The Festival of Lights; Do we have to deal with this again?

Joseph F. Dumond

Isa 6:9-12 And He said, Go, and tell this people, You hear indeed, but do not understand; and seeing you see, but do not know. Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their hearts, and turn back, and be healed. Then I said, Lord, how long? And He answered, Until the cities are wasted without inhabitant, and the houses without man, and the land laid waste, a desolation, and until Jehovah has moved men far away, and the desolation in the midst of the land is great.
Published: Nov 22, 2012

News Letter 5848-039
9th day of the 9th month?5848 years after the creation of Adam
The 9th Month in the Third year of the third Sabbatical Cycle
The Third Sabbatical Cycle of the 119th Jubilee Cycle
The Sabbatical Cycle of Earthquakes Famines, and Pestilences
This is also the end of the Thirty-Fifth week of this the Third Tithe Year for the Levite, the alien, the fatherless and the widow?Deuteronomy 26:12
We are now just 4 years & 3 months from the Sabbatical year in 2016


November 24, 2012


Shabbat Shalom Brethren,


Last week I inadvertently titled the intro to the 7th commandment with the same title from three days before. I apologize for this mistake on my part. It was not the same article being sent out a second time.

In the News this week was this article about the Blood Red Rain in Sri Lanka.
Red rain in Sri Lanka
Ridma Dissanayake

Rare showers of red rain fell for over 15 minutes in Sewanagala, Monaragala and Manampitiya,Polonnaruwa yesterday morning hours of yesterday and day before yesterday. According to Meteorology Department sources red rain fell heavily in these areas and the reason has not been found yet.

Red rain in Sewanagala and Manampitiya left red frost on the ground. This is the first time red rain was witnessed in Sri Lanka. The Health Ministry Secretary informed Medical Research Institute (MRI) Director Dr Anil Samaranayake to conduct a study to ascertain the reasons for red rain by taking water samples from Monaragala and Polonnaruwa.

Increase in the acidity of the air and sand storms are the usual reasons for red rain. However, there are no sand storms in Sri Lanka. India had red rain last year and Indian scientists discovered a variety of micro organisms as a reason for the rains. Since the micro organisms had no DNA, they guessed it had to be a strange phenomenon.

The MRI is carrying out research to find the exact reason for red rain in Sri Lanka.

Last week I was interviewed on Hebrew Nations radio and another one was recorded on Monday, have a listen to both as I try to explain the Sabbatical cycles and The Prophecies of Abraham, we also get into the 70 Weeks of Daniel.’malqowsh-the-latter-rain-chronicles-is-2017-the-end?-11-17-2012&Itemid=119

Here is the recording that was done on Monday November 19, 2012.

Daniel 11:40-43 Read this first and then watch the video that the Trumpet has just done during the conflict that was between Israel and Gaza.

Also I have just received this report from Boaz who lives on the Egyptian border south of Gaza. You can read of his updates and perspective of this war at

Here is one paragraph that I liked from his 4th article;
Looking back over the last seven days I am asking myself ‘What on earth happened here?’ We were inundated with emails proclaiming the fulfillment of end time prophecies – the anti-Christ was about to appear and Israel was about to host the Armageddon! Well it appears not to have been the appointed time for a land operation and the ending of the Hamas regime.

Brethren we have written to you before about what the world will be saying concerning the events that they will see happening in Israel. The world will believe it to be the last 3 1/2 years of Armageddon. We have been telling you it is not according to the Sabbatical cycles. But you can see from the emails that Boaz has received many still do. Continue to study the Sabbatical cycles and know them so that you can teach others the truths they contain. We will do the same here.

It is once again that time of year when the world shows just how deceived it is by the celebrations of the Festival of lights. Diwali in 2012 started on Tuesday, the 13th of November and was for 5 days until Saturday, the 17th of November. Known as the “festival of lights,” it is primarily a five day Hindu festival.

Hanukkah is also known as the Festival of Lights, and is an eight-day Jewish holiday which in 2012 will go from Saturday December 8- to Sunday December 16, 2012 is about to begin.

And the Christian Festival of Lights also known as Christmas climaxes all of this and as most of you know will be on December 25 and it too is for 8 days and goes until January 1, 2013.

Is it just me or do you also see the similarities here?

Take note of what Tertullian had to say about the celebration of the festival of lights.

“On your day of gladness, we [Christians] neither cover our doorposts with wreaths, nor intrude upon the day with lamps. At the call of public festivity, you consider it a proper thing to decorate your house like some new brothel. We are accused of a lower sacrilege because we do not celebrate along with you the holidays …” – (Tertullian, (A.D. 155-220), 2001, p. 1176). (quoted by David Bercot, A Dictionary of Early Christian Beliefs, 1998, p. 342).

“The pagan Romans clad their doorposts with green and branching laurels…In the Saturnalia…Presents come and go…There are…gifts…
and Banquets…yet Christians should have no acquaintance with the festivals of the pagans.”
– Tertullian, (A.D. 155-220), quoted by David Bercot, A Dictionary of Early Christian Beliefs, 1998, p. 342).

Here are some other quotes. Last week we had our first part of the 7th Commandment. And we showed you how adultery was Idolatry. Stop and think for a moment about what is about to come and whether or not you’re going to take part in it. Are you committing adultery by celebrating these festivals of light, which Yehovah never sanctioned? This is called Idolatry.

“Christianity has jumped in bed with paganism!” -The Surprising Origin of CHRISTMAS!   William F. Dankenbring and John D. Keyser
“The wicked apostate Church fornicated spiritually with the heathen, pagan religions of the world,  and “ADOPTED” the date of December 25th  as the “birth-day” of Jesus the Messiah, who was born nowhere NEAR that time of year!” -The Surprising Origin of CHRISTMAS!   William F. Dankenbring and John D. Keyser

“Christmas…was not instituted by Christ or the apostles, nor by Bible authority. It was picked up afterward from paganism.”
-Encyclopedia Britannica, 1946 edition

“…the whoredoms of all perverted Christian religionists are still in essence the same old harlotry which first found place and embodiment on the banks of the Euphrates. It is the same old Babylon, and her harlot daughters, bearing rule or kingdom upon the dominions of the earth, and intoxicating the inhabitants thereof out of the wine of her fornication. True religion and an uncorrupted Church have never suited the representatives of power, or pleased them long.”
Excerpt from ‘The Apocalypse’ by J. A. Seiss

“The wine of old Babylon’s fornication was a debauching system of idol worship and carnal self-exaltation, over and against the revelations and institutes of Jehovah.
It was already bottled and labelled before the first dispersion (Confusion of Tongues at the Tower of Babel). It went with that dispersion into every country and nation under heaven. As a matter of fact, we find it to this day among all the nations of the earth, affecting and controlling their thinking, their policies, their faith, and their worship.
Not less than two-thirds of the population of the earth at this hour are Pagan idolaters, drivelling under the same old intoxication which came forth from Nimrod and Babylon.”
Excerpt from ‘The Apocalypse’ by J. A. Seiss

Moses never spoke of the Festival of lights. Anything added to Torah he said was idolatry and not to be done. Yet men are much smarter that Moses and Yehovah and have added some unholidays to the sacred calendar there by making this new calendar unholy.

If you are keeping any of the above unholidays then please consider the following, as you go down the road to perdition kicking stones.


Hanukkah Reconsidered

Why do people celebrate Hanukkah? And should we?

Around 332 BCE, Alexander the Great conquered the Land of Israel. A relatively gentle ruler, Alexander allowed the Jews to continue to practice traditional Judaism, so long as they paid him tribute (i.e. taxes).

Daniel 8:21-24?21 And the male goat is the kingdom of Greece. The large horn that is between its eyes is the first (or chief) king (Alexander). ?22 As for the broken horn and the four that stood up in its place, four kingdoms shall arise out of that nation, but not with its power.

In 323 BCE, some nine years after he first conquered the Land of Israel, Alexander died. His empire then broke up into four kingdoms, fulfilling the prophecy in verse 22, above. One of these four successor kingdoms was the Seleucid Empire, which is located mainly in modern-day Syria. Next, verse 23 tells us that in the latter time of this (Seleucid) kingdom, a fierce, sinister king would arise, who would commit transgressions against the Hebrew people.23 “And in the latter time of their kingdom, when the transgressors have reached their fullness, a king shall arise, having fierce features, who understands sinister schemes. ?24 His power shall be mighty, but not by his own power. He shall destroy fearfully, and shall prosper and thrive. He shall destroy the mighty, and also the set-apart people.

Approximately a century and a half later, in 175 BCE, this prophecy was fulfilled. Antiochus Epiphanies (also called Antiochus IV) rose to power in the Seleucid Empire. Not religiously tolerant at all, Antiochus Epiphanies began to commit great atrocities against the Jewish people.

In approximately 168 BCE, Antiochus heard reports that there was a great deal of treasure stored up in the Temple. Returning from Egypt, he looted the Temple, and also slaughtered a great many of the Jews.

1st Maccabees 1:20-24?20 And after that Antiochus had smitten Egypt, he returned again in the hundred forty and third year, and went up against Israel and Jerusalem with a great multitude.?21 And entered proudly into the sanctuary, and took away the golden altar, and the candlestick of light, and all the vessels thereof.?22 And the table of showbread, and the pouring vessels, and the vials, and the censers of gold, and the veil, and the crowns, and the golden ornaments that were before the Temple, all of which he pulled off.?23 He took also the silver and the gold, and the precious vessels: also he took the hidden treasures which he found.?24 And when he had taken all away, he went into his own land, having made a great massacre, and spoken very proudly.

Two years later, Antiochus sent tax collectors to speak peaceable words to the people, so as to plunder the city through deception. Then after collecting their taxes they massacred the Jewish people, and used the money to set up a fortress within sight of the Temple Mount, to kill anyone who brought an offering.

1 Maccabees 1:29-40?29 And after two years fully expired the king sent his chief collector of tribute unto the cities of Judah, who came unto Jerusalem with a great multitude,?30 and spake peaceable words unto them, but all was deceit: for when they had given him credence, he fell suddenly upon the city, and smote it very sore, and destroyed much people of Israel.?31 And when he had taken the spoils of the city, he set it on fire, and pulled down the houses and walls thereof on every side.?32 but the women and children they took captive, and possessed the cattle.?33 Then builded they the city of David with a great and strong wall, and mighty towers, and made it a strong hold for them.?34 And they put therein a sinful nation, wicked men, and fortified themselves therein.?35 They stored it also with armour and victuals, and when they had gathered together the spoils of Jerusalem, they laid them up there, and so they became a sore snare:?36 For it was a place to lie in wait against the sanctuary, and an evil adversary to Israel.?37 Thus they shed innocent blood on every side of the sanctuary, and defiled it:?38 insomuch that the inhabitants of Jerusalem fled because of them: whereupon the city was made an habitation of strangers, and became strange to those born in her; and her own children left her.?39 Her sanctuary was laid waste like a wilderness, her feasts turned into mourning, her Sabbaths into reproach, her honour into contempt.?40 As had been her glory, so was her dishonour increased, and her excellency was turned into mourning.

Antiochus encouraged everyone in his empire to convert to the Greek religious system, and issued orders for the destruction of all dissenters.

1 Maccabees 1:41-50?41 Moreover King Antiochus wrote to his whole kingdom, that all should be one people,?42 And every one should leave his laws: so all the heathen agreed according to the commandment of the king.?43 Yea, many also of the Israelites consented to his religion, and sacrificed unto idols, and profaned the Sabbath.?44 For the king had sent letters by messengers unto Jerusalem and the cities of Juda [Judea], that they should follow the strange laws of the land.?45 And forbid burnt offerings, and sacrifice, and drink offerings, in the temple; and that they should profane the Sabbaths and festival days:?46 And pollute the sanctuary and the holy people:?47 Set up altars, and groves, and chapels of idols, and sacrifice swine’s flesh, and unclean beasts:?48 That they should also leave their children uncircumcised, and make their souls abominable with all manner of uncleanness and profanation:?49 To the end they might forget the Torah, and change all the ordinances.?50 And whosoever would not do according to the commandment of the king, he should die.
Between his incentives for Greek worship and penalties for YHWH worship, Antiochus was largely successful in getting many of the people to abandon the Torah.

1 Maccabees 1:51-53?51 In the selfsame manner wrote he to his whole kingdom, and appointed overseers over all the people, commanding the cities of Juda [Judea] to sacrifice, city by city.?52 Then many of the people were gathered unto them, to wit, every one that forsook the Torah; and so they committed evils in the land;?53 And drove the Israelites into secret places, even wheresoever they could flee for succor [relief].

Having courted those who had no zeal for the Torah, and persecuting YHWH’s followers, Antiochus ordered a statue of Zeus to be erected in the Temple, and he commanded pigs to be sacrificed on the altar.

1 Maccabees 1:54-59?54 Now the fifteenth day of Kislev (the ninth month), in the hundred and forty fifth year, they set up the Abomination of Desolation upon the altar, and builded idol altars throughout the cities of Judea on every side.?55 And burnt incense at the doors of their homes, and in the streets.?56 And when they had rent in pieces the books of the law which they found, they burnt them with fire.?57 And wheresoever was found with any the book of the testament, or if any consented to the law, the king’s commandment was, that they should be put to death.?58 Thus they did by their authority unto the Israelites every month, to as many as were found in the cities.?59 Now on the five and twentieth day of the month they did sacrifice upon the idol altar, which was upon the altar of [Elohim].

The situation soon became very desperate. Mothers who circumcised their children were put to death, along with their children.

1 Maccabees 1:60-63?60 At which time according to the commandment they put to death certain women, that had caused their children to be circumcised.?61 They hanged the infants about their necks, and rifled their houses, and slew them that had circumcised them.?62 Howbeit many in Israel were fully resolved and confirmed in themselves not to eat any unclean thing.?63 Wherefore they chose rather to die, that they might not be defiled with meats, and that they might not profane the holy covenant: so then they died.

Mattithyahu ben Yochanan HaCohen and his five sons rebelled against Antiochus. Although Mattithyahu died a year later (from natural causes), his son Yehudah (Judah) continued to lead the Jewish rebellion with amazing bravery. Vastly outnumbered, the Jews placed their trust in YHWH, and YHWH gave them a miraculous victory against otherwise impossible odds. As a result, Yehudah and family became known as the ‘Maccabees’ (??????? ?). This might be related to the Aramaic word for ‘hammer’, or it may be an acronym for the Jewish battle cry, “Mi Kamocha B’elim, YHWH” (who is like You among the elohim, YHWH?) (??????? ?). Either way, after the Maccabeean victory they needed to build a new altar to replace the one that had become defiled; and they also needed to re-light the Menorah, which YHWH commands to burn continually.????????

Vayiqra (Leviticus) 24:1-2?24:1 Then YHWH spoke to Moshe, saying: ?2 “Command the children of Israel that they bring to you pure oil of pressed olives for the light, to make the lamps burn continually.

Traditionally, it takes eight days to press and refine oil for the Menorah. While the Talmud tells us there was plenty of oil inside the Temple, it claims Antiochus’ forces had defiled most of it, such that there was only enough set-apart oil to light the Menorah for one day: yet YHWH miraculously made it burn for eight.

What is [the reason of] Hanukkah? For our Rabbis taught: On the twenty-fifth of Kislew 22 [commence] the days of Hanukkah, which are eight on which a lamentation for the dead and fasting are forbidden. 23 For when the Greeks entered the Temple, they defiled all the oils therein, and when the Hasmonean [Maccabean] dynasty prevailed against and defeated them, they made search and found only one cruse of oil which lay with the seal of the High Priest, 24 but which contained sufficient for one day’s lighting only; yet a miracle was wrought therein and they lit [the lamp] therewith for eight days. The following year these [days] were appointed a Festival with [the recital of] Hallel 25 and thanksgiving.26?[Babylonian Talmud, Tractate Shabbat, Chapter 21]
YHWH certainly has the power to make miracles, but the Talmud (written 400-700 years after the war) claims that this alleged miracle is the reason for Hanukkah; yet this alleged miracle is not recorded in the Book of Maccabees (which was written soon after the war). Rather, First Maccabees says only that the Jews cleaned up the Temple, built a new altar, and re-lit the menorah. No eight-day miracle of burning is recorded.

1 Maccabees 4:47-51?47 Then they took whole stones according to the Torah, and built a new altar according to the former,?48 And made up the sanctuary, and the things that were within the Temple, and set the courts apart.?49 They made also new set-apart vessels, and into the temple they brought the candlestick (Menorah), and the altar of burnt offerings, and of incense, and the table.?50 And upon the altar they burned incense, and the lamps that were upon the candlestick they lighted, that they might give light in the Temple.?51 Furthermore they set the loaves upon the table, and spread out the veils, and finished all the works which they had begun to make.

Had one day’s worth of oil really burned for eight days, it seems likely First Maccabees would have recorded it. Instead, First Maccabees tells us only that the re-dedication ceremony (??????????? ??, Hanukkah) lasted for eight days; and that Yehudah Maccabee commanded the people to keep this festival each year.????

1 Maccabees 4:56-59 ?56 And so they kept the dedication of the altar eight days, and offered burnt offerings with gladness, and sacrificed the sacrifice of deliverance and praise.?57 They decked also the forefront of the Temple with crowns of gold, and with shields, and the gates and the chambers they renewed, and hanged doors upon them.?58 Thus was there very great gladness among the people, for that the reproach of the heathen was put away.?59 Moreover Yehudah and his brethren and the whole congregation of Israel ordained that the days of dedication of the altar should be kept in their season from year to year by the space of eight days, from the twenty-fifth day of Kislev, with mirth and gladness.

Because the record in Talmud is not always reliable, and because the alleged miracle of the oil is not recorded in First Maccabees, some scholars believe the reason Hanukkah was established as an eight day festival was simply because the Jews had been unable to keep the Feast of Sukkot in its proper time (because of the war). Thus it may have been that when the war ended, the Jews simply celebrated a belated eight day festival to YHWH; and then they commanded that it be observed as a festival unto YHWH forever, much like the Fourth of July is celebrated in America.

What shall we say about man-made observances, such as Hanukkah and Purim? As with Christmas and Easter, the first thing we should admit is that these festival days are not commanded by YHWH: they are commanded by men. Yet YHWH warns us very clearly not to add anything to His Instructions, so that we might live, and be preserved in safety.

Devarim (Deuteronomy) 4:1-4?1 “Now, O Israel, listen to the statutes and the judgments which I teach you to observe, that you may live, and go in and possess the land which YHWH Elohim of your fathers is giving you. ?2 You shall not add to the word which I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of YHWH your Elohim which I command you. ?3 Your eyes have seen what YHWH did at Baal Peor; for YHWH your Elohim has destroyed from among you all the men who followed Baal of Peor. ?4 But you who held fast to YHWH your Elohim are alive today, every one of you.”

The second thing we should recognize is that, as we saw earlier in this study, whoever’s calendar we keep, that is essentially whom we worship (worth-ship). The reason we keep anyone’s calendar is because we consider that person worthy to instruct us, as to what we should do. Yet YHWH is clear that we are not to follow man’s instructions, but that we must only follow His Instructions. He tells us cery plainly not to add to His Instructions: yet Hanukkah does this very thing.

It is clear that YHWH did not instruct us to keep either Hanukkah or Purim: men did. Yet since YHWH tells us to be careful not to add anything to His Instructions, then at least in one sense, if we keep Hanukkah or Purim, are we not being disobedient to His will? And might we not even be unwittingly guilty of esteeming these men as ‘greater’ than YHWH, since we are following their instructions, rather than YHWH’s?

For a variety of reasons, Scripture indicates that men want to make up make their own festival days; but that this is never pleasing to YHWH, even when these festival days are purposed and intended to honor Him.

Shemote (Exodus) 32:5-6?5 So when Aharon saw it (the golden calf), he built an altar before it. And Aharon made a proclamation and said, “Tomorrow is a feast to YHWH!” ?6 Then they rose early on the next day, offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.

Winter light festivals are common among the pagan nations; and many of these festivals have been brought inside the Church (complete with candles). These include Advent (four weeks before Christmas), Saint Nicholas’ Day (December 6th), Saint Lucia day (December 13th), the Winter Solstice and the Yule Log lighting. Pagan light festivals also include Samhain, Imbolc, and many others. Yet while it seems natural for men to want to celebrate light in the darkness of winter, YHWH tells us not to add any of these pagan light festivals to His calendar.

Devarim (Deuteronomy) 12:29-32?29 “When YHWH your Elohim cuts off from before you the nations which you go to dispossess, and you displace them and dwell in their land, ?30 take heed to yourself that you are not ensnared to follow them, after they are destroyed from before you, and that you do not inquire after their gods, saying, ‘How did these nations serve their elohim (g-ds)? I also will do likewise.’ ?31 You shall not worship YHWH your Elohim in that way; for every abomination to YHWH which He hates they have done to their elohim (g-ds); for they burn even their sons and daughters in the fire to their elohim.?32 “Whatever I command you, be careful to observe it; you shall not add to it nor take away from it.”

YHWH indeed gave a miraculous victory to the Jews in their war against Antiochus Epiphanies and the Seleucids, and nothing can ever take away from that. Yet there have been many other miraculous victories in Israel’s history, such as when YHWH felled the wall at Jericho (Joshua 6), Gideon’s miraculous victory over the Midianites (Judges 7), Shimshon’s (Samson’s) slaying of the Philistines (Judges 16), and many other miraculous victories. However, we do not add festival days to YHWH’s calendar because of these other miracles; so why should we add to YHWH’s calendar because He gave a victory against Antiochus Epiphanies or because of an alleged miracle with oil?

There is a counter-argument for Hanukkah. Those who advocate celebrating Hanukkah note that Yeshua was in Jerusalem at Hanukkah time, here called the Feast of Dedication.

Yochanan (John) 10:22-23?22 Now it was the Feast of Dedication in Jerusalem, and it was winter. ?23 And Yeshua walked in the temple, in Solomon’s porch.
However, we should be careful to note that it does not say Yeshua was celebrating the Feast of Dedication: it simply states that He was in Jerusalem at that time, probably because He had stayed on in Jerusalem after Sukkot. This is not the same thing as celebrating it, or going up to Jerusalem for Hanukkah. He might well have been there for other reasons.

Those who advocate Hanukkah tell us that Hanukkah is traditionally celebrated by lighting candles, oil lamps, or other lights; and that it was during this same general time frame (during the Feast of Hanukkah) that Yeshua told us that He was the light of the world.

Yochanan (John) 8:12?12 Then Yeshua spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”

Yeshua also says the same thing in John Chapter 9.

Yochanan (John) 9:5?5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”

Yet neither of these passages prove that Yeshua either celebrated, or approved of Hanukkah. We might easily imagine Yeshua telling those who went up for the festival to look to Him, rather than to the Hanukkiah.

Interpretation:?Then Yeshua spoke to them again, saying, “The Hanukkiah is not the light of the world, so why do you look to it? I am the light of the world (not the Hanukkiah)! He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life!”

We might compare this with His words to the Woman at the Well, where Yeshua told her that He could give her Living Waters: yet the purpose was not to celebrate the waters or the well, but Him.

Yochanan (John) 4:13-14?13 Yeshua answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, ?14 but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.”

We might also imagine Yeshua’s words this way:
Interpretation:?“You are celebrating a Winter Light Festival: but why do you do that? For as long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world! So why do you focus on the light from a Hanukkiah?”

There is an argument which suggests that Yeshua may have been conceived during Hanukkah; and yet we should note that this argument does not prove that Yeshua was conceived during Hanukkah. Further, even if it did prove it, this still does not provide us with justification for adding to YHWH’s calendar. The basic rule is that we human beings are not worthy to add or subtract from the Almighty’s Instructions. We are not wise enough, and we are not authorized: yet we human beings seem to want to do this, time and again.

While we will not list the whole citation here, First Chronicles 24:7-19 tells us that the Levitical priesthood was separated into twenty-four divisions, and that their schedule of service was then chosen by lot.

Divre HaYamim Aleph (1st Chronicles) 24:1a, 3, 5-19?1 Now these are the divisions of the sons of Aaron….?3 Then David with Zadok of the sons of Eleazar, and Ahimelech of the sons of Ithamar, divided them according to the schedule of their service….?5 Thus they were divided by lot, one group as another, for there were officials of the sanctuary and officials of the house of Elohim, from the sons of Eleazar and from the sons of Ithamar.

In Antiquities 7, Josephus tells us that each division served for a period of one week.

365 He divided them also into courses: and when he had separated the priests from them, he found of these priests twenty-four courses, sixteen of the house of Eleazar, and eight of that of Ithamar; and he ordained that one course should minister to [Elohim] eight days, from Sabbath to Sabbath.?366 And thus were the courses distributed by lot, in the presence of David, and Zadok and Abiathar the high priests, and of all the rulers: and that course which came up first was written down as the first, and accordingly the second, and so on to the twenty-fourth; and this partition has remained to this day.?[Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews 7:365-366 (Alt: VII 14:7)]

Those wishing to verify Josephus’ summation from Scripture alone should reference 1st Chronicles 9:1-26, 1st Chronicles 28:11-14 and 2nd Chronicles 23:1-8. However, since Josephus’ summation is so much shorter and more compact, we will not reproduce all of these passages here.
Luke tells us that Yochanan HaMatbil’s (John the Baptist’s) father Zechariah was of the priestly division of Aviyah (Abijah).

Luqa (Luke) 1:5?5 There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the division of Aviyah. His wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elisheva.

We know from 1st Chronicles 24:10 that the division of Aviyah served in the eighth week.

Divre HaYamim (1 Chronicles) 24:7-10?7 Now the first lot fell to Yehoiariv, the second to Yedaiah, ?8 the third to Harim, the fourth to Seorim, ?9 the fifth to Malchiyah, the sixth to Miyamin, ?10 the seventh to Hakkoz, the eighth to Aviyah….

Since the priestly courses began at the Head of the Year, and since the priests served from Sabbath to Sabbath, and since Zechariah belonged to the eighth priestly division, Zechariah would have served in the Temple from the eighth week of the year, to the ninth. However, since all the priests served in the Temple during the three annual pilgrimage festivals, and since Shavuot (Pentecost) was in the ninth week, Zechariah would not have gone home right away, but would have stayed at the Temple, returning home after Shavuot was over. Luke 1:23-24 confirms this, and it tells us that Zechariah’s wife Elisheva (Elisabeth) conceived after Zechariah had returned home.

Luqa (Luke) 1:8-25?8 So it was, that while he was serving as priest before Elohim in the order of his division, ?9 according to the custom of the priesthood, his lot fell to burn incense when he went into the Temple of YHWH. ?10 And the whole multitude of the people was praying outside at the hour of incense. ?11 Then a messenger of YHWH appeared to him, standing on the right side of the altar of incense. ?12 And when Zechariah saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him. ?13 But the messenger said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer is heard; and your wife Elisheva will bear you a son, and you shall call his name Yochanan. ?14 And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth. ?15 For he will be great in the sight of YHWH, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink. He will also be filled with the Set apart Spirit, even from his mother’s womb. 16 And he will turn many of the children of Israel to YHWH their Elohim. ?17 He will also go before Him in the spirit and power of Eliyahu, ‘to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children,’ and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready a people prepared for YHWH.” ?18 And Zechariah said to the messenger, “How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is well advanced in years.” ?19 And the messenger answered and said to him, “I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of Elohim, and was sent to speak to you and bring you these glad tidings. ?20 But behold, you will be mute and not able to speak until the day these things take place, because you did not believe my words which will be fulfilled in their own time.” ?21 And the people waited for Zechariah, and marveled that he lingered so long in the temple. ?22 But when he came out, he could not speak to them; and they perceived that he had seen a vision in the temple, for he beckoned to them and remained speechless. ?23 So it was, as soon as the days of his service were completed, that he departed to his own house. ?24 Now after those days his wife Elizabeth conceived; and she hid herself five months, saying, ?25 “Thus YHWH has dealt with me, in the days when He looked on me, to take away my reproach among people.”

It would have taken Zechariah some time to get home, so if we add nine months to the date of Yochanan’s conception (perhaps in the middle of the third month), we can see that Yochanan would likely have been born in the spring, right around the Passover time frame (in the middle of the first month). [Those who obey the rabbinical rituals may find this more than a coincidence, since one of the rabbinical rituals is to set a special place setting for Eliyahu (Elijah), who Yochanan came in the power and the spirit of.]

Continuing onward, verse 36 tells us that Gabriel spoke with Miriam during the sixth month of Elisheva’s term.

Luqa (Luke) 1:26-38?26 Now in the sixth month the messenger Gabriel was sent by Elohim to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, ?27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Yosef, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Miriam. ?28 And having come in, the messenger said to her, “Rejoice, highly favored one, YHWH is with you; blessed are you among women!” ?29 But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was. ?30 Then the messenger said to her, “Do not be afraid, Miriam, for you have found favor with Elohim. ?31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Yeshua. ?32 He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and YHWH Elohim will give Him the throne of His father David. ?33 And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.” ?34 Then Miriam said to the messenger, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?” ?35 And the messenger answered and said to her, “The Set apart Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Set apart One who is to be born will be called the Son of Elohim. ?36 Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren.?37 For with Elohim nothing will be impossible.” ?38 Then Miriam said, “Behold the maidservant of YHWH! Let it be to me according to your word.” And the messenger departed from her.

Continuing onward, verse 39 tells us that Miriam left Nazareth ‘with haste’ to go visit Elisheva. We can surmise that Miriam was already pregnant at that time because Elisheva, filled with the Set-apart Spirit, blessed the fruit of Miriam’s womb (i.e., Yeshua).

Luqa (Luke) 1:39-45?39 Now Miriam arose in those days and went into the hill country with haste, to a city of Judah, ?40 and entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elisheva. ?41 And it happened, when Elisheva heard the greeting of Miriam, that the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisheva was filled with the Set-apart Spirit. ?42 Then she spoke out with a loud voice and said, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! ?43 But why is this granted to me, that the mother of my Master should come to me? ?44 For indeed, as soon as the voice of your greeting sounded in my ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. ?45 Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from YHWH.”

Even though Miriam left ‘with haste’, back in the days of transportation on foot and by camel, it would still have taken her some time to travel from Nazareth in the north, to Judea in the south. Thus, even though Yochanan HaMatbil was probably conceived about the middle of the third month, Yeshua was likely conceived around the end of the ninth month. Some argue that this may have been about the same time as Hanukkah begins, more-or-less the 25th day of the 9th month. Thus it can be argued that YHWH used Hanukkah to give us yet one more prophetic shadow picture of the One who would become the Light of the world; yet we should be clear that this is by no means proven: and even if it were, it still does not give us justification to add to the Almighty’s Instructions.

Why do we keep Hanukkah? The rabbis teach that it is because there was an eight-day miracle of oil that the Book of First Maccabees does not witness to.
What is [the reason of] Hanukkah? For our Rabbis taught: On the twenty-fifth of Kislew 22 [commence] the days of Hanukkah, which are eight on which a lamentation for the dead and fasting are forbidden. 23 For when the Greeks entered the Temple, they defiled all the oils therein, and when the Hasmonean [Maccabean] dynasty prevailed against and defeated them, they made search and found only one cruse of oil which lay with the seal of the High Priest, 24 but which contained sufficient for one day’s lighting only; yet a miracle was wrought therein and they lit [the lamp] therewith for eight days. The following year these [days] were appointed a Festival with [the recital of] Hallel 25 and thanksgiving.26?[Babylonian Talmud, Tractate Shabbat, Chapter 21]

In contrast, the Book of First Maccabees tells us that it is because Judah Maccabee and his brethren told us to do so.

1 Maccabees 4:59?59 Moreover Yehudah and his brethren and the whole congregation of Israel ordained that the days of dedication of the altar should be kept in their season from year to year by the space of eight days, from the twenty-fifth day of Kislev, with mirth and gladness.

Yet as much as we might want to respect the person of Judah Maccabee and the other war heroes to whom YHWH gave such a great victory, it would be a mistake to value and esteem their word over the Instructions of the One who gave the victory.

Norman B. Willis Lead apostle, Nazarene Israel
Re-establishing the original faith of the apostles


Triennial Torah Cycle

We continue this weekend with our regular Triennial Torah Reading

Num 29       Micah 1-3       Eccl 8-10      1 Cor. 10


Daily, Sabbath, Monthly and Festival Offerings (Numbers 28; Numbers 29)

Chapters 28 and 29 provide a review of laws regarding offerings to be made each day, on the Sabbath, on the new moon (the first day of the month), and during God’s Feasts. Frequent repetition is a tool God uses often to emphasize important features of His laws.
In reading about the various offerings mentioned here, consider that we must demonstrate to God our devotion to Him every single day of our lives. But there are special occasions He has appointed for us to go beyond our normal devotion in spending more time reflecting on His will and more time honoring and serving Him.


Micah 1-3

Introduction to Micah (Micah 1)

During Jotham’s days, God sent yet another prophet in addition to Hosea and Isaiah. Micah, who prophesied during the days of Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, seems to have preached in Judah as well, but his message involves the northern kingdom more directly than Isaiah’s work did (compare Micah 1:1). And unlike Isaiah, who apparently grew up with connections to royalty, Micah grew up far from the court life of Jerusalem—in the rural village of Moresheth Gath (verses 1, 14), also known as Maresha (verse 15), in the Judean lowlands near Philistia.

Nevertheless, many of his themes, actions and examples echo those of Isaiah. Compare, for example, Micah 1:8 with Isaiah 20:2-4—and Micah 1:9 with Isaiah 1:5-6. Micah also gives important details about the coming Messiah, as Isaiah did. And Micah 4:1-5 is nearly identical to Isaiah 2:1-4. Whether Micah borrowed this passage from Isaiah or vice versa, or both of them wrote it independently of the other, one thing is certain: God inspired both of them in any case.


Micah Announces Judgment (Micah 1)

Micah announces that judgment is swiftly bearing down on Samaria, the capital of Israel. Yet this is not addressed to Israel directly. Rather, the prophecy is to all the peoples of the earth (1:2). They are to observe the punishment that is coming on God’s people. This is to serve as a warning that a holy God will not let sin go unpunished. Even believers today must heed this warning. As the apostle Paul wrote in Romans 11:19-22: “You will say then, ‘Branches were broken off [i.e., physical Israelites were rejected from being God’s chosen people] that I might be grafted in.’ Well said. Because of unbelief [and resultant disobedience, compare Hebrews 3:18-19] they were broken off, and you stand by faith. Do not be haughty, but fear. For if God did not spare the natural branches, He may not spare you either. Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off.”

Of course, God always acts in love, even when He has to use a heavy hand. He enhances the natural negative consequences of sinful action to bring home the realization that people hurt themselves and others by their wrongdoing. His motive is to stir people to repent—that is, to change the way they live, in order that they might receive His full benefits. But let us not allow this realization to minimize the terrible punishment coming on the descendants of Israel—which will indeed be unimaginably severe, as this is what will be required to bring them to repentance. And this is to be an example to all nations.

Certainly, the people of Judah should have awakened to the impending danger, which was also a threat to them (Micah 1:9). As The Nelson Study Bible notes: “With skillfully written wordplays on the names of Judah’s cities, Micah prophesied of the coming destruction of Judah (1:3-16). He turned around the meaning of a number of town names as a way of describing the world being turned upside down. Shapir, meaning ‘Beautiful,” would be shamed (1:11); and Jerusalem, a name suggesting ‘Peace,’ would be disrupted (1:12). Lachish, a name sounding like the Hebrew word for swift steeds, would flee on its horses. All the agitation was caused by God’s judgment on Judah for worshiping other gods on the high places. In fact, idolatry was so rampant that Micah describes Jerusalem and Samaria, the capital cities of Judah and Israel, as high places themselves (1:5)” (“Geographical Puns in Micah,” 1997, p. 1503).

We will read the rest of Micah in harmony with the Kings and Chronicles accounts of the reign of Jotham’s grandson, King Hezekiah.

Micah Speaks Out (Micah 2)

Micah’s prophecies continued during the days of Ahaz and on into the reign of Hezekiah (Micah 1:1). Sadly, even during Hezekiah’s righteous reign, Judah had devolved into serious corruption.

“Imagine a society that allows powerful citizens to seize property and land whenever they want, especially from those who are too weak or poor to defend themselves. That was happening in Micah’s day. The wealthy and powerful of Judah were grabbing real estate that belonged to others, by force if necessary (Mic 2.2; 3.10). The prophet condemned this practice, which amounted to robbery and murder. But the leaders of the country allowed it to go unchecked. In fact, they not only denied justice to the poor, but as good as skinned them alive in order to enrich themselves (3.1-3; compare Pr 22.16).

“In seizing the lands of their countrymen, the powerful businesspeople of Judah were violating key principles of the Law. They were openly breaking the Ten Commandments (Ex 20.13, 15, 17), the law forbidding permanent sale of land (Lv 25.23-28), and the law against changing landmarks (Dt 19.14). The Lord promised retribution in kind by allowing foreigners to seize the lands of Judah (Mic 2.4, 5)” (“Illegal Search and Seizure,” Word in Life Bible, sidebar on 2:2).

But the people don’t want to hear what Micah has to say. Notice the paraphrase in the Contemporary English Version: “‘Enough of your preaching!’ That’s what you tell me. ‘We won’t be disgraced, so stop preaching!’… Get out of here you crooks! You’ll find no rest here. You’re not fit to belong to the LORD’s people, and you will be destroyed.’ The only prophet you want is a liar who will say, ‘Drink and get drunk!'” (verses 6, 10-11).

The wrongdoing and evil attitudes of the people described in this chapter could well apply to people today—and so can the warnings. Indeed, it seems they do, for God addresses all Israel in verse 12. But here the message takes a positive turn. God says He will eventually assemble all of Israel from all the lands to which they have been scattered—a humbled remnant left after the great destruction that is coming—to at last walk uprightly in His ways. The message of God is ever one of hope. Despite the wrongdoing of man and the punishment he heaps upon himself, God is merciful beyond all imagination. And He will save His people yet.

Ecclesiates 8-10 (

None of the rich, the powerful, the honourable, or the accomplished of the sons of men, are so excellent, useful, or happy, as the wise man. Who else can interpret the words of God, or teach aright from his truths and dispensations? What madness must it be for weak and dependent creatures to rebel against the Almighty! What numbers form wrong judgments, and bring misery on themselves, in this life and that to come!

God has, in wisdom, kept away from us the knowledge of future events, that we may be always ready for changes. We must all die, no flight or hiding-place can save us, nor are there any weapons of effectual resistance. Ninety thousand die every day, upwards of sixty every minute, and one every moment. How solemn the thought! Oh that men were wise, that they understood these things, that they would consider their latter end! The believer alone is prepared to meet the solemn summons. Wickedness, by which men often escape human justice, cannot secure from death.

Solomon observed, that many a time one man rules over another to his hurt, and that prosperity hardens them in their wickedness. Sinners herein deceive themselves. Vengeance comes slowly, but it comes surely. A good man’s days have some substance; he lives to a good purpose: a wicked man’s days are all as a shadow, empty and worthless. Let us pray that we may view eternal things as near, real, and all-important.

Faith alone can establish the heart in this mixed scene, where the righteous often suffer, and the wicked prosper. Solomon commended joy, and holy security of mind, arising from confidence in God, because a man has no better thing under the sun, though a good man has much better things above the sun, than soberly and thankfully to use the things of this life according to his rank. He would not have us try to give a reason for what God does. But, leaving the Lord to clear up all difficulties in his own time, we may cheerfully enjoy the comforts, and bear up under the trials of life; while peace of conscience and joy in the Holy Ghost will abide in us through all outward changes, and when flesh and heart shall fail.


Chapter 9

We are not to think our searching into the word or works of God useless, because we cannot explain all difficulties. We may learn many things good for ourselves and useful to others. But man cannot always decide who are objects of God’s special love, or under his wrath; and God will certainly put a difference between the precious and the vile, in the other world. The difference as to present happiness, arises from the inward supports and consolations the righteous enjoy, and the benefit they derive from varied trials and mercies. As far as the sons of men are left to themselves, their hearts are full of evil; and prosperity in sin, causes them even to set God at defiance by daring wickedness. Though, on this side death, the righteous and the wicked may often seem to fare alike, on the other side there will be a vast difference between them.

The most despicable living man’s state, is preferable to that of the most noble who have died impenitent. Solomon exhorts the wise and pious to cheerful confidence in God, whatever their condition in life. The meanest morsel, coming from their Father’s love, in answer to prayer, will have a peculiar relish. Not that we may set our hearts upon the delights of sense, but what God has given us we may use with wisdom. The joy here described, is the gladness of heart that springs from a sense of the Divine favour. This is the world of service, that to come is the world of recompence. All in their stations, may find some work to do. And above all, sinners have the salvation of their souls to seek after, believers have to prove their faith, adorn the gospel, glorify God, and serve their generation.

Men’s success seldom equals their expectations. We must use means, but not trust to them: if we succeed, we must give God the praise; if crossed, we must submit to his will. Those who put off the great concerns of their souls, are caught in Satan’s net, which he baits with some worldly object, for which they reject or neglect the gospel, and go on in sin till they suddenly fall into destruction.

A man may, by his wisdom, bring to pass that which he could never do by his strength. If God be for us, who can be against us, or stand before us? Solomon observes the power of wisdom, though it may labour under outward disadvantages. How forcible are right words! But wise and good men must often content themselves with the satisfaction of having done good, or, at least, endeavoured to do it, when they cannot do the good they would, nor have the praise they should. How many of the good gifts, both of nature and Providence, does one sinner destroy and make waste! He who destroys his own soul destroys much good. One sinner may draw many into his destroying ways. See who are the friends and enemies of a kingdom or a family, if one saint does much good, and one sinner destroys much good.

Chapter 10

Those especially who make a profession of religion, should keep from all appearances of evil. A wise man has great advantage over a fool, who is always at a loss when he has anything to do. Sin is the reproach of sinners, wherever they go, and shows their folly.

Solomon appears to caution men not to seek redress in a hasty manner, nor to yield to pride and revenge. Do not, in a passion, quit thy post of duty; wait awhile, and thou wilt find that yielding pacifies great offences. Men are not preferred according to their merit. And those are often most forward to offer help, who are least aware of the difficulties, or the consequences. The same remark is applied to the church, or the body of Christ, that all the members should have the same care one for another.

There is a practice in the East, of charming serpents by music. The babbler’s tongue is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison; and contradiction only makes it the more violent. We must find the way to keep him gentle. But by rash, unprincipled, or slanderous talk, he brings open or secret vengeance upon himself. Would we duly consider our own ignorance as to future events, it would cut off many idle words which we foolishly multiply. Fools toil a great deal to no purpose. They do not understand the plainest things, such as the entrance into a great city. But it is the excellency of the way to the heavenly city, that it is a high-way, in which the simplest wayfaring men shall not err, Isaiah 25:8. But sinful folly makes men miss that only way to happiness.

The happiness of a land depends on the character of its rulers. The people cannot be happy when their princes are childish, and lovers of pleasure. Slothfulness is of ill consequence both to private and public affairs. Money, of itself, will neither feed nor clothe, though it answers the occasions of this present life, as what is to be had, may generally be had for money. But the soul, as it is not redeemed, so it is not maintained with corruptible things, as silver and gold. God sees what men do, and hears what they say in secret; and, when he pleases, brings it to light by strange and unsuspected ways. If there be hazard in secret thoughts and whispers against earthly rulers, what must be the peril from every deed, word, or thought of rebellion against the King of kings, and Lord of lords! He seeth in secret. His ear is ever open. Sinner! curse not THIS KING in thy inmost thought. Your curses cannot affect Him; but his curse, coming down upon you, will sink you to the lowest hell.


1 Corinthians 10

Chapter Contents
The great privileges, and yet terrible overthrow of the Israelites in the wilderness. (1-5) Cautions against all idolatrous, and other sinful practices. (6-14) The partaking in idolatry cannot exist with having communion with Christ. (15-22) All we do to be to the glory of God, and without offence to the consciences of others. (23-33)

To dissuade the Corinthians from communion with idolaters, and security in any sinful course, the apostle sets before them the example of the Jewish nation of old. They were, by a miracle, led through the Red Sea, where the pursuing Egyptians were drowned. It was to them a typical baptism. The manna on which they fed was a type of Christ crucified, the Bread which came down from heaven, which whoso eateth shall live for ever. Christ is the Rock on which the Christian church is built; and of the streams that issue therefrom, all believers drink, and are refreshed. It typified the sacred influences of the Holy Spirit, as given to believers through Christ. But let none presume upon their great privileges, or profession of the truth; these will not secure heavenly happiness.

Carnal desires gain strength by indulgence, therefore should be checked in their first rise. Let us fear the sins of Israel, if we would shun their plagues. And it is but just to fear, that such as tempt Christ, will be left by him in the power of the old serpent. Murmuring against God’s disposals and commands, greatly provokes him. Nothing in Scripture is written in vain; and it is our wisdom and duty to learn from it. Others have fallen, and so may we. The Christian’s security against sin is distrust of himself. God has not promised to keep us from falling, if we do not look to ourselves. To this word of caution, a word of comfort is added. Others have the like burdens, and the like temptations: what they bear up under, and break through, we may also. God is wise as well as faithful, and will make our burdens according to our strength. He knows what we can bear. He will make a way to escape; he will deliver either from the trial itself, or at least the mischief of it. We have full encouragement to flee from sin, and to be faithful to God. We cannot fall by temptation, if we cleave fast to him. Whether the world smiles or frowns, it is an enemy; but believers shall be strengthened to overcome it, with all its terrors and enticements. The fear of the Lord, put into their hearts, will be the great means of safety.

Did not the joining in the Lord’s supper show a profession of faith in Christ crucified, and of adoring gratitude to him for his salvation ? Christians, by this ordinance, and the faith therein professed, were united as the grains of wheat in one loaf of bread, or as the members in the human body, seeing they were all united to Christ, and had fellowship with him and one another. This is confirmed from the Jewish worship and customs in sacrifice. The apostle applies this to feasting with idolaters. Eating food as part of a heathen sacrifice, was worshipping the idol to whom it was made, and having fellowship or communion with it; just as he who eats the Lord’s supper, is accounted to partake in the Christian sacrifice, or as they who ate the Jewish sacrifices partook of what was offered on their altar. It was denying Christianity; for communion with Christ, and communion with devils, could never be had at once. If Christians venture into places, and join in sacrifices to the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life, they will provoke God.

There were cases wherein Christians might eat what had been offered to idols, without sin. Such as when the flesh was sold in the market as common food, for the priest to whom it had been given. But a Christian must not merely consider what is lawful, but what is expedient, and to edify others. Christianity by no means forbids the common offices of kindness, or allows uncourteous behaviour to any, however they may differ from us in religious sentiments or practices. But this is not to be understood of religious festivals, partaking in idolatrous worship. According to this advice of the apostle, Christians should take care not to use their liberty to the hurt of others, or to their own reproach. In eating and drinking, and in all we do, we should aim at the glory of God, at pleasing and honouring him. This is the great end of all religion, and directs us where express rules are wanting. A holy, peaceable, and benevolent spirit, will disarm the greatest enemies.