News Letter 5846-041
13th day of the 9th month 5846 years after creation
The 9th Month in the first year of the third Sabbatical Year
The Third Sabbatical Year of the 119th Jubilee Cycle
November 20, 2010
Shabbat Shalom Brethren,
I will share some of the mail this week before we begin to read about Chanukah.
Bro Joseph, my hat is off to you for taking the “bull” by the horns on the issue of human tradition that has been elevated above the word of YHWH.
Shabbat Shalom Joe
And many thanks for your interesting and challenging newsletters from SightedMoon.
After predictions of possible bumper grain harvests in Australia, rain has begun to spoil it all. Some interesting links for you:
Listening to the news earlier this week, many wheat crops in northern NSW have been downgraded from premium hard to stock feed because of rain. Not only does it obliterate the farmers income, it hits the stocks of grain available for human consumption…
The judgement of YHVH is certainly upon us, the curse for rejecting Torah. For years Christians have been praying for rain, and now they are receiving it it comes as a curse to them in many places. YHVH is not mocked. “Be not deceived; YHVH is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” Galatians 6:7
Blessings in the name YHVH
I just realise the church followed a human right gospel (last 6 laws) and ignored the first 4 directing to YHVH.
I agree they can say everything to you, but actually it is YHVH they are scolding. Keep on my friend, the road is becoming more and more narrow. As long as we walk the correct path, hear His voice clearly and do His Will, inspite of thousands around us talking, walking and preaching the opposite.
About some of those E-mails. All I can say is WOW, is that ever the spirit of the adversary! It must be at least somewhat difficult not to respond in kind– or at least in power. I’m glad I don’t get many like that. I also disagree with a few of your understandings, and unfortunately it would take a book length study to thoroughly explain the details and support, scripturally, my understanding. (It is not based on one or two texts, but on the entire story, and the material implications of hundreds of texts.)
But that isn’t what prompts my reply this morning, but the question of BEARDS, AND LONG HAIR.
It seems clear to me from Numbers 6–(The Nazirite vow)– that your view is basically correct. –After all, What point would there be for a Nazirite for “A razor not to come to his head” (not to cut his hair) if the same rule applied to every person who followed YHVH?? And also, at the completion of the vow, one DID SHAVE THE HEAD, (and I understand that to mean the whole head, both top and bottom) which would seem to imply that such an action was not condemned by Torah.
It is difficult to know much, and yet have important things to learn, and I believe that such is the condition of the most learned of us. I will continue to pray that you are responsive to the teaching of the Spirit of the Savior, and restive to the attacks of the enemy.
Shalom Joseph, I just read your article concerning the controversy you had with Yair Davidiy. I just want to say that I read from you and also from Nehemiah, I appreciate what you and Nehemiah are doing and encourage you to keep the way. I know the work of Yair also he has done great job concerning the Ten Tribes. The Oral Law is the teaching of Judaism and is for the “Jews as so bad as is Christianism for truth seeker. May YHWH Elohim have mercy on both and bring all from both side together to walk in the Torah of liberty in love!
Well what can I say? This weeks Newsletter is about the best you’re ever written and sent out, having said that, I do mean since I have been on your email list. However in checking back on previous Newsletters, this is still the best for me. Why? One of my all time “bug bears” is the fact that the Torah, or as I only knew back then, the WORDS OF THE LORD of the Covenant, WERE WRITTEN DOWN BY MOSES !!!! How many, many times have I lamented and tried to explain this to those who claim that “all things were given into the keeping of the Jews” as proof of keeping the calculated Hebrew calendar. But you also brought out the point regarding the tribe of Levi, and NOT the tribe of Judah. Yes it was written down and put INTO THE ARK OF THE COVENANT, as a witness against them in the latter days. You have been particularly blessed this past week, for your writing of this subject is with such clarity and simplicity of truth, it is amazing. It is Yahovah’s blessing, to have His Truth and Word, truthfully revealed. May the abundant and many blessings of Yahovah be upon you continually, in all that you do, now and for years to come.
What a satisfying spiritual meal I have had this week? And I take your point in correction regarding our country’s leader. Keep reminding me brother, I’m just an ornery Aussie, and I seem to have an over sized; “overactive forget – ery”, and I’m one who still needs the reminding. Thank you, you are already like those who will come later [Isa30:21] “And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left.” Thank you, where on earth would we be without you and your reminding admonitions…. reminding us of “the words of the covenant” from our Father of Lights? We’d be doing the things you have also been describing; and getting lost into the absolute “depths of Satan.”
Also heard on the SDA, FM, local radio station, on Sunday arvo, that where the Tsunami struck Indonesia 25/6 December, 2004 at Banda Aceh, [ arch – chay ] which is on the western tip of the main island of Sumartra; was actually the first place, that those trading from Arabia, had brought Islaam to Indonesia, a few hundred years ago. The point of entry of this teaching, was virtually obliterated, in December 2004. Like you pointed out, that the unknowing population have to suffer thus, is hard to see and know, also as you pointed out, if it is not recorded in Lev 23, why are you doing it?
Wow !! What an eye opener that is for me now? Where Islaam began in that country, is where Father also began His chastisement.
Another brother added his comments to last week’s News Letter as well.
When the covenant was given, it says:
Ex 224:4 And Moses wrote all the words of the LORD, and rose up early in the morning, and build an altar under the hill, and twelve pillars, according to the twelve tribes of Israel.
Moses was a Levite.
Where is Judah, the supposed lawgiver at the time the law was given? Was Judah given any authority in the Book of the Covenant? No, they were instructed to hang back behind the pillars lest they get consumed, just like the rest of the tribes.
Where was Judah when the two tables of stone were given to Moses, the Levite?
Who went back up the mount to get the second set of tablets… Judah?
The priestly duties went to Aaron and his sons. Was Judah given any authority?
When the Children of Israel broke the Covenant, Moses was given the contents of the Book of the Law from Yahweh. Was any authority given to Judah concerning the book of the Law? Lets see who gave the Book of the Law to who once it was written:
Deut 31:9And Moses wrote this law, and delivered it unto the priests the sons of Levi, which bare the ark of the covenant of the LORD, and unto all the elders of Israel.
So, Moses the Levite gives the Book of the Law to the Levites. Where is the part where it says that the Levites gave it to Judah for discernment?
Deut 31:24And it came to pass, when Moses had made an end of writing the words of this law in a book, until they were finished,
Deut 31:25That Moses commanded the Levites, which bare the ark of the covenant of the LORD, saying,
Deut 31:26Take this book of the law, and put it in the side of the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, that it may be there for a witness against thee.
Absolutely nothing about Judah here. Looks like the Torah has been jacked by our brother Judah! And so has our land of inheritance!
No doubt, the blessing given to Judah by Israel (Jacob) is talking about Yahshua being the lawgiver, and He is the One who holds the scepter. Not all of Judah. Yahshua is Yahweh. therefore, the following makes total sense:
Is 33:22For the LORD is our judge, the LORD is our lawgiver, the LORD is our king; he will save us.
Well as I said last week, I am about to show you some things about Hanukah. You can read where last year I showed you many of the things Hanukah hides which we could read in Maccabees if people would just read it instead of doing all these stupid traditions. One such thing is proof as to when the year begins at Aviv and when the Sabbath year begins also at Aviv. Others are the many references to Sabbatical years and then to be able to count down to our time and know when they are.
You can read past articles on Hanukah at;
“The Truth That Channukah Hides, The Location of the Temple, The Sabbatical Years, The Identity of 300 Spartans”
“Chanukah and Its Pagan Traditions”
But first would you please answer the following questions.
Show me where it says in Scriptures G-d commanded you to light the Shabbat Candles.
This is the Prayer many of you say each Erev Shabbat. Where does it come from? Yet without questioning this one prayer many of you do it without scriptural proof. From http://www.jewfaq.org/prayer/shabbat.htm we get the following;
Barukh atah Adonai, Eloheinu, melekh ha’olam
Blessed are you, Lord, our God, sovereign of the universe
asher kidishanu b’mitz’votav v’tzivanu
Who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us
l’had’lik neir shel Shabbat. (Amein)
to light the lights of Shabbat. (Amen)
Show me in Scriptures where is says you are to light the Chanukiah Menorah during Hanukah. The Chanukiah Menorah is the 8 or nine candle stick menorah used for the eight days of Hanukah.
This is the prayer and tradition that many of you say at Chanukah. Where does it come from? Not from the Torah.
One candle is added to the menorah each night. The first night, you light only the shammus (the one at a different height) and one Chanukkah candle. By the eighth night, you light all of the candles.
Candles should be added to the menorah from right to left (like Hebrew writing). The shammus candle is lit first. While holding the shammus candle, recite the following blessings. They are usually sung.
Blessing over Candles
Barukh atah Adonai, Eloheinu, melekh ha’olam
Blessed are you, Lord, our God, sovereign of the universe
asher kidishanu b’mitz’votav v’tzivanu
Who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us
l’had’lik neir shel Chanukah. (Amein)
to light the lights of Chanukkah. (Amen)
Blessing for Chanukkah
Barukh atah Adonai, Eloheinu, melekh ha’olam
Blessed are you, Lord, our God, sovereign of the universe
she’asah nisim la’avoteinu bayamim haheim baziman hazeh. (Amein)
Who performed miracles for our ancestors in those days at this time
Shehecheyanu (first night only)
Blessed are you, Lord, our God, sovereign of the universe
shehecheyanu v’kiyimanu v’higi’anu laz’man hazeh. (Amein)
who has kept us alive, sustained us, and enabled us to reach this season (Amen)
After reciting the blessings, use the shammus to light the Chanukkah candles from left to right (newest to oldest).
Candles should be left burning until they go out on their own. They must burn for more than half an hour. Standard Chanukkah candles burn for about an hour.
Show me in scriptures where G-d said to make an 8 or 9 candle stick Menorah. In Exodus you are told to make a seven lamp stand menorah not 8 and not 9. Take note it is oil lamps and not candles.
This is what is used at Hanukah; an eight or nine stick menorah that Yahovah never sanctioned to be made. Yahovah said in the Torah to make a Seven Stick Menorah and to use oil lamps not candle sticks.
Show me in scriptures where it says the lamp the Maccabees lit stayed lit for all eight days.
Show me where this miracle happened. Quote Chapter and verse if you can.
It does not say this in Maccabees, but only in the rabbinic Talmud.
I will show you the scriptures where it says that you shall not add to Torah.
I have scriptures that tell you not to add to Torah, what do you have? Nothing but fables and myths with not one shred of biblical text to back you up. Just Traditions. Tradtions. Are you trying for a part in Fiddler on the Roof?
Proof to me and to yourself from scriptures why we should be keeping Chanukah. Proof it if you can.
Show me where the Torah said you can add your traditions. Show me where it says you can add anything to the torah.
Deuteronomy 4:1 “And now, O Yisra’?l, listen to the laws and the right-rulings which I am teaching you to do, so that you live, and shall go in and possess the land which ???? Elohim of your fathers is giving you. 2 “Do not add to the Word which I command you, and do not take away from it1, so as to guard the commands of ???? your Elohim which I am commanding you. Footnote: 1See also 12:32, Prov. 30:6, Rev. 22:18-19.
Deuteronomy 12:29 “When ???? your Elohim does cut off from before you the nations which you go to dispossess, and you dispossess them and dwell in their land, 30 guard yourself that you are not ensnared to follow them, after they are destroyed from before you, and that you do not inquire about their mighty ones, saying, ‘How did these nations serve their mighty ones? And let me do so too.’1 Footnote: 1See also 18:9, Lev. 18:3, Jer.10:2, Ezek. 11:12 & 20:32, Eph. 4:17, and 1 Peter 4:3 31 “Do not do so to ???? your Elohim, for every abomination which ???? hates they have done to their mighty ones, for they even burn their sons and daughters in the fire to their mighty ones. 32 “All the words I am commanding you, guard to do it – do not add to it nor take away from it.
Proverbs 30: Do not add to His Words1, Lest He reprove you, and you be found a liar
Revelation 22: 18 For I witness to everyone hearing the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to them, Elohim shall add to him the plagues that are written in this book, 19 and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, Elohim shall take away his part from the Book of Life, and out of the set-apart city, which are written in this Book.
If it is not in Leviticus 23 then why are earth are you keeping it?
Show me where John 10:22 says that Yahshua kept Hanukah. Read it again if this is what you think. It says ‘22 At that time the H?anukkah came to be in Yerushalayim, and it was winter. 23 And ????? was walking in the Set-apart Place, in the porch of Shelomoh.’
This is exactly the same as saying that you were at the church coming out the door. It was Christmas time in your town.
Does that statement mean you are keeping Christmas or that it identifies the time of year when you were at your church? It identifies the time of year the same way John is telling when Yahshua was at the temple. It was during the time the Jews kept Chanukah. It does not say Yahshua was celebrating it. Read it again if you think it does.
But take note of what is said in the very next verse of John 10: 24 So the Yehud?im surrounded Him and said to Him, “How long do You keep us in suspense? If You are the Messiah, say to us plainly.” 25 ????? answered them, “I have told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in My Father’s Name, they bear witness concerning Me. 26 “But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep, as I said to you. 27 “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.1 Footnote: 1Rev. 14:4-5. 28 “And I give them everlasting life, and they shall by no means ever perish, and no one shall snatch them out of My hand. 29 “My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all. And no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. 30 “I and My Father are one.”1 Footnote: 1See 17:11, 17:21-23. 31 Again the Yehud?im picked up stones to stone Him. 32 ????? answered them, “Many good works I have shown you from My Father. Because of which of these works do you stone Me?” 33 The Yehud?im answered Him, saying, “We do not stone You for a good work, but for blasphemy, and because You, being a Man, make Yourself Elohim.” 34 ????? answered them, “Is it not written in your own Torah, ‘I said, “You are elohim” ’? 35 “If He called them elohim, to whom the word of Elohim came – and it is impossible for the Scripture to be broken – 36 do you say of Him whom the Father set apart and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of Elohim’? 37 “If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me; 38 but if I do, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, so that you know and believe that the Father is in Me, and I in Him.” 39 Therefore they were seeking again to seize Him, but He went forth out of their hand, 40 and went once more to the other side of the Yard?n to the place where Yoh?anan was immersing at first, and there He stayed.
Yahshua was not in the Temple to celebrate Hanukah as some claim. He was there to rebuke those who refused to believe in Him.
Take note that Yahovah will allow things to happen to test you and to see if you will obey Him or whether you will go after other gods at the drop of a kippa. He also sends trials to test you, to prove you and to know your heart as to whether it is for evil or good.
Exodus 16: 4 And ???? said to Mosheh, “See, I am raining bread from the heavens for you. And the people shall go out and gather a day’s portion every day, in order to try (test) them, whether they walk in My Torah or not.
Exodus 20: 20 And Mosheh said to the people, “Do not fear, for Elohim has come to prove you, and in order that His fear be before you, so that you do not sin.”
Deuteronomy 8: 1 “Guard to do every command which I command you today, that you might live, and shall increase, and go in, and shall possess the land of which ???? swore to your fathers. 2 “And you shall remember that ???? your Elohim led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you, prove you, to know what is in your heart, whether you guard His commands or not.
Deuteronomy 8: 15 who led you through that great and awesome wilderness – fiery serpents and scorpions and thirst – where there was no water, who brought water for you out of the flinty rock, 16 who fed you in the wilderness with manna, which your fathers did not know, in order to humble you and to try you, to do you good in the end
Judges 2: 21 I also shall no longer drive out before them any of the nations which Yehoshua left when he died, 22 in order to try1 Yisra’?l by them, whether they would guard the way of ????, to walk in them as their fathers guarded them, or not.”
Judges 3: 4 And they were to try Yisra’?l by them, to know whether they would obey the commands of ????, which He had commanded their fathers by the hand of Mosheh.
1 Chronicles 18: 17 “And I know, my Elohim, that You are trying the heart and desire uprightness. As for me, in the uprightness of my heart I have voluntarily given all these. And now with joy I have seen Your people, who are present here to give voluntarily to You.
2 Chronicles 32: 30 And H?izqiyahu himself had stopped the upper outlet of the waters of Gih?on, and directed them to the west side of the City of Dawid?. And H?izqiyahu prospered in all his work. 31 However with the envoys of the princes of Bab?el, whom they sent to ask him about the wonder that was done in the land, Elohim left him, in order to try him, to know all that was in his heart.
Did Satan not test Job with Yahovah’s permission?
Psalm 4: 4 ???? is in His set-apart H?k?al, The throne of ???? is in the heavens. His eyes see, His eyelids examine the sons of men.
Jeremiah 17: 10 “I, ????, search the heart, I try the kidneys, and give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.
Jeremiah 20: 12 But, O ???? of hosts, trying the righteous, and seeing the kidneys and heart, let me see Your vengeance on them, for I have revealed my cause to You
Zechariah 13: 6 “And one shall say to him, ‘What are these wounds in your hands?’ And he shall say, ‘Because I was wounded at home by those who love me.’ 7 “O sword, awake against My Shepherd, against the Man who is My Companion,” declares ???? of hosts. “Smite the Shepherd, and let the sheep be scattered. But I shall turn My hand upon the little ones. 8 And it shall be throughout all the soil,” declares ????, “that two thirds therein are cut off and die, and one third is left therein. 9 “And I shall bring the third into fire, and refine them as silver is refined, and try them as gold is tried. They shall call on My Name1, and I shall answer them. I shall say, ‘This is My people,’ while they say, ‘???? is my Elohim.’ ” Footnote: 1Zeph. 3:9.
2 Corinthians 2: 8 So I appeal to you to confirm your love to him. 9 Besides, I wrote for this purpose also, that I might know the proof of you, if you are obedient in all matters.
2 Corinthians 13: 5 Examine yourselves whether you are in the belief – prove yourselves. Or do you not know yourselves, that ????? Messiah is in you,1 unless you are disapproved. Footnote: 1Rom. 8:10, Gal. 2:20, Eph. 3:17, Col. 1:27, 1 John 4:4. 6 And I trust that you shall know that we are not disapproved. 7 And we pray to Elohim that you do no evil at all – not that we should appear approved, but that you should do what is right, even though we should appear unapproved.
I Thessalonians 5: 20 Do not despise prophecies, 21 prove them all. Hold fast what is good. 22 Keep back from every form of wickedness.
1 John 4: 1 Beloved ones, do not believe every spirit, but prove the spirits, whether they are of Elohim, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
Revelation 3: 10 “Because you have guarded My Word of endurance, I also shall guard you from the hour of trial which shall come upon all the world, to try those who dwell on the earth.
If you guard His word and not your traditions, but His Torah, then He will guard you when He sends the trials that will test the rest of the world who have not guarded His Torah.
Where do we get this notion of having a festival of lights at this time of year as this is what Chanukah is known as?
Hanukkah (Hebrew: ?????????, Tiberian: ??nukk?h, nowadays usually spelled ????? pronounced [?anu?ka] in Modern Hebrew, also romanized as Chanukah), also known as the Festival of Lights, is an eight-day Jewish holiday commemorating the rededication of the Holy Temple (the Second Temple) in Jerusalem at the time of the Maccabean Revolt of the 2nd century BCE, Hanukkah is observed for eight nights, starting on the 25th day of Kislev according to the Hebrew calendar, which may occur at any time from late November to late December in the Gregorian calendar.
The festival is observed by the kindling of the lights of a very special candelabrum, the nine-branched Menorah or Hanukiah, one additional light on each night of the holiday, progressing to eight on the final night. An extra light called a shamash (Hebrew: ???, “attendant” or “sexton”) is also lit each night for the purpose of lighting the others, and is given a distinct location, usually above or below the rest. The “shamash” symbolically supplies light that may be used for some secular purpose.
Here is what the Indians of India call this special time of the year.
Festival of Lights
Deepavali (also spelled Divali in few countries) or Diwali, popularly known as the festival of lights, is an important five-day festival in Hinduism, Jainism, and Sikhism, occurring between mid-October and mid-November. For Hindus, Diwali is the most important festival of the year and is celebrated in families by performing traditional activities together in their homes. Deepavali is an official holiday in India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Mauritius, Guyana, Trinidad & Tobago, Suriname, Malaysia, Singapore, and Fiji.
The name Diwali is itself a contraction of the word “Deepavali” (Sanskrit: ??????? D?p?val?), which translates into row of lamps. Diwali involves the lighting of small clay lamps (diyas, or d?pa in Sanskrit: ???) filled with oil to signify the triumph of good over evil. During Diwali, all the celebrants wear new clothes and share sweets and snacks with family members and friends. Most Indian business communities begin the financial year on the first day of Diwali.
Diwali commemorates the return of Lord Rama along with Sita and Lakshman from his fourteen year long exile and vanquishing the demon-king Ravana. In joyous celebration of the return of their king, the people of Ayodhya, the Capital of Rama, illuminated the kingdom with earthen diyas (oil lamps) and burst crackers. In Jainism, Diwali marks the attainment of moksha or nirvana by Mahavira in 527 BC. In Sikhism, Deepavali commemorates the return of Guru Har Gobind Ji to Amritsar after freeing 52 Hindu kings imprisoned in Fort Gwalior by defeating Emperor Jahangir; the people lit candles and diyas to celebrate his return. This is the reason Sikhs also refer to Deepavali as Bandi Chhorh Divas, “the day of release of detainees”. Deepavali is widely celebrated in both India and Nepal.
The first day of the festival Naraka Chaturdasi marks the vanquishing of the demon Naraka by Lord Krishna and his wife Satyabhama. Amavasya, the second day of Deepawali, marks the worship of Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth in her most benevolent mood, fulfilling the wishes of her devotees. Amavasya also tells the story of Lord Vishnu, who in his dwarf incarnation vanquished the tyrant Bali, and banished him to hell. Bali was allowed to return to earth once a year, to light millions of lamps to dispel the darkness and ignorance, and spread the radiance of love and wisdom. It is on the third day of Deepawali — Kartika Shudda Padyami – that Bali steps out of hell and rules the earth according to the boon given by Lord Vishnu. The fourth day is referred to as Yama Dvitiya (also called Bhai Dooj) and on this day sisters invite their brothers to their homes.
In each legend, myth and story of Deepawali lies the significance of the victory of good over evil; and it is with each Deepawali and the lights that illuminate our homes and hearts, that this simple truth finds new reason and hope. From darkness unto light — the light that empowers us to commit ourselves to good deeds, that which brings us closer to divinity. During Diwali, lights illuminate every corner of India and the scent of incense sticks hangs in the air, mingled with the sounds of fire-crackers, joy, togetherness and hope. Diwali is celebrated around the globe. Outside India, it is more than a Hindu festival, it’s a celebration of South-Asian identities.
While Deepavali is popularly known as the “festival of lights”, the most significant spiritual meaning is “the awareness of the inner light”. Central to Hindu philosophy is the assertion that there is something beyond the physical body and mind which is pure, infinite, and eternal, called the Atman. The celebration of Deepavali as the “victory of good over evil”, refers to the light of higher knowledge dispelling all ignorance, the ignorance that masks one’s true nature, not as the body, but as the unchanging, infinite, immanent and transcendent reality. With this awakening comes compassion and the awareness of the oneness of all things (higher knowledge). This brings Ananda (joy or peace). Just as we celebrate the birth of our physical being, Deepavali is the celebration of this Inner Light.
While the story behind Deepavali and the manner of celebration varies from region to region (festive fireworks, worship, lights, sharing of sweets), the essence is the same – to rejoice in the Inner Light (Atman) or the underlying Reality of all things (Brahman).
If you go to this link http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winter_solstice you can read how almost everywhere around the world people are celebrating this winter solstice time of the year and how they do it and all the similarities there are. Then at the bottom of the article is a link to Festivals of Light.
When you click on it, it will take you to this,
Festival of Lights
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Festival of Lights or Celebration of Light may refer to:
• Chaharshanbe Suri, part of the Persian New Year and also known as Festival of Light
• Diwali, a religious festival associated with Hinduism, Sikhism, and Jainism
• Hanukkah, a Jewish festival also called The Festival of Lights
Chah?rshanbe-S?ri (Persian: ???????? ????, pronounced Ch?rshambe-S?ri) meaning Wednesday Feast, from the word sour which means feast in Persian is an ancient Persian festival dating back to at least 1700 BCE of the early Zoroastrian era. Also called the Festival of Fire, it is a prelude to Nowruz, which marks the arrival of spring. Traditionally celebrated on the last Tuesday night of the year, Chahrshanbeh Soori has, since the Iranian revolution, been marked on the evening before the last Wednesday. The words Chahar Shanbeh mean Wednesday and Suri means red. Bonfires are lit to “keep the sun alive” until early morning. The celebration usually starts in the evening, with people making bonfires in the streets and jumping over them singing zardi-ye man az to, sorkhi-ye to az man. The literal translation is, my sickly yellow paleness is yours, your fiery red color is mine. This is a purification rite. Loosely translated, this means you want the fire to take your paleness, sickness, and problems and in turn give you redness, warmth, and energy. There is no religious significance attached to Chaharshanbeh Soori and it serves as a cultural festival for Persian people: Persian Jews, Muslims, Armenians, Kurds, Azaris and Zoroastrians. Indeed this celebration, in particular the significant role of fire, is likely to hail from Zoroastrianism.
Another tradition of this day is to make special ajeel, or mixed nuts and berries. People wear disguises and chadors and go door to door knocking on doors. Receiving of the Ajeel is customary, as is receiving of a bucket of water.
Ancient Iranians celebrated the last 5 days of the year in their annual obligation feast of all souls, Hamaspathmaedaya (Farvardigan or popularly. hi Forodigan). They believed Faravahar, the guardian angels for humans and also the spirits of dead would come back for reunion. There are the seven Amesha Spenta, that are represented as Haftseen or literally the seven S. These spirits were entertained as honored guests in their old homes, and were bidden a formal ritual farewell at the dawn of the New Year. The festival also coincided with festivals celebrating the creation of fire and humans. In Sassanid period the festival was divided into two distinct pentads, known as the lesser and the greater Pentad, or Panji as it is called today. Gradually the belief developed that the ‘Lesser Panji’ belonged to the souls of children and those who died without sin, whereas ‘Greater Panji’ was truly for all souls.
From Persia we get Mithra, the Persian god of light and sacred contracts. Mithraism is also known as Nicolaitans spoken of in the message to the churches of Revelation. These churches are the Seven Lamp Stands, not Chanukiahs. You shourd read these verses again.
Mithra was an embodiment of the sun, so this period of its rebirth was a major day in Mithraism, which had become Rome’s latest official religion with the patronage of Aurelian. It is believed that the emperor Constantine adhered to Mithraism up to the time of his conversion to Christianity. He was probably instrumental in seeing that the major feast of his old religion was carried over to his new faith” (Gerard and Patricia Del Re, The Christmas Almanac, 1979, p. 17).
“For that day [25th of December] was sacred, not only to the pagan Romans but to a religion from Persia which, in those days, was one of Christianity’s strongest rivals. This Persian religion was Mithraism, whose followers worshipped the sun, and celebrated its return to strength on that day. The church finally succeeded in taking the merriment, the greenery, the lights, and gifts from Saturn and giving them to the Babe of Bethlehem” (Earl W. Count, 4000 Years of Christmas, p.27)
Practically every country in the world, from China to India, from South America to the Middle East, held celebrations at this time of year…it was not until the fourth century that Pope Julius I declared that December 25 should be celebrated as the birthday of Jesus Christ, and Christmas as we know it began. We now celebrate Christmas every year, with a little bit of pagan superstition, a Norse Yule log, Druid candles, a drop of wine from Saturnalia, and a feast from the winter solstice.” [Gyles Brandreth, The Christmas Book. London: Robert Hale, 1984. p9.]
“The period was characterized by ‘processions, singing, lighting candles, adorning the house with Laurel and green trees, giving presents’ . . . it is to the merriment and bestowing of favours at the Saturnalia time that we owe our common Christmas practice.” [Alfred Carl Hottes, 1,001 Christmas Facts and Fancies. New York: A.T. De La Mare, 1954. p14.]
Traditions of light: Christmas
The Christian tradition of light during the Christmas season is demonstrated by the Advent Candles which are lit each of four consecutive Sundays before Christmas Day. Additionally some families burn a yule log. This tradition goes back pre-Christian celebrations during Winter Solstice.
Festival of Light: Loi Krathong (loy-kruh-thong) Festival in Thailand
This holiday is celebrated in Thailand in November each year.”Loy” means “to float” and a “Krathong” is a lotus-shaped vessel made of banana leaves. The Krathong usually contains a candle, three joss-sticks, some flowers and coins.
The festival starts at night when there is a full moon in the sky. People carry their Krathongs to the nearby rivers. After lighting candles and making a wish, they place the Krathongs on the water and let them drift away. People are offering thanks to the Goddess of water.
It is believed that the Krathongs carry away bad luck. The wishes that people make for the new year will start. It is the time to be joyful and happy as the sufferings are floated away.
Festival of Light: Christmas in Egypt
Many Christians in Egypt belong to the Coptic Orthodox Church. Christmas is celebrated on January 6th and 7th. The churches have always been decorated with special lamps and candles. Copts also give candles to the poor. They represent the candles Joseph used to protect Mary with when Jesus was born.
On the night of the 6th, the Coptic Christians go to the church for mass and at midnight they eat dinner On the morning of the 7th gifts are exchanged and people visit each other.
There are four weeks of Advent during which a candle is lit each week. In Egypt, Advent lasts for forty-five days and people fast. They do not eat any meat, poultry or dairy products.
Everyone buys new clothes to wear to the Christmas Eve church service.
Before Christmas, Christian homes are decorated with lights, Christmas trees and small mangers.
On Christmas morning people people visit friends and neighbors. They bring a gift of shortbread which is called “Kaik.”
Festival of Light: Christmas in China
Christians in China celebrate Christmas by lighting their houses with paper lanterns.
They also Christmas trees called “Trees of Light,” with paper chains, flowers, and lanterns.
Chinese Children hang muslin stockings and await a visit from Santa Claus, whom they call “Dun Che Lao Ren” (dwyn-chuh-lau-oh-run) which means “Christmas Old Man.”
Most Chinese people are not Christian so the main winter festival in China is the Chinese New Year which takes place toward the end of January. This is when children receive new clothing, eat fancy meals,get new toys, and enjoy fireworks.
The Two Babylons
Lamps and Wax-Candles
Another peculiarity of the Papal worship is the use of lamps and wax-candles. If the Madonna and child are set up in a niche, they must have a lamp to burn before them; if mass is to be celebrated, though in broad daylight, there must be wax-candles lighted on the altar; if a grand procession is to be formed, it cannot be thorough and complete without lighted tapers to grace the goodly show. The use of these lamps and tapers comes from the same source as all the rest of the Papal superstition. That which caused the “Heart,” when it became an emblem of the incarnate Son, to be represented as a heart on fire, required also that burning lamps and lighted candles should form part of the worship of that Son; for so, according to the established rites of Zoroaster, was the sun-god worshipped. When every Egyptian on the same night was required to light a lamp before his house in the open air, this was an act of homage to the sun, that had veiled its glory by enshrouding itself in a human form. When the Yezidis of Koordistan, at this day, once a year celebrate their festival of “burning lamps,” that, too, is to the honour of Sheikh Shems, or the Sun. Now, what on these high occasions was done on a grand scale was also done on a smaller scale, in the individual acts of worship to their god, by the lighting of lamps and tapers before the favourite divinity. In Babylon, this practice had been exceedingly prevalent, as we learn from the Apocryphal writer of the Book of Baruch. “They (the Babylonians),” says he, “light up lamps to their gods, and that in greater numbers, too, than they do for themselves, although the gods cannot see one of them, and are senseless as the beams of their houses.” In Pagan Rome, the same practice was observed. Thus we find Licinius, the Pagan Emperor, before joining battle with Constantine, his rival, calling a council of his friends in a thick wood, and there offering sacrifices to his gods, “lighting up wax-tapers” before them, and at the same time, in his speech, giving his gods a hint, that if they did not give him the victory against Constantine, his enemy and theirs, he would be under the necessity of abandoning their worship, and lighting up no more “wax-tapers to their honour.” In the Pagan processions, also, at Rome, the wax-candles largely figured. “At these solemnities,” says Dr. Middleton, referring to Apuleius as his authority, “at these solemnities, the chief magistrate used frequently to assist, in robes of ceremony, attended by the priests in surplices, with wax-candles in their hands, carrying upon a pageant or thensa, the images of their gods, dressed out in their best clothes; these were usually followed by the principal youth of the place, in white linen vestments or surplices, singing hymns in honour of the gods whose festivals they were celebrating, accompanied by crowds of all sorts that were initiated in the same religion, all with flambeaux or wax-candles in their hands.” Now, so thoroughly and exclusively Pagan was this custom of lighting up lamps and candles in daylight, that we find Christian writers, such as Lactantius, in the fourth century, exposing the absurdity of the practice, and deriding the Romans “for lighting up candles to God, as if He lived in the dark.” Had such a custom at that time gained the least footing among Christians, Lactantius could never have ridiculed it as he does, as a practice peculiar to Paganism. But what was unknown to the Christian Church in the beginning of the fourth century, soon thereafter began to creep in, and now forms one of the most marked peculiarities of that community that boasts that it is the “Mother and mistress of all Churches.”
While Rome uses both lamps and wax-candles in her sacred rites, it is evident, however, that she attributes some pre-eminent virtue to the latter above all other lights. Up to the time of the Council of Trent, she thus prayed on Easter Eve, at the blessing of the Easter candles: “Calling upon thee in thy works, this holy Eve of Easter, we offer most humbly unto thy Majesty this sacrifice; namely, a fire not defiled with the fat of flesh, nor polluted with unholy oil or ointment, nor attained with any profane fire; but we offer unto thee with obedience, proceeding from perfect devotion, a fire of wrought WAX and wick, kindled and made to burn in honour of thy name. This so great a MYSTERY therefore, and the marvellous sacrament of this holy eve, must needs be extolled with due and deserved praises.” That there was some occult “Mystery,” as is here declared, couched under the “wax-candles,” in the original system of idolatry, from which Rome derived its ritual, may be well believed, when it is observed with what unanimity nations the most remote have agreed to use wax-candles in their sacred rites. Among the Tungusians, near the Lake Baikal in Siberia, “wax-tapers are placed before the Burchans,” the gods or idols of that country. In the Molucca Islands, wax-tapers are used in the worship of Nito, or Devil, whom these islanders adore. “Twenty or thirty persons having assembled,” says Hurd, “they summon the Nito, by beating a small consecrated drum, whilst two or more of the company light up wax-tapers, and pronounce several mysterious words, which they consider as able to conjure him up.” In the worship of Ceylon, the use of wax-candles is an indispensable requisite. “In Ceylon,” says the same author, “some devotees, who are not priests, erect chapels for themselves, but in each of them they are obliged to have an image of Buddha, and light up tapers or wax-candles before it, and adorn it with flowers.” A practice thus so general must have come from some primeval source, and must have originally had some mystic reason at the bottom of it. The wax-candle was, in fact, a hieroglyphic, like so many other things which we have already seen, and was intended to exhibit the Babylonian god in one of the essential characters of the Great Mediator. The classic reader may remember that one of the gods of primeval antiquity was called Ouranos, * that is, “The Enlightener.”
* For Aor or our, “light,” and an, “to act upon” or produce, the same as our English particle en, “to make.” Ouranos, then, is “The Enlightener.” This Ouranos is, by Sanchuniathon, the Phoenician, called the son of Elioun–i.e., as he himself, or Philo-Byblius, interprets the name, “The Most High.” (SANCH) Ouranos, in the physical sense, is “The Shiner”; and by Hesychius it is made equivalent to Kronos, which also has the same meaning, for Krn, the verb from which it comes, signifies either “to put forth horns,” or “to send forth rays of light”; and, therefore, while the epithet Kronos, or “The Horned One,” had primarily reference to the physical power of Nimrod as a “mighty” king; when that king was deified, and made “Lord of Heaven,” that name, Kronos, was still applied to him in his new character as “The Shiner or Lightgiver.” The distinction made by Hesiod between Ouranos and Kronos, is no argument against the real substantial identity of these divinities originally as Pagan divinities; for Herodotus states that Hesiod had a hand in “inventing a theogony” for the Greeks, which implies that some at least of the details of that theogony must have come from his own fancy; and, on examination, it will be found, when the veil of allegory is removed, that Hesiod’s “Ouranos,” though introduced as one of the Pagan gods, was really at bottom the “God of Heaven,” the living and true God.
In this very character was Nimrod worshipped when he was deified. As the Sun-god he was regarded not only as the illuminator of the material world, but as the enlightener of the souls of men, for he was recognised as the revealer of “goodness and truth.” It is evident, from the Old Testament, not less than the New, that the proper and personal name of our Lord Jesus Christ is, “The Word of God,” as the Revealer of the heart and counsels of the Godhead. Now, to identify the Sun-god with the Great Revealer of the Godhead, while under the name of Mithra, he was exhibited in sculpture as a Lion; that Lion had a Bee represented between his lips. The bee between the lips of the sun-god was intended to point him out as “the Word”; for Dabar, the expression which signifies in Chaldee a “Bee,” signifies also a “Word”; and the position of that bee in the mouth leaves no doubt as to the idea intended to be conveyed. It was intended to impress the belief that Mithra (who, says Plutarch, was worshipped as Mesites, “The Mediator”), in his character as Ouranos
We have now shown you that Nimrod was Mithra and Saturn and he is represented as the sun. When the sun is not giving very much light at the winter solstice, candles and fires are lit to encourage the sun to return and it works every year they do it.
Judah picked up this practice while in Babylon. But it was after the Maccabees that it came to be a tradition that was sanctioned.
Although the Maccabees kept the Feast of Sukkot one month later because of the Syrians, no miracle of the Menorah staying lit for eight days ever happened. So if this so called miracle is an invention of some later Rabbi, and we now know what the lighting of candles and fires for religious purposes at the winter solstice means, do you really want to add some false tradition to your walk after getting rid of so many other false teachings and lies from your former way which was not according to Torah?
Do you really want to give up Christmas in order to keep Diwali or Chah?rshanbe-S?ri, or Chanukah, all of which are the same thing, just wrapped up in different coloured wrapping paper? Go ahead teach your children another lie and when you do think of this verse in Amos 2: 4 Thus said ????, “For three transgressions of Yehud?ah, and for four, I do not turn it back, because they have rejected the Torah of ????, and did not guard His laws. And their lies after which their fathers walked lead them astray. 5 “But I shall send fire upon Yehud?ah, and it shall consume the palaces of Yerushalayim.”
I have been very hard on those traditions of Judah the past month. This is why. Because they have rejected the Torah of Yahovah and have not guarded His laws replacing them with Oral traditions. It is the traditions which teach you a lie and lead you astray. Read the verse again.
Read Jeremiah 16: 19 O ????, my strength and my stronghold and my refuge, in the day of distress the gentiles shall come to You from the ends of the earth and say, “Our fathers have inherited only falsehood, futility, and there is no value in them.”1 Footnote: 1See Ps. 147:19, Isa. 2:3, Isa. 60:2-3, John 4:22, Rom. 2:20, Rom. 3:2, Rom. 9:4. 20 Would a man make mighty ones for himself, which are not mighty ones? 21 “Therefore see, I am causing them to know, this time I cause them to know My hand and My might. And they shall know that My Name is ????!”
In these last days we are now returning to Yahovah and we have learned that those religious teachings we grew up with are worthless. We were taught lies. Do not give up pagan Christian lies for Jewish ones.
Read the Maccabees and study those things which are of benefit, but do not take part in the false teachings and false traditions that many will encourage you to do, and then lead you away from obeying our Father to be entrapped in another religion; our Father Yahovah is the one who said not to add to His Torah.
The Festival of Lights which are celebrated in various ways around the world at this time of year when the suns light gets shorter and shorter is done with candles and bon fires which are lit to give honour to Ouranos “The Shiner or Light giver,” Also known as Kronos, and Nimrod and the Sun. You may not know this is whom you worship, but even Satan came as an angel of light, to deceive.
Triennial Torah Cycle
We now return to our 3 1/2 year Torah studies which you can follow at https://sightedmoon.com/sightedmoon_2015/files/TriennialCycleBeginningAviv.pdf
We are now in our 36th week since we began this first year of this 3rd Sabbatical cycle of the 119th Jubilee cycles since Adam and we began at Aviv 1 which was March 20, 2010 on the Gregorian calendar. I do hope you are reading each of these chapters as we come to them and not just my own comments on them. Read it yourself and let Yahovah inspire you.
20/11/2010 Gen 38 2 Sam 3 Ps 78 Mark 16 – Luke 1:26
I have said in the past that I wanted to do this 3 ½ year Torah study in alignment with the Sabbatical cycle. I did not know why but I suspected I would be shown certain things at certain times which we could not know unless we got on Yahovah’s time schedule.
I have been very hard on the teachings of Judah the past month. So now we are about to read about the story of Judah; interesting. I had not planned this.
The first thing we are told is that Judah married a Canaanite woman which you are not to do. We were told in Gen 24 how Abraham made his servant promise not to take a wife from amongst the Canaanites for Isaac. Then in Chapter 28 we read again how Isaac charged Jacob not to take a Canaanite for a wife. Yet here we read how Judah did this exact thing. Then each of his boys dies and leaves no heir.
In Genesis chapter 38, Tamar is first described as marrying Er, the eldest son of Judah; according to the text, God killed Er because he was wicked (although it doesn’t give any further details), and so Judah asked his second son, Onan, to have sex with Tamar, so that the offspring could be declared Er’s heir. The narrative implies that Onan didn’t object to the sex itself, but performed coitus interruptus so that there wouldn’t be any offspring he couldn’t claim as his own, so God killed him. Judah is portrayed as viewing Tamar to be cursed, and is therefore reluctant to give her to his remaining son, Shelah; he first tells Tamar to act like a widow, until Shelah, the youngest son, has grown up, and then when he finally does, he still won’t give Tamar to Shelah in marriage.
According to the text, after Judah’s own wife had later died, he decided to use a prostitute at Enaim; the prostitute in question was Tamar, who wore a veil, making herself unrecognisable. The passage goes on to state that Judah offered to pay her a goat in arrears, but she asked for Judah’s staff and seal as security towards this payment; having given her this security, he made her pregnant, but when he later sends the goat, she has gone and taken the seal and staff with her. The text states that three months later, Judah is told that Tamar had been acting as a prostitute, and had become pregnant as a result, so he orders that she should be burnt to death; Tamar sent a message to Judah with his signet ring and cords and staff; and announced that the owner of the items is the father of the children. Judah recognises them, stating that she is more righteous than he is. Judah, afterwards, takes her in to his house, but does not have any more sexual relations with her. Tamar later gives birth to twins (Pharez and Zerah). Pharez is in King David’s lineage.
Beginning in verse 27 we read about the twins that Tamar now was about to give birth to. This short section is so important that volumes have been written about it. We have covered much of this in the series of articles to be found at https://sightedmoon.com/sightedmoon_2015/?page_id=595 titled The Throne of Britain: Its Biblical Origen and Future.
I urge you all to read this entire series as it so important that you know who and where the Jews are and who has the promised sceptre promise. One of the people who recently wrote to me was claiming as does much of Judah that they have the sceptre promise and therefore the rest of us must listen to them because this gives them the right to make the laws. This is the exact thing I have been arguing against this past month. Judah does not have the right to change the laws. Levi was placed in charge of the Torah not Judah. But here we are about to see where that sceptre promise is. For from these two lines of Perez and Zerah have come all the Kings of Israel and as promised to King David his line would never lack someone to sit upon the very throne of David. So where is that Jewish King today? Will Judah submit to their rule over them?
I have found My servant David; with My holy oil I have anointed him…. 27 Also I will make him My firstborn, the highest of the kings of the earth. 28 My mercy I will keep for him forever, and My covenant shall stand firm with him. 29 His seed also I will make to endure forever, and his throne as the days of heaven. 30 If his sons forsake My law and do not walk in My judgments, 31 if they break My statutes and do not keep My commandments, 32 then I will punish their transgression with the rod, and their iniquity with stripes. 33 Nevertheless My lovingkindness I will not utterly take from him, nor allow my faithfulness to fail. 34 My covenant I will not break, nor alter the word that has gone out of My lips. 35 Once I have sworn by My holiness; I will not lie to David: 36 His seed shall endure forever, and his throne as the sun before Me; 37 it shall be established forever like the moon, even like the faithful witness in the sky. Selah
So where is that throne today; that Davidic throne? Queen Elizabeth the 2nd now sits on this very throne. She is the direct descendant from King David and She is Jewish. Surprised, you would not be if you studied those things I have urged you to read.
The line of Perez came to an end with the last king of Judah.
The last king of Judah was the third son of Josiah, and his mother’s name was Hamutal, the daughter of Jeremiah of Libnah, and hence he was the brother of Jehoahaz (2Kg 23:31; 2Kg 24:17f). His original name was Mattaniah; but when Nebuchadnezzar placed him on the throne as the successor to Jehoiachin he changed his name to Zedekiah.
The prophet Jeremiah was his counsellor, yet “he did evil in the sight of the Lord” (2Kg 24:19f; Jer 52:2f). He ascended the throne at the age of twenty-one years. The kingdom was at that time tributary to Nebuchadnezzar; but, despite the strong remonstrances of Jeremiah and others, as well as the example of Jehoiachin, he threw off the yoke of Babylon, and entered into an alliance with Hophra, king of Egypt. This brought up Nebuchadnezzar, “with all his host” (2Kg 25:1), against Jerusalem.
During this siege, which lasted about eighteen months, “every worst woe befell the devoted city, which drank the cup of God’s fury to the dregs” (2Kg 25:3; Lam 4:4ff). The city was plundered and laid in ruins. Zedekiah and his followers, attempting to escape, were made captive and taken to Riblah. There, after seeing his own children put to death, his own eyes were put out, and, being loaded with chains, he was carried captive (B.C. 588) to Babylon (2Kg 25:1ff; 2Chr 36:12; Jer 32:4ff; Jer 34:2f; Jer 39:1ff; Jer 52:4ff; Ezek 12:12), where he remained a prisoner, how long is unknown, to the day of his death.
After the fall of Jerusalem, Nebuzaraddan was sent to carry out its complete destruction. The city was razed to the ground. Only a small number of vinedressers and husbandmen were permitted to remain in the land (Jer. 52:16). Gedaliah, with a Chaldean guard stationed at Mizpah, ruled over Judah (2Kg 25:22ff; Jer 40:1ff).
Jeremiah took the Kings daughter and brought her to Ireland where she would be married into the line of Zerah which then flowed to Scotland and then down to Queen Elizabeth of England. We can easily see the red Hand of Ulster with its cord tied around the fingers symbolic of this birth of Zarah. You can read more about this red cord in history at
There is so much to say on this subject. I must leave the rest to your own research.
2 Samuel 3
In this chapter we read how Abner recruits all of Israel who are under Ishbosheth’s rule after the death of Saul, to come and join up with David after 7 years of civil war. Abner was Sauls general and now Ishbosheth until they had a falling out.
It was during this civil war that the back of the spear went through Asahel the brother of Joab David’s General which we read about in Chapter 2.
David made a covenant with Abner and Joab found out and tricks Abner to come back to Hebron where he kills him. David did not know about it and states so publicly so all of Israel knew of David’s remorse at the death of a great man as he says in verse 38.
This evil thing of killing Abner was done by Joab like an honour killing to avenge the death of Asahel. Abner was an innocent victim here. The death of Asahel was during a war battle and Asahel was trying to kill Abner.
However, according to Josephus, in Antiquities, Book 7, Chapter 1, Joab had forgiven Abner for the death of his brother, Asahel, the reason being that Abner had slain Asahel honorably in combat after he had twice warned Asahel and had no other choice but to kill him out of self defense. If this was the case, the reason Joab killed Abner may have been that he became a threat to his rank of general, since Abner had switched to the side of David and granted him control over the tribe of Benjamin. Yet the narrative explicitly states that Joab killed Abner “to avenge the blood of his brother Asahel” (2 Samuel 3:27).
After leading the assault on the fortress of Mount Zion, Joab was promoted to the rank of General (1 Chronicles 27:34). He led the army against Syria, Ammon, Moab and Edom. He also took part in David’s murder of Uriah (2 Samuel 11:14-25).
Joab played a pivotal role as the commander of David’s forces during Absalom’s rebellion. Absalom, one of David’s sons, rallied much of Israel in rebellion against David, who was forced to flee with only his most trusted men. However, David could not bring himself to harm his son, and ordered that none of his men should kill Absalom during the ensuing battle. However, when a man reported that Absalom had been found, alive, caught in a tree, Joab and his men killed him (2 Samuel 18:1-33).
David later replaced him as commander of the army with his nephew, Amasa (2 Samuel 17:25; 19:13). Joab later killed Amasa (2 Samuel 20:8-13; 1 Kings 2:5).
On the brink of death, David told Solomon to have Joab killed citing Joab’s past betrayals and the blood that he was guilty of, and for this Solomon ordered his death by the hand of Benaiah (1 Kings 2:29-34), who then replaced him as commander of the army. Joab was buried in ‘the wilderness’ (1 Kings 2:34). It is interesting to note that Joab fled to the Tent of the Tabernacle and told Benaiah that he will die there. Benaiah, as ordered by King Solomon, kills Joab in the House of Yahweh.
The Tent of the Tabernacle at this time was in the Kidron Valley right in front of the Gihon Spring. If you have been there then this is where the construction entrance to the Jebusite Gates is just before you go into Hezekiah’s Tunnel.
“Again and Again They Tempted God” (Psalm 78) August 29-31
Like Psalm 74, Psalm 78 is a maskil—an instructional psalm or “contemplation” (NKJV)—of Asaph. In this closing psalm of the first cluster of Book III, the second-longest psalm in the Bible, Asaph reflects on God’s faithfulness despite Israel’s history of rebellion against Him—and on God’s decision to dwell with Judah rather than with Israel at large. Where the KJV and NKJV have “my law” in verse 1, the NIV has “my teaching,” as the Hebrew word torah means instruction—principles to understand and live by, thus a law for life (compare Proverbs 1:8; 3:1; 4:2).
In Psalm 78:2, “the terms parable and dark sayings or riddles indicate sayings with ‘deeper meanings’ or ‘teachings with a point’ (Prov. 1:6)” (Nelson Study Bible, note on Psalm 78:1-2). The apostle Matthew quoted Psalm 78:2 as a prophecy of Jesus’ use of parables (Matthew 13:34-35)—using stories to teach lessons. In Psalm 78 the story is that of Israel’s history—a pattern followed by Christ’s disciple Stephen in his message of Acts 7.
The general instruction here is not new, Asaph explains, as it was to have been passed down from one generation to the next so that succeeding generations would come to know God’s laws and learn from the mistakes of past generations who failed to follow these laws (Psalm 78:3-8). Asaph is participating in this passage of instruction on a broad scale through the composition and performance of his psalm for the national audience.
Yet what may be new, the more subtle point of the psalm, as we will see, concerns the shift of the center of God’s worship and of civil rule from the northern tribes to Judah. This is first hinted at in verses 9-11. The tribe of Ephraim son of Joseph here, as the leading tribe in Israel, was representative of the nation of Israel in general, particularly the northern tribes. Indeed, the mention of Ephraim in verse 9 with respect to a battle may be specific. The Expositor’s Bible Commentary states: “From the description of God’s judgment on Israel, on Shiloh ([the site of His tabernacle through the period of the judges] located in the mountains of Ephraim), and, particularly, on Ephraim (vv. 56-64, 67), the psalmist may be thinking of the Philistine incursion and victory at Ebenezer, which resulted in the loss of the ark and the destruction of Shiloh (1 Sam 4:1-11)” (note on Psalm 78:9).
The loss at Shiloh, due to Israel’s refusal to obey God, was a momentous development, as the psalm later points out. Yet it followed a pattern of Israel’s rebellion since the nation’s deliverance from Egypt, which is recounted in the psalm. (Zoan in verses 12 and 43 was an Egyptian city in the Nile Delta.)
Despite God’s awesome deliverance (verses 12-16), the Israelites rebelled in the wilderness, trying God’s patience (verses 17-18). Though He had divided the Red Sea, they didn’t believe He would provide food and drink for them in the desert. They thought they would starve because of His “deliverance” (see Exodus 16). And when He did provide, they were later unsatisfied with what He gave them (see verses 18-22)—even though He gave them manna, the “bread of heaven…angel’s food” (verse 24), which Jesus later explained was symbolic of Himself given for others to partake of in a spiritual sense (see John 6). So God gave them what they craved—sending birds in abundance to provide them with meat—but He struck them with a plague for their voracious lust and outrageous ingratitude (Psalm 78:26-31). The full account of this episode is found in Numbers 11.
“In spite of this,” says Psalm 76:32, the Israelites continued to sin against God, not believing “in His wonderful works” (Psalm 78:32). How is this possible when they saw the supernatural intervention with their own eyes? Perhaps some did not trust what they had seen—or they willfully forgot. Yet on a wide scale this probably means that the people did not retain confidence in these things as proof of God’s care for them or an indication that He would judge evil the next time as He had before. This too is a form of forgetfulness. In Hebrews 3:12-13, Christians are warned against following the Israelites’ example in developing an “evil heart of unbelief…hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.”
Because they didn’t believe Him, God caused the Israelites to spend the rest of their days “in futility” and “fear” rather than entering the Promised Land (Psalm 78:33). For 40 years they wandered, seeking God then forgetting Him and becoming unfaithful (verses 34-42). Yet in His compassion, God averted His wrath on many occasions, remembering “that they were but flesh” (verses 38-39). God is still the same merciful God, for which we can be ever thankful (compare Malachi 3:6).
Again, at the root of the Israelites’ unfaithfulness was their failure to remember—in the way they should have—God’s power as exercised to deliver them from their enemies (Psalm 78:42). Asaph, expressing what parents should have been teaching their children, again recounts God’s striking of Egypt to free His people and His driving out of the Canaanites to give His people the Promised Land (verses 43-55). Having come to “His holy border” in verse 54, “this mountain” in the same verse is evidently the whole land of Israel (as mountains often represent nations in Scripture).
Even in the Promised Land, the people “turned back and acted unfaithfully like their fathers” (verse 57). A major reason is probably that succeeding generations failed to pass on what God did for the nation—and to pass on God’s laws. Verses 58-59 show that the Israelites sank into syncretistic and idolatrous practices, which infuriated God.
We come, then, to verse 60. Because of their pattern of unfaithfulness, God forsakes the tabernacle at Shiloh, allowing the enemy Philistines to capture, for a period of time, “His strength…and His glory” (verse 61)—referring to the Ark of the Covenant (compare 1 Samuel 4:22). Many Israelites were killed in the battle, including the high priest Eli’s wicked sons Hophni and Phinehas (see Psalm 78:62-64; 1 Samuel 4).
In Psalm 78:65-66, God is portrayed as afterward rousing Himself and, with a great shout, beating back His enemies, putting them to a “perpetual reproach.” Asaph is speaking of events leading up to the time he wrote this, essentially describing God leading Israel to defeat its enemies in the time of King David, creating an ongoing period of Israelite peace and triumph under Solomon.
As part of this process, Asaph says that God “rejected the tent of Joseph, and did not choose the tribe of Ephraim, but chose the tribe of Judah, Mount Zion which He loved, and He built His sanctuary like the heights” (verses 67-69). Thus, the center of worship is moved from the tabernacle of Shiloh in the territory of Ephraim to the temple of Jerusalem in the land of Judah. Focus is also placed on God choosing David, of Judah, as king over all Israel (verses 70-71). David’s demeanor and care-giving knowledge as an actual shepherd of sheep was valuable training for shepherding God’s people on behalf of God Himself, the great Shepherd (see Psalm 23).
Yet there may be much more to this psalm. After all, Psalm 78:2 is prophetic of Christ’s parables. His parables mostly concerned His servants and the Kingdom of God. Might there be a Kingdom parable here in Psalm 78? Certainly the need to remain faithful to God and His continual faithfulness to forgive upon repentance are Kingdom themes. But there may be more.
The exaltation of Judah as God’s dwelling in Psalm 78 would take on greater meaning after the division of the kingdom into north and south upon Solomon’s death and the subsequent apostasy of the northern kingdom. As the prophet Hosea would later write in Hosea 11:12: “Ephraim has encircled Me with lies, and the house of Israel with deceit [following Israel’s historical pattern in Psalm 78—see especially verse 36]; but Judah still walks with God, even with the Holy One who is faithful.” Judah was in essence the faithful remnant of Israel. But Judah would later apostatize as well. Even then, however, an elect few remained as the true Jews, so to speak—the true Jews of today, the elect remnant according to grace, being God’s Church (compare Romans 2:28-29; 11:5).
In that sense, God building His sanctuary on Mount Zion could today figuratively represent the building of His spiritual temple, the spiritual Zion. Indeed, the psalm could be seen, in type, as showing the center of God’s worship being moved from the physical nation of Israel to the spiritual remnant of Israel. Yet in looking forward to God’s Kingdom, we should understand that the people of spiritual Zion will be established at the earthly Zion and all Israel will ultimately be saved—no longer enslaved to the pattern outlined in this psalm. David in the concluding verses of Psalm 78 is in this picture representative of the rulers of God’s coming Kingdom, especially the chief ruler, David’s descendant Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd who will reign from the throne of David over all nations. David himself and all the saints will then reign with Him in perfect integrity and skill.
Mark 16- Luke 1:26
In Mark 16 the one verse that jumps out me in this study is verse 16: 16 “He who has believed and has been immersed, shall be saved, but he who has not believed shall be condemned.
Then for the rest of this study we are told about the conception of John the Baptiser who is described in Luke 1: 16 “And he shall turn many of the children of Yisra’?l to ???? their Elohim. 17 “And he shall go before Him in the spirit and power of ?liyahu, ‘to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children,’ and the disobedient to the insight of the righteous, to make ready a people prepared for ????.”
We are told in Malachi 4: 4 “Remember the Torah of Mosheh, My servant, which I commanded him in H?or?b? for all Yisra’?l – laws and right-rulings. 5 “See, I am sending you ?liyah1 the prophet before the coming of the great and awesome day of ????. Footnote: 1Lk. 1:17. 6 “And he shall turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with utter destruction1.” Footnote: 1Zech. 14:11.
What does this mean.? 16 “He who has believed and has been immersed, shall be saved
Even though we are believers we still have to commit to water baptism. A mikvah.
Before the Torah was given at Sinai, all of Israel was commanded to immerse themselves in preparation for coming face to face with Yahovah. Exodus 19: 10 And ???? said to Mosheh, “Go to the people and set them apart today and tomorrow. And they shall wash their garments, 11 and shall be prepared by the third day. For on the third day ???? shall come down upon Mount Sinai before the eyes of all the people
And Aaron and his sons’ induction into the priesthood was marked by immersion in the mikvah.
Leviticus 8: 4 And Mosheh did as ???? commanded him, and the congregation was assembled at the door of the Tent of Meeting. 5 And Mosheh said to the congregation, “This is the word ???? commanded to be done.” 6 So Mosheh brought Aharon and his sons and washed them with water,
In Temple times, the priests as well as each Israelite who wished entry into the Temple had to first immerse in a mikvah.
On Yom Kippur, the holiest of all days, the High Priest was allowed entrance into the Holy of Holies, the innermost chamber of the Temple, into which no other mortal could enter. This was the zenith of a day that involved an ascending order of services, each of which was preceded by immersion in the mikvah. Leviticus 16: 1 And ???? spoke to Mosheh after the death of the two sons of Aharon, as they drew near before ????, and died. 2 And ???? said to Mosheh, “Speak to Aharon your brother not to come in at all times to the Set-apart Place inside the veil, before the lid of atonement which is on the ark, lest he die, because I appear in the cloud above the lid of atonement. 3 “With this Aharon should come into the Set-apart Place: with the blood of a young bull as a sin offering, and of a ram as a burnt offering. 4 “He should put on the set-apart linen long shirt, with linen trousers on his flesh, and gird himself with a linen girdle, and be dressed with the linen turban – they are set-apart garments. And he shall bathe his body in water, and shall put them on.
When we are baptised or mikvahed we are cleansing ourselves, our old sinful natures. Just as Israel passed through the Red Sea and once they come out the far side they were able to see the sin that pursued them washed away when the Sea closed up upon the Egyptian army.
In the end times when we see Jerusalem surrounded by armies we are to flee towards the East, to Moab and when we do we will have to cross the Jordan River. Once again we will be symbolically mikvahed, just as Joshua was when he and all of Israel crossed over the Jordan to enter the Promised Land.
By doing this we will be washing away our sins, our old way of life. The Egyptian way of life, the Babylonian system that seeks to keep us enslaved in it’s system of government and religions which are against Yahovah.
We are to be baptised to remove sin from us and to make room for the Holy Spirit to come into us. We must ask for this. The Holy Spirit will not force itself upon you like Satan and sin do. Even though you ask you must also do this outward presentation of actually being mikvahed or baptised.
In 2 Kings 5 we read about Naaman. 1 And Na?aman, commander of the army of the sovereign of Aram, was a great man in the eyes of his master, and highly respected, because by him ???? had given deliverance to Aram. And he was a brave man, but leprous.
When Naaman came to be healed he wanted or expected some great thing to be done for him because he was a great leader.
10 And Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying, “Go, and you shall wash seven times in the Yard?n, that your flesh might be restored to you, and be clean.” 11 But Na?aman became wroth, and went away and said, “See, I said to myself, ‘He would certainly come out to me, and stand and call on the Name of ???? his Elohim, and wave his hand over the place, and recover the leprosy.’ 12 “Are not the Ab?anah and the Pharpar, the rivers of Dammeseq, better than all the waters of Yisra’?l? Could I not wash in them and be clean?” And he turned and went away in a rage. 13 And his servants came near and spoke to him, and said, “My father, if the prophet had spoken to you a great matter, would you not have done it? How much more then, when he says to you, ‘Wash, and be clean’?” 14 Then he went down and dipped seven times in the Yard?n, according to the word of the man of Elohim. And his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.
Yahovah has said through the Gospel of Mark that you must believe and be immersed, and then you shall be saved. It is really that simple.
You must humble yourself and be baptised even after you have come to believe. But some will say I was baptised as a child or I was saved at some alter call, or I was baptised by such and such a group or I was already baptised once. Once saved always saved they will say.
But you have forgotten. In Jerusalem the Jews mikvaed regularly in order to be purified. They did it each time they went to the Temple. The Priest did is as often as they needed and the High priest did it at least once a year on atonement. Knowing all this read now acts 1:3 to whom He also presented Himself alive after His suffering by many infallible proofs, being seen by them for forty days, speaking concerning the reign of Elohim. 4 And meeting with them, He commanded them not to leave Yerushalayim, but to wait for the Promise of the Father,1 “which you have heard from Me – Footnote: 1Lk. 24:49, John 14:16 & 26. 5 because Yoh?anan truly immersed in water, but you shall be immersed in the Set-apart Spirit not many days from now.” 6 So when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, “Master, would You at this time restore the reign to Yisra’?l?”1 Footnote: 1Lk. 1:33. 7 And He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority. 8 “But you shall receive power when the Set-apart Spirit has come upon you, and you shall be My witnesses in Yerushalayim, and in all Yehud?ah and Shomeron, and to the end of the earth.”
Although we are baptised in water, the symbolism is that we being baptised into the Holy Spirit.
Now read carefully Acts 2: 1 And when the Day of the Festival of Weeks had come, they were all with one mind in one place. 2 And suddenly there came a sound from the heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. 3 And there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and settled on each one of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Set-apart Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them to speak. 5 Now in Yerushalayim there were dwelling Yehud?im, dedicated men from every nation under the heaven. 6 And when this sound came to be, the crowd came together, and were confused, because everyone heard them speak in his own language. 7 And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying to each other, “Look, are not all these who speak Galileans? 8 “And how do we hear, each one in our own language in which we were born? 9 “Parthians and Medes and ?ylamites, and those dwelling in Aram Naharayim, both Yehud?ah and Kappadokia, Pontos and Asia, 10 both Phrygia and Pamphulia, Mitsrayim and the parts of Libya around Cyrene, visitors from Rome, both Yehud?im and converts, 11 “Cretans and Arab?s, we hear them speaking in our own tongues the great deeds of Elohim.” 12 And they were all amazed, and were puzzled, saying to each other, “What does this mean?” 13 And others mocking said, “They have been filled with sweet wine.” 14 But K?pha, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice and said to them, “Men of Yehud?ah and all those dwelling in Yerushalayim, let this be known to you, and listen closely to my words. 15 “For these men are not drunk, as you imagine, since it is only the third hour of the day. 16 “But this is what was spoken by the prophet Yo’?l: 17 ‘And it shall be in the last days, says Elohim, that I shall pour out of My Spirit on all flesh. And your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams, 18 and also on My male servants and on My female servants I shall pour out My Spirit in those days, and they shall prophesy. 19 ‘And I shall show wonders in the heaven above and signs in the earth beneath: blood and fire and vapour of smoke. 20 ‘The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the coming of the great and splendid day of ????. 21 ‘And it shall be that everyone who calls on the Name of ???? shall be saved.’1 Footnote: 1Joel 2:28-32, Rom. 10:13. 22 “Men of Yisra’?l, hear these words: ????? of Natsareth, a Man from Elohim, having been pointed out to you by mighty works, and wonders, and signs which Elohim did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know, 23 this One, given up by the set purpose and foreknowledge of Elohim, you have impaled and put to death through the hands of lawless men – 24 “Him Elohim raised up, having loosed the pangs of death, because it was impossible that He could be held in its grip. 25 “For Dawid? says concerning Him, ‘I saw ???? before me continually, because He is at my right hand, in order that I should not be shaken. 26 ‘For this reason my heart rejoiced, and my tongue was glad, and now my flesh shall also rest in expectation, 27 because You shall not leave my being in the grave, nor shall You give Your Kind One to see corruption. 28 ‘You have made known to me the ways of life, You shall fill me with joy in Your presence.’1 Footnote: 1Ps. 16:8-11. 29 “Men and brothers, let me speak boldly to you of the ancestor Dawid?, that he died and was buried,1 and his tomb is with us to this day. Footnote: 1See v. 34. 30 “Being a prophet, then, and knowing that Elohim had sworn with an oath to him: of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, to raise up the Messiah to sit on his throne, 31 foreseeing this he spoke concerning the resurrection of the Messiah, that His being was neither left in the grave, nor did His flesh see corruption. 32 “Elohim has raised up this ?????, of which we are all witnesses. 33 “Therefore, having been exalted to the right hand of Elohim, and having received from the Father the promise of the Set-apart Spirit, He poured out this which you now see and hear. 34 “For Dawid? did not ascend into the heavens, but he himself said, ‘???? said to my Master, “Sit at My right hand, 35 until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.” ’1 Footnote: 1Ps. 110:1. 36 “Therefore let all the house of Yisra’?l know for certain that Elohim has made this ?????, whom you impaled, both Master and Messiah.” 37 And having heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to K?pha and the rest of the emissaries, “Men, brothers, what shall we do?” 38 And K?pha said to them, “Repent, and let each one of you be immersed in the Name of ????? Messiah for the forgiveness of sins.1 And you shall receive the gift of the Set-apart Spirit. Footnote: 1See 2:40, 3:19, 3:26. 39 “For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are far off, as many as ???? our Elohim shall call.” 40 And with many other words he earnestly witnessed and urged them, saying, “Be saved from this crooked generation.”1 Footnote: 1Jer. 51:6, Phil. 2:15, Rev. 18:4. 41 Then those, indeed, who gladly received his word, were immersed. And on that day about three thousand beings were added to them. 42 And they were continuing steadfastly in the teaching of the emissaries, and in the fellowship, and in the breaking of bread, and in the prayers. 43 And fear came upon every being, and many wonders and signs were being done through the emissaries. 44 And all those who believed were together, and had all in common, 45 and sold their possessions and property, and divided them among all, as anyone might have need. 46 And day by day, continuing with one mind in the Set-apart Place, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, 47 praising Elohim and having favour with all the people. And the Master added to the assembly those who were being saved, day by day.
First thing you need to take note of is that this happened on the Feast of Weeks, which is Pentecost. It is the exact same time when Yahovah came to Israel at Mount Sinai and spoke directly to them. Israel was to clean themselves before Yahovah came.
For the Feast of Weeks the Israelites would have cleansed themselves in preparation for the Holy Day.
At Sinai the Torah was given to Israel and on the exact same day The Holy spirit was given as we have just read.
What did those who heard and saw this event take place say? And having heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to K?pha and the rest of the emissaries, “Men, brothers, what shall we do?” 38 And K?pha said to them, “Repent, and let each one of you be immersed in the Name of ????? Messiah for the forgiveness of sins.1 And you shall receive the gift of the Set-apart Spirit. Footnote: 1See 2:40, 3:19, 3:26. 39 “For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are far off, as many as ???? our Elohim shall call.”
Brethren I was born and raised Catholic. So I would have been baptised by sprinkling of water on my head when I was a child. That really does not amount to anything as it does not conform to what we are told to do. To humble ourselves and be completely immersed in living waters.
When I joined the World Wide Church of God in 1982 I was not allowed to keep Passover in 1983 unless I was a baptised member. I wanted to take part in Passover so bad that I was baptised by emersion in a horse trough the week before that year and I thought I only had to do this once forever. I began to learn about Yahovah over the next 22 years.
In 2005 I had the urge and desire to know more. The spirit in me was becoming restless. In 2006 I mikvahed in the Gihon Spring in living waters. Then I had men lay hands on me and ask Yahovah to bless my gifts and talents for the benefit of His Kingdom. I had no idea at the time what had just happened as from that moment on my life was changed. I could no longer be quite about those things I was learning and this quickly got me kicked out of the United Church of God. Although at the time I was upset, it was a blessing as it caused me to begin the web site www.sightedmoon.com that very same week. In March of 2007 I began a weekly News Letter which I thought I could do for just 7 weeks. That News letter has grown from about 100 emails addresses to over 11,000 at one time and this News letter is being read around the world each week since then. It is translated into many other languages by people who are also moved by Yahovah’s Ruach.
That same spirit has shown me in 2005 how to know which Moon to be used to begin the month; A teaching which no one had published before that time. It then showed me in 2005 about the Sabbatical and Jubilee years; again a teaching that no one had taught before this time. Then in 2009 the Ruach ha Kodesh showed me the Prophecies of Abraham and since then how much of the scriptures is tied into the understanding of the Sabbatical and Jubilee cycles. The Holy Spirit has blessed me in the ability to show people those things in Jerusalem about the Temple and where it was and the Crucifixion and burial place of Yahshua.
Because of that Mikvah in 2006; since I was rebaptised at Sukkot in 2006 and I have mikvahed each year in the Gihon which were and are the living waters that flowed from beneath the very throne of Yahovah in Jerusalem; since that time of my mikvah into the name of Yahovah I have gone from sitting in a pew to teaching many brothers and sisters. It is as if a great power has come along and blessed me in many areas. In areas I could never have done on my own.
Brethren AS Peter has said and as the scriptures show us, each of you needs to be rebaptised each year in living waters and you need to have someone lay hands on you in the name of Yahovah the creator of all, so that you can go out and do the will of the Father in power and might. Baptism is not a onetime event. Please go and do it again.
When you do this then you will be turning your heart to the Father in heaven and as He sees you drawing near to Him His heart will turn towards you again. And by doing this you will avoid the curse that is going to come upon all the earth.
You can read more about it at http://www.gnmagazine.org/issues/gn67/baptism.htm
Baptism: Beginning of a New Life
Previous articles in this series have covered the vital spiritual tools of prayer, Bible study, meditation, fasting and repentance. But to receive the greatest gifts of God, there is another step you must take—the commitment of water baptism.
by Don Hooser
The greatest gifts anyone can receive come “from above”—from our Creator God (James 1:17). And God offers us two gifts that are by far the most important that any human being can receive in this life. The first gift is the forgiveness of sins. The second is the indwelling presence of God’s Holy Spirit.
In turn, these two gifts make possible the greatest gift of all, which is eternal, glorified life after death in the everlasting Kingdom of God (Romans 6:23; 1 Corinthians 15:50-58).
Countless people are confused, thinking they have already received God’s forgiveness when they haven’t, and thinking they already have God’s Holy Spirit when they haven’t. This article will help you to know one way or the other.
First, it is always God who must initiate a relationship with Him. Jesus said, “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws [or calls] him” (John 6:44). God calls a person by causing him to hear the true gospel while at the same time opening up his mind to spiritual understanding (2 Thessalonians 2:13-14; 1 Corinthians 2:10-14).
There is nothing we can possibly do to earn eternal life, but God does have conditions that we must fulfill. The last article in this series focused on one of those conditions—real heartfelt repentance over having disobeyed God’s laws. Another condition is faith in God—trusting in Him and believing His Word, the Bible. Jesus Christ emphasized these two conditions during His ministry (Mark 1:15).
What shall we do?
But for us to receive forgiveness and the gift of the Holy Spirit, more is required than just repentance and faith. In Acts 2, we read a summary of the apostle Peter’s inspired sermon. He explained that the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ was necessary to pay the penalty for our sins. It is our sinfulness that was responsible for His suffering. In essence, “you crucified” Him (Acts 2:36).
Notice the reaction of the listeners: “Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, ‘Men and brethren, what shall we do?'” (verse 37, emphasis added throughout). They knew God would require them to do certain things if they were to be given eternal life.
“Then Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission [forgiveness] of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit'” (verse 38). Peter made it clear that we must receive two things to be reconciled to God—forgiveness and the Holy Spirit.
Peter said we must first repent. But Peter didn’t mention the other condition, which is faith. Why not? The very question “What shall we do?” showed Peter that the people believed in his message and in the Scriptures. They wanted to know what they should do next to act on that faith!
Therefore, once a person mature enough to make important lifelong decisions has a basic spiritual understanding of and belief in the “gospel,” meaning the good news of the coming Kingdom of God and His plan of salvation, God urgently desires to see him or her repent and be baptized as soon as is practical. Then he can receive the forgiveness of sins and the Holy Spirit.
What is baptism?
The Greek word translated “baptize” is baptizo, the common Greek term for immerse, submerge or put into. So most English Bibles merely anglicize the word to a slightly different spelling rather than translate it. The important point is that, in the Bible, “baptize” always means immerse.
Other authors of the time write of naval battles in which ships were “baptized”—completely sunk—in the sea. Therefore, it is nonsensical to say one can baptize (immerse or submerge) by pouring or sprinkling. The Bible itself proves that baptism meant immersion. John the Baptist needed “much water” for baptizing (John 3:23). Jesus, when John baptized Him, “came up immediately from the water” (Matthew 3:16). When Philip baptized the eunuch, they “went down into the water” (Acts 8:38).
Afterwards, “they came up out of the water” (verse 39).
Why is this important? Because of what baptism represents. Being put into and under water pictures a burial, and rising from the water pictures a resurrection.
Baptism actually pictures three deaths, burials and resurrections. First, baptism symbolizes our faith “that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4).
Second, it symbolizes our acknowledgement of the need for our old sinful way of life to be “put to death” and be buried forever (Colossians 3:5; 2:12). And our rising from the water symbolizes our beginning to “walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:3-6). Of course our spiritual character isn’t immediately transformed in those few seconds. Baptism is a sign of our lifelong dedication and commitment to that goal.
Third, baptism symbolizes one’s faith in the hope of the literal resurrection to come—”that there will be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and the unjust” (Acts 24:15).
Baptism: Much more than a ceremony
Symbolism is important, but baptism is much more than symbolism. If you were to ask 100 people who are seeking to be baptized, “Have you ever asked God to forgive you?” probably 99 would say yes. Then ask the 99, “Do you think God answered those prayers and forgave you?” Maybe 98 of them will say yes. Then ask them, “So why be baptized if God has already forgiven you, since Acts 2:38 says that the purpose of baptism is to have your sins forgiven?”
Most people are confused. Even when they realize baptism is a biblical requirement, they think of it as a mere ritual of thanksgiving for God’s forgiveness. But Acts 2:38 states that baptism is a required condition for forgiveness. Before forgiveness, God requires this public profession of commitment to Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord (meaning Master—to rule over our lives, Luke 6:46).
Many have misinterpreted 1 John 1:9, which says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Most people fail to realize that the New Testament epistles were written primarily to Church members—those who had already been baptized. In the epistles, the pronouns “we” and “us” refer to baptized members; “they” and “them” usually refer to nonmembers.
Therefore, 1 John 1:9 tells us that if a person who has received initial forgiveness through baptism sins after that, he does not need to be baptized again and again. Each subsequent time he sins, he only needs to repent of that sin, confess it to God and ask God’s forgiveness—and God will immediately forgive. This is one of the awesome privileges a person has once he has been baptized!
This explains why baptism is so important! God holds each person guilty of every sin he has ever committed until those sins are blotted out at baptism (Acts 3:19; 22:16). At the moment the repentant person is immersed in water, all his past sins are forgiven! What a joy it is to stand clean before God!
The next step: Receive God’s Holy Spirit
Once a person has been baptized, he is ready to receive God’s Holy Spirit. The Bible shows that the Holy Spirit is the spiritual essence and power that emanates from God the Father and from Jesus Christ. Many are surprised to find that the Bible never mentions a Trinity. Indeed, careful study shows that the traditional formulations of men are quite different from the biblical teaching. (For a definitive scriptural study, read our free booklet Who Is God?)
The gift of the Holy Spirit does not come during the baptism. Scripture shows that God gives it immediately afterwards during the laying on of hands by one of God’s ministers as he prays for the baptized person to receive the gift of God’s Spirit (Acts 8:14-17; 19:6; 2 Timothy 1:6).
Once you have the Holy Spirit, you have “Christ in you” (Colossians 1:27). You are “baptized into Christ” (Galatians 3:27). You abide in Christ and He abides in you (1 John 3:24). You are among the “partakers of the divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4). You have a “new heart” and are becoming a “new man” (Ezekiel 18:31; Ephesians 4:24).
“For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body . . . the body of Christ” (1 Corinthians 12:13, 27). That “body” is the Church—the “church of God” (Colossians 1:18; 1 Corinthians 1:2). We cannot “join” the Church of God. God adds us to it when He gives us the gift of His Spirit. We are then members of God’s Church (1 Corinthians 12:27).
“Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His”—he doesn’t belong to Christ (Romans 8:9). He is not a true Christian or “son of God” (verse 14). To become a real Christian, you must believe, repent, be baptized, experience the laying on of hands from one of God’s ministers, and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Once a mature person has spiritual understanding and faith and has repented of his sins, he should not delay baptism. When God is offering you a gift, why not accept it? Jesus warned against rejecting God’s offer: “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:16). As Ananias said to Saul (whose name was changed to Paul), “And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins” (Acts 22:16).
After one receives the Holy Spirit, that is when real spiritual growth begins! The next article in this series will explain much about what a baptized member should do to grow spiritually. GN
The 613 Mitzvot
We now continue to study the 613 laws of Torah which we can read at http://www.jewfaq.org/613.htm
We are doing 7 laws each week. We shall study laws 248-254.
248 To give the decision according to the majority, when there is a difference of opinion among the members of the Sanhedrin as to matters of law (Ex. 23:2) (affirmative).
(248) Give the decision according to the majority when there is a difference of opinion among the members of the Sanhedrin as to matters of law. “You shall not circulate a false report. Do not put your hand with the wicked to be an unrighteous witness. You shall not follow a crowd to do evil; nor shall you testify in a dispute so as to turn aside after many to pervert justice.” (Exodus 23:1-2) This is one of those instances (thankfully rare—they usually just miss the point) where the rabbis’ mitzvah is diametrically opposed to the scripture they’ve cited to support it. They’re saying, The majority opinion among us, the ruling elite of Israel, will become law. It’s the same system America uses, subject to the same abuses. And by the way, it’s the same system the Sanhedrin used to condemn Yahweh’s Anointed One to death—proving that it’s an anathema to God. Yahweh is saying something completely different: Don’t follow the crowd, and don’t lead them into falsehood, either. Seek truth, mercy, and justice, even if you’re a lone voice crying in the wilderness. Yahweh could care less about the majority opinion. In fact, He flatly stated that the majority is lost: “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.” (Matthew 7:13-14)
249 Not to decide, in capital cases, according to the view of the majority, when those who are for condemnation exceed by one only, those who are for acquittal (Ex. 23:2) (negative).
(249) In capital cases, do not decide according to the view of the majority when those who are for condemnation exceed those who are for acquittal by only one. “You shall not circulate a false report. Do not put your hand with the wicked to be an unrighteous witness. You shall not follow a crowd to do evil; nor shall you testify in a dispute so as to turn aside after many to pervert justice.” (Exodus 23:1-2) They’re saying a simple majority isn’t enough to condemn a man to death—you need at least two tie breakers. Sorry, guys. Wrong again. This is merely man’s flawed wisdom. In the case of the most significant trial in history, we know of only two dissenting (or was it abstaining) voices out of the seventy, Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea. Clearly, the idea of majority rule has some holes in it. How many in that assembly were swayed by the vituperative attitude of Annas and Caiaphas? How many were nudged over the line by the false witnesses who were brought in to testify against Yahshua? How many were cowed into silence by the weight of peer pressure?
250 That, in capital cases, one who had argued for acquittal, shall not later on argue for condemnation (Ex. 23:2) (negative).
(250) In capital cases, one who had argued for acquittal shall not later on argue for condemnation. “You shall not circulate a false report. Do not put your hand with the wicked to be an unrighteous witness. You shall not follow a crowd to do evil; nor shall you testify in a dispute so as to turn aside after many to pervert justice.” (Exodus 23:1-2) This mitzvah is not only unscriptural, it’s stupid. The facts of criminal cases are not necessarily all apparent at the outset. Witnesses come forward, clues develop, and evidence surfaces. With each new development, an honest judge must reevaluate his position. He must critically evaluate each piece of evidence and each word of testimony, without being swayed by public opinion. As written, this mitzvah would tend to favor the accused (which is not in itself a bad thing); it shelters him from late-appearing evidence. But that is not the same thing as mercy—and it’s a long, long way from justice. I think in this world God would rather see a guilty man set free than an innocent man punished. However, the ideal is still justice tempered by mercy—a man being held responsible for his own crimes, but ultimately relying on Yahweh for his eternal redemption.
251 To treat parties in a litigation with equal impartiality (Lev. 19:15) (affirmative).
(251) Treat parties in a litigation with equal impartiality. “You shall do no injustice in judgment. You shall not be partial to the poor, nor honor the person of the mighty. In righteousness you shall judge your neighbor.” (Leviticus 19:15) This is the first of three mitzvot the rabbis wrung out of this verse. Impartiality is a key to rendering justice, but exercising it is easier said than done. Prejudice (in the positive sense) comes in two basic flavors, unwarranted favoritism toward the underdog, or obsequious fawning over the rich, famous, or powerful. The first, especially in our liberal American society, follows some really convoluted logic: the defendant is a poor, under-educated member of a minority group, so we should consider “society” as being at fault for any crimes he’s committed. Dumb. The second is every bit as twisted: the defendant is famous, so “they” are trying to railroad him out of spite and jealousy. “Stars” like O.J. Simpson, Kobe Bryant, and Michael Jackson seldom go to prison, no matter how much trouble they get into. Of course, there are negative counterparts to these two types of prejudice as well. Sometimes it’s Hang the nigger on general principles (excuse the epithet, but that’s how these people think) or Wouldn’t you just love to see Martha Stewart get her comeuppance? It’s all wrong, and God said so. “In righteousness you shall judge your neighbor.” Let the evidence and testimony speak for itself, and don’t even consider the social status of the person being tried.
252 Not to render iniquitous decisions (Lev. 19:15) (CCN69).
(252) Do not render iniquitous decisions. “You shall do no injustice in judgment. You shall not be partial to the poor, nor honor the person of the mighty. In righteousness you shall judge your neighbor.” (Leviticus 19:15) This mitzvah is awfully broad and slam-dunk obvious, but okay. Don’t sin (commit iniquity) when making judicial decisions. That would imply warnings against partiality, against assumptions of guilt or innocence (rushing to judgment), and against failure or refusal to take pertinent evidence (whether positive or negative) into account. In America, we have a real problem with rules. Unless evidence was discovered, gathered, and transmitted in precisely the proper manner, a lawyer can easily get it thrown out of court—and in the process pervert justice. A word to the wise: Yahweh knows what’s going on, even if our courts refuse to see it. It’s a real shame the lady in the toga with the scales has a blindfold on. What we need is a system of justice that recognizes the truth when it sees it.
253 Not to favor a great man when trying a case (Lev. 19:15) (CCN70).
(253) Don’t favor a great man when trying a case. “You shall do no injustice in judgment. You shall not be partial to the poor, nor honor the person of the mighty. In righteousness you shall judge your neighbor.” (Leviticus 19:15) Once again, a person’s social status, fame, prestige in the community, wealth, or good looks should not become a factor in determining their guilt or innocence. Let the facts of the case speak for themselves. The same principle holds true in sentencing: if an inner city gang member and a Wall Street millionaire commit the same crime, they should receive the same punishment.
254 Not to take a bribe (Ex. 23:8) (CCN71).
(254) Do not take a bribe. “You shall not pervert the judgment of your poor in his dispute. Keep yourself far from a false matter; do not kill the innocent and righteous. For I will not justify the wicked. And you shall take no bribe, for a bribe blinds the discerning and perverts the words of the righteous.” (Exodus 23:6-8) In a dispute between a rich man and a poor man, it’s obvious that only the rich man is in a position to offer a bribe to the judge in an attempt to swing the decision his way. So at its heart, this mitzvah is a practical corollary to the previous one. Yahweh here relates conflicts of interest and the perversion of justice to killing the innocent—it’s more serious in God’s eyes than the mere theft of their meager resources. He reminds us that even if the bribe-taking judge lets the guilty man go free, He will not.