Trying to Reflect on Passover Without Crying

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: Mar 14, 2013

News Letter 5849-002
3rd day of the 1st month?5849 years after the creation of Adam
The 1st 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

This is also the end of the Third Tithe Year for the Levite, the alien, the fatherless and the widow Deuteronomy 26:12

March 16, 2013


Shabbat Shalom To the Royal Family,


Each year there are those who muddy the water. So this report from Nehemiah is about the alleged moon being sighted from Israel.

New Moon Report?

Chodesh Ha-Aviv?New Moon of the Aviv

On Wednesday March 13, 2013 the new moon was sighted from Israel. The moon was first sighted:?*from Jerusalem by Devorah Burnett at 5:41pm and shortly thereafter by Devorah Daniel, Jono Vandor, Jeremy Childs, and Nehemia Gordon;?*from another location in Jerusalem by Willie Ondricek at 5:50pm;?*from Kefar Eldad by Yoel Halevi at 5:52pm;?*from Tel Aviv by David Cachicas, Daniela Cachicas, and Gabriel Cachicas at 6:30pm.

Wednesday’s sighting marked the beginning of the First Month of the Hebrew year. Chag HaMatzot, the Feast of Unleavened Bread will begin at sunset on March 27 and will continue until sunset on April 3, 2013.

I posted photos of the new moon from Jerusalem on Wednesday March 13, 2013 at:
A photograph has been widely circulating around the internet, which some have claimed is the new moon from Jerusalem on Tuesday March 12, 2013. The new moon is clearly visible in the photo. I contacted the man who took the photo, William Sanford, and he clarified that he snapped this shot from Gulfport, Mississippi, not from Jerusalem! Of course, the moon was easily visible from many parts of the Western Hemisphere on March 12 where it was seen 7-10 hours after sunset in Israel.

I have received definitive confirmation that the new moon was not visible on Tuesday night March 12, 2013 from Israel. Dr. Roy Hoffman attempted to sight the moon from Givat Ram in Jerusalem with the naked eye and with binoculars but was unable to see it. However, he managed to capture an image of the moon in a photograph. The moon is visible in two of Dr. Hoffman’s photographs, but only using “strong contrast enhancement.” This proves that the moon was not visible to the naked eye on Tuesday March 12. Please note that Dr. Hoffman is an Orthodox Jew and a long-time activist in the Israeli New Moon Society. You can learn more about his organization and why they study the new moon here:?

Shanah Tovah!?Happy New Year!
Nehemia Gordon?The Wandering Jew in Jerusalem

For those of you around Hanover or who can join us in Hanover we have the following announcement.
Shalom everyone,
We are very excited to have Andrew with us this Shabbat.

Andrew Hodkinson will be finishing his North American tour in Toronto this coming Sabbath. He holds degrees in Theology and Music and has a powerful international ministry of ministering in song (psalms put to music.) He has a congregation back home where he ministers full time in the small town of Underberg, South Africa. He is currently travelling with his wife Nicki.

Andrew will also be sharing a teaching with us.

Here are a couple of youtube video’s from Andew that you may enjoy watching.
The Lords Prayer in Herbrew.

We hope that you all can join us in Hanover this Shabbat..


I was also sent this gem this week by my Friend Dr. Dave Perry. Something I had not noticed before. SO mark the 7th day of the First Month.

Melchizedek Intercession – By Dr. David L. Perry Th.D.

Ezk.45:18 Thus saith YHWH; In the first month, in the first day of the month, thou shalt take a young bullock without blemish, and cleanse the
sanctuary: :19 And the priest shall take of the blood of the sin offering, and put it upon the posts of the house, and upon the four corners of the settle of the altar, and upon the posts of the gate of the inner court. :20 And so thou shalt do the seventh day of the month for every one that erreth, and for him that is simple: so shall ye reconcile the house.

Did you catch that? – And so you shall do the seventh day of the month (the 7th day of the 1st month of Abib) for every one that errors, and
for him that is simple: so shall ye reconcile the house.

This is huge. This means that Yah has set a special day that we can intercede for our family and friends. People that we care about – but do
not understand Torah, do not agree with Torah, the Commandments or the Appointed time Feastday , Clean meats, New Moons, Shabbat,

We that have come to a saving knowledge of Yahshua – must understand that Yahshua is the ‘all in all’ / ‘once for all’ sacrifice. He is the
New Covenant/ New Testament answer to an Old Testament question. In the Old Testament our repentance / redemption was secured by the blood of animals. Sabbath was to be kept by the blood of animals. Feasts were to be kept by the blood of animals. Covenants were cut by the blood of

But now we look to the Blood of Yahshua that paid for and settles those mandates. Yahshua’s Blood purchased our salvation. Yahshua’s Blood paid
our redemption. By Yahshua’s Blood we receive grace, pardon, mercy, justification, sanctification – whereby we can come to Yah’s Throne
boldly. Yahshua’s Blood covers all our sin and iniquity. We keep Shabbat, Feast days, Passover, Memorials, New Moons, etc. – without an
animal sacrifice. Yahshua’s Passover Blood also ratifies the New Covenant (Lk.22:19-20).

Yahshua is our Melchizedek High Priest. Yahshua is our Melchizedek sacrifice. Yahshua is our Melchizedek High Priest that is also our go`el
kinsmen redeemer sacrifice ransom for ‘who so ever will’. And we are being called into that Melchizedek Priesthood. And in Him we are more
than conquerors.

1 Pt.2:9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him
who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light: :10 Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of Yah: which had
not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.

Melchizedek Priesthood – Melek means King / Zedek means righteous ergo; a Royal Priesthood

We as Melchizedek Priests also have a ‘response – ability’ to intercede for others of our own families, our own circle of friends, our own
sphere of acquaintances – even for those we don’t know. This is underscored by the New Testament;

Acts 11:14 Who shall tell thee words, whereby thou and all thy house shall be saved.

Ac 16:31 And they said, Believe on Messiah Yahshua, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.

John 3:16 For Yah so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have
everlasting life. 17 For Yah sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. 18 He that
believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only
begotten Son of YHWH.

We as Melchizedek Priests have a ‘response – ability’ to intercede for others that can be done anytime – BUT – it is we that beseech and
approach Him – On the 7th day of the 1st month it is Yah that invites us to that intercession – Which do you think He will show more favour –
doing it His way at His invitation or ours?

There is much more to learn about the Covenants – in particular ‘the Covenants of Promise’ (Eph.2:12). There is much more to learn about and
account for concerning the Melkizedeq Priesthood.

I address both of these topics in two books 1] “The Covenants of Promise”, 2] “Back to the Melchizedek Future” – as well as a 3rd – my
doctoral dissertation dealing with Covenant and Law – each is available on PDF (download) for a donation of at least $15.oo each.

Contact Dr. David L. Perry POBx 1111 Bloomington Calif. 92316 or PayPal using

Please specify the Book or Books and supply a valid eMail eDdress

These are a fascinating topics Yah has lead me to and allowed me discoveries, associations, awarenesses and drop-jaw ah-ha moments- They
have captivated my interest and attention for 17 years. Each topic has unexpected pay-offs and dividends – some that will definitely stretch
your awareness and challenge what you think you know – impacting your walk.

I also post articles of various topics on FaceBook on ‘Torah Without Rabbinics’ as well as on ‘Torah Without Rabbinics’ on – in
addition posting on

Shalom – Yah’s Esteem – Happy True and Only Torah Rosh haShana (Ex.12:2)

Boaz and Rinah have sent me an update on the Vineyard and we would love to share it with you all. Here is a link to the new pictures that they have added to the site.

And here is the note he has shared with me, which many of you have supported in this effort. I also thank those who have helped in this. We are not done, as we must maintain this project until the first harvest can be taken after Aviv 2017. If you, can please consider helping us.

When I was there to help get this project started we had rain not once but twice. It was just a sprinkle and we counted it as a blessing. We had a friend who stayed and did a great deal of work there for about 3 months. We have another friend whom we have had extensive discussions with and sometimes all night long at times about the Sabbatical years. He has now been hired to tend to the vines and trellising. This is a big job.

Now we have two huge rains this winter to break the drought of 7 years and the Locust that were in Egypt came and went without doing us any damage. The desert is blooming and the dried up river flowed for some time. We believe with all that is in me that by keeping the Sabbatical year in Israel that the land will be restored to the time when Isaac lived there and was able to tend his flocks on this land, which is now a desert. We must do our part in order for Yehovah to do his.

Dear Joseph,

As we start the spring season with Pesach just around the corner we remember the 10 plagues that HASHEM sent onto Egypt and Pharaoh in particular for not letting His people go. It seems prophetically significant that at this time we should have an invasion of locusts from Egypt. We had warning of them coming a few days before they actually arrived and when they did it was quite a sight!

Fortunately we have our vines covered for protection from the sand storms as well as half the vineyard pruned and this seemed to be a sufficient detraction for these ravenous scavengers. The farmers growing potatoes and onions were not as fortunate but even so, as a result of swift action by the Israeli Department of Agriculture the damages were limited.

Even so it was a gentle reminder of Pesach so many years ago and to me a sign of the imminent final redemption. Soon all the Pharaohs in the world will have to let His people go. It is our prayer that this will be soon and herald the coming of Mashiach.
During the winter we have our river flow twice! The second time was quite frightening as we were cut off society for two days quite something in this day and age.

After the rain the desert is blooming with flowers as a result of the plentiful rains – such a blessing to see!

Biblical significance and history of Beer Milka

Beer Milka (Milkas well) is the northern most water point for the area known in the Bible as Kadesh Barnea. This is the area where the Children of Israel spent about 20 of the 40 years in the Wilderness. Unlike traditional Bible pictures that show the Bible encampments as being tightly organized like a modern western city the archeological evidence shows that although it was laid out according to the cardinal points, it was wide spread and close to water sources.

We believe as well that Beer Milka was dug by Isaac and was named after Rivkas grandmother. He dug three wells in the Negev Osek, Sitna and Rhehovot. His last well, Rehovot bNegev, is not very far from us although difficult to get to.

The area of Kadesh Barnea was well known by Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, Moses, Aaron and the nation of Israel during the Exodus as well as most of the prophets. We invite you to come and walk in the footsteps of our forefathers and experience what they felt as they walked the Land that was promised to Abraham to be our inheritance.

Today our well serves as a reserve water supply. All water resources in Israel are under the management of the Israeli Water Company Mekorot. The resources belong to the country and not the individual. Unlike in some other countries we are not permitted to drill for our own water but have to buy our water from Mekorot.

Living in an arid region our water resources are not only precious but also very expensive making water the single largest expense in an agricultural crop. Some countries in the world have free water something we can only dream about!
Modern development in the area of Kadesh Barnea

In Israels modern history the area of Kadesh Barnea has been established as a border settlement area comprising of four settlements and a field school. Be’er Milka is the newest of these settlements having been formed in 2006 with the arrival of the first seven families. 2007 saw the arrival of another six families and the settlement has continued to grow and today is home to more than 25 families with more than 50 children!
Beer Milka is an agriculturally based settlement with farmers growing cherry tomatoes, pomegranates and wine vines. The community also has a communally owned dairy currently with some 200 milking cows. It is planned to grow over the next few years to a dairy of 1000 cows.

Shefa at Be’er Milka

Shefa the Hebrew word for abundance – is the name of our, Boaz and Rinahs organization. We have with the help of the generosity of some of the people from Sighted Moon been able to establish 10 dunam (2.5 acres) of vineyard. We have 3000 vines and four different varieties. They were planted in October 2013 which means our first official counting year is 2014. This places our first harvest in 2017. After this year we will observe the regular Biblical growing commands and practices as well as setting aside 10% of the vines (grown under the same conditions as the rest of the vineyard) for the Sabbatical calculations of Joseph Dumond of Sighted Moon. We are hoping that the Creator will speak to us through this experiment and show the truth of His purpose. Please not that we do not want to put HASHEM Elohim to the test but are rather seeking clarity regarding the Sabbatical or Shmitta years thereby correcting, if needed, the jubilee cycle.

The vineyard, to be able to see these few crucial first few years through, will continue to need your ongoing support to finance the project. As we observe all the Biblical commands with regard to the preparation, operation and care of the vineyard, we will only start to receive income from the vines in 2018. This is a long term Kingdom project. We are asking those who feel that they want to continue to help fulfill prophecy (Is. 37:30; Ez. 28:26; Amos 9:14) to step up and commit on an ongoing basis toward the success of the vineyard.

This year at Shefa

This winter the 7 year drought was broken in the Land. This included substantial (by desert standards) rain even here! The desert is in bloom with wild flowers. This is a rare site and bears witness to the faithfulness of HASHEM. These seeds stay dormant under the harsh desert sands and can wait for years for the rains to come and then show forth the beauty of our creator.

Our vines were planted in October 2012 and have made it through the cold winter and the tough spring sand storms. We eagerly await the first green leaves to start and show their heads indicating the start of the new growing season.

We have started to place our trellising after the tireless job of getting them cut and welded. We never thought it would be as much of a job as it has been!

This is truly a time of faith for us as we wait to see how many of our vines have made it through the winter. We pray that they will all make it!
What a humbling honor it is to be able to able to plant this vineyard and to be a part in the prophetic end times. Again we wish to thank those that have given so generously toward the project and yet remind you that we will continue to need support to meet our monthly expenses for the running of the vineyard for the next four years. Support can be given directly to Shefa Israel through our website our through the Sighted Moon organization.

Rinah and I would like invite you to come and visit the vineyard when next visiting Israel. We offer comfortable accommodation in the vineyard that will help to make your stay a hands on memorable experience. As space is limited, please be sure to reserve your place well in advance.
Many Blessings until our next report

Boaz and Rinah


I was cleaning the house in preparation for Passover. De-leavening is what it is called and today many call it spring cleaning. I found a box of chocolate bars with an expiry date of 2010. That shows you how long it has been hidden from me, in those other years I cleaned the house. So I pray Yehovah to show me all my secret sins, those ones I guard from others and even myself deceiving myself into thinking I am holy when I am not.

As I clean I move the dressers and the beds and clean under them. Again I was surprised to find some of the gross things I found. How could we not see them before? Dead moths and lady bugs and huge spider webs and the place where the candle fell on the rugs and did not catch fire and filthy things some of our guest had left behind. Like our sins that are hidden from us yet are right there in plain site we must work to get them removed and out of our minds and out of way of living. I move the big furniture to clean up under them. I clean the furnace ducts and let the fresh air come in. I do not keep Easter and do not want any dust bunnies in our home during Passover.

I was first baptized the week before Passover in 1983 having first learned about the Sabbath one year before. Now 30 years later I will be able to have Passover for the first time in my home with my wife and family. It is not a done deal but the possibility is looking very good. Whether the family comes will be the next hurdle to over come.

I am sharing this with you all so the new ones know that they should do the cleaning and that you learn things in the doing. It is the doers of the law that Yehovah sees. And for those who have unconverted mates. Never give up on them. It may not work out for me and my family again this year. But at least they were able to consider it and I was able to hope. Never give up.

This past week I was sent this email. Yes I read them all and they do have an influence on the things I share with you. I am not always able to respond to them all, And that I regret.

Joseph! I was reading, once again before the Pesach and ULB, about how our Yeshua was stoned while hanging on the tree. Ever since I found this teaching I cannot tell you how much more the crucifixion of our Savior touches my heart and humbles me. Most of us know the obvious price He paid before His death, but knowing that He was stoned after being beaten, hit in the face, spit upon, mocked and the hairs of His beard pulled out of his skin adds a whole new terrifying dimension to His death. This gives a whole new meaning to Psalms 22. I would like to suggest that it may be an edifying teaching to bring forward once again before the Pesach. I did buy the book “The Secrets of Golgotha” at your recommendation. It will remain a treasure in my library. I wanted to thank you once again for this teaching before Pesach arrives.

I also want to share something I have been thinking about. I heard you say on the Hebrew Nation Radio Morning Show last Thursday that it is getting so hard for you to come to the states. This is sad. I was so hoping to meet you one day at one of your seminars. I guess I may have to come to Canada! But, I was thinking that if you shipped your teaching materials ahead of your trip and then drove to the states with just your own bible with you – would this be a plan that might work? I am going to try very hard to join your group that goes to Israel every year. If not this year, then hopefully the next. I am saving my pennies and praying that if this something Yah wants me to do, then it will happen.

I want to encourage you, Joseph, to keep running the race! YHWH put you in my path for a reason and after learning so much from your teachings, especially about the Sabbatical Years and the Jubilees; I thank Him and understand why He steered me your way. As the days grow darker, the bride will need the Ruach HaKodesh to guide them ever so much more and will use His servants such as you to accomplish this. The work Abba is doing through you is extremely important.

May the strength of YHWH be with you in the greatest love humankind will ever know through Yeshua HaMachiyach our High Priest and anointed King. Hallelu-Yah!

Shalom, shalom!


With that email I am now going to once again share with you why I believe Yehshua was stoned to death as He hung on the tree as our Passover Lamb in 31 C.E.

One of the very first articles I wrote was how the Messiah died. It was a subject that was part of the reasons I was asked not to come back to the group I was with at the time because this is just too hard a subject to consider.

So now as we approach the time of year which memorializes the Exodus of Israel from Egypt and the death of the first-born and the death and resurrection of Yehshua our Messiah, I again will watch The Passion and I will again watch the Ten Commandments by Cecil b Demille. And I will weep and I will mourn and I will cry.

I offer to you again this year the story of how the Messiah died. You can read what I wrote:  “The Messiah was Killed By Stoning”  or read what others have also concluded which is what follows.

But this year as you read this consider what is going on here. At Passover Yehovah Made the covenant with Abraham. It was at Shavuot that Yehovah made the covenant with Israel at Mount Sinai. IN both cases they had washed and were ready for the event. There was blood sacrifice and a meal. The 70 elders went up and ate with Yehovah on the mountain. They did this after they had agreed to the covenant.

When Yehshua eats the Memorial meal the night before it is the same thing as the 70 Elders did. Yehshua is making the Re-Newed Covenant that is written on our hearts. The blood is represented in the wine. This is my Blood, The bread is my flesh. And then like the Red Heifer Yehshua sheds his own blood on the Mount of Olives.
This Memorial supper is the same as the one the 70 Elders had on Mount Sinai. It is tied in with the Covenant Abraham made. And this is the reason we all should be keeping this Memorial Supper where we drink the wine and eat the bread and wash each others feet, the night before Passover.

Hope of Israel Ministries (Ecclesia of YEHOVAH):

Why Did Yeshua the Messiah Die Before the Two Robbers?

Have you ever wondered WHY the Messiah died BEFORE the two robbers who were crucified alongside him? Was our Savior LESS healthy, or NOT as physically fit as the other two? Was there some OTHER factor or agent in his death that we are unaware of? Did the spear wound in his side or, perhaps, the scourging he received at the hands of the Romans, cause Yeshua to succumb? The Old Testament sacrifice of the Red Heifer PREFIGURED the death of our Passover Lamb and provides us with clues to his death — showing that the Jewish (or Mosaic) penalty for BLASPHEMY is what PRIMARILY caused his death!

John D. Keyser

The mode of Yeshua’s execution, as graphically portrayed in the Gospels, has long been the subject of historical research and, until recently, more than some skepticism. The April 16, 1990 issue of U.S. News and World Report makes this observation:

During the 19th and early 20th centuries, some scholars questioned the crucifixion story on a number of counts. Some have argued, for instance, that it was MORE COMMON in first-century Palestine for criminals to be executed by some other means — stoning, burning, beheading or strangling — and their bodies “hanged on a tree” as a WARNING to others. Other theologians have added that crucifixion was a Roman mode of execution and was not permitted in Jewish law. Consequently, it is unlikely that the Temple priests would call for Jesus to be crucified as the Gospels report…But ARCHAEOLOGICAL DISCOVERIES AND TEXTUAL RESEARCH in recent years have added considerable weight to the Gospel accounts. — Article, “The Last Days of Jesus,” p. 46.

Let us make use of this recently recovered information, and determine WHY the Messiah died BEFORE the two robbers executed with him.

The Survival Factors

In chapter 15 of the gospel of Mark we read:

It was now evening, and since it was the Preparation Day (that is, the vigil of the Sabbath), there came Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent member of the Council, who himself lived in the hope of seeing the kingdom of God, and he boldly went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Pilate, ASTONISHED THAT HE SHOULD HAVE DIED SO SOON, summoned the centurion and inquired if he was already dead. Having been assured of this by the centurion, he granted the corpse to Joseph….(Verses 42-46).

Notice Pilate was ASTONISHED that the Messiah had died so soon — in fact he didn’t believe it; so he sent for the centurion to confirm Joseph of Arimathea’s assertion. WHY was Pilate so unwilling to believe the Messiah was already dead?

This has not gone unnoticed by the commentators. The Imperial Bible Dictionary, edited by Patrick Fairbairn, makes this observation:
Instances are on record of persons surviving on a cross for nine days. But in our Lord’s case THERE WERE CIRCUMSTANCES ALTOGETHER PECULIAR, which must have GREATLY TENDED TO SHORTEN THE PERIOD OF SUFFERING. Ignorant of these, Pilate indicated his surprise that the death of Jesus should have occurred so soon, Mar. XV. 44. And as there were PECULIAR CIRCUMSTANCES TENDING TO PRODUCE AN UNUSUALLY SPEEDY DEATH, so there were reasons for effecting the removal of the body with the least possible delay. — Vol. II, Blackie & Son, London.

Presumably the Messiah was as healthy, or healthier than the two robbers who were crucified with him. He understood and observed the health laws of YEHOVAH God his Father; and this, therefore, should have guaranteed a LONGER survival time at Golgotha than those who suffered with him.

Not only that, but there is evidence to suggest the Messiah was NOT scourged as harshly as the usual victim of crucifixion! Notice what Luke 23:20-23 says:

Pilate was anxious to SET JESUS FREE and addressed them again, but they [the mob] shouted back, “Crucify him! Crucify him!” And for the third time he spoke to them, “Why? What harm has this man done? I have found no case against him that deserves death, SO I SHALL HAVE HIM PUNISHED AND THEN LET HIM GO.”

The Greek word for punished is “paideuo,” and it means “to train up a child, i.e. educate, or (by impl.) DISCIPLINE (by punishment):- chasten (-ise), instruct, learn, teach.” This word in turn comes from “pais,” meaning “a boy (as often BEATEN with impunity), or (by anal.) a girl.” Pais comes from the primary root “paio,” meaning “to hit (as if by a single blow and LESS VIOLENTLY than 5180); spec. to sting (as a scorpion):- smite, strike.” (See Strong’s Concordance, #3811, 3816 & 3817). The word “paideuo” in NO way denotes a severe scourging as is usually associated with crucifixion.
The Old Testament indicates the same thing! In Isaiah 53:5 we read: “…The CHASTISEMENT for our peace [health, welfare] was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.” The word “chastisement” here in the Hebrew means the same thing as “punished” does in the Greek: “Muwcar, moo-sawr; from 3256; prop. chastisement; fig. reproof, warning or instruction; also…correction, discipline…instruction, rebuke.” (#4148 Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance).

Since those subjected to scourging often died at the hands of the lictor, it was quite probable, then, that the Messiah was treated LESS SEVERELY since Pilate FULLY INTENDED TO SET HIM FREE. An interesting work by Haim Cohn — The Trial and Death of Jesus — agrees with this completely:
…if the Roman governor had, indeed, before sentencing Jesus, ordered him to be scourged, as is reported in John and hinted at in Mark and Matthew, he was probably scourged, but NOT TORTURED AS SEVERELY AS IN THE NORMAL ROMAN PRACTICE respecting persons accused of “laesa maiestas,” …but…may have been given several blows or strokes, not with the view to extracting further confessions of guilt from him, but SOLELY with a view to compelling or inducing him to express regret and repentance and to promise that he would no longer air royal pretensions. — KTAV Publishing House, New York. 1977, pages 206-7.

In fact, the scourging associated with crucifixion was NORMALLY administered AT THE EXECUTION SITE; and the “punishment” meted out by Pilate (Luke 23:20-23) WAS NOT part of the usual Roman practice. In the standard Roman crucifixion, the malefactor was first undressed then his head was covered, then a forked instrument with two prongs (called “furca”) was placed on his back and his two hands bound to it — each hand to one of the prongs. In this fashion the one condemned had to drag the furca to the place of crucifixion; and WHEN HE ARRIVED THERE he was scourged while remaining bound to the furca.

Roman records indicate a MILDER FORM of crucifixion was sometimes permitted. In this case the malefactor was allowed to FORGO THE USUAL SCOURGING at the execution site and, instead of dragging the furca, had to carry his own gallows. The transverse beam (patibulum) was loaded on the back of the one to be crucified, and sometimes he was already bound or nailed to the patibulum when starting out on his final journey. Other times, the malefactor was allowed to carry the patibulum FREELY on his back, and would be bound or NAILED to it when he ARRIVED at his destination.

The vertical stake of the cross — whether it be a TREE or an actual stake — was a PERMANENT FIXTURE at the crucifixion site, or (in the case of a stake) already installed BEFOREHAND for each particular execution. (See: Mommsen, op. cit., pp. 919, 983; Hentig, Die Strafe, Vol. I, p. 254; Scott, op. cit., pp. 169ff.; Berger, op. cit., q.v. “Castigatio,” p. 382; Seneca, Ad Marciam, 20, 3; Lactantius, 6, 17, 28; Plutarchus, De Sera Numinis Vindicta, 9; Plautus, Miles Gloriosus, 359.)

The gospel records clearly show the Messiah was allowed the MILDER FORM of crucifixion, probably because Pilate wanted to be as lenient as possible — especially after his wife’s warning (Matt. 27:19); or maybe he realized only too well what awaited the Messiah at Golgotha.
All these factors we have just mentioned should have ENSURED that the Messiah would OUTLIVE the two robbers put to death with him! But they didn’t — WHY?

The Blood On the Ground!

How, then, did the Messiah die? HOW did he shed his precious blood for humankind?
During the Passover Seder the shed blood of the Messiah is emphasized time and time again. Did the blood our Savior lost while being SCOURGED by the Romans qualify for our atonement? True, he probably lost quite a bit of blood during this ordeal; but the Old Testament shows that his blood had to be shed at the PLACE OF HIS DEATH!

The sacrifice of the RED HEIFER clearly points to this. During this ceremony the Red Heifer, which PREFIGURED THE MESSIAH, was taken EAST from the Temple in Jerusalem, across the arched bridge over the Kidron Valley, to the MIPHKAD ALTAR located on the slopes of the Mount of Olives. (For further details read our article Just Where in Jerusalem Did Our Savior Die?). Here it was killed and the BLOOD SPRINKLED SEVEN TIMES ON THE GROUND before the east entrance of the Temple. Obviously, the scourging the Messiah received did NOT fulfill this, because it occurred within the city — WITHIN THE CAMP.

What about the blood released from the Messiah’s hands and feet when he was nailed to the tree? Would this qualify? A recent article published by The Journal of the American Medical Association (March 21, 1986) shows that VERY LITTLE BLOOD was released by the crucifixion itself: “Although scourging may have resulted in considerable blood loss, crucifixion per se was a RELATIVELY BLOODLESS PROCEDURE, since no major arteries, other than PERHAPS the deep plantar arch, pass through the favored anatomic sites of transfixion.”
Ernest L. Martin verifies this:

It has always been a mystery why so much EMPHASIS is given in the New Testament to the SPILLING OF CHRIST’S BLOOD, while in normal crucifixion LITTLE BLOOD EVER REACHED THE GROUND. Only a SMALL AMOUNT of blood would ordinarily have issued from Christ’s wounds in his hands or feet while he was hanging on the tree (the blood that came forth by use of the spear WOULD NOT COUNT in a theological sense because that occurred AFTER HIS DEATH). — Secrets of Golgotha, page 202.

What, then, occurred to the Messiah, while he was hanging on the tree, that would FULFILL the sacrifice of the Red Heifer — which PREFIGURED his own death?


The Marring of the Front of the Messiah’s Body

Remember that Pontius Pilate was ASTONISHED the Messiah had died so early — BEFORE the two robbers crucified with him. SOMETHING ELSE caused the Messiah to die more quickly, and it was this “something” which fulfilled the sacrifice of the Red Heifer.
Notice Isaiah 53:5-6:

But He was WOUNDED for our transgressions, He was BRUISED for our INIQUITIES; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His STRIPES we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the Lord has LAID ON HIM the INIQUITY of us all.

In the margin of the New King James version of the Bible, published by Thomas Nelson (1983), the following words are given an ALTERNATE translation, as follows: “Wounded,” PIERCED THROUGH; “bruised,” CRUSHED; “stripes,” BLOWS THAT CUT IN; and “laid on him,” CAUSED TO LAND ON HIM. Using these ALTERNATE words in the above verses we get this: “But He was PIERCED THROUGH for our transgressions, He was CRUSHED for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His BLOWS THAT CUT IN we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, everyone, to his own way; and the Lord has CAUSED TO LAND ON HIM the iniquity of us all.” The phrase “pierced through for our transgressions” obviously refers to the CRUCIFIXION process itself, while “blows that cut in” must refer to the SCOURGING Yeshua received.

But what about the phrase “CRUSHED for our iniquities”? If we couple this with the last phrase (both verses are talking about “our iniquities”) we can readily see that whatever CRUSHED OR BRUISED our Savior was CAUSED TO LAND ON HIM!! Now, WHAT could that be? Let’s look at Isaiah 52:14: “Just as many were astonished at you, so His VISAGE WAS MARRED more than any man, and His FORM more than the sons of men; so shall HE SPRINKLE many nations.” Here we see his face and his body were MARRED and he SPRINKLED his blood for “many nations.”
According to Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance the Hebrew word for marred is “moshchath,” meaning “disfigurement:- corruption, marred” (#4893). This word comes from “shachath,” a word that can mean “BATTER.” It is easy to deduce that the Messiah’s FACE AND BODY were disfigured BY BATTERING. WHAT caused this battering?

Another clue can be gleaned from Psalm 22, which also highlights the suffering of the Messiah: “They pierced My hands and My feet; I CAN COUNT ALL MY BONES. They look and stare at Me.” Think about this a minute. This “battering” that so marred the face and body of the Messiah by “crushing” or “bruising” had to have occurred ON THE FRONT OF HIS BODY! How else could he “count all [his] bones” that were exposed by whatever was “CAUSED TO LAND ON HIM”?

Consider this: the Messiah’s FACE and the FRONT PART OF HIS BODY could NOT have been so marred by the scourging he received! To undergo the scourging he was tied to a large flogging post THAT COVERED, AND THEREBY PROTECTED, THE FRONT PART OF HIS BODY from the Roman whip! Also, the face was NOT flogged. The report in The Journal of the American Medical Association explains this: “For scourging, the man was stripped of his clothing, and his hands were tied to an upright post. The BACK, BUTTOCKS, AND LEGS were flogged either by two soldiers (lictors) or by one who alternated positions.” Even Isaiah 50 shows it was the BACK PART of the Messiah that received the whipping: “I gave MY BACK to those who struck Me” (verse 6).

Another point to consider is the SPRINKLING of the Messiah’s blood. To fulfill the SACRIFICE OF THE RED HEIFER our Savior was crucified FACING WEST towards the Temple and the Holy of Holies; and his blood was sprinkled on the ground BEFORE the Temple — BETWEEN himself and the Temple. This, in itself, ELIMlNATES SCOURGING as the agent responsible for me shedding of his atoning blood. The blood obviously had to come from the FRONT OF HIS BODY — AND AT THE SCENE OF THE CRUCIFIXION! So WHAT was it that so BATTERED AND BRUISED the front of the Messiah’s body?


The Key to the Enigma!

The book of John contains the key:
As soon as the chief priests and their officials saw him [the Messiah], they shouted, “Crucify! Crucify!” But Pilate answered, “You take him and crucify him. As for me, I find no basis for a charge against him. The Jews insisted, [saying] “WE HAVE A LAW, AND ACCORDING TO THAT LAW HE MUST DlE, because he claimed to be the Son of God.” — John 19:7.

What was this LAW the Jews were talking about? Leviticus 24:16 reveals the answer: “And he that BLASPHEMES the name of the Lord, he shall surely be put to death, and all the congregation shall certainly STONE HIM: as well as the stranger, as he that is born in the land, when he blasphemes the name of the Lord, shall be put to death. The Acts of Pilate (a 4th-century apocryphal work) contains verses PARALLELING John 19:7 that irrefutably prove the Jews were indeed referring to the law in Deut. 24:16.

In these verses Pilate could not see any blasphemy in the utterance of Yeshua:
If this word is blasphemy, take him, bring him into your synagogue, and JUDGE HIM ACCORDING TO YOUR LAW. The Jews answered Pilate: It is contained in our law, that if a man sins against a man, he must receive forty strokes save one, BUT HE WHO BLASPHEMES AGAINST GOD MUST BE STONED. Pilate said to them: Take him yourselves and punish him as you wish. — IV, 3-4.
Was the Messiah accused of blasphemy? Indeed he was! Notice Matthew 26:63-66:

The high priest said to him, “I charge you under oath by the living God: Tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.” “Yes, it is as you say,” Jesus replied. “But I say to all of you: In the future you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.” Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, “HE HAS SPOKEN BLASPHEMY! Why do we need any more witnesses: Look, now you HAVE HEARD THE BLASPHEMY. What do you think? “HE IS WORTHY OF DEATH,” they answered.
And what was the PENALTY for blasphemy? STONING!

Ernest Martin notes, in his book Secrets of Golgotha, that this was NOT the first time the Jews tried to stone him:
During the time of Christ’s ministry many of the people who did not like his teaching had SEVERAL TIMES tried to carry out this Mosaic Law against him. “Then they took up STONES to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the Temple, going throughout the midst of them, and so passed by” (John 8:59). “Then the Jews TOOK UP STONES AGAIN TO STONE HIM. Jesus answered them, many good works have I showed you from my Father; for which of those works do you STONE ME? The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we STONE you not; but FOR BLASPHEMY; and because you, being a man, make yourself God” (John 10:31-33). The fact is, TIME AND TIME AGAIN the authorities were trying to KILL, HIM BY STONING. “His disciples say unto him, Master, the Jews of late sought TO STONE YOU; and go you [to Judea] again?” (John 11:8). It is made clear in the Gospel record that the people who were hostile to Christ were looking for EVERY OPPORTUNITY TO STONE HIM FOR HIS BLASPHEMY (as they considered it). And, THEY FINALLY GOT THEIR WISH when they went to Pilate and said: “We have a law, AND BY THAT LAW HE OUGHT TO DIE” (John 19:7). — page 188.

Reading through the gospel of John it becomes readily apparent the Jews were indeed out to kill Yeshua by STONING from an early date. The first mention of the Jews plotting to kill him is found in chapter 5: “For this reason the Jews tried all the harder TO KILL HIM; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, MAKING HIMSELF EQUAL WITH GOD.” (Verse 18). In the eyes of the religious authorities this amounted to BLASPHEMY — the worst crime imaginable! And, as we have seen, the law of Moses required the penalty of STONING for blasphemy!

Later on, in chapter 7, we find this statement: “After this, Jesus went around Galilee, PURPOSELY staying away from Judea BECAUSE THE JEWS THERE WERE WAITING TO TAKE HIS LIFE” (Verse 1). And how were they planning to take his life? BY STONING!

Now notice verse 30: “At this they tried to seize him, but no one laid a hand on him, BECAUSE HIS TIME [HOUR] HAD NOT YET COME.” What “time” is John talking about? The “time” for the Messiah TO BE KILLED — to be sacrificed according to the preordained schedule of his Father! We see this again in John 8:20: “Yet no one seized him, BECAUSE HIS TIME HAD NOT YET COME.” The “time” for the Messiah to die and fulfill ALL the Old Testament prophecies pertaining to Himself had not yet arrived!

In chapter 8 we see the Jews becoming so upset they tried to stone him on the spot! “I tell you the truth,” Yeshua answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!” At this, THEY PICKED UP STONES TO STONE HIM, but Yeshua hid himself, slipping away from the temple guards (Verse 58). In chapter 10 it is PLAINLY revealed the Jews were trying to STONE HIM FOR BLASPHEMY:

“I and the Father are one.” Again the Jews PICKED UP STONES TO STONE HIM, but Jesus said to them, “I have shown you many great miracles from the Father. For which of these do you STONE me?” “We are not STONING you for any of these,” replied the Jews, “but for BLASPHEMY, because you, a mere man, CLAIM TO BE GOD.”…Again they tried to seize him, but he escaped their grasp. — verses 30-33,39.
The disciples became very concerned and were aghast when Yeshua determined to return to Judea: “Then he said to his disciples, ‘Let us go back to Judea.’ ‘But Rabbi,’ they said, ‘a short while ago the Jews tried to STONE you, and yet you are going back there?'” (John 11:7). The Messiah knew exactly what he was doing — his “time” had arrived and the events were to move inexorably towards the conclusion of his ministry and his life.
Putting all this together we can CLEARLY see the authorities were out to STONE the Messiah FOR BLASPHEMY, and from an early date. But they were not permitted to carry out their plan UNTIL THE MESSIAH’S TIME HAD ARRIVED — the time set aside at the end of a long series of events that had to be fulfilled before the Son of God could be offered up in our behalf. And when that time arrived, the Jews WERE NO LONGER HELD BACK FROM STONING THE MESSIAH FOR WHAT THEY CONSIDERED TO BE BLASPHEMY!

Haim Cohn came to the same conclusion! Notice what he says:
Two incidents, reported only in John, are often cited to prove JEWISH ENMITY against Jesus: they are INCIDENTS OF STONING, when that animus took violent form. When they heard him say in the temple — of all places — that he had been before Abraham, the Jews “took up stones to cast at him” (8:59); and again, when he proclaimed that he and God, his father, were one, “the Jews took up stones again to stone him” (10:31)…when Jesus had spoken and taught in the temple, “no man laid hands on him, for his hour WAS NOT YET COME” (7:30; 8:20). How then can it be that, though HIS HOUR WAS NOT YET COME and no man could lay hands on him, THE JEWS STONED HIM? If his hour was not yet come, why did they seek to take him, and he had to escape out of their hands (10:39)? The words “for his hour was not yet come” carry a DOUBLE MEANING. On the one hand, they PREPARE THE GROUND FOR WHAT WILL HAPPEN WHEN THE HOUR COMES: then, it appears, THE JEWS WILL BE FREE FROM ALL INHIBITIONS AND GIVE FULL PLAY TO THEIR MURDEROUS AGGRESSIONS. On the other, there is a hint of the predestination of JESUS” FATE, as if it were not the hostility and contumaciousness [rebelliousness, stubborn disobedience] of the Jews which DETERMINED THE EVENT [STONING], but solely the will of God, Who appointed His own time and CHOSE HIS OWN INSTRUMENTS. — The Trial and Death of Jesus, page 64.

There is absolutely no doubt that this is what the Jewish authorities were petitioning Pilate for permission to do. And what did Pilate do? “Pilate said, ‘Take him yourselves and JUDGE HIM BY YOUR OWN LAW”‘ (John 18:31). In saying this Pilate permitted the Jews to execute Yeshua ACCORDING TO THE BIBLICAL LAW. This was an UNCOMMON allowance because it subjected the Messiah to suffer BOTH the Roman method of execution (crucifixion) for sedition and treason, and the scriptural (Mosaic) execution (STONING) for blasphemy, thus fulfilling all the Old Testament prophecies. To die for ALL of us — BOTH Jew and Gentile — he had to DIE ACCORDING TO BOTH JEWISH AND GENTILE LAW!
The apostle Paul, in the sixth chapter of Galatians, affirms that our Savior died as a result of STONING. This is what he claims: “Finally, let no one cause me trouble, FOR I BEAR ON MY BODY THE MARKS [SCARS] OF JESUS” (Verse 17). Obviously, these “marks” could NOT be the result of crucifixion — Paul was never crucified; and, if he had been, he would NEVER have lived to tell the tale! Paul’s scars, therefore, were the result of something else.

The book of Acts reveals that Paul was STONED about four years prior to his statement in the New Testament. The very first act of persecution against Paul that’s recorded in the New Testament, was STONING — see Acts 14:19,20. During this incidence, which occurred in Galatia, Paul was STONED and left for dead. By a miracle from YEHOVAH God he got up and walked away from it, but suffered for many years as a result of the terrible punishment his body received.


Our Savior Was Blinded!

Just like the Messiah, Paul’s face and EYES were the PRIME TARGETS of those hurling the stones. Paul mentions this in Galatians 4:13-15:
And you know that on account of a PHYSICAL INFIRMITY [Gr. WEAKNESS OF THE FLESH] I preached the gospel to you formerly; and though I was a trial to you IN MY FLESH, you did not reject or despise me; but you received me as an angel of God, EVEN AS CHRIST JESUS. Where then is your self congratulation? For I bear you witness that, if possible, you would have PLUCKED OUT YOUR VERY EYES AND GIVEN THEM TO ME.

It was to the HEAD AND EYES that the stones were mainly thrown, especially during the initial phases of the execution (see Mark 12:4); and remarkably, Paul indicates, in these verses, that his principal affliction had SOMETHING TO DO WITH HIS EYES!

Ernest Martin elaborates on this:
Since it was common for hostile people to hurl stones at the FACE of a person, it can readily be understood why such a stoning could have ALMOST BLINDED Paul. He wrote with LARGE ALPHABETIC LETTERS (Gal. 6:11), and this may well indicate that he had difficulty in seeing clearly. The lacerations had apparently so injured Paul that there was permanent damage TO HIS EYES AND FACE. When he told the Galatians that “my trial in my flesh ye despised not, nor rejected,” it STRONGLY implies that his wounds (even four years after his stoning) were ostensibly so bad and unattractive that the common thing for people to do would be to reject him from being in their company. The Galatians, however, did not reject him, but treated him like an angel of God, “EVEN AS CHRIST JESUS” (BECAUSE THEY KNEW THAT CHRIST WAS ALSO STONED AND BLINDED). Since there were no plastic surgeons to improve Paul’s outward appearance, this is no doubt why Paul made a special point in telling the Galatians that he BORE THE SCARS OF JESUS IN HIS BODY (6:17). Those SCARS no doubt CAME FROM THE WOUNDS HE SUFFERED DURING HIS STONING. — Secrets of Golgotha, page 198.

Notice Psalm 38, which is a prophecy of HOW the Messiah would have to suffer: “For thine arrows [piercers — to chop into, pierce or sever] stick fast in me, and thy hand presseth me sore…My heart panteth, my strength faileth me: AS FOR THE LIGHT OF MINE EYES, IT ALSO IS GONE FROM ME.” (Verses 2 and 10). Psalm 69, which is FULL of references to the sufferings of the Messiah, also indicates this! “I am weary with my crying; my throat is dry; MY EYES FAIL while I wait for my God.” (Verse 3).

These verses show that the Messiah WAS TO BE BLINDED; and there can hardly be a doubt that sometime during the six hours the Messiah hung on the tree, being constantly struck by stones, some of them hit his eyes and blinded him!
Mangled Beyond Recognition!

His “visage” and his “form” — the front parts of his body — were MARRED BEYOND RECOGNITION. How do you account for the fact that Mary couldn’t recognize her Master at the tomb?

They [the angels] asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?” “They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him. ” At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, BUT SHE DID NOT REALIZE THAT IT WAS JESUS. “Woman,” he said, “why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?” THINKING HE WAS THE GARDENER, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.” Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means teacher). — John 20:13-16.

The Messiah’s flesh was so mangled and his body so disfigured that even a close friend could not recognize him! “His visage was so marred more than any man” (Isaiah 52:14). For six long hours our Savior was tormented by volleys of small, sharp flintstones (such as are found on the Mount of Olives to this day) hurled at the front parts of his naked body while he was nailed to the tree — facing the east gate of the Temple and the great curtain that hung from the eastern portal. These stones struck his face, his midsection and his legs, breaking the skin and dislodging the flesh — crushing and bruising and tearing, but without the force to break his bones. No wonder the Messiah was marred more than any man!
The Seder Symbolism

The Passover Seder or Service has long puzzled scholars. They have been unable to see how breaking off pieces of matzos (unleavened bread) could in any way represent the body of the Messiah at his crucifixion.

Ernest Martin explains:
When Christ instituted the Lord’s Supper on the eve of his crucifixion, he took bread and BROKE it and he said this BREAKING was like his body WOULD BE BROKEN for them (Matt. 26:26). He spoke of the BREAKING of his body in the same context as the wine which represented his BLOOD which was shed at his crucifixion for the remission of sins…Since the New Testament specifically states that NO BONES in his body would be broken (John 19:36), many scholars can see no reference whatever to the death of Christ in the BREAKING of the unleavened bread…There are a number of Greek manuscripts and writings of several Church Fathers which provide a comment of explanation to the text of First Corinthians 11:24 concerning the BREAKING of the bread at the Lord’s Supper and they associated it with the BREAKING of Christ’s body at his crucifixion. They added their comments that the bread represented Christ’s body: “WHICH IS BROKEN FOR YOU” (see The Greek New Testament, UBS, p. 604). THIS MEANS THAT THERE WERE EARLY BELIEFS THAT THE “BROKEN BREAD” IN THE CEREMONY OF THE LORD’S SUPPER DID INDEED REPRESENT THE “BROKEN BODY” OF CHRIST AT THE TIME OF HIS CRUCIFIXION…

Thus we have the beliefs of early Christians and the prophecy of Isaiah itself that Christ’s body would indeed be BROKEN like BREAKING OFF pieces of unleavened bread. But the scourging of the soldiers before his crucifixion or the simple act of crucifixion itself COULD NOT ACCOUNT FOR SUCH BREAKING OFF OF PIECES OF HIS BODY. But the act of STONING would fit the description precisely. The hurling of small and sharp stones at Christ’s body would tear away pieces of his flesh ever so slowly until after about six hours of such treatment he would have been hanging on the tree of crucifixion as a person whose VISAGE AND FORM would have been so marred that he would not have resembled a normal human any longer. This is how Isaiah 52:14 describes the Suffering Servant, whom all the New Testament writers identified with Christ Jesus, and I see no reason for not believing it. THIS IS JUST ANOTHER EVIDENCE THAT CHRIST MET HIS DEATH BY STONING (his body torn to shreds in its frontal areas) and that he DID NOT DIE BY CRUCIFIXION ALONE. — Secrets of Golgotha, pages 189-190.

The next time you observe the Passover Seder remember how, when you BREAK the unleavened bread, our Passover Lamb was TORMENTED for hours by the constant barrage of sharp, flint-like stones that bruised and crushed and gouged and BROKE OFF pieces of his flesh, SPRINKLING his atoning blood on the ground before the presence of his Father’s Shekinah Glory in the Temple.
Remember, the sacrifice of the Red Heifer, which PREFIGURED the Messiah’s death so accurately, did so right down to the very LOCATION of his death!

Remember that the Messiah died for the ENTIRE human race — you and me, Gentile and Jew (Israelite) — and in so doing had to die ACCORDING TO GENTILE AND JEWISH LAW. Crucifixion satisfied the Gentile (Roman) law and the STONING satisfied Jewish (Mosaic) law. Without the stoning, the Messiah would have died for Gentiles ONLY! Remember that!


Jewish and Other Evidence

Are there other sources of information that show the Messiah died as a result of STONING? Indeed there are. The early Jewish people have long known that this was the way the Messiah was put to death. The Talmud (body of Jewish civil and religious law) has an account of his very death:
On the eve of Passover Yeshua the Nazarean WAS HANGED. For forty days before the execution took place, a herald went forth and cried, “He is going forth TO BE STONED because he has practiced sorcery and enticed Israel to apostasy. Any one who can say anything in his favor let him come forward and plead on his behalf.” But since nothing was brought forward in his favor HE WAS HANGED on the eve of Passover. — Sanhedrin 43b.

The word “hanged” in this instance does NOT refer to hanging by the neck, but to being “attached” or “transfixed” to a tree. This historical reference in the Talmud shows that the Jews were aware that Yeshua the Messiah was actually STONED WHILE HANGING on the tree of crucifixion.
It is interesting to note that the Jewish authorities in Jerusalem had been PUBLICLY PROCLAIMING (during the forty days before the Passover in 31 A.D.) that Yeshua deserved to be STONED for his teachings and statements. The book of John shows that the apostles were well aware of this pronouncement and constantly reminded the Messiah of it. Notice John 11:8 once again: ‘”But Rabbi,” they said, “a short while ago the Jews tried to STONE you, and yet you are going back there [to Judea]?”

Verses 55 to 57 show that the chief priests and Pharisees had issued orders for his arrest: “When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, many went up from the country to Jerusalem for their ceremonial cleansing before the Passover. They kept looking for Jesus, and as they stood in the temple area they asked one another, ‘What do you think? Isn’t he coming to the Feast at all?’ But the chief priests and Pharisees HAD GIVEN ORDERS that if any one found out where Jesus was, he should report it so that they might arrest him.”‘ And true to the words of the Talmud, they had Yeshua STONED while hanging on the tree of crucifixion in order to fulfill the Law of Moses regarding a person who BLASPHEMED against YEHOVAH God.

In the book Rabbinic Essays, by Jacob Z. Lauterback, we find FURTHER EVIDENCE our Savior died as a result of stoning. Recalling a Jewish Baraita (Jewish teaching that was not codified when the first part of the Talmud was put together), the author states that the Messiah met his death BY STONING and NOT by crucifixion alone. After a long discussion on this subject, the Baraita says: “he [the Messiah] is going out TO BE STONED,” followed by “they hanged him” (Pages 494-497). This early Jewish tradition PLAINLY SHOWS that our Passover Lamb was indeed STONED TO DEATH while hanging on the “accursed tree.”

In Luke 23:27-28 we read:
And a great multitude of the people followed Him [to Golgotha], and WOMEN WHO ALSO MOURNED AND LAMENTED HIM. But Jesus, turning to them, said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for Me, but weep for yourselves and for your children.”

Mark notes what happened when the Messiah and the women arrived at the execution site: “Then they gave Him WINE MINGLED WITH MYRRH to drink, but He did not take it” (Mark 15:23). The “wine mingled with myrrh” was given to the condemned to deaden the pain, and was part of an old Jewish custom.

Haim Cohn explains this:
From Luke we know that “there followed him a great company of people, AND OF WOMEN, which also bewailed and lamented him” (23:27), and they would of a surety have followed him all the way to Golgotha. Combining both traditions [Luke 23:27 and Mark 15:23], it may, I think, be permissible to infer that it was the WOMEN ACCOMPANYING JESUS on his way to execution, and attending him in his last hours on the cross, who BROUGHT THE WINE AND BEGGED HIM TO DRINK: it was an ancient Jewish custom that a condemned man, when led to the place of execution, had to be given a DRAFT OF WINE WITH INCENSE IN IT, “in order that he may lose his mind,” that is, become unconscious; and it was “the dear women of Jerusalem who volunteered and brought the wine” and offered it to him [B Sanhedrin 43a]. This custom is told in the Talmud IN CONNECTION WITH CONVICTS ABOUT TO BE STONED…”the dear women of Jerusalem” saw to it that…a man ABOUT TO DIE BY STONING should be anesthetized against excess of pain…(The Trial and Death of Jesus, KTAV Publishing House, N.Y. 1977, pp. 217-218).
This custom passed into law, Maimonides (Jewish philosopher of the 12th century) ruling that, when being led to his execution BY STONING, the convict had to be given a DRINK OF WINE WITH INCENSE, so that he may get intoxicated and insensible — and ONLY THEN was he to be STONED. (Mishneh Torah, Hilkhot Sanhedrin 13, 2). This is FURTHER PROOF the Messiah suffered according to the Mosaic law AND the Roman law!

Ernest Renan, one of the leading biographers of Yeshua during the nineteenth century, understood clearly that the Messiah had been STONED as he hung on the gallows or tree:

And if ever a crime was that of a nation, it was the murder of Jesus. It was a “legal” murder, in the sense that its primary cause was THE LAW WHICH WAS THE VERY SOUL OF THE NATION. The MOSAIC LAW pronounced the death penalty for any attempt to CHANGE the established cult. Jesus, no doubt, attacked that cult and aspired to destroy it…Christianity has been intolerant; but intolerance is not essentially Christian. It is Jewish, in this sense that Judaism was the first to vest religion with a theory of the absolute, postulating that every reformer — EVEN THOUGH SUPPORTING HIS DOCTRINE WITH MIRACLES — MUST BE DRAGGED TO THE GALLOWS [TREE, CROSS] AND STONED BY ALL AND SUNDRY. — La Vie de Jesus, 8th ed., Paris, 1863. Pages 411-412.


The Final Fulfillment

Once we realize that people were throwing sharp, flint-like stones (such as those found on the Mount of Olives) at Yeshua’s naked body for almost SIX HOURS, we can easily understand WHY he died so quickly. Isaiah 52 and 53 were PERFECTLY fulfilled. His flesh was so TORN AWAY from the bones on the front part of his body that bystanders could hardly tell he was a human being. His flesh was so mangled and his body so DISFIGURED that it was almost impossible to recognize him. “His VISAGE was so marred MORE than any man, and His FORM more than the sons of man.” (Isaiah 52:14).

In the initial stages of the stoning the head received the brunt of the punishment; and there can be no doubt several of the stones at least struck his eyes and BLINDED him, thus fulfilling Psalm 38.

His body was truly BROKEN FOR US; and it is this terrible stoning that we commemorate when we break the matzos during the Passover Seder. How much MORE MEANING the Passover Service will have for us now that we understand this crucial truth about the death of our Passover Lamb.

The tremendous symbolism pictured by the sacrifice of the Red Heifer really comes to life when we see how the Messiah SPRINKLED his blood on the ground before the Sanctuary. And the only action that could sprinkle the blood on the ground in such a manner, was the STONING he received. THE MESSIAH DIED FOR US PRIMARILY AS A RESULT OF THE TERRIBLE STONING HE ENDURED AS HE HUNG ON THE TREE — THUS BECOMING AN ATONEMENT FOR BOTH JEW (ISRAELITE) AND GENTILE!

We should thank our Heavenly Father for giving up His only begotten Son; and thank our Lord and Savior for the SACRIFICE he made on our behalf so we can qualify to be come members of the God Family and inherit the entire universe. May YEHOVAH God help us to continually keep this in mind!

Hope of Israel Ministries — Taking the Lead in the Search for Truth!
Hope of Israel Ministries
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Triennial Torah Cycle

We continue this weekend with our regular Triennial Torah Reading

Deut 9      1 Chron 5-6      Eph 1-2


Review of Israel’s Rebellions (Deuteronomy 9)

Moses continues explaining that Israel is not going to inherit the Promised Land because of their righteousness, but because of the foreign people’s wickedness, and because of the unconditional promise God had made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob to bring their descendants into the land (verses 4-6). To drive the point home even more, Moses reminds them of the episode with the golden calf, along with some of their other rebellions, and how they, being a stiff-necked people, provoked God so much that He was willing to totally destroy them had it not been for Moses’ intervention (verses 14, 18-20). To introduce this section, God inspired Moses in verse 7 to use the strong statement, “Remember! Do not forget….” This double imperative provides emphasis and adds weight to the sober reminders that follow.

We too, if we are blessed today with physical possessions or status, might think that we obtained these because of our own righteousness. But God may have given us blessings for quite a different reason. It is possible to deceive ourselves, thinking that God is adding physical things to us because we are seeking Him first, when, in reality, we are doing nothing of the kind. Perhaps the blessings are even a test to see where our loyalties lie.

Verses 9 and 19 show Moses as a beloved servant of God because of His love for the people of God. He stood in the gap as Jesus did for us all—and reflected the true character of God in his attitude. Verses 25-29 demonstrate that it pleases God when we remind Him of His steadfast character and the promises He has made. Of course, He doesn’t need reminding—rather, it shows Him that we remember who He is and what He has done for us and for others.


The Trans-Jordanian Tribes (1 Chronicles 5)

Chapter 5 concerns the tribes who settled east of the Jordan—Reuben, Gad and half of Manasseh.
Notice verses 1-2 in the New Revised Standard Version: “The sons of Reuben the firstborn of Israel. (He was the firstborn, but because he defiled his father’s bed [when he slept with his father’s concubine Bilhah] his birthright was given to the sons of Joseph son of Israel, so that he [Reuben] is not enrolled in the genealogy according to the birthright; though Judah became prominent among his brothers and a ruler [“the chief ruler,” King James Version] came from him, yet the birthright belonged to Joseph).”

This passage is important in explaining two things. First, the transfer of the birthright from Jacob’s firstborn son. And second, the fact that the birthright and kingship were split up. Reuben, though the firstborn of Jacob by his first wife Leah, was not permitted to receive the birthright blessing upon his descendants (or the promise of kingship) because of the defilement he brought on himself. Instead the two elements of birthright and scepter were split out and went to the next two in line. The kingship went to the fourth son of Jacob by Leah, Judah, skipping over Leah’s second and third sons, Simeon and Levi, presumably because they were not entitled to tribal territory and dominion, having disqualified themselves through their cruelty (Genesis 49:5-7; 34:25-30). The birthright went to another firstborn, Joseph—Jacob’s firstborn by his other wife Rachel (skipping over Jacob’s children by his concubines Bilhah and Zilpah).

This chapter further informs us that in the days of Saul, the Reubenites and Gadites fought against the Hagrites (verses 10, 18-19), perhaps meaning descendants of Hagar (and thus Ishmaelite or related Arab tribes). “The Hagrites and their allies were probably desert peoples who felt increasing pressure from the expanding Israelite population. Their efforts at resisting the Israelites took place in the days of Saul (v. 10), though the narratives of Saul do not mention them” (Nelson Study Bible, note on verse 19). We see here in the midst of these genealogies another example of crying out for God’s help and His answering prayer (verses 20-22)—though here God answers collective prayer rather than that of an individual, as in the previous chapter with Jabez.

Finally, we earlier read the end of chapter 5, regarding the trans-Jordanian tribes’ deportation to Assyria, in harmony with Israel’s history in the book of Kings (see Bible Reading Program comments on 2 Kings 16:6-9; 15:29-31; 1 Chronicles 5:23-26; 2 Kings 17:1-2; 16:10-18; 15:38; 2 Chronicles 27:9).


The Family of Levi (1 Chronicles 6)

As The Expositor’s Bible Commentary explains in its introductory notes on the chapter: “Chapter 6 commences with Pentateuchal citations and concludes with territorial lists taken from Joshua, but it consists primarily of materials not found outside Chronicles. It takes up four major subjects: the line of the high priests (vv. 3-15, 49-53), the three clans of Levi (vv. 16-30), the Levitical musicians (vv. 31-48), and the cities that were assigned for the tribe’s use (vv. 54-81). The Levitical organization of David’s day receives further treatment in chapters 23-26″—which we read earlier in the Bible Reading Program.

Note the distribution of the Levites in the land. The priests were mainly given towns south of Jerusalem, with the remainder of the tribe of Kohath receiving towns just north of Jerusalem. Merari had cities in the Trans-Jordan area east of Jerusalem and in Zebulun in the northwest part of the country. Gershon had cities in the northern part of the country.

Chapter 6 also gives us an interesting detail bearing on biblical chronology: “David’s musician Heman, 1000 B.C., is eighteen generations removed from Moses’ adversary Korah, in 1445. This poses a problem for those advocating a late date for the Exodus, in the 1200’s…let alone those who would place Levi’s grandson Izhar within the same period” (note on verses 33-37).

Ephesians 1 (

The Epistle of Ephesians is a letter that contains a very important message for the people of God, who are to be encouraged in accomplishing His mission for the world. Yeshua the Messiah is portrayed as exalted above the cosmos, with His resurrection power being accessible to all Believers. God’s people have been selected by Him to be holy, corporately composing a Temple in which His presence can dwell. By the sacrificial work of the cross, Jewish and non-Jewish followers of the Messiah are to be united together as a “one new humanity”—the mystery of the gospel! All are to serve one another in the Body of Messiah in mutual submission, as Yeshua’s thoughts and mindset nourish the whole ekklesia. People are encouraged to emulate God in their behavior, living distinctively different lives from those around them.

In varying degrees, Ephesians has often been highly valued by today’s Messianic movement because of its emphasis of Jewish and non-Jewish Believers being a part of the Commonwealth of Israel. It does speak of the unity that we are to all have in the Lord, as a testament to the grander redemption of Creation that will come in the eschaton. But while Ephesians is a text that we often turn to, Messianics are often not aware of the more detailed issues surrounding this letter present in contemporary scholarship. Were the “Ephesians” the only audience who received the letter, or was this a general epistle written to Believers in Asia Minor? Did the Apostle Paul really write Ephesians, or was it written by a second generation Believer in his name? What is the specific debate surrounding the dividing wall that has been abolished by the cross—is the wall abolished really the Torah of Moses in its entirety or could it be something else? Are husbands the head/authority of their wives or the head/source of their wives? How interconnected is the composition of Ephesians with the composition of Colossians?

In the commentary Ephesians for the Practical Messianic, TNN Online editor J.K. McKee addresses the known and unknown questions that this important letter asks us as Messianic Believers. A large Jewish and Greco-Roman Mediterranean background is considered of the issues. Careful and detailed attention has been given to the opinions present today surrounding the dividing wall, and complementarian and egalitarian views of the household codes. References to Tanach (Old Testament) concepts in the author’s words are considered, along with careful consideration for how Ephesians challenges us as a faith community trying to achieve our Father’s objectives. Poignant questions as to how we can be molded into a mature people are asked for today’s season of Messianic uncertainty.

The letter of Ephesians among the Pauline corpus also addresses First Century issues from which
today’s Believers can gain much insight. As Christopher J.H. Wright reminds us,

“Most of Paul’s letters were written in the heat of missionary efforts: wrestling with the theological basis of the inclusion of the Gentiles, affirming the need for Jew and Gentile to accept one another in Christ and in the [assembly], tackling the baffling range of new problems that assailed young [assemblies] as the gospel took root in the world of Greek polytheism, confronting incipient heresies with clear affirmations of the supremacy
and sufficiency of Jesus Christ, and so on.”

Ephesians 2 (


Salvation By Grace Through Faith—2:1 – 10

(1) And you {He made alive}, who were dead in trespasses and sins, (2) in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, (3) among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others. (4) But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, (5) even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), (6) and raised {us} up together, and made {us} sit together in the heavenly {places} in Christ Jesus, (7) that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in {His} kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. (8) For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; {it is} the gift of God, (9) not of works, lest anyone should boast. (10) For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

1. And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins. With the starting of this new chapter, there is a transition in thought. Paul, who has been praising God and thanking Him for the faith of the Ephesians, and praying for their continued enlightenment, now begins to remind them of what they once were and what they now are in Christ. In the past, these Ephesians, although they knew the mysteries and secrets involved in their paganism, were spiritually dead in their disobedience and sins. They have now been “quickened” or made alive (cf. Colossians 2:13).

2. In which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience. These Ephesians, both Jews and Gentiles, had once been among the “living dead” (I Timothy 5:6), who are ruled by satan, “the prince of the power of the air.” In other words, when we “walk” or conduct our lives in a worldly fashion (i.e., with no consideration of what God has to say) we are allowing ourselves to be controlled by the devil. God works in His sons “both to will and to do for His good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13). Satan, too, works in his children (cf. John 8:42-44).

3. Among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh, and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others. Paul makes it clear that the matter of disobedience and sin is a universal problem. None have been immune. We were all in the same condition. We were all part of that group that we now understand is made up of the “living dead.” At one time, “all” Christians, just like everyone else, walked according to the lusts and desires of the “flesh” (which is used here by Paul in its negative sense) and our debased minds. According to Galatians 5:19-21, some of these are: “adultery, fornication, uncleanness, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like….” In this condition, our natures were corrupted by disobedience and sin and we were doomed to suffer God’s wrath.

4. But, God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us. The picture of the preceding verses is one of ruin and judgment; nevertheless, the but here is quite emphatic, and totally reverses this very bleak picture. God hates sin and disobedience but is abundant in His mercy toward the sinner. And if mercy is His attitude towards us, and it most certainly is, then surely it is His great love for us that serves as His motive for all He does for us in Christ. And, as we have already learned, this great love began with God in eternity and is the reason “He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world” (1:4), “having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will” (1:5).

5. Even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ. The process of ruin has now been reversed. We are no longer the “living dead.” Instead, we have been “born again” (John 3:7), “raised from the dead…[to] walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:4), or “made alive…together with Christ,” “having forgiven [us] all [our] trespasses” (Colossians 2:13). (By grace you have been saved). God acted toward us (the world) in mercy motivated by love when we were in spiritually dead. Consequently, this salvation we now enjoy in Christ is the result of God’s grace or unmerited favor toward us.

6. And raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus. Just as the omnipotence of God raised up Christ alive, it also raises us up spiritually to “a newness of life” (Romans 6:4). Christ, of course, was not just raised up alive, but He was also exalted “at His [the Father’s] right hand in the heavenly places” (1:20). In 1:3 and 1:20, “the heavenly places” clearly refers to the heaven of God’s glory, the dwelling place of God Himself. Here, in this verse, “the heavenly places in Christ” refer to the church, the kingdom of God on earth. Speaking of this spiritual kingdom when He stood before Pilate, Jesus said: “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews” (John 18:36). Christians have been raised up to reign together with Christ in His church, the kingdom of God on earth. Quite appropriately Christians are referred to elsewhere as “kings and priests” or, literally, “a kingdom of priests” (Revelation 1:6). In 6:12, Paul uses “the heavenly places” to refer to the super-mundane or spiritual domain of demonic forces who array themselves against us. This expression then has at least three different meanings and is best determined by the context in which it is used.

7. That in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. The “ages to come” is eternity. In eternity God is going to make such a spectacle of His grace and kindness toward the redeemed in Christ that all the heavenly hosts and saints will glorify Him.

8. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God. If they were Jews, these Ephesians had not been saved by their perfect keeping of the Law of Moses, and if they were Gentiles, they were not saved because of what they had learned through their mystery religions. They were saved by grace (this is God’s part) through faith (this is their part). The “gift” is salvation, not faith. If God, because of His love, kindness, mercy, and grace, had not initiated His eternal scheme of redemption, there is no way man could be saved. Faith, of course, comes by hearing and believing God’s Word (Romans 10:17). Therefore, salvation, a gift of God, is something to be seized rather than achieved. Furthermore, and one must never lose sight of this fact, faith, truth faith, the kind of faith under discussion in this verse, is more than just believing (James 2:19).

9. Not of works, lest anyone should boast. Again, their salvation, which was a gift from God, did not come by the works of the Law, nor by any works of man’s invention or device. Salvation was not bestowed by God as a result of their efforts, therefore there was nothing for them to boast about. It is absolutely unconscionable for anyone to use what Paul is here writing as an excuse for teaching that man cannot and must not do anything in order to be saved, because, if he did, it would not be totally of God’s grace. There are the works of men in which, before God, no man can glory, and there are the works “of God” which all men are obligated to do by faith (John 6:29). In other words, our faith obligates us to obey (cf. James 2:14-26).

10. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. The church of Christ is the workmanship of God, and we were “created in Christ Jesus for good works.” These works “of God” were determined “beforehand” in the mind of God, and it is for the doing of these works that we were created. As God, through His omnipotence, created Adam, so He creates us spiritually in Christ. Again, “in Christ” tells where this creation takes place. It is in our connection with Christ: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (II Corinthians 5:17). Consequently, we are told to not just be hearers, but doers of the “work” also (James 1:25).


Brought Near By The Blood Of Christ—2:11 – 13

(11) Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh — who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands — (12) that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. (13) But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been made near by the blood of Christ.

11. Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh—who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands—. “You” and “we” have been used freely up to this point. As has already been said, some of the Ephesians were Jewish, but most were Gentiles. Thus far, Paul has not used these pronouns to distinguish between Jew and Gentile, but here he makes a distinction. He now uses “you” to specifically refer to the Gentile Christians. Nevertheless, there are two groups in the church at Ephesus: the Uncircumcision (the Gentiles) and the Circumcision (the Jews). In their previous condition, neither of these groups were right with God. Notice that the Jews had been circumcised in the flesh not in their hearts.

12. That at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. The former condition of these Gentiles was totally reprehensible. They knew nothing about Christ. They had never had the advantage of being citizens of the commonwealth of Israel and were completely ignorant of the promises and covenants God had made with Abraham (Genesis 12:2,3). They were without God and had absolutely no hope of ever getting out of this world alive. The five-fold negative description of this verse has a cumulative effect. The situation grows worse and worse with the last clause, “and without God in the world,” as the climax.

13. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been made near by the blood of Christ. But now, in Christ, these who had been so far from being what they ought to be, were now, by their obedience to the gospel, made near by the blood of Christ. This was always God’s intent. Saving the Gentiles was not an afterthought of God. When Jesus came into this world to seek and save that which was lost, He said: “As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. And other sheep I have which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd” (John 10:15,16).
Christ Our Peace—2:14 – 18

(14) For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of division {between us}, (15) having abolished in His flesh the enmity, {that is,} the law of commandments {contained} in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man {from} the two, {thus} making peace, (16) and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity. (17) And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near. (18) For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.

14. For He Himself is our peace. Jesus Christ, as a result of shedding His blood, is not just the peacemaker, but is “our peace,” because in His person, as God-man, the reconciliation took place. Through Him there is peace between God and man and Jew and Gentile. This double meaning runs through this verse and the one following. This latter peace, the one he mentions in this verse, is actually made possible by the first. Who has made both one. Both Jew and Gentile are one in their connection with Christ. If they truly belong to Christ, they are unified. This is the only way Jew and Gentile will ever be one. And has broken down the middle wall of division between us. The wall of division between these two groups was the Law of Moses, with its ordinances and observances (cf. Acts 10:28), which kept the Jews separate from the Gentiles, much like the actual wall of division in the Jerusalem Temple beyond which a Gentile was not permitted to go.

15. Having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances. Through His death, Jesus Christ abolished the Law (Colossians 2:14). In other words, we are no longer under a system of perfect lawkeeping for justification, but under grace (Romans 6:14). So as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace. The long feud between the human family is healed in Christ. There is now one fold and one shepherd. As Paul said in the Galatian letter: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise” (Galatians 3:28,29).

16. And that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross. This is the reconciliation that Paul wrote about in II Corinthians 5:19, “that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.” The word of reconciliation is the gospel, which, when obeyed, reconciles man to God first, and then, as Paul has pointed out in the previous verses, to other men, regardless of their race, sex, or social status (Galatians 3:28). This reconciliation is in the “one body” of 1:22,23 and Colossians 1:18, which could not have existed without the work of the cross. Thereby putting to death the enmity. How? “By His grace through the redemption that is in Christ, whom God set forth to be a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus” (Romans 3:24-26). Through the cross of Christ, sin has been punished. Therefore, God is just. Through the cross of Christ, the penalty for our sins has been paid vicariously. Therefore, God can be the justifier of those who exercise faith in His Son.

17. And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near. This preaching was not the preaching that Christ had done personally, but was the preaching done by the apostles and other preachers of the gospel (cf. Hebrews 1:2). Both the Gentile and the Jew heard this preaching.

18. For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father. In order to see the king, one had to be introduced by one close to him. Paul uses this symbolism to demonstrate that it is only through this “one Mediator,…the Man Jesus Christ” (I Timothy 2:5), that any of us, Jew or Gentile, have access to the Father. However, this is not done without the work of the “one Spirit” (I Corinthians 12:13).
Christ Our Cornerstone—2:19 – 22

(19) Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, (20) having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief {cornerstone}, (21) in whom the whole building, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, (22) in whom you also are being built together for a habitation of God in the Spirit.

19. Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God. Being formed into one sanctified household (the house of God, family of God, or church of Christ) along with the Jews, the Gentiles were strangers and foreigners no longer.

20. Having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets. The household of God is a “spiritual house” constructed out of “living stones” (I Peter 2:5). The laying of this foundation was accomplished by the preaching of the gospel (cf. 3:5). Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone. The two parts of this spiritual house are held together by Jesus Christ Himself, the chief cornerstone.

21. In whom the whole building, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. Jesus Christ does not just hold it together, but He also causes it to grow into a sacred temple (I Corinthians 3:16) by bringing new members (converts) into the church.

22. In whom you also are being built together for a habitation of God in the Spirit. In their connection with Christ, both the Jewish and Gentile Christians in Ephesus were part of the universal body of Christ. In sum-total with all the other churches, they formed the invisible body of Christ, the church which He built (Matthew 16:18) and purchased with His own blood (Acts 20:28). “A habitation of God in the Spirit” is equivalent to “a holy temple in the Lord” in verse 21. God in the Spirit (i.e., Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) dwells in the church, His sacred temple (I Corinthians 3:16), a spiritual house not built with hands (Acts 7:48 and 17:24).