News Letter 5849-013
7th day of the 3rd month ?5849 years after the creation of Adam
7th Day of 7th week of Counting the Omer
Day 49 of Counting the Omer
The 3rd 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
May 18, 2013
Shabbat Shalom Brethren,
Tomorrow on the first day of the week is the 50th day of Shavuot. And with this counting we have as an annual reminder that the 50th year in a Jubilee cycle is also the first year in the next count of 7 years that leads up to the next Sabbatical year. That 7 year count includes this first year.
In the exact same way as Shavuot is on the first day of the week, the count continues to the Sabbath in 6 more days. There is not an 8 day or 8 year interval here. The 7 day week and the 7 year sabbatical cycle is continuous and not broken. The first day and or the first year are both the 1st and the 50th at the same time. The next day is still Monday and day two and the next year in a Jubilee cycle is year two not year one.
We have explained this in detail in our latest book “Remembering the Sabbatical Years of 2016” which you can order from our web site. Just click on the book.
A number of events took place last week that I had wanted to write you about. Actually I do not want to write you at all about it. But I must.
So let me give them to you as they came to me.
On Sunday May 5th I, as many of you also did, received the following email from Boaz in Israel. We posted this in our News Letter of last week and do so now again for your review.
Dear friends and partners of Shefa Israel,
The picture shown here is one of the few vines that survived the winter sand storms. This picture of life coming out of certain death is what gives us the hope and the courage to continue with what it is that the Father has called us to do, to plant a vineyard in the desert.??The weather we had in the winter of 2013 was something that no one could have forecast. We are used to the desert and her harsh winters and these are generally ideal conditions for growing vines. The repeated bombardment of the North Westerly sand storms, the worst in 10 years, took their toll on the vines and caused irreparable damage to a lot of the young grafts.
We did all we could in the physical to protect our young charges but the elements where just too much for us this time. We called in experts in the vine field and they told us one thing, “We need to replant now”.
The summer will give the vines 6 to eight months to establish themselves in the field. We are not giving up on what the Father called us to do in this very special part of the Land – the place where our forefathers sojourned for 20 years of the 40 years in the Wilderness, where Abraham Isaac and Jacob walked. The Land promised to us as our inheritance. It is our responsibility firstly to our Heavenly Father and also to those that have stood with us to carry this on and see it through to its fruition.??We cannot do it alone – we need your help – the cost to replant the destroyed vines will be around USD8000. This seems so much to ask, but if we all pull together, I am sure we can make it happen. Should the Father be placing it on your heart to help us in this replanting please use the donate button on the home page or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or Joe Dumond and email@example.com ??As if the sandstorms were not enough, we are currently fighting off, if one can believe it, a greater danger – Locust infestation. The initial infestation started a month ago with two to three days of large swarms coming over the border, with the wind from Egypt. They were mature and not hungry but managed to lay millions of eggs before either being exterminated or being allowed to die naturally. The eggs have hatched and the Negev Highlands are alive with millions of young locusts. They are not yet ravenous and extremely destructive. We have to exterminate them before their next stage of maturity. Failure to achieve this would mean the loss of all the farm lands here in our area. The government is attending to the huge open areas with crop dusters but each individual farmer is responsible for his own land. Every available man is carrying a sprayer and going to war against these little jumping insects.??As of now, the Israel Department of Agriculture is giving us the chemicals with which to wage war against the locusts but we need your prayers for the hours of work that the spraying is going to take. It cannot be done by machine as the locusts flee before the tractors. It has to be done on foot to be most effective!
We thank you for considering us in your prayers and endeavors
Boaz and Rinah
After reading this I began to ask Yehovah why? Why is this happening to us? We are keeping the Sabbath. Although Boaz and Rinah keep the Holy Days according to the Jewish Hebraic calendar and we are keeping it according to the Sighted Moon, we both keep them, as we understand them to be. And again as Boaz and Rinah keep the Sabbatical years according to Jewish customs, we are keeping the Sabbatical Years according to the historical and Biblical patterns proven. And both of us are working this Vineyard to show Yehovah’s blessings upon both of us or upon on section over another depending on which Sabbatical year that section observes.
So seeing the vineyard attacked by the Locust was very troubling to me. Have I sinned? If so what sin have I done? All day Sunday and Monday I thought about this and found nothing. Like Job I could not see anything I was doing to justify the destruction of the vineyard. I began to assume Boaz must be at fault here.
In my prayers I began to ask Yehovah to show me how I was sinning. I absolutely hate asking Him this as this is one prayer He seems to always answer when I do ask. And although I say that tongue in cheek, I do strongly suggest you all do the same and ask Yehovah to show you your secret sins and to make them plain as day so you can see them.
I then received another email from Boaz;
I have put a few more pictures in the website on the vineyard update page. Today was terrible – they are starting to eat – we are hoping that the army will help us to deal with the problem Nothing has been seen like this in 100 years!
I wrote back to Boaz and asked the following.
Shalom Boaz, two things people have written me. One is that the vines will grow back after the locust. I do not know. Are the vines done or will they come back?
ON Wednesday Boaz wrote me in response to my question.
In answer to your questions
A: The chances of the vines coming back are almost zero. Although the roots of many are still alive, the grafts have been destroyed. This means that the plant would continue as a fruitless plant. We have had the ministry of Agriculture experts here to check things out for the last few days.
B: The area infested covers thousands of acres. It is the largest infestation in over 100 years. Egypt’s lack of dealing with the swarms before they arrived here caused the magnitude of the problem. I had never seen anything quite so bad in my entire life. The number of locusts was estimated in the billions.
Boaz had then updated the videos showing the swarms of Locust in the vineyard, which you can see at http://www.shefaisrael.com/vineyard-update.html
Keep in mind across the road is a large tomato producer and another large Pomegranate farm and right next door is a an Large herb farm and then down the road are huge sweet potato farms. And there are many others around as well.
Wednesday evening I had a conversation with a brother in New Mexico and I was seeking some advice on how to deal with all the things on my plate; what to do and how to go about it.
The conversation led around to the Previous News Letter, which was about how you are not to Tithe, as we do not have a temple or priest hood of Levites for whom the tithe was set up to take care of.
“But although we are not to tithe” he said to me “we are still required to keep the tithe to the Widows and orphans and Levites in the 3rd tithe years.” I agreed with him as he said this. Those are the third and sixth years of a Sabbatical cycle. He went on to confess to me that he was not able to fulfill this commandment and how he was working on resolving it.
And as he continued to talk I felt a knife going through my heart. The more I thought on it the more hurt I was feeling. And I tried not to think on it but I could not stop from this point on.
I wanted to tell this brother these thoughts that I am about to explain to you, but I could not for shame. So I said goodnight and kept thinking on this.
I had started out last year with great enthusiasm and I was determined to spread my 3rd tithes with as many as I could find. I sent some to widows I knew of and then to some whom I considered good faithful teachers of the torah and then again to some places who took care of the orphans. I was faithful in doing this each month from the month of Aviv up to Sukkot.
Then my computer melted and I lost track of to whom I was sending things to and how much I was to send. It was Sukkot and I was off work for three weeks last year in order to be in Israel for this Feast.
Once I came home I had an endless amount of repairs on the equipment every week something would seem to break and the costs were in the multiple thousands of dollars to repair and to keep working. With each repair I also lost that day or the next from making any income. And then we had what we call rain days in which we do not work.
This was followed by the lost of the float-moving contract in November and then the loss of work on the main crew. I was scrambling to find work with the service end of things. This was a huge reduction in available work. Long story short, we had way more bills than we did income and it was hard to make ends meet.
I know many of you can say the same thing. And I am writing this to you as much as I am writing this to myself.
So I said I would make up for the loss of 3rd tithes at a later date because I did not send them out this week. Trouble was the following week was just as bad or worst for income. My weeks would turn into 2 or 3 and 4 day weeks due or repairs or weather. It became extremely hard to just pay the normal monthly bills. After Sukkot we never did get back to paying the 3rd tithe.
And then when the Year ended, I could not ask Yehovah to bless us as we are commanded to do in Deuteronomy so I overlooked it so as not to have to face my own short coming.
Jas 1:27 Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, to visit orphans and widows in their afflictions, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.
Isa 1:16 Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes; cease to do evil; 17 learn to do good; seek judgment, reprove the oppressor. Judge the orphan, plead for the widow.
I had even written an article or two on supporting the widow and the orphan. At that time I still was doing so or had intentions of catching up on those payments that I had neglected. Yehovah is a defender of the widow and the orphan and it is He who has reminded me of this very hard and fast fact and of my, our part in that. If we want the blessings then we must obey and keep the commandments and not neglect them.
We read in Deuteronomy
Deu 10:12 And now, Israel, what does Jehovah your God ask of you, but to fear Jehovah your God, to walk in all His ways, and to love Him, and to serve Jehovah your God with all your heart and with all your soul, 13 to keep the commandments of Jehovah, and His statutes, which I command you today for your good?
This is then followed a couple verse later;
Deu 10:17 For Jehovah your God is God of gods, and Lord of lords, a great God, the mighty, and a terrible God, who does not respect persons nor take a bribe. 18 He executes justice for the fatherless and widow, and loves the stranger in giving him food and clothing.
This begins a long history of how Yehovah looks upon the care of the widows and the orphans. This was the beginning of Yehovah’s Law for the care of the least in our communities. Those who were without defenders had Yehovah as their advocate. The third year tithe was for the purpose of supporting the Levies, the sojourners and the fatherless and widows.
Deu 14:28 At the end of three years you shall bring forth all the tithe of your increase the same year, and shall lay it up inside your gates. 29 And the Levite, because he has no part nor inheritance with you, and the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow, who are inside your gates, shall come, and shall eat and be satisfied, so that Jehovah your God may bless you in all the work of your hand which you do.
We are to take care of the widow and orphan and the Levite so that Yehovah Can Bless us in all that we do.
Yehovah commanded us not to pervert justice: to the fatherless (orphans) or the Widows.
This is what I have done by ignoring this issue and this is why I have also shared this with you, because I am not the only one guilty here.
Deu 24:17 You shall not pervert the rightful judgment of the stranger nor of the fatherless; nor take a widow’s clothing to pledge. 18 But you shall remember that you were a slave in Egypt, and Jehovah your God redeemed you from there. Therefore I command you to do this thing.
But we are not just to look after the widow and fatherless and the Levite in the 3rd and 6th years. No we are also to allow them to take part in our harvests and to have a seat with us at our feasts.
Deu 24:19 When you cut down your harvest in your field, and have forgotten a sheaf in the field, you shall not go again to bring it. It shall be for the stranger, for the fatherless, and for the widow; so that Jehovah your God may bless you in all the work of your hand. 20 When you beat your olive tree, you shall not go over the boughs again. It shall be for the stranger, for the fatherless, and for the widow. 21 When you gather the grapes from your vineyard, you shall not glean afterward. It shall be for the stranger, for the fatherless, and for the widow. 22 And you shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt. Therefore I command you to do this thing.
Deu 14:23 And you shall eat before Jehovah your God in the place which He shall choose to place His name there, the tithe of your grain, of your wine, and of your oil, and the first-born of your herds and of your flocks, so that you may learn to fear Jehovah your God always. 24 And if the way is too long for you, so that you are not able to carry it, or if the place is too far from you, which Jehovah your God shall choose to set His name there, when Jehovah your God has blessed you, 25 then you shall turn it into silver and bind up the silver in your hand, and shall go to the place which Jehovah your God shall choose. 26 And you shall pay that silver for whatever your soul desires, for oxen, or for sheep, or for wine, or for strong drink, or for whatever your soul desires. And you shall eat there before Jehovah your God, and you shall rejoice, you and your household 27 and the Levite within your gates, you shall not forsake him, for he has no part nor inheritance with you.
When Israel was kept the feasts of Passover, they were to include the fatherless and the widows and the travelers in with their own families so that they would not be excluded. This was also true of Shavuot and Sukkot. Yehovah did not want them to be left out of anything that pertained to His Blessings.
Once we have done this and taken care of the Widows and the Orphans then we are commanded to come before Yehovah and ask for a blessing.
Here is what I neglected to share as the year ended. My guilt is before me.
Deu 26:7 And when we cried to Jehovah, the God of our fathers, Jehovah heard our voice and looked on our afflictions and our labor and our oppression. 8 And Jehovah brought us forth out of Egypt with a mighty hand, and with an outstretched arm, and with fearful might, and with miracles and with wonders. 9 And He has brought us into this place, and has given us this land, a land that flows with milk and honey. 10 And now, behold, I have brought the firstfruits of the land which You, O Jehovah, have given me. And you shall set it before Jehovah your God, and worship before Jehovah your God. 11 And you shall rejoice in all the good which Jehovah your God has given to you, and to your house; you, and the Levite, and the stranger in your midst. 12 When you have made an end of tithing all the tithes of your increase the third year, the year of tithing, and have given it to the Levite, the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow (that they may eat inside your gates and be filled), 13 then you shall say before Jehovah your God, I have brought away the holy things out of my house, and also have given them to the Levite, and to the stranger, to the fatherless, and to the widow, according to all Your commandments which You have commanded me. I have not broken Your commandments, neither have I forgotten. 14 I have not eaten of it in my mourning, neither have I put any of it away for unclean use, nor have I given of it for the dead. I have listened to the voice of Jehovah my God, and have done according to all that You have commanded me. 15 Look down from Your holy dwelling, from Heaven, and bless Your people Israel and the land which You have given us, as You swore to our fathers, a land that flows with milk and honey. 16 Today Jehovah your God has commanded you to do these statutes and judgments. You therefore shall keep and do them with all your heart and with all your soul. 17 You have today said that Jehovah is your God, and that you would walk in His ways, and keep His statutes and His commandments and His judgments, and listen to His voice. 18 And Jehovah has taken you today to be His peculiar people, as He has promised you, and to keep all His commandments, 19 and to make you high above all nations which He has made, in praise and in name and in honor, and that you may be a holy people to Jehovah your God, even as He has spoken.
Brethren I have sinned by not completing the 3rd tithe year. I have compounded that sin by not reminding you of the prayer to ask for a blessing once you have completed giving of your tithes in the 3rd tithe year.
That Wednesday evening and Thursday I thought about when David sinned with Bathsheba. Once David admitted to his guilt, Nathan said to him and I have never forgotten these words. You shall not die.
David the man after Yehovah’s own heart was about to be executed for not repenting of this sin. And even though he did repent there was still a consequence to pay for it. The child died.
2Sa 12:13 And David said to Nathan, I have sinned against Jehovah. And Nathan said to David, Jehovah also has put away your sin; you shall not die. 14 Only, because by this deed you have given great occasion to the enemies of Jehovah to blaspheme, this child born to you shall surely die.
I also thought of the other time when King David sinned which I did not think was a very bad sin, when he took a census of the people to see how many were ready for war. Yehovah gave him a choice between three curses. Those same curses are the exact one that were for that Sabbatical cycle when this occurred. The 4th Sabbatical cycle.
2Sa 24:10 And David’s heart struck him after he had numbered the people. And David said to Jehovah, I have sinned greatly in what I have done. And now, I beseech You, O Jehovah, take away the iniquity of Your servant, for I have done very foolishly. 11 And David rose up in the morning. And the Word of Jehovah came to the prophet Gad, David’s seer, saying, 12 Go and say to David, So says Jehovah, I offer you three things. Choose one of them, so that I may do it to you. 13 And Gad came to David, and told him, and said to him, Shall seven years of famine come upon you and on your land? Or will you flee three months before your enemies while they pursue you? Or shall there be three days’ plague in your land? And advise, and see what answer I shall return to Him who sent me. 14 And David said to Gad, I am in great distress. Let us fall now into the hand of Jehovah, for His mercies are great. And do not let me fall into the hand of man. 15 And Jehovah sent a plague upon Israel from the morning even till the time appointed. And there died from the people, from Dan to Beer-sheba, seventy thousand men. 16 And when the angel stretched out his hand upon Jerusalem to destroy it, Jehovah turned from the evil, and said to the angel who destroyed the people, Enough! And stay your hand. And the angel of Jehovah was by the threshing-place of Araunah the Jebusite. 17 And David spoke to Jehovah when he saw the angel who struck the people, and said, Lo, I have sinned, and I have done wickedly. But these sheep, what have they done? I pray You, let Your hand be against me and against my father’s house. 18 And Gad came that day to David, and said to him, Go up! Rear an altar to Jehovah in the threshing-floor of Araunah the Jebusite. 19 And David went up, according to the saying of Gad, as Jehovah commanded. 20 And Araunah looked and saw the king and his servants coming on toward him. And Araunah went out and bowed before the king, his face to the ground. 21 And Araunah said, Why has my lord the king come to his servant? And David said, To buy the threshing-floor from you, to build an altar to Jehovah, so that the plague may be stayed from the people. 22 And Araunah said to David, Let my lord the king take and offer up what seems good to him. Behold, oxen for burnt sacrifice, and threshing instruments, and instruments of the oxen for wood. 23 All these Araunah, like a king, gave to the king. And Araunah said to the king, May Jehovah your God accept you. 24 And the king said to Araunah, No, but I will surely buy from you at a price. And I will not offer burnt offerings to Jehovah my God of that which costs me nothing. And David bought the threshing-floor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver. 25 And David built there an altar to Jehovah, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. And Jehovah was entreated for the land, and the plague was stayed from Israel.
As I thought about these things I feared what is about to come. As we are in the third Sabbatical cycle of Pestilence and Famine and Earthquakes. And I am no King David. Yet I am concerned none the less.
I also read in Numbers about the rebellion of Korah and then how the people murmured and then the wrath of Yehovah was kindled and a plaque began.
Num 16:41 But on the next day all the congregation of the sons of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron saying, You have killed the people of Jehovah. 42 And it happened when the congregation was gathered together against Moses and against Aaron, they looked toward the tabernacle of the congregation. And behold! The cloud covered it, and the glory of Jehovah appeared. 43 And Moses and Aaron came before the tabernacle of the congregation. 44 And Jehovah spoke to Moses saying, 45 Get away from this congregation so that I may consume them as in a moment. And they fell upon their faces. 46 And Moses said to Aaron, Take a fire-pan, and put fire in it from the altar, and put on incense, and go quickly to the congregation and make an atonement for them. For wrath has gone out from Jehovah. The plague has begun. 47 And Aaron did as Moses commanded and ran into the midst of the congregation. And behold! The plague had begun among the people. And he put on incense, and made an atonement for the people. 48 And he stood between the dead and the living, and the plague was stayed. 49 And those who died in the plague were fourteen thousand, seven hundred, besides the ones who died about the matter of Korah. 50 And Aaron returned to Moses to the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and the plague was stayed.
In both cases the plaques did not stop until the Peace offerings were offered up by David and before that it was the incense was offered up. David did it at what would be the Temple site. Aaron did it in the camp and ended at the Tabernacle.
What does this mean? How are we to reckon these two stories?
The Peace offerings and the sacrifices David did and the incense Aaron did both represent the same thing. The prayers of the Saints! We all need to pray over this and to make it right.
I asked Yehovah for forgiveness for my sins that I have done to the Widows and to the Orphans and to the Levite, those whom I have neglected and not fulfilled my duties to them as a brother, nor did I obeyed your commandments to do so. I am sorry and I regret this. I regret that it had to take the invasion of the vineyard by locust and it was not until a friend in conversation said it to me that I actually understood.
I am sorry.
Later Thursday evening as I prepared the News Letter to go out on Friday I received another email from Boaz.
Dear Joe and Shabbat Shalom,
We continue our battle against the locust plague with almost every waking hour. Just when we think we are getting the better of them another swarm arrives. Nothing like this has been seen in Israel for over 100 years!
And my heart sank. I repented again and felt sick to my stomach for what I now realized I had done. My ignorance of just how great Yehovah truly is and how He does not let those He loves sin and get away with it. He does look after the widows and He does see what we do or do not do.
Israel kept the Sabbaths and the Holy Days and they had the Temple and Yehovah still kicked them out of the land for not keeping the Sabbatical Years. David wrote the psalms and was prophetic on much of what he wrote. He was a man after Yehovah’s own heart and yet we read of how he was about to die had he not repented.
I felt sick for what I had done and did not know what to do now. I repented and I determined to finish giving what I owed and then some. I will do this over the weeks to come.
Later that Thursday night I received another email from Boaz.
Just to fill you in a bit on what is going on here in the Negev and the magnitude of the problem we are facing. Thursday evening saw a drastic reduction in the numbers of locusts. This could be a result of one of two reasons, either there is nothing left for them to eat or the spraying has been effective.
Here at Shefa we have been spraying from first light through until we can stand no more or until we can no longer see them. When this is all finished we will compile a complete report complete with photographs and video footage.
Until next week, Shabbat Shalom
Boaz and Rinah
Had the curse now passed that I had seen my sin and those of the brethren?
And then as I prepared the Torah portion for last week, the one section was about David’s buying of the threshing floor after he had sinned by numbering the people. Now I was sure Yehovah was dealing with me in all of this. And because of that I have shared this with you all.
Yes I have sinned in this a number of times. We all have contributed to the building of this vineyard. And I have strong suspicions I am not the only one to have neglected our duties to the widows and orphans and Levites. It is now time for each of us to repent.
We put sin out our lives at Passover. We do this symbolically by removing the leaven from our homes and property. The leaven represents sin. We are to be perfected in the counting of the Omer as we get closer and closer to Shavuot.
We have explained in previous articles how Shavuot is the act of sevening ourselves. It is the Feast of Oaths that we agree to abide by the commandments written down at Sinai. Part of those commandments are to take care of the widow and orphans. If we do not, then because of the Oath we are making by sevening ourselves, we could end up suffering the penalty of death. This is just how serious this sevening process is which culminates with Shavuot.
Last week I explained what the great events yet to come on this day mean. It is the time to become a part of the family of Yehovah in a rebirth; A spiritual rebirth.
But like the two loaf’s that are offered at this time we still have leaven in us. We are not yet perfected.
Brethren repent if you have to and do not put this off. Remember the Sabbatical cycle we are in and repent. This also means you must finish your duties. All of us myself included must stop playing religion and actually do those things that make us family and united in the Kingdom of Yehovah. Playing religion are those who read things in the bible and talk about how good they are and say wouldn’t it be nice if everyone did them, but then they themselves will not do it. They just talk about it and then forget them when they leave the church hall.
May Yehovah have mercy on us and forgive us our trespasses. May He restore the vineyard and heal what we have hurt. And Brethren I am sorry to have let you down in this area, of not leading by example and dropping the ball.
As I go to post this News letter, here is the latest report form Boaz who seems to be exhausted.
Apologies for the late send out but we are still at war with the locusts. As soon as we think we are getting the better of them they appear in another wave! We are spraying many hours every day; we have to make sure that we deal with the locusts before they mature enough to fly. It seems at times to be an impossible task.
Blessings and Shabbat Shalom
Boaz and Rinah
Triennial Torah Portions
Triennial Torah Reading Cycle
Deut 18 1 Chron 22-24 2 Thess 1-3
The Prophet and False Prophets (Deuteronomy 18)
Israel is again cautioned against learning “to follow the abominations” of the people living in the land, including the practices of witchcraft, sorcery or divination (verses 9-14). In contrast to pagan soothsayers, Moses prophesies that God would eventually raise up a Prophet like himself, referring to the coming of Jesus Christ (verses 15-19; see John 1:45; Acts 3:22-23). He makes clear that just as the words from God that he proclaimed were to be obeyed, so it would be with this future Prophet. And indeed, like Moses, Jesus came as an Announcer of God’s law and as a Mediator of a covenant based on that law. In short, Christ’s words were to be followed—whereas others who would falsely claim to be prophets would have to be rejected (Deuteronomy 18:20).
Christ would later confirm that many false prophets would come to deceive the many (compare Matthew 24:4-5, 11). Sadly, this problem has always persisted among God’s people (2 Peter 2:1-3). Moses gives a clue as to how to determine whether a person is a prophet of God or not: “When a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the thing does not happen or come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously” (Deuteronomy 18:22). But one word of caution here: Sometimes, false prophets will foretell the future accurately (see 13:1-5)—and God Himself may even be behind it (see Numbers 22:20, 38; 23:12). Yet even if someone relays many correct prophecies, the verse quoted above basically tells us that if there is just one instance where he claims that God has, apart from Scripture, specially and directly communicated to his mind regarding some event that will happen and the event does not come to pass as he proclaimed it would, that alone would make him a false prophet—that is, unless the proclamation is a warning of divine punishment and those to whom it is directed repent, as all such prophecies are contingent upon whether the recipients repent or not (compare Jeremiah 18:6-8; Jonah 3). And, of course, as explained in the highlights for Deuteronomy 13, someone’s fulfilled prophecies are to be measured against his teachings and deeds. We are never to follow anyone’s anti-biblical teachings or evil practices.
Preparing for the Temple; Pursue Wisdom (1 Chronicles 21:28-22:19; Proverbs 4:1-9)
The threshing floor David purchases from Ornan the Jebusite eventually becomes the site of the temple Solomon builds. How did David know to choose that site for the temple? In our last reading, we were informed that this is where God directed that a new altar be built (1 Chronicles 21:18)—one that He miraculously sanctioned by fire from heaven (verse 26). The passage in 22:1 sounds like a light suddenly came on in David’s mind as he mentally connected the dots. “By the miraculous sign of fire from heaven, and perhaps other intimations, David understood it to be the will of God that the national place of worship should be fixed there, and he forthwith proceeded to make preparations for the erection of the temple on that spot” (Jamieson, Fausset, & Brown Commentary, note on verse 1). “…This is to be the house because this is the altar. The temple was built for the sake of the altar” (Matthew Henry’s Commentary, note on verse 1).
It is interesting to consider the fact that the site was a threshing floor, where chaff was separated from grain. Speaking of Jesus Christ, John the Baptist said, “His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather the wheat into His barn; but the chaff He will burn with unquenchable fire” (Luke 3:17).
Although David is not allowed to build the temple himself (1 Chronicles 22:8), he has not been prevented from conducting preparations for it—and these he carries out thoroughly and abundantly (verse 5). David instructs Solomon on what to do regarding this temple, points out his need for wisdom—which Solomon remembers at a critical point (2 Chronicles 1:7-10)—and admonishes him to obey God (instruction he will not continue to do so well with over the course of his life).
David also makes it quite clear that Solomon is to be the next king. He recounts God’s original promise concerning Solomon in 1 Chronicles 22:9-10. These verses are dual in application, referring to both Solomon and the future Messiah. Solomon’s name means “Peaceful.” And note that God specifically and specially calls him “My son.” Solomon’s mostly peaceful reign is a definite type of the coming peaceful reign on earth of David’s descendant Jesus Christ, the ultimate Prince of Peace and Son of God—who is commissioned by God the Father to build a spiritual temple, the Church.
In Proverbs 4:1-9, we find Solomon passing David’s instructions about obedience and the pursuit of wisdom and understanding on to his own children. In this passage, we have words of David recorded outside his psalms or the accounts of his life. And they are words we would all do well to heed.
David Organizes the Levites (1 Chronicles 23:2-32)
In addition to his preparations for the building of the temple, David also organizes the temple duties and personnel. This chapter introduces that organization. It deals primarily with those Levites who were to assist the priests in “the work of the service of the house of God” (verses 24, 28, 32), and gives a brief description of the work they were to do. It also points out specifically that the descendants of Moses were not given any special job beyond that of their fellow Kohathites (verses 14-17).
Note in verse 27 that David makes a change in how the Levites are to be numbered. Previously the Levites were not counted for service until age 30, apparently because the work of breaking down, transporting and setting up the tabernacle was considered too demanding and meticulous for younger men (verse 3; compare Numbers 4:2-3, 22-23, 29-30). At the end of his life, David points out that this constant moving of the tabernacle will no longer be necessary (1 Chronicles 23:25-26), and he allows the Levites to enter into the temple service at age 20, the age of “adulthood” for the rest of the tribes.
Solomon Installed as Co-Regent (1 Chronicles 23:1; 1 Kings 1:28-53)
David puts an end to the question of succession by putting Solomon on the throne before his death—in a great and dramatic public display. This practice becomes fairly common among Israelite kings, as we will see later on.
Adonijah is understandably terrified. His “quest for mercy at the bloodstained (Lev. 4:7, 18, 25, 30) horns of the altar was in keeping with the traditional function of the altar as a haven of refuge for those who had committed unintentional crimes (Exodus 21:12-14)” (Nelson Study Bible, note on verses 50-53). Adonijah’s treason, however, is far from unintentional—so the king sends men to remove him from there. Yet, for the time being, Adonijah is spared any punishment—Solomon giving him temporary clemency no doubt out of respect for David. But Solomon’s words indicate that there will yet be an evaluation of him. And Adonijah’s future actions will demonstrate his real character, as we will see.
David Organizes the Priests and Levites Into Courses (1 Chronicles 24)
Twenty-four chief men are chosen to head up the courses of priests who are to serve in some sort of rotating fashion at the temple. Note that Ahimelech, the son of Abiathar, has taken over his father’s priestly duties, which has apparently been the case for some time (compare 18:16; 2 Samuel 8:17), even before Abiathar’s siding with Adonijah.
Of some interest is the eighth course, given to Abijah (1 Chronicles 24:10), in whose division John the Baptist’s father Zacharias was serving some 1,000 years later when he received his visit from the angel Gabriel regarding John’s birth (see Luke 1:5-23). When their service was completed, the priests in each course could return home to their families, as Zacharias did (Luke 1:23).
Tradition tells us that each course served for one week at a time (except during the three festival seasons, when all courses served together). And Scripture gives an indication that this was likely the case. While dealing specifically with the gatekeepers (who were Levites, but not priests), 1 Chronicles 9:25 states that each division of them served for seven days. That this was probably also the case with the priests is indicated by the fact that the Levites assigned to serve at the temple were also divided by lot into 24 courses (24:19-31).
Lining these weeks up on the Hebrew calendar gives indication as to when Zacharias served—and thus when John the Baptist was conceived, as well as Christ, who was conceived six months later (compare Luke 1:26, 36). This would put John’s birth in the spring of the year and Christ’s birth in the autumn. (For more details, see “Why Jesus Christ Wasn’t Born on Dec. 25,” Holidays or Holy Days: Does It Matter Which Days We Keep?, p. 8).
2 Thess 1
It does not take long for us to realize that the believers in Thessalonica during the time of Paul’s letter to them are going through a persecution. He writes in verse 3 “… we ourselves boast of you among the assemblies of Elohim for your endurance and belief in all your persecutions and afflictions which you are bearing…” and Paul counts this unto “the Righteous judgment of Elohim. Persecution by the world is evidence of righteous living. We would do well to remember this in times of trial. Paul ensures these believers that Elohim shall rightly repay us when we afflicts those who afflict us in this present age.
So we see in chapter one, Paul engaged in words to uplift these believers for all they are going through and reminds them of their great hope of the revelation and return of Messiah to rule and reign. If they endure now, they shall overcome and be in His Presence while their persecutors shall be exiled and expelled.
2 Thess 2
There must be a rumor afoot in chapter two, for we read of some of the believers are concerned that Messiah has already come and that they have been “left behind” somehow. Paul writes, “we ask you not to become easily unsettled in mind or troubled by anything; whether a spirit or something someone says or by something someone writes.” If we hear that Messiah has come and the resurrection has already happened — don’t believe it and do not be deceived and become anxious over these words. There are also things that must happen first, he writes to them.
The falling away is to come first. The “falling away” is the Greek word apostasia. G646 — Strong ????????? apostasia
ap-os-tas-ee’-ah Feminine of the same as G647; defection from truth (properly the state), (“apostasy”): – falling away, forsake.
Now even though the definition and meaning of this word Paul uses, as found from e-sword states: defection from truth, we also see in parentheses “properly, the state” This is profoundly interesting. Let us put ourselves back into context with this letter, the audience, and the historical context. Paul is writing to young believers. The Gospel is new among them and they are being persecuted by the secular worldly sects around them. These ones who are persecuting them are preaching “another gospel”. They are deceivers. They are tares among the wheat. At the time of Paul’s writing and letter, they are very easily recognized. They are outside the young and committed assembly of believers in Thessalonica but they are trying to “get inside” and get inside through deception and lies.
Here is our question that may help us understand what Paul is saying: If the falling away is to come, falling away from what? There is a covenant between Elohim and His People. These young believers in Thessalonica have entered into that covenant by faith. As Paul tells us and we all know, that where believers are in covenant with Elohim – there also will be the wicked one. Always. The wicked one sows his seed and the Holy One sows His seed. They grow together. Paul knows, that the young and committed assembly will be infected with the wicked seed and that seed will grow and grow and sow the doctrine of lawlessness among them, verse 7 “for the secret of lawlessness is already at work”. He admonishes them, “do not be deceived” just as our Messiah warns us to take heed.
The doctrine of lawlessness will take hold within the assembly and we have seen this literally take place throughout the centuries without question. The doctrines of demons teaching that the Torah of Elohim is old and no longer applies to believers of today is “a” doctrine of lawlessness sown by the wicked one.
Paul is now telling us that there will come a falling away first. Who is falling away and from what? We should take note that Paul is speaking now to them of things to come, things to come before the return of Messiah so we know that he is speaking of the end of this age. He is speaking to these believers at Thessalonica concerning things they will not even be around to witness for they will have gone to sleep.
We have a clue in verse 7 with the phrase: “comes out of the midst” This phrase is not dissimilar from “come out of her my people” If good and evil are growing together, as the wheat and tares and they look the same – what is it that causes the revelation of who they really are? It is their fruit. As the wicked ones continue in their lawlessness (Torahlessness) and the righteous ones return to Torah and do the “works of righteousness” and return to keeping the commandments for life… all of the sudden BOTH will be revealed. This is why the falling away (the coming out of the midst of the righteous, and the divorcement from the lawless assembly) will in fact reveal the wicked one, the man of sin. It is up to believers to reveal the man of sin, by living according to the commandments.
Those who do not receive the love of the truth in the assembly (truth is contrasted with lawlessness), verse 10, will be sent a strong delusion from God, verse 11.
Thy righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, and thy law is the truth. Psalm 119:142
As it is written in the law of Moses, all this evil is come upon us: yet made we not our prayer before the LORD our God, that we might turn from our iniquities, and understand thy truth. Daniel 9:13
The law of truth was in his mouth, and iniquity was not found in his lips: he walked with me in peace and equity, and did turn many away from iniquity. Malachi 2:6
For the law was given by Moses, grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. John 1:17
Why are they sent a strong delusion? In order that all should be judged who did not believe the truth, but have delighted in the unrighteousness, verse 12. The purpose is to expose them.
Chapter 2 ends with more uplifting words by Paul to them to stand fast, praise Elohim for choosing them from the beginning and to wait in expectation of their great hope and promise.
2 Thess 3
In this chapter we see further evidence of the infiltration of ones in their assemblies that may not belong there (possible tares) who do not want to work and act disorderly and cause unrest. Paul advises them to admonish and teach these ones as brothers and try to help them. But if they do not respond to this advice, help, and kindness he also tells them: withdraw from these people (come out of their midst) and do not keep company with them, so that that person is put to shame. In doing this, the one is “revealed” and they might be saved or they will put away the lawless from among them.