The House of Shammai and the House of Hillel

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: Jul 14, 2011

News Letter 5847-018
14th day of the 4th month 5847 years after the creation of Adam
The 4th Month in the Second year of the third Sabbatical Cycle
The Third Sabbatical Cycle of the 119th Jubilee Cycle
The Sabbatical Cycle of Earthquakes Famines, and Pestilences.

July 16, 2011


Shabbat Shalom Brethren,


After writing the invitation to come to this page in the email I sent you; I had a thought. Don’t we have an awesome El. Name any religion, that commands us to take 10% of our income and to spend it on ourselves once a year, no three times a year. But in the fall to take all this money you have saved and to spend it on what ever you want. No other religion does this. But Our mighty Yehovah has commanded that we do this every year. Look forward to seeing you in Jerusalem this year.

ARE YOU BEING BEREAN and Eating Meat or are you still suckling on spoon fed milk puree? This week’s News Letter seems to run on two themes. One is the house of Shammai versus the House of Hillel and this has so much more meaning to me right now than to you because of all that is going on behind the scenes.

The other theme is the fact that far too many people think they are eating meat from the scriptures when in fact they are still only eating curdled milk. They have stayed in the same place so long, the milk has turn sour and the lumps they chew on they think is meat when in fact it is just curdled milk. Only looking at a few selected scriptures from the New testament and never reading the whole bible to learn all the great things contained therein.

Let me first share with you some of the comments from the News letter a couple of weeks ago.

The first one comes from a leading SDA Minister who has been reading and arguing with much of what we have been teaching and sharing here with you. I have exerted a few sections as the whole letter is very long. I have found that the more he writes the less he really knows of his bible. And yet he even says although he has not studied into the Sabbatical and Jubilee years, I must be wrong because I am sharing things that go contrary to SDA teachings. WHAT???? You want to condemn me but will not listen to or read the teachings that explain why I am saying it!!! And many people do this.

He says;

This is one of the more ridiculous ideas you could suggest. Why would join you in building a farm in “Israel?” Don’t you realize that the “Holy Land” is NOT holy any more to God?

It is a whole lot cheaper to buy my own land right here in America and build my own garden on my own property then it would be to send you my money hope that you will not rip me off and spend it on your own self or according to how you desire to spend it. How do I know you will do just what you say? What assurance do I have that the property and farm you promise to me will be there when I need it?

The Jubilee cycle may have began in the year 2451 (I have not studied this out to check the facts) BUT that is NOT when we are told that the 70 Weeks are to begin.

The idea of building a farm is Jerusalem is ludicrous! Everybody with common sense knows that there are many other superior real-estate properties to buy for farming and growing your own crops. By the way there is not much property in Palestine that can even be productive in Jerusalem for farming, very little places that would sustain an ongoing farming industry.

You will never see a penny from me for such a far-fetched idea. It is just not sensible not to mention that to move to Jerusalem and expect to find peace is non-sense.

You are all hung up on the physical application of misunderstood prophecies to geographical land when the true application is spiritual right where each person is living now. No one need go to Jerusalem to in habit some man-made farming community. The reality is that we have a home in Heaven, “a better country” a better “city” The NEW JERUSALEM “who’s builder and make is GOD” SEE Hebrews 11;
Here is the TRUE prophecy of Abraham! It’s NOT about old Jerusalem! That spiritually desolate city abandoned long ago by the true Messiah Jesus! Please note that Abraham “looked for a city who Builder was GOD” NOT some man!

I know a number of you are sitting there with your hand over your mouth a gasped at what this Leading teacher in the SDA has said. But if any of you want to buy land in the USA and build there and wait for the Messiah then go ahead and do it. But do know this, you will see your family raped and murdered or starved to death in front of your eyes and you all will be dead before the year 2023. Over the next 19 years according to the Sabbatical cycles and those prophecies they show us, 270,000,000 Americans will die, by starvation and war and disease. Lev 26 warns you of the time soon to come where people will be eating their own family members.

Lev 26:27 ‘And if in spite of this, you do not obey Me, but walk contrary to Me, 28 then I shall walk contrary to you in wrath. And I Myself shall punish you seven times for your sins. 29 ‘And you shall eat the flesh of your sons, and eat the flesh of your daughters.

One of the reasons for the Farm in Israel is so that this does not happen; so that we will not end up eating our own flesh and blood and being cannibals. By keeping the Sabbatical year 2016-2017 in Israel we will be showing Yehovah our willingness to obey Him the same way we do the Sabbath and the Holy Days. This is the Mark of Yehovah; His Sabbaths.


In the News Last week we read about how bad things are in the dust bowl of Kansas.

And we can also look and see just how bad this drought is across the USA by going to drought map at and the first thing I see besides how severe it is, is that it covers the so called Bible Belt. The Bible Belt of the USA is in severe drought.

As the article from Kansas says “There was no dryland wheat harvested in the county this year; more than three-quarters of the county’s acres are dryland.

Farmers are selling cow-calf operations in record numbers because there is not enough feed. Newborn calves, less than a day old, are on the auction block.

Roads have been closed due to drifting sand, blocking access to gas and oil wells and causing some companies to shut the wells down temporarily.

Spring crops that are planted — corn, grain sorghum and soybeans — are done so on irrigated lands, or in the hope of collecting crop insurance.”

Read more:

One Bible belt lady even went on to say “The Good Lord hasn’t let it rain,” But will she wake up and change her actions, or does she keep praying to the same god who cannot make it rain. The one called Ba’al.

Not only have we been telling you about the threats that are already here in the USA, the drought the record breaking wild fires and record breaking tornados, but we have more news about the devastating locust munching down the crops in Russia who last year shut down all exports of grain due to the drought they suffered.

You can watch this report at

And then this week we have news of the cry for help from Somalia for food relief. The same Somalia who were so thankful when the USA brought them food back in 1992-1994. Yes these same grateful Somalians in early October 1993 made the news reports when dozens of US soldiers were killed or wounded in fierce fighting in the streets of the capital city Mogadishu. Images of dead US marines being dragged through the streets flashed across the TV screens. Thank you USA for bringing us food and saving us from Starvation. Now they cry again while their pirates are protected by the government there.

Remember this when you are asked to help those in Somalia. Let them now reap what they have earned. The same as the USA is about to do.

Yes the rest of the world loves the USA so much they have nick named them the Great Satan and Israel the little Satan.

So think on this as the food cost in the USA go up, think on this as the dust bowl increases across the Bible belt of the USA.
Think on this as the number of record breaking killing tornados increases. Think on this when the earthquakes across the USA increase in magnitude and number and the number of people killed by them take place during this current Sabbatical cycle and the news hits the TV screens.

Many of these “good” people go to church on Sunday at the First Baptist Church or maybe the Second Baptist Church and they will sing a little louder for their god to send rain. They’ve ignored the scriptures having never read them nor believed what they say;

Zec 14:18 And if the clan of Mitsrayim does not come up and enter in, then there is no rain. On them is the plague with which ???? plagues the gentiles who do not come up to observe the Festival of Booths.19 This is the punishment of Mitsrayim and the punishment of all the gentiles that do not come up to observe the Festival of Booths.

These good Baptists, these good Seventh Day Adventist’s, these good and you can put in whatever denomination you want, do not keep the Feasts or the Sabbatical years. And they have no clue why they will continue to eat dust in the so called bible belt of the USA. No clue why they reap so many tornados or floods or disasters after disasters. The so called Bible belt that does not do what the bible says to do and that is to keep the Feasts and the Sabbatical years.

Rom 8:19 For the intense longing1 of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of Elohim. Footnote: 1Lit. anxiously looking with outstretched head. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not from choice, but because of Him who subjected it, in anticipation, 21 that the creation itself also shall be delivered from the bondage to corruption into the esteemed freedom of the children of Elohim. 22 For we know that all the creation groans together, and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now.23 And not only so, but even we ourselves who have the first-fruits of the Spirit, we ourselves also groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body.

The earth Mourns; but do you know why? It is happening all around you. The tornados, the crop failures the locust infestations, but does anyone ask why? It is because you do not and will not keep the Sabbatical years to give the earth a rest.

So yes go ahead and get a place in Texas and wait for the Messiah to come and keep praying and singing a little louder to your Ba’al, the god who does not keep the Sabbath or the Holy Days or the Sabbatical years. And as you do, enjoy the dust as you eat it, and the dust as you drink; you have earned it. That is right the bible belt has earned what you are now reaping the same as Somalia has; so either keep doing the exact same thing that brought this on….. or change.

I have had many people who write and call who have a great deal to say about those things I teach here at which mostly revolves around the Sabbatical and Jubilee years and the needed understanding of them. Once this is understood then this leads me to the teachings I do based on the Sabbatical years as well as the Holy Days of Lev 23 according to the sightedmoon.

But far too many have copious amounts to say about what I write and then they say but I have not studied what you wrote about the Sabbatical and Jubilee years. Yet they have no problem condemning me.

A few weeks ago I had someone write to condemn me for promoting the Mormon Faith. He went on for about 10 pages tearing me apart. When I asked him for proof of those things he said I was saying, he could not come up with one. What he did see was an ad in WND for the book The Prophecies of Abraham and assumed it was about the book of Abraham which the Mormons publish. Even after I rebuked him for his quick judgement and told him I know nothing about this book of Mormons, he then called me a liar and that I was trying to be deceitful coming in the back door.

You all know what happens when you assume something and never check the facts, it makes an ASS of U and ME.

Be Berean Brethren in all things. Prove it with the scriptures and know for sure the truth. Do not just assume anything at all.
In my Search I found this bit of information online this week.

Proverbs 10:8
The wise in heart will receive commandments: but a prating fool shall fall.

Wise men love to be taught. They appreciate instruction. They want to be told what to do. They will listen and do what they are commanded. They are docile and obedient. But fools do not like to be governed. They would rather talk. They want you to hear their opinions. They pour out nonsense without letup. They complain and object. They babble.

Noble men are thankful for someone to teach them wisdom and truth. Luke described the Bereans as noble for their receptive hearing of Paul (Acts 17:11). Israel under Nehemiah was eager and thankful to hear the Word of God taught to them, even though it raised a commandment they had not kept in 1000 years (Neh 8:1-18). Consider their spirit!

[Take Special Note of what this man just said. Nehemiah 8:1-18 tells of the reading of the entire law at Sukkot. This was only done during a Sabbatical year. This is a commandment of Deut 31:10-13. This Sabbatical year was the 49th Year in the Jubilee cycle. It was 456 B.C., which means that 455 B.C. was a Jubilee year. In the last Sabbatical year in 2009 three other men and I did this very thing at the water gate in Jerusalem. We read the entire law out loud.]

But many fools would rather prattle and chatter about their own ideas, opinions, and experiences. A prating fool is one who talks too much, without value or profit. They use many words, maybe even eloquent or sophisticated words, but to no real or lasting value. Get away from such persons! They are going to fall, and they will take down those near them. They know nothing but that they love the sound of their own voice and words.

Measure your wisdom right now! Do you love to be taught, or would you rather teach? Do you love to listen, or would you rather talk? Are others improved and made better by your speech, or do you just fill the air with noise? Does your correspondence change lives, or is it merely a lot of bluffing hot air? Do others ask your opinion, or do you give it without others asking? Are you wise, or a prating fool? Others know. Do you know?

A prating fool may be a good typist, so you get long, profitless emails, rather than cauliflower ear from the telephone! Either way it is the prattle of a fool – lots of words saying nothing. The source is the same – a heart in love with itself, rather than a heart humbly craving to learn. Lord, save us from being, or hearing, self-loving men!

Reader, are you quick to speak? Or are you quick to hear? Do you expect others to believe and obey you? Are you quicker to believe and obey them? Here we have an important test of our character and soul. Are we wise in the sense of this proverb? If you like to talk, you are in trouble. If you value your opinions, you are in trouble.

Of course, every man thinks his own opinions are better than all others. But wisdom knows this delusion of the human mind is from hell, motivated by the devil, and from a deceitful and desperately wicked human heart (Jer 17:9). The dumbest man on earth, the one without hope of recovery, is the one conceited about his own ideas (26:12; 29:20)!

Wisdom despises our own ideas (30:1-3; I Cor 3:18-20). Wisdom cuts words in half (17:27-28; Eccl 5:2). Wisdom speaks slowly (29:20; Jas 1:19). Wisdom wants to be taught by God’s teachers – parents and pastors (1:8; 4:1-4; Mal 2:7). Wisdom only speaks when it has something valuable, right, and certain to say. Otherwise, silence is golden!

It is impossible to teach a prating fool. Before you finish a sentence or paragraph, they want to give you twenty or thirty paragraphs of their own. While you are speaking, they are antsy, preoccupied with their thoughts, and chafing to be able to speak again. These miserable wretches cannot say they are sorry or wrong, for they presume infallibility. It never registers that others do not want their opinions, for they also presume popularity.

Prating fools are as obvious as a loud siren! Listen for chatter! Look for quick opinions on every subject. You found him! You found her! Some have an answer for everything; some talk over everyone else; some do not believe in silence, ever! They are prating fools, and it is a holy privilege of wise men to ridicule and avoid them (III John 1:9-10).

Can we discover more about this enemy of sanity? They like the word, “But.” Listen for it. No matter what you say, they counter it by saying, “But.” They must get their two cents into the conversation. But after five minutes of mindless ramblings, you realize they were always bankrupt, without two cents; and you should avoid them in the future.

If there is no reflection on what you have said, but rather an immediate verbal response of their own, without much acknowledgement or submission to what you have said, you have found a prating fool! Make sure you are not one, and don’t waste any time with one.

Let’s forget the prating fools! They are going to fall, under the heavy blows of the Most High! Are you wise in heart? Dear reader, this is the question. Are you wise in heart?

Wise hearts are also very obvious. They love to receive the commandments of God and those He has put in positions of authority. Do you obey and honor your parents? Do you receive and obey their commandments? Do you love to hear preaching, so you can learn something else you should be doing to please God and men? Are you wise in heart?

A lady wrote to comment on what I had said concerning tithing. I like how she said what she said and the way she said it.

Shalom Joseph,

I had this in my document folder, but do not show where it came from…I often look at Dr Roy Blizzards sight, biblical scholars, and Jerusalem prospective, and En-gedi, articles by Lois Tverberg..I will keep looking and respond, blessings, shirley

Tithing Under Mosaic Law

Biblically, tithes are received by priests and high priests according to Hebrews 7:5 <> , the sons of Levi were commanded by God to receive tithes, the sons of Levi were appointed to be priests (Deuteronomy 18:1 <> ). This is substantiated also in the Old Testament in Numbers 18:24 <> that the Levites were supposed to receive tithes. As mentioned in Deuteronomy 18:1 <> , Levites were appointed to be priests.

The tithe is specifically mentioned in the Book of Leviticus <> , the Book of Numbers <> and also in the Book of Deuteronomy <> . These tithes were in reality more like taxes for the people of Israel and were mandatory, not optional giving. There are three specific types of tithes or taxes listed here. The first was an annual 10% tithe given to support the Levites, Numbers 18:21-28 <> who were descendants of the family of Aaron <> . They were known as the tribe of Levi <> . Because members of the tribe of Levi were assistants to Aaron, his family, and the Israelite priests and did not own or inherit a territorial patrimony <> , goods donated from the other Israeli tribes were their source of sustenance. They received from “all Israel” a tithe of food or livestock for support, but would first set aside a portion of that tithe for the Aaronic priests (tithe on a tithe). This also includes the land tithe, which is found in Leviticus 27:30-33 <> . This tithe could be redeemed, or sold for money, but required an additional 20% contribution, making the actual tithe 12% if paid in money.
The second tithe was a festival tithe that was to be brought to the city of Jerusalem <> and spent there. Deuteronomy 14:22-27 <> commanded the Israelites to spend the tithe “to buy whatever you like: cattle, sheep, wine or other fermented drink, or anything you wish.” This practice was conditioned upon the distance one lived from the house of the Lord, and was to be done if and only if it could not be brought into the house of the Lord. If it could not be brought into God’s house then the tithe was supposed to be used as stated above for a feast unto the Lord.

The third tithe was required every third year to assist the poor Deuteronomy 14:28-29 <> This year was called “the year of tithing,” Deuteronomy 26:12-14 <> . When the Israelites had completed tithing of the increase of the land, they were to give this tithe to the Levites, strangers, orphans, and widows.

All these tithes or taxes put together would consist of around 23% of a person’s income per year.

The book of Tobit <> (1:6-8) provides an example of all three classes of tithes practiced during the Babylonian <> exile:
But I alone went often to Jerusalem <> at the feasts, as it was ordained unto all the people of Israel <> by an everlasting decree, having the firstfruits <> and tenths of increase, with that which was first shorn; and them gave I at the altar to the priests the children of Aaron. The first tenth part of all increase I gave to the sons of Aaron, who ministered at Jerusalem <> : another tenth part I sold away, and went, and spent it every year at Jerusalem <> : And the third I gave unto them to whom it was meet, as Debora my father’s mother had commanded me…

About a month ago I was involved in a discussion on FB. I go there to find those Christians who are willing to learn and seek the truth. In one of the discussions a fella from Australia started to expound on the subject.

I found the way he explained things very edifying and especially as he showed the differences between the House of Shammai and the House of Hillel. These are the two schools of thought that dominated the Jewish circles in Messiah’s day. Knowing this now, I see it is still dominant in many circles even to this day.



By Rodney Baker

This article was born out of an extended “conversation” on facebook during which a number of “New Testament” scriptures were quoted in order to justify non-observance of “The Law” by non-Jewish believers. As is often the case, these scriptures were quoted out of context, as if they were written yesterday (or, at least, in our time and culture). When selected “numbered sound bites” are taken out of context and quoted this way, they can be used to support almost any doctrine one might choose to espouse.

Quoting scripture gives the teacher seeming authority and credibility; many of us simply accept uncritically what is taught in this fashion and never bother to go check out for themselves what is being said. After all, it is much easier to go to the “drive-through” at my local McChurch and get fast-food than it is to dig for the vegetables, pick the fruit, cook the meat and prepare a good, nutritious meal for myself. Or to sit in the pew and be spoon- or bottle-fed (milk, vanilla custard, maybe some fruit puree if I’m lucky). This is why some of us never reach any sort of spiritual maturity and, like little children, they’re gullible and easily led into error, because we never bother to check out for ourselves what the person behind the pulpit (or lectern) is teaching.

Well, I for one don’t want to be like that anymore. I can’t live on fast-food, baby formula or vanilla custard and fruit puree. I need bread, meat and vegetables. Good, solid food that I have to chew. Enough of the food metaphors – all this talking about food is making me hungry. How do we get to the meat of the Word?

Act 17:10 ESV – The brothers immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived they went into the Jewish synagogue. 11 – Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.

I would like to mention three technical terms that Bible scholars use that are pretty important to understand, because they go directly to the process of understanding and getting the most out of the scriptures:

a) Exegesis – literally “out of the text”. This means to determine what the text says – the literal, black-and-white reading of the text.

b) Eisegesis – literally “into the text”. This is what we do when we read the meaning into the text, in other words when we decide what the doctrine is and then read or interpret the text in such a way as to support the doctrine, rather than developing the doctrine from the text.

c) Hermeneutics – this is how we interpret the text after we have done the exegesis i.e. how does what the text says apply to us today? How does the text influence or inform our doctrine?

Some claim to be doing exegesis when in reality they’re really doing eisegesis or hermeneutics i.e. reading the meaning into the text and/or using the text out of context to support a predefined or predetermined doctrine rather than understanding first what the text actually says.

There are three major factors that we must take into account when doing exegesis – context, context and context. We must consider the linguistic and cultural context, the temporal context and the social and geo-political context in which the original texts were written and read. How would the original (and intended) audience have understood what we’re reading?

Newsflash – none of the scriptures that we read were written in English. They were written originally in Hebrew (the majority of the “Old Testament”, the Gospel of Matthew, most likely the Gospels of Mark, Luke and John, Acts, Hebrews and Revelation – although no Hebrew versions of these gospels survive, the thought patterns, phraseology and idioms are most definitely Hebrew and the audiences were Hebrew-speaking audiences), Aramaic (Daniel) or Greek (probably Paul’s letters and possibly other “New Testament” books). All of the authors of the collection of documents that form the canons of both Judaism and Christianity were Hebrews (although only in the case of the “New Testament” can it be said that they were all “Jewish”). The thought patterns, expressions and idioms are all Hebrew in nature and all throughout the gospels and apostolic writings there are references to the Hebrew scriptures (known in their entirety as the “TaNaKh” – the Torah, comprised of the first five books of Moses, the Nevi’im – the prophets – and the Ketuvim, the other writings).

If we read the scriptures as if they are “yesterday’s news” and as if they are written to our culture and our time, we are assured that we will bring meanings and interpretations to the text that were never intended by the original authors. On the other hand, when we begin trying to understand the scriptures as they would have been understood by the original audience, we sometimes find a very different picture than what the “church” has been teaching for the last 1700-odd years.

Paul’s letters are a case in point. Paul was not writing a “theological treatise” in each of his letters – they were just that. Letters! Letters to specific congregations addressing specific issues that were affecting those specific congregations at those specific places and times in history. His writing and teaching patterns were based in rabbinic tradition (as you’d expect from a Pharisee who had studied under Gamaliel, still to this day one of the most respected of the ancient rabbis of Judaism) and he was often giving either Haggadah (relating events, interpreting or giving opinions) or halakkah (rabbinic rulings, literally “walking” or how to walk) about questions of community life and the proper application (or interpretation) of scripture. What scripture? The only scripture that they had – that which formed the foundation of their faith and practice – the Tanakh (or, more specifically, the Torah).

[In the Jewish community of faith, the main difference between Haggadah (or aggadah) and halakhah is that haggadah is non-binding and represents a man’s opinion, whereas a halakhic ruling is considered to be binding on the community.]

Now, let’s have a look at some of the common passages that were the subject of the debate and see what happens when we attempt to understand them in their original context.

The first one is the well known passage in Acts 15.

[Act 15:1-33 ESV] – [1] But some men came down from Judea and were teaching the brothers, “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.” [2] And after Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and debate with them, Paul and Barnabas and some of the others were appointed to go up to Jerusalem to the apostles and the elders about this question.

To understand what is going on here, we need some background regarding the Pharisees. In the second temple period there were two great schools of learning among the Pharisees – Bet Shammai (the House of Shammai) and Bet Hillel (the House of Hillel). Shammai and Hillel were contemporaries who both led the Sanhedrin. Shammai was very strict in regards to interpretation and application of the Torah – Hillel was more liberal and flexible. Shammai had an intense dislike for gentiles and taught that gentiles had no place in the kingdom of God unless they became full converts to Judaism and kept all of the commandments of Moses, including circumcision. Hillel taught rather that the kingdom of God was for all people, and that gentiles could become part of the kingdom if they only kept the “7 Noachide Laws”.

Paul was a student of Gamliel, who was the grandson of Hillel. Yeshua also leaned towards the teaching of Hillel on many things (where Hillel was in agreement with Torah) but also agreed with Shammai on some points (such as divorce). He did not fit exactly into either school. All the disciples and apostles would have been very aware of the differences and disagreements between the two schools and would also have been very aware of where Yeshua stood in regards to the two groups.

Acts 15 is describing a dispute between Pharisees of Bet Shammai and those of Bet Hillel. Paul, being of the House of Hillel, has no problem in going to non-Jewish believers and teaching them about Yeshua, bringing them into fellowship in the Jewish community of faith in the various cities to which he traveled (Galatia being the first). Pharisees of the school of Shammai objected strongly to this and came to Galatia to try to enforce their view, probably in the hope of driving the gentiles away (because, in their view, they had no place being in the community of faith in the first place).

…[4] When they came to Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the church and the apostles and the elders, and they declared all that God had done with them. [5] But some believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees rose up and said, “It is necessary to circumcise them and to order them to keep the law of Moses.” [6] The apostles and the elders were gathered together to consider this matter.

The “party of the Pharisees” does not refer to all Pharisees – by the nature of the objection we know that these Pharisees who objected to the proselyting of the gentiles were of the school of Shammai, since the school of Hillel had no problem with the gentiles coming to faith without requiring circumcision. Now Peter, who on another occasion (which brought him into conflict with Paul) seems to have been leaning towards the teachings of Shammai, stands up to defend the gentiles.

[7] And after there had been much debate, Peter stood up and said to them, “Brothers, you know that in the early days God made a choice among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel and believe. [8] And God, who knows the heart, bore witness to them, by giving them the Holy Spirit just as he did to us, [9] and he made no distinction between us and them, having cleansed their hearts by faith. [10] Now, therefore, why are you putting God to the test by placing a yoke on the neck of the disciples that neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear? [11] But we believe that we will be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they will.” [12] And all the assembly fell silent, and they listened to Barnabas and Paul as they related what signs and wonders God had done through them among the Gentiles.

Now it is James’ turn. James (Ya’akov, the brother of Yeshua) speaks first of the “tabernacle of David”. Some have debated exactly what this refers to, and it is often used in the context of worship, but in this context I believe that Ya’akov is referring to the event spoken of by the prophets that Messiah would do, namely the regathering of the exiles of Israel from out of the nations and the reunification of Israel and Judah.

[13] After they finished speaking, James replied, “Brothers, listen to me. [14] Simeon has related how God first visited the Gentiles, to take from them a people for his name. [15] And with this the words of the prophets agree, just as it is written, [16] “‘After this I will return, and I will rebuild the tent of David that has fallen; I will rebuild its ruins, and I will restore it, [17] that the remnant of mankind may seek the Lord, and all the Gentiles who are called by my name, says the Lord, who makes these things [18] known from of old.’

In that context, then, Ya’akov makes what amounts to a halakhic ruling that specifies what will be the minimum requirements for non-Jewish believers coming to faith and coming into fellowship in the Jewish community. Some (especially Jewish) sources suggest that Ya’akov is speaking here of the “Noachide Laws” but I respectfully disagree. I don’t see any justification in Scripture for suggesting that God had a separate set of laws for the nations apart from those given to Israel. Let’s look at how Ya’akov said the new believers should be instructed;

[19] Therefore my judgment is that we should not trouble those of the Gentiles who turn to God, [20] but should write to them to abstain from the things polluted by idols, and from sexual immorality, and from what has been strangled, and from blood. [21] For from ancient generations Moses has had in every city those who proclaim him, for he is read every Sabbath in the synagogues.”

These four instructions are taken directly from the portions known as the “Heart of the Torah”. They’re found in the book of Leviticus from chapters 11 through 19. These chapters give God’s definition of what is holy, and what is not. James’ next comment is telling; “…For from ancient generations Moses has had in every city those who proclaim him, for he is read every Sabbath in the synagogues.”

In other words, the gentiles who are coming to faith in Messiah need to observe those minimum requirements (all of which had to do with pagan worship rituals which they were expected to leave behind) in order to be accepted into the community of faith and into the synagogues. Once they had become part of the community, they would then be instructed in the rest of the Torah and the application to their lives, which is a lifelong process of learning and practice (as it is for all of us).

It is important to note that no evangelizing/proselytizing took place in the synagogues – you did not become a part of the worship in the synagogue unless you had already put away your pagan lifestyle and joined yourself to YHVH.

The rest of Acts 15 describes the letter and its method of delivery to the community in Galatia. Nothing in Acts 15 in any way says that the gentiles coming to faith in YHVH and Messiah Yeshua need not keep Torah. All the instructions contained therein come directly from the book of Leviticus. The expectation appears to be that the new believers would come into the community of faith and continue to learn about the instructions for living given by Moses as they fellowship with their fellow believers.

Now let’s go back and have a look at another commonly misunderstood (but related) passage in Acts 10.

Act 10:1-8 ESV – [1] At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion of what was known as the Italian Cohort, [2] a devout man who feared God with all his household, gave alms generously to the people, and prayed continually to God. [3] About the ninth hour of the day he saw clearly in a vision an angel of God come in and say to him, “Cornelius.” [4] And he stared at him in terror and said, “What is it, Lord?” And he said to him, “Your prayers and your alms have ascended as a memorial before God. [5] And now send men to Joppa and bring one Simon who is called Peter. [6] He is lodging with one Simon, a tanner, whose house is by the sea.” [7] When the angel who spoke to him had departed, he called two of his servants and a devout soldier from among those who attended him, [8] and having related everything to them, he sent them to Joppa.

First, Cornelius. Verse 2 says he was a “devout man who feared God”. The Hebrew idiom is a “god-fearer” or a “righteous stranger”. What does this mean? The Hebrew term is ger toshav. This refers to a non-Jew who has renounced idolatry and follows the God of Israel, without having undergone circumcision (which means that they cannot take part in the Passover). Cornelius is described as one who gave alms to the people and prayed continuously to God. Judaism teaches that there are three prime obligations of a righteous person: prayer (three times per day for an observant Jew, at the times of the morning, noon and evening sacrifices if they were still being offered in the temple), the study of Torah and the giving of alms. Cornelius fulfilled all these requirements.

Remember, though, the difference of opinion between Bet Hillel and Bet Shammai? Rabbi Shammai taught that gentiles could not enter the kingdom of God unless they were circumcised and fully converted to Judaism, including living by all of the commandments of Torah and all the instruction of the rabbis. In fact, Shammai wrote a list of 18 edicts detailing what was necessary for a gentile to enter the kingdom of God.

Hillel, in contrast, taught that a ger toshav need only renounce idolatry and live according to the “7 Noachide Laws” in order to be accepted. Under Shammai’s system, Cornelius was wasting his time unless he converted fully (impossible for a Roman centurion if he wished to maintain his employment, and probably his life). According to Hillel, however, he fulfilled all of the necessary requirements for acceptance into the kingdom of God (and the community of faith).

With that, lets continue reading…

Act 10:9-16 ESV – [9] The next day, as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the housetop about the sixth hour to pray. [10] And he became hungry and wanted something to eat, but while they were preparing it, he fell into a trance [11] and saw the heavens opened and something like a great sheet descending, being let down by its four corners upon the earth. [12] In it were all kinds of animals and reptiles and birds of the air. [13] And there came a voice to him: “Rise, Peter; kill and eat.” [14] But Peter said, “By no means, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is common or unclean.” [15] And the voice came to him again a second time, “What God has made clean, do not call common.” [16] This happened three times, and the thing was taken up at once to heaven.

Warning – the following paragraph contains controversial statements that may challenge some fondly-held paradigms.
This vision has absolutely nothing to do with food (and I’m going to prove it to you). If that isn’t controversial enough, God never told Peter to eat unclean things.

Lets take this step by step. Firstly, Peter is going up to the housetop (the roof) to pray, at about the sixth hour of the day. Like all good, observant Jews, Peter prayed the Amidah – the standing prayers – 3 times per day – at the third hour (about 9am), the sixth hour (noon) and the ninth hour (about 3pm, the time when Cornelius had the vision the day before). While praying, he had a vision of a sheet with all kinds of animals and reptiles and birds of the air. I want you to carefully note that – all kinds of animals. That means that there were both clean and unclean animals all mixed together in the sheet. This is extremely important! We have to understand that clean animals are for food, and unclean animals are not food! This means that when the voice spoke to Peter and said, “Rise, Peter, kill and eat!”, Peter would never have understood this to mean that he was being instructed to eat what was not food!

An eraser is not food. An alkaline battery is not food. Put an eraser and an alkaline battery on a plate along with a biscuit and some cake, give it to someone and tell them to “eat up”. Would we expect them to attempt to eat the eraser and the battery? Of course not, because they’re not food. Neither are the unclean animals. The only things that “the voice from heaven” could have been referring to when Peter was told to “kill and eat” were the clean animals, because they were the only food in the sheet.

If that is the case, why then did Peter say, “By no means, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is common or unclean.”? What is that about? Note that Peter uses two words to describe what he has “never eaten” – common – koinos – and unclean – akathartos. What is the difference between these two words?

Let’s say that I have a flock of sheep, for instance. Sheep (along with goat and cattle) are kathartos – clean – animals. I choose the best of my flock and set it aside to take it to the temple for a sacrifice. Somehow, though, the sheep gets mixed up with some pigs and ends up in a pig pen. Oops. It is no longer acceptable as a sacrifice – it has become defiled – common – koinos. I can still slaughter it and use it for food, but I can no longer present it as a sacrifice at the temple. Akathartos, on the other hand, is the opposite of kathartos. It means unclean by definition – not food. Peter is saying, “I have never eaten anything that has become defiled through association with what is unclean, or what is unclean in itself.” By the way, a clean animal that dies of natural causes or accidental death (e.g. road kill) is also akathartos – unclean.

What does this have to do with Cornelius? Let’s keep reading.

Act 10:17-27 ESV – [17] Now while Peter was inwardly perplexed as to what the vision that he had seen might mean, behold, the men who were sent by Cornelius, having made inquiry for Simon’s house, stood at the gate [18] and called out to ask whether Simon who was called Peter was lodging there. [19] And while Peter was pondering the vision, the Spirit said to him, “Behold, three men are looking for you. [20] Rise and go down and accompany them without hesitation, for I have sent them.” [21] And Peter went down to the men and said, “I am the one you are looking for. What is the reason for your coming?” [22] And they said, “Cornelius, a centurion, an upright and God-fearing man, who is well spoken of by the whole Jewish nation, was directed by a holy angel to send for you to come to his house and to hear what you have to say.” [23] So he invited them in to be his guests. The next day he rose and went away with them, and some of the brothers from Joppa accompanied him. [24] And on the following day they entered Caesarea. Cornelius was expecting them and had called together his relatives and close friends. [25] When Peter entered, Cornelius met him and fell down at his feet and worshiped him. [26] But Peter lifted him up, saying, “Stand up; I too am a man.” [27] And as he talked with him, he went in and found many persons gathered.

Peter is perplexed by the vision. He has no idea what it means at first. Then the Spirit says to him, “There are three men downstairs – go with them.” Note that at this state Peter does not know who the men are or that they are from Cornelius. The next day though, Peter heads off with the men to go to Caesarea. The next verse tells us something very interesting about Peter.

Act 10:28-29 ESV – [28] And he said to them, “You yourselves know how unlawful it is for a Jew to associate with or to visit anyone of another nation, but God has shown me that I should not call any person common or unclean. [29] So when I was sent for, I came without objection. I ask then why you sent for me.”

What?! Unlawful according to whom? Where is it written in Torah that a Jew cannot associate with or visit anyone of another nation? Wasn’t Israel supposed to be a light unto the world? Weren’t they supposed to be priests to the whole world and teach them about God? Where did Peter get the idea that he couldn’t even associate with a non-Jew? Perhaps, from Rabbi Shammai? It seems that, unlike Paul (who was, remember, a disciple of Rabban Gamliel of Bet Hillel), Peter leant rather towards the teachings of Bet Shammai.

Now, remember that I said Peter’s vision had nothing to do with food? What does Peter say next? “God has shown me that I should not call any person common or unclean.” Did you get that? “God has shown me that I should not call any person common or unclean.”

Remember, Cornelius (according to the teachings of Bet Hillel), was a god-fearer, a righteous sojourner, a ger toshav who was doing all that was required to be accepted into the kingdom of God. He needed to learn about Messiah – that is why Peter was sent there. Why Peter and not Paul? I think that God needed to teach Peter something about the kingdom as much as Cornelius. What does being koinos or akathartos have to do with Cornelius? Remember, Cornelius was a Roman centurion, that is, a commander of a band of 100 soldiers (known as the “Italian Band”). He was associating daily with pagan gentiles. In other words, in Peter’s eyes even if he was considered a “righteous sojourner” he was becoming koinos by his association with those who were akathartos. Remember what we said about the clean animals in the sheet? God then told Peter, “What God has made clean, do not call common.” In other words, God had seen Cornelius’ heart attitude and desire to worship Him and God had made him kathartos – clean. “Saved by grace, through faith, not of works, lest any man should boast.” “Man looks on the outside, but God looks on the heart.” Peter himself interpreted the vision for us, and he finally understood (when messengers delivered the invitation from Cornelius) that it was about people not food. The story continues…

Act 10:30-35 ESV – [30] And Cornelius said, “Four days ago, about this hour, I was praying in my house at the ninth hour, and behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing [31] and said, ‘Cornelius, your prayer has been heard and your alms have been remembered before God. [32] Send therefore to Joppa and ask for Simon who is called Peter. He is lodging in the house of Simon, a tanner, by the sea.’ [33] So I sent for you at once, and you have been kind enough to come. Now therefore we are all here in the presence of God to hear all that you have been commanded by the Lord.”

Cornelius gives testimony before Peter and all the others present about his own vision and how he was instructed to call Peter to come and teach. His heart is open and ready to hear Peter’s message, as are those of all the others present. What is Peter’s response to this testimony?

[34] So Peter opened his mouth and said: “Truly I understand that God shows no partiality, [35] but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him.

That is a long way from “It is not lawful for a Jew to associate with you”. It is an even longer way from “God told Peter that the dietary laws of the Old Testament had been done away with, so he could go and eat with the gentiles”. I want you to take special note of the last part of Peter’s response: “…in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him.” What did Solomon write, 1500 or so years prior?

Ecc 12:13 ESV – [13] The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.

Fear God, do what is right. Fear God, keep his commandments. Sounds like what Cornelius was doing. Peter goes on to teach them about Messiah Yeshua…

Act 10:36-43 ESV – [36] As for the word that he sent to Israel, preaching good news of peace through Jesus Christ (he is Lord of all), [37] you yourselves know what happened throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee after the baptism that John proclaimed: [38] how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. [39] And we are witnesses of all that he did both in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree, [40] but God raised him on the third day and made him to appear, [41] not to all the people but to us who had been chosen by God as witnesses, who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. [42] And he commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one appointed by God to be judge of the living and the dead. [43] To him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”

Of course, about now you’d expect the altar call. You’d almost expect to read that, “Peter paused and asked everyone to close their eyes, and with every head bowed and every eye closed, asked anyone who recognised that they were sinners in need of salvation to raise their hands….” What? It’s not there? That’s not what happened? Peter, what were you thinking?

Act 10:44-48 ESV – [44] While Peter was still saying these things, the Holy Spirit fell on all who heard the word. [45] And the believers from among the circumcised who had come with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit was poured out even on the Gentiles. [46] For they were hearing them speaking in tongues and extolling God. Then Peter declared, [47] “Can anyone withhold water for baptizing these people, who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?” [48] And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to remain for some days.

Now, just in case we didn’t get it all the first time, Luke tells us in the very next chapter what happened when Peter next went up to Jerusalem.

Act 11:1-3 ESV – [1] Now the apostles and the brothers who were throughout Judea heard that the Gentiles also had received the word of God. [2] So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcision party criticized him, saying, [3] “You went to uncircumcised men and ate with them.”

Who was criticizing Peter? The “circumcision party”. Who where they? The ones who said that gentiles had to be circumcised to be saved. Who were they? The disciples of Bet Shammai. Now Peter recounts the vision again, and again he interprets it for us…

Act 11:4-18 ESV – [4] But Peter began and explained it to them in order: [5] “I was in the city of Joppa praying, and in a trance I saw a vision, something like a great sheet descending, being let down from heaven by its four corners, and it came down to me. [6] Looking at it closely, I observed animals and beasts of prey and reptiles and birds of the air. [7] And I heard a voice saying to me, ‘Rise, Peter; kill and eat.’ [8] But I said, ‘By no means, Lord; for nothing common or unclean has ever entered my mouth.’ [9] But the voice answered a second time from heaven, ‘What God has made clean, do not call common.’ [10] This happened three times, and all was drawn up again into heaven. [11] And behold, at that very moment three men arrived at the house in which we were, sent to me from Caesarea. [12] And the Spirit told me to go with them, making no distinction. These six brothers also accompanied me, and we entered the man’s house. [13] And he told us how he had seen the angel stand in his house and say, ‘Send to Joppa and bring Simon who is called Peter; [14] he will declare to you a message by which you will be saved, you and all your household.’ [15] As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell on them just as on us at the beginning. [16] And I remembered the word of the Lord, how he said, ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ [17] If then God gave the same gift to them as he gave to us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could stand in God’s way?” [18] When they heard these things they fell silent. And they glorified God, saying, “Then to the Gentiles also God has granted repentance that leads to life.”

These disciples of Bet Shammai, who presumably were also followers and believers in Yeshua as Messiah, recognised from Peter’s account that repentant gentiles also have a place in the olam haba – the world to come – through “repentance that leads to life”.

When put back into its proper temporal, historical and cultural context, it becomes very clear and obvious. Nothing in Acts 10 or 11 supports the idea that the dietary laws (or in fact any of the instructions given through Moses) were changed, abrogated or abolished. It is an account of God dealing with Peter and others of the persuasion that gentiles were outside of the covenant and unable to be saved without undergoing full conversion to Judaism. No-one was ever justified by keeping the Torah – ever.

From the very beginning of creation, justification and salvation has always been by grace, through faith. We learned this from Adam, from Abraham and in the book of Acts, from Cornelius. Cornelius was justified not by his righteous deeds, but by his heart attitude. By his belief in the promises of God. His righteous acts were the fruit of what was in his heart – a love for and desire to live for the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. His heart attitude enabled him to receive the message of Yeshua and His sacrifice on our behalf. He was not justified by his deeds, but because of his obedience he received the blessing from God.

I love this statement from Monte Judah that he teaches from the life of Abraham, and we see the parallels in Cornelius. This is the doctrine of salvation by faith in summary form:

? Faith is counted as righteousness
? Righteousness has kissed (is intimately associated with) justice
? Justice demands sacrifice
? Through sacrifice we receive salvation.

The sacrifice that brings salvation is, of course, that of Yeshua. You’ll notice that nowhere in that list is the word “obedience”. Isn’t that important though? Absolutely. We also learn from Abraham (and Cornelius) that obedience brings blessing – disobedience brings curses (meaning the natural consequences of disobedience to God’s instructions.)

I was asked a question recently – “Do those consequences still apply to us as Christians, after the cross?”

I answered that by pointing out that there is a big difference between the removal of guilt and removal from the consequences of our actions. Yeshua paid the price for us (the death penalty that we all deserve for breaking God’s law) and took our guilt upon himself. We are therefore legally declared, “Not Guilty” when we stand before the judge of the ages. That does not mean, however, that we will not have to live with the consequences of the choices that we (or our our ancestors) have made. Think on that for a while. That is why we can say, “Obedience brings blessing”.

We have God’s own testimony regarding Abraham (“ …because you have done this, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son, now will I bless you”). We also have this promise in Deuteronomy 30:

Deu 30:16 ESV – [16] If you obey the commandments of the LORD your God that I command you today, by loving the LORD your God, by walking in his ways, and by keeping his commandments and his statutes and his rules, then you shall live and multiply, and the LORD your God will bless you in the land that you are entering to take possession of it.

Cornelius received salvation because of his faith (believing and acting on the promises of God) and received the blessing (God’s favour on his life) because of his obedience. The same applies to us today.


Triennial Torah Cycle

We now return to our 3 1/2 year Torah studies

Ex 24     Isaiah 34-36       Ps 140-143      John 12

Ex 24

Last week I urged you to go to Rebecca at the Well Ministries. I do hope you did. This week we will quote from her site what is taking place in Exodus 24. When you understand this it is the most beautiful event that our ancestors took part in.

In a traditional betrothal, the engaged couple enters into a covenant with the signing of the ketubah. In this marriage contract are the terms of their agreement, such as the bride price and provisions the bridegroom agrees to make. It also names the wife as the heir to the estate, should he die.

This is what Moses reads to the people in verse 3.

Exo 24:3 And Moshe came and related to the people all the Words of ???? and all the right-rulings. And all the people answered with one voice and said, “All the Words which ???? has spoken we shall do.”4 And Moshe wrote down all the Words of ????, and rose up early in the morning, and built an altar at the foot of the mountain, and twelve standing columns for the twelve tribes of Yisra’?l.

It is for this reason that they have a wedding ceremony-to sanctify and bless the contract. Properly signed and witnessed, the document is given to the bride, and she is instructed to keep it with her at all times, since there can be no marital relations if it is lost or destroyed.

Moses wrote down all those things the people agreed to do with Yehovah and then read it again to them and again they all agreed. Only now they sealed the deal with blood.

Exo 24:7 And he took the Book of the Covenant and read in the hearing of the people. And they said, “All that ???? has spoken we shall do, and obey.” 8 And Moshe took the blood and sprinkled it on the people, and said, “See, the blood of the covenant which ???? has made with you concerning all these Words.”

Rich in commitment, the ketubah is read aloud for all to hear of their mutual devotion toward one another. The custom of reading the ketubah aloud is rooted in the great wedding between God and Israel, when Moses received the Torah. In Exodus 24:7 it says, “Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read it to the people. They responded, We will do everything the Lord has said; We will obey.”

The Marriage Contract

Just as a bride cherishes her beautiful ketubah for its rich promises, the Bride of Christ must cherishes her ketubah, the Torah & B’rit Hadashah (New Covenant or Testament), which is full of promises from our Bridegroom,Yeshua. If we do not keep our covenant, we will be as like the foolish, unable to enter in and consummate the marriage. For there can be no marital relations if it is lost or destroyed (not fulfilled).

Exo 24:12 And ???? said to Moshe, “Come up to Me on the mountain and be there, while I give you tablets of stone, and the Torah and the command which I have written, to teach them.”

Exo 25:16 “And into the ark you shall put the Witness which I give you.

Exo 31:18 And when He had ended speaking with him on Mount Sinai, He gave Moshe two tablets of the Witness, tablets of stone, written with the finger of Elohim.

Deu 9:9 “When I went up into the mountain to receive the tablets of stone, the tablets of the covenant which ???? made with you, then I stayed on the mountain forty days and forty nights. I did not eat bread nor did I drink water. 10 “Then ???? gave me the two tablets of stone written with the finger of Elohim, and on them were all the Words which ???? had spoken to you on the mountain from the midst of the fire in the day of the assembly. 11 “And it came to be, at the end of forty days and forty nights, that ???? gave me the two tablets of stone, the tablets of the covenant.

Exo 40:20 And he took the Witness and put it into the ark, and he put the poles through the rings of the ark, and put the lid of atonement on top of the ark,

This Torah, these ten Commandments which are now inside the ark, the mercy seat of Yehovah have to be written on our hearts. They have to become a part of us. This is what this marriage agreement is about. We do not just obey because we have to; we obey because we want to out of love.

Psa 40:8 I have delighted to do Your pleasure, O my Elohim, And Your Torah is within my heart1.”

Psa 37:31 The Torah of his Elohim is in his heart1; His steps do not slide.

Psa 119:11 I have treasured up Your word in my heart, That I might not sin against You.

Isa 51:7 “Listen to Me, you who know righteousness, a people in whose heart is My Torah: do not fear the reproach of men, nor be afraid of their reviling’s.

Heb 10:7 “Then I said, ‘See, I come – in the roll of the book it has been written concerning Me – to do Your desire, O Elohim.’ ” 8 Saying above, “Slaughter and meal offering, and burnt offerings, and offerings for sin You did not desire, nor delighted in,” which are offered according to the Torah, 9 then He said, “See, I come to do Your desire, O Elohim.” He takes away the first to establish the second. 10 By that desire we have been set apart through the offering of the body of ????? Messiah once for all.

Deu 6:6 “And these Words which I am commanding you today shall be in your heart,

Psa 40:8 I have delighted to do Your pleasure, O my Elohim, And Your Torah is within my heart1.”

This again brings us to this simple understanding. Because we love Yehovah and have agreed to this marriage and yearn for it, then when Yehshua says in John to love Him by keeping the commandments we do this out of love and respect for His authority.

Joh 14:15 “If you love Me, you shall guard My commands.1 Footnote: 1See Ex. 20:6, vv. 21&23, 1 John 5:2-3, 2 John v. 6.

We are to take this marriage contract of Exodus 24 which is written and kept in the ark, and we are to write this law on our hearts as we show our love how much we love Him and will do His bidding.

In Judaism, the prospective bridegroom pops the question by pouring a cup of wine for his beloved, then anxiously awaits her response to his proposal. If she sips from the Kiddush (sanctification) cup, she shows her willingness to enter this union by saying “yes” to his proposal. Their shared cup of wine at a Jewish betrothal ceremony called Br’it (covenant) symbolizes the sealing of their marriage covenant in blood. The betrothed couple, for all legal purposes, is married.

Exo 24:7 And he took the Book of the Covenant and read in the hearing of the people. And they said, “All that ???? has spoken we shall do, and obey.” 8 And Mosheh took the blood and sprinkled it on the people, and said, “See, the blood of the covenant which ???? has made with you concerning all these Words.”

We see Yeshua drinking from the B’rit cup with His disciples after the Passover dinner, sealing the marriage covenant with His bride. Lifting the cup with His right hand, Yeshua recites the Jewish blessing over the wine. As the True Vine speaks, He blesses the fruit of His Father’s vine and praises the Creator for His bride-His choice fruit. He continues saying, “Drink ye all of it; For this is my blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins” (Matt. 26:27-28 KJV).

In biblical times, it was customary for an Israelite to pay a mohar, or price, for his bride to her father . . . As His beloved bride, we too have been bought with a price and no longer belong to ourselves. We are His totally. Treasure the priceless gift of Yeshua’s love; Hold it close to your heart. He paid it for you!

1Co 6:19 Or do you not know that your body is the Dwelling Place of the Set-apart Spirit who is in you, which you have from Elohim, and you are not your own? 20 For you were bought with a price, therefore esteem Elohim in your body and in your spirit,1 which are of Elohim.

1Co 7:23 You were bought with a price, do not become slaves of men.

1Pe 1:18 knowing that you were redeemed from your futile way of life inherited from your fathers, not with what is corruptible, silver or gold, 19 but with the precious blood of Messiah, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, 20 foreknown, indeed, before the foundation of the world, but manifested in these last times for your sakes,

For that solemn night in the Upper Room in Jerusalem, Yeshua knew that in just a few hours He would not be lifting up a cup of wine to share with His bride, but a heavy cross that only He could bear. It was for us, His bride, that He drank this cup of suffering. And now, as only we can, we accept His marriage proposal and drink from His cup.

Prior to her wedding, the bride immerses herself in a body of living water, such as a river or lake, in a ceremonial washing as a symbol of spiritual purification. A celebration follows, where she is regaled with wine, sweets, and blessings as friends and relatives rejoice with the bride in her new marital status. She now belongs to her husband and is under his authority.

Today, New Testament believers follow a similar ritual of the mikvah in water baptism. As a proclamation of what we believe, followers of Yeshua are baptized, testifying to the inward change that has taken place. Though water immersion only cleanses the outward body, it is by our confession of faith that our hearts are cleansed and our sins are washed away. Separating ourselves from the old life, we are no longer under the authority of sin and death and subject to Satan, the father of lies, but we become a new creation, betrothed to Yeshua.


Isaiah 34-36

That chapter 34 is a prophecy of the last days is clear from the reference to the heavens being dissolved and “rolled up like a scroll,” a picture also presented in the heavenly signs of Revelation 6:13-14. Some see this terminology as descriptive of a mushroom cloud.

The prophecy concerns multinational devastation to occur during the Day of the Lord, focusing on God’s judgment against Edom (Idumea). Other prophecies against Edom can be found in Isaiah 63:1-6, Jeremiah 49:7-22, Ezekiel 25:12-14, Ezekiel 35, Amos 1:11-12, Obadiah 1-14 and Malachi 1:2-5.

The Day of the Lord is described as the time of God’s vengeance on the nations for their affliction of Zion. And God tells us that this period of final vengeance will last for a year (Isaiah 34:8). In Revelation 6:17, the heavenly signs are said to introduce the “great day of His wrath.” Following these signs in Revelation is the blowing of seven trumpets, each heralding titanic, cataclysmic world upheaval. It appears, then, that these trumpets are blown over the course of this final “year of recompense.”

The waste and destruction that will come on the land of Edom (Isaiah 34:9-15)—with its becoming a habitation for unclean animals—seems very much to parallel what will happen to Babylon (Isaiah 13:19-22; 14:22-23; Jeremiah 50:39; 51:37), wherein the wasteland of such animals is perhaps symbolic of the prison for Satan and his demons (compare Revelation 18:2). And yet end-time Babylon is evidently to be identified with Rome. Interestingly, Jewish commentaries have traditionally identified Edom with Rome, or at least the dynasty of Rome’s leaders, and with the rulers of Germany—as was noted in the Bible Reading Program comments on the book of Obadiah. The Babylonian Talmud mentions “Germamia of Edom” (Megilla 6b). Again, it is possible that there is some connection here, though, as also explained in the comments on Obadiah, it appears that Edom primarily comprises many of the Turks and Palestinians along with various other scattered Middle Eastern groups. However, we should perhaps consider the large number of Turks and other Muslim immigrants who live in Germany and other European nations today. Moreover, Turkey itself may eventually become part of the European Union, thus fusing a significant part of Edom with Babylon.

Before we move on take another look at verse 7.

Isa 34:7 And the unicorns shall come down with them, and the bullocks with the bulls; and their land shall be soaked with blood, and their dust made fat with fatness.

When you read the following about who the unicorns and the bulls are then you will understand whose land is soaked with blood.
Rashi and John Bull

Regarding the Unicorn. Joseph consisted of two tribes, Ephraim and Manasseh. The two symbols of Joseph mentioned in Scripture are the Bull or Young Bull (“BULLOCK”) and the Unicorn.


Here we have two symbols applied to Ephraim and Manasseh and since each Israelite Tribe had its own symbol we may assume that each of the two symbols belonged to one of the two tribes. In the verse above the word translated as BULLOCK (young bull or bull calf) is “SHOR” which actually means “bull” (but not necessarily “young bull”) though elsewhere Ephraim is nicknamed a “young bull”:


Here Ephraim is called a “young bull”. The word used for “young bull” (i.e. “bullock”) in Hebrew is “AEGEL”. In Ancient Hebrew the word “Aegel” could also actually have been pronounced as “angle”. Historically this very name “Aegel” was a diminutive (favorite nickname) for the ethnic term “Angle”. Together with the Saxons, Jutes, Vandals, and others the Angles conquered from the Celts the land that was later named England.

The Angles gave England (i.e. “Angle-land”) its name. The Angles were also called “Aegels”. The appellations “Angle” and “Aegel” were employed interchangeably. The Hebrew word for young bull is “Aegel”. Rashi (Rabbi Shlomo Yistchaki 1040-1105 CE) was the foremost Medieval Jewish Commentator. In commentating on this verse (Jeremiah 31;18) Rashi states that the Hebrew word “Aegel” (Young Bull) was a name applied to Ephraim. This accords with the simple meaning of the verse. This was another name applied to the English. The English now nickname themselves “John Bull”. This is an important point: the verse is strongly indicating that the English (Angles) are to be identified with Ephraim. We therefore have grounds to ascribe the bull symbol to England which leaves the unicorn sign for Manasseh. In addition it is hinted that the section of Israel represented by the horns of unicorns in the last days would be the most powerful.


The Midrash (Numbers Rabah 2;7) says that the unicorn is the symbol of Manasseh and the bull that of Ephraim. It is true that the unicorn is now part of the symbolic coat of arms of the UK but they derived it from Scotland which has two unicorns on its standard. The USA is dominated by Manasseh. The above verse is hinting that Manasseh (symbolized by the unicorn) would end up being the most powerful tribe.

Getting back to the Midrash:

The Midrash (Numbers Rabah 2;7) says that the unicorn is the symbol of Manasseh and the bull that of Ephraim. The Midrash accords with a logical understanding of Scripture. A Midrash is a Rabbinical explanation from the Talmudic era explaining Biblical verses that was accepted at the time as worth recording for future study. Just because the Midrash says something I do not expect you to. I do not accept all Midrashim. Sometimes they are difficult to understand and at times they may appear to contradict each other. Nevertheless they often contain insights to Biblical passages ands/or recall genuine traditions. The Talmud sources, Midrashim, and related sources often correspond with Brit-Am findings and to my mind this shows that we are on the right track. This especially helps where we have an interpretation of Scripture that other people (including some religious Jews) might not agree with.

Excerpt from Yair Davidiy’s “Brit-Am Now” -476

Isaiah 35 is entirely millennial—that is, descriptive of the 1,000-year reign of Jesus Christ and His saints (see Revelation 20:4-6)—and presents a contrasting picture to the desolation of chapter 34. The deserts will bloom as nature is transformed—miraculously healed. Human beings will also be healed by the miracle-working power of God.

Yet the healing will not only be external. The blind seeing, deaf hearing, lame leaping and mute singing (Isaiah 35:5-6), while literal, are also symbolic. Those who are spiritually blind will at last come to see and understand the knowledge of God. Those who are unwilling to hear God’s message will at last listen. Those who are spiritually crippled, unable to walk in God’s commandments, will at last be able to run and leap in the way of God. And those who are now silent in regard to God and His mighty works will at last praise Him and proclaim His truth.

This will be made possible by “waters bursting forth in the desert”—again literal but also spiritual, referring to the coming outpouring of the Spirit of God. The presence of God’s Spirit will work great miracles, both visible change in nature and, more importantly, transformation of the inner hearts and minds of people.

What is now the narrow and difficult path of life, which only few find (Matthew 7:14), will, in the age to come, be a broad highway that everyone will be able to follow to the Kingdom of God. The highway, too, is both literal and figurative. It is the path of return for the exiles to Zion—the physical route and the spiritual way of life that God requires.

It will be a safe road (verse 9)—on which no beast is found. Again, this is a physical and spiritual promise. As we saw in Isaiah 11,
the nature of animals will be changed. They will no longer be dangerous. And the political “Beast” powers of the earth will no longer be around to harm anyone.

It will be a time of tremendous joy—when “sorrow and sighing shall flee away” (35:10).

“The wilderness and the arid land shall rejoice.” (v 1). This very beautiful prophecy of the future glory of Israel and Jerusalem comes as the conclusion of Isaiah’s lengthy series of prophecies about the coming downfall of the nations, before leading into the narrative portion of the book telling of Sennacherib’s abortive siege of Jerusalem , his downfall and the events that followed (chs 36-39).

The present prophecy of how the “wilderness” will burst into blossom comes in contrast to the prophecy in the previous chapter (ch 34) about the utter devastation that will befall Edom in the end of days. “We may interpret the ‘wilderness’ and the ‘arid land’ as referring to the Land of Israel, which was like a wilderness from the day Israel went into exile from there, but now, with the destruction of the land of Edom, Israel will rejoice and be glad, for with the destruction of Edom, Israel will be restored” (RaDaK on v 1).

Every visitor to modern Israel is witness to the literal fulfillment of this prophecy in our times with the influx of returning Jews to the land and the subsequent transformation of the arid desert waste left after nearly two thousand years of neglect into the greatest agricultural wonder of the world.

“.the glory of the Lebanon shall be given to her” (v 2). “‘ Lebanon ‘ is the Holy Temple ” (Rashi ad loc.). [It is called Lebanon – LeV NuN – because the Temple is the manifestation of the perfect unification of Chochmah-Wisdom, which consists of 32 Pathways=LeV, together with Binah-Understanding, which consists of 50 Gateways=Nun. LeV-Nun = Lebanon .]

“Strengthen weak hands and make firm tottering knees” (v 3). The prophet calls on all the prophets of salvation to give encouragement to those who have fallen into despair of ever being redeemed. Those of “fearful” (lit. “speedy”) hearts (v 4) are those who yearn for a speedy redemption and are thus full of sorrow over its delay: they need not fear that it will not come because God – here called ELOKIM (alluding to the attribute of Justice) – will surely avenge His people and execute justice (Metzudas David ad loc.).

“Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped” (v 5). The “blind” and the “deaf” refer to Israel in the time of their exile, suffering the taunts and insults of the nations while acting as if they do not see or hear them (Metzudas David ad loc.; Rashi on v 6).

“And the parched ground shall become a pool and the thirsty land springs of water” (v 7). When one sees an arid desert, it is almost impossible to believe that it could be ever turned into a water-rich, fertile land. Yet Israel has witnessed such miracles in our times, and this should strengthen our faith that all the other promises of the prophets will be fulfilled.

“No lion shall be found there nor any ravenous beast” (v 9). These are the nations that formerly oppressed Israel (Targum ad loc.). Thus the lion alludes to Nebuchadnezzar, who destroyed the First Temple (cf. Jeremiah 4:7; see Rashi on verse 9 of our present chapter).

“And HaShem’s redeemed people shall return and come to Zion with songs and EVERLASTING JOY ON THEIR HEADS” (v 10). This is a prophecy that Israel will be restored to the spiritual level they attained at the Giving of the Torah prior to the sin of the golden calf. In the words of the Talmud: “At the moment when Israel said they ‘We shall DO and we shall HEAR’ (Exodus 24:7) – i.e. they would PRACTICE the precepts of the Torah even before they would HEAR (=UNDERSTAND) their meaning – six hundred thousand ministering angels came and attached two crowns on the head of each Israelite, one corresponding to ‘we shall do’ and the other corresponding to ‘we shall hear’. But when Israel sinned, twelve hundred thousand destroying angels descended and removed them, as it says, ‘And the children of Israel were stripped of their ornaments from Mt Horeb (Ex. 33:6). But in time to come the Holy One blessed be He will restore them to us, as it is written, ‘And HaShem’s redeemed people shall return. and EVERLASTING JOY (SIMCHAS OLAM) on their heads’ – i.e. the joy of yore that was on their heads” (Shabbos 88a).



The narrative contained in the coming chapters (36-39) about Sennacherib’s assault on Judah and his siege of Jerusalem, Hezekiah’s mortal illness and recovery and his showing all his treasures to the emissaries from Babylon appears with certain variations in II Kings chs 18-20 and also in a somewhat more abbreviated version in II Chronicles ch 32.

The miraculous delivery of Jerusalem from the clutches of Sennacherib was undoubtedly the most outstanding and dramatic event that occurred during Isaiah’s prophetic ministry. As discussed in our commentary on the earlier portions of Isaiah, years earlier he had prophesied repeatedly that this would take place. The fact that it actually did should greatly strengthen our faith that all his other prophecies and consolations about the end of days will also be fulfilled. Sennacherib’s attack was the prototype of the destined future attack on Jerusalem by the armies of Gog and Magog (see Sanhedrin 94a), and Sennacherib’s overthrow is the sign that Gog and Magog will also be overthrown.

“Sennacherib came up against all the fortified cities of Judah and captured them” (v 1). In order to appreciate the full drama of Ravshakeh’s psychological warfare against the people of Jerusalem as told in this chapter, it is necessary to realize that Sennacherib’s armies had overrun and were occupying the entire territory of Judah . Only King Hezekiah and the remnants of the population who were walled up with him in the besieged city were holding out against the Assyrian world superpower, which had already swallowed up all the other nations in the region. Moreover, Hezekiah and his party, who with the support of Isaiah were in favor of continuing their defiance, were in the minority, while Shevna and his “fifth column”, who were ready to capitulate, were in the majority (Sanhedrin 26a; see KNOW YOUR BIBLE on Isaiah ch 22). Ravshakeh himself was a living testimony to the apparent benefits of capitulation, for according to rabbinic tradition, Sennacherib’s henchman was a MOOMAR – an apostate, i.e. an Israelite who had embraced idolatry (Sanhedrin 60a).

Vv 4-10: Ravshakeh contemptuously dismisses any notion that Hezekiah can succeed in defying Sennacherib. Hezekiah’s only possible ally, Egypt , is a broken reed that merely pierces the hand of anyone who takes hold of it. And if Hezekiah thinks his campaign of religious purification in Jerusalem will elicit God’s favor, he must realize that he does not even have two thousand riders, let alone two thousand horses, to confront Sennacherib’s vast armies, which had already overrun all the rest of Judah with God’s assent.

“Please speak to your servants in the language of Aram for we understand it and do not speak to us in the Judean language in the hearing of the people that are on the wall.” Aramaic was the international diplomatic language of the time (as we find in the books of Daniel and Ezra etc.) and would have been known to the king’s courtiers but not to the general populace. Since Ravshakeh had initially called to Hezekiah’s courtiers asking them to convey a message to the king (v 4), they did not think that he was intentionally trying to sow fear among the people. They also may have hoped that Ravshakeh might accede to their request because although he was acting under orders from Sennacherib, as an apostate he may have had some residual feelings in his heart for his native family (Rashi on v 11).

The courtiers’ request to Ravshakeh to be more discreet had the opposite effect, making him even more bombastic – for his intention was indeed to sow fear among the people.

“Thus says the king of Assyria : Make an agreement with me and come out to me. until I come and take you away to a land like your own land, a land of corn and wine, a land of bread and vineyards.” (v 16). Sennacherib was the first champion of “population exchange”, sending all the peoples he conquered into exile far away from their native territories, thereby cutting their ties with their lands, which would make them far less liable to revolt.

Ravshakeh described the land to which he proposed to exile them as “a land LIKE YOUR OWN LAND”. “Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai said, Ravshakeh was a fool, because he did not know how to persuade. If someone wants to marry a woman and he says, Your father is a king and I am a king, your father is wealthy and I am wealthy, your father feeds you meat, fish and old wine and I will feed you meat, fish and old wine, this is no inducement. What is an inducement? If he says: Your father is a commoner but I am a king, your father is poor but I am rich, your father feeds you vegetables and beans but I will feed you meat and fish. Even when Ravshakeh came to recount the praises of the foreign land he was offering as an inducement, he was unable to find anything derogatory to say about the Land of Israel !” (Sifri, Ekev #1).

Ravshakeh’s undoing came because of his arrogant confidence in Assyria ‘s earthly might. He bragged that just as the idols of all the nations that Sennacherib had conquered had failed to save their peoples, so HaShem would be unable to save Jerusalem . This was outright blasphemy, and since it came not from a heathen but from an Israelite apostate, Hezekiah’s courtiers rent their garments on hearing it (Rambam, Laws of Idolatry 2:10).

Brethren know and understand that this event in Isaiah 36 is one of the most agreed to dates as far as the Hebrew Kings is concerned. This year when Ravshakeh speaks to Hezekiah is the year 701 BC. Edwin R. Thiele in his The Mysterious Number of the Hebrew Kings states this and backs it up with many proofs. I also checked with other world renowned Chronologist and Egyptologist and they all confirm that you can trust the work of Thiele.

This event in Isaiah 36 matches up with 2 Kings 19:29 and 2 Chronicles 32. This event took place in a Sabbatical year. It took place in the 49th year of the Jubilee cycle, which makes 700 BC the 50th year Jubilee and the first year in the next count to 50.
It is because of this undisputed year that we are now able to know when each and every Sabbatical year was and is and well be in history and future. It also allows us to know when all Jubilee years will be and have been throughout history. This is a most remarkable revelation and one which this web site is based upon.


Ps 140-143

We now come within the final collection of Davidic psalms (138-145) to its central sequence of five prayers in which David seeks deliverance from wicked enemies (140-144). The first of these, Psalm 140, is a lamenting plea for preservation from the plotting of evil, violent men and a call for divine retribution. The structure of the psalm is easy to discern. There are four stanzas (verses 1-3, 4-5, 6-8, 9-11), the first three ending with “Selah” and the last followed by a two-verse conclusion (verses 12-13).

The first two stanzas set up the problem David is faced with. It is interesting to note that the same words are used for the second line in both the first and second stanzas: “Preserve me from violent men” (verses 1, 4). The violent here may intend physical brutality, but their method of attack is verbal—through deceit and slander (see verse 3; compare verses 9, 11). David experienced a number of such incidents in his life.

In the third stanza, David says he has appealed to the Lord in complete trust (verse 6-7). He knows that the One who has “covered” or shielded (NIV) his head in actual physical battles will protect him in this current “battle” (verse 7). With this confidence, he asks that God not grant success to the schemes of his enemies (verse 8). As noted in regard to the previous psalm, Jesus’ instruction in the New Testament to bless and pray for our enemies (Matthew 5:44) does not mean praying for their success in opposing and harming us.

In the fourth stanza David calls for a curse on the offenders. Whereas God covered or protected David’s head in past battles (again, see verse 7), David calls for the head of his enemies to be covered only with the evil of their own lips—that is, for their scheming and slander against him to come back on them. Indeed, this is the decreed penalty in the law for bearing false witness against another (see Deuteronomy 19:16-21). David as God’s prophet is pronouncing this judgment. In another psalm, David foretold that burning coals and fire would rain down on the wicked (Psalm 11:6), as Sodom and Gomorrah experienced (Genesis 19:24). Here that same penalty is called for (Psalm 140:10), though the sense may be figurative of a calamitous divine judgment.

As David’s enemies tried to trip him up to cause him to fall into traps (verse 5), David calls for them to fall into deep pits “that they rise not up again” (verse 10). This too may be figurative—of being sunk into ineffectiveness. If it implies their deaths, then their not rising again would refer to them no longer being alive to cause trouble in the present world—not to them never being in a future resurrection. The next psalm likewise calls for the wicked to fall into their own nets (141:9-10).

David ends Psalm 140 in verses 12-13 on a confident note, assured that God will bring justice to the needy and afflicted and that God’s people will dwell with Him in perpetual gratitude

Psalm 141

Psalm 141 is the second in the sequence of five psalms of David seeking deliverance from the wicked. David also prays here that he be kept from taking part with them in their evildoings.

He begins with an urgent call for God to hear his plea (verse 1) and declares his intention to present his prayer, with hands raised toward heaven, as incense and as the evening sacrifice, desiring that God accept it as such (verse 2).

Incense was burned on the golden altar within the tabernacle—later the temple—every morning and evening to infuse the sanctuary with a sweet smell (see Exodus 30:1-10). Furthermore, frankincense was included with burnt offerings (see 30:1-10, 34-38; Leviticus 2:2)—adding fragrance to the savor of the sacrificial meat being cooked. Later in Scripture, the burning of incense is said to represent the prayers of God’s people ascending to Him (Revelation 5:8; 8:3-4).

The evening sacrifice was a regular daily burnt offering “for a sweet aroma” (Numbers 28:3-8), symbolizing, along with the morning sacrifice, regular and ongoing devotion to God. In considering the analogy, realize that “the evening sacrifice took time, it took care, it took preparation, it was extremely costly, every action in it was clearly thought out and performed in logical sequence” (George Knight, Psalms, comments on Psalm 141:1-10 ).

David’s specification of the evening sacrifice rather than the morning one or both may indicate that he spoke or composed this prayer in the evening—perhaps at the time of the evening sacrifice. It could even be that David routinely gave this or a like prayer as part of his reflection at the end of the day over an extended period of time—that is, it may have become his own personal evening sacrifice. It is worth noting that “both Ezra (Ezra 9) and Daniel (Dan. 9) prayed at the time of the evening offering. After the second temple was built, this psalm was read when the evening sacrifices were offered and the lamps were lit in the holy place” (Warren Wiersbe, Be Exultant: Psalms 90-150, note on Psalm 141:1-2).

Before praying for God to deal with the wicked and to rescue him from them, David first turns to the issue of his own human proclivities, asking God to help him avoid any deviation toward wickedness in his own character. This includes safeguarding his speech (verse 3)—for control over one’s tongue through God’s help is a huge part of godly character (compare James 3). It also means not eating of the wicked’s “delicacies” (Psalm 141:4) or “dainties” (KJV). David is likely saying one of two things here. Either he does not want to get drawn into enjoying the “finer things” that come as a product of living the evil lifestyle common among the rich and powerful. Or he does not want to be someone who is welcomed as a guest among such people—dining in their homes and enjoying their hospitality.

If he starts leaning this way at all, David prays that the “righteous”—either a godly person or the righteous One, God—will as a kindness “strike” him (knock some sense into him) through rebuke. This will be like fine oil on the head, a gesture of rich hospitality that he will not refuse (verse 5)—in contrast to the fineries of the wicked that he intends to refuse.

The Hebrew text then becomes somewhat difficult to understand—from the end of verse 5 through verse 7. Translators have rendered this section in various ways over the centuries. The primary controversy centers on to whom these verses are referring.
Many believe the last line of verse 5 refers to the righteous—that David is praying for them “in their calamities” (KJV). However, the plural “their” more likely seems to refer back to the workers of iniquity in verse 4 (since the “righteous…him” in verse 5 is singular). And the KJV “in their calamities” is reinterpreted as “in [the face of] their evils.” This is the sense followed in most modern versions.

If that is correct, then verse 6 (which some take to refer to the sufferings of the righteous) would, as seems more likely, also refer to the wicked: “When their judges [the leaders of the wicked] are overthrown in stony places, they [the wicked] shall hear my words; for they [my words] are sweet” (KJV). The word translated “sweet” can also mean “pleasing” or “agreeable.” Some take this to mean that the general populace of the wicked will actually be willing to listen to David after their rulers fall. Others believe the meaning is that the wicked are going to be forced by the fall of their leaders to see that David’s words were “well spoken” (NIV)—whether that’s agreeable to them or not.

Moving on to verse 7, there is again scholarly disagreement. Whose bones are scattered at the mouth of the grave? David mentions “our bones,” though many prefer to have him say “their bones”—that is, those of the wicked. The NIV adds to the beginning of this statement the words “They will say” and interprets verse 7 as quoting the wicked—the description here seeming to fit the wicked rulers cast down in verse 6. Then again, others see no evidence for any quotation in verse 7 and understand David to be referring figuratively to the devastated state of himself and others of the righteous who are persecuted by the wicked (compare 143:3, 7)—giving the basis for the stated judgment on the wicked in the previous verse (141:6) and the reason for his call for deliverance and justice in the next verses (8-10).

In these concluding verses, David turns his eyes to God, his only refuge from the intrigues of the wicked (verses 8-9). Similar to the previous psalm, he asks that the wicked be caught up in their own plotting (verse 10; compare 140:5, 9-10)—while he is set free into safety.

Psalm 142

Psalm 142 is a maskil, an instructive psalm or “contemplation” (NKJV), the third prayer in the sequence of five in which David asks for deliverance from persecutors. The occasion here, as the title notes, is “when he was in the cave.” This could refer to either of two episodes when David fled from King Saul. One was into the cave at Adullam (1 Samuel 22:1, 4), 16 miles southwest of Jerusalem, and the other was into the cave at En Gedi (24:1-22), the oasis near the Dead Sea . Another psalm is linked with the episode at En Gedi (Psalm 57). And that episode does not fit the sense of abject loneliness and abandonment described in Psalm 142. It appears far more likely that David’s time at Adullam is the subject of this psalm, as we will see. We earlier read this psalm in conjunction with the biblical account of that period (see the Bible Reading Program comments on 1 Samuel 22:1-5; Psalm 142; 1 Chronicles 12:8-18).

David desperately pours out his heart to God. As if the secret plotting against him were not enough, he now feels alone and forsaken, lamenting that there is no one at his right hand—that no one acknowledges him and no one cares about him (verse 4). The Nelson Study Bible comments: “With enemies on every path, David screams to God that he is defenseless. The armed soldier in ancient Israel probably would have had his spear or sword in his right hand and his shield in his left. The shield of one man would protect the right side of his neighbor. David cries that there is no one on his right side” (note on verses 3-5). The Expositor’s Bible Commentary adds, “The ‘right’ signifies the place where one’s witness or legal council stood (cf. 16:8; 109:31; 110:5; 121:5)” (note on verses 3c-4).

This situation might not at first glance seem to match the details of David’s experience at Adullam, for 1 Samuel 22 says that his family gathered to him there and that a large group of malcontents soon banded together there under his leadership—a formidable force of 400 men that later surged to 600, with this base camp being referred to in 1 Chronicles 12 as a stronghold. Yet realize that David first arrived there by himself. We should therefore understand Psalm 142 as describing his feelings between the first and second sentences of 1 Samuel 22:1—before his family and others showed up, when he was all alone.

Of course, David understood that he was not totally alone. With no other human being to lean on, David still has Someone to turn to. He cries out to God, “You are my refuge” (Psalm 142:5; compare Psalm 46) and “my portion in the land of the living” (142:5). Thus, even in his despair as a fugitive hiding out in a cave, David still views God as His share in life, which he is still blessed to be living.

Moreover, David has faith that God will send help and abundance his way, including a support crowd (verse 7). How wonderful it is to know that this is just what happened not long after David prayed his heartfelt prayer. On top of that, he eventually became the king of Israel . And more important still, he will ultimately share possession of the universe as a divine king in God’s eternal royal family—as will all of us who continue to follow God.

Psalm 143

Psalm 143 is the fourth in the sequence of five psalms of David (within the collection of eight) wherein David prays for deliverance from enemies. It is classified as one of the seven penitential psalms (6; 32; 38; 51; 102; 130; 143). These psalms have in common an acknowledgment of sin (32:5; 38:18; 51:2-4; 130:3) and/or a reference to deserved punishment (6:1; 38:1; 102:10; 143:2).

In this psalm, David doesn’t acknowledge specific sins but is clearly aware of his own failings, asking to be passed over in judgment. He knows that such judgment would find him guilty, as he, like everyone, has sinned (compare Psalm 143:2; Romans 3:10, 23). So he pleads for mercy, basing his appeal on God’s faithfulness and righteousness (Psalm 143:1) in dealing with one who is His servant (verse 2; compare verses 11-12).

David further implies that he is unable to withstand judgment given his already-overwhelmed state, crushed to the depths of despair by enemy persecution that brought him seemingly near death (verses 3-4, 7). Although David is probably referring to a human enemy (verse 3) and enemies (verse 12) who have persistently hounded him, he may have in mind as well the spiritual Adversary, Satan the devil, and his demons, who are also associated with darkness and the pit (see Ephesians 6:12; Revelation 20:1-2).

David likens his yearning for God to dry ground that needs rain (verse 6). Interestingly, rain in other passages symbolizes God’s Word and teachings (Isaiah 55:6-13; Deuteronomy 32:1-3), the Holy Spirit (44:3-4), righteousness (Hosea 10:12) and the coming of God (6:1, 3). David needs all of this. In desperation he cries out for God’s immediate intervention. He cannot rely on his own overwhelmed and failing spirit (Psalm 143:4, 7), referring to his weakened strength of mind. He requires the help of God’s good Spirit (see verse 10). He needs an understanding of how to go forward (verse 8), rescue from his enemies (verse 9), instruction in righteousness (verse 10), and relief and empowerment (verse 11).

As in the opening of the psalm (verses 1-2), David again bases his plea for help (including justice on enemies) on the fact that he is God’s servant (verses 11-12)—stressing here God’s hesed, rendered “mercy” (verse 12, NKJV) but also translatable as “loyal love” or “devotion.” The point is that God has made promises of steadfast love and help to those who are His servants—even, as verse 11 implies, staking His name, His reputation, on this.


John 12

This week I have seen something I had not seen before. Or at least I did not realize it. Last week we told you where Lazarus and Mary and Martha went during the persecution by Paul. But here now in verse 9 we learn they also wanted to kill Lazaarus because he came back from the dead. And it was because of this miracle that many of the Jews became believers.

Joh 12:9 Then a great crowd of the Yehud?im learned that He was there. And they came, not on account of ????? only, but also to see El?azar, whom He had raised from the dead. 10 And the chief priests resolved to kill El?azar as well, 11 because on account of him many of the Yehud?im went away and believed in ?????.

Now we know why they too were persecuted and then sent out to sea with no oars.

In Zechariah 9:9, the prophet speaks of a future king presenting himself to Jerusalem while riding on a humble donkey. This foreshadowed something that happened about 500 years later. As explained in Luke 19:35-37, Yehshua rode into Jerusalem on a donkey and presented himself as the Messiah, the King.

Alfred Edersheim, a Christian Jew who lived during the 1800s, studied ancient Rabbinical writings, and said that Zechariah 9:9 was often interpreted as being about a Messiah. In his book, The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, Edersheim wrote: “The Messianic application of this verse in all its parts has already been repeatedly indicated. We may here add that there are many traditions about this donkey on which the Messiah is to ride; and so firm was the belief in it, that, according to the Talmud, ‘if anyone saw a donkey in his dreams, he will see salvation’ (Ber 56 b).”

The name “Yehshua,” means “salvation” in Hebrew.


Zechariah 9:9:

Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
The word Salvation in Scriptures, is found in Strong’s; H3444 ??????? yeshu??a?h yesh-oo’-aw
Feminine passive participle of H3467; something saved, that is, (abstractly) deliverance; hence aid, victory, prosperity: – deliverance, health, help (-ing), salvation, save, saving (health), welfare.

Yehshua was and is the Hebrew name of what most Christian call Jesus. Jesus does not translate into anything as it is a Greek word and not a Hebrew one. Yehshua, Salvation is the name of the Messiah.


The 613 Mitzvot


We now continue to study the 613 laws of Torah which we can read at
We are doing 7 laws each week. We shall study laws 479-485
We also have commentary, with editing from me, again from

(479) Do not offer up any offering unsalted. “Every offering of your grain offering you shall season with salt; you shall not allow the salt of the covenant of your God to be lacking from your grain offering. With all your offerings you shall offer salt.” (Leviticus 2:13) This is merely the negative restatement of the previous affirmative mitzvah. Maimonides is padding the list.

(480) The Court of Judgment shall offer up a sacrifice if they have erred in a judicial pronouncement. “Now if the whole congregation of Israel sins unintentionally, and the thing is hidden from the eyes of the assembly, and they have done something against any of the commandments of Yahweh in anything which should not be done, and are guilty; when the sin which they have committed becomes known, then the assembly shall offer a young bull for the sin, and bring it before the tabernacle of meeting.” (Leviticus 4:13-14) The passage goes on to describe precisely how the sacrifice (in this case, the chata’t, or sin offering) was to be done. Maimonides has erred in his identification of the object of this mitzvah. It is not addressed to the Sanhedrin—the ruling council or “Court of Judgment”—but rather the “whole congregation of Israel.” (Similar unintentional sins for individuals are covered later in the same chapter. See Mitzvah #481.) The really big “unintentional sin” for Israel, of course, is their long-standing national rejection of grace under the Messiah Yeshua in favor of the pointless and convoluted system of rules so forcefully promulgated by the rabbis. To this day, this sin is still “hidden from the eyes of the assembly,” but God’s word reveals that it won’t be like this forever. See Zechariah 12:10 for a description of their future national epiphany.

In Future History, I covered the service of the Millennial Temple as it’s described in the last chapters of Ezekiel. There I made the following observation about the use of bulls as sacrifices: “Bulls were the sacred sacrificial animal of choice for virtually every ancient culture; thus I perceive that they are a symbol in God’s economy of falsehood and apostasy, of institutionalized evil on a national, as well as a personal, level. Case in point: Aaron’s golden calf debacle. Cattle symbolized several things: in agrarian societies, cattle represented temporal wealth; the more cattle you owned, the wealthier you were. Indeed, a ‘fattened calf’ was the symbol for luxurious living—killing a fattened calf in order to entertain a guest was considered a mark of great honor. But cattle or oxen were also beasts of burden—a metaphor for doing work. There is a fine line between service and servitude, between working in grateful response to Yahshua’s grace and working in order to obtain it. Every religion in the world focuses on work as a means to achieve ‘heaven,’ whatever they conceive that to be. But our works are as pointless in establishing a relationship with Yahweh as they would be in any family. A child can’t earn his way into the family—he must be invited into it, either by physical birth or by adoption—accepting the invitation. Thus the bull represents the wrong way to approach God—you can’t buy or work your way to Him. It’s an insult to Him to even try.”

(481) An individual shall bring a sin-offering if he has sinned in error by committing a transgression, the conscious violation of which is punished with excision. “If anyone of the common people sins unintentionally by doing something against any of the commandments of Yahweh in anything which ought not to be done, and is guilty, or if his sin which he has committed comes to his knowledge, then he shall bring as his offering a kid of the goats, a female without blemish, for his sin which he has committed. (Leviticus 4:27-28) This concerns the chata’t, or sin offering. My first impression upon reading the text was, “We’re gonna need more goats.” This condition applies to all of us, virtually all the time. Paul expressed the frustration of the child of God who wants to do right, but constantly finds himself falling short: “For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice…. Oh, wretched man that I am.” (Romans 7:19, 24) There is good news, however. First, Yahweh is well aware of our fallen condition, and has made provision for us to return to fellowship with Him. Our shortcomings don’t shock or anger Him, though they may disappoint and sadden Him.

Second, look carefully at the description of the sacrificial animal: it’s a goat (which tells us it’s a sin offering), without blemish (which is the key that Yahweh’s sacrifice is in view, for He alone is perfect). But the goat is female. There’s something unusual going on here. God is making a point. I think the reason for the distinction is the difference between “sin” and “sins,” that is, between the systemic condition of our separation from God and our individual acts of imperfect behavior. The “Lamb of God,” the unblemished male of the flock symbolizing Christ, died to reconcile us with Yahweh—to remove the sin (singular) that had estranged us from Him. But once the blood of the Lamb has been spilled, once we have placed our trust in its atoning power, must the Lamb of God be slain again every time we screw up? No. As we saw earlier in this chapter, “[Yahshua did not] enter heaven to offer himself again and again, like the earthly high priest who enters the Most Holy Place year after year to offer the blood of an animal. If that had been necessary, He would have had to die again and again, ever since the world began. But no! He came once for all time, at the end of the age, to remove the power of sin forever by His sacrificial death for us. And just as it is destined that each person dies only once and after that comes judgment, so also Christ died only once as a sacrifice to take away the sins [i.e., the condition of sin] of many people.” (Hebrews 9:25-28 NLT) Why, then, is the goat a female? Remember that in Hebrew, the word ruach, meaning spirit, is a feminine noun. The role of the Holy Spirit—not the Messiah—is the symbol in view for this sacrifice. When we as mortal believers goof up and fall short of perfection, we have not necessitated the re-sacrifice of Christ. He has already paid for our sin. What we have done, however, is to diminish the influence of God’s Spirit—our Heavenly Mother, if you will—in our lives. We have grieved or quenched the Holy Spirit. (See Ephesians 4:30-32 and I Thessalonians 5:19.) That, I believe, is the reason the goat is female.

(482) Offer a sacrifice of varying value in accordance with one’s means. “If he is not able to bring a lamb, then he shall bring to Yahweh, for his trespass which he has committed, two turtledoves or two young pigeons: one as a sin offering and the other as a burnt offering…. But if he is not able to bring two turtledoves or two young pigeons, then he who sinned shall bring for his offering one-tenth of an ephah of fine flour as a sin offering.” (Leviticus 5:7) The context here is that of the trespass, or “guilt” offering (Hebrew: asham, see Mitzvah #493), but the principle is repeated elsewhere (e.g., with the burnt offering; see Mitzvah #475). Proving that these offerings have nothing to do with appeasement, we see that there is no correlation between the sin and its remedy: it could be a lamb if the sinner is able to afford it, but if he is not, then a couple of turtledoves or pigeons will do. (In the case of the birds, only one of the pair is really a “trespass” offering—the other one is a “burnt” offering, which as we have seen, is voluntary and indicates homage or reverence for God.) And if he can’t even afford that, he is to bring a couple of quarts of flour. This is like saying the fine for driving 50 in a 25 zone is a hundred bucks if you’re driving a Mercedes, but only pocket change if you’re driving a Hyundai. The punishment doesn’t fit the crime—it fits the criminal! Since we tend to like the idea of justice (at least for other people), this may seem unfair to us. And it is. Yes, God is unfair. If He were fair, we’d all have been sent to hell a long time ago. Yahweh dispenses justice only to those who choose it over mercy. For those of us who have chosen to receive God’s mercy, however, it is the attitude of our hearts that counts—not the girth of our wallets. Both the expensive lamb and the cheap birds symbolize Yahshua’s atoning sacrifice, and the flour speaks of His provision. It’s our recognition of these facts that Yahweh values.

(483) Do not sever completely the head of a fowl brought as a sin-offering. “And he shall bring them to the priest, who shall offer that which is for the sin offering first, and wring off its head from its neck, but shall not divide it completely.” (Leviticus 5:8) A continuation of the previous mitzvah, this precept instructs what is to be done with the birds brought as a trespass offering (asham). As with the larger animals (where achieving this was presumably easier, and thus not a matter for special instruction), the birds were to be slain and bled, but their heads were not to be separated from their bodies. Since all animal sacrifices in the Torah ultimately point toward the Messiah, the lesson seems to be that both God’s head and heart played their parts in His self-sacrifice—that is, His knowledge of our condition (and what it would take to fix it) and His unfathomable, inexplicable love for us were both essential components of His plan of redemption. God’s master plan is neither a cold intellectual exercise, nor is it driven purely by passion and emotion. His whole being is involved. You’d think the Creator of the universe could find something better to do with His time and energy, but no, all He thinks and dreams about is saving us. The very thought gives me goose-bumps.

(484) Do not put olive oil in a sin-offering made of flour. “But if he is not able to bring two turtledoves or two young pigeons, then he who sinned shall bring for his offering one-tenth of an ephah of fine flour as a sin offering. He shall put no oil on it, nor shall he put frankincense on it, for it is a sin offering.” (Leviticus 5:11) Still in the context of the asham, or “trespass offering,” we see some special instructions for the poorest supplicants—those who can’t even afford a pair of turtledoves. No olive oil is to be mixed in or poured over the offering (as was the case with the burnt offering and the grain offering). Why? Oil, as we have seen, is symbolic of the Holy Spirit. But the type of “sin” being addressed in the trespass offering is inadvertent goofs (see Mitzvah #493), things we do that we’re often not even aware of when we do them. They are not the result of ignoring the Spirit, of quenching her counsel with cynicism or apathy. They are just mistakes, and you can’t effectively repent from making mistakes—they’re part of the human condition. That being said, they are mistakes: they’re not part of God’s perfect will for our lives, and are therefore still “sin” in a manner of speaking—a falling short of His perfect standard.

(485) Do not put frankincense on a sin-offering made of flour. “But if he is not able to bring two turtledoves or two young pigeons, then he who sinned shall bring for his offering one-tenth of an ephah of fine flour as a sin offering. He shall put no oil on it, nor shall he put frankincense on it, for it is a sin offering.” (Leviticus 5:11) Same song, second verse. Frankincense, as you’ll recall, represents purity through sacrifice—specifically, the imputed righteousness we enjoy through Yahshua’s sacrifice. The trespass offering, however, is there for us to acknowledge our mistakes, our unintentional trespasses against God’s perfect standard. As long as we inhabit these mortal bodies, we will continue to inadvertently stumble into sin. We will never attain purity in these corrupt vessels—which explains why God is planning to replace our bodies with new, incorruptible ones (see I Corinthians 15:35-58). So frankincense is inappropriate for addressing our unintentional sins as long as we remain mortals.