Simon Bar-Kokhba The Messiah or “Ben-Kusiba The False Messiah

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: Jan 5, 2012

News Letter 5847-042
12th day of the 10th month 5847 years after the creation of Adam
The 10th Month in the Second year of the third Sabbatical Cycle
The Third Sabbatical Cycle of the 119th Jubilee Cycle
The Sabbatical Cycle of Earthquakes Famines, and Pestilences.

January 7, 2012

Shabbat Shalom Brethren,

This just in. This weekend teaching is being ustreamed at

This Shabbat I will be speaking in Abilene Texas from 10 AM to 8 PM at the
Sleep Inn Abilene TX
3225 South Danville Drive
Abilene TX
Phone for reservations: 325-437-1525

I hope if you’re in the area you will make the effort to come out and learn about the Sabbatical and Jubilee years and how they show us the Prophecies in Abrahams life and as well as in the Prophecy of Niddah which both show us war is coming. If you do not know about these things and how they point to the coming WAR in the USA and UK, then you should come out and consider what I present to you.

It is free and cost you nothing except your time.

And I have just found out this may be live streamed from Abilene. I am sorry I cannot tell you more than that.

From our article two weeks ago on the debt we have this one quote to share.
There are two ways to conquer and enslave a nation.
One is by the sword. The other is by debt.
John Adams 1826
Is this not what Germany is doing right now in Europe.

Last week’s News Letter has generated quite the response from both sides of the camp. None of them were short in their replies. Those who found the article favorable also commented on how some had either gone the Rabbinic route and come back or how others had never come back. And they thanked me for saying what we said last week. But I have to thank the author who brought it to words what I was not able to.

Others wrote who had dropped the News Testament or Paul or Yehshua and they were upset I had posted such a letter and wrote to tell me the list of things I was wrong about and how they could justify their current position.

Others wrote to encourage me to drop all things Paul taught.

Brethren when we stand before the throne and are judged, all those who influenced our decisions in life to walk this way or that way, will not be there to hold our hands at Judgment time. You will stand on your own. So make sure you understand what you believe and why you believe it. There is a plethora of ideas out there. There is a great deal of mixed seed out there. YOU are to be the wheat and yet as we said last week the tares look just like the wheat until the harvest.

They are amongst us and they think they are just the same as the wheat. How do you tell? Check everything they and I say against the scriptures. And stick close to the scriptures. For all you know I could be part of the Tares. The only way to tell is to compare what is taught with the scriptures and to sort the good from the bad and to hold on to what is good.

1Th 5:19 Do not quench the Spirit. 20 Do not despise prophecies, 21 prove them all. Hold fast what is good. 22 Keep back from every form of wickedness. 23 And the Elohim of peace Himself set you completely apart, and your entire spirit, and being, and body – be preserved blameless at the coming of our Master ????? Messiah!

Rom 12:9 Let love be without hypocrisy. Shrink from what is wicked, cling to what is good.

Many of those from last week will not listen to these two quotes as they are from Paul and from the New Testament. But I do listen to those things Paul taught and to the New Testament. I find they are complementary to the Torah when the mistranslations are taken out. That is who I am and what I believe and why I write the way I write. I make no apologies for that, none what so ever.

Why is it so messed up? Why does Yehovah allow this? For one very important and simple reason.

Pro 25:2 It is the esteem of Elohim to hide a matter, And the esteem of sovereigns to search out a matter.

Yehovah is searching for those who are going to be kings and priests in His coming Kingdom. They will be those who search the scriptures to prove His Torah true and the false teachers false. If you’re not searching and if you’re not checking then you will reap what you have sown.

Keep in mind the parable about those who were given the talents.

Mat 25:13 “Watch therefore, because you do not know the day nor the hour in which the Son of Ad?am is coming, 14 for it is like a man going from home, who called his own servants and delivered his possessions to them. 15 “And to one he gave five talents, and to another two, and to another one, to each according to his own ability, and went from home. 16 “And he who had received the five talents went and worked with them, and made another five talents. 17 “In the same way, he with the two also, he gained two more. 18 “But he who had received the one went away and dug in the ground, and hid the silver of his master. 19 “And after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. 20 “And he who had received five talents came and brought five other talents, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents. See, I have gained five more talents besides them.’ 21 “And his master said to him, ‘Well done, good and trustworthy servant. You were trustworthy over a little, I shall set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ 22 “Then he who had received two talents came and said, ‘Master, you delivered to me two talents. See, I have gained two more talents besides them.’ 23 “His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and trustworthy servant. You were trustworthy over a little, I shall set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ 24 “And the one who had received the one talent also came and said, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed, 25 and being afraid, I went and hid your talent in the ground. See, you have what is yours.’ 26 “And his master answering, said to him, ‘You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed. 27 ‘Then you should have put my silver with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest. 28 ‘Therefore take away the talent from him, and give it to him who possesses ten talents. 29 ‘For to everyone who possesses, more shall be given, and he shall have overflowingly; but from him who does not possess, even what he possesses shall be taken away.1 Footnote:1See Lk. 8:18. 30 ‘And throw the worthless servant out into the outer darkness – there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

Luke had a similar teaching but the reward was to be given authority over cities.

Luk 19:10 “For the Son of Ad?am has come to seek and to save what was lost.” 11 And as they were hearing this, He spoke another parable, because He was near Yerushalayim and they thought the reign of Elohim was about to be manifested straightaway. 12 He therefore said, “A certain nobleman went to a distant country to receive for himself a reign and to return. 13 “And calling ten of his servants, He gave them ten minas, and said to them, ‘Trade until I come.’ 14 “But his subjects were hating him, and sent a delegation after him, to say, ‘We do not wish this one to reign over us.’ 15 “And it came to be, when he came back, having received the reign, that he sent for these servants to whom he had given the silver, in order to know what each had gained by trading. 16 “And the first came, saying, ‘Master, your mina has earned ten minas.’ 17 “And he said to him, ‘Well done, good servant. Because you were trustworthy in a small matter, have authority over ten cities.’ 18 “And the second came, saying, ‘Master, your mina has earned five minas.’ 19 “And he said to him also, ‘And you – be over five cities.’ 20 “And another came, saying, ‘Master, here is your mina, which I kept laid up in a handkerchief. 21 ‘For I was afraid of you, because you are a hard man. You take up what you did not lay down, and reap what you did not sow.’ 22 “And he said to him, ‘Out of your own mouth I shall judge you, you wicked servant. You knew that I was a hard man, taking up what I did not lay down and reaping what I did not sow. 23 ‘Why did you not put the silver in the bank, that when I come I could have collected it with interest?’ 24 “Then he said to those who stood by, ‘Take the mina from him, and give it to him who possesses ten minas.’ 25 “But they said to him, ‘Master, he already possesses ten minas.’ 26 ‘For I say to you, that to everyone who possesses shall be given; and from him who does not possess, even what he possesses shall be taken away from him. 27 ‘But those enemies of mine who did not wish me to reign over them, bring them here and slay them before me.’ ”

So hold on tight Brethren to what is good and prove everything. It is going to get even harder to know in the coming years. Hold on very tight. Be a future King or Priest and search the scriptures to know the truth. Kings were told to write out the Torah so they would know it. But do not stop there. Once you do this, go out and teach the truth to others.

So what are you doing with your understanding? Have you increased it or doubled it, or have you hidden it so no one knows you have an opinion on anything. Remember what you have just read, if you do nothing with the knowledge given you, what you have will be taken away from you and given to another.

Simon Bar-Kokhba The Messiah became known as “Ben-Kusiba The False Messiah

This week and next I want to discuss the infamous Bar kokhba Revolt that changed everything. Many of you have just finished celebrating the Maccabees Chanukah celebrations and have little understanding of all that went on in 165 BC. You say you do but in reality you do not and I urge you to study this subject in greater detail over the coming year.

But fewer still know and understand what took place in 135 CE and all the ramifications that came as a result of the failure of this revolt. For some of you this will be boring. But for others you will learn why the new year was moved to Tishri and why the shmitah year was changed and then dropped from being used. So much happened at this time it is unbelievable, but it did happen and we all need to understand it. So I hope you will read through in spite of what you think of history.

The Bar Kokhba revolt 132–136 CE;[2] Hebrew: ??? ?? ?????? or mered bar kokhba) against the Roman Empire, was the third major rebellion by the Jews of Judaea Province being the last of the Jewish-Roman Wars. Simon bar Kokhba, the commander of the revolt, was acclaimed as a Messiah, a heroic figure who could restore Israel. The revolt established an independent state of Israel over parts of Judea for over two years, but a Roman army made up of six full legions with auxiliaries and elements from up to six additional legions finally crushed it.[3] The Romans then barred Jews from Jerusalem, except to attend Tisha B’Av.

Tisha B’Av (Hebrew: ???? ???? or ?? ???, “the Ninth of Av,”) is an annual fast day in Judaism, named for the ninth day (Tisha) of the month of Av in the Hebrew calendar. The fast commemorates the destruction of both the First Temple and Second Temple in Jerusalem, which occurred about 655 years apart, but on the same Hebrew calendar date.[1] Although primarily meant to commemorate the destruction of the Temples, it is also considered appropriate to commemorate other Jewish tragedies that occurred on this day, most notably the expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492.[2] Accordingly, the day has been called the “saddest day in Jewish history”.[3]

Tisha B’Av falls in July or August in the western calendar. When the ninth of Av falls on Sabbath (Saturday), the observance is deferred to Sunday the tenth of Av. While the day recalls general tragedies which have befallen the Jewish people over the ages, the day focuses on commemoration of five events: the destruction of the two ancient Temples in Jerusalem, the sin of ten of the twelve scouts sent by Moses, who spoke disparagingly about the Promised Land, the razing of Jerusalem following the siege of Jerusalem in 70 CE, and the failure of the Bar Kokhba revolt against the Roman Empire.

The fast lasts about 25 hours, beginning at sunset on the eve of Tisha B’Av and ending at nightfall the next day. In addition to the prohibitions against eating or drinking, observant Jews also observe prohibitions against washing or bathing, applying creams or oils, wearing leather shoes, and engaging in sexual activity. In addition, mourning customs similar to those applicable to the shiva period immediately following the death of a close relative are traditionally followed for at least part of the day, including sitting on low stools, refraining from work and not greeting others.

The Book of Lamentations is traditionally read, followed by the kinnot, a series of liturgical lamentations. In many Sephardic and Yemenite communities, and formerly also among Ashkenazim, it is also customary to read the Book of Job.

Although Jewish Christians hailed Yehshua as the Messiah and did not support Bar Kokhba, they were barred from Jerusalem along with the rest of the Jews. The war and its aftermath helped differentiate Christianity as a religion distinct from Judaism. The rebellion is also known as The Third Jewish-Roman War or The Third Jewish Revolt, though some historians relate it as Second Jewish Revolt, not counting the Kitos War, 115–117 CE.

(The author here is assuming all christianity is the same as those who followed Yehshua and kept the Torah. They are not. For those who followed Yehshua kept the Torah and were called Notzris The Jerusalem Church (Yerushalayim Ecclesia) was recognized as the Mother Church of what would later become Christianity. In fact the whole concept of the Jerusalem Church is a misnomer, as in the culture of first century Judaism there were no churches. The various groups of Sabbath worshippers met together in congregations called ecclesias, worshipped in the synagogues or the Temple of Herod in Jerusalem. The Jewish followers of Jesus were called for the next few centuries, the Notzri, and the congregation of Notzris was called the Nazarenes. As such the official name for the Jerusalem Church was the Hebrew (Kahal) Nazarene Congregation (Ecclesia) of Israel (Yisra’el).

See article on my web site called:

  • Newsletter 5844-026    Christian, Jew or Notzrim, What does the Bible and History say about them?

Act 11:26 And finding him, he brought him to Antioch. And it happened to them a whole year they were assembled in the church. And they taught a considerable crowd. And the disciples were first called Christian in Antioch.

Before this they were known as Notzri or followers of the Way. )

After the failed Great Jewish Revolt in 70 CE, the Roman authorities took measures to suppress the rebellious province of Iuadea. Instead of a procurator, they installed a praetor as a governor and stationed an entire legion, the X Fretensis. Because the Great Revolt of 70 CE had resulted in the destruction of Jerusalem, the Council at Yavne provided spiritual guidance for the Jewish nation, both in Judea and throughout the Jewish diaspora. The tensions continued to build up in the consequence of the Kitos War, the second large-scale Jewish insurrection in the Eastern Mediterranean, which final stages were fought in Judaea.

Multiple reasons have been offered for the beginning of the Bar Kokhba revolt. One interpretation is that in 130 CE, Emperor Hadrian visited the ruins of the temple. At first sympathetic towards the Jews, Hadrian promised to rebuild the temple, but the Jews felt betrayed when they found out that his intentions were to build a temple dedicated to Jupiter upon the ruins of the Second Temple.[4] A rabbinic version of this story claims that Hadrian was planning on rebuilding the Temple, but a malevolent Samaritan convinced him not to.

An additional legion, the VI Ferrata, was stationed in the province to maintain order, and the works commenced in 131 CE after the governor of Judaea Tineius Rufus performed the foundation ceremony of Aelia Capitolina, the city’s projected new name. “Ploughing up the Temple” was a religious offence that turned many Jews against the Roman authorities. The tensions grew higher when Hadrian abolished circumcision (brit milah), which he, a Hellenist, viewed as mutilation.[5] Subsequently, it is known that a Roman coin inscribed Aelia Capitolina was issued in 132, right with the revolt beginnings.


The Jewish sage Rabbi Akiva (alternatively Akiba) indulged the possibility that Simon Bar Kosiba (Bar Kokhba) could be the Jewish Messiah, and gave him the surname “Bar Kokhba” meaning “son of a star” in the Aramaic language, from the Star Prophecy verse from Numbers 24:17: “There shall come a star out of Jacob”[6]

At the time, Jewish Christians were still a minor sect of Judaism, and most historians believe that it was this messianic claim in favor of Bar Kokhba alienated many of them, who believed that the true Messiah was Yehshua, and sharply deepened the schism between Jews and messianic Jews.

The Jewish leaders carefully planned the second revolt to avoid numerous mistakes that had plagued the first Great Jewish Revolt sixty years earlier. In 132, a revolt led by Bar Kokhba quickly spread from Modi’in across the country, cutting off the Roman garrison in Jerusalem.

Roman reaction

The outbreak took the Romans by surprise. Hadrian called his general Sextus Julius Severus from Britain, and troops were brought from as far as the Danube. The size of the Roman army amassed against the rebels was much larger than that commanded by Titus sixty years earlier. Roman losses were very heavy – XXII Deiotariana was disbanded after serious losses.[7][8] In addition, some argue that Legio IX Hispana disbandment in the mid 2nd century could also have been a result of this war.[9]

The struggle lasted for three years before the revolt was brutally crushed in the summer of 135 CE. After losing Jerusalem, Bar Kokhba and the remnants of his army withdrew to the fortress of Betar, which also subsequently came under siege. The Jerusalem Talmud relates that the numbers slain were enormous, that the Romans “went on killing until their horses were submerged in blood to their nostrils”.[10] The Talmud also relates that for seventeen years the Romans did not allow the Jews to bury their dead in Betar.

“The Era of the redemption of Israel”

A sovereign State of Israel was restored for two and a half years that followed. The functional public administration was headed by Simon Bar Kokhba, who took the title Nasi Israel (prince [lord, president] of Israel). The “Era of the redemption of Israel” was announced, contracts were signed and coins were minted in large quantity in silver and copper with corresponding inscriptions (all were struck over foreign coins).

It has been argued that attempts were made to restore the Temple in Jerusalem, but the evidence—letters written in Jerusalem and dated to the revolutionary era—has turned out to belong to the revolt of 66–70.

Outcome of the war

According to Cassius Dio, 580,000 Jews were killed, and 50 fortified towns and 985 villages razed.[11][12] Cassius Dio claimed that “Many Romans, moreover, perished in this war. Therefore, Hadrian, in writing to the Senate, did not employ the opening phrase commonly affected by the emperors: ‘If you and your children are in health, it is well; I and the army are in health.'”[4]

Hadrian attempted to root out Judaism, which he saw as the cause of continuous rebellions. He prohibited the Torah law and the Hebrew calendar, and executed Judaic scholars. The sacred scroll was ceremonially burned on the Temple Mount. At the former Temple sanctuary, he installed two statues, one of Jupiter, another of himself. In an attempt to erase any memory of Judea or Ancient Israel, he wiped the name off the map and replaced it with Syria Palaestina (after the Philistines, the ancient enemies of the Jews) supplanting earlier terms, such as “Judaea” and Israel. Similarly, he re-established Jerusalem but now as the Roman pagan polis of Aelia Capitolina, and Jews were forbidden from entering it, except on the day of Tisha B’Av.[13]

According to a Rabbinic midrash (the Ten Martyrs), in addition to Bar Kokhba the Romans executed ten leading members of the Sanhedrin: the high priest, R. Ishmael; the president of the Sanhedrin, R. Shimon ben Gamaliel; R. Akiba; R. Hanania ben Teradion; the interpreter of the Sanhedrin, R. Huspith; R. Eliezer ben Shamua; R. Hanina ben Hakinai; the secretary of the Sanhedrin, R. Yeshevav; R. Yehuda ben Dama; and R. Yehuda ben Baba. The Rabbinic account describes agonizing tortures: R. Akiba was flayed, R. Ishmael had the skin of his head pulled off slowly, and R. Hanania was burned at a stake, with wet wool held by a Torah scroll wrapped around his body to prolong his death.[14]

By destroying association of Jews to Judea and forbidding the practice of Jewish faith, Hadrian aimed to root out a nation that engaged heavy casualties on the Empire. Yet, Hadrian’s death in 138 CE marked a significant relief to the surviving Jewish communities. Rabbinic Judaism had already become a portable religion, centered around synagogues, and the Jews themselves kept books and dispersed throughout the Roman world and beyond.

Long-term consequences and historic importance

Constantine I allowed Jews to mourn their defeat and humiliation once a year on Tisha B’Av at the Western Wall. Jews remained scattered for close to two millennia; their numbers in the region fluctuated with time.

Modern historians have come to view the Bar-Kokhba Revolt as being of decisive historic importance. The massive destruction and loss of life occasioned by the revolt has led some scholars to date the beginning of the Jewish diaspora from this date. They note that, unlike the aftermath of the First Jewish-Roman War chronicled by Josephus, the majority of the Jewish population of Judea was either killed, exiled, or sold into slavery after the Bar-Kokhba Revolt, and Jewish religious and political authority was suppressed far more brutally. After the revolt the Jewish religious center shifted to the Babylonian Jewish community and its scholars. Judea would not be a center of Jewish religious, cultural, or political life again until the modern era, though Jews continued to live there and important religious developments still occurred there. In Galilee, the Jerusalem Talmud was compiled in the 2nd–4th centuries. Eventually, Safed became known as a center of Jewish learning, especially Kabbalah in the 15th century.[15]

Historian Shmuel Katz writes that even after the disaster of the revolt:

“Jewish life remained active and productive. Banished from Jerusalem, it now centred on Galilee. Refugees returned; Jews who had been sold into slavery were redeemed. In the centuries after Bar Kochba and Hadrian, some of the most significant creations of the Jewish spirit were produced in Palestine. It was there that the Mishnah was completed and the Jerusalem Talmud was compiled, and the bulk of the community farmed the land.”[16]

Katz lists the communities left in Palestine:

“43 Jewish communities in Palestine in the sixth century: 12 on the coast, in the Negev, and east of the Jordan, and 31 villages in Galilee and in the Jordan valley.”[16]

The disastrous end of the revolt also occasioned major changes in Jewish religious thought. Messianism was abstracted and spiritualized, and rabbinical political thought became deeply cautious and conservative. The Talmud, for instance, refers to Bar-Kokhba as “Ben-Kusiba”, a derogatory term used to indicate that he was a false Messiah. The deeply ambivalent rabbinical position regarding Messianism, as expressed most famously in the Rambam’s (also known as Maimonides) “Epistle to Yemen”, would seem to have its origins in the attempt to deal with the trauma of a failed Messianic uprising.[17]

In the post-rabbinical era, however, the Bar-Kokhba Revolt became a symbol of valiant national resistance. The Zionist youth movement Betar took its name from Bar-Kokhba’s traditional last stronghold, and David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s first prime minister, took his Hebrew last name from one of Bar-Kokhba’s generals.

A popular children’s song, included in the curriculum of Israeli kindergartens, has the refrain “Bar Kokhba was a Hero/He fought for Liberty” and its words describe Bar Kokhba as being captured, thrown into a lion’s den but managing to escape riding on the lion’s back.[18]

Further relations between the Jews and the Roman Empire

Main articles: Jewish revolt against Gallus and Revolt against Heraclius
In 351–352 CE, the Jews launched yet another revolt, provoking once again heavy retribution.[16]

In 438 CE, when the Empress Eudocia removed the ban on Jews’ praying at the Temple site, the heads of the Community in Galilee issued a call “to the great and mighty people of the Jews” which began: “Know that the end of the exile of our people has come!”[16][19]

During the 5th and the 6th centuries, a series of Samaritan insurrections broke out across the Palaestina Prima province. Especially violent were the third and the fourth revolts, which resulted in almost entire annihilation of the Samaritan community. It is likely that the 4th Samaritan Revolt was joined by the Jewish community, which had also suffered a brutal suppression of Israelite (Mosaic) religion.

In the belief of restoration to come, the Jews made an alliance with the Persians who invaded Palaestina Prima in 614, fought at their side, overwhelmed the Byzantine garrison in Jerusalem, and for five years governed the city.[16] However, their autonomy was brief: with the withdrawal of Persian forces, Jews surrendered to Byzantine forces in 625 CE and were consequently massacred by them in 629 CE. The Byzantine (Eastern Roman Empire) control of the region was finally lost to the Muslim Arab armies in 637 CE, when Umar ibn al-Khattab completed the conquest of Akko.

We have shared this brief history of the Jews from the times around the Bar Kokhba Revolt so you can understand what was going on at that time. Next week I will show you how Rabbi Yose and the Seder Olam play a significant role in changing the Sabbatical year and the start of the year.

This will show you why Judah today keep the Sabbath years one and a half years before the actual Sabbath year which was the way it was kept from the time they were first taught it.

Triennial Torah Cycle

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

Lev 9-10       Jer 40-43        Prov 22       Acts 19

Leviticus 9 (same as last week)

Nadab and Abihu (Leviticus 9-10)
In chapter 9 Moses instructs Aaron to proceed and offer the first offerings as God’s high priest. In verse 15, the offering for the people is a goat. While the animal specified as a sin offering for the congregation in Leviticus 4:14 was a bull, a goat was used for this purpose on some occasions (16:9, 5; Numbers 28-29; 15:22-26; 2 Chronicles 29:20-24; Ezra 6:17; 8:35).

At this inauguration of sacrifices, Aaron pronounces a blessing on Israel (verse 22). The specific wording of the priestly blessing that God commanded to be bestowed upon Israel is given in Numbers 6:23-26. This may be the blessing to which Leviticus 9:22 refers.

In verses 23-24 we see a spectacular event. “The sacrifices were consumed, not by fire ignited by Aaron, but by fire from before the Lord. This is the first of only five times that the Old Testament records fire from God as a sign that a sacrifice was accepted (Judg. 6:21; 1 Kin. 18:38; 1 Chr. 21:26; 2 Chr. 7:1). Since the fire on this altar was never to go out [see Leviticus 6:9, 12-13], all Israel’s sacrifices from this time forward would be consumed by fire that originated from God” (Nelson Study Bible, note on 9:24). However, while certainly plausible, it is not absolutely clear that this was the case.

After Aaron’s sons are later killed for bringing profane fire before the Lord, Moses explains to Aaron why God has done this and then instructs Aaron’s cousins to remove the dead men from the sanctuary. God then commands Aaron and his sons to not drink alcohol before going into the tabernacle of meeting. But the account had only spoken of Nadab and Abihu bringing profane fire and incense before God—so why is this particular instruction regarding intoxicating drink given to Aaron in the midst of what had just happened? Although it is possible that God was simply relating another way that one could show disregard for him during these rituals, the text here may be indicating that the inappropriate use of alcohol had played a role in the two brothers’ poor judgment and behavior.

The punishment God inflicted on the two was very severe. We know there are certainly many times where people have “worshiped” God in a way that He does not recognize or appreciate, yet for which He does not strike them down immediately. However, at the time of this account, God was playing a very visible role in the nation of Israel and was actually teaching the people the magnitude of reverence they needed to have for Him: “By those who come near Me I must be regarded as holy; and before all the people I must be glorified” (Leviticus 10:3)—it was critical for them to understand.

What Aaron’s sons did was not in ignorance, for God had already given clear instructions through Moses on how He was to be regarded. In this situation, Nadab and Abihu’s disregard and carelessness could not go uncorrected—it was not only offensive to God, but would have fostered a careless attitude about God’s instructions among the people. When God says to regard Him as holy, He means it. The instructive nature of this event was so important that Aaron and his remaining sons were not allowed to show any outward sign of grievance—they were required to maintain their composure and to continue their priestly duties to illustrate the justice and righteousness of God’s wrath.

The NIV Study Bible notes regarding the death of Nadab and Abihu: “They are regularly remembered as having died before the Lord and as having had no sons. Their death was tragic and at first seems harsh, but no more so than that of Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5:1-11). In both cases a new era was being inaugurated…. The new community had to be made aware that it existed for God, not vice versa.”

Jeremiah 40-41

Chapter 40 covers the chief guard of the Chaldean army, Nebuzaradan, freeing Jeremiah from his chains in Ramah and giving him the choice of going to Babel, remaining in Ramah, or to go and stay with Gedalyah in Mitspah. Gedalyah was put in control and head over the remaining poor remnant left in the land of Judah who were not being exiled to Babel. It is interesting to note that even the Chaldean Nebuzaradan recognized why all this curse had come upon the people of Yehovah. He states in v 2-3, “YHWH your Elohim has spoken this evil on this place. And YHWH has brought it on, and has done, as He has said. Because you have sinned against YHWH, and did not obey His voice, therefore this matter has come upon you.”

Jeremiah decides to go to Mitspah to stay with Gedalyah and when the people who had scattered to Moab and Edom heard that Gedalyah was left to rule over the land – they returned. They were allowed to continue to farm the land and bring in their summer fruits.

We are told that a rumor begins concerning a murder plot against the life of Gedalyah. The man named Yohanan son of Qareah tells Gedalyah that Yishma’el the son of Nethanyahu has been sent by Ba’alis the sovereign of the Ammonites to kill him. Gedalyah refuses to believe him or the rumor.

In chapter 41 we are informed that the rumor was in fact true. In the seventh month there was a dinner party at the office of Gedalyah. Yishma’el was there with ten of his men to eat bread with the ruler who Babel has set over the people of Judah. At the dinner, Yishma’el and his ten men rose up and slew Gedalyah with the sword along with all the men there including the Chaldean fighting men of battle. He continued this rampage of killing throughout the next coming days. Yishma’el and his group ran into some 80 men coming from Shekem, Shiloh, and Samaria (their dress indicates they were priests of some sort) and trapped them after they came into the city by acting as though “some one” had slain the head Gedalyah. Yishma’el and his men slew them, many of them although some begged for their lives and were saved due to the wheat, barley, honey, and oil they had. The dead were thrown into a pit.

When Yohanan son of Qareah got word of the killing rampage carried out by Yishma’el and his men, he gathered a small army of fighting men and set out to stop the killing and terror. When the captives of Yishma’el saw them coming, they were happy and joined them in fighting against the terrorist. Yishma’el’s group was defeated but Yishma’el escapted back to Ammon along with eight of his men who escaped with him.

Fleeing to Egypt (Jeremiah 42-43)
Fearing a new Babylonian rampage through the land, the Jewish remnant deems it important to have God on their side. So they ask Jeremiah to pray for God’s will to be revealed (verses 1-2). Yet it becomes apparent that what they really want is confirmation of what they have already made up their minds to do—flee to Egypt (see 43:2). “It is an insult to God to ask for his will, when a decision has already been made before his answer comes. Whoever prays with a closed mind might just as well not pray at all” (Harper Study Bible, note on 42:10). The people hadn’t fooled God or Jeremiah. God knew they were hypocritical and essentially deceitful when they asked Jeremiah to pray for them (verse 20).
The response from God didn’t come immediately. God doesn’t always answer us when we want answers, but when He chooses. They didn’t get the response they wanted. Even today, many pray for God to bless something that they want, rather than seek His will and accept what He gives. Some go to God’s ministers as if seeking counsel, yet having already made up their minds, expecting the minister to support their stand and vindicate their planned actions. When the advice doesn’t agree, they sometimes then become angry with the minister, perhaps even disparaging him. So it was with the Jews and Jeremiah at this time. They did not recognize that their stubbornness was the problem, not an “uncooperative” or “insensitive” servant of God.

Jeremiah 42:10 recalls the prophet’s original commission: “to root out and pull down, to destroy and to throw down, to build and to plant” (1:10). If the Jewish remnant would obey God, He would relent of the judgment of bringing the group down but would rebuild them as a people in the Promised Land. This was always God’s will—to bless and give an inheritance. Human rebellion impeded that.

Verse 11 of chapter 42 recalls another statement God made at the beginning of Jeremiah’s call. There God told him not to fear any who would seek to harm him for God would be with him to deliver him (1:8). Now God through Jeremiah says the same will be true for the Jewish remnant if the people will do what He says and remain in the Promised Land. Mastering the Old Testament says: “Think of the memories that would have rushed into Jeremiah’s thoughts as he delivered these words, the same words delivered to him at the time of his call (1:8). Truly he had experienced deliverance: from Pashhur’s stocks, from Hananiah’s accusations, from prison, from the mire of the cistern, and from Babylonian anger, but most of all he had been delivered from the temptation to compromise. No wonder there was such a resonance of faith in the words themselves as they flow on” (Vol. 17: Jeremiah, Lamentations by John Guest, 1993, note on verse 11).

Sadly, Jeremiah’s obedient and steadfast character was not shared by the Jewish leaders who were left. Faith in God cannot be given to others; all must learn and chose it over time and in their own life experiences. In rebellion they left Judah and went to Egypt, taking with them Jeremiah and Baruch—presumably against their will as God had forbidden going there. Once again, the “king’s daughters” are listed in the company. The group travels to Tahpanhes in Egypt. “The location of Tahpahnes is known, for the later Hellenized form of the name, Daphne, survives to this day in Tell Deffeneh, west of el Kantara. A prominent mound among the ruins was called by the natives ‘Palace of the daughter of the Jew.’ Some excavations were conducted there by Sir Flinders Petrie, which showed this ‘palace’ to have been a strong fort. However, there must also have been a palace of the Pharaoh here, for Jeremiah performed a symbolic action at its entrance…Ezekiel speaks of the pride of Tahpanhes (Ezek. 30:18), but like Jeremiah (Jer. 43:9 f.) foresees the disaster for the city” (Emil Kraeling, Rand McNally Bible Atlas, 1956, p. 318).

Biblical historian Walter Kaiser gives further information on the location and what happened there: “The migrants came to Tahpanhes (Tell Dafanneh) in the northeastern delta of Egypt (Jer. 43:1-7). There Jeremiah took stones, at Yahweh’s instruction, and hid them at the entry of the royal palace, predicting that God would one day bring Nebuchadnezzar to conquer this place and set his pavilion on that very spot (Jer. 43:8-13)… This site is twenty-seven miles southwest of Port Said. Sir Flinders Petrie excavated this site in 1883-94 and discovered the foundations of the castle there—perhaps the one mentioned in Jeremiah’s symbolic action” (A History of Israel, 1988, pp. 411).

After burying the rocks, Jeremiah gives the Jews another warning from God. In referring to Nebuchadnezzar as “My servant” (verse 10; see also 25:9; 27:6), God is not, as noted in regard to the earlier references, stating that the Babylonian king is a godly king or that he gets his orders by direct revelation from God. All rulers, whether good or evil, have their power through God’s ultimate oversight and direction of human affairs (Romans 13:1-6). God uses such rulers to deal with His people and to teach them lessons just as He used the Babylonians and Assyrians in dealing with Judah and Israel.

God will eventually deal with all nations who refuse to follow Him, and Egypt was no exception. Nebuchadnezzar would invade and lay waste to that country, too—incorporating it then into the Babylonian Empire. (Recall other prophecies of Egypt’s destruction in Jeremiah 46 and Ezekiel 29-32). “A fragmentary [Babylonian] text in the British Museum indicates that Nebuchadnezzar’s invasion of Egypt occurred in the thirty-seventh year of his reign (568-567 B.C.)” (Expositor’s, note on 43:10-11).

Verse 13 of chapter 43 refers to the sacred pillars of Beth Shemesh (“House [or temple] of the Sun”). There were a number of pre-Israelite settlements in Canaan known by this name, the most well known being on the northern border of Judah. But the one referred to here is in Egypt, known as Heliopolis in Greek and called On by the Egyptians.

“Heliopolis was perhaps most splendid in the Middle and New Kingdoms…when many pharaohs adorned its temples with obelisks. These were tall shafts, capped with miniature pyramids that caught the first and last rays of the sun” (“Heliopolis,” The New International Dictionary of Biblical Archaeology, 1983, p. 233).

Many nations have their symbols of pride—their monuments, palaces and grand edifices that they perceive as symbols of strength—and Egypt was no exception. The sacred pillars or obelisks were symbols of Egypt’s pride, and God would hit the nation right at its heart. “Jeremiah likens the ease with which Nebuchadnezzar would do these things to the casual way in which a shepherd wraps himself in his garment… The king of Egypt at this time was Pharaoh Hophra (cf. 44:30) [who is also known by the Greek form of his name, Apries]. The Babylonian historian Berossus confirms the conquest of Egypt by Nebuchadnezzar” (Expositor’s, note on 43:12).

“Since Heliopolis was indeed the city of obelisks (‘sacred pillars’), it is clear why Jeremiah predicts their demolition. Some obelisks originally at On have been carried off to Alexandria, Rome, Istanbul, London and New York. Only one has been left at On” (footnote on verse 13).

Rather than be a place of refuge for the fleeing Judeans, Egypt will prove eventually to be a place for them of judgment and death—just as Jeremiah warned in chapter 42. As the book of Proverbs says, “Sometimes there is a way that seems to be right, but in the end it is the way to death” (16:25, NRSV).

In the next chapter we’ll see more of what Jeremiah had to say to these immigrants.

Proverb 22

End of Major Solomonic Collection (Proverbs 22:1-16)
51. A Good Name (22:1)
52. Wealth, Poverty and a Prudent Life (22:2-5)
“TYPE: PARALLEL. The structure of this text is as follows:

“On the surface vv. 3,5 both simply state that the wise see and avoid trouble but the ignorant or headstrong plunge into it. In the context of vv. 2,4, however, this text asserts that the failure to spot danger arises precisely from the arrogance of refusal to submit to God” (NAC).

The point of verse 2 is expressed similarly in 29:13. And 22:3 is repeated in 27:12.

Proverbs 22:4 says that the path to the good life here expressed as “riches and honor and life” (compare “life, righteousness and honor” in 21:21) is through the fear of God. True riches, of course, does not primarily mean material wealth in the here and now. For some it may include that, and in any case God does provide for the physical comforts of His servants. Ultimately all of God’s people will be blessed with co-ownership of the entire universe.

53. Various Proverbs (22:6-16)
“TYPE: INCLUSIO….Verse 6 and 15 (on disciplining children) in parallel with vv. 7 and 16 (on wealth and poverty) form an inclusio for this text of various proverbs.

? “Discipline for Children (22:6, 15)” (NAC).
“One verse we should consider in dealing with our children is Proverbs 22:6. It appears in the New King James Version as: ‘Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.’ We can draw an obvious, direct conclusion from this translation that proper training will pay off in the long run. This is certainly valid.

“It is normal for most children to grow up with, and ultimately adopt, values and standards similar to their parents’ that is, if the parents do a reasonable job of bringing them up. Sometimes, especially when their children are teenagers, parents feel as if they’re not getting through. They may wonder whether all their efforts are wasted. But experience shows that if they stick with a good game plan, they will eventually realize the desired results.

“Some Bible scholars offer an alternate explanation for the intent of this verse?that ‘the way he should go’ refers to each child’s ability and potential. The root word for ‘way,’ they note, also has to do with the inclination of a tree, which can break if one tries to rebend it. They also note that the original Hebrew wording refers to ‘his way’?the child’s way?rather than ‘the way [he should go].’

“With this in mind some would translate the verse, ‘Train up a child according to his bent, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.’ In other words, wise parents should recognize the aptitudes and interests of each child and train him to best use his abilities to reach his potential.

“Whether this is the intended meaning, it represents another valid approach. Parents should enable their children to develop their natural talents and abilities. Too often a father or mother will attempt to force children to do the same things they do or to be what they are.

“Sometimes parents want to live vicariously through their children as they push them to achieve what they wanted to do but couldn’t. We need to recognize our children’s distinct God-given abilities, then work to help them fulfill their potential

“Still others understand the latter translation to mean that if we train up a child in his own way?that is, through continually allowing him to do whatever he wants and to always get his own way?that he will be stuck in that wrong way of thinking and living for the rest of his life. The verse would then be a warning to parents against coddling and failing to discipline. This concept, too, is certainly valid” (p. 25).

The latter idea corresponds well to verse 15 (compare 29:15). Yet as explained in our introduction, verses sanctioning the rod of correction do not mean to say that a parent should employ corporal punishment as a primary means of discipline.

? “Reaping What You Sow (22:8-9)” (NAC). This important principle, the negative side of which is given in verse 8, is expressed similarly elsewhere in Scripture (Hosea 8:7; Galatians 6:7-8; compare Job 4:8, where this true principle was misapplied to Job). On the positive side, Proverbs 22:9 in this context corresponds to 2 Corinthians 9:6-11.

? “Words and What Comes of Them (22:10-14)….Five character types here represent five ways speech can be used. The mocker engenders quarrels (v. 10), the pure impresses even a king (v. 11), the liar [or faithless person speaking contrary to true knowledge] is undone by God (v. 12), the shiftless produces only a stream of improbable excuses (v. 13), and the prostitute [or immoral woman] uses language for seduction and entrapment (v. 14)” (NAC)?the latter harkening back to warnings in the prologue of Proverbs, where an immoral woman also represents folly in a more general sense (compare 2:16; 9:13-18; see also 23:27-28).

The mocker or scoffer (22:10) creates an uncomfortable environment for everyone around him and is also a bad influence on others. If he will not reform, expulsion from the community?a congregation, club or workplace in a modern context?is the recommended course. This will bring peace to the rest of the group, serve as a warning to others against such behavior, and possibly help the offender himself to realize the magnitude of his problem resulting in repentance.

Verse 11 implies that deception and flattery get one only so far in achieving a position of trust. Eventually such a person will be revealed for what he is. A decent, honest person will be trusted for his record of integrity. Haman and Mordecai in the book of Esther exemplify this well.

Verse 13, similarly expressed in 26:13, gives some comic relief, illustrating, as noted above, how lazy people invent excuses to avoid doing whatever needs to be done.

? “Creditor and Debtor (22:7, 16)” (NAC). Verse 7 observes that debt can be a form of slavery. In fact, failure to repay debt in ancient Israel could obligate a person to suffer indentured servitude. This is part of the reason other verses caution against becoming surety for others. Verse 7 may bear on the meaning of verse 16. This last proverb in Solomon’s major collection concerns social justice (as does the first proverb in the next section, verses 22-23), but the exact wording of verse 16 is disputed. Some versions, including the New King James, show an oppressor of the poor for self-enrichment and one who gives to the rich both coming to poverty. Oppressors will indeed come to poverty in the end (compare verses 22-23). Yet other translations take coming to poverty in verse 16 as referring to only the one giving to the rich.

In the latter vein, some see in verse 16 an abusive creditor-debtor relationship in this paraphrased sense: The rich oppress the poor [through such means as entangling them in high-interest loans] to make themselves even richer, / while the poor who are stuck making loan payments to the rich are made even poorer. This interpretation offers a sensible explanation of “giving” to the rich, the reason for which otherwise seems unclear. Some have suggested a futile attempt to buy the favor of the rich, but who would do this to the point of impoverishment? “Giving” here makes more sense as a matter of obligation?and this fits debt repayment. Such wisdom is not meant to totally rule out loans. There is an appropriate context for lending and borrowing if the lending is fair and the borrower is well able to repay, given reasonable consideration of the future. Yet no such arrangement should be entered into lightly.

Acts 19

Sha’ul is now in Ephesos and he has found some taught ones who previously heard the Good News and believed. He asked them about receiving the Set-apart Spirit. They did not know of what he was speaking so he told them “Yohanan the Immerser immersed you in an immersion of repentance and that afterward they are to immerse in the belief in Messiah Yahshua.” And so they were immersed and when Sha’ul laid his hands upon them, twelve of their men began speaking in tongues and prophesying. He spoke boldly before them for three months until some of them began hardening their hearts against The Way. Sha’ul separated from them himself and those taught ones and he continued with them teaching them for two years and all those who lived in Asia heard the word of Messiah both Jews and Greeks.

We are told Elohim worked great and unusual miracles through Sha’ul and he was greatly empowered with authority over healing and disease. Some of the Jewish exorcists began to use the name of Sha’ul and The Name in which Sha’ul had his power – that being Messiah Yahshua – and were exorcising people. A Jewish Chief Priest by the name of Skeua along with his seven sons were doing this. We are told that the wicked spirit actually said to these men “Yahshua I know, and Sha’ul I know, but who are you?” And at that the wicked spirit left a certain man and attacked them to which they ran out overpowered, naked, and wounded. The people heard of this and were filled with awe and fear and the Name of Messiah was very great.

People began repenting and burning their books of magic and the Word was very successful at this time. After this, Sha’ul planned to go through Macedonia and Achaia, on to Jerusalem and then to Rome. He sent Timothy and Erastos to Macedonia for a while and there came to be a great commotion concerning the Way that was being proclaimed. The reason was that the teaching began to effect business and that mostly of the business of the making and selling of idols. Most of those in that land were worshippers of Artemis and worshipped with idols and in that temple and the religion began to suffer damage because of the Truth. The businessmen were outraged and began a terror throughout that city and took hold of Gaios, Aristarchos, Macedonians and Sha’ul’s fellow travelers. The riot was eventually calmed by Alexander and the people dispersed.