News Letter 5850-012
14th day of the 3rd month 5850 years after the creation of Adam
The 3rd Month in the Fifth year of the Third Sabbatical Cycle
The Third Sabbatical Cycle of the 119th Jubilee Cycle
The Sabbatical Cycle of Earthquakes, Famines and Pestilence
June 14, 2014
Shabbat Shalom Family,
It has been a very busy week here with many things going on. The 2300 Days of Hell is at the Publisher and being made ready for you. In order to keep the costs down we have had to print it in black and white. Even then, it is still going to be expensive. I ask for your prayers on this so that all goes smoothly and we can have this available in a months time. I am going to have to go through this book at least one more time if not two or three times, as I check for errors made by the publishers when they make any needed changes, and also to watch for the Hebrew which they tend to get backwards. This editing is going to be time consuming, so I do need your prayers.
We are still planning on going to just outside Calgary at the end of June. The Calgary Stampede begins July 4th to 13th so you could come hear my teachings and then take in the Stampede.
The upcoming Conference in Crowsnest Pass, June 28 and 29 will be held in the Fish and Game Hall in Hillcrest, a town in the Municipality of Crowsnest Pass. Teachings will start at 10am and will go all day Saturday and to mid-afternoon on Sunday. Lunch and suppers will be provided.
Donations will be accepted to cover the costs of food and hall rental, and a love offering will be taken up.
Attendees will be responsible for their own accommodation, all of which can be found at “Crowsnest Pass, Alberta” in your search engine.
Please contact Barb @ email@example.com or Geri @ firstname.lastname@example.org
This is going to be a very wonderful and blessed time. We hope to see you there!
We also have a few other brethren working to host me in their areas. We are working with them and will let you know when they are ready. So please also pray for these conferences to come to pass. We are in talks with Ohio, North Dakota, Nevada and Mississippi. If you would like to be a part of these conferences and help to make them happen, then drop me a line and I will forward you on to those doing the work. One conference for Sukkot 2014 in the Philippines and Thailand has just come undone, as they are not going to be ready in time for me to come there. The very same day that I learned this I also received the following news. Yes, we need your prayers for these things to come about.
This week we also received our invitation to host a booth at ICEJ’s annual Sukkot convention in Jerusalem. They are expecting to have between 5,000-8,000 pilgrims from around the world attending this event. It is the biggest tourist event to take place in Israel and it takes place during Sukkot. I have purchased floor space at this event.
I would like to ask you for your financial help. To set up a proper display that is worthy of our Suzerain King Yehovah, we need about $10,000. This would include book marks and business cards with advertising about the web site, all three books and DVD’s, and a monitor with continuous display of video ads to attract the crowd and get their attention as they walk by on their way to the events. We also need to buy and ship the books so we can sell them in the booth. The cost is considerable and I have no idea how many to bring. If you would be willing to help me finance this then please go to the donate page and help us to get this set up.
Brethren, this is a very large opportunity for us to share this message about the Sabbatical and Jubilee years and the prophecies they contain not just to a church group of 35 or 100 people, but to countless many groups from around the world; people who are already reading their bibles and coming to Israel for Sukkot. They may not fully understand why they feel the need to be there, but they are. Who knows what Yehovah is going to do with them once they learn about the Sabbatical years.
So please fast and pray about this event and our success in it. And please help us to finance it so that we do not have just a table and chair as our display.
Once we have this display booth set up we could then go to other Christian conventions and have our display available to those seeking to understand this subject of the Sabbatical and Jubilee years. I am being counseled by a Sister whose husband does this for a living. Thank you all for your help in this.
We keep warning you of the coming atrocities. You do not believe us. Yet the atrocities continue daily on the nightly news. Do you believe them? Peace Peace when there is no peace. UN Peace troops will not protect you. Some of you are choosing not to obey. Deliberately choosing not to keep the Sabbatical year.
Do not keep the Next Sabbatical year in 2016, then you can face the ravages of war without the protection of Yehovah. Keep it and He will protect you. YOU CHOOSE. Choose Wisely.
Coming together and protesting months and years after these women are raped is of little help to the victims. Only Yehovah can protect you. But you must obey Him, and that means keeping the Sabbath and Holy Days and Sabbatical years. You can say it is only for when you are in the land. Tell the rapist that excuse when he comes for you and watch him laugh at you.
Yehovah does not hear the prayers of sinners and laughs at those who will not obey His commandments. Chose wisely.
One of the great things about going to Jerusalem for the Feasts is meeting other like-minded people. I had the great pleasure of meeting Schalk and Elsa Klee a number of years ago and we have met almost every time we have gone to Jerusalem. I celebrated Passover with them and their family this year on top of the Jerusalem Hostel. Just to be able to let my hair down a little with them was the best part of being there. In our conversations we talked about some trends that both of us were addressing in our Newsletters and teachings. The one we both wanted to talk about with each other was the calendar issues from those supporting the Dead Sea Scroll and the Enoch calendars. I had begun to gather my research on this subject but Schalk had most of his already in article form when we talked. He has since published it and many of you have been privileged to read it. Others may not.
This week I am sharing Schalk and Elsa’s teaching on Which Calendar Did Yehshua Use? There are many out there who continue to reinvent the wheel. That is fine if they want to do so. But it is when they suck others into their false ways of thinking that I get upset and have to speak out. So, this week we are going to share the Klee’s articles.
It is almost time for the new biblical year to start, depending of course on the calendar you use. Which calendar to use is no easy decision and lately, when you say the word calendar, you may already create a controversy. The calendar is not a salvation issue, there should be no arguing about it. It should not divide us, and yet it does.
There are so many different calendars in use today. Each one following their respective calendar believes they are right. There is the Sighted Moon calendar, the Hillel 2 calendar (known as the Jewish calendar), the Conjunction or dark moon calendar, the Essene calendar, to name but a few. You will also find calendars where the vernal equinox is used to determine the start of the new year. Other calendars use the barley for this purpose.
It is not our purpose to go into the detail of each of these calendars and tell you why we do or don’t agree with them. The purpose of this article is also NOT to create contention. We have received questions from people asking us why we follow the Sighted Moon calendar, and this is our explanation…
We will look at it from the point of view of what Y’shua did. Any other approach would involve our interpretation of Scripture. It is easy to prove or disprove any of the calendars using the Scriptures. That is why this movement ended up where it is, with many different calendars and more added as time goes on. For this reason, we will study what Y’shua did and how He did it. We will look at historical sources to find out what people did when Y’Shua was on earth.
That settles it for us because, when Y’shua came to earth, He came as an example to us. He came to show us how to live according to His instructions. Y’Shua instructed us, as His followers, on how to follow Him.
Here are his words:
23 And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me.
Y’shua said this quite a few times. So, what does this mean? If you take the word back to the Hebrew, it means the following:
FOLLOW [Heby?la? ?a?ar (Gen. 24:5, 8, 39, etc.), ?a?arê-??n (Gen. 41:31), r??ap? (Gen. 44:4), reg?el-‘at the foot of’ (Ex. 11:8), tûr (Nu. 15:39), ???â (2 S. 17:23), h?la? ?a?ar (Gen. 32:19; Dt. 4:3), ?a?ar-‘after’ (e.g., Nu. 14:24; 32:11; Dt. 12:30), z??aq ?a?ar (Jgs. 6:34f; lit “be called together after”), ??yâ ?a?ar (1 S. 12:14), m?ša? (Job. 21:33), y???? ?a?ar (2 S. 11:8), d???q-‘cling to’ (Jer. 42:16)]; AV also PURSUE AFTER, COME AFTER, WALK AFTER, GATHER AFTER, DRAW AFTER, etc.; NEB also GO AFTER, PURSUE, IMITATE, etc.2
Here is the Lexical Greek meaning, it is very similar.
199 ????????? (akolouthe?): vb.; ? Str 190; TDNT 1.210—1. LN 15.144 go/come behind, follow (Mk 11:9); 2. LN 15.156 accompany as follower (Mt 4:25); 3. LN 36.31 be a disciple (Mk 1:18)3
From these definitions, we learn that it means we are to do what He did in the way He did it, we are to imitate Him. We are to be His disciples. Keep this in mind as we continue here.
So, if we are to imitate Y’shua, we need to know what He did and in this case, which calendar He followed.
Which calendar did Y’shua keep?
Which calendar did Y’shua follow for the feasts? There are quite a few references in Scripture that prove that Y’shua went up to Jerusalem for the Pilgrimage festivals, as instructed in Torah.
The feast of Pesach (Passover)
41 Now His parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover. 42 And when He became twelve, they went up there according to the custom of the Feast;
23 Now when He was in Jerusalem at the Passover, during the feast, many believed in His name, observing His signs which He was doing.
13 The Passover of the Jews was near, and Y’shua went up to Jerusalem.
The feast of Sukkot (Tabernacles)
2 Now the feast of the Jews, the Feast of Booths, was near.
10 But when His brothers had gone up to the feast, then He Himself also went up, not publicly, but as if, in secret.
The feast of Shavuot (Pentecost)
Y’shua’s disciples did as He taught them. They were all together in Jerusalem at the feast of Shavuot (Pentecost) when the Holy Spirit was given them.
1 When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place.
From these verses, we learn that Y’shua and His disciples went up to Jerusalem for the feasts as commanded in Torah. In some of these verses, the feasts are called the feasts of the Jews. Why is that? Here is David Stern’s commentary on John 7:1-3
Avoiding Y’hudah because the Judeans (not “the Jews”) were out to kill him. Y’hudah (Judea, Greek Ioudaia) is mentioned three times in vv. 1–3; this is overwhelming evidence in favor of translating “Ioudaioi” here as Judeans and not “Jews.” 4
Why is this significant, if at all? These references apply to the Judeans. There were at least two different calendars at the time of Y’shua, the Judean and the Samaritan There is also speculation of a third, the Essene calendar, which may have been followed by the Galileans; we shall look into that later. We know Y’shua followed the calendar of the Temple, the Judean calendar. All these references prove that He went up to Jerusalem to the Temple to celebrate these feasts. Now, we need to determine which calendar was followed by the Judeans at the time of Y’shua. For this, we need to find historical references.
We know from historical sources that the Jewish calendar, or Hillel II calendar, was only instituted between the year 359 to 500 CE, so what was used before this?
Our first historical source tells us about how the new moon was announced in the time of Herod’s Temple. Herod here, refers to Herod the Great and for those who don’t know, Herod the Great was the King at the time of Y’shua’s birth.
The accurate determination of the new Moon was always of the utmost importance to the Hebrews, because if they were not precise with the exact time of the new moon it would upset their whole calendar, and the Lord of the calendar would be sought on the wrong days. If the Lord is indeed the Lord of times and seasons and designed a calendar, then it was their duty to observe it with accuracy and heart-felt passion.
During the time of Herod’s Temple the high priest was the one chosen to announce the New Moon from the Temple, based upon the testimony of two trustworthy witnesses. Once the announcement was made torches were lit on the Mount of Olives, which was a signal to those waiting upon other hills, even distant hills, that the New Moon had appeared over Jerusalem and to celebrate the New Moon with those even of the dispersion.5
Mention is made of two witnesses; what did they witness and how? Let’s search some more…
“Originally, the New Moon was not fixed by astronomical calculation, but was solemnly proclaimed after witnesses had testified to the reappearance of the crescent of the moon,” 6
The Hebrew calendar has evolved over time. For example, until the Tannaitic period (approximately 10–220 CE) the months were set by observation of a new crescent moon, with an additional month added every two or three years to correct for the difference between twelve lunar months and the solar year and, therefore, to keep Passover in the spring. The addition of the extra month was also based on observation of natural events: specifically, the ripening of the barley crop; the age of the kids, lambs, and doves; the ripeness of the fruit trees; and the relation of the date to the tekufah (seasons).7
Then we have Philo of Alexandria; he was a Hellenistic Jewish philosopher, who lived in Alexandria, Egypt, during the Roman Empire. He was a contemporary of Y’shua (20BC – c. 50CE).8
Philo wrote about the observance of the festivals by the Jews of his time, and here is a quote from The Works of Philo about the festival of the new moon. Here he describes in a very colorful, philosophical way how the new month was determined.
XXVI. (140) Following the order which we have adopted, we proceed to speak of the third festival, that of the new moon. First of all, because it is the beginning of the month, and the beginning, whether of number or of time, is honorable. Secondly, because at this time there is nothing in the whole of heaven destitute of light. (141) Thirdly, because at that period the more powerful and important body gives a portion of necessary assistance to the less important and weaker body; for, at the time of the new moon, the sun begins to illuminate the moon with a light which is visible to the outward senses, and then she displays her own beauty to the beholders. 9
There are other references from the Mishnah (Rosh. Hash. 1:3–2:1 C) that show that the Sighted Moon method was still used 200 years after Y’shua to determine the new month. We will go into more detail about this in our follow-up article about the calendar.
Other historical calendar references
We shall look at three other references in which the calendar is referenced. The book of Enoch, the book of Jubilees and the Temple Scroll.
The book of Enoch
The book of Enoch was written 300 years before Y’shua. The first day of the new moon according to the book of Enoch is the day the light rises on the moon.
12 And on the first day she is called the new moon, for on that day the light rises upon her.10
The end of the month is described as follows:
14 On the side whence the light of the moon comes forth, there again she wanes till all the light vanishes and all the days of the month are at an end, and her circumference is empty, void of light.10
From this description, we learn that the conjunction is the end of the month and the new moon is when the light rises on the moon.
We can, however, not say this alone is proof of a sighted moon calendar, for two calendars were described in the book of Enoch: a solar and lunar calendar. We quoted this to show you what the understanding was regarding the concept “new moon.” The ancient understanding of “new moon” was the day on which the light rises on the moon, thus a crescent moon. The ancient understanding was not in line with the NASA concept of the dark moon being the new moon. On the contrary, the conjunction is clearly understood to be the end of the month.
Here is a quote from the Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary about these two calendars.
Here for the first time an extant Jewish document describes a full calendar; or, more precisely, the angel Uriel reveals its details to Enoch. In fact, it sketches two systems: a solar calendar of 364 days (72:32; 74:10, 12; 75:2; 82:4–6) and a lunar one of 354 days (73:1–7; 78:6–17). The solar year of 364 days takes a schematic form (the months are again numbered, not named): months 1, 2, 4, 5, 7, 8, 10, and 11 have 30 days, while months 3, 6, 9, and 12 have 31 (72:6–32).
But for neither the solar nor the lunar year does the writer mention intercalation; every year has the same number of days (cf. also 78:15–17; 79:3–5 where the lunar year is divided into twelve months: 1–3, 7–9 have 30 days; 4–6, 10–12 have 29 [but 78:9 mentions a month with 28 days]).11
The book of Jubilees
The Book of Jubilees, on the other hand describes a solar calendar. This is the same solar calendar that was described in the Book of Enoch. Here is a quote from the same source about this calendar in the book of Jubilees.
The intriguing solar calendar of 1 Enoch 72–82 was later advocated by other writers. The most vigorous of these would be the author of the book of Jubilees (ca. 150 B.C.) who strongly defended this solar arrangement against any sort of lunar calendar. 11
This solar calendar was also the one that was used by the Essenes who lived in the Qumran area. Vanderkam further wrote this about the intercalation problem which was evident in both the Enoch calendars.
It seems that Jubilees, too, does not deal with the problem of intercalation, although it has been claimed that 6:31, 33, which prohibit “transgressing” the proper year, originally read “intercalate” (the two words would be identical in a Hebrew consonantal text). In whichever way these verses are read, the result is the same: there is no intercalation, so that festivals, which had agricultural ties, would soon be celebrated at the wrong time relative to the agricultural cycle. 11
The Temple Scroll
From these observations, we can conclude that both these calendars were flawed because it did not take intercalation into consideration. As we stated before, the solar calendar described in the book of Enoch and Jubilees was followed by the Essenes of Qumran, as described in the Temple Scroll found at Qumran. How do we know this was not the calendar followed at the time of Y’shua?
Enoch, Jubilees, and the Temple Scroll may have been written before the Qumran community settled on the shores of the Dead Sea, but the presence of copies of each testifies to the fact that they were used and studied at the Essene settlement. Hence it is not surprising to discover that the 364-day calendar is also attested among the sectarian documents. Indeed, it has been surmised that a calendrical dispute with the priestly establishment in Jerusalem was a precipitating factor in the exodus of the Essenes from Jerusalem to the Dead Sea. Evidence that the group followed a calendar that differed from the mainline one appears in 1QpHab 11:4–9 which indicates that the Wicked Priest—the archvillain for the covenanters and apparently the reigning high priest—appeared (at Qumran?) on the day of atonement. Since the ritual for this solemn day required that the high priest be at the temple, it is highly unlikely that he would have chosen this day for settling accounts with the Teacher of Righteousness. A reasonable inference is that the day of atonement fell on different days for the two protagonists because they lived by different cultic calendars.11
These people, the Essenes, were living separate from the other Jews and followed their own calendar, a solar calendar described in the book of Enoch and Jubilees. They did not use intercalation, which means their calendars were not in line with agricultural activities in the land of Israel. It may not have bothered them, for they were not primarily an agricultural society. This does not make their calendar right, though, for YHVH linked the calendar specifically to the agricultural activities in the land. Look at the feasts, for example; they are all linked to the agricultural cycle of the land.
Why is it important to use the right calendar?
Speaking of the feasts, the appointed times described in the Bible are YHVH’s appointed times. He made these appointments with us and we are to keep it according to His command.
4 ‘These are the appointed times of YHVH, holy convocations which you shall proclaim at the times appointed for them.
Can I say I kept an appointment to have dinner with a friend, if I went the day after or before the date stated on the invitation? Think about this, as this explains the importance of keeping the appointed times on the times YHVH appointed for them. We know from Scripture how many very significant prophecies have been fulfilled on YHVHs appointed times. Just think about the giving of the Ruach ha Qodesh on the feast of Shavuot. If the disciples kept another calendar, would they still have received the Ruach? Can we afford to miss any future fulfillment of Scripture?
Even after we have proven that the Sighted Moon calendar was the calendar followed by Y’shua and His disciples, some will refuse to follow it based on their belief that it is based on a pagan idea.
The sighting of the new moon is not pagan!
Some say that we are not to sight the new moon, because it was and still is done by pagan nations. Did you know that all the major calendars (the sighted moon, conjunction-moon and solar) were used by pagan nations and could, for this reason, be seen as wrong? Is this a valid argument?
To answer this question, we will ask another question. Can we say the moon is pagan because it is worshiped by some? Or can we say any phase of the moon is pagan because it is used for determining a calendar by a pagan nation? If a group of people decide to worship bananas, would eating a banana be pagan? Alternatively, if they use bananas in the worship of their false god, does it make it wrong to eat a banana? Bananas were made for eating.
Similarly, the moon was created by YHVH. YHVH has given the heavenly bodies for signs and for seasons.
It is not pagan to observe a specific phase of the moon for the purpose of determining the beginning of the month. We are commanded not to worship the host of heaven; to look for the new moon at the beginning of the month is not worshiping the moon. For this reason, using a crescent moon to determine the new month is not pagan in any way.
Watch for the moon of Abib!
We also find some Scriptural proof to sight the moon. As we have seen in the previous section, YHVH made the moon for the seasons.
19 He made the moon for the seasons; The sun knows the place of its setting.
The Hebrew word for seasons is “moadim”, appointed times. YHVH made the moon for the appointed times. We are to watch for the moon in order to know when the appointed times are.
We find proof of the sighting of the new moon in the book of Deuteronomy:
1 “Observe the month of Abib and celebrate the Passover to YHVH your Elohim, for in the month of Abib YHVH your Elohim brought you out of Egypt by night.
The word “observe”
9068 ?????? (š?·m?r): v.; ? Str 8104; TWOT 2414—
1. LN 13.1–13.47 (qal) keep, i.e., cause a state or condition to remain (Job 2:6; Ps 17:4); (qal pass.) be kept, set aside (1Sa 9:24+); (hitp) keep oneself (2Sa 22:24; Ps 18:24[EB 23]+);
2. LN 37.119–37.126 (qal) guard, watch, i.e., limit access and movement of persons or objects in and out of an area, implying protection to or from the object being guarded (Ge 3:24); (qal pass.) be secured (2Sa 23:5; Ecc 5:12[EB 13]+), note: for qal act. ptcp. as noun, see 9070.5; 3
Here is another lexicon:
I.?????? S8104 TWOT2414 GK9068465 vb. keep, watch, preserve (NH id.; Ph. ??? in n.pr. and (Pun.) = watchman; TelAm. šimiru is perhaps overseer (Canaanism), WklNo. 80, 1, 23; Mand. ????? preserved NöM 46; cf. Arabic ?????? (samara) converse by night, stay awake (v. LagBN 105); BaNB 175 f.; 43 infers from?????? (temro) eyelid 12
From both of these Lexicons, and the others we have checked, we learn that “samar” means to keep, watch or observe. It is a verb, something we are to do. How do you observe or watch for something? With your eyes, and you can not observe what is not there…
The word “chodesh” was translated as month. This word means both moon and month in Hebrew.
2544 I. ?????? (??·??š): n.masc.; ? Str 2320; TWOT 613b—1. LN 67.174 month, calendar lunar month, i.e., a period of time as one full cycle of the moon (Ge 7:11; Ex 13:4), note: for MT text in Isa 66:22, see 2543; 2. LN 53 New Moon Festival, i.e., a religious festival (1Sa 20:5, 18, 24); 3. LN 53.16–53.27 New Moon Sacrifice (Ezr 3:5); 4. LN 23.46–23.60 unit: ???? ?????? ???? (b- ??·??š?-h) time of female heat, formally, in her month (Jer 2:24); 5. LN 67.163–67.200 unit: ?????????? (b?n??·??š)1 a month old, formally, son of a month (Nu 3:15); 6. LN 67.163–67.200 unit: ?????? ???? ?????? (??·??š b- ??·??š)1 monthly, formally, month by month (Nu 28:14)3
Let us paraphrase this verse according to what we have learned: “ Watch for the moon of Aviv”
The heavenly bodies were given for signs and for seasons. A sign is visible – the new moon should thus be visible in order to be a new moon.
Can we sight the new moon wherever we are?
The answer is no, we are to start our new month according to the new moon sighted in Jerusalem. Why Jerusalem?
This is based upon scripture which places Jerusalem as the throne of Yahweh (Jeremiah 3:17), the centre-point of the law which will be given under Messiah (Isaiah 2: 3) through the waters of the Spirit (Zechariah 8:22; 14:8-21). God has placed His name there for ever (2 Chronicles 33: 4) 13
Now that we know we have to sight the new moon, and that we are to sight it in Jerusalem, we need to find out how to do it.
How are we to sight the new moon?
One advantage of the Sighted Moon method is its simplicity. A child can sight the new moon. Here is a short description on where and how to look for the moon.
Various factors such as atmospheric pressure, temperature, humidity along the light path, altitude, latitude and longitude, fog, cloud/dust cover, glare etc. can all affect a first sighting. No one can infallibly predict the moment when the new moon will become visible to the naked eye. The general consensus of authoritative opinion is that a first sighting of the new moon could occur any time between about 15 and 48 hours after a conjunction. The conjunction being when the earth is between the sun and the moon in perfect alignment. The first sighting of the moon will be after the moon has moved out of this alignment.
In sighting the New Moon, one faces the western sky at sunset, drawing an imaginary line from the zenith overhead toward the setting sun, seeking the thin scimitar of light on either side of this imaginary line. The sun sets in the west slightly right of where the new moon will be seen. As the sky darkens the first star is seen which is actually the planet Venus. Gradually the crescent appears as a sliver just above the horizon. The faint New Moon will bulge out to the right, with the horns pointing toward the left. However, in early spring (autumn in southern hemisphere) the “Passover moon” will appear much like a saucer with both horns pointing upward. Variations of this New Moon may be seen in springtime. Biblical months are either 29 or 30 alternating days in length; at times two consecutive 30-day months may occur. Only on the new moon will the moon be invisible until the sun sets. It is as if Yahweh is concealing it so we will intentionally have to look for His sign in the sky.13
This brings us to the next point, when does the year begin?
When does the new year begin?
2 “This month shall be the beginning of months for you; it is to be the first month of the year to you.
The month spoken of here is the month of Abib or Nissan. The month when the Passover is celebrated.
The beginning of the year is determined by both the sighting of the new moon and the barley being in the Abib stage. We have written an article about this topic earlier, so if you would like to learn more, you can read the article “Is the search for abib barley scriptural?”
Let us summarize what we have learned. We have learned that we as Y’shua’s disciples are to follow Him. Y’shua kept the Judean calendar, the calendar which determined the appointed times at that time He was on earth. This was the Sighted Moon calendar. We found many historical references that attest to this.
Y’shua not only kept this calendar, but never rebuked anyone for keeping it, or made any negative remarks about this calendar. We know how outspoken He was if anything was in disagreement with Torah. Some will reason that He kept the calendar the majority kept. We will go into more detail about this in the next article; please subscribe to make sure you don’t miss that.
We have also learned a bit about the calendars described in the book of Enoch and Jubilees that the Essenes of Qumran kept. We have also seen why these are not in line with Scripture as it does not use intercalation, thus drifting off from the agricultural cycle.
We have also looked at why, where and how we are to sight the new moon as well as when the new year begins. We hope this has satisfied your curiosity and that you may even have learned something from this. Please let us know if we have left anything out or if you would like to add to this. We appreciate your feedback.
All quoted passages are from the New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update. LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1995. We have substituted YHVH for LORD and Y’shua for Jesus.
Bromiley, G. W. (Ed.). (1979–1988).The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Revised. Wm. B. Eerdmans.
Swanson, J. (1997).Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains: Greek (New Testament). Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
Stern, D. H. (1996). Jewish New Testament Commentary : a companion volume to the Jewish New Testament (electronic ed., Jn 7:1). Clarksville: Jewish New Testament Publications.
Encyclopaedia Judaica, Vol. 12, p. 1039.
Yonge, C. D. with Philo of Alexandria. (1995). The works of Philo: complete and unabridged (p. 581). Peabody, MA: Hendrickson.
Charles, R. H. (Ed.). (2004). Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament (Vol. 2, p. 244). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.
Vanderkam, J. C. (1992). Calendars: Ancient Israelite and Early Jewish. In (D. N. Freedman, Ed.)The Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary. New York: Doubleday.
Brown, F., Driver, S. R., & Briggs, C. A. (2000). Enhanced Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon. Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems.
Triennial Torah Cycle
We continue this weekend with our regular Triennial Torah reading
Gen 42 2 Sam 13-14 Ps 85 Luke 4:31-5:39
Owning Up and Growing Up (Genesis 42-43)
It had been 22 years now since the brothers had sold Joseph into slavery and deceived their father, Jacob. That is a very long time to maintain a lie, and it seems to have taken its toll on the sons of Israel. Things got a little rough in Egypt when Joseph accused them of being spies. The brothers were clearly shaken. Their crime against Joseph must never have been far from mind, for when Joseph demanded they bring Benjamin to Egypt as proof of their story, they immediately viewed their trouble as punishment for what they did so long ago. Reuben adds an “I told you so” since he had originally planned to save Joseph. But he, of course, had become just as responsible as the others, for he had not told their father the truth either, nor had he attempted to find and free his enslaved brother once he discovered what had happened.
The many years with unresolved guilt have matured the brothers since their earlier misdeed. Contrast the younger and older Judah for instance. In Genesis 37, it was Judah who originated the idea of selling Joseph to the Arabian traders. Now, in Genesis 43, he is willing to offer himself as collateral to protect Joseph’s brother, Benjamin. Before, he did not regard his father’s happiness. But now he is willing to accept blame forever rather than hurt his father again. Judah will prove the genuineness of his change and the sincerity of his promise in chapter 44.
While the brothers deal with their guilt, Joseph seems to have a number of mixed emotions. At first, he feels a little indignant at them when he recognizes that the dreams for which they hated him so long ago (37:8) have come true. Testing their attitudes, he deals rather roughly with them. But when he hears their sorrow and distress as they discuss their regret, Joseph weeps secretly. He now forgives them in his heart. Although he continues to give them a very distressing time openly, he does kind things for them behind the scenes.
The Sword Comes to David’s House (2 Samuel 13)
“The Tamar/Amnon/Absalom story is not simply a tale of lust and a brother’s revenge. Amnon, as David’s oldest son (3:2-5), was first in line for the throne. Kileab [or Chileab] had apparently died [as Absalom will act as heir apparent on his return from exile following Amnon’s death, see 15:1-3], so Absalom was next in line after Amnon. Rivalry already existed between Amnon and Absalom! We need to understand the political implications of the events to fully understand the story” (Lawrence Richards, The Bible Reader’s Companion, 1991, note on 2 Samuel 13).
David, by his sin, had set a horrible example for his children—that of a man unable to govern his passions. We now find Amnon, David’s firstborn, unable to govern his passions. He is in “love” with his virgin half-sister Tamar, David’s daughter by Maacah. David’s only daughter recorded in Scripture, Tamar is the full sister of Absalom.
Marriage to a sister or half-sister is forbidden (Leviticus 18:11). So Amnon’s infatuation cannot be satisfied. Yet he is so obsessively consumed with his longing for her that he visibly loses weight. Upon discovering the reason for this, his crafty cousin Jonadab encourages Amnon to pursue his wicked desire by using trickery to get Tamar alone with him. The plot succeeds, but she refuses his urging her to lie with him, suggesting rather that he ask for her hand of the king—no doubt a ploy to escape the situation, as she certainly knows that David cannot legally grant such a request. Undaunted, Amnon forces himself upon her. The words “he forced her” here “can also mean, ‘he humiliated her.’ Victims of rape sometimes speak more strongly of their humiliation than of the physical pain they were made to suffer” (Nelson Study Bible, note on 2 Samuel 13:14). Of course, it was undoubtedly physically painful—but the psychological anguish she suffered was likely much worse.
There is a strong distinction between love and lust. The Scriptures reveal the true characteristics of love. Love is kind. It does not seek its own gratification. It does not think evil. It does not rejoice in iniquity (1 Corinthians 13). In contrast, lust requires immediate gratification. It is totally contrary to the way of love. Amnon’s “love” reveals itself for what it is—perverted lust—in the rape and in his attitude immediately following it. Amnon now hates his sister. Once his lust and his desire to conquer were satisfied, there was a big letdown as he realized he had no real love for Tamar. “The sudden revulsion is easily accounted for; the atrocity of his conduct, with all the feelings of shame, remorse, and dread of exposure and punishment, now burst upon his mind, rendering the presence of Tamar intolerably painful to him” (Jamieson, Fausset & Brown’s Commentary, note on verse 15). Perhaps he even irrationally blames her for what she has “made him do.”
Amnon tells her to “be gone” (verse 15). But she does not. Defiled and with no apparent witnesses to what has happened, she will be left shamed and destitute, with no prospect for future marriage. Amnon, however, will hear none of it. He summons a servant and orders him to put her out. Tamar is devastated by this horrific ruining of her life. She is overcome with grief and despair. After telling Absalom of her plight, her brother encourages her to keep the matter to herself, which she does, while he plots revenge. Absalom certainly cares for his sister—later naming his own daughter after her (14:27). But remember that, secondarily, politics were probably also involved in this matter. Absalom now has what he perhaps reasons to be a legitimate reason to dispose of Amnon and become heir to the throne.
David, though becoming extremely angry on hearing of the matter, takes no action at all. As to why this is we can only guess. First of all, there may have been some confusion in the case since, upon Absalom’s urgings, Tamar did not make the matter public. Secondly, while seizing a betrothed woman and having sexual relations with her against her will was a capital crime punishable by death under Israel’s civil code, the death penalty was not mandated for seizing an unbetrothed woman and having sexual relations with her. The preset punishment in this case was the payment of a bride price and a forced marriage for life if the father so deemed (see Deuteronomy 22:28-29). Could that be allowed here? After all, Abraham being married to Sarah, his half sister, might seem to serve as precedent (compare Genesis 20:12). But since the time of Moses, incest with even a half-sister was punishable by the death of both participants (Leviticus 20:17).
Yet if it could be ascertained that the woman was unwilling in the act of incest, just as in the matter of the rape of a betrothed woman, she would not be punished—only the man. It is possible that Tamar did not “cry out” when she was raped or was not heard (compare Deuteronomy 22:24). Furthermore, there was evidently no examination to determine that defilement had taken place. It would seem, however, that a thorough interrogation of those who had been sent out before the rape (compare 2 Samuel 13:9), might have yielded the essence of what had happened—perhaps some actually did hear a cry from Tamar but were afraid of retribution from Amnon. Remember that someone could only be put to death on the testimony of two or three witnesses. Tamar was only one witness if Amnon refused to testify against himself—although evidence itself could also be considered a “witness” in a matter, as the New Testament makes clear (compare 1 John 5:7-8, NRSV).
Nevertheless, David, as already stated, does nothing—he apparently does not even investigate the matter. Perhaps he doesn’t want to shame his own household—particularly with a possible lack of needed evidence. Or it may just be that, as with many parents, David is trying to protect his son from the consequences of his actions. Indeed, David displays an apparent unwillingness to appropriately discipline his children, as can be seen even at the end of his life in the example of Adonijah (see 1 Kings 1:6). And even others of his relatives, such as Joab, sometimes literally get away with murder.
Of course, none of this explains why David took no action on Tamar’s behalf, given the normally deep-seated sense of protection a father feels for a daughter. Perhaps David was giving special consideration to Amnon as firstborn and heir apparent. Or it could be that David, having been spared the death penalty in his own adultery and even murder, is unwilling to put his son to death for less. Although David had repented of his sins, he was probably still burdened with feelings of guilt. Often those who feel guilty are reluctant to take a strong moral stand, feeling they have lost their moral authority and would be hypocritical to take firm action. This often contributes to a downward moral spiral in families and nations. It may even be that David felt his own sin was partly responsible for what happened, since one of its consequences was to be family infighting.
Remember, God had proclaimed that the sword would never depart from David’s house (12:10). And that sword first comes when, two years after Tamar’s rape, Absalom finally exacts his revenge. David won’t do anything about Amnon—but Absalom does. The deed completed, David’s oldest son—an incestuous rapist—is dead. And the one who is now his oldest son is a fugitive from justice charged with murder.
Absalom flees the country to Geshur, northeast of the Sea of Galilee, receiving amnesty from the king there, Talmai, who is his grandfather on his mother’s side (see 3:3). There he remains for three years. As David’s grief over Amnon’s death gradually subsides, he desires a restored relationship with Absalom but perhaps views it as inappropriate to pursue it anytime soon under the circumstances.
Seeds of Rebellion (2 Samuel 14)
Absalom certainly didn’t grow up in a good family situation. Remember, David had six sons by six different women in seven and a half years (see 2 Samuel 3:2-5; 5:5), of whom Absalom was the third. The marriage of his mother, Maacah, daughter of King Talmai of Geshur, to David was undoubtedly a political one, and thus there was probably little love involved in it. This was far from ideal for God intended the stable home environment of a loving, monogamous marriage to produce godly offspring (see Malachi 2:15). But sadly, Absalom and his other siblings have been denied this. This is not to say that people cannot overcome an adverse family situation, as a number of biblical heroes did. It is just to point out that those in such circumstances begin with a disadvantage. Furthermore, it appears that David was rarely home while his earlier children were growing up. Instead, he was away fighting wars (compare 2 Samuel 3-10). This is not stated to condemn David, as these wars carved out the empire God intended Israel to attain. Rather, it is to help us understand the added difficulty Absalom and David’s other earlier children had while growing up. And it should also serve as a lesson that a person can be righteous and still need to work on properly balancing work and family responsibilities.
It should also be pointed out that Absalom was a teenager when David committed his terrible sin with Bathsheba and Uriah. How disillusioning this must have been for the boy. His father, the righteous king and great hero, reduced to this. David’s actions surely left an impression on his children. Furthermore, besides the natural consequences all of these factors might have produced on their own, God’s punishment of turmoil as a consequence of David’s sin is now directly at work in David’s family. Amnon’s character was probably, in part, a result of the same upbringing Absalom experienced. The weaknesses in both of David’s sons played a part in the awful circumstances of our previous reading—and the continuing turmoil that God had foretold.
In his longing to see Absalom (13:39), David perhaps thought about some of the mistakes he had made as a father. He probably couldn’t help but realize the fact that his own sin of adultery and murder was, at least in part, responsible for what was happening.
Joab, perhaps viewing the king’s distraction over the matter as a threat to national security, devises a scheme to get David to reexamine the whole situation and reestablish a relationship with his son. He sends a woman to tell the king a supposedly parallel story—as Nathan had done earlier following David’s sin with Bathsheba. Yet this story is only partially parallel: “The fictitious story does not fit Absalom’s case, which involved premeditated murder with known hostile intent (13:32). David could only have responded as he did because he wanted his son to return so badly (cf. vv. 37-39)” (Bible Reader’s Companion, note on 14:1-4).
However, there may have been a mitigating circumstance in Absalom’s killing of Amnon that David could have considered, though it isn’t stated in the account. God equated rape with murder—”for just as when a man rises against his neighbor and kills him, even so is this matter” (Deuteronomy 22:26). Though rape in this verse is that of an engaged or married woman, the rape of a sister, who could not legally marry her guilty brother, was surely just as heinous. Indeed, both crimes merited the death penalty. Had Amnon murdered Tamar, Absalom could have, according to the law, pursued and killed him as the “avenger of blood.” Perhaps there was some justification, then, for avenging something that was evidently on par with murder. Moreover, David may have come to reason that he should have personally ordered Amnon put to death—and that Absalom was justified for doing what he did upon David’s own failure to act.
In any case, David acquiesces to Joab’s wish to have Absalom brought back. However, the king refuses to see his son face to face for another two years. Perhaps he cannot break through the barrier of resentment that has built up over the killing of Amnon. Yet this just serves to further fuel Absalom’s growing resentment. For consider how atrocious this is from the young man’s perspective. First, his father would not punish Amnon for defiling his sister. Then, he is not allowed to see his father for three years. When his father at last sends for him to come back, he still refuses to see him for two more years, which must have been humiliating. It is apparently during these five years that Absalom’s children are born, some at Jerusalem. And yet David will not even deign to visit his own grandchildren. Worse, it may even be that some of Absalom’s sons die in infancy during this period—as we later see a declaration from him that he has no sons (18:18)—and yet David still won’t come to see Absalom, and neither will he allow Absalom to see him.
Absalom finally presses Joab into intervening, which results in a meeting at last between David and his son—Absalom bowing his head to the ground and the king kissing him. “The kiss was the symbol of their reconciliation. Although David and Absalom were reconciled, the seeds of bitterness that had been sown would soon bear the fruit of conspiracy and rebellion. David’s protracted delay in coming to terms with his son ultimately led to disaster. For the moment, though, there was peace” (Nelson Study Bible, note on 14:33).
The Scriptures tell us that it is always best to resolve our differences and not let them drag on. There is no other way out. If an offense occurs, both parties should seek settlement and reconciliation. One of David’s major faults was that of not addressing family problems head on, along with not spending the time to guide, direct and correct his children in a timely manner. David, a man after God’s own heart, was by no means an evil person. Rather, like all of us, he made mistakes—and those mistakes had serious consequences.
another psalm of the sons of Korah, is a lamenting plea for national restoration. Its specific setting is unknown. God has here forgiven His people and returned them from captivity (verses 1-3) but the effects of His wrath—as the lingering consequences of their sins—are still being felt (verses 4-7). This could describe the end of some foreign oppression during the period of the judges. Or it could conceivably apply to the time of King Hezekiah’s reforms following the captivity and return of 200,000 Jews at the hands of the northern kingdom of Israel in alliance with Syria during the reign of Hezekiah’s father Ahaz (see 2 Chronicles 28). Yet it could also fit with the later return from Babylonian captivity. “Many believe that vv. 1-3 refer to the return from exile and that the troubles experienced are those alluded to by Nehemiah and Malachi. Verse 12 suggests that a drought has ravaged the land and may reflect the drought with which the Lord chastened his people in the time of Haggai (see Hag 1:5-11)” (Zondervan NIV Study Bible, note on Psalm 85).
After pleading for revival, mercy and salvation (verses 6-7), the psalmist states that he will hear what God has to say, trusting that God will “speak peace” to His people—that is, with peaceful intent or directing them in the way to peace—as long as they don’t ignore His words and turn back to the foolishness of their sins (verse 8). God’s salvation, prayed for in verse 7, is available to those who fear Him (verse 9)—that is, who with the appropriate mind frame of awe and respect will heed and follow whatever God says.
In verse 10, “the union of God’s mercy and truth and His righteousness and peace describes the way things ought to be, or the state of peace spoken of in v. 8. The blending of the ideals of truth and righteousness in v. 11 suggest a vision of the kingdom of God (see Is. 11)” (The Nelson Study Bible, note on verses 10-13). As noted above, verse 12 may indicate a period of drought and assurance, on one level, that the land will yield physical produce. Yet the picture here is primarily figurative, as verse 11 shows truth as the crop that is produced—thanks to the figurative sunlight and rain of God’s righteousness from above.
Truth springing out of the earth may also be a messianic reference (compare Isaiah 53:2). Notice the final words of Psalm 85, wherein God’s righteous footsteps become the path for us to follow (verse 13). YeshuaHaMashiach has set the example for us of how to live, that we “should follow His steps” (1 Peter 2:21). And this pathway, as the highway to Zion in the previous psalm (84:5-7), leads to the glorious Kingdom of God—so that all of us may be part of the harvest of truth.
Luke 4:31- 5:39
The text picks up with Yeshua teaching in Kephar Nahum on the Sabbaths and tells us the people were amazed at His authority of the Words. A man with an unclean spirit was there. This man’s unclean spirit cried out to Yeshua and knew exactly who He was. Yeshua commanded the spirit come out of the man, and it did. The people were absolutely astonished at His Authority.
He next healed Shimon’s mother-in-law from an illness of inflammation and He continued on through those areas proclaiming the Good News and healing many.
Yeshua enters into a boat on lake Gennesar and begins teaching the people from there, and then He tells Shimon to go back out into the deeper water and let down his net for fish. They caught so many fish that the nets were about broken and the boats about to sink. Kepha was so amazed, along with all the people, he could not contain himself. He fell down and Yeshua’s feet in great conviction. Yeshua told him not to worry for soon he would be a “fisher of men.”
Yeshua heals a man with leprosy. Yeshua forgives a paralytic of his sins – the one man who was let down through the roof of the place where Yeshua was. Scribes and Pharisees were there that day and were amazed and accused Yeshua of blasphemy for forgiving sins.
Yeshua calls Levi the tax collector to follow Him and Levi makes a great feast. Once again the Scribes and Pharisees are put out saying He is eating with sinners. Of course, Yeshua came for the sick, not the righteous, as He proceeds to tell them. He also shares the parable of new wine.
He chose His disciples because they had not had formal teaching and been ruined by it. They are new, new cloths, new wine… and Yeshua was teaching them a “renewed” Way. Therefore He did not attempt to put “new wine” into old wineskins… for it does not work. People prefer the old because it is comfortable to them and very much resist change.