Seven Things to Keep the Sabbatical Year Holy in 2016

Joseph F. Dumond

Isa 6:9-12 And He said, Go, and tell this people, You hear indeed, but do not understand; and seeing you see, but do not know. Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their hearts, and turn back, and be healed. Then I said, Lord, how long? And He answered, Until the cities are wasted without inhabitant, and the houses without man, and the land laid waste, a desolation, and until Jehovah has moved men far away, and the desolation in the midst of the land is great.
Published: Dec 14, 2013

News Letter 5849-044
10th day of the 10th month
5849 years after the creation of Adam
The 10th Month in the Fourth year of the third Sabbatical Cycle
The Third Sabbatical Cycle of the 119th Jubilee Cycle
The Sabbatical Cycle of Earthquakes Famines, and Pestilences

December 14, 2013


Shabbat Shalom Brethren,


I would like to point out to you once again as I have in other years something you may not have noticed.

Throughout the history of the bible the days of the week were numbered 1 to 7 and never had names as they do today. Today the names of each day are after pagan gods. Sun, Moon, Tyr, Wooden, Thor, Frega, Saturn.

The months also were numbered 1-12 with an additional 13th month added from time to time. Again, many of the months we now have are named after someone or some “god.”¬† But I wanted to point out to you that we are now in the 10th month of Yehovah’s calendar. The months from September to December were never switched to a pagan deity. September means the 7th month, as October is the 8th month and November is the 9th month. All of these names are Latin. Deca is 10 in Latin and is the 10th month. Notice that it matches our biblical month which is also the 10th month. I just wanted to share this with you and with those of you who are new.

Now that Chanukah is over, I am seeing many of those who fought tooth and nail to justify the keeping of this unholy festival are now coming out and condemning to hell those who are now preparing to keeping Christmas.¬†The phrase¬† “The pot¬†calling the kettle¬†¬†black”¬† is an idiom¬†used to claim that a person is guilty of the very thing of which they accuse another and fits perfectly those who kept Chanukah and are now condemning Christians for keeping Christmas. How ironic it is to see the people who kept Chanukah giving the very same excuses and reasons they used for doing so, by those defending their reason for keeping Christmas.

Those who keep  and kept Chanukah with their Chanukah bush (a small miniature ever green tree) are hypocrites and do not have a leg to stand on in criticizing those who keep Christmas.

Jer 10:1  Hear the Word which Jehovah speaks to you, O house of Israel. 2  So says Jehovah, Do not learn the way of the nations, and do not be terrified at the signs of the heavens; for the nations are terrified at them. 3  For the customs of the people are vain; for one cuts a tree out of the forest with the axe, the work of the hands of the workman. 4  They adorn it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and hammers, so that it will not wobble. 5  They are like a rounded post, and they cannot speak. They must surely be lifted, because they cannot walk. Do not be afraid of them; for they cannot do evil nor good, for it is not in them. 6  There is none like You, O Jehovah; You are great, and Your name is great in might. 7  Who would not fear You, O King of nations? For fear belongs to You, because among all the wise men of the nations, and in all their kingdoms, there is none like You. 8  But they are all at once foolish and animal-like; the tree is an example of vanities. 9  Silver beaten into plates is brought from Tarshish, and gold from Uphaz, the work of the workman, and of the hands of the goldsmith. Violet and purple is their clothing; they are all the work of skillful ones. 10  But Jehovah is the true God, He is the living God, and the everlasting King. At His wrath the earth shall tremble, and the nations shall not be able to stand His fury.

Deu 12:1  These are the statutes and judgments which you shall be careful to do in the land which Jehovah, the God of your fathers gives you to possess it, all the days that you live upon the earth. 2  You shall completely destroy all the places in which the nations which you shall possess served their gods, on the high mountains and on the hills and under every green tree. 3  And you shall overthrow their altars and break their pillars, and burn their pillars with fire. And you shall cut down the carved images of their gods, and destroy their names out of that place. 4  You shall not do so to Jehovah your God.

If only “Christians” would read the Bible they would know what to do and not to do in the name of Yehovah. The¬†most important thing that so-called Christians should know is that Yehovah says “do NOT worship the Lord your God in the way these pagan peoples worship their gods.” Deut 12:4

Yehovah also says NOT to imitate their evil ways –¬†Deu 12:29:¬† When Jehovah your God shall cut off the nations before you, where you go to possess them, and you take their place and dwell in their land,¬†30¬† take heed to yourself that you do not become snared by following them, after they are destroyed from before you, and that you do not ask about their gods, saying, How did these nations serve their gods, that I too may do likewise?¬†31¬† You shall not do so to Jehovah your God. For every abomination to Jehovah, which He hates, they have done to their gods; even their sons and their daughters they have burned in the fire to their gods.¬†32¬† All the things I command you, be careful to do it. You shall not add to it, nor take away from it.
Does that sound like Yehovah is PLEASED with calling His Son’s resurrection by the name of a pagan goddess??? Easter or Ishtar?

Many self-proclaimed Christians say that Christmas and Easter is in worship of Christ’s birth and resurrection. But neither Yehshua nor His Father ever told anyone to celebrate the Son in this wicked way. In fact, Yehshua did leave with His disciples what to do when they want to remember Him in Luke 22:19 “And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” This is the keeping of Passover each year as a remembrance.

See? No bunnies, dipped eggs, crosses nor trees . . .
The Apostles never taught anything that even remotely resembled Christmas or Easter – So why is it that the Christians feel that it’s alright to do???

Maybe the answer lies within the scriptures;

1Jo 4:1- “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets¬†have gone out into the world.”

Mt 7:15 – “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.”

Mt 24:11 – “Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive.”

Matthew 7:21-23 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’

For those of you who want to learn the true meaning of Christmas please read the following articles which will show you what December 25th is all about and exactly when the Messiah came on Sept 11, 3 B.C. and can all be proven from a simple reading of your own Bible.



How to Keep the Sabbatical Year Holy in 2016


The number of natural disasters has risen sharply in the past two decades.  Hundreds of thousands of lives have been lost in just the past few years. Why is this happening?

There were around 120 large natural disasters per year in the 80’s. Now, 20 years later, this number is multiplied by 5. Weather conditions are becoming unpredictable and going to extremes. Scientists say these are¬† the consequence of global warming. But is that statement correct?

I am here to tell you that it is not global warming that is causing the extreme weather that is happening all around the world but rather, these extreme disasters are being sent by Yehovah.

Another thing that has risen sharply in the past few years are the financial costs. International organizations such as the Red Cross say the worlds economical yearly cost is around 65 billion US dollars (it used to be 4 billion 50 years ago). Because of our unrepentant sin, the number  and the cost of natural disasters will keep rising.

Just a few weeks ago Yolanda, considered the strongest recorded cyclone in the world in 2013, ripped through the Visayas region, leaving  multiple thousands of people confirmed dead. Then there were the Peoria, Illinois tornado outbreaks in November as well.  We have seen the horrors of the Tsunamis that hit Japan and before that the one that swept the Indian Ocean striking many countries on the same day. Floods, ice storms, snow storms, droughts, hurricanes, tornadoes, sink holes, mud slides, forest and wild fires, earthquakes and many other disasters are on the news daily from around the world. The world is now experiencing 2,600 earthquakes every day!

The Bible says that Yehovah is omnipotent; he can do anything (Gen 17:1, 18:14, Ex 6:3, Job 42:2, Luke 1:37, Mark 10:27, Rev 19:6). Man’s fate is in Yehovah’s hands (1 Sam 2:6-7).

Yehovah is omniscient (Ps 139:1-6, Prov 15:3, 5:21, Isa 44:7, Matt 12:25, and many others).

Yehovah is also good, just and righteous (Deut 32:4, Dan 9:14, and many others).

Yehovah also created everything (Gen 1, Prov 26:10, Col 1:16, Eph 3:9, Rev 4:11, etc.). Including evil (Isa 45:7, Amos 3:6, Lam 3:38).

The greatest natural disaster in the Bible, the Deluge, was Yehovah’s work, not Satan’s (Gen 6-8), where Yehovah (without Satan’s help) flooded the whole world and destroyed practically every living thing.¬† Although He promised never to use a flood again to destroy the earth, He didn’t promise that He would never send little floods.

Yehovah controls the rain (Deut 11:14-17, 28:12, Job 5:10, Matt 5:45, James 5:17-18), lightning (Ps 97:4), thunder, snow, whirlwind, cold, frost, flood, clouds so “that they may do whatsoever He commandeth them upon the face of the world in the earth. He causes it to come, whether for correction… or for mercy.” (Job 37:2-13, 21, also Job 28:10-11, Ps 107:25, 29, Nahum 1:3-4). Yehshua also had the power to control the wind and sea (Matt 8:27, Mark 4:39).

Yehovah is the cause of tempest, hailstones (Isa 30:30). Fire, hail, snow, vapors “fulfill His Word” (Ps 148:8, Ezek 28:32).

Yehovah causes earthquakes, especially when he is angry (Job 9:5, 28:9, Ps 18:7, 77:16-18, 97:3-5, Isa 2:19, 24:20, 29:6, Jer 10:10, Nahum 1:5, Heb 12:26). He causes the mountains to be thrown down and the valleys to fill (Ezek 38:20).

Yehovah has control over plagues (Ex 7-12, Num 11:33, ch 25, 1 Sam 5:6-9), hordes of locusts (Joel 2:25), hoards of snakes (Num 21:4-6), famine (2 Sam 21), death in general (e.g. Ex 12:23, 29, 1 Sam 2:6-7 and many others).

Yehovah causes human suffering so that his great works can be demonstrated (Isa 30:20, Ezek 38:16, 23, John 9:1-9).

Yehovah is in complete control. He can cause disasters or he can prevent them.  He controls every detail, even the fall of a sparrow (Matt 20:29).

Yehovah decides that some should be blind, deaf or dumb (Ex 4:11).

Yehovah will afflict those who are not righteous (Isa 30:20, for just one instance), and the Bible also says that nobody is righteous (Rom 3:10, 23, Ps 14:3). For a fairly complete list of what Yehovah can and will do to those who are disobedient to Him, Deut 28:15-68 and Lev 26 are lists of just about all the terrible “natural” calamities that can occur to human beings. And this list in Lev 26 is because the world will not keep the Sabbatical years. The next one being in 2016.

Yehovah also promises the faithful that such disasters and evil will not befall them, which implies that Yehovah has the power to prevent such things. They are protected against flood and fire (Isa 43:2), against evil and harm (2 Thess 3:3, 1 Pet 3:13). Yehovah is their shield and safety (Deut 33:27, 2 Chron 16:9, Ps 3:3, 4:8, 78:53, 91:11, 119:117, 145:20, Prov 29:25, 30:5, Dan 6:22, Zeph 3:17). This promise apparently did not apply to Job.

The Book of Job is a special case, apparently, where Yehovah permitted Satan to afflict Job. The implication is clear that Satan could not have afflicted Job without Yehovah’s permission. The reason Yehovah permitted it is not clear, but it looks like Yehovah did so only because Satan challenged Yehovah. Yehovah apparently could have prevented Job’s affliction, which was undeserved (Job 1:8), since he had the power to limit the extent of Satan’s power over Job (Job 1:12). And the author names Yehovah, not Satan, as the source of the “evil” which Job suffered (Job 42:11). Clearly, Yehovah, not Satan, is ultimately responsible for Job’s afflictions.

Nowhere in the Bible can I find a passage which clearly attributes power over weather, natural phenomena or disastrous events to Satan. Satan is sometimes called the “god” or “prince” of this world (2 Cor 4:4, John 12:31, 14:30, Eph 6:12), but his precise powers in connection with these titles are not named anywhere, other than the power to tempt and deceive. One passage calls him the “prince of the power of the air” (Eph 2:2), but the meaning is not clear and does not seem to mean that he has power over the weather but rather, that he flies about and can be anywhere. Paul punishes sinners by handing them over to Satan (1 Cor 5;5, 1 Tim 1:20), but if it is Yehovah who punishes sin (as many Bible passages say), then Satan is here only doing Yehovah’s bidding. Only one passage (Heb 2:14) says that Satan “had the power of death,” but it is in the past tense, and refers to Christ’s having conquered death, so that does not refer to death which continues to occur nowadays from disease or disaster.

Thus, Satan’s powers seem to be extremely limited, and it is Yehovah, and Yehovah alone, who sends the floods, earthquakes, storms, plagues and other “natural” disasters, according to the Bible. And whatever power Satan has, it must be with Yehovah’s permission, or Yehovah would not be omnipotent. Even if one tries to make Yehovah look better by saying that these things are usually caused by the forces of nature, one ultimately gets back to the Creator of Nature and his complete ability to prevent the disasters.
So the question is “Why Does Yehovah send these disasters?”

Hos 11:7  And My people are bent on backsliding from Me. Though they called them to the Most High, none at all would exalt Him. 8  How shall I give you up, Ephraim? How shall I deliver you, Israel? How shall I make you like Admah? How shall I set you as Zeboim? My heart is turned within Me; My compassions are kindled together.

Admah and Zeboim are two of the cities destroyed along with Sodom and Gomorrah. Yehovah is hurting to see us killed because we will not turn back to Him.

Pro 1:20  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.

Because the world in general, and you in particular, refuse to keep the commandments and do as Yehovah has instructed in the first five books, then when these disasters strike you He will not hear your cries for help. He will, in fact, laugh at you.

We read in Luke again about two disasters and how all those who are not righteous will suffer. Only those who REPENT are going to be blessed.

Luk 13:1  And some were present at the same time reporting to Him of the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. 2  And answering, Jesus said to them, Do you suppose that these Galileans were sinners above all the Galileans because they suffered such things? 3  I tell you, No. But unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. 4  Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them, do you think that they were sinners above all men who lived in Jerusalem? 5  I tell you, No. But unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.


Repent from sin and sin is the breaking of the law. Sin is lawlessness. 1 John 3:4.

2Ti 3:1  Know this also, that in the last days grievous times will be at hand. 2  For men will be self-lovers, money-lovers, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3  without natural affection, unyielding, false accusers, without self-control, savage, despisers of good, 4  traitors, reckless, puffed up, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5  having a form of godliness, but denying the power of it; even turn away from these.

Again, take a look around the world today and you will see that this Bible verse above, concerning the end times, is being fulfilled. Now notice that it says people will be lovers of PLEASURE more than lovers of Yehovah, and that they SEEM to be Godly, but in reality they are Christians by name only. This is a perfect description of the church today. The majority of professing Christians today are more interested in the TV, sports, partying, socializing, playing games etc, than they are in following Yehovah and the Torah.

We have been telling you to keep the 7th day Sabbath, from sunset Friday to Sunset Saturday. Not to work on it or cause others to work on it.

We have been telling you to keep the Holy Days of Lev 23 and we have explained them to you each in its season and out of season. We have told you not to add any other holidays to those listed in Lev 23. Yet many can justify doing exactly that to their own hurt.

We have also been telling you to keep the Sabbatical years and the next one, before the curse of war comes in the 4th Sabbatical cycle, is the Sabbatical year from Aviv 2016 to Aviv 2017. Many have asked how do we keep it Holy? How do we keep it all if we do not have a farm or land?

Seven Things to do in the Sabbatical Year

First of all let me say here and now and make this plain. I am not going to be the police over this issue nor allow you to cause me to make every decision about this matter for you. You, each and every one of you, must decide how you will Honour Yehovah and keep the Sabbatical year in 2016 Holy. You must decide. And based on that, Yehovah will bless you or not bless and protect you from the coming 4th curse of war. So the responsibility rests with you and not with me.

We are told in Lev 25 not to plant and not to harvest our land in the Sabbatical year.

Lev 25:1  And Jehovah spoke to Moses in Mount Sinai, saying,2  Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, When you come into the land which I give you, then shall the land keep a sabbath to Jehovah.3  You shall sow your field six years, and you shall prune your vineyard six years, and gather in the fruit of it.4  But in the seventh year shall be a sabbath of rest to the land, a sabbath for Jehovah. You shall neither sow your field, nor prune your vineyard.5  You shall not reap that which grows of its own accord of your harvest, neither gather the grapes of your undressed vine. It is a year of rest to the land.

On my property in the last Sabbatical year, I did not prune any tree or vine. I did not plant anything in the garden. I did not prune my grape vines or hedges. I did cut the grass.

In addition:

Lev 25:6  And the sabbath of the land shall be food for you, for you and for your servant, and for your slave woman and for your hired servant, and for your stranger who stays with you, 7  and for your cattle, and for the beast that is in your land, shall all the increase of it be for food.

What ever grows of itself; that is anything that grew without you planting it can be eaten by you or your neighbor or the wild animals. Which means you must leave the gate of gardens open so the rabbits and other animals can get into the garden. And yes they might eat the vegetables before they ripen and you are able to eat them. That is the law. Voluntary crops are for anyone to enjoy in the Sabbatical year.

1) You do not plant

2) You do not harvest

3) What ever grows of it own can be eaten by you or anyone, including the wild animals

Some people are now planting a garden just so they can have one during the Sabbatical year and not plan at that time. But others live in a apartment and do not have land to plant, what do they do? And what about planting in pots on balconies and flower pots. The command is not to plant, period. This includes flower pots and anything that goes into the earth or soil-like material.

What about sprouts? They are not planted in soil so I have no problem with them.
What about hydra-ponics or aqua-ponics? Again, they are not planted in soil.

We are also commanded to do something else in preparation for the Sabbatical year.

Lev 25:20  And if you shall say, What shall we eat the seventh year? Behold, we shall not sow nor gather in our increase! 21  Then I will command My blessing on you in the sixth year, and it shall bring forth fruit for three years. 22  And you shall sow the eighth year, and eat of old fruit until the ninth year; until its fruits come in, you shall eat the old fruit.

Here is a command to stock up on food in the 6th year. You are to stock enough food from the sixth year to last you into the ninth year when the new crops come in. (The Barley harvest, specifically)

Here is what I did:
I counted how many meals I was going to eat from Aviv 2009 to Aviv 2010. I then added to that the number of meals I would have until the harvest of 2010 would begin to come in. So strawberries were ready in June of 2010, most vegetables in the fall. Wheat after Pentecost etc.

Barley would not be available until the 9th year and that why the command is worded as it is.

In 2009 I calculated I needed 52 loaves of bread as I ate on loaf a week. AFTER, the days of Unleavened Bread I bought 52 loaves of bread and put them in the freezer. I also bought extra Matzo bread for the Feast of Unleavened bread in 2010 and 2011. When Passover 2010 arrived I only had two loaves of bread to throw out.

I stocked up on canned and pickled foods along with dry goods and I stored them in the basement. I also bought frozen vegetables and put them in the freezer as well.

I also had to plan on going to Israel 3 times in 2009 and had to plan my meals that I would eat while traveling so as not to eat anything that could have been harvested that year. This I also did.

I said to myself that if the whole world were to keep the commandment then there would be no fresh food anywhere because it would not be kosher to harvest it. So I planned my meals accordingly. Which meant if I went out to eat I could only eat the meat in the restaurants and not those fruits and vegetables that would have been harvested that year. It was not easy but it was doable. And I did this each time I went to Israel that year too and the next until the fresh ones were ready in 2010.

1) You do not plant

2) You do not harvest

3) Whatever grows of it own can be eaten by you or anyone, including the wild animals

4) We are to stock up on food to last us into the following year when the new crops come in

In Deuteronomy we are told something else:

We must do two other things during the Sabbatical year. Note that a brother is anyone that keeps Torah.

Deut. 15:1¬† At the end of every seven years you shall make a release.¬†2¬† And this is the manner of the release. Every man who has a loan to his neighbor shall release it. He shall not exact it from his neighbor, or from his brother, because it is called Jehovah’s release.¬†3¬† You may exact it from a foreigner, but your hand shall release that which is yours with your brother,¬†4¬† except when there shall be no poor among you. For Jehovah shall greatly bless you in the land which Jehovah your God gives you for an inheritance to possess it,¬†5¬† only if you carefully listen to the voice of Jehovah your God to be careful to do all these commandments which I command you today.¬†6¬† For Jehovah your God blesses you as He promised you. And you shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow. And you shall reign over many nations, but they shall not reign over you.¬†7¬† If there is among you a poor man of one of your brothers inside any of your gates in your land which Jehovah your God gives you, you shall not harden your heart nor shut your hand from your poor brother.¬†8¬† But you shall open your hand wide to him, and shall surely lend him enough for his need, that which he lacks.¬†9¬† Beware that there is not a thought in your wicked heart, saying, The seventh year, the year of release, is at hand, and your eye may be evil against your poor brother, and you give him nothing. And he may cry to Jehovah against you, and it is sin to you.¬†10¬† You shall surely give to him, and your heart shall not be grieved when you give to him, because for this thing Jehovah your God shall bless you in all your works, and in all that you put your hand to.¬†11¬† For the poor shall never cease out of the land. Therefore, I command you saying, You shall open your hand wide to your brother, to your poor, and to your needy, in your land.

You are to forgive the debts of those who owe you money. I had to do this and it was over $4000 that was owed to me. Even later, when they tried to pay me, I could not accept it- as I had already forgiven this debt. During the housing crash that following 2009, I was continually employed and never lacked for work during one of the worse economic times in history.

Deut. 15:12  If your brother, a Hebrew man or a Hebrew woman, is sold to you and serves you six years, then in the seventh year you shall let him go free from you. 13  And when you send him out free from you, you shall not let him go away empty. 14  You shall richly bestow on him from your flock, and from your grain floor, and from your winepress; with what Jehovah your God has blessed you, you shall give to him. 15  And you shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and Jehovah your God redeemed you. Therefore I command you this thing today. 16  And if he says to you, I will not go away from you, because he loves you and your house, because it has been good for him with you; 17  then you shall take an awl and put it through his ear to the door, and he shall be your servant forever. And also to your slave-girl you shall do so. 18  It shall not seem hard to you when you send him away from you free, for he has been worth a double hired servant in serving you six years. And Jehovah your God shall bless you in all that you do.

1) You do not plant

2) You do not harvest

3) What ever grows of it own can be eaten by you or anyone, including the wild animals

4) We are to stock up on food to last us into the following year when the new crops come in

5) You are to forgive the debts of those who owe you money or who have sinned against you

6) You are to free those who have become your slaves

We also have on more thing that is to be done during the Sabbatical year.

Deut. 31:9  And Moses wrote this Law and delivered it to the priests, the sons of Levi, who carried the ark of the covenant of Jehovah, and to all the elders of Israel. 10  And Moses commanded them, saying: At the end of seven years, at the set time of the year of release, in the Feast of Tabernacles, 11  when all Israel has come to appear before Jehovah your God in the place which He shall choose, you shall read this Law before all Israel in their hearing. 12  Gather the people, men and women and the little ones, and your stranger who is within your gates, so that they may hear and that they may learn and fear Jehovah your God, and be careful to do all the words of this Law, 13  and that their sons who have not known may hear and learn to fear Jehovah your God, as long as you live in the land where you go over Jordan to possess it.

This is the very thing that we read about in Nehemiah 8:18

Neh 8:1  And all the people gathered themselves as one man into the street before the water gate. And they spoke to Ezra the scribe to bring the Book of the Law of Moses, which Jehovah had commanded to Israel. 2  And Ezra the priest brought the Law before the congregation, both of men and women, and all that could hear with understanding, upon the first day of the seventh month. 3  And he read in it before the street in front of the Water Gate from the morning until noon, in front of the men and the women, and those who could understand. And the ears of all the people listened to the Book of the Law. 4  And Ezra the scribe stood upon a pulpit of wood which they had made for the purpose. And beside him stood Mattithiah, and Shema, and Anaiah, and Urijah, and Hilkiah, and Maaseiah, on his right hand; and on his left hand, Pedaiah, and Mishael, and Malchiah, and Hashum, and Hashbadana, Zechariah, and Meshullam. 5  And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people, for he was above all the people. And when he opened it, all the people stood up. 6  And Ezra blessed Jehovah, the great God. And all the people answered, Amen, amen, lifting up their hands. And they bowed their heads and worshiped Jehovah with their faces to the ground. 7  And Jeshua, and Bani, and Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodijah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, Pelaiah, and the Levites, caused the people to understand the Law. And the people were in their place. 8  And they read in the Book of the Law of God, clearly. And they gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading. 9  And Nehemiah, the governor, and Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people, said to all the people, This day is holy to Jehovah your God. Do not mourn or weep. For all the people wept when they heard the words of the Law. 10  Then he said to them, Go eat the fat and drink the sweet, and send portions to him for whom nothing is prepared. For this day is holy to our LORD. And do not be sorry, for the joy of Jehovah is your strength. 11  And the Levites quieted all the people, saying, Be quiet, for the day is holy. And do not be grieved. 12  And all the people went to eat, and to drink, and to send portions, and to make great rejoicing, because they had understood the words which were declared to them. 13  And on the second day the chief of the fathers of all the people, the priests, and the Levites, were gathered to Ezra the scribe, even to understand the words of the Law. 14  And they found written in the Law which Jehovah had commanded by Moses, that the sons of Israel should dwell in booths in the feast of the seventh month, 15  and that they should publish and proclaim in all their cities, and in Jerusalem, saying, Go forth to the mountain and bring olive branches and pine branches and myrtle branches and palm branches, and branches of thick trees, to make booths, as it is written. 16  And the people went out and brought in, and made themselves booths, each one upon his roof, and in their courts, and in the courts of the house of God, and in the street of the Water Gate, and in the street of the Gate of Ephraim. 17  And all the congregation of those who had come again out of the captivity made booths, and sat under the booths. For since the days of Joshua the son of Nun until that day, the sons of Israel had not done so. And there was very great gladness. 18  Also day by day, from the first day until the last day, he read in the Book of the Law of God. And they kept the feast seven days, and on the eighth was an assembly, according to the Law.

In 2009, myself and three other men read the entire Law out loud standing near the Gihon Spring which would have been near to where the Water Gate once was. We did it for about 4 hours before we had completed the reading; each man taking a turn reading one chapter at a time. Thousands of people walked by us as we did this wondering what we were doing.

1) You do not plant

2) You do not harvest

3) What ever grows of it own can be eaten by you or anyone, including the wild animals

4) We are to stock up on food to last us into the following year when the new crops come in

5) You are to forgive the debts of those who owe you money or who have sinned against you

6) You are to free those who have become your slaves

7) Read the entire Torah during the Feast of Tabernacles in the hearing of the whole assembly


Triennial Torah Cycle

We continue this weekend with our regular Triennial Torah Reading Cycle


Gen 15-16   |    Judges 9    |      Ps 33-34   |   Mat 20:17-21:22


Standing on the Promises (Genesis 15)

Once again, the promises God made to Abraham are about to be expanded. This is a frequent pattern in Genesis‚ÄĒpromise or covenant followed by expansion.

The events narrated here occurred some years after Abraham had come out of Haran and into Canaan in obedience to God’s call. He had as yet no child, neither by Sarah nor by any other woman. Here he was an old man, years after God’s promise was first given, and there was no sign of the fulfillment of that promise. But, as Paul wrote in the book of Romans, speaking of Abraham when he was even quite a bit older and at an age when he would be unexpected to be able to father children, “Not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body, already dead” (Romans 4:19). Abram had confidence that God would fulfill His word. For he walked by faith, not by sight. Nevertheless, the wait was difficult.

When God appeared to Abram in a vision and assured him of protection and reward, Abram reminded God that he had as yet no child, and that according to custom Abram’s steward, Eliezer, would become his heir. God then took Abram outside into the night and showed him the stars, saying: “Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them. So shall your descendants be” (Genesis 15:5). The magnitude of this promise can often be lost on us in our modern world, for man has so fouled the air with pollution and has so obscured the starry brilliance of the heavens with our city lights that the number of stars we can behold on any given night is often a paltry few. But go out into the desert, or up on a mountain, on a clear night and, with this scripture in mind, you will be astounded by what you behold. Imagine, then, how Abram felt. Though awestruck, no doubt, “Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness” (verse 6, NIV).


Slavery and the Promise of Deliverance (Genesis 15)

God promised multitudinous descendants to Abram, but He also promised that they would be enslaved for a period of time before being delivered with great wealth. The period of 400 years mentioned in verse 13 is not the period of their slavery. Biblical chronology indicates that Israel was enslaved for just over 200 years. The 400 years appear to date from Abraham’s death to Israel’s possession of the Promised Land (though there are other possibilities).

But why was there to be a delay in Israel’s possessing the land and servitude to a foreign nation? One reason is expressly stated. God says that the iniquity of the Amorites, who dwelt in Canaan, was not yet full‚ÄĒmeaning that God was extending mercy to them, allowing them time to repent. God deals justly with all people, and He often delays punishment until the situation shows no hope of betterment. But another reason for the delay and servitude was probably to condition Israel. If Israel had developed in the land, unmolested, they may have acquired a general disposition of rejecting any dealings with God whatsoever‚ÄĒ”Who needs God if everything is fine,” human reasoning says. But by allowing Israel to be enslaved, they would be humbled and willing to listen. Though they ultimately displeased God by rebelling against Him, they undoubtedly went further in serving Him than they otherwise would have. As God told Paul, in weakness we can be made strong (2 Corinthians 12:9; compare Hebrews 11:34). Additionally, if Israel would be taken out of slavery and made great, the credit for the greatness would more obviously be God’s.


Sarai’s “Solution” (Genesis 16)

The wait for the promised son was long and hard. Abram looked forward to the fulfillment of the promise and we can see that his thoughts were firmly fixed on it. But for Sarai the wait appears to have been the most difficult. She, like most women, wanted a child of her own, and the social stigma of barrenness only added to her sorrow. In such a condition, Abram and Sarai made a fateful mistake for which we are still paying the price.

No doubt Sarai longed for the fulfillment of the promise, just as Abram did. But with no fulfillment in sight, Sarai began to consider other options. Was not Hagar able to bear children? Did not God promise Abram a son without limiting Himself to providing the son through Sarai? Perhaps the promised son would come through Hagar. Besides, if it was not God’s will, wouldn’t He simply close up Hagar’s womb? So goes human reasoning. Impatience produced the “solution” to the problem: Abram should go into Hagar and father children by her. That Abram offered no resistance to the idea seems to suggest that he, too, found the reasoning compelling.

This might strike us today as a very strange way to attempt to solve the problem. There is, however, more than meets the eye here‚ÄĒa cultural factor that would have provided a rationalization for Abram and Sarai. Dr. Eugene Merrill explains in his book Kingdom of Priests: A History of Old Testament Israel: “Certain peculiar actions of Abram and his wife in Genesis 15 and 16 require some attention to ancient Near Eastern custom and law, especially a few Hurrian practices attested in the Nuzi tablets [documents from northern Mesopotamia of the patriarchal age]. [An] example is Sarai’s barrenness and the steps she took to ensure offspring in spite of it (Gen. 16:1-6). She simply offered her slave girl Hagar to Abram as a surrogate mother, and the child of that union, Ishmael, came to be regarded as the son of Abram and Sarai. This is paralleled by Nuzi texts which describe the same remedy for a similar situation” (1987, pp. 38-39).

Yet Ishmael, despite cultural precedent, was clearly not Sarai’s son‚ÄĒneither in her own eyes nor in the eyes of God‚ÄĒand trouble and heartache ensued within the family. Furthermore, Ishmael would ultimately become the father of many of the Arab peoples so that, even today, we still live with the tragic results of Sarai’s solution‚ÄĒi.e., major facets of the perpetual Middle East conflict.

The lesson ought to be obvious. What would have happened if Sarai and Abram had simply waited for God to provide the solution? Perhaps generations of strife could have been avoided. The geopolitical scene today might be very different, with the ever-present threat of war much diminished. We must learn to live with what God gives us, trusting that if He has made a promise He will fulfill it at just the right time and in just the right way. Man cannot bring about the fulfillment of God’s promises on his own. To attempt to do so is presumptuous and inevitably leads to misery. But to patiently wait for God to act, knowing that He cannot lie, builds faith and character, and avoids what could be generations of strife.


King Abimelech (Judges 9)

As stated in yesterday’s reading, when Gideon died, the Israelites went right back to their old ways, fornicating with the gods of the Canaanites. How quickly do men turn when the restraining influence of a righteous man is removed!

Although Gideon did not become an actual king, he did have a heavy influence on all aspects of public life. In fact, the large number of sons born to him after his victory‚ÄĒ70!‚ÄĒindicates that Gideon amassed a rather large harem (8:30), something usually reserved for kings. So although he did not become a king de jure, he was apparently the de facto king in Israel. This is also indicated by the name of one of his sons, whom he actually gave the royal title of Abimelech (verse 31), which means “My Father Is King”‚ÄĒand Abimelech’s remarks indicate that Gideon’s 70 sons were placed in important positions of leadership (compare 9:1-2).

While Gideon earlier realized that he should not be crowned king, it is possible that he later didn’t see things so clearly, particularly when we consider what happened with the ephod and his having many wives. (The multiplying of wives to oneself was forbidden to the kings of Israel in Deuteronomy 17:17 because it carried the danger of turning the one doing so away from God‚ÄĒand this principle was certainly applicable to anyone.) Furthermore, Gideon’s strong leadership, the deference of the people of Israel toward him, his personal lifestyle and the role of his sons in governing Israel probably did little to dispel the notion among the people that, even if he was not an actual king, he might as well have been.

Nevertheless, it is nowhere stated that Gideon ever actually assumed the title of king‚ÄĒand, with what is made of this issue in chapters 8 and 9, we would certainly expect the account to say so if he had. Thus, it is most likely that he never did. Naming his son Abimelech was perhaps a recognition of what he effectively was‚ÄĒnot what he truly was. And perhaps he was even hopeful of being blessed with some kind of dynastic succession of leadership, as presumptuous as that seems to be.

Whatever the case, it is clear that Gideon’s son Abimelech did want to be acknowledged as king. Upon his father’s death, Abimelech realized that if he did not move immediately, he would forever lose his opportunity for that honor. His first action was to gain the support of his mother’s influential Shechemite family, who saw that if Abimelech reigned in Israel, they would likely obtain high posts in the new government and all the benefits that went with them. This led the men of Shechem to throw their support, and money from the temple of Baal-Berith there, behind Abimelech. With the new money, Abimelech hired an entourage to accompany him‚ÄĒputting on the airs of a king, a public relations move. With the support of a significant city, and a personal entourage, Abimelech next eliminated any potential competition by murdering all his brothers, Gideon’s sons. Immediately, the men of Shechem and Beth Millo crowned Abimelech king. Pathetically, this occurred at the terebinth tree at Shechem, where Jacob, so many years before, had commanded those of his household to put away the foreign gods that were among them (Genesis 35:4).

Jotham, the youngest of Gideon’s sons, was the only survivor of the massacre. His long parable of the trees who sought a king charged the men of Shechem and Beth Millo with the grossest foolishness and the most treacherous dealings against Gideon, and he called forth a destruction upon them in repayment. Being the only blood descendant of Gideon, he knew Abimelech would do all he could to take his life, so he fled and hid.

The pact between Abimelech and his Shechemite supporters lasted for three years. Thereafter, “God sent a spirit of ill will between Abimelech and the men of Shechem” (verse 23). What caused the breach is not stated, but the disaffection caused the men of Shechem to support one Gaal, son of Ebed, in his bid for the throne. The rebellion was brought to a quick end‚ÄĒAbimelech killed Gaal and destroyed the city, including its pagan temple‚ÄĒand thus the treachery of the Shechemites against Gideon was repaid.

On the heels of this victory, Abimelech attacked another city, Thebez. But during the attack, a woman dropped a grinding stone down onto Abimelech’s head. Dying, he ordered his armor-bearer to kill him, lest it be said that he was killed by a woman. And so Abimelech’s treachery against his father Gideon was repaid.

God watches over His people. When the righteous cry out to him for deliverance from their enemies, God will act, although the unfolding of the events may, to all outward appearances, seem to have little to do with God. In the case of Abimelech, all God had to do was break the league between the Shechemites and Abimelech. The natural wickedness of the players involved would serve to bring things to a conclusion. And, true to His word, those who seek to exalt themselves will be abased.


Psalms 33

Psalm 33 is one of the few anonymous psalms in Book I of the Psalter. However, its placement here makes it likely one of David’s (see 72:20). It is interesting to note that the last verse of Psalm 32 seems to lead right into the first verse of Psalm 33. Yet Psalm 33 is clearly independent, ending the section of psalms beginning with the alphabetic acrostic of Psalm 25. Though not itself an alphabetic acrostic like the psalm that follows it, Psalm 33 is arranged in 22 Hebrew verses-22 being the number of letters in the Hebrew alphabet. (Perhaps there was a thought of making this into an alphabetic acrostic.)

The psalmist states that God finds pleasure and beauty in the rejoicing of the righteous (verse 1). He encourages others to praise God with various instruments (verse 2) and to “sing to Him a new song” (verse 3). Note here that worshipful music is directed “to Him”-He is the audience. And the singing of a new song, besides implying finding new ways to praise God in music (especially as we constantly discover new things to praise Him for), probably also means always singing with renewed appreciation and love-always thinking anew about hymns we are singing and not just droning out stanzas by rote. Capable musicians are told to “play skillfully” (verse 3), as we must offer only our best to God. And our attitude in musical praise is to be expressed in joy (same verse).

Indeed, there is so much to be joyful for, as the psalm goes on to detail. God’s Word is right and all His actions are done in truth, righteousness and justice, which He loves (verses 4-5). And despite the evil that Satan’s present rule has wrought, “the earth is full of the goodness of the Lord” (verse 5)-“the goodness that manifests itself every time the sun rises, a bird sings, and a mother lovingly embraces her child. Out of His goodness, God holds together the earth and provides for the sustenance of all people. One day God’s goodness will prevail over all evil (98:2)” (Nelson Study Bible, note on verses 4-5).

There is joy and praise to be found in God’s awesome work of creation (verses 6-9) and the fact that His plans and purpose will never be thwarted (verses 10-11). The people of God are so wonderfully blessed (verse 12).

God is to be praised as Sovereign above all nations. He watches from heaven over everyone on earth and is aware of everything they do-understanding them better than they do themselves as He is the one who fashioned their hearts (verses 13-15). And in His watchfulness, He is lovingly attentive to “those who fear Him…who hope in His unfailing love” (verse 18, NIV). For them He is a shield, a deliverer, a helper, so that they may truly rejoice (verses 19-21).

The psalm closes in verse 22 by addressing God Himself, praying for and affirming hope in the blessings of God’s covenant love.


The Righteous Redeemed, the Wicked Removed (Psalms 34-35)

Psalms 34-37 form a “small grouping of four psalms…framed by two alphabetic acrostics that contain wisdom-like instruction…in godliness and related warnings concerning the fate of the wicked‚ÄĒinstruction and warnings that reinforce key themes in the two enclosed prayers (Ps 35; 36)” (Zondervan NIV Study Bible, note on Psalms 34-37).

In introducing Psalm 34, The Nelson Study Bible says it’s “an acrostic, with one verse for each letter of the Hebrew alphabet…[except that] one verse appears to have dropped out at some point; there is no verse for the Hebrew letter waw, that would otherwise appear after v. 5.” However, this “missing” letter is found at the beginning of the second line of verse 5.

We read this psalm earlier in the Bible Reading Program in conjunction with the events described in the superscription (see the Bible Reading Program comments on 1 Samuel 21:13-15; Psalm 34). David had fled from Saul to the Philistine city of Gath and the protection of King Achish (Abimelech here, meaning “My Father King,” being the title of Philistine rulers rather than a personal name). Yet in this situation David might have been set to work against Israel or tortured for information. To render himself worthless to the Philistines and to keep himself out of the king’s court, he feigned madness. The superscription here tells us how the episode ended‚ÄĒwith David being driven away, which spared his life.

David composed this psalm in thanksgiving for God’s deliverance (verse 4). He welcomes others to experience God and His blessings (verse 8). Verses 9-10 assure us that God will meet all of our needs.

As in 33:18, the instruction in 34:9 to “fear the Lord” does not mean one is to be terrified of God. These words “gradually became a standard phrase for a good relationship with God. A good relationship begins with a reverent sense that God is so powerful and righteous that we dare not take Him lightly. But it goes on from awe to a sense of deep security, as this psalm fully demonstrates” (Zondervan The New Student Bible, note on verse 9).

David advises those who want to have long life to not speak evil or lies, to turn from wrong ways to right ways and to seek and pursue peace (verses 12-14)‚ÄĒcounsel found in many other verses. God blesses those who follow Him. He sees the righteous (verse 15). He hears the righteous (verses 15, 17). He is close to the righteous (verse 18). They can rely on Him for help in time of physical and spiritual trouble (verses 18-22).

In contrast, God sets His face against those who live in opposition to Him (verse 16). They ultimately bring on themselves death and condemnation (verses 16, 21)‚ÄĒ”evil” in verse 21 denoting calamity.

But God redeems His servants from condemnation (verse 22). And although the righteous will experience many difficulties, God will in time deliver them out of all of them (verse 19). Guarding the bones of the righteous, with not one broken (verse 20), is figurative of God’s special care to protect the person’s whole being in all its aspects (compare 35:9-10). Yet this may also entail ensuring that His servants are perfectly presentable to Him‚ÄĒderiving from the fact that the Passover lamb was to have no broken bones (Exodus 12:46; Numbers 9:12). These words from Psalm 34:20 are applied literally in John 19:33-36 as prophetic of Yeshua‚Äôs bones not being broken when He was executed, the death of this perfectly righteous Man‚ÄĒthe sinless Lamb of God‚ÄĒbeing the actual fulfillment of the Passover sacrifice.

Psalm 34:22, the psalm’s concluding verse, is outside the acrostic pattern of the psalm‚ÄĒjust as the final verse of Psalm 25 lies outside of its acrostic pattern. Curiously, both psalm endings begin with the letter pe and both deal with the subject of redemption.


Mat 20:17 – 21:22

22  But Yeshua answered and said, Ye know not what ye ask.

The mother of James and John asked a question that came from her lack of understanding. (Similar to Matthew 18:1). Again, Yeshua stresses the aspects of humility and servanthood.

22  Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?

A full discussion of this “cup” and baptism will be presented in chapter 26 of this study.

27  And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant:

Again referring to the idea of the “mighty in the Kingdom,” serving others in humility (with Moses being our best human example.)

5¬† thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass …

One of the problems posed by the Tenakh’s prophecies, regarding the Messiah, is that He would arrive both on the back of a donkey as well as in the clouds of glory. As it did not seem possible for one person to fulfill both prophecies, there developed a theory that if the people were righteous, Messiah would come on the clouds, if they were not, He would arrive on a donkey:

However, even the Talmudists recognized that Scripture did not truly offer an “if-or” option, hence the idea of two Messiahs came into being. The first, Messiah ben Joseph would be more of the humble suffering servant. He would in fact be killed. The second, Messiah ben David, would come, avenge the death of Messiah ben Joseph and usher in the Millennial Kingdom.

8 others cut down branches from the trees, and strawed them in the way.

The cutting of branches alludes to the feast of Sukkot (Tabernacles), most closely associated with the coming of the Messianic era (See comments on Matthew 17:4).

Leviticus 23:39-42- Also in the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when ye have gathered in the fruit of the land, ye shall keep a feast unto the LORD seven days: on the first day shall be a sabbath, and on the eighth day shall be a sabbath. And ye shall take you on the first day the boughs of goodly trees, branches of palm trees, and the boughs of thick trees, and willows of the brook; and ye shall rejoice before the LORD your God seven days. And ye shall keep it a feast unto the LORD seven days in the year. It shall be a statute for ever in your generations: ye shall celebrate it in the seventh month. Ye shall dwell in booths seven days; all that are Israelites born shall dwell in booths.

It is clear from the behavior of these people that they thought Yeshua was at least a great prophet, if not the Messiah.

9 Hosanna to the son of David

The term “Hosanna” is Hosheanu, meaning, “save us.” The cry of the people (Hosheana, ben David), is also tied to Sukkot. The 7th day of Sukkot is called, Hosheana Rabba, meaning “the great save us.” As mentioned earlier, “son of David” is a Messianic title.

Interestingly, the time of this occasion is the spring and not the fall, (when Sukkot takes place). Also, even though Yeshua is the final Yom Kippur sacrifice (another fall feast), He was killed in the spring on Pesakh (Passover). The resolution to this lies in deeper levels of study (at the Sod level) and will be addressed more fully in our Revelation study. Suffice it to say that although the feasts of God seem separate and unique from our point of view in this physical world, in the spiritual realm there is less distinction and far greater unity (enabled by the Messiah).

13  ye have made it a den of thieves.

The people were required to make offerings at the Temple. As it was too difficult for those living far away to bring animals with them, they would instead purchase the animal when they arrived at the Temple. Also, it was not permitted to use pagan money to make offerings (or pay the Temple tax), so coins would be evaluated and exchanged for shekels. The men providing this service had found it too easy to cheat people however, and it is for this dishonesty that Yeshua drives them out.

The verse Yeshua quotes is from both Isaiah 56 and Jeremiah 7. As the prophets state, the Temple of the Lord was to be a house of prayer for all nations, thereby including gentiles into the faith of Israel. The actions of the money changers were a perversion of justice, taking advantage of people, which is a perversion of the essence of God’s Torah. By such evil works, the name of the God of Israel would be blasphemed among the gentiles. This acted against God’s Temple being a house of prayer for them, in fact keeping salvation from the gentiles.

As Paul similarly wrote of some of his fellow Jews:

Romans 2:23-24 – Thou that makest thy boast of the law, through breaking the law dishonourest thou God? For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you, as it is written.

16  Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise?

Yeshua quotes Psalm 8, which is highly Messianic in its nature, thus offering the people a “hint” as to who He was:

Psalm 8 – O LORD, our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens. Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength because of thine enemies, that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger. When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour. Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet: All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field; The fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas. O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth!

19  And when he saw a fig tree in the way, he came to it, and found nothing thereon, but leaves only, and said unto it, Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever. And presently the fig tree withered away.

There is a deep, “hidden” significance to this brief encounter with the fig tree, having to do with Israel’s lack of faith. An interesting comparison can be made to an ancient Hebraic mystical text, which speaks of the “attribute” of God that abides with Israel (also referred to as the Shekinah):

When Israel diverges from God’s way, then this attribute is found to be lacking, meager and low. She is like foliage whose leaves have shrivelled in a garden without water. Then she is like a tree whose fruit has fallen off … 2

21  if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed?22  whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.

As God would not want all of us hurling huge mountains about, it is easy to see that there are deeper meanings to these verses.

First, if we take these verses at a more literal (p’shat) level (even considering the allegorical terms of “mountains” and “seas”), it would seem that great miracles should be “commonplace” among those who are righteous in God’s sight. As this is not the case today, one has to ask what the problem is.

The answer may be found in another statement made by Yeshua:

Luke 18:8 – Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?

As “faith” is defined by God in terms of a relationship with Him based on His instruction, His Torah, (i.e., Deuteronomy chapter 6, Luke 18:18-22) and the majority of those claiming to follow His Messiah today preach that they are “not under the Law,” (i.e., not submissive to His Torah), then Messiah’s words are a indeed frightening prophecy. (See notes to Matthew chapters 5 through 7 on Torah as part of faith.)

There is a deeper meaning to these verses however, that is actually applicable to their immediate context. The question must first be asked, What is the purpose of Messiah’s teachings in these surrounding chapters (21-23)? As we are seeing, Yeshua is both, a) rooting out the false teachings (leaven) of the religious leadership, and b) presenting the offer of the Kingdom to His people. (See Isaiah 61 as well.)

The metaphorical terms “mountains” and “seas” have to do with leaders and the spiritual abyss. As Yeshua points out in these chapters, the Pharisees were actually keeping people away from the Kingdom of God through their teachings (though the people were at fault as well for allowing them to do this). Yeshua is thus instructing His disciples that with faith, not only can the falsehood of the Pharisees be overcome (the mountain being tossed into the sea), but the Kingdom itself can be ushered in, (where “miracles” will be commonplace, i.e., “whatever you ask you will revive.”)