News Letter 5849-034
28th day of the 7th month 5849 years after the creation of Adam
The 7th 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
October 5, 2013
Shabbat Shalom Family,
Written on Monday September 30.
Well we are now on our way home and I am now sitting at the airport in Nashville going to Atlanta and then home to Toronto.
I am in awe of what has happened here at Fall Creek Falls State Park this past week. In awe of what Yehovah has been doing and planning and how he brought it all together over the past two weeks from the time I landed in Charlotte to begin the TV promo’s and until now as I sit at the airport in Nashville I am just amazed.
We serve an awesome El. One who is planning for us and guiding us and working with each one of us and at the same time with all of us at the same time. I am even wondering if I can even tell you all that has taken place and convey just how incredibly unbelievable this last week was.
Let me start with The TV productions in Charlotte. In order to market this message that I have to North America, Britain and Europe and Australia and Canada and New Zealand and Britain, they have to package me and make me into a commodity in order to sell us to the various stations and networks in all of those countries I am targeting.
To do this they say we will need at least $2 Million for production and Advertising and the purchasing of airtime. It also means I would have to relocate to Charlotte to begin to produce all the videos for each teaching in detail and have them do the green screen effects. That does not include any on site shootings such as would be needed in the teaching on Assyria.
So they have now begun to package me. I am now turning over to them all the marketing responsibility. This is going to be an ongoing cost for this.
We discussed what we wanted to do and how it was going to be done. I had to come up with 5 – 30 second ads, one 5-minute promo and one 10-minute promo. I wanted to do so much more and felt we could do even more but was surprised at how fast the day disappeared on us.
Keith Johnson told me to listen and do what these guys say if I want to have any success at reaching the audience I am aiming for.
We began in the morning in the studio and they placed me in front of the green screen. I gave them one-30 second ad. The producer asked me to not say one word and to add another line to it and to do it all again. No problem. I did it and it only took about 5 takes.
OK so we began each of the next 30-second ads. I have no idea why I do it but I do. I cannot say the same thing twice. Each time I was asked to revise what I was saying to tweak it, I said the whole thing differently each time. And with each new ad it took me more and more time to record the message.
By the time I got to the last 30-second ad the whole morning was gone and I was frustrated and mad at myself. Keith was watching in the other room and burst in and said that that was awful when I finally thought I had got it right. And he was right. It showed I was frustrated. He took us out for lunch and we talked.
Keith asked me “How many other people are teaching what I am teaching about the Sabbatical and Jubilee years?” I said no one.
He then asked me “Who is it that is teaching this message?” I said me.
He then asked me “Why it was so important to teach this message?” I said because 90% of the USA and UK are going to be killed in a very few short years.
Keith then asked me again “Who else is teaching this message to the brethren?” I said no one.
He then said “It depends on me to get that message out to them. So clear everything out of my head and get in there and tell them.”
I went back into the studio and in one take did the ad. I then did the 5-minute promo and then the 10-minute one also which ran to 15 minutes. Bang bang bang just like that.
The producer said they were great and we only then had to do a few one-liners for them to use in other places.
Keith had me forget the cameras and the empty room, and he had me remember the brethren and those who have not yet learned these truths and why I was doing this. It is for the brethren…..it is for those who have not yet heard the calling. For those who do not know or understand the importance of the Sabbatical and Jubilee years or the curses for not keeping them, this is why I am doing this.
So we wrapped these shoots up and they are going to do the green screen artwork they are known for and we await the final results shortly.
I spent Atonement with Arthur Bailey and loved his message that day. Part of what he said was that if you’re following any man, ANY MAN, you are lost. You are to follow Yehovah and no man. Yehshua told us over and over to pray to the Father. So if you’re a follower of so and so then you need to take another look. You can read their teachings but you had better be proving them true and not just believing them because they told you. And that includes anything I say as well.
A good teacher will be encouraging you to take the truth and go and teach it to others. And is supporting you from behind and not trying to get you to follow them.
Friday I left Charlotte to go to Fall Creek Falls State Park to keep Sukkot. For the first time ever, I have been given the opportunity to teach all of the Sabbatical and Jubilee teachings I have to date and to show everyone why I am so passionate about this and so urgent to get it out.
But not only that, this is also the first time I will have a professional videographer record all I am saying and to make it available for all of you to listen to and understand what is coming and why.
When I arrived I learned that the facility that I thought we had was not the facility we were going to use. I had expected the conference center with air conditioning and comfortable seats. But we did not have this.
We had for Shabbat an outdoor pavilion and it was raining and going to rain all day Saturday. Panic was setting in. Then I was taken to the venue we would be speaking at. It was a rec center and it had a horrible echo. And on the following Shabbat we would have to tear everything down because they had a wedding planned for this same building.
This feast site had been organized by 4 house wives who had never done this before. And I was greatly concerned about being able to record these teachings. I prayed and then realized Yehovah was in charge. Whatever happens, happens. And as it turned out, this was the most amazing and greatest Feast I have ever been a part of. I do not have the words to describe how great this was.
This feast site was organized on face book. All of those coming were put in the same group and began to plan on how they could help make this a success. We had over 150 registered to join us for Sukkot. We also found out that there were two other groups on adjacent sites who did not know we were there. One of them was the Bill Cloud group. On top of this there were also a large number of Mennonites who were there and a few of them also joined us towards the end of the Feast.
Shabbat comes and it is pouring rain. We were to begin at 10 AM and we just figured we would meet and greet each other rather than set up in the rain. I had figured no one was coming. So I leave my room at the convention center and begin to drive down the road to the pavilion in the campground. I was looking at the dozens of deer I was seeing along the road all over the place. It was tranquil. Half way there one of the men who were also helping came and found me taking my time and told me that there were a lot of people there waiting for me to get there. I said “Really?” It was pouring rain.
When I got there, there were people all around the pavilion and they were all meeting each other and having a great time. The Rain was stopping. I was so surprised and I was told they were all there to hear me teach this message. I could not believe it. I do not know why, but I had a hard time excepting that fact. And these people came even though it was raining.
So we began to introduce each other and get to know who the people were behind the images from face book. It was very good and we had fun. I asked if they wanted the first teaching here after lunch in the pavilion even though it looked like more rain was coming. They all did and so we set up the cameras and the podium and curtain and prepared to teach the first two teachings that afternoon. It was breezy and we did teach it all and the place was very full and we got it recorded and it did not rain.
While I met many of the brethren here, the men took things down and went and set everything up at the rec center. A very pleasant surprise.
I had offered a few people my room to get dried off and cleaned up as they had not had time due to the rain to get their tents set up. And I met a man at the gateway to the campground singing in the rain and just full of joy. His name was Ed and I called him the Gate Keeper. He was the first one we all saw and he was always smiling and full of joy each and every day. What a great way to begin the day.
I have had this chip on my shoulder for a long time. I have gone to many venues and each time I get someone who wants to fight or argue or try to trip me up somehow. I think I am now quite capable of handling myself, but I still come with this attitude to be ready to fight or argue. I had not yet realized it, although I should have, that everyone there was there to hear what I had to say. They were all there from our face book page. They wanted to learn this. But I was still waiting for the surprise to pop up.
Sunday the First day of Sukkot, we began in the Rec center. I was surprised to see the place fill up and then we had to open the side doors, which enabled us to put seats on the outside balcony and on the other side in the courtyard. I do not understand why I was so doubtful that so many would come out, but I was.
We taught about who Israel was today and we traced them through the Grecian lines and then through the captivity lines and showed them what the names of Israel were throughout the ages. We then concluded by showing them the heraldry of Israel and how those same symbols are in use today by the descendants of Israel. Those same symbols found in the heraldry of each person listening.
My camera man told me the sound was great coming through the mic which eliminated any of the echo that might be heard. So this was great news.
Monday I began to teach on the Identity of Assyria and how the bible and heraldry show you exactly who these people are today and how there are many clues in your bible. Again everyone was showing up and I began to lose my nervousness and feel comfortable. I was now beginning to talk to my friends.
Tuesday I felt very good as I taught about the Jubilee cycles and how to figure them out and I began to pick on one person in order to help everyone else who was struggling with my explanation. Whenever she looked puzzled or confused I would stop and retry to explain it to her. I could see this was helping everyone else but I did not think nor consider that I may have made her feel hurt. I had fun and everyone else had fun and it was a great teaching.
But I had exposed this person’s weakness – Math. I had exposed her insecurity and I did it on camera in front of everyone. When we were done I saw what I had done and felt like crawling under a rock. I was so sorry. Many people thanked her for this as it really did help them. But I had hurt someone I liked and I had hurt a sister in the faith. I could not apologize enough.
On Wednesday I presented the teaching on the 70 Shabua of Daniel and showed them what the Daniel 9 Prophecy actually does say and everyone was surprised and talking about it.
I was still feeling insecure about whether or not they were getting it or liked it. After I gave this teaching every one bugged out so fast that I had no feedback. When I went to the camp everyone was checking out the things I had said. They were up late looking at these scriptures and when I saw that I was pleased.
Each time I make the presentation I pour my whole being into it. When I am done, I am completely exhausted. I then answer every question from every person who comes and asks for help in understanding. This can take hours. And then I go to the camp and it is already late and I just visit different people and let them ask me anything they are working on in relation to the Sabbatical and Jubilee years and this takes me until about bed time.
My friends and supporters talked to me telling me they were all seeing something I did not. Things were changing right in front of us, although they saw it I couldn’t. People were excited and learning. But the hardest teaching was yet to come.
Because I had not eaten properly for some time now and because I was completely spent each day, I ended up staying up all night, the night before I gave the teaching on 2300 days of hell. So when I went in to speak the hardest message I have ever had to give I was already grumpy. I knew how hard this message was going to be and how upset I was about to make the entire group.
Before I spoke this morning, one of the men who had seen me had asked the other men to come up and pray for me before I spoke. I do not remember what they said but I surely needed it.
I delivered the 2300 days of Hell to them in a very somber and irritated manner. After a while this large crowd was crying and many of the women were openly sobbing and holding their heads in the laps and crying. I hated doing this, and yet I had to do this. They have to know. You all have to know. It was one of the most disturbing messages I have had to ever give. And yet it is still coming whether I give it or not.
This was a turning point in the whole Feast. It was the one point in which everyone began to tell me “now they know why they have to get behind this message”. Now they know why I have been so driven to get this out. Now they all know.
It was at this point; it was at this time that I knew they supported the message. Now I knew. I have had so many attacks in the past so many arguments and I let them affect me and the way I approached this feast.
Now I knew they believed the Yehovah of all creation. He is coming back and there is going to be hell to pay for breaking His Torah, our Katuba that we agreed to at Sinai. Now everyone is talking about this teaching and how it all relates together. Now this huge burden that has been on my back has been lifted. It is done, I have told them and it is recorded and in the can; that is, downloaded. I am now relieved and now relaxing. One more big teaching to explain the covenant with many and what that is, is done.
We did this on Shabbat and showed them how this huge document has enveloped the whole world and even their own municipalities. Now it is all out there. Now I have finished sharing this message that has taken over all I do.
For the first time ever I was allowed to share it all in one place over the course of a week and they got it. They have been supporting me from the get go. I just did not know it. These people do love Yehovah and want to know the truth even if it is so very scary and saddening. They all can see it.
After this message I went back to the camp. I stood near the giant Sukkah that was built. The sun was setting and I could see two brethren reading the Torah in the sukkah and talking about what they were learning. Children were playing in the field; a mother was crossing the field with her young child. Smoke was waffling up from a few fires and just hanging in the trees. Blue skies, a songbird singing in the trees beside me. I just wanted to soak up each moment and not have it end. Yehovah was in this camp and his sheep were content and relaxed, which only happens when they shepherd is with them.
There were so many special moment during all this time. There were children everywhere and many of them coming up to me to say hello. Waving as they cycled by or stopping to show me the number of snails they caught or the huge toad they found. Teens who understood the Sabbatical years and could explain it to their parents. I was so impressed with some of the teens.
But the brethren, the brethren were awesome. Whatever needed to be done they did it for others. People got wet from the rain and others helped them to dry things out or give them lodging. Many were baptized in the name of Yehovah and recommitted to keeping the Sabbath, the Holy Days and the Sabbatical years.
We Sukkot was over we held Shemini Atzeret also called Simchat Torah. We had about 100 in our sukkah and we had 100% of them dancing in circles. It was awesome. For many this was the first time they had done this. For some this was there second Sabbath, of which the first was the start of Sukkot. And this was also the first Sukkot for some.
I explained the meaning of this day, which was the beginning of the 8th day and is another Holy Day. We danced and danced and then I explained to the them the meaning of the Torah Scroll and why it had to leave early, we all kissed the word good night until next year and thought about the meaning of this day and this entire Feast.
So many contributed to the success of it all. We call it the face book feast site and are all watching the pictures being posted on our site. Some are even planning next year already and some are planning the 2016 Feast site. Yehovah has blessed us here this year beyond words.
All the teachings, All the teachings and many of the other events have been video recorded. Many interviews with people about what was going on here have also been recorded. All of this will be on our new web site very soon. You can watch it for free or purchase the DVD’s.
We have a job to do and that is to get this message to North America and the UK and Australia and to get it there ASAP. It is going to cost me 2500 a month for promotional ads and an ongoing marketing support team. And it is going to cost $2 million a year to put these teachings on TV in those markets 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year. I am in need of your support now more than ever before.
By understanding the Sabbatical and Jubilee years and that there are only 120 of them we of all the previous generations can know for sure that we are that last generation. You can prove this for yourself by understanding the Sabbatical years. This reveals so many prophecies that it hurts my head to think about them all.
Please consider helping us today to get this message out. If you wait until later then we will not need your help. It will be too late then. We need to get this done now so people have time to learn about the Sabbatical year coming in 2016. If they don’t keep it, or you don’t keep it, then the curse of war is the next one to come and could very will take them. Help us to warn them while we can. Please
You can send us a donation via PayPal or by mail to:
Joseph F Dumond
P.O. Box 21007 RPO,
150 First St.
Canada L9W 3S0
Because we missed one of our 3 ½ year Torah reading while we were away, we include it in this week’s News Letter below.
Triennial Torah Cycle
We continue this weekend with our regular Triennial Torah Reading Cycle
Gen 4 | Josh 10-11 | Ps 7-8 | Mat 6-7:12
Two Brothers (Genesis 4)
The sin of Adam and Eve would have tragic consequences that would become evident in their very own family. Indeed, the larger human family has repeatedly duplicated the dysfunctional dynamics that sin produced in the first human family. A thoughtful consideration of the story of Cain and Abel yields some interesting lessons.
Adam and Eve had two sons-Cain, the firstborn, and Abel. (They would also have other sons and daughters, too, as mentioned in Genesis 5:4. Yet they apparently had no other sons until the death of Abel, as Seth seems to be the next male child in line, compare v. 25). Cain, we are told, became a tiller of the ground, a farmer. Abel became a shepherd. As to the acceptance of Abel’s offering and the rejection of Cain’s, some have suggested that there was something wrong in Cain bringing a grain offering. Yet we later see grain offerings as perfectly acceptable to God. Indeed, God said the grain offering was to be burnt “on the altar for a sweet aroma, as a memorial to the Lord. It is most holy, like the sin offering and the trespass offering” (Leviticus 6:15, 17). So what was the problem? Genesis 4:4 tells us that Abel brought from the “firstlings” of his flock, but no such indication of giving God the first or best is attached to Cain’s offering in the previous verse. Perhaps this was due to Cain’s overall attitude. Verse 5 states, “But [God] did not respect Cain and his offering.” Notice that it was not just the offering that God did not respect, but Cain himself! Indeed, that may be the very reason that God did not accept his offering. We are often told in Scripture that God loathes the sacrifices, festivals and even prayers of those who are guilty of great wrong and yet are unrepentant (see Isaiah 1:10-15). When such a person “offers a grain offering, [it is] as if he offers swine’s blood” (Isaiah 66:3). God recognized that Cain was on the verge of allowing sin to control him (verse 7)-to manifest itself in real action.
We are told that Abel, on the other hand, offered a better sacrifice because it was offered by faith, through which he was considered righteous (Hebrews 11:4; Matthew 23:35). Faith comes by hearing God’s instruction (Romans 10:17). God’s commandments must have been transmitted through Adam and Eve. And God must have even prescribed rules for worship at some point, or else how would Cain and Abel have known to bring sacrifices? Abel was obedient-through faith.
Cain’s rejection roused him to anger and jealousy-though he may have already had these emotions to some degree. In any event, he did not master his urges, as God told him to (verse 7). Instead, he murdered his brother. Later, God confronted Cain: “The voice of your brother’s blood cries out to Me from the ground” (verse 10). When someone is said to cry out to God, the cries are usually for relief, protection or vengeance. Abel’s blood, figuratively speaking, cried out for vengeance. This is confirmed by Cain’s fear that vengeance would be taken out upon him by anyone who found him, and by God’s remarks in verse 15, which explicitly connect vengeance with the context. This is interesting because the book of Hebrews states that the blood of Jesus “speaks better things than that of Abel” (Hebrews 12:24). Why? Because Abel’s blood sought vengeance, which was well and just, but Christ’s blood offers mercy and forgiveness to those who will accept it, which is better.
Cain departed and headed east to the land of Nod, meaning “vagabond” or “wandering”-thus perhaps not indicating an actual geographic name. And then we see mention of Cain’s wife, who must have been one of his sisters. “The problems associated with incest, addressed in Lev. 18, would not have occurred when the genetic pool was pure and unpolluted” (Nelson Study Bible, note on Genesis 5:4). Today, as defined by God in Leviticus 18, incest is a sin.
Joshua’s Long Day (Joshua 10)
Adonizedek, the king of Jerusalem, is not happy with the treaty the Gibeonites made with the Israelites. His name (meaning “Lord of Righteousness”) is probably a title (like Pharaoh), perhaps passed down from the days of the Priest-King Melchizedek (”King of Righteousness,” Hebrews 7:1-4), who appears to have been king of the same city in the days of Abraham (Genesis 14:18-20). The similarity ends there, as Melchizedek was actually the preincarnate Jesus Christ while Adonizedek, Israel’s enemy, was certainly not a true servant of God. If the Jebusites did have Christ among them in the days of Abraham, they had long since rejected Him and His ways (compare Deuteronomy 7:1-5; 8:20; 12:29-31).
Adonizedek gets four neighboring kings to join him in an attack against Gibeon. The Gibeonites send messengers to the Israelite encampment at Gilgal, asking them to return to Gibeon and honor the covenant of peace they had made (compare 9:15-17) by helping them against the Amorite kings. God lets Joshua know that He will give them the victory, and uses a hailstorm to kill more than the Israelites did during this first battle (Joshua 10:11).
Desperate for more time to deal with Israel’s enemies, Joshua makes his request of God that the sun and moon stop moving. Some try to use this as proof that the Bible is not inspired, since the author, they argue, implies that the sun and moon actually travel across the sky each day, while we know today that this is only apparent because of the earth’s rotation. But it is clear from the context that the author is speaking from the reference point of one standing on the earth. Even if Joshua himself falsely believed in a geocentric universe with a fixed earth, that does not negate the inspiration of the verses here. For the language used is quite valid. Indeed, if the same phenomenon occurred today, many would still use the same terminology to describe it—describing what they perceive even though they understand the truth of the earth’s rotation.
It is amazing to consider the enormity of this miracle. Its complexities, which Joshua himself may not have been able to contemplate, are staggering. The rotation of the earth, with a surface velocity of more than 1,000 miles per hour at the equator, had to somehow come to a screeching halt, and start up again later, without inertial forces then creating tremendous geologic and tidal upheaval, destroying the earth’s inhabitants. It is difficult to imagine the multiple cataclysmic consequences that would have occurred if God had not performed many other miracles to accompany the halting of the rotation. As it was, everyone in the world must have been in utter confusion over what was happening. While half the world wondered why the sun wasn’t setting, the other half was wondering if they would ever see it again! And indeed, there are obscure myths from several ancient cultures that seem to reflect this very confusion.
As amazing as this event was, the account focuses not so much on the magnitude of the miracle, but on the fact that God listened to the voice of one man and fought so grandly for His people (verse 14). Here is proof that “the effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much” (James 5:17). Much indeed.
Following the initial victory, the Israelites move from one city to another in the southern part of Canaan, destroying the inhabitants and conquering the land—which will eventually be given to Judah, Simeon and Benjamin—before returning to the encampment at Gilgal.
Northern Conquest (Joshua 11)
Following the Israelite victory in the south, Jabin, the king of Hazor, north of the Sea of Galilee, forms an even larger alliance and attempts to take on Israel.
It is easy to assume that since God had commanded that Jericho be burned, and Ai too had been burned, that this was to be done to all of the cities of the land. But the instructions in Deuteronomy 20 did not include a command to burn down all of the cities. In fact, God promised to give the Israelites “large and beautiful cities which you did not build, [and] houses full of all good things, which you did not fill . . .” (Deuteronomy 6:10-11). As the inhabitants were driven out, in many cases the Israelites simply moved into their cities and houses.
In this campaign, only Hazor was burned. And as usual (Jericho excepted), the Israelites kept the spoil as God turned over the wealth of the Canaanites to Israel (verses 13-15). As we saw in Deuteronomy 20:16-18, Joshua “left none breathing” (Joshua 11:11, 14) of the inhabitants of these cities that were near to them. But it is also clear from these passages that letting “nothing that breathes remain alive” (Deuteronomy 20:16), which was done to avoid being taught “their abominations which they have done for their gods” (verse 18), applied only to human beings, not to the livestock, which Israel was permitted to keep as part of the spoils (Joshua 11:14-15).
During the process of conquering the land, the giants that had been such a terror to the Israelites 40 years earlier were killed or driven off (verses 21-22; 15:14). A few remained in the area occupied by the Philistines, the descendants of whom David and his men encountered several hundred years later (1 Samuel 17; 2 Samuel 21:15-22).
“That You May Silence the Enemy” (Psalms 7-10)
The superscription of Psalm 7 in the New King James Version calls it a “meditation” of David. The Hebrew for meditation is higgaion, as in Psalm 9:16, but the word at the beginning of Psalm 7, as the KJV superscription shows, is actually shiggaion, which occurs only here in the Bible. Its plural form, however, is used in the psalm of Habakkuk 3. Repeating from the Bible Reading Program comments on that passage, “The word shiggayon comes from shagah, ‘to wander,’ a wandering song” (Adam Clarke’s Commentary, note on Psalm 7; see note on Habakkuk 3:1). “It may derive from a verbal root meaning ‘to reel’ or ‘to err,’ and if so points to some irregular rhythmic mode” (New Bible Commentary, note on Habakkuk 3:1).
David names Cush the Benjamite in Psalm 7’s superscription. This man, mentioned nowhere else in Scripture, has apparently spoken on behalf of a group of persecutors who accused David of wrongdoing and were bent on his destruction. Whether they actually believed him guilty of wrong or were just making this up to justify action against him is not clear. Some today speculate that the distinct reference to Cush being a Benjamite may indicate his being a supporter or agent of King Saul. In any case, Cush and his comrades must have been dangerous opponents because David cries out that, if God does not deliver him, his persecutors would “tear me like a lion, and rip me in pieces” (verses 1-2).
In his appeal to God, David takes an oath of innocence in which he invites God to give him into the hands of the enemies who seek to take his life if he is guilty of any of the charges they bring against him (verses 3-5). David is so confident of his innocence that he asks God to judge his righteousness, his integrity (verse 8), his heart and mind (verse 9). “In the Hebrew, hearts and minds is literally ‘hearts and kidneys’—an ancient way of describing the innermost person” (Nelson Study Bible, note on verses 9-10). We should note that in praying to God the words “Judge me according to my righteousness,” David does not mean for God to judge every aspect of his life by this standard. (As with any of us, God would in such an inventory find sins worthy of condemnation. Indeed, other prayers of David show him praying for forgiveness where he has fallen short.) Rather, David in his prayer here is asking for God’s judgment in the matter at hand—to judge him according to his deeds and even inward motivations with respect to the accusations that have been made against him. In these, he knows that the righteous and just God will see his complete innocence and fully absolve him.
Against the wicked, however, David describes God as a just Judge and an angry Warrior who will “sharpen His sword,” prepare “deadly weapons” and make ready “flaming arrows” to satisfy justice (verses 11-13). Yet David recognizes that the wicked create their own problems for themselves, reaping what they sow (compare Galatians 6:7-8). They conceive trouble, which then returns on their own heads (verses 14, 16). “The wicked become ‘mothers’ to trouble. They will give birth to their own destruction” (note on verses 14-16). They fall into the pits they themselves have dug to trap their prey (verse 15). David therefore knows that those who have plotted his destruction have set up the circumstances for their own demise. Perhaps it was in the midst of his prayer that God inspired David with this reminder—moving him to sing God’s praises (see verse 17).
Psalm 8. “At this juncture in the Psalter,” says the Zondervan NIV Study Bible in its note on Psalm 8, “this psalm surprises. After five psalms [3-7] (and 64 Hebrew poetic lines—following the introduction to the Psalter…Ps 1-2) in which the psalmists have called on Yahweh to deal with human perversity, this psalm’s praise of Yahweh for his astounding endowment of the human race with royal ‘glory and honor’ (v. 5) serves as a striking and unexpected counterpoint. Its placement here highlights the glory (God’s gift) and disgrace (humanity’s own doing) that characterize human beings and the corresponding range of difference in God’s dealings with them. And after five more psalms [9-13] (and 64 poetic lines), this psalm in turn receives a counterpoint…[in Psalm 14, as we will later see].”
Where the NKJV superscription of Psalm 8 has “On the instrument of Gath,” the KJV has “upon Gittith” and the NIV has “According to gittith.” “The Hebrew word perhaps refers to either a winepress (’song of the winepress’) or the Philistine city of Gath (’Gittite lyre or music’; see 2Sa 15:18)” (note on Psalm 8) .
David opens and closes the psalm praising the excellence of God’s name (verses 1, 9) — representing God’s power, His character and His purpose. The name here is the Hebrew YHWH—the Tetragrammaton (i.e., four letters)—often transliterated into English as Yahweh, as above. The name means “He Is Who He Is” (the Eternal One). David declares God’s name excellent “in all the earth.” Wherever one looks on earth—and up from earth to the heavens above—the glory of God is revealed. God introduced Himself to Moses by the first person form of the Tetragrammaton, saying, “I AM WHO I AM” (Exodus 3:14). “The One who spoke to Moses declared Himself to be the Eternal One—uncaused and independent. Only the Creator of all things can call Himself the I AM in the absolute sense; all other creatures are in debt to Him for their existence” (Nelson Study Bible, note on Exodus 3:14).
David observes that “from the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise because of your enemies” (verse 2, NIV). While the word for “praise” could also be rendered “strength,” as in the KJV and NKJV, “praise” seems the better translation since Jesus quoted the verse this way when the common people (figuratively children) praised Him while the “mature” religious leaders who opposed Him wanted to squelch them but could not (Matthew 21:16). Perhaps David simply meant that despite the scorn of the wicked, there were always new generations of children to gaze in wonder at God’s creation and express awe. Yet God who inspired the psalm also had the more specific prophetic fulfillment in mind.
David’s reflections on the grandeur of the heavens (verse 3) gives rise to the question, “What is man?” (verse 4). “The Hebrew word here [for man] is ‘enos, which emphasizes man’s mortality and weakness. David is stunned that the all-powerful Creator should exalt in such puny beings by caring for us and by giving us dominion over His earth” (Bible Reader’s Companion, note on Psalm 8). Who are we in comparison to the Creator? Why would He even think of us? Why would He care for us or have anything to do with us? (verse 4). The word for “visit” here in the NKJV has the sense of “see to” or “deal with,” which can have either a positive or negative sense. Here the meaning is positive.
In verses 5-8, David muses further about man’s place in the scheme of things—that he is the pinnacle of God’s earthly creation.
In verse 5, the word translated “angels” is elohim, the word used throughout the Old Testament for God. The Moffatt Translation says, “Thou hast made him little less than divine.” Yet it does not seem reasonable to say that man is only a little lower than God. After all, David himself was thinking about how man was basically nothing next to God’s majesty as revealed in the sky above. And God Himself tells human beings, “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:9). Perhaps it was because of this that the Targums (ancient Jewish paraphrases of Scripture) and the Septuagint (the Jewish rendering of the Old Testament in Greek) translated the word elohim here as meaning “angels.” Yet human beings seem rather far below the amazing power and abilities of angels too.
It should be noted that the words “little less” or “little lower” could also be rendered “for a little while lower.” The literal meaning would then be that man has been created for a little while lower than God, implying that man after that little while will ultimately share God’s plane of existence. This is in fact man’s destiny—to be part of Elohim, the family of God (see also Psalm 82:6 and our free booklet, Who Is God?). Yet such a rendering would no doubt have made early Jewish translators even more uncomfortable. So we can see why they would prefer the word “angels” over “God” in Psalm 8:5 in any case. Of course, it is certainly true that for the time being man has been made lower than the angels as well as God, so the writer of the New Testament book of Hebrews (probably the apostle Paul) had no problem using the translation the Jews were familiar with, giving the Greek word for angels rather than God (see Hebrews 2:7).
Psalm 8:6 speaks of God giving man dominion over His creation. This is quoted in Hebrews 2:8. Yet where David goes on in Psalm 8:7-8 to focus on man’s dominion over the animals of the earth, recalling Genesis 1-2, the book of Hebrews ends its quotation with Psalm 8:6, emphasizing the “all things” committed to man’s rule in this verse—meaning, in its fullest sense, the entire universe and spirit realm. Man, Hebrews 2 explains, has not yet received this ultimate dominion with God—except for Christ, who is our forerunner. We will see more about this in our later reading of Hebrews 2.
NOTE: In this chapter, Yeshua continues to clarify and expound on the Torah. We will focus on how His teachings supported those of the Pharisees as seen in the Talmud. In many of these verses, Yeshua reiterates a fundamental principle for the life of a Godly man — we are but visitors here, and we need to understand that our real life and our rewards, are in heaven.
6:1-4 … do not your alms before men, to be seen of them …
The Pharisees were often guilty of not following their own teachings. Yeshua uses the examples of the Pharisees and the “religious” leaders to teach the people of how not to act.
6:7 But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions
Repeating something over and over does not make it more likely to be heard. Our Father hears the prayers of the righteous and we do not need to go on and on. It seems to be somewhat of a characteristic of non-believers.
6:9-13 “The Lord’s Prayer”
The verses commonly known as, “Lord’s Prayer,” can be paralleled to concepts found in other Jewish sources. It is a combination of ideas already familiar to His audience:
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come,
Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil:
For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.
6:14-15 For if ye forgive men their trespasses …
Lack of forgiveness to others is not a reflection of our Elohim, and when we do not forgive others we are in effect blocking our own forgiveness.
6:19 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth …
True treasures are those which are spiritual and everlasting. All earthly treasures are temporary and will fail us.
6:23 But if thine eye be evil …
Here we have a verse that is consistently misinterpreted. What is this “evil eye?” Note the context of the verses before and after the term. In both cases Yeshua is talking about serving God and not money. Why would He interrupt this discussion about “God and money” to interject something about an “evil eye?”
The answer is that the term “evil eye,” in this context, is a Hebrew figure of speech for being stingy with your material wealth. This verse alone offers evidence that the book of Matthew was originally written in Hebrew as whoever translated it into the Greek, was not aware of what the term “evil eye” meant. They simply copied the phrase, which loses its meaning in the Greek and English.
6:25-31 Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat …
The key is balance. Yeshua does not desire we overly concern ourselves with material things, for this will lead to trespass whether it be idolatry or lust.
6:34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow …
This truly goes against the worldly concepts we are faced with day in and day out. Just as nearly all the Words of Yeshua. In the world we plan and plan and plan when truly we are not even guaranteed the next hour.
NOTE: At this level of Torah fundamentals, we find great unity between the teaching of the Pharisees (as exemplified by Paul’s letters and the Talmud) and those of the Essenes (as exemplified by James’s letter).(1)
7:1 Do not judge, or you too will be judged …
7:2 … with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again
The Torah is the “perfect law of liberty” that we are to judge by:
James 1:23-25 – For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.
7:3-5 Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye …
Paul and James had similar messages about double standards:
Romans 2:21-23 – Thou therefore which teachest another, teachest thou not thyself? thou that preachest a man should not steal, dost thou steal? Thou that sayest a man should not commit adultery, dost thou commit adultery? thou that abhorrest idols, dost thou commit sacrilege? Thou that makest thy boast of the law, through breaking the law dishonourest thou God?
James 2:1-4 – My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons. For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment; And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool: Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts?
7:6 Give not that which is holy unto the dogs
What is it that is “Holy” that we can misuse? The topic has not changed — it is the Torah.
7:7 Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find …
Ask for what? Money, fame or happiness? No, the spiritual man seeks spiritual things in the form of the truth and blessings of the Torah:
James 1:17-21 – Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures. Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God. Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.
The prime example of what we are to pray for was given to us by Yeshua. He prayed for us to become one (a unity – Hebrew: echad) with the Father, as He is echad with the Father:
John 17:20-26: Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me. Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee: but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me. And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.
7:12 Do to others what you would have them do to you …
7:12 … for this is the law and the prophets.
Yeshua does not say, “for this replaces the Law and the Prophets.” He clearly said that He did not come to do that (Matthew 5:17-21). He is summarizing His teachings that the whole of Torah is given for the good of man – to establish and improve His relationship with God and with his fellow man. It is by learning and following God’s Torah that we “do what is right unto others.”
James had a similar way of summarizing what true faith is:
James 1:27 – Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.
James brings together several of these points in one section of his letter. He reiterates the idea of “do unto others,” but says that if you show favoritism you sin. He then states that you cannot pick and choose what parts of the Torah (the “royal law”) you feel like keeping, as it is a unity:
James 2:8-12 – If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well: But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors. For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law. So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty.
Paul and James agree that knowing the Torah is not enough – we are to DO the Torah:
Romans 2:13 – For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.
James 1:22 – But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.
Paul and James also state that willfully violating the Torah is tantamount to blaspheming God:
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.
James 2:7-10 – Do not they blaspheme that worthy name by the which ye are called?
We continue this weekend with our regular Triennial Torah reading which can be found at?https://sightedmoon.com/sightedmoon_2015/files/TriennialCycleBeginningAviv.pdf
28/09/2013 Gen 3 Josh 8-9 Ps 4-6 Mat 5
Two Trees (Genesis 3)
Genesis 3 may be one of the most important passages in all of Scripture. Its importance for understanding our nature, our need and our condition cannot be underestimated.
The chapter begins with the appearance of the serpent, whom Revelation 12:9 identifies as Satan. Satan’s interaction with Eve provides a very instructive lesson in how he entices us to sin. First, notice his question: “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” (verse 1, NIV) This is emphatically not what God had said. God had said, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die” (Genesis 2:16-17, NIV). God had placed only one restriction upon Adam and Eve. Nothing else was withheld from them. Satan’s question was designed to magnify the restriction beyond its true proportion, to distort Eve’s perception of right limits, and thereby to instill a sense of being personally wronged.
She replied that only one tree was forbidden. But with doubt planted, her perception altered, her emotions stirred and an erroneous premise in mind, Satan then offered a very different explanation of the situation: “The serpent said to the woman, ‘You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil’” (3:4-5). Satan’s words were a mixture of lie and deception. The assertion that Eve would not die was an outright lie. His statement that Eve would know good and evil was a deception, for the true nature of “knowing” good and evil was not disclosed to Eve. Satan’s appealing assertion would have its effect upon Eve’s unenlightened mind.
As affirmed in verse 22, Adam and Eve did indeed come to be like God in the sense of “knowing” good and evil. But just what does this mean? To answer, we might ask, in what way does God “know” good and evil? One very important way is that He determines it—that is, He decides what constitutes good and evil. And that is what Adam and Eve now did—they determined for themselves good and evil. In verse 6, Eve “saw that the [forbidden] tree was good for food.” That wasn’t true according to God’s standard. But according to her own new standard, it was. In reality, she made that determination in her mind—albeit with Satan’s influence. And mankind has followed suit ever since. For “there is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death” (Proverbs 14:12; 16:25). This is the bitter result of relying on ourselves to determine good and evil—right and wrong—rather than trusting in what God reveals on the matter.
It should also be pointed out here that while Eve fell prey to Satan’s deception, there was greater culpability on the part of Adam, who may have been right there “with” Eve during the talk with Satan (compare Genesis 3:6). As the apostle Paul later explained, “Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression” (1 Timothy 2:14). Adam freely chose to join his wife in transgression-perhaps to avoid the pain of separation from her that would have ensued. In any case, Paul tells us that it was “through one man [that] sin entered the world, and death through sin” (Romans 5:12)-that man being Adam. The episode with the two trees helps to explain human civilization ever since. For all of us, these two trees remain a figurative representation of the choice we have—either to embrace what God has to say about right and wrong and be blessed with life or to decide for ourselves and be cursed with suffering and death (compare Deuteronomy 30:19). Man, in general, has ever since Adam and Eve been cut off from the tree of life. Indeed, man has been cut off from right knowledge of God—so that to come to Him for life and spiritual direction requires that He call us out of this evil world (compare John 6:44). For this reason, even many who believe they are seeking God’s definition of right and wrong are going along with what others have told them rather than what God’s Word actually says. Indeed, in a sense the Scriptures themselves, the “words of eternal life” (John 6:63, 68), may be equated with the tree of life. But cut off from God, mankind is not truly able to understand the words unless God empowers them to do so. Sadly, man continues to choose from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. This has had some measure of positive results—as man has embraced some truly good things as good (as experimentation and reason will often demonstrate the need and since man has retained elements of God’s truth though sometimes corrupted). This explains why we find kindness and other right virtues among false religion—or even among people with no religion. But because mankind rejects other good and vital things as wrong or unnecessary and, at the same time, embraces so many bad and harmful things as good and acceptable, the overall effect of mankind’s ongoing choice is all the pain and heartache we see in the world. Thankfully, Jesus Christ is returning soon to this earth to make the knowledge of God available to all nations (compare Isaiah 11:9).
Destruction of Ai (Joshua 8)
God commands Joshua to stretch out his spear toward the city of Ai (verse 18). Not only was this a signal to begin the attack (verse 19), but it was also a symbol of God’s presence and help to His people in the battle (compare verses 1, 18)—displayed in the fact that Joshua did not lower his spear until the victory was won (verse 26). This is powerfully reminiscent of Israel’s first battle upon leaving Egypt against the Amalekites, where Moses held aloft the rod of God, which was also a symbol of God’s participation in the battle (Exodus 17:8-16). Remarkably, Joshua had been the military commander in that former battle, looking to Moses with the rod. Now here he was with raised spear, standing as the one others were looking to. Of course, it was recognized in both instances that God was the one directing the outcome.
Along with the defeat of Ai, the city of Bethel is also mentioned (verse 17). “Bethel was near Ai to the west (7:2), although its exact site is disputed. The inhabitants of Bethel came out of their city to help the men of Ai. Since the Israelite ambush was stationed between Bethel and Ai [8:12], they may have felt threatened by the Israelites. Or it may be that Ai was a small outpost for the larger city of Bethel (7:3) and an attack on Ai was understood to be an attack on Bethel. The text does not record Bethel’s defeat, although its king is listed among those conquered by Joshua (12:16). It may be that in the defeat of Ai, Bethel was also defeated and no further reference was needed” (Nelson Study Bible, note on 8:17).
Following the Israelites’ defeat of Ai, Joshua led them to Shechem, which is between Mount Ebal and Mount Gerizim, near modern-day Nablus. There he carried out the commands of God and Moses to build an altar, erect massive stones engraved with the Book of the Law, review the law, and rehearse the blessings and curses (verses 30-35; compare Deuteronomy 11:29-32; 27:1-26). Afterward, they apparently returned to Gilgal, where they first camped after crossing the Jordan (compare 9:6).
Treaty With the Gibeonites (Joshua 9)
Gibeon was a powerful city in the region (10:2), possibly due in part to the shrewdness of its people (9:4). While their scheme for saving themselves involved deceit, it is amazing to see the extraordinary measures they were willing to take for peace and survival. Their deceit resulted in perpetual servitude for their people (verses 22-27), and perhaps there would have been better ways to escape death by submitting to God or agreeing to peacefully leave the territory. But once the agreement was made, they seem to have held to their part of it. And when Saul later broke the agreement, God Himself punished the Israelites on their behalf (2 Samuel 21:1-14).
This whole situation would have gone differently for Israel if its leaders had done what they should have in the first place. Even though they were initially suspicious of the Gibeonite ambassadors (Joshua 9:7), the Israelites relied on their own intellect to determine whether or not they were being truthful. This was a big mistake. Joshua, the most likely author of this book bearing his name, had evidently learned his lesson by the time he wrote down the words in verse 14: “But they did not ask counsel of the Lord.” Indeed, this is the crux of the whole chapter. The omnipotent God was there to provide answers, if Joshua had only sought them as he had been instructed (Numbers 27:21).
We can make the same mistake. Many times, we rush to a major decision without seeking counsel from God. No, we cannot seek His answers in the Urim and Thummim anymore. But there are other means available to us when it comes to discerning God’s will. We can pray, with fasting if need be, asking for direct inspiration from Him through His Holy Spirit. We can seek His answers in the laws and principles found in His Word. And we can counsel with other brethren in whom His Spirit dwells, particularly the ministry that He has specially ordained. Indeed, we should avail ourselves of all of these means. For no major decision in our lives should be made without seeking God’s will. As Proverbs 3:5-6 states so eloquently, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.”
Psalm 4 is one of David’s prayers for deliverance. It “is linked to Ps. 3 in mood and concept. Both speak of the possibility of finding such peace in God’s presence that even when torn by physical and emotional pain, a person may still have restful sleep (3:5; 4:8)” (Nelson Study Bible, note on Psalm 4).
In the superscription, where the King James Version leaves a word untranslated, “on Neginoth,” the New King James Version properly translates this as “With stringed instruments.” (As noted in the Bible Reading Program introduction to Psalms, this may be the postscript for Psalm 3.)
Getting into the words of Psalm 4 itself, “O God of my righteousness” in verse 1 “can also be translated ‘O my righteous God.’ The phrase has two meanings: (1) Only God is righteous. (2) All of a person’s righteousness is found in him alone” (note on verse 1).
David addresses those who are currently troubling him: “How long, O you sons of men, will you turn my glory to shame?” (verse 2). “That is, through slander rob David of the public honor he had enjoyed under the Lord’s blessing and care (see 3:3…) and bring him into public disrepute” (Zondervan NIV Study Bible, note on 4:2).
David knows that God has set certain godly people “apart for Himself.” David was such a person, set apart by God to be king over Israel (1 Samuel 16:12-13). For this reason, he is confident that God hears his prayers and intervenes to help him.
David calls on his enemies to search their hearts, saying, “In your anger [against me] do not sin” (verse 4, NIV). Since anger can lead to sin, his detractors need to quiet down, bring their requests and sacrifices to God and trust Him to resolve their complaints (verse 5). This is remarkable in that the wicked are offered a way to redemption rather than a pronouncement of doom. In the New Testament the apostle Paul quotes verse 4 about being angry and yet not sinning in a different context—to describe the proper exercise of righteous indignation (Ephesians 4:26).
David recognizes that many have become discouraged, asking, “Who can show us any good?” (NIV). David knows that only God can restore confidence in the nation and end the present crisis. “Lift up the light of your countenance upon us” (verse 6). The related priestly blessing in Numbers 6:26 adds an additional phrase: “The Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace.” With that in mind, it is interesting to note that David concludes with a determined focus on joy and peace. Again, he is able to sleep peacefully even in the present circumstances because God provides safety.
Psalm 5. The superscription (the first part of which may refer to Psalm 4, as the Bible Reading Program’s introductory notes on Psalms explains) apparently describes accompaniment “with flutes,” the latter word seeming to translate the Hebrew “Nehiloth” (KJV).
Psalm 5 is a morning prayer (verses 2-3) in which David seeks help for another day. Because the world is corrupt, God makes Himself a refuge and shield for the righteous (verses 11-12). Because the world is confused, He provides clear guidance if we will seek it: “Lead me, O Lord, in Your righteousness…make Your way straight before my face” (verse 8) .
Only the righteous can come into God’s presence and enjoy His blessings (verses 5, 11-12). David says in verse 5, “You hate all workers of iniquity.” The Hebrew word for hate “is a strong term that speaks primarily of rejection” (Nelson, note on 11:4-6). We should understand this in terms of ultimate judgment, as the next verse continues: “You shall destroy those who speak falsehood; the Lord abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man.” What God really hates (what He rejects and wants to destroy) is what the wicked think and do—that is, the things that classify them as wicked. God in fact loves all humanity so much that He has provided an atonement for them through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ (see John 3:16)—if they will repent and accept it. Yet ultimately, if they still reject God, then all that will constitute them are the things God hates—and He will in perfect justice utterly annihilate them (for their own good and the good of everyone else).
David immediately balances his reference to God’s just hatred of evil by referring to “the multitude of Your mercy” (verse 7). “Mercy here is hesed, a term also translated as ‘love,’ ‘covenant love [or loyalty],’ and ‘loving-kindness.’ Hesed reminds us that God is totally committed to humankind. The love we see in Calvary’s ultimate sacrifice draws us, as God’s mercy drew David, to worship and serve the Lord” (Bible Reader’s Companion, note on verse 7). Relying on God’s mercy, David expresses his intent to worship God and asks for help in following Him—to provide no basis for his enemies’ accusations—as he knows he would not succeed in obedience on his own (verses 7-8).
It is interesting that David says he will worship toward God’s holy temple (verse 7) when there was as yet no temple in Jerusalem. Perhaps David was speaking of God’s temple in heaven (compare Hebrews 9:23-24; Revelation 15:5-16:1). Or perhaps during his preparations for the building of the physical temple late in his life, David wrote this psalm (or modified an earlier one) to be sung when the temple was standing. Note that the psalm’s superscription (or alternatively the postscript at the beginning of Psalm 6) is addressed “To the Chief Musician.” For us today, the temple of God, in a spiritual sense, can also refer to the body of believers with God’s Holy Spirit—the Church of God (Ephesians 2:19-22; 1 Corinthians 3:17).
David asks God to pass sentence on his enemies because they have “no faithfulness in their mouth” (Psalm 5:9). They boast, flatter, lie and curse. “Not a word from their mouth can be trusted; their heart is filled with destruction” (same verse, NIV). “Their throat is an open tomb; they flatter [deceivingly] with their tongue.” Paul used these words to argue for the depravity of all humanity (Romans 3:13). Jesus stated that a man is defiled by what comes out of his heart: “Those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, and blasphemies. These are the things which defile a man” (Matthew 15:18-29). The sins of the wicked (verses 4-5, 9-10)—which means everyone until they repent—spring from rebellion against God: “Banish them for their many sins, for they have rebelled against you” (verse 10, NIV). As mentioned above, ultimately the wicked will be cast out: “Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire” (Matthew 7:19).
But God surrounds the righteous—those who repent and seek His will—with protection and favor, making Himself their refuge and shield (Psalm 5:11-12). Of course, this does not mean that God will allow no calamity to overtake His people, as we saw in the book of Job. But everything happens within His oversight, as He directs all things to a positive outcome for those who faithfully serve Him (see Romans 8:28). And in general, He does maintain a protective defense around His people, and He provides them with constant blessings.
Psalm 6. Where the King James Version gives the superscription (perhaps the postscript of Psalm 5) as “on Neginoth upon Sheminith,” the New King James gives the likely translation “On an eight-stringed harp.”
In Psalm 6, David is distressed by an illness that he senses God has sent as a punishment for his own sinfulness (verse 1). He suffers intense pain—”my bones are troubled” (verse 2)—with no remission in sight: “My soul is in anguish. How long, O Lord, how long?” (verse 3). He believes the illness to be mortal (verse 5).
We do not know when this situation occurred. David wrote a number of psalms associated with serious illness that may concern the same time. Some have speculated that this came on him after the episode of taking a census of Israel, which focused more on national strength than the need for God’s help (see 2 Samuel 24; 1 Chronicles 21). God sent a plague on the people, who were likely complicit in self-sufficient thinking. Yet David, who had ordered the census despite Joab’s warning, took responsibility. As 2 Samuel 24:17 says: “Then David spoke to the Lord when he saw the angel who was striking the people, and said, ‘Surely I have sinned, and I have done wickedly; but these sheep, what have they done? Let Your hand, I pray, be against me and against my father’s house.’” Perhaps his concluding words here came to pass when the plague on the nation was halted, though we cannot know for sure.
Whatever sin it was that apparently brought on his illness, David calls on God’s mercy—His unfailing love (Psalm 6:4). As in Psalm 5, the word here again is hesed. Says The Nelson Study Bible: “Perhaps the most significant single term in the Hebrew text regarding the character of God is the word rendered mercies here. The Hebrew word describes what some prefer to call the loyal love of God. The translations vary because the word has much depth. Aside from the personal name of God (Yahweh), it may be the single most important term describing Him as the object of praise in the Book of Psalms” (note on 6:4).
David warns his enemies in verses 8-10 that he is confident in God’s healing and that they will be ashamed, dismayed, and suddenly disgraced for reviling him and, in so doing, dishonoring God, who declared David His servant.
Matthew Chapter 5
A Midrash on Torah Observance
THE “SERMON ON THE MOUNT”
NOTE: Traditionally, the section of Scripture from Matthew 5:1 to 7:29, has been called “the Sermon on the Mount,” due to the physical location of Yeshua when He spoke. Unfortunately, this title misses the point of the teaching, thus we have chosen to refer to it by its content, a midrash on Torah observance. (Midrash = teaching)
This midrash is broken up into several sections, beginning with 5:1-16, where Yeshua declares what have become known as the “beatitudes,” followed by gentle reminders to his Jewish audience as to what their God-given role is to be. These “introductory statements” will be followed by the bulk of the message concerning the Torah.
The relationship between the rabbi and his talmidim (disciples, followers, students) was very close. It was not only one of learning, but also imitating his conduct and character. In turn, the rabbi was responsible for his talmidim. It is important to note that Yeshua’s audience here is exclusively Jews. He did not preach directly to the gentiles in His lifetime. Nonetheless, what He says to His Jewish brethren would apply to any gentile coming into the faith of Israel, as God does not have a “separate” revelation and faith for the gentile world (Ephesians ch. 4). There is one God for Jew and gentile (Romans 1:16).
5:3-10 Blessed are …
Hebrew: Asher – with a combined meaning of; ‘happy and fortunate.”
… the poor in Spirit (re: Isaiah 57:15; 66:2)?… the mourners who will be comforted (re: Isaiah 61:2; 66:10,13)?… the meek who inherit the land (re: Psalm 37:11)?… they will be satisfied (Isaiah 66:11-12)?… merciful who obtain mercy (re: Psalm 18:26 – 2 Samuel 22:26)?… pure in heart (re: Psalm 22:4; 51;10; 73:11)?… persecuted for righteousness for theirs is the kingdom (Isaiah 66:5)
“Blessings” as such are also found in the Qumran (Dead Sea) scrolls. In the following portion wisdom is clearly exalted. Wisdom and the law are viewed as inseparable. (Missing scroll portions are bracketed):
What’s is God’s concept of a peacemaker? It may not be what one would call “politically correct.” For instance, there is one person in the Scriptures specifically called a peacemaker. He is Pinchas, the grandson of Aaron. What did he do to earn this title from God? He took a spear and simultaneously ran it through a man and woman who were fornicating. For this specific action of killing these people, God praises him and calls him a peacemaker (Numbers 25:6-13). Pinchas later became the High Priest.
5:10-13 Semitic Poetry (1)
Verses 10-12 are an example of Semitic poetry in a form called a chiasmus, where verses are repeated but in reverse order. Here, the verses follow an A-B-C-B-A order:
A. Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake:
B. for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
C. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
B. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven:
A. for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.
Verse 13 is an example of Semitic poetry in a form called formal parallelism, where a concept in one line is expounded on through several subsequent lines.
Ye are the salt of the earth:?but if the salt have lost his savor, ?wherewith shall it be salted? ?it is thenceforth good for nothing, ?but to be cast out, ?and to be trodden under foot of men.
Salt has a specific relationship to the eternal covenant God has with Israel.
This is found in Scripture:
Leviticus 2:13 – Neither shalt thou suffer the salt of the covenant of thy God to be lacking
Numbers 18:19 – It is a covenant of salt forever
5:13-16 WHO are the salt and the light?
As mentioned earlier, Yeshua here is addressing Jews within their Judaism. (It is critical to understand the meaning of this and every verse in its original context before expounding on it or trying to apply it to another situation.) This is Yeshua’s first recorded “public address” to the Jews, after having spent some time preaching to them in the Synagogues (Matthew 4:23).
Yeshua Himself said He came for the lost sheep of Israel, not the gentiles, and told His apostles to do the same (Matthew 10:5-6; 15:24). Gentiles would receive their direct invitation to join the faith of Israel through the Messiah, after His suffering, death and resurrection.
Israel is also God’s “Messiah” (meaning: anointed one). Their job was/is to bring the revelation of God, that the Lord Himself gave them at Mount Sinai, to the entire world. Here Yeshua is issuing them a reminder of their responsibility in these verses. Israel is still “God’s chosen people,” and the faith they received through the giving of the Torah and work of their Messiah, is still the only one God has ever established.
5:16 Good works … glorify your Father
Good works are the positive commandments of the Torah. These are the “works” that would distinguish Israel and cause gentiles to give glory to the Father, who gave His Torah as a means for His people to sanctify (set apart) themselves.
Matthew 5:17-20?5:17 the “Law”
Christian Bibles consistently refer to “the Law,” meaning the Law of Moses, as given in the first five books of the Bible. The Hebrew term for this is the Torah. However, the correct translation of “Torah,” is not “law” (not in the western legal sense of the word). Rather, Torah is correctly translated as revelation or instruction from God.
When understood in its proper Hebrew context, here is some of what the “New Testament” says about Torah:
Faith does not abolish any part of the Torah as a whole (Matthew 5:17-20, James 2:10)
Keeping the Torah is part of the faith that gets you to heaven (Matthew 19:17; Revelation 12:17; 14:12; 22:14)
You will abide in Yeshua’s love, if you keep Torah (John 14:15-23) as He abided in the Father’s love by keeping Torah (John 15:10; Hebrews 2:17-18, 4:15)
Faith in Yeshua does not cancel out what the Torah says, it establishes it (Romans 3:31)
Torah is itself “liberty” and the standard we are to judge ourselves by (James 1:22-25)
It is those of the flesh who are not subject to the Torah (Romans 8:5-8)
If you say you know Him, and ignore His Torah, you are a liar (1 John 2:3-7)
It does not matter if you are a Jew or a gentile, what matters is keeping God’s Torah (1 Cor. 7:19)
The “law of love” is that we keep his Torah – which is by no means a “burden” (1 John 5:3; 2 John 1:6; Matt. 11:29,30)
These “New Testament” references to Torah might at first confuse people, as they aren’t used to thinking in these terms. However, when the Hebrew New Testament authors, and Yeshua Himself, spoke of law/commandments in their first century Jewish religious context, it must be interpreted as “Torah,” unless there is a clear reason to do otherwise, as this was what it meant to them.
5:17 Destroy … Fulfill
First, a brief look at two of the Greek words behind the King James text in verse 17:
Destroy = kataluo, meaning “to overthrow completely” or “abolish”?Fulfill = plerosai, meaning “to fill” or “to complete.”
The second half of verse 17 is used by some people to support a doctrine that says the believer in Messiah is now “not under the Law.” Some claim that by “fulfilling the Law,” Messiah did away with it, and the believer no longer has a relationship to it.
Although we will address this in detail throughout this and our other online studies, one need not look further than this verse itself to see that such an interpretation is incorrect, as:
The word plerosai (fulfill) DOES NOT mean to “do away with” or to “overthrow.”
The word kataluo (destroy) DOES mean to “do away with” or to “overthrow,” and Yeshua said He did NOT come to do that. (1)
Furthermore, Yeshua then goes on to emphasize in verse 18, that not even the tiniest part of the Torah (the “Law”) is done away with, and won’t be until the heavens and the earth are no more.
He then takes it even further, and issues a warning to anyone who “breaks” any of the Torah, or teaches anyone to do the same. The Greek word for “break” is luo, meaning; “to infringe upon, loosen the force of, or render not binding.” (1) Hence, Yeshua is teaching that His work in no way diminishes the authority or continuation of the Torah.
Verses 17-20 set the theme and agenda for the entire “Sermon on the Mount.” Yeshua the Messiah makes fuller the understanding of his disciples concerning the Torah and Prophets, so they can more fully express what being God’s people is all about. This is consistent with Judaism, as one of the Messiah’s main functions would be to complete our understanding of the Torah & Prophets. The “evidence” for Yeshua being the true Messiah is that He meet the criteria set forth in the Tanakh (Old Testament), which in turn says the Torah is eternal.
Much of the remainder of chapters 5-7 give specific cases where Yeshua explains the fuller meaning of the Torah — teaching the people to not only keep the Law, but to go beyond the “letter of the Law – understanding the Godly principles behind the commandments, as this is how we come to know God, which is His desire for us all.
5:20 – the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees
Yeshua never criticized the scribes and Pharisees for carrying out the Torah. In fact he told the people to follow their example (Matthew 23:1-3).