News Letter 5849-045
24th day of the 10th month
5849 years after the creation of Adam
The 10th Month in the Fourth year of the third Sabbatical Cycle
The Third Sabbatical Cycle of the 119th Jubilee Cycle
The Sabbatical Cycle of Earthquakes Famines, and Pestilences
December 28, 2013
Shabbat Shalom Brethren,
Last weeks ice storm here has brought beautiful pictures of many things covered in about an inch-thick or more of ice. But with the extra weight many, many trees broke off and came crashing down. We have had some go down around us and it sounds like thunder as they hit the layers of ice below. Then, when the wind blows ice and small branches break off, it too sounds like thunder and you can be severely hurt if you’re walking under this when it happens. Our house has been without electricity for three days and our house temperature got down to 55 degree F. We had the generator going between the refrigerator and the freezer and the sump pump and a constant fire going where we slept the past few nights waking up ever few hours to rekindle the fire and fuel the generator and switch the cords. It has caused me to think once again about how many of us would be able to survive with what we have in our homes right now for one to four weeks. Could we do it? If your answer is “no” you cannot, then you should begin to plan on how you will survive the next disaster that is coming- whether flood, tornado, utilities cut off, drought or famine. Can you and your loved ones survive?
The last four weeks have been a trying month, during which we worked hard and very long hours to restore and protect the sightedmoon.com website. Some of you may have noticed it was up and crashed a number of times. If you see anything we still need to fix, please let us know. Last week we also purged the email list to remove those email addresses that no longer worked or wanted the Newsletter. If you have not received an email from us, this may be why. You need to re-sign up on the website. We had to remove all the dead wood and severely prune the vine.
Luke 13:5 I tell you, No. But unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. 6 He also spoke this parable: A certain man had a fig-tree planted in his vineyard. And he came and sought fruit on it, and found none. 7 And he said to the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig-tree, and find none. Cut it down, why does it encumber the ground? 8 And answering, he said to him, Lord, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and throw manure. 9 And if it bears fruit, well; and if not, then after that you shall cut it down.
At the height of the economic boom in 2008 we had over 11,000 subscribers at Sightedmoon.com and just as our vines in Israel are now being pruned, removing all but the core vine upon which the rest of the vine will come from, we have severely pruned our email list down to just a few hundred. The vines and trees are pruned in order to produce a better and fuller fruit. This is our goal here as well. Each of you had to confirm you wanted this Newsletter. Each of you are “invested” in the sharing of this news. You can do that by sharing each of the articles and the videos we are presenting- free of charge- to your social media pages and networks, your assemblies and home groups. Your prayers for this work are priceless and I hope that this never stops. You are also seeing the video teachings we have been releasing this past month as well. They are available for free also because others stepped up and wanted to help us with financial gifts to pay for the taping and editing of these special teachings. And it is these same people who have also invested in the development of the new website which is an ongoing expense as we continue to improve it and reach even more brethren. We do hope more will begin to send in gifts to help finance further video teachings.
With our new email server we are able to see what articles are of interest and how successful our email campaigns are. If an email address is not responding to the emails then after a month or two they will be removed. So please do click on the buttons to the articles to keep your account active.
With this newsletter I want to point out two features you may never have used before. If you have a question or subject you are interested in then select a few words and enter them in the “Search this site” box at the top to the right of the sightedmoon logo. When you do this you will be shown a number of articles in which I have already written something about the subject you are looking for.
Also as you read this article you will come across words highlighted by being underlined. If you place your mouse over them and click on them you will be taken to an article which will explain that word or subject in greater detail. We have new people joining us all the time now. And after 8 years of writing we have covered a great deal and most of it is here and available to you.
Also, if you place your mouse over the tab “News” you will see a list come down and have a number of places you can go to. The one I am pointing out to you now is the archived articles. They are listed there by the year they were written, beginning with our first articles way back in 2005 or the Hebrew year 5843.
We are also working on sharing the truth about the 613 laws which we have studied in the past and making them more accessible and as well we hope to have each individual 3 1/2 years Torah study available each week with a link to each section. This all takes time to get set up, but we are working on it.
The Festival of Lights
Last Saturday, December 21, marked the winter solstice- when the days begin to get longer. Because I keep a close eye on the sunset times each week for Shabbat and especially now when Sabbath begins early and work often times finishes just as Sabbath is about to begin, I noticed that the days began to get longer Dec 15. The Sunset times changed from 4:42 to 4:43.
In this season of the festival of lights, the Sabbath of December 14 was the first day we began to have more daylight than the day before. Friday saw sunset at 4:42 here in Ontario, which it has been for the past two weeks or so and Saturday December 15, it was 4:43.
The reason for the season, whether Chanukah or Diwali or Swansea or Saturnalia or Christmas, all of them are known as the festival of lights, they all come from the worship of Nimrod the Enlightener or mankind. When you place the yule log on, or you have the great bon fires, it is to encourage the sun to come back which has gone into hiding during these darkest days of the year. And now it has worked once again the sun is now coming back. Who knew?
Satan is always depicted in astronomy as a fading light that comes and goes over the course of 7 years. It is a false light. Yehshua, when depicted in Astronomy, is always a brilliant star that never fades.
Yeshua was born on the Feast of Trumpets Sept 11/ 3 B.C. The Feast of Trumpets is the day that represents the day He is to come. Both the first time and the next time.
Know the facts; whatever it is that you call your festival of lights, it is all the worship of Satan and the dead. You will notice all the candles that are lit for the dead- such as what was depicted at Nelson Mandela’s funeral. They are to encourage the dead (nimrod) to come back. The little candle to encourage the sun to come back. In Egypt and Babylon each person was to place a candle in the window during these dark days to encourage the sun to return and it is this very picture of a candle burning in the frosty window of some snow covered log cabin that makes many of you feel warm and fuzzy.
Here is something we wrote about this special time of the Festival of lights.
- Newsletter 5847-038 Being Sealed by Yehovah and The Coming of the Enlightened One Nimrod
In our upcoming book ,The 70 Shabua of Daniel, we explain this enlightenment of mankind in great detail and show you how it, the “covenant made with many” and the UN are working to cause the Balaam curse on Israel now.
It seems to be dark all the time with the rains and drizzle.
But we can look forward to the sun reappearing because many people are going to go out and light up the world with their Festivals of Lights. It was already celebrated by the people of India because they celebrated Diwali in 2013 starting on Sunday, the 3rd of November and went until Thursday, the 7th of November.
Diwali (also spelled Devali in certain regions) or Deepavali [note 1], popularly known as the “festival of lights,” is a festival celebrated between mid-October and mid-December for different reasons. For Hindus, Diwali is one of the most important festivals of the year and is celebrated in families by performing traditional activities together in their homes. For Jains, Diwali marks the attainment of moksha or nirvana by Mahavira in 527 BC.
Diwali is an official holiday in India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Mauritius, Guyana, Trinidad & Tobago, Suriname, Malaysia, Singapore, and Fiji.
The name “Diwali” is a contraction of “Deepavali” (Sanskrit: ??????? D?p?val?), which translates into “row of lamps”. Diwali involves the lighting of small clay lamps (diyas or d?pas) in Sanskrit: ???) filled with oil to signify the triumph of good over evil. These lamps are kept on during the night and one’s house is cleaned, both done in order to make the goddess Lakshmi feel welcome. Firecrackers are burst in order to drive away evil spirits. During Diwali, all the celebrants wear new clothes and share sweets and snacks with family members and friends.
The festival starts with Dhanteras on which most Indian business communities begin their financial year. The second day of the festival, Naraka Chaturdasi, marks the vanquishing of the demon Naraka by Lord Krishna and his wife Satyabhama. Amavasya, the third day of Diwali, marks the worship of Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth in her most benevolent mood, fulfilling the wishes of her devotees. Amavasya also tells the story of Lord Vishnu, who in his dwarf incarnation vanquished the Bali, and banished him to Patala. It is on the fourth day of Diwali, Kartika Shudda Padyami, that Bali went to patala and took the reins of his new kingdom in there. The fifth day is referred to as Yama Dvitiya (also called Bhai Dooj), and on this day sisters invite their brothers to their homes.
Diwali falls on the one new moon night (Amavasya) between mid-October and mid-December. Diwali is celebrated for five days according to the lunisolar Hindu Calendar. It begins in late Ashvin (between September and October) and ends in early Kartika (between November and December). The days in Ashvin are in the Krishna Paksha (“dark fortnight”) of that month, while the days in Kartik are in its Shukla Paksha (“bright fortnight”). The first day is Dhan Teras. The last day is Yama Dvitiya, which signifies the second day of the light half of Kartika. Each day of Diwali marks one celebration of the six principal stories associated with the festival.
On the auspicious night of Diwali, Hindus worship the goddess Lakshmi ceremonially at home, pray for her blessings. It is believed that on this night the goddess herself visits the homes and replenishes the inhabitants with wealth.
Just like Santa Claus who brings things to those who have set up the sacred christmas tree.
Does this not also sound like Chanukah? The triumph of good over evil and the lighting of lamps for 5 days. We also have people lighting up the Christmas lights at this time of year and of course there are the new converts to Chanukah who also will light up the Channukah bush, (really just a miniature christmas tree in any other circles, but they say it is not. Sure looks like a Christmas tree though; but what do I know?)
Here you have Diwali and Chanukah and Christmas all celebrated for about a week in length of time. People gather at their homes where they share sweets and special snacks prepared for this festive occasion.
The Christians say that Jesus was born on this day and thus was the light brought into this dark world. I find it amazing that this is the exact same thing that is said of Nimrod. Nimrod was the one who enlightened man about the worship of himself and how his coming at this time of year, the darkest days of the year, that Nimrod brought light into the world of men and as such they began to light Yule logs to him and candles and many other fires at this time of year to encourage the sun to come back. The Sun of course represents Nimrod. The lighting of Christmas lights, Chanukiahs Lamps, Diwali row of lamps or Yule logs are all done for the worship of Nimrod.
All of the celebrations that are done at this time of year are to the one who brought light to this dark world. To the one who “enlightened” us.
All of these different religions lighting up the festival of lights to the one who has enlightened them.
To the Buddhist they call this time of year Bodhi Day: 8 December – Day of Enlightenment, celebrating the day that the historical Buddha (Shakyamuni or Siddhartha Guatama) experienced enlightenment (also known as Bodhi). Even the Chinese do this calling it Lantern Festival.
And where does this celebration of lights come from?
It comes from the worship of Nimrod. Nimrod is the black Buddha. The worship involved fire to represent the sun, the giver of light. Therefore, the “deified” Nimrod was worshiped as the giver of light to mankind; he “enlightened them” just as the Buddhist say above. In fact, the statue of Buddha is Nimrod; so as to show them good and evil. Hence came the name Lucifer, the “light giver” or “enlightener.”
Lucifer (/?lu?s?f?r/ or /?lju?s?f?r/) is the King James Version rendering of the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lucifer word ?????? in Isaiah 14:12. This word, transliterated hêlêl or heylel, occurs only once in the Hebrew Bible and according to the KJV-influenced Strong’s Concordance means “shining one, morning star, Lucifer”. The word Lucifer is taken from the Latin Vulgate, which translates ?????? as lucifer,[Isa 14:12] meaning “the morning star, the planet Venus“, or, as an adjective, “light-bringing”. The Septuagintrenders ?????? in Greek as ???????? (he?sphoros), a name, literally “bringer of dawn”, for the morning star.
Even the snake was worshiped as a secret symbol of the mysteries. To the contrary, it is shown in Genesis that the Devil appeared as a snake whose seed, Lucifer, would be destroyed by the woman’s seed, the real light giver, Yehshua. The opposite is the doctrine of the Devil.
Paul said about this:
2Co 11:13 For such are false emissaries, deceptive workers, masquerading as emissaries of Messiah. 14 And no wonder! For Satan himself masquerades as a messenger of light!15 It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness,1 whose end shall be according to their works!2 Footnotes: 1Mt. 7:15-23, 2 Peter 2:1-22. 2Mt. 13:41-42.
Satan came as an angel of light and deceived Eve. Nimrod is represented as the great enlightener and is worshiped each year by the lighting of lights at the darkest time of the year.
But do not be deceived and jump from one pagan ditch to another. That is, by jumping from pagan Christian festival of lights to a Jewish festival of lights called Chanukah. It is the exact same festival only with a different name given to it. It is not found in Lev 23 and you should not be keeping it.
I have the following articles, in addition to the highlighted links, to other articles about this false enlightening that goes on at this time of year that you can read at:
- Newsletter 5844-038 Chanukah and Its Pagan Traditions
- Newsletter 5846-045 O Tannenbaum, O Tannenbaum du bist ein edler Zweig!
- Newsletter 5848-040 You Worship Molech by setting up your Tree or Chanukah
- Newsletter 5849-041 “YEAH BUT… JESUS KEPT CHANUKAH!” SEE JOHN 10:22
I have just found this other bit of information and must also share it with you.
The ancient Egyptian worship of Isis and its later expression, when Her religion spread throughout the Greco-Roman world, is also known as the festival of lights. Isis is known as a “Lady of Light.”
The ancient Egyptians held Festivals of Lights in which the entire town or city would light oil lamps that would burn throughout the night—entirely equivalent to our own stringing of lights at Halloween or Yule. (My imagination sees Egyptian neighbors vying with each other over elaborate displays of lights just like they do now for Christmas.)
The historian Herodotus (5th century BCE) writes about such a Festival of Lights at Sais, the city of Neith. He says:
“At the times when they gather together at the city of Sais for their sacrifices, on a certain night they all kindle lamps many in number in the open air round about the houses; now the lamps are saucers full of salt and oil mixed, and the wick floats by itself on the surface, and this burns during the whole night; and to the festival is given the name Lychnocaia (“Lamp Lighting”). Moreover those of the Egyptians who have not come to this solemn assembly observe the night of the festival and themselves also light lamps all of them, and thus not in Sais alone are they lighted, but over all Egypt: and as to the reason why light and honour are allotted to this night, about this there is a sacred story told.”
—Herodotus, Histories, Book II, Chapter 62
There were Festivals of Light at the New Year and on the five epagomenal ( “epagomenal” days are days within a solar calendar that are outside any regular month) days that led up to it. On these days, the birthdays of Osiris, Horus, Set, Isis, and Nephthys were celebrated and lights were placed in tombs for the dead. If we can judge by Herodotus’ statement, then other Festivals of Lights were celebrated in which Egyptian homes were illuminated as well as tombs. Osiris is also known as Nimrod and it his death and birth that is all combined here with the lighting up of lamps.
The “sacred story” attached to the Sais festival was that the lights were to assist Isis in Her search for the body of Osiris. Is this not the exact same story of Semiramis searching for the body parts of Nimrod after Shem had him executed and his body torn apart and sent as a warning to the nations at this time in the world? Today, as then, you can still see many people lighting candles for the dead and at funerals or in memory of those that have died. They were lit in order to help Isis search for the body of Osiris, Nimrod, who had been executed. Isis had to search the graveyards at night for fear of being caught and also killed by Shem.
When you keep Christmas, or Chanukah, or Dilwali or any other festival of lights during this winter solstice time you are, in truth, worshiping the goddess Lakshmi, as Isis is called in India and the dead Nimrod or worse, mixing this evil with the truth and calling it “good.” Many say they do not do those things but are instead worshiping the birth of the Messiah. This is the mixing of good and evil.
Most people can easily see the paganism of the Indian religion. And yet at the same time fail to see just how similar it is to Chanukah and Christmas. Each condemns the other as being pagan but can’t see their own failings in that they all keep the same festival with different names and traditions.
How true indeed is the saying that Satan has deceived the whole world.
More and more people are repenting and returning to keeping the Torah and when they do some of them continue to keep Christmas thinking it is the right thing to do. I do know Seventh Day Adventists who set up a christmas tree as do 7th day Baptists. They are all mixing the truth with the lie just as those who keep or kept chanukah also mixed the truth with a lie. Everyone needs to check their christian or judaism religion at the door and only do those things you can prove in the Torah. Do not add to the Holy Days of Lev 23. Keep the 7th day Sabbath, the 7 Holy Days of Lev 23 and do not add anything to them, and also keep the Sabbatical years of Lev 25.
Deu 12:1 These are the statutes and judgments which you shall be careful to do in the land which Jehovah, the God of your fathers gives you to possess it, all the days that you live upon the earth. 2 You shall completely destroy all the places in which the nations which you shall possess served their gods, on the high mountains and on the hills and under every green tree. 3 And you shall overthrow their altars and break their pillars, and burn their pillars with fire. And you shall cut down the carved images of their gods, and destroy their names out of that place. 4 You shall not do so to Jehovah your God. 5 But you shall seek to the place which Jehovah your God shall choose out of all your tribes to put His name there, even to His dwelling place you shall seek, and there you shall come.
Mat 7:16 You shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thorns, or figs from thistles? 17 Even so every good tree brings forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree brings forth evil fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruits, nor can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bring forth good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Therefore by their fruits you shall know them. 21 Not everyone who says to Me, Lord! Lord! shall enter the kingdom of Heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in Heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, Lord! Lord! Did we not prophesy in Your name, and through Your name throw out demons, and through Your name do many wonderful works? 23 And then I will say to them I never knew you! Depart from Me, those working lawlessness! 24 Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on a rock.
May you be found to have born much good fruit and be told “Well done, good and faithful servant.” Repent of the errors you were taught and begin now to be obedient and go into all the world and let others know these truths. Share these truths on your social media pages and blog posts.
Triennial Torah Cycle
We continue this weekend with our regular Triennial Torah Reading Cycle
Gen 17 | Judges 10-11 | Ps 35 | Mat 21:23-22:22
Circumcision; New Names; Future Greatness (Genesis 17)
Once again, the promises to Abram are expanded, this time to include a multitude of nations and kings. As a token of His covenant with Abram’s descendants, God commanded circumcision. It is a visible sign in the flesh of every male Israelite that they are part of a family with whom God has a special relationship and for whom God has a special work. Every male is to be circumcised on the eighth day of life. It is interesting to note that in male babies vitamin K—the blood clotting factor—rises sharply from birth and peaks on the eighth day, before declining to the normal level. While this could not have been known by Abram and the Israelites, it was perfectly well-known to God.
Genesis 17 also records the renaming of Abram and Sarai. Up to Genesis 16 the Scriptures always use the birth names Abram, which means “Exalted Father,” and Sarai, meaning “Princess.” But, here in Genesis 17, God bestows new names on them. Abraham means “Father of a Multitude” and Sarah, while still retaining the sense of “Princess,” seems to mean one of an even higher station (e.g., it is derived from the same word translated “queen” in Isaiah 49:23). Interestingly, both new names differ from Abram and Sarai by the addition of one letter in the Hebrew—the letter He, pronounced, like the English H, as a breath of air, which is often a symbol of God’s Spirit. Though there may be no significance to this, becoming new persons and circumcision can both picture spiritual conversion. In any event, whether Abraham and Sarah received the indwelling of God’s Spirit at this particular time or not, we do know for certain that they did receive it at some point (compare 1 Peter 1:11)—for they will be in the Kingdom of God, and only the converted have that honor (Romans 8:9, 11).
Also of interest in this chapter is the hint at future national greatness we are afforded here. While the primary national blessings were to come through Isaac, God promised to make of Ishmael a great nation also (Genesis 17:19-21; 21:18). Ishmael became the father of many of the Arab peoples. And the world has certainly seen a period of Arab greatness. American author Louis L’Amour described this period in his bestselling novel The Walking Drum, set in 12th-century Europe and Asia: “In the space of one hundred years following the death of Mohammed in 632, the Arabs had carried the sword of Islam from the Atlantic to the Indian Ocean, holding at one time most of Spain, part of southern France, the isle of Sicily, all of North Africa and Egypt, all of Arabia, the Holy Land, Armenia, Persia, Afghanistan, and almost a third of India. The empire of the Arabs was larger than that of Alexander the Great or of Rome. Under the flush of greatness for more than five hundred years the Arabs carried the torch of civilization” (1984, pp. 171-172).
Consider, then, what that must mean for the descendants of Isaac. If Ishmael becoming a “great nation” meant an empire more vast than Rome’s, which preserved civilization through the Dark Ages of Europe, then think what must have been in store for the descendants of Isaac—who were to become many nations and inherit far greater blessings! Have the Jewish people ever been the recipients of such greatness? No. Even today, Arab national territory is far greater than the land of the modern state of Israel by a ratio of 540 to 1. Yet God’s amazing prophecies have been fulfilled—surprising as it may sound, through the modern descendants of Joseph in the form of the British Empire and the United States of America.
Tola, Jair and the Ammonite Oppression (Judges 10)
After the reign of Abimelech, which does not appear to have included much territory other than Shechem and its surrounding villages, Tola judged Israel and worked some kind of deliverance, although we do not know against whom. He judged 23 years.
Following Tola, Jair judged 22 years. His 30 sons were noblemen and rulers of as many cities in Gilead, thus indicating that Jair had a rather large administrative apparatus, which exercised significant influence in Gilead and probably further afield. Since no mention is made of a deliverance made by Jair, it appears that he continued the era of peace produced by Tola.
The 45 years of peace and relative fidelity to God were shattered upon the death of Jair. Israel ran wholeheartedly back into idolatry, embracing the gods of not just the Canaanites, but also of the Syrians, Sidonians, Moabites, Ammonites and Philistines. And so, for 18 years God sold His people into the hands of foreigners—the Philistines and Ammonites, two of the very peoples whose gods Israel adopted. From the catalog of pagan gods, and the scanty notes of the Ammonite invasion into the territories of Ephraim and Benjamin, it would appear that the greater part of the oppression fell on the tribes east of Jordan, and that the Ammonite invasion might have been a coordinated effort with the Philistines to divide Israel down the middle.
When the 18 years elapsed, Israel came to its senses and, for the first time, the cause of their misery is actually stated by them in the account—their rejection of God and attachment to the Baals. But when they cried out to God, He rejected their pleas and told them He would not save them. Nevertheless, Israel repented and served God. Eventually, God could no longer endure the misery of Israel.
Ammon gathered in Mizpah, and Israel met them. But who would deliver Israel?
Jephthah’s Vow (Judges 11)
We come now to one of the most difficult passages in the book of Judges—the story of Jephthah. The story is more important than one would at first suspect, for the critics have seized upon it as evidence that God is self-contradictory, bloodthirsty and devoid of any sense of equity and justice. Similarly, those who adhere to the belief in the divine inspiration of Scripture have found the story to be a stone of stumbling, especially since the book of Hebrews includes Jephthah by name in its famous catalog of the heroes of faith (Hebrews 11).
If the common understanding of the story is correct, we surely have a very odd series of facts to explain. Jephthah demonstrated a detailed knowledge of the history of his people, a history he could only have learned from the books of Moses (see Judges 11:12-28). Yet, if this is so, how do we explain his apparent ignorance of the blaring prohibition against child sacrifice contained in the books of Moses? (Leviticus 18:21; 20:2; Deuteronomy 12:31-32; 18:10-12)
Again, immediately after sending the ambassadors to Ammon “the Spirit of the Lord came upon Jephthah” (verse 29). But if this is so, how could a person led by the Holy Spirit be so absolutely callous as to sacrifice his own child? In fact, Jephthah’s vow is made immediately after receiving the Spirit (verse 30)—how is that to be explained? Moreover, if the common understanding of the story is correct, God gave Jephthah the victory over Ammon knowing full well that Jephthah would sacrifice his child, and yet He never said a word—not in person, not in a dream, not by a prophet.
And further, how could a man who was so scrupulous to keep his vow (verse 35) be so unscrupulous as to murder his innocent child in flagrant disobedience to God’s law? Additionally, when his daughter learned of her father’s vow, she encouraged him to keep the vow and asked only to be able to go and mourn her virginity for two months, at the end of which time she voluntarily returned so that her father could carry out his vow. Jephthah’s daughter exhibits no terror, no pleading for her life—even the friends with whom she mourned her virginity allowed her to return! How is that to be explained?
And why didn’t Jephthah avail himself of the laws for redeeming things vowed (Leviticus 27)—he said, “I cannot go back”—when such an option would have been open to him?
And finally, if the common understanding of Jephthah’s vow is correct, where is that marvelous and self-evident faith that caused the writer of Hebrews, probably the apostle Paul, to unhesitatingly include him in his catalog of the heroes of faith?
The confusion can be cleared up by carefully examining Jephthah’s vow. Let us notice it in the New King James Version: “If You will indeed deliver the people of Ammon into my hands, then it will be that whatever comes out of the doors of my house to meet me, when I return in peace from the people of Ammon, shall surely be the Lord’s, and I will offer it up as a burnt offering” (verses 30-31). First, notice that it is a conditional vow (if…then). Second, the phrase “whatever comes out to meet me” is actually “the one who comes forth to meet me” in Hebrew, an apparent reference to a person. The Nelson Study Bible concurs: “The phrase to meet me seems to refer more appropriately to a human than to an animal” (note on 11:31).
How then are we to understand Jephthah’s vow? The Hebrew of verse 31 is the source of the difficulty—or rather, the translation of the Hebrew text is the source of the difficulty. The next phrase could just as well be translated, “…shall surely be the Lord’s, OR I will offer it a burnt-offering.” The Nelson Study Bible notes, “The conjunction in Jephthah’s pivotal statement in v. 31, that whatever or whoever came out of the door ‘shall be the Lord’s, and I will offer it up as a burnt offering’ could be translated or. Thus, if a person came out first, he would dedicate that person to the Lord, or if an animal came out first, he would offer the animal as a burnt sacrifice” (note on Judges 11:39). This explanation, however, has left out the possibility of an unclean animal, such as a dog, coming out. Presumably, a clean animal in this scenario would be sacrificed while an unclean animal would be dedicated like a person. But there is a possibility that this translation is not entirely correct either, as it leaves out the possibility of nothing or no one coming out to meet Jephthah. This brings us to the next apparent problem in translation.
The clause “or I will offer it up as a burnt offering” could also be rendered, “or I will offer Him a burnt offering.” If that is correct, then we are left with Jephthah imagining a person coming out to meet him and stating, in a perhaps corrected rendering of verse 31, “The one who comes forth to meet me I will consecrate to the Lord, or [if no one comes out] I will offer Him [i.e., the Lord] a burnt offering.” This changes the complexion of the difficulty entirely.
What emerges from a clear understanding of the Hebrew is significant. First, let’s note that Jephthah was making a conditional vow with God. If God would give Jephthah the victory and bring him safely home, then Jephthah would either dedicate a person of his household to God or he would offer a burnt-offering to God if no one came out. Once God performed His part of the vow, Jephthah was bound to fulfill his part.
Second, and most important however, Jephthah left the choice in God’s hands! Jephthah could not control who would come out of the doors of his house to greet him (or whether anyone would), just as Abraham’s servant had no control over who would give him drink (see Genesis 24:12-14). The vow contained a choice to be made by God: either accept a consecrated person or a burnt offering. Therefore, Jephthah was perhaps, to a degree, acting on faith, allowing God to choose how Jephthah would fulfill his part of the covenant.
Yet it still appears that the vow was rash and unwise. Jephthah had apparently not thought this through well enough. He was shocked and deeply grieved that his daughter was the one who came out to meet him, stating that this had brought him very low (verse 35). He was clearly expecting it to be someone else—probably a household servant. No doubt, he learned a powerful lesson that day.
Thankfully, as the evidence seems to support, Jephthah did not sacrifice his daughter—he devoted her to the service of God, much as did Hannah devote Samuel to the service of God. As such, Jephthah’s daughter would remain a virgin as she served at the tabernacle as part of a special class of dedicated women (compare Exodus 38:8; 1 Samuel 2:22; Luke 2:36-37). It appears that they acted as door porters, singers, musicians and workers in cloth (most valuable and needed when the tabernacle stood, as it did in Jephthah’s day). This dedication meant that Jephthah would have no grandchildren—for his daughter was his only child—and thus no heir.
As we know, the Israelites viewed barrenness as a stigma, and for the family line to end was considered virtually a curse from God. Now becomes very clear the grief of Jephthah (for he would have no inheritor) and of his daughter (for she would have no children) and of her friends (for their friend would never become “a mother in Israel,” and possibly mother of the promised Messiah) and of the people of Israel (for their hero would not leave them descendants and his name would “perish out of Israel”)! It is interesting to note the contrast between Jephthah and the judges immediately before and after him. They both had 30 sons (Judges 10:3-4; 12:8-9), while Jephthah had just this one and only daughter.
As a final observation, we must note verse 39 again. The sacred historian records that Jephthah “carried out his vow with her which he had vowed” and then adds, “she knew no man.” It is not recorded that Jephthah sacrificed her—that is apparently a conclusion based upon an incomplete understanding of the above scriptures. Some will argue that this last clause just magnifies the tragedy of her death—that she died young without ever marrying. But if, indeed, Jephthah’s daughter was sacrificed in gruesome and flagrant disobedience to God, this added statement about knowing no man would seem to be superfluous and inane; it only appears to make sense if she continued in a state of celibacy after Jephthah fulfilled his vow.
The writer of Hebrews, then, is vindicated for including Jephthah in the heroes of faith. Though Jephthah was evidently rash and unwise in making his vow to start with, he nevertheless obeyed God’s command to pay one’s vows to Him (Deuteronomy 23:21-23), even when it was to his own hurt (compare Psalm 15:4). In that sense, Jephthah’s fulfilling of his vow may be seen as a real act of faith! He was willing to give up his only hope of grandchildren and perpetuation of the family line, enduring a social stigma, in order to obey God. Why? Because he looked forward to the promises that he had seen and embraced (Hebrews 11:13), which would be bestowed in that country of God (verse 14) when he would be raised in that better resurrection (verse 35)! Truly, then, Judges 11 reveals Jephthah to be, in the end, a courageous man of integrity, faith and vision!
In Psalm 35 David proclaims his innocence and calls on God to destroy his enemies. “Some of the most troubling psalms are those that contain prayers asking God to curse the wicked. These imprecatory psalms are sometimes thought to conflict with the sentiment of the gospel, but in fact they accurately reflect God’s abhorrence of evil” (Nelson Study Bible, introduction to Psalms).
David is not specific about his trouble, but he speaks of betrayal and injustice—”they hid their net for me without cause” (verse 7). David asks God to intervene: “Plead my cause!” “Fight for me!” “Rescue me!” (verses 1-3). David calls for God to pour out judgment on his enemies: Bring on them “shame” (military defeat). Make them “chaff” (worthless and scattered thin). Lead them into “dark and slippery” paths (troubles and uncertainties). Orchestrate their “ruin” (sudden and complete desolation) (see The Expositors Bible Commentary, notes on verses 4-8). After God has dealt with these enemies, “Then,” David says, “my soul will rejoice in the Lord and delight in His salvation” (verses 9-10).
David is dumbfounded that people for whom he had shown concern (verses 13-14) have become enemies, detractors and false witnesses (verses 11-16). They gloat, “Aha! Aha! With our own eyes we have seen it” (verse 21, NIV). David’s distress in the face of people who hated him without cause (verse 19) and “ruthless witnesses” (verse 11, NIV) foreshadowed the suffering of Yeshua Messiah (see John 15:24-25; Mark 14:57-59).
The closing section of the psalm states that those who rejoice at David’s hurt will be “ashamed” (verse 26)—figuratively “clothed with shame” (same verse). This refers “not to simple embarrassment, but to the revelation of the complete emptiness of wickedness before the judgment seat of God” (Nelson Study Bible, note on verses 26-28).
This section also informs us that there are other people on David’s side (verse 27), evidently from among those referred to in verse 20 as the “quiet ones in the land.” David is confident that they will shout for joy and praise God with him when he is at last delivered.
Mat 21:23 – 22:22
Here Yeshua begins to reveal the character of the Pharisees to the people. Much of what He states in His parables is directed to them, though the people who tolerated their leadership are not without accountability.
43 The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation
This verse, in conjunction with verse 19 (the fig tree) is often used to teach that God changed His mind and did away with the faith of Israel (as given in Torah), and began something new (i.e., “the Christian Church”), about the time of Acts chapter 2.
The reality is that God did not do away with His Torah (i.e., Matthew 5:17-21, Romans 3:31), but the offer of the Kingdom, along with the task of spreading the news of Messiah, did indeed “pass from” Israel proper, to the nations (via the faithful Jewish remnant in the diaspora), after Yeshua’s death — though not for long. (Much of chapters 9-11 of Paul’s Romans letter addresses this.)
The offer of the Kingdom through Messiah was indeed intended for Israel and not the gentiles:
Matthew 10:5-7 – These twelve Yeshua sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.
Matthew 15: 22-24 – And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil. But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us. But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
The seeds for what was to come indeed began in Acts 2, but not as the Christian church depicts. Here we find Jews (not “Christians”) gathered in Jerusalem for the feast of Shavuot. The Ruach haKodesh (Holy Spirit) decends on these Jewish followers of Messiah as an indication that God’s will and intent were being served through those who trusted in Yeshua. (This experience was similar to that of Mount Sinai. Our Revelation study goes into much more detail about this.) These Jews then returned to their homes throughout the Roman empire, continuing in their Torah-based faith, with a knowledge of Messiah in Yeshua and empowerment of the His Ruach.
We know that the Kingdom offer had not completely been taken away from Israel at the time of the events in Acts 2, for we see Peter extending this to His Jewish brethren, following the events of that Shavuot in the very next chapter:
Acts 3:12-26 – And when Peter saw it, he answered unto the people, Ye men of Israel, why marvel ye at this? or why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk? The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified his Son Yeshua; whom ye delivered up, and denied him in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let him go. But ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you; And killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses. And his name through faith in his name hath made this man strong, whom ye see and know: yea, the faith which is by him hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all. And now, brethren, I wot that through ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers. But those things, which God before had shewed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled. Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord. And he shall send Yeshua Messiah, which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.
For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you. And it shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people. Yea, and all the prophets from Samuel and those that follow after, as many as have spoken, have likewise foretold of these days. Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed. Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Yeshua, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities.
We also see Paul continue to teach that this offer of salvation/Kingdom was for the Jew first:
Romans 1:16 – For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
Israel did not heed the warnings however. This was followed by the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD and subsequent Roman war of 132 AD. During this approximately 100-year time period, a process began whereby the baton of Torah-based Messianic faith was passed along to the remaining faithful remnant of Israel in the diaspora, and those gentiles who congregated with them (i.e Romans, chapters 9-11). It was in this manner that nations other than Israel were “given” the Kingdom offer to take to the world.
It was not long however before Babylonian paganism crept in and took the place of the faith of Yeshua and His disciples, resulting in the formation of gentile Christianity. By the time of Constantine (early 4th century) anyone continuing to follow the original (authentic) Torah-based Hebraic faith in Yeshua was considered a heretic. For a historical summary of this time period, see Not Subject to the Law of God? in the YashaNet library.
Conversely, some would argue that the phrase “a nation,” here still refers to Israel, but a different generation. This argument is made no doubt, with the intention to combat the aforementioned false teaching that God deserted the Torah-based faith of Israel in favor of Christianity.3
It would seem however that the context (from the cursing of the fig tree on Yeshua’s way into Jerusalem, to His words as He left the Temple in 33:37-39), indicate a rebuke of Israel, (other than the faithful remnant). This has nothing to do with God’s faithfulness to Israel (i.e., as seen in Jeremiah 31 and Romans chapters 9 through 11), only to their role of bringing the truth of God’s Kingdom, as it will be established through Yeshua, to the nations.
In short, although the main body of Israel did not carry out its mission of the Kingdom (and has never accepted Yeshua or taught others about Him since that time), neither did the gentiles when given the chance.
1 And Yeshua answered
Chapter divisions were obviously not present in the original documents. Yeshua’s comments are a continuation from the discussion of chapter 21.
2 The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king
See our previous comments on the Kingdom parables. As He mentioned in chapter 21, the Kingdom offer, meant exclusively for Israel, was slipping from their hands.
11 he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment
14 For many are called, but few are chosen.
This would allude to His parable of the sower as discussed in chapter 13. Many hear the Torah preached, but few truly adhere to it. See also Matthew 7:13-14.
The “call” of God can be traced to the Shema (Deuteronomy 6) which is a call to enter the Kingdom. (See comments to verse 37 below.) The Shema can be considered God’s “plan of salvation,” as it gives instruction to place our trust in the One true God, and to seek Him and be conformed to His image, by being both hearers and doers of His Torah. All of these principles are reinforced in the various “New Testament” letters.
16 they sent out unto him their disciples with the Herodians
Yeshua’s enemies now play their “secular card,” bringing in the ruling family with ties to Rome, prior to asking Him a question about loyalty to Caesar.