to give. The high priests were guilty of the same practices as their slaves, and no one could stop them.”32
Out of this degenerated class of priests and the “tradition” believing rabbis and scribes there arose support for the Bar Kochba revolt. It was thought that Simeon Bar Kochba (Simeon ben Kosiba) would restore the rabbis to power in Judaea. Many of the rabbis, of course, did not believe in the messianic attributes of Bar Kochba, but they nevertheless supported the rebellion in his name as a political quest for freedom.
Wacholder and others speak of “the gradual shifting of the New Year from Nisan to Tishri, which has been formalized into our Rosh haShanah.”33 Yet their perception of this “gradual shifting,” at least for the sabbath years, assumes that it occurred shortly after the return of the exiles in 538 B.C.E. In turn, this view leads them to interpret passages from the book of Maccabees, Josephus, and other early records as if the month of Tishri had long been the official beginning for the sabbath year. Many others go so far as to assume that the month of Tishri began every year, not just the sabbath year.
Contrary to this view, nothing in these records even suggests such an early change. Most likely, the alteration did not become official until long after the fall of Jerusalem in 70 C.E. Indeed, one cannot even find evidence that the Jewish sabbath year officially began with Tishri during the Bar Kochba revolt (133–135 C.E.). Not until the Mishnah (about 200 C.E.) do we find this interpretation, and historians admit that this late text does not prove ancient practice.34 The change in the beginning of the year could only start to occur after the degenerated priesthood had been put into place (in Herod’s day) and after a substantial period of time had elapsed, when memories of the correct observances under a more honorable priesthood had died, had become grossly misunderstood, or were wrongly overturned by an ill-considered notion that the former leaders had been in error. Its growth would more properly have mushroomed after the First Revolt, while the Zealots and other extremists had come to power, yet not truly fashionable until after the Second Revolt, when the vision of Bar Kochba as a “messiah” had been crushed. Foreign domination of Jerusalem and Judaea after the Bar Kochba revolt necessitated contracts and other civil matters to be conducted with the Macedonian version of the Seleucid year (beginning in Tishri). This reality would certainly contribute to the movement towards a Tishri calendar.
There was also a problem created by a winter planting season in Judaea, which had need of harvesting in the spring and summer. It was much more
31 Jos., Antiq., 20:9:1.
32 Jos., Antiq., 20:9:1–2.
33 HUCA, 44, p. 155.
34 See CKIJ, p. 70; and OOGA, pp. 439, 454f; MNHK, p. 51.
convenient to begin a sabbath year with the planting season and end it before the next planting season began. Discontinuing the sabbath year in the midst of an agricultural season would have been construed by many rabbis as a hardship. It became a simple matter to reinterpret Leviticus, 25:9, to mean that the seventh month of the 49th year of the Jubilee cycle represented the beginning of the year of Jubilee, and by extension the seventh month of every sixth year of the sabbath cycle represented the start of the sabbath year.
Based upon this preliminary evidence, it is the conclusion of this study that one cannot automatically assume that the early pre-Mishnah records (i.e. be- fore 200 C.E.) are to be read with the understanding that the month of Tishri in the sixth year of the sabbath cycle was utilized by the Jews of those times as the official beginning of the sabbath year. Each record must be analyzed in context to determine when the beginning of the sabbath year actually took place.
As this study proceeds, the evidence will prove that late Talmudic interpretations misunderstood certain earlier Jewish agricultural practices that came into existence after the mid-second century B.C.E. These earlier Jewish practices, which built “a fence around the Law,” required the observance of the sabbath year during the latter part of the sixth year of the cycle in an ef- fort to protect the sabbath year. It was believed that, by prohibiting harvest- ing and sowing in the months just before the sabbath year had actually begun, they could prevent people from inadvertently crossing over the time line and defiling the sabbath year. The few months prior to the sabbath year, therefore, conformed with the practices of the oncoming sabbath year. The later Talmudic Jews (second century C.E. and after) simply misinterpreted these previous safeguards and falsely assumed that the sabbath year should begin at the time of the year when the above mentioned prohibitions started.
Nevertheless, all of the pre-Mishnah records demonstrate that the earlier Jews officially began their seventh year, the sabbath year, with Abib (Nisan)
- The decision to change was encouraged by the loss of official records, the loss of Jewish governmental authority, and circumstance. For example, after the failure of the Bar Kochba revolt in 135 C.E. the Jews came under even heavier influence of foreign kings and cultures utilizing a year reckoned from the fall. This transition was further facilitated by the preservation of a Tishri year among the Jews themselves. Josephus poignantly reminds us that a Tishri year was still used during the first century C.E. for things not related to di- vine worship, such as “selling and buying and other ordinary things.” The agricultural season was also an influence.
The “need” of most present-day chronologists to interpret a “Tishri” be- ginning for the sabbath year is pursued in order to make the earlier records conform with late Talmudic interpretation and more recent theory. In turn, important items of evidence from the pre-Mishnah period are adjusted to fit either the system “B” scenario, as with the Zuckermann-Schürer calendar, or to pursue the idea that the later Talmudic writers really did agree with the more ancient records but that their works have been misunderstood (Wacholder, system “C”).
We continue this weekend with our regular Triennial Torah reading which can be found at? https://sightedmoon.com/files/TriennialCycleBeginningAviv.pdf
20/06/2015 Lev 8 Jeremiah 34-36 Prov 20 Acts 17
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 Messiahos (or Messiah) 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 Assembly 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 Yeshua Messiah” that “cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7).
The Example of the Rechabites (Jeremiah 35)
The events of this chapter transpired during the reign of Jehoiakim, following the initial invasion of Nebuchadnezzar in 605 B.C. (see verse 11). His Chaldean host was accompanied by Syrians, as the Babylonians had just taken Syria from the Egyptians (compare same verse). The invading army prompted the Rechabites to quickly relocate to Jerusalem.
The Rechabites were descended from the Kenites and hence were related to Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law (see Judges 1:16; 1 Chronicles 2:55). Rechab was the father of Jehonadab (here called Jonadab), who supported Jehu in his purge of the Baal prophets from Israel (2 Kings 10:15-28).
Jeremiah brings the Rechabites—probably several of their representatives—into the temple for a test that others are to witness. “We know essentially nothing of the persons mentioned in vv. 3-4, except for Maaseiah, who was probably the father of Zephaniah the priest (cf. 21:1; 29:25; 37:3). He was in charge of the money given for the temple repair (cf. 2 Kings 12:10). Jaazaniah was probably the leader of the group. The name, not uncommon in Jeremiah’s day, has been found on a seal (c. 600 B.C.) at Tell en-Nasbeh…. ‘The sons of Hanan’ (a prophet of God [or, as “man of God” could also signify, merely a faithful priest]) were probably his disciples. He appears to have been in sympathy with Jeremiah. The three leaders (cf. 52:24; 2 Kings 25:18) probably had charge of the inner and outer court of the temple and the entrance door. They ranked next to the high priest and his deputy” (The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, 1986, note on Jeremiah 35:3-4).
Jeremiah sets wine before the Rechabites and tells them to drink (verse 5). Jonadab had apparently given strict commands to his descendants regarding the lifestyle they were to live (verses 6-10). Instead of settling down in houses or cultivating fields, they were to dwell in tents as nomads. Perhaps he was concerned over the fact that God had prophesied that once the people of Israel settled into private homes and lands that they would become forgetful of God because of their abundance (compare Deuteronomy 8). Maybe he had even seen the truth of this in the society of his day. Jonadab also commanded his descendants to avoid wine. Perhaps this was motivated by the restriction against alcohol in the Nazirite vow or dangers of abuse he may have witnessed. Interestingly, the Rechabites saw that obedience to these commands from their forefather would allow them to “live many days in the land”—which was the blessing God promised for following the Fifth Commandment in obeying one’s parents (see Exodus 20:12; Deuteronomy 5:16).
In any case, Jeremiah 35 doesn’t say that God approved of the restrictions Jonadab placed on his descendants. Indeed, the Bible nowhere condemns the use of alcohol—only its abuse and drunkenness. And housing and agriculture are certainly not forbidden. The lesson here is not one of refraining from settling down or abstinence from alcohol, but a lesson in obedience for Judah. The Rechabites were prepared to obey a human progenitor who had died many generations before. How much more should Judah have been willing to obey God Himself—their divine parent—who was still alive and still instructing them?
We should note that when Jeremiah put the wine before the Rechabites in verse 5, he did not say, “The Lord says, ‘Drink wine.'” That would have overruled their past commitment. Instead, he simply placed the wine before them and told them to drink, which they refused. Indeed, God certainly knew they would refuse and had Jeremiah perform the example for just this reason.
In verses 18-19, a blessing is pronounced on the Rechabites for their faithfulness to their father’s commands. Jonadab will never lack a descendant to stand before God. This may simply mean his family line would always continue, as everyone who exists is “before God.” But it could also signify that a descendant of Jonadab would always be in God’s service (compare 15:19). “The Mishnah [Jewish oral tradition later written down] indicates that in the Second Temple period a special day was set aside for the Rechabites to bring the wood offering (Ta’an 4.5)” (Bruce Metzger and Michael Coogan, editors, The Oxford Companion to the Bible, 1993, “Rechabites,” p. 643). Perhaps this is just one way the Rechabites were to serve before God if standing before Him implied such service.
Baruch the Scribe; A Failed Attempt to Destroy God’s Word (Jeremiah 36:1-7; 45:1-5; 36:8-32)
At the start of the current reading, it is still the fourth year of Jehoiakim—March-April 605 B.C. to March-April 604 B.C. The Battle of Carchemish happened in the late spring of 605. Nebuchadnezzar invaded Judah sometime during the summer, carrying away a number of Jews, including Daniel and his friends. Jehoiakim had become a Babylonian vassal. And Nebuchadnezzar returned to Babylon in August to assume the imperial throne, which he did on September 7. Since the events in the past several readings occurred following Nebuchadnezzar’s invasion but apparently prior to the events described in the current reading, it appears likely that the events of the current reading begin in the early part of 604 B.C.
Jeremiah is told to write everything he has prophesied from the beginning of his ministry in Josiah’s day up till now in a book or scroll (Jeremiah 36:2). “Scrolls (Heb[rew] megilla; G[ree]k biblion) were made by gluing together, side by side, separate strips of papyrus, leather, parchment or vellum and then winding the long strip around a pole, which would often have handles at both ends to facilitate transporting and reading the scroll. Papyrus, or specifically the pith of the papyrus reed, had been used as a writing surface since the early 3rd millennium b.c.e. [B.C.] It was probably a papyrus scroll, written by Baruch while Jeremiah dictated, that King Jehoiakim ordered burned (Jer. 36)” (Eerdmans Dictionary of the Bible, 2000, p. 1174).
The writing down of everything at this point does not mean that Jeremiah had written nothing before. Perhaps he had written many things and now dictated them into a single document—though God could have enabled him to reconstruct all he had said from memory. Jeremiah does not now personally write but instead dictates everything to Baruch the son of Neriah, a trained scribe.
While many people doubt the authenticity of the Bible, “through a most amazing combination of circumstances, it would appear that we now have two extraordinary reminders of reliability of the witness to Baruch’s presence in the time of Jeremiah…. One particular bulla [a lump of clay impressed with a seal]…bears the same name as the scribe in the book of Jeremiah. In three lines of ancient Hebrew text, writing in the formal cursive style of the seventh century B.C., the seal reads, ‘belonging to Berekhyahu, son of Neriyahu, the scribe.’ Berekhyahu is almost certainly the complete name of the shortened form Baruch, which means ‘Blessed of Yahweh.’ Baruch’s father, likewise, in its full form is also Neriyahu, called Neriah in the Bible. The suffix -yahu is a shortened form of Yahweh…
“Now a second bulla has shown up…. The same seal that impressed the bulla just described as belonging to Baruch was used on this one, for the three registers of writing are identical…. On the back of this bulla are impressions of the papyrus fibers from the document to which it was once tied. What is remarkable about this second bulla is that the edge is embossed with a fingerprint on the edge, which is presumably that of Baruch the scribe himself. Baruch must have written and sealed the document to which it was attached” (Walter Kaiser Jr., The Old Testament Documents; Are They Reliable and Relevant?, 2001, pp. 158-159).
Not only does Jeremiah have Baruch write down all his words, but he informs the scribe that, because he is “confined” (verse 6)—either physically restrained as in our previous reading or, more likely as he is able to hide later, merely barred from entering the temple—Baruch must go into the temple on the next fast day and read the words.
This is a difficult assignment, considering the punishment previously heaped on Jeremiah. Turning to chapter 45, we find it one of the shortest in the Bible. But it has a vitally important message. We can all find ourselves like Baruch, sympathizing with his comment: “I am overwhelmed with trouble! Haven’t I had enough pain already? And now the LORD has added more! I am weary of my own sighing and can find no rest” (verse 3, New Living Translation). “Baruch came from a family of achievers. His grandfather was governor of Jerusalem in Josiah’s time (2 Chron. 34:8) and his brother [would later be] the staff officer in Zedekiah’s court (Jer. 51:59) [and was likely already involved in government]. He [Baruch] had expected to receive some high office, but found himself the secretary of the most hated man in Judah! God told Baruch what He tells us. Be the best you can be, but don’t expect to be more than you are ([Jeremiah 45] v. 5). Self-seeking ambition was hardly appropriate when the nation was facing divine judgment—or at any other time” (Bible Reader’s Companion, note on verses 1-5). Furthermore, although he couldn’t see it at the time, God was with him and would protect him wherever he went (compare Matthew 6:8, 25-32; Hebrews 13:5; Joshua 1:5; Deuteronomy 31:6; Philippians 4:11).
Baruch has to wait several months before carrying out his assigned duty but the fast day finally comes. Surprisingly, it is not God’s commanded fast day, the Day of Atonement in the seventh month. Apparently the people had already forsaken this command since Josiah’s death, which was only five years earlier. The fast mentioned in Jeremiah 36 occurs in the ninth month of Jehoiakim’s fifth year—November-December 604 B.C. (verse 9). There was no traditional fast at this time that we know of, but there is a historical context to perhaps explain the fast. In “604, Nebuchadnezzar was back again in the Hatti-territory to receive tribute from all its kings. This no doubt included Jehoiakim. At that time the march went as far south as [the Philistine city of] Askelon, which was captured in the month Kislev [the Hebrew ninth month]” (Edwin Thiele, The Mysterious Numbers of the Hebrew Kings, 1983, p. 186). The fast was probably called by the elders or priests at the urging of the people, who may have had some fears regarding Nebuchadnezzar’s approach. The king, Jehoiakim, seems to have had no such fears. He was evidently secure in his position as a vassal to Babylon. In any case, with Nebuchadnezzar close at hand and the people perhaps somewhat softened by their fasting, it was a fit time to pronounce destruction on Jerusalem at the hands of Babylon.
Baruch reads aloud from the chamber of Gemariah. “Gemariah was the son of Shaphan, the scribe who read the scroll found during Josiah’s reign (see 2 Kin. 22:1-20). It seems Gemariah was sympathetic toward Jeremiah, allowing the use of the room in the upper court, a room overlooking the temple courts” (Nelson Study Bible, note on Jeremiah 36:9-10). Gemariah’s son Michaiah reports the gist of what Baruch was proclaiming to his father and the other national leaders at the palace (verses 11-13). Elnathan, mentioned here, was the one who, on orders from Jehoiakim, brought the prophet Urijah back from Egypt to suffer execution (see 26:22-23). He is probably the same Elnathan named in 2 Kings 24:8 as the father of Nehushta, Jehoiachin’s mother and therefore Jehoiakim’s wife—thus making him Jehoiakim’s father-in-law. Elnathan’s father Achbor “also played a role in the reading of the scroll in the days of Josiah’s reform. The parallels between Josiah’s reform and Jeremiah’s desire for national revival were included by Baruch deliberately, to remind the people of the earlier event” (note on 36:11-13).
The leaders send for Baruch to read the scroll to them. When he does, they become alarmed and decide that the king must be informed (verse 16). But, apparently fearing what Jehoiakim’s reaction might be, they tell Baruch and Jeremiah to go hide out somewhere (verse 19). Perhaps some of them actually had a change of heart—though it may have been just momentary fearfulness. We do see Elnathan beseeching the king not to destroy the scroll (verse 25).
Outrageously, however, the king does destroy it—brazenly and contemptuously. Jehoiakim would have a few columns of the scroll read, whereupon he would cut that part out and cast it into the fire in the hearth before him. This is repeated until the entire scroll is read and burned (verse 23). The king and his servants show no fear at all (verse 24). It is not clear whether his servants here include all the leaders who had previously heard the scroll’s contents. It may be that they did not all go to the king but sent just a few representatives, such as Elnathan, Delaiah and Gemariah, who did implore the king to not burn the scroll.
In verse 26, Jehoiakim sends men out to arrest Jeremiah and Baruch. Concerning Jerahmeel, the phrase “the king’s son” should probably instead be “the son of Hamelech,” as in the King James Version, since Jehoiakim had no grown sons at this time—his heir Jehoiachin being a 12-year-old boy. (It is also possible that “king’s son” was the title of a particular office.) Thankfully, God protected His servants from being arrested and probably murdered.
How utterly horrible all of this was. God was giving a last chance for repentance—a possibility for reform as in the days of Josiah, Jehoiakim’s father, who had responded positively to Jeremiah’s pronouncements and to finding the Word of God. But no, this king of Judah will not repent. Instead, he burns the words of God and seeks to kill God’s messengers. His actions are outrageous beyond description.
Jeremiah pronounces judgment on the king for his vile effrontery and blasphemy. He would die in disgrace. His lineage would not continue on David’s throne, as his son Jehoiachin would reign for just three months. And Jerusalem would be destroyed. The Word of God, on the other hand, which Jehoiakim had tried to destroy, would endure. God had Jeremiah and Baruch rewrite everything, with even more added to it. And we have it today, before our very eyes. As Isaiah had proclaimed under divine inspiration, “The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever” (Isaiah 40:8).
Supplementary Reading: “King Jehoiakim: A Lesson From Biblical History,” Bible Study Course, Lesson 2: “The Word of God: The Foundation of Knowledge,” p. 11).
Second Part of Major Solomonic Collection Cont’d (Proverbs 20:5?21:8)
43. Various Proverbs (20:5?21:8)
“The proverbs of this section for the most part focus on the theme of discriminating between people of good character and people of evil character?.Verses 20:5 and 21:8 can be read as an envelope. The former articulates the importance of discernment in dealing with people?.The latter gives the simplest, most basic guideline in character discernment: the evil are twisted, but the good are upright. By itself 21:8 seems like a pointless tautology [i.e., a needless repetition]; but when read as the conclusion to the series of proverbs begun in 20:5, it is an apt closure to the whole. Like Jesus’ teaching that a tree is judged by its fruit, this text ends by saying that people can be evaluated by their conduct (Matt 7:17-19; 12:33; Luke 6:43-44). Several smaller collections are found in this larger unit?.”
“DISCERNMENT AND INTEGRITY. Type: A-B Envelope, Thematic (20:5-12). This section begins by telling how difficult it is to discern a person’s inner [thoughts and] motives and ends by asserting that the ears and eyes, the means of discernment, are made by God. Thus God alone has perfect insight into human character, and he cannot be deceived” (NAC).
Verse 8 in the NKJV says that a king sitting as judge “scatters all evil with his eyes.” The NIV better renders this “winnows out all evil with his eyes.” Compare the first colon of verse 26: “A wise king sifts [or ‘winnows,’ NIV] out the wicked.” The New Living Translation paraphrases verse 8 this way: “When a king judges, he carefully weighs all the evidence, distinguishing the bad from the good.”
Verse 9 is a reminder that none of us are perfect, that we have all sinned and that, since we cannot cleanse our own hearts, all of us need mercy. This perspective will keep us humble in regard to our own character and is important to remember in making judgments about others.
As in 11:1, Proverbs 20:10 and verse 23 both show God’s loathing of crooked weights and measures for the purpose of cheating others. There may also be a further figurative meaning here in that God hates any kind of self-serving false pretense.
“VARIOUS PROVERBS [ON MORAL CHARACTER]. Type: Individual Proverbs (20:13-21). Individual proverbs are various moral proverbs that of themselves do not tie to any particular topic. In this context, however, they may describe aspects of character for which one should be on the alert?. to determine where someone’s character, be it his own or someone else’s, will lead” (NAC).
Verse 13 does not mean that we should derive no enjoyment from taking a needed nap or getting a good night’s sleep. Rather, loving sleep here refers to excess?sleeping too much as part of habitual laziness (compare 6:6-11). Avoiding the personal productivity necessary to making a living and properly managing one’s affairs can lead to poverty. On a higher level, avoidance of spiritual responsibilities because of laziness and sleeping the day away will lead to spiritual impoverishment?and even ultimate destruction if not turned around.
Regarding Proverbs 20:16, the Israelites were not to hold overnight as collateral the outer garment of a debtor who might need it to keep warm (Exodus 22:25-27)?the law prohibiting creditor’s from depriving poor debtors of their belongings needed for survival. In the ironic tone of this proverb, a situation is described in which a lender had better go ahead and hold a debtor’s garment?where someone has foolishly “fallen into financial trouble by putting up security for a stranger?especially if he did it for an alluring woman. The message is that one should be wary of dealing with people who lack sound judgment” (New American Commentary, note on Proverbs 20:16). This proverb does not contravene the intent with which the law was given, as the law was not meant to protect foolish, impulsive venturers or schemers that might take advantage of lenders. Also the proverb says nothing about the predicament in which the loss of collateral would place the debtor in this case. All factors must be weighed in such dealings.
Verse 17 speaks of deceitful gain as initially sweet but afterward rather unpleasant and hard to swallow. “The Scriptures do not say that there is no pleasure in sinning, only that the reward doesn’t last (9:17, 18)” (Nelson Study Bible, note on 20:17). Hebrews 11:25 mentions the “passing pleasures of sin.” On the other hand, choosing God’s way may sometimes be difficult and perhaps even unpleasant for the moment, but it yields lasting happiness in the end.
? “DEALING WITH THE KING AND WITH THE LORD. Type: Thematic (20:22?21:3). These verses concern dealings with the two arbiters of justice, namely, the king and Yahweh. Proverbs 20:22-25,27 and 21:2-3 concern Yahweh, while 20:26,28,30 concerns the king. Proverbs 21:1 draws the two together and asserts the superior power of Yahweh over the king; only 20:29 does not clearly fit in this context” (NAC).
Verse 22 says that it is not our place to get even or dole out vigilante justice. The Nelson Study Bible comments: “Because of our limited understanding and imperfection, we are not qualified to recompense evil. Instead we must commit our cause to God, whose vengeance is certain and perfectly just. God says, ‘Vengeance is mine; I will repay’ (see Matt. 5:38, 39; Rom. 12:17, 19; 1 Thess. 5:15; 1 Pet. 3:9)” (note on Proverbs 20:22).
Verse 24 (like 16:9) shows that God is ultimately in control of directing what happens in a person’s life. The second colon asks, “How then can a man understand his own way?” In an overall sense he can’t?so he must rely on God and God’s instructions for wisdom and direction. “The juxtaposition of human plans and intentions with God’s sovereign action in human affairs is not meant to discourage planning or activity but rather to guide it. The wise do well to seek counsel about this plan (20:18), listening instead of making rash or hurtful statements (20:19-20)” (NIV Application Commentary, note on verse 24). Of course, in our planning we must make allowance for God unexpectedly redirecting circumstances (see James 4:13-16).
Proverbs 20:25 warns against rash vows, calling to mind the costly mistake of Jephthah (see Judges 11:30-40). If we do make a vow to God, even a rash one?that is, a legitimate vow that does not contradict His law in other respects?then we are duty-bound to follow through (compare also Ecclesiastes 5:1-7).
Proverbs 20:27 in the New King James Version says, “The spirit of a man is the lamp of the LORD, /searching all the inner depths of his heart.” The ending phrase here, as the NKJV margin notes, is “literally the rooms of the belly”?as either the figurative seat of human emotion or representing the inner, hidden person. The NIV here has “inmost being.” The same phrase is used in verse 30. On the opening colon of verse 27, the NIV rearranges the translation to another that is possible: “The lamp of the LORD searches the spirit of a man.” If this is correct, the Lord’s lamp here would connote “perhaps his eyes (cf. 5:21; 15:3?) or word (see 6:23 [Psalm 119:105]?cf. Heb 4:12-13)” (Zondervan NIV Study Bible, note on Proverbs 20:27). On the other hand, The Bible Reader’s Companion says that the NKJV translation, as footnoted in the NIV, is the preferred rendering, so that the human spirit is God’s lamp: “The rabbis understood this to mean that God’s image so shines in the human spirit that man is set apart from the animals. It’s this reflection of God which endows us with human abilities and witnesses to His existence through each of our unique capacities” (note on verse 27). Or perhaps the meaning is simply that God is able to look into the human spirit which, though dark and mysterious to human beings, is as bright as a lamp to God?revealing everything about the person.
Proverbs 21:1 shows God’s sovereignty even over rulers. The river illustration is not entirely clear. Some suggest the following meaning: that just as people sometimes redirect rivers through dams and irrigation canals, so can God redirect the thoughts and actions of kings to accomplish His purposes. Of course the latter is not so difficult for God as the former is for human beings. Another possible meaning is that just as God had the power to lay out the courses of all the world’s rivers, so He is easily able to direct the course of a king.
“THE DEVICES AND THE DECLINE OF THE WICKED. Type: Thematic (21:4-8). These five verses focus upon the losses incurred by those who live wrongfully” (NAC).
The Jewish Soncino Commentary regards the plowing of the wicked in verse 4 metaphorically as their schemings.
Sha’ul and Silas are now passing through Amphipolis and Apollonia, and they came to Thessalonike where there was a congregation of Yehudim. Sha’ul went there as was his practice and diligently preached the death, burial, and resurrection of Messiah to them. Many Greeks and women believed and some Yehudim also but there were a great many Yehudim who became jealous. They gathered many leaders of the market-place and started a mob with which to bring out Sha’ul and Silas to the people to be dealt with. They did not get to them, but dragged out the man Jason whose house it was where they were staying. The mob was crying out that Sha’ul and Silas were proclaiming another sovereign in Yeshua as opposed Caesar. The people and authority of that place were greatly troubled by this and Sha’ul and Silas had to leave there. From there they went to Beroia and they found that place and the people there very noble. The received the words with great eagerness and searched the Scriptures daily over all that they heard to prove whether true or not.
Soon though, the Yehudim from Thessalonke heard the Word of Elohim was being preached there, came there also and stirred up the people again. They immediately secreted Sha’ul away and he went to Athens. Timothy and Silas stayed behind and they all planned to meet up in time.
Now in Athens, Sha’ul was troubled in his spirit for all the idols around everywhere in that city. He spoke out in the synogogues and meeting places. The Epicureans and Stoics heard about him and desired to hear what this “babbler” had to say for he was saying something new. He was brought to the Areopagus in front of the philosophers to speak. This is when Sha’ul spoke about their idol to “The Unknown Mighty One” and he spoke to them about who it was. YHWH, Who made the world and all that is in it, the One being Master of heaven and earth, does not dwell in dwellings made with hands. He proceeded to speak many things to them including the raising up from the dead – Moshiach. At this many of them laughed and mocked, and he had to leave. But some of the believed and desired to hear more, among them: Dionusios the Areopagite and a woman named Damaris, and many others also.