Feast of Oaths
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Joseph F. Dumond

Joe Started Sightedmoon in 2005 to assist him in spreading his understanding of the Sabbatical and Jubilee Years according to Torah.
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Published: Apr 4, 2013 - (5856)
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News Letter 5849-007
24th day of the 1st month? 5849 years after the creation of Adam
The 7th Day of Counting the Omer
The 1st Month in the Fourth year of the third Sabbatical Cycle
The Third Sabbatical Cycle of the 119th Jubilee Cycle
The Sabbatical Cycle of Earthquakes Famines, and Pestilences

April 6, 2013

 

Shabbat Shalom Family,

 

Last week I shared with you the results of my prayers on the 7th of Aviv and how my family came together for Passover. But I was not the only one who took up the information we had learned from reading Ezekiel. Nor was I the only one blessed by this special opportunity to pray for our family and for Yehovah to hear our prayers.

In The Mail

Shalom Mr. Dumond,

I appreciate your teachings so much. This teaching and you testimony about your family is wonderful. Thank you for sharing with us.
The 7th day teaching was very powerful for me and humbling to know the Father gave us this special day. It was a blessing for me to share your teaching with all I could. It was also a new revelation to others. A treasure from the Father we had overlooked. How gracious He is to reveal His truths to us to use in our lives. His love for us is not able to be measured.
Thank you again and peace and blessings to you and your family!

Dawn Brittain

 

Shalom Brother Joseph,

When I read your newsletter, I was so excited to share your testimony of celebrating Passover for the first time with your wife and family! As I tried to tell my son, I became so emotional that I could not speak, only cry for joy… eventually the words came and I shared how in 31 years of marriage, you had never been able to celebrate Passover with your wife, and as a result of prayer and intercession as instructed for the 7th day of the first month in Ezekiel, it came to fruition. It was evident that the enemy persisted and attempted to stop this from happening for you… but as always for those who stand upon His instruction, He prevailed. All praise and honor and glory to Him.

I wish to add to the testimonies of following the instruction of Ezekiel 45. We have a neighbor lady who has celebrated Passover with us previously, but her husband, though he says he is a believer, never participates in any fellowships, assemblies or celebrations. When I understood the instruction in Ezekiel, I devoted myself to praying on the 7th day of the first month for him, for your wife and family, and for my own extended family to come and celebrate the Passover. I also spoke with him directly on the seventh day, to extend the invitation personally. He assured me that he just doesn’t do “religious things”, and does not like such “ritual”.

Our seder was to gather at our home at 17:30, so I went out just prior to this time to open our gate for the arrival of our guests. It was then that I saw my neighbors, husband and wife, walking hand in hand down their driveway on their way to our home to celebrate the Passover with us. What joy I felt at that sight! We had 15 guests in our small home, what a fantastic celebration we had…. and as our neighbors were leaving, the husband told me that he was very glad he had come, and that he had had an “amazing evening”.

May this be the beginning of a foundation of Torah for your wife and your marriage Joseph!

Charles Reed

“Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things that are not yet done.” Isaiah 46:10

 

Joseph Dumond,

I wanted to tell you I was much blessed reading about your Passover with your family. That really blessed me. My wife is with me but my children are not – they’ve even moved farther away since my direction change, but it does not have to stay that way. With patience I believe it will change, for us all. Shalom

KY USA

So happy for you Joe, we went from just me and my wife and son last year, to 22 this year. We also prayed on the 7th of Aviv, and were blessed to see the turn out we had.

Texas USA

Praise YHWH Joe, what a wonderful Passover for you. I had tears as I read your testimony. I didn’t know about the 7th of Aviv but I will remember for next year!

MA.


 

Dear Brethren,
It has been an emotional Passover season for me. In fact it has been a year for me emotionally.

We have just published our newest book which was written to explain things in as simple a way as possible so that you can understand those things I had to cut out of the DVD which we made in 2005. This new book “Remembering the Sabbatical years of 2016” was to teach you those things that you need to understand which The Prophecies of Abraham did not explain.

At Shabbat last week I asked our group of about 40 how many had read the Prophecies of Abraham. To my surprise almost the entire group put up their hands. I then asked them how many understood it. And to my shame all of them lowered their hands. Which showed me the great need of this new book Remembering the Sabbatical Years of 2016.

In it I explain in detail how you can learn to understand the Sabbatical and Jubilee years. How you can prove them for yourself from your own bible. How you can take that information and apply it to our time now.

I show you the Chronology from Adam to Abraham and to the Crossing of the Jordan by Joshua. I show you how to figure out how to tie this into our modern chronology. Remembering the Sabbatical Years of 2016 also explains to you the controversial sections in chronology, such the 480 years of 1st Kings and we explain the controversial issues of 2 Kings 17 and 18. We also show you how to figure out the Chronology of the book of Judges.

Many have wondered why the Jews keep the Sabbatical years 1 ½ or ½ a year differently from those I am saying. The ones I am saying we need to keep match every Sabbatical and Jubilee year recorded in history and those the Jews keep do not. Why is this and how did this come to be and when. I show you this and at the same time show you why the Trumpet is blown in the Jubilee year when it is half over and not in the 49th year.

Others say you only need to keep the Sabbatical years when you’re in the land. We address this and show you again in Remembering the Sabbatical Years of 2016 why this is not true. You are to keep the Sabbatical Years around the world. The Talmud even says so and we explain this as well.

Every question I have been challenged with, every excuse people have used in order not to keep the Sabbatical years we have addressed and explained so you too can share these truths with those who opposed you.

We have also listed how to keep the Next Sabbatical year in 2016 and then the one after that in 2023 and 2030 and so on. And if you or those you share this with still decide not to obey the King of the Universe and keep Holy The next Sabbatical year, we also show you the curses that they will have to endure which the world is already suffering now.

By knowing the Sabbatical and Jubilee years along with the Holy Days and when they are to occur you can know precisely where we are in the Chronology of Yehovah’s time schedule. We have tried to explain this in as simple a terms as possible so everyone can understand.

It is my sincere desire and hope and my prayers that Yehovah will help you to understand these things, and once you do, like those others who already do, you too will become zealous to let others know these truths and exactly how little time is left.

As many of you already know the Daniel timeline has now proven not to be true. Some who have taught this have admitted that this teaching is false and apologized for doing so. We all make mistakes and I respect those who admit it.

But there are others who will not admit this teaching is wrong. And continue to use it, now saying that Daniels timeline begins in 2014.

I have now finished my third book explaining the Daniel 9:24-27 teaching and how everything you currently understand about it is false. Strong words I know. But I would not say so had I not the proof to back it up.

I have had others who know their Torah and know their Hebrew read this book and check my claims. Each and everyone of them is very excited at those things I am sharing and can’t wait for the final edits to be finished.

Brethren I want you to understand these things. The best way for me to explain these huge understandings is in detail in a book. So I urge you all to get the new book just released, titled Remembering the Sabbatical Years of 2016. You can get it through my site or on Amazon and also on Barnes and Noble.

If you live outside the USA, the shipping charges can be high. If you live outside the USA then please write me and if you can organize ten others to buy the books, I can ship them to you and save a considerable amount on the shipping fees. But that is for orders of 10 or more.

We have already shipped 30 to South Africa and I can direct you to them if you live there. Again I urge you all to get a copy of this book and learn about the Sabbatical years and where we are in those 120 Jubilee cycles. We are almost at the end of this last Jubilee cycle. Wars are to begin after 2017. You need to be ready for this.

Now we have completed our first week of counting the Omer. Why is this so important? What was the meaning of those symbols Yehshua did at the Last Supper meal and then in reality on the Tree?

I would like to share with you one chapter from the next book, which I hope will help you to understand the importance of these 7 weeks of counting the Omer. This chapter has not yet been edited and may be rewritten as we continue to rewrite certain chapters.

Chapter 5 | What does “Weeks” Mean?

24 “Seventy weeks are decreed for your people and for your set-apart city, to put an end to the transgression, and to seal up sins, and to cover crookedness, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up vision and prophet, and to anoint the Most Set-apart. 25 “Know, then, and understand: from the going forth of the command to restore and build Yerushalayim until Messiah the Prince is seven weeks and sixty-two weeks. It shall be built again, with streets and a trench, but in times of affliction. 26 “And after the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off and have naught. And the people of a coming prince shall destroy the city and the set-apart place. And the end of it is with a flood. And wastes are decreed, and fighting until the end. 27 “And he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week. And in the middle of the week he shall put an end to slaughtering and meal offering. And on the wing of abominations he shall lay waste, even until the complete end and that which is decreed is poured out on the one who lays waste1.” Footnote: 1Mt. 24:15. (Daniel 9:24-27)

Here we are now 207 pages into this subject of Daniel’s 70 weeks and we have only covered the first 7 words of this prophecy.

“Seventy weeks are decreed for your people”

We have explained who Daniel’s people are. They are all of Israel and we have explained who they are today. They are the descendants of the Celtic people and they are the Nation of Britain and the British Commonwealth as well as the United States of America and the State of Israel. It is extremely important to understand who this prophecy is speaking about.

We have now shown you that the 70 Weeks is not 70 X 7 which would give you a total of 490 years. People have been using this information for every time of trial for over the past 2000 years and it has never proven true. Nor will it for any current theories trying to use it for the conclusion of the so called “gap theory”.

So what is the answer to this riddle?

It is actually very simple and it comes from a proper understanding of the words spoken. And yet it is extremely deep in the meaning of this word. Prepare to have the your tent pegs of your mind stretched as we examine this word “weeks” for clarity.

Here is this first sentence again with the Stong’s Hebrew notes.

Dan 9:24 SeventyH7657 weeksH7620 are determinedH2852 uponH5921 thy peopleH5971

The word Seventy is very easy to understand and it is;
H7657 shib?? ym shib-eem’
Multiple of H7651; seventy: – seventy, threescore and ten (+ -teen).

Now it is the word “weeks” that is the focus of this chapter. When we look it up in Strong’s Concordance we have a few words to investigate.

H7620 shaw-boo’-ah, shaw-boo’-ah, sheb-oo-aw’
Properly passive participle of H7650 as a denominative of H7651; literally sevened, that is, a week (specifically of years): – seven, week.

H7650 shaw-bah’
A primitive root; properly to be complete, but used only as a denominative from H7651; to seven oneself, that is, swear (as if by repeating a declaration seven times): – adjure, charge (by an oath, with an oath), feed to the full [by mistake for H7646], take an oath, X straitly, (cause to, make to) swear.

H7646 saw-bah’, saw-bay’-ah
A primitive root; to sate, that is, fill to satisfaction (literally or figuratively): – have enough, fill (full, self, with), be (to the) full (of), have plenty of, be satiate, satisfy (with), suffice, be weary of.

H7651 sheh’-bah, shib-aw’
From H7650; a primitive cardinal number; seven (as the sacred full one); also (adverbially) seven times; by implication a week; by extension an indefinite number: – (+ by) seven ([-fold], -s, [-teen, -teenth], -th, times). Compare H7658.

H7658 shib-aw-naw’
Prolonged for the masculine of H7651; seven: – seven.

This is the definition of this word we call “weeks”. Before I say anything to influence your thoughts lets first look where else this same word was used in the bible. We have 19 times it is used. Eleven of these times we have a clear example of the word.

H7620 shaw-boo’-ah, shaw-boo’-ah, sheb-oo-aw’

Total KJV Occurrences: 19
weeks, 15
Exo_34:22, Lev_12:5, Num_28:26, Deu_16:9-10 (3), Deu_16:16, 2Ch_8:13, Dan_9:24-26 (5), Dan_10:2-3 (2)
week, 4
Gen_29:27-28 (2), Dan_9:27 (2)

Our first example in Exodus tells us it is speaking of the “Feast of Weeks”.

22“And perform the Festival of Weeks for yourself, of the first-fruits of wheat harvest, and the Festival of Ingathering at the turn of the year. (Exodus 34:22)

Our second verse that this word “weeks” is found in Leviticus 12:5 and it does not match the line of use we are talking about here but the next verse in Numbers does and it too is talking about the Feast of Weeks.

26 ‘And on the day of the first-fruits, when you bring a new grain offering to ???? at your Festival of Weeks, you have a set-apart gathering, you do no servile work. (Numbers 28:26)

The fourth through the sixth verses that are given to us from our word search for the word “weeks” as found in Deuteronomy and they too are speaking about this Feast of “Weeks”.

9 “Count seven weeks for yourself. Begin to count seven weeks from the time you begin to put the sickle to the grain. 10 “And you shall perform the Festival of Weeks to ???? your Elohim, according to the voluntary offering from your hand, which you give as ???? your Elohim blesses you. (Deuteronomy 16:9-10)

Our seventh usage of the word “weeks” is again in Deuteronomy and yet again in 2 Chronicles. Are you seeing a pattern here?

16 “Three times a year all your males appear before ???? your Elohim in the place which He chooses: at the Festival of Unleavened Bread, and at the Festival of Weeks, and at the Festival of Booths. And none should appear before ???? empty-handed, (Deuteronomy 16:16)

13 even as the duty of every day required, offering according to the command of Mosheh, for the Sabbaths, and for the New Moons, and for the appointed times three times a year: the Festival of Unleavened Bread, and the Festival of Weeks, and the Festival of Booths. (2 Chronicles 8:13)

Up until this point all of the examples given to us are talking about the Feast of Weeks. And then the next Scriptures given to us are the ones we are in question of. The 70 Weeks of Daniel 9. Out of 15 verses with the word ‘weeks’ in them we have 11 of them describing to us the Feast of Weeks with five of those occurrences taking place in the very set of scriptures we are examining; that is Daniel 9:24-26.

24 “Seventy weeks are decreed for your people and for your set-apart city, to put an end to the transgression, and to seal up sins, and to cover crookedness, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up vision and prophet, and to anoint the Most Set-apart. 25 “Know, then, and understand: from the going forth of the command to restore and build Yerushalayim until Messiah the Prince is seven weeks and sixty-two weeks. It shall be built again, with streets and a trench, but in times of affliction. 26 “And after the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off and have naught. And the people of a coming prince shall destroy the city and the set-apart place. And the end of it is with a flood. And wastes are decreed, and fighting until the end. (Daniel 9:24-26)

We also have four more verses where the word “weeks” is found just in the singular and they are found in two additional places in Daniel 9:27; again, part of the texts we are examining. This is very remarkable.
As many of you may not know what the “Feast of Weeks” is, then we need to go back to Lev. 23 where we are told each of the Festivals we are to keep in Yehovah’s Holy Appointed time calendar.

5 ‘In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month, between the evenings, is the Passover to ????. 6 ‘And on the fifteenth day of this month is the Festival of Unleavened Bread to ???? – seven days you eat unleavened bread. 7 ‘On the first day you have a set-apart gathering, you do no servile work. 8 ‘And you shall bring an offering made by fire to ???? for seven days. On the seventh day is a set-apart gathering, you do no servile work.’ ” 9 And ???? spoke to Mosheh, saying, 10 “Speak to the children of Yisra’?l, and you shall say to them, ‘When you come into the land which I give you, and shall reap its harvest, then you shall bring a sheaf of the first-fruits of your harvest to the priest. 11 ‘And he shall wave the sheaf before ????, for your acceptance. On the morrow after the Sabbath the priest waves it. 12 ‘And on that day when you wave the sheaf, you shall prepare a male lamb a year old, a perfect one, as a burnt offering to ????, 13 and its grain offering: two-tenths of an ?phah of fine flour mixed with oil, an offering made by fire to ????, a sweet fragrance, and its drink offering: one-fourth of a hin of wine. 14 ‘And you do not eat bread or roasted grain or fresh grain until the same day that you have brought an offering to your Elohim – a law forever throughout your generations in all your dwellings. 15 ‘And from the morrow after the Sabbath, from the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering, you shall count for yourselves: seven completed Sabbaths. 16 ‘Until the morrow after the seventh Sabbath you count fifty days, then you shall bring a new grain offering to ????. 17 ‘Bring from your dwellings for a wave offering two loaves of bread, of two-tenths of an ?phah of fine flour they are, baked with leaven, first-fruits to ????. 18 ‘And besides the bread, you shall bring seven lambs a year old, perfect ones, and one young bull and two rams. They are a burnt offering to ????, with their grain offering and their drink offerings, an offering made by fire for a sweet fragrance to ????. 19 ‘And you shall offer one male goat as a sin offering, and two male lambs a year old, as a peace offering. 20 ‘And the priest shall wave them, besides the bread of the first-fruits, as a wave offering before ????, besides the two lambs. They are set-apart to ???? for the priest. 21 ‘And on this same day you shall proclaim a set-apart gathering for yourselves, you do no servile work on it – a law forever in all your dwellings throughout your generations. (Leviticus 23:5-21)
You are commanded to keep the Passover. Then, from the Sunday during the Days of Unleavened Bread, you are to count 7 Sabbaths and after the 7th Sabbath you are to count to the 50th day.

15 ‘And from the morrow after the Sabbath, from the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering, you shall count for yourselves: seven completed Sabbaths. 16 ‘Until the morrow after the seventh Sabbath you count fifty days, then you shall bring a new grain offering to ????. (Leviticus 23:15-16)

Christianity knows this to be Pentecost; Pentecost Sunday to be exact. It is also known in Hebrew as Shavuot.

This feast marks two important events, occurring on the same calendar day but separated in time by many centuries. The feast may be called by the Hebrew Shavuot (occurring seven weeks after an event) or by the anglicized Greek Pentecost (on the fiftieth day after an event). (Shavuot is the plural of shabua. The Jewish Feast of Pentecost, or Festival of Weeks, is called in Hebrew, Shavuot.)
The word “weeks” is the plural of the word “week”. Our word in Daniel 9:24 is the plural word and in Hebrew this word is Shabua and the plural for Shabua is Shabuot or Shavuot; the “v” and “b” sounding the same.

Shavuot or Shabuoth (???vu??s, -??s, Hebrew ?avu???t, ???vu??s, -??s, Hebrew ?avu???t)
n. the Hebrew name for Pentecost
[from Hebrew sh?bh?`?th , plural of sh?bh??` week]

It is quite fair, then, to say that our verse is saying Seventy Shavuot. We read in Jeremiah something that is of interest that was not noted earlier.

24 ‘And they do not say in their heart, “Let us now fear ???? our Elohim, who gives rain, both the former and the latter, in its season. He guards for us the appointed weeks of the harvest.” (Jeremiah 5:24)

Here in Jeremiah this word “weeks” is called SHAVUOT.

So instead of saying “Seventy weeks are decreed for your people” we could say “Seventy shavuot are decreed for your people”.

We are going to take a slight detour to get an even deeper understanding of what Shavuot is all about. To some people it is the day when Yehovah gave the Ten Commandments to Moses and the Nation of Israel and this is true. (Exodus 19-20) To most Christians this is the day the Holy Spirit was given to the Apostles in Acts 2 and this is also true but what most people do not realize is what this day means to Yehovah. We have three names for this Feast of Shavuot also known as the Feast of Pentecost.

1. Chag haKatzir- Festival of the Harvest ( Exodus 23:16)
2. Yom Habikkurim- Day of Firstfruits (Numbers 28:26)
3. Chag haShavuot- Festival of Weeks (Duet. 16:10)

The Less Common Name Connection to Shavuot is “The Feast of Oaths”

Again let us look at the definition of the word “weeks”.
H7620- Taken from Brown-Driver-Briggs ????? / ???? / ???????shâbûa? / shâbûa? / shebû?âh?BDB Definition:
1) seven, period of seven (days or years), heptad, week 1a) period of seven days, a week?1a1) Feast of Weeks?1b) heptad, seven (of years)
Part of Speech: noun masculine?A Related Word by BDB/Strong’s Number: properly, passive participle of
H7650 as a denominative of H7651
Same Word by TWOT Number: 2318d
As we did at the beginning, we are led to another root word to look at that ties into the word “week” or “Shabua” and this is the word “Shaba”.
H7650 -Brown-Driver-Briggs ?????shâba??BDB Definition:
1) to swear, adjure 1a) (Qal) sworn (participle) 1b) (Niphal) 1b1) to swear, take an oath?1b2) to swear (of Elohim by Himself)?1b3) to curse
1c) (Hiphil)?1c1) to cause to take an oath 1c2) to adjure?Part of Speech: verb
H7650 -Strong’s ?????shâba? shaw-bah’
A primitive root; properly to be complete, but used only as a denominative from H7651; to seven oneself, that is, swear (as if by repeating a declaration seven times): – adjure, charge (by an oath, with an oath), feed to the full [by mistake for H7646], take an oath, X straitly, (cause to, make to) swear.
By investigating just these 3 Hebrew words (H-7620, H-7650 and H-7651) which stem from the word “Shavuot”, we can now make the connection to it as the “Feast of Oaths”. When you seven yourselves you are making an oath.

We read in The Book of Customs:

” The Book of Jubilees, an ancient text that survived in part in the Dead Sea Scrolls and in its entirety in the ancient Ethiopian language Ge’ez, gives an entirely different spin on Shavuot. The word shavua ,”week” is a near-homonym to the word for “oath”(shevuah), and the anonymous author of Jubilees says that Shavuot was ,in fact, the “Feast of Oaths”

Nissan Mindel confirms this meaning of Shavuot in his book:

“Shavuot means not only “weeks” but also “oaths.” The name indicates the two oaths which G-d and the Jewish people exchanged, upon the day of the Giving of the Torah, to remain faithful to each other forever.”
What does “swearing an oath” mean in the light of Ancient Near East Covenant Structure and Context? We are shown this in Exodus chapters19-24, which is done up in a Suzerain-Vassal Covenant Treaty Format.
A Suzerain-Vassal Treaty is a conditional Covenant where a Great King or Nation (Suzerain) rules over a Lesser Servant King/Nation (Vassal). Whereas the Vassal pledges or vows an oath of love and loyal allegiance and to uphold all the commitments laid forth by the Great King-Suzerain. While this was common knowledge in the ancient near east within covenant making between nations, we can begin to see how much more depth a Covenant Kingdom has in the Eyes of our Creator.

A Suzerain Treaty has the following 7 conditions to be fulfilled.

1. Identification or Preamble of those involved in the treaty.
2. Prologue listing deeds performed by the Suzerain King already done for the vassal nation.
3. Commitments to be honored by the vassal for the time period of the treaty.
4. Terms for annual reading to the nation of the treaty to renewal allegiance to the treaty and Suzerain
5. Divine witness to the treaty. In our case, YHWH is our Witness.
6. Blessings and Cursings for obedience and disobedience to the Covenant Treaty.
7. A Ratification Ceremony with oaths and a sacrificial meal to show participation of those involved in the Covenant Treaty.

“Oath of Compliance”

From George E. Mendenhall’s “Ancient Israel’s Faith and History” Description of the 6th typical section in common ANE Treaty Structure.
Page 69…”#6. Oath of Compliance. A treaty is a text but an oath is the actual mechanism whereby the text is ratified and brought to life, no longer just words in a document but a functioning reality in the lives of actual people. We have ample evidence of treaties concluding with rituals of compliance, usually spoken oaths but sometimes physical gestures. In much the same way, treaties today are ratified by signatures and handshakes activating the new relationships and its terms. It should not be surprising that the biblical story of the Covenant at Mount Sinai reaches its climax with the escaped slaves pledging to abide by the covenant obligations therby defining and activating themselves as the people of YHWH (See Exodus 24: 3-8).”

3 And Mosheh came and related to the people all the Words of ???? and all the right-rulings. And all the people answered with one voice and said, “All the Words which ???? has spoken we shall do.”4 And Mosheh wrote down all the Words of ????, and rose up early in the morning, and built an altar at the foot of the mountain, and twelve standing4 And Mosheh wrote down all the Words of ????, and rose up early in the morning, and built an altar at the foot of the mountain, and twelve standing columns for the twelve tribes of Yisra’?l.5 And he sent young men of the children of Yisra’?l, and they offered burnt offerings and slaughtered peace slaughterings of bulls to ????.6 And Mosheh took half the blood and put it in basins, and half the blood he sprinkled on the altar.7 And he took the Book of the Covenant and read in the hearing of the people. And they said, “All that ???? has spoken we shall do, and obey.”8 And Mosheh took the blood and sprinkled it on the people, and said, “See, the blood of the covenant which ???? has made with you concerning all these Words.” (Exodus 24:3-8)

Speaking about the covenant at Sinai and near East covenants Rene Lopez says:

“Foundationally, Beri’t (“covenant”) signifies a binding agreement between two parties… The function of Beri’t is basically that of an oath, commitment, or bond between two parties.”

Page 87… “The oath. At the conclusion of a covenant, the vassal usually uttered an oath. This gave assurance to the suzerain that the stipulations of the treaty would be kept. Furthermore, an oath ceremony also served to secure bilateral faithfulness of the parties.”

Page 88…”Oaths were usually uttered at the conclusion of a treaty, which implied acceptance of its terms. However, Israel invoked an oath in Exodus 19:8, All that the YHWH has spoken we will do, before hearing the covenant. Then, after hearing the covenant in 24:3, 7, they consented again.”

“So oath and stipulations are correlated expressions of the concluded covenant itself, or the oath is the divine sanction of the agreement as affirmed in the covenant declaration and as laid down in the stipulations.”
We can read of this “Oath” made by our King, our Suzerain, Yehovah at Shavuot, and the Feast of Weeks at Mount Sinai.

3 And Mosheh went up to Elohim, and ???? called to him from the mountain, saying, “This is what you are to say to the house of Ya?aqo?, and declare to the children of Yisra’?l: 4 ‘You have seen what I did to the Mitsrites, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to Myself. 5 ‘And now, if you diligently obey My voice, and shall guard My covenant, then you shall be My treasured possession above all the peoples – for all the earth is Mine –6 ‘and you shall be to Me a reign of priests and a set-apart nation.’ Those are the words which you are to speak to the children of Yisra’?l.” 7 And Mosheh came and called for the elders of the people, and set before them all these words which ???? commanded him. (Exodus 19:3-7)

The Covenant at Sinai is intertwined with a direct Oath and Covenant By Yehovah with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

15 And the Messenger of ???? called to A?raham a second time from the heavens, 16 and said, “By Myself I have sworn, declares ????, because you have done this, and have not withheld your son, your only son, 17 that I shall certainly bless you, and I shall certainly increase your seed as the stars of the heavens and as the sand which is on the seashore, and let your seed possess the gate of their enemies. 18 “And in your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.” (Genesis 22:15-18)

Is this not exactly what Paul is talking about in Hebrew 6?

13 For Elohim, having promised A?raham, since He could swear by no one greater, swore by Himself, 14 saying, “Truly, blessing I shall bless you, and increasing I shall increase you.”15 And so, after being patient, he obtained the promise.16 For men do indeed swear by the one greater, and an oath for confirmation is for them an end of all dispute.17 In this way Elohim, resolving to show even more clearly to the heirs of promise the unchangeableness of His purpose, confirmed it by an oath,18 so that by two unchangeable matters in which it is impossible for Elohim to lie, we might have strong encouragement, we who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the expectation set before us,19 which we have as an anchor of the life, both safe and firm, and entering into that within the veil,20 where ????? has entered as a forerunner for us, having become High

Priest forever according to the order of Malkitse? (Hebrew 6:13-20)

The covenant that Yehovah made with Abraham is told to us in Genesis 15 and you should understand, this is a blood covenant. Abraham wanted to know what his great reward was because he had no children.
7 And He said to him, “I am ????, who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans, to give you this land to inherit it.” 8 And he said, “Master ????, whereby do I know that I possess it?” 9 And He said to him, “Bring Me a three-year-old heifer, and a three-year-old female goat, and a three-year-old ram, and a turtledove, and a young pigeon.” 10 And he took all these to Him and cut them in the middle, and placed each half opposite the other, but he did not cut the birds. 11 And the birds of prey came down on the carcasses, and A?ram drove them away. (Genesis 15:7-11)

17 And it came to be, when the sun went down and it was dark, that see, a smoking oven and a burning torch passing between those pieces. 18 On the same day ???? made a covenant with A?ram, saying, “I have given this land to your seed, from the river of Mitsrayim to the great river, the River Euphrates, (Genesis 15:17-18)

We have this oath that began with Yehovah making a promise to Abraham, and this oath was then spoken to Isaac and Jacob and then ratified in blood at Mount Sinai 50 days after the Passover and the Exodus by the people themselves agreeing to it. Many people will be able to quote what it said in Romans but few, if any, understand what it means. We read in Romans chapter 10:

That if you confess with your mouth the Master ????? and believe in your heart that Elohim has raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved. (Romans 10:9)

This word “confess,” means something entirely different than just saying the name of Jesus out loud. It is the Greek word G3670 ???????? homologe? hom-ol-og-eh’-o
From a compound of the base of G3674 and G3056; to assent, that is, covenant, acknowledge: – con- (pro-) fess, confession is made, give thanks, promise.

In context this means one who is “confessing” faith in Yehshua; one who is coming into Covenant and binding themselves by oath with Him and agrees to the Covenant that Yehshua has presented at Sinai. As the “Lesser King” or “Master” to the Suzerain Yehovah, Yehshua’s Covenant is the same as the Father’s, which means you are entering into an agreement to keep and be loyal to the Torah and you are then restored back into the Kingdom!

Keep in mind that in Ancient world culture and context, when a covenant was cut between a Suzerain and vassal, that meant that as long as the vassal was keeping the commitments of the covenant with the King, no one else could come against that nation or vassal without having to face the full Sovereignty of the Suzerain King and all of his resources.

On the other hand, it also meant that if the vassal broke the commitments of the Covenant, the Vassal would suffer the consequences invoked by the Suzerain/King.
The Entire Book of Deuteronomy is structured as a typical Suzerain-Vassal Covenant Document, which is a more detailed reiteration of the Covenant at Mount Sinai to the Second generation in the wilderness prior to entering the Land.

When you confess your sins you are in fact admitting to having broken the covenant made at Mount Sinai and want to return to the terms of that covenant as we had agreed to. By doing this you escape the curses that you are now under.

Avinu, Malkeinu (Our Father, Our KING) states HIS oath to Israel again in Chapter 29…

9 “Therefore you shall guard the words of this covenant, and do them, so that you prosper in all that you do.? 10 “All of you are standing today before ???? your Elohim: your leaders, your tribes, your elders and your officers, all the men of Yisra’?l, 11 your little ones, your wives, and your sojourner who is in the midst of your camp, from the one who cuts your wood to the one who draws your water, 12 so that you should enter into covenant with ???? your Elohim, and into His oath, which ???? your Elohim makes with you today, 13 in order to establish you today as a people for Himself, and He Himself be your Elohim, as He has spoken to you, and as He has sworn to your fathers, to A?raham, to Yits?aq, and to Ya?aqo?. 14 “And not with you alone I am making this covenant and this oath, 15 but with him who stands here with us today before ???? our Elohim, as well as with him who is not here with us today. (Deuteronomy 29:9-15)

Those who confess the name of Yehshua, as we are told in Romans 10:9 which we just read, confess to breaking this covenant and want to come back and begin to obey it.
The nation of Israel, our ancestors, gave an Oath to obey three different times. Three times we swore to keep all that Yehovah had said concerning the covenant. The first time is prior to hearing the Commandment by Yehovah.

8 And all the people answered together and said, “All that ???? has spoken we shall do.” So Mosheh brought back the words of the people to ???? (Exodus 19:8)

The second time is at the ratification Ceremony prior to the Offerings.

3 And Mosheh came and related to the people all the Words of ???? and all the right-rulings. And all the people answered with one voice and said, “All the Words which ???? has spoken we shall do.” (Exodus 24:3)

The third time is at the ratification prior to the sprinkling of the blood again making this a blood covenant.

7 And he took the Book of the Covenant and read in the hearing of the people. And they said, “All that ???? has spoken we shall do, and obey.” (Exodus 24:7)

Acts 2 is also an affirmation of the Covenant on Shavuot! And let me go even further and say that by keeping Pentecost or Shavuot you are in fact sevening yourself. You are reaffirming your commitment to the

Covenant our ancestors made on our behalf back at mount Sinai over 3391 years ago in 1337 B.C.

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 Yehu?im, dedicated men from every nation under the heaven. (Acts 2:1-5)
“And when the Day of the Festival of Weeks had come, they were all with one mind in one place.”

We know that there was a specific service and set of prayers done at the Beit HaMikdash (The Holy Temple) on Shavuot, including a recitation of the Ten Commandments.
Everyone who was there at the Temple during the time of Shavuot was recommitting themselves to Yehovah and the Covenant that was made at Sinai. All with one mind and one accord and in one place!
Ancient Covenants were often ratified or enacted by multiple elements. These included the oaths spoken by both parties, usually a sacrifice, and a shared meal. Additionally, there were normally stipulations included in the Covenant to recite and review the Covenant annually, and/or at the time of a new Vassal King in order for renewal and remembrance of the Covenant made with the Suzerain KING!
Each year at Shavuot, the Feast of Pentecost we review the Ten Commandments found in Exodus 20 and expanded in Exodus 34.

The covenant made at Sinai was a Blood Covenant. Read what Henry Trumbull has to say on this.

A “covenant union in sacrifice” is an indefinite and ambiguous term. It may mean a covenant union wrought by sacrifice, or a covenant union accompanied by sacrifice, or a covenant union exhibited in sacrifice. But, in whatever sense it is employed, the fact remains true, that, wherever a bloody offering is made in connection with sacrifice and with covenanting, it is the blood- drinking, the blood-pouring, or the blood-touching, that represents the covenant-making; while eating the flesh of the victim, or of the feast otherwise provided, represents the covenant-ratifying, or the covenant-showing…

“Thus at Sinai the formal covenanting of the Lord with his people was accompanied by sacrificing. Representatives of the people of Israel ” offered burnt-offerings, and sacrificed peace-offerings of oxen unto the Lord.” Nothing is here said of the technical sin-offering, but the whole burnt- offering and the peace-offering are included. The blood-outpouring and the blood-sprinkling preceded any feasting. And as if to make it clear that “by sprinkling the blood ” and not ” by eating the flesh of the victim,” the ” covenant union in [this] sacrifice was represented,” Moses took a portion of the blood and ” sprinkled [it] on the altar,” and another portion “and sprinkled it on the people,” saying as he did so,” Behold the blood of the covenant, which the Lord hath made with you.” It was not until after this covenanting by blood, that the people of Israel, by their representatives,” did eat and drink ” in ratification, or in proof, or in exhibit, of the covenant thus wrought by blood.”

We have these exact same things spelled out to us in Exodus. It is Yehovah and the Nation of Israel making a blood covenant on the Day of Shavuot. Yehovah spoke these commandments in person on Shavuot, so that all of Israel heard them in Exodus 20. He then wrote them on stone in Exodus 24.

1 And to Mosheh He said, “Come up to ????, you and Aharon, Na?a? and A?ihu, and seventy of the elders of Yisra’?l, and you shall bow yourselves from a distance.2 “But Mosheh shall draw near to ???? by himself, and let them not draw near, nor let the people go up with him.”3 And Mosheh came and related to the people all the Words of ???? and all the right-rulings. And all the people answered with one voice and said, “All the Words which ???? has spoken we shall do.”4 And Mosheh wrote down all the Words of ????, and rose up early in the morning, and built an altar at the foot of the mountain, and twelve standing columns for the twelve tribes of Yisra’?l.5 And he sent young men of the children of Yisra’?l, and they offered burnt offerings and slaughtered peace slaughterings of bulls to ????.6 And Mosheh took half the blood and put it in basins, and half the blood he sprinkled on the altar.7 And he took the Book of the Covenant and read in the hearing of the people. And they said, “All that ???? has spoken we shall do, and obey.” Exo 24:8 And Mosheh took the blood and sprinkled it on the people, and said, “See, the blood of the covenant which ???? has made with you concerning all these Words.”9 And Mosheh went up, also Aharon, Na?a?, and A?ihu, and seventy of the elders of Yisra’?l,10 and they saw the Elohim of Yisra’?l, and under His feet like a paved work of sapphire stone, and like the heavens for brightness.11 Yet He did not stretch out His hand against the chiefs of the children of Yisra’?l! And they saw Elohim, and they ate and drank.12 And ???? said to Mosheh, “Come up to Me on the mountain and be there, while I give you tablets of stone, and the Torah and the command which I have written, to teach them.” (Exodus 24:1-11)

And after Moses broke those stones Yehovah wrote them again on both sides of the stone in Exodus 34.
This is exactly what the Apostle Paul is discussing in Chapter 9 of the Book of Hebrews, Connecting The Ratification Ceremony at Sinai with Yehshua The Mashiach, Our Redeemer and Mediator of the Renewed Covenant!

1 Now the first covenant indeed had regulations of worship and the earthly set-apart place. 2 For a Tent was prepared: the first part, in which was the lampstand, and the table, and the showbread, which is called the Set-apart Place. 3 And after the second veil, the part of the Tent which is called Most Set-apart, 4 to which belonged the golden censer, and the ark of the covenant overlaid on all sides with gold, in which were the golden pot that held the manna, and the rod of Aharon that budded, and the tablets of the covenant, 5 and above it the keru?im of esteem were overshadowing the place of atonement – about which we do not now speak in detail. 6 And these having been prepared like this, the priests always went into the first part of the Tent, accomplishing the services. 7 But into the second part the high priest went alone once a year, not without blood, which he offered for himself and for sins of ignorance of the people, 8 the Set-apart Spirit signifying this, that the way into the Most Set-apart Place was not yet made manifest while the first Tent has a standing, 9 which was a parable for the present time in which both gifts and slaughters are offered which are unable to perfect the one serving, as to his conscience, 10 only as to foods and drinks, and different washings, and fleshly regulations imposed until a time of setting matters straight. 11 But Messiah, having become a High Priest of the coming good matters, through the greater and more perfect Tent not made with hands, that is, not of this creation, 12 entered into the Most Set-apart Place once for all, not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood, having obtained everlasting redemption. 13 For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the defiled, sets apart for the cleansing of the flesh, 14 how much more shall the blood of the Messiah, who through the everlasting Spirit offered Himself unblemished to Elohim, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living Elohim? 15 And because of this He is the Mediator of a renewed covenant, so that, death having taken place for redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, those who are called might receive the promise of the everlasting inheritance. 16 For where a covenant is, it is necessary for the death of the covenanted one to be established. 17 For a covenant over those dead is firm, since it is never valid while the covenanted one is living. (Deut. 24, Numbers 5, Romans 7)*18 Therefore not even the first covenant was instituted without blood. 19 For when, according to Torah, every command had been spoken by Mosheh to all the people, he took the blood of calves and goats, with water, and scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, 20 saying, “This is the blood of the covenant which Elohim commanded you.” 21 And in the same way he sprinkled with blood both the Tent and all the vessels of the service. 22 And, according to the Torah, almost all is cleansed with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. 23 It was necessary, then, that the copies of the heavenly ones should be cleansed with these, but the heavenly ones themselves with better slaughter offerings than these. 24 For Messiah has not entered into a Set-apart Place made by hand – figures of the true – but into the heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of Elohim on our behalf, 25 not that He should offer Himself often, as the high priest enters into the Set-apart Place year by year with blood not his own. 26 For if so, He would have had to suffer often, since the foundation of the world. But now He has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the offering of Himself. 27 And as it awaits men to die once, and after this the judgment, 28 so also the Messiah, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, shall appear a second time, apart from sin, to those waiting for Him, unto deliverance. (Hebrews 9:1-28)

As we have shown, Shavuot is also the portrait of an intimate, loving relationship between Yehovah and Israel. This is Israel marrying her KING, coming under the Chuppah of Mt Sinai, accepting the Ketubah (Wedding Contract) of the Creator of the Universe. Even though Yehovah would know that we would violate this marriage, that we would commit idolatry and adultery by going after other mighty ones, HE instilled provisions for Restoration of His Bride through Yehshua the Messiah!

It was also on Shavuot in Acts chapter 2 when a new realm of our Marriage Covenant was brought to life and reality when the Spirit of the Torah-The Ruach HaQodesh (Holy Spirit) was given and recognized as the interwoven connection to the Letter of the Torah that was given at Mount Sinai. The Ruach is our Seal from The KING that we have been marked for redemption to enter the Kingdom of Yehovah by the work of Yehshua the Messiah!

Did Yehovah our Groom, our King, give His Vassal-Israel a Signet/Wedding Ring, or A sign to the Nations that We as His Bride are Married to the Great King in which accompanies the Seal of The Ruach HaQodesh?
13 “And you, speak to the children of Yisra’?l, saying, ‘My Sabbaths you are to guard, by all means, for it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, to know that I, ????, am setting you apart. 14 ‘And you shall guard the Sabbath, for it is set-apart to you. Everyone who profanes it shall certainly be put to death, for anyone who does work on it, that being shall be cut off from among his people. 15 ‘Six days work is done, and on the seventh is a Sabbath of rest, set-apart to ????. Everyone doing work on the Sabbath day shall certainly be put to death. 16 ‘And the children of Yisra’?l shall guard the Sabbath, to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations as an everlasting covenant. 17 ‘Between Me and the children of Yisra’?l it is a sign forever. For in six days ???? made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day He rested and was refreshed.’ ” 18 And when He had ended speaking with him on Mount Sinai, He gave Mosheh two tablets of the Witness, tablets of stone, written with the finger of Elohim. (Exodus 31:13-18)
13 “And you, speak to the children of Yisra’ ?l, saying, ‘My Sabbaths you are to guard, by all means, for it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, to know that I, ????, am setting you apart. (Exodus 31:13)

19 ‘I am ???? your Elohim. Walk in My laws, and guard My right-rulings, and do them. 20 ‘And set apart My Sabbaths, and they shall be a sign between Me and you, to know that I am ???? your Elohim.’ (Ezekiel 20:19-20)

The 4th Commandment is the one part of the law most will not keep. It includes the weekly Sabbath and the Annual Holy Days as listed in Leviticus 23 and it also includes the Sabbatical years as told to us in Leviticus 25.

Before I move on we must point out that the night before Passover in the year Yehshua was to be killed, He had a meal (His last Supper) with His disciples and told them that this wine represented His blood and that the bread represented His flesh. All the ingredients used to make a covenant; a Suzerain-Vassal Treaty.

27 And He took the cup and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink all of it. 28 For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. (Matthew 26:27-28)

19 And He took bread and gave thanks, and He broke it and gave it to them, saying, This is My body which is given for you, this do in remembrance of Me. 20 In the same way He took the cup, after having dined, saying, This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is being poured out for you. (Luke 22:19-20)

His body was not broken until that next day and His blood was spilled out on the ground in the exact same way the animals blood runs on the ground in a covenant treaty. This happened at the exact some time when the Passover Lambs were killed at 3 P.M. on the 14th of Aviv and their blood spilled on the ground each year renewing the covenant.

The covenant that He was renewing was the same one from Mount Sinai, which He spoke to the Israelites. The same one which on the day of His Ascension on that Sunday Morning began the process of counting to the 7 weeks of Sabbaths; the 50 days until Pentecost, the time of swearing our oaths renewed again that we will keep the Torah, only now on our hearts. The Feast of Oaths when we seven our selves to Yehovah again, as we are renewing our vows each year at Shavuot, also called Pentecost.

And like a bride that has taken on the name of her husband, we are told not to take the name of Yehovah in vain. That is, we do not become His Bride and drag His name back down to the bog of idolatry we have come out of to renew our vows to keep those same laws spoken at Sinai that Yehshua said were to the two greatest commandments. To love Yehovah which are the first four and to love your fellow man which are the last six.

Yehshua Himself told us;

15 If you love Me, keep My commandments.
21 He who has My commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves Me. And he who loves Me shall be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will reveal Myself to him. (John 14:15, 21)

Having now examined this word “weeks” and learning that it means the “Feast of Weeks” also called “Shavuot”; and having learned that this is a very special time when we gave an oath to Guard His Commandments in order to remain in His Blessings, let us now begin to understand what is being said in this prophecy. Keep in mind as we go forward that this has a great deal to do with having broken the oath and very little to do with the coming of the Messiah.

“Seventy weeks are decreed for your people”

Seventy Shavuot’s are decreed for you people. A Shavuot is 49 days. Seventy Forty-nines are decreed for you people.
70 X 49 = 3430
Now when we say a “year is as a day” as we are shown in Ezekiel , we then have 3430 years to deal with and not the 490 years that most try to rationalize. A Jubilee cycle is also 49 years in length of time in the same way the Feast of Weeks is.

3430 years can also be understood to be 70 Jubilee cycles.

To learn more about these four verses of Daniel please get the book when it is released later this year.


Counting the Omer

 

As we are now about to begin the second week of counting the omer here are the Psalms that are read on each day of the count.

WEEK TWO | 2

Day Eight | Devotion To the Law of Yehovah | Psalm 119:57-64

Today is the first day of the second week of seven weeks. Today is the eighth day of the counting of fifty days from the day of the waving of the Omer on the morrow after the Sabbath.

1 Elohim does favor us and bless us. Cause His face to shine upon us. Selah. (Psalm 67:1)
2 For Your way to be known on earth, Your deliverance among all nations. (Psalm 67:2)
3 Let the peoples praise You, O Elohim, let all the peoples praise You. (Psalm 67:3)
4 Let the nations be glad and sing for joy! For You judge the peoples uprightly, and lead the nations on earth. Selah. (Psalm 67:4)
5 Let the peoples praise You, O Elohim; let all the peoples praise You. (Psalm 67:5)
6 The earth shall give her increase; Elohim, our own Elohim, blesses us! (Psalm 67:6)
7 Elohim blesses us! And all the ends of the earth fear Him! (Psalm 67:7)

57 You are my portion, O ????; I have promised to guard Your words. (Psalm 119:57)
58 I have sought Your face with all my heart. Show me favor according to Your Word. (Psalm 119:58)
59 I have thought upon my ways, and turned my feet to Your witnesses. (Psalm 119:59)
60 I have hurried, and did not delay to guard Your commands. (Psalm 119:60)
61 The cords of the wrong have surrounded me, Your Torah I have not forgotten. (Psalm 119:61)
62 At midnight I rise to give thanks to You, for Your righteous right-rulings. (Psalm 119:62)
63 I am a companion of all who fear You, and of those guarding Your orders. (Psalm 119:63)
64 O ????, Your kindness has filled the earth. Teach me Your laws. (Psalm 119:64)

 

Day Nine | The Value of the Law of Yehovah | Psalm 119:65-72

Today is the second day of the second week of seven weeks. Today is the ninth day of the counting of fifty days from the day of the waving of the Omer on the morrow after the Sabbath.

1 Elohim does favor us and bless us. Cause His face to shine upon us. Selah. (Psalm 67:1)
2 For Your way to be known on earth, Your deliverance among all nations. (Psalm 67:2)
3 Let the peoples praise You, O Elohim, let all the peoples praise You. (Psalm 67:3)
4 Let the nations be glad and sing for joy! For You judge the peoples uprightly, and lead the nations on earth. Selah. (Psalm 67:4)
5 Let the peoples praise You, O Elohim; let all the peoples praise You. (Psalm 67:5)
6 The earth shall give her increase; Elohim, our own Elohim, blesses us! (Psalm 67:6)
7 Elohim blesses us! And all the ends of the earth fear Him! (Psalm 67:7)

65 You have done good to Your servant, O ????, according to Your Word. (Psalm 119:65)
66 Teach me good sense and knowledge, for I have trusted in Your commands. (Psalm 119:66)
67 Before I was afflicted I myself was going astray, but now I have guarded Your Word. (Psalm 119:67)
68 You are good, and do good. Teach me Your laws. (Psalm 119:68)
69 The proud have forged a lie against me. With all my heart I observe Your orders. (Psalm 119:69)
70 Their heart has become like fat, without feeling. I have delighted in Your Torah. (Psalm 119:70)
71 It was good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn Your laws. (Psalm 119:71)
72 The Torah of Your mouth is better to me than thousands of gold and silver pieces. (Psalm 119:72)

 

Day Ten | The Justice of the Law of Yehovah | Psalm 119:73-80

Today is the third day of the second week of seven weeks. Today is the tenth day of the counting of fifty days from the day of the waving of the Omer on the morrow after the Sabbath.

1 Elohim does favor us and bless us. Cause His face to shine upon us. Selah. (Psalm 67:1)
2 For Your way to be known on earth, Your deliverance among all nations. (Psalm 67:2)
3 Let the peoples praise You, O Elohim, let all the peoples praise You. (Psalm 67:3)
4 Let the nations be glad and sing for joy! For You judge the peoples uprightly, and lead the nations on earth. Selah. (Psalm 67:4)
5 Let the peoples praise You, O Elohim; let all the peoples praise You. (Psalm 67:5)
6 The earth shall give her increase; Elohim, our own Elohim, blesses us! (Psalm 67:6)
7 Elohim blesses us! And all the ends of the earth fear Him! (Psalm 67:7)

73 Your hands have made me and formed me; make me understand, that I might learn Your commands. (Psalm 119:73)
74 Those who fear You see me and rejoice, for I have waited for Your Word. (Psalm 119:74)
75 I know, O ????, that Your right-rulings are righteous, and in trustworthiness You have afflicted me. (Psalm 119:75)
76 Please let Your kindness be for my comfort, according to Your Word to Your servant. (Psalm 119:76)
77 Let Your compassions come to me, that I might live, for Your Torah is my delight. (Psalm 119:77)
78 Let the proud be put to shame, for with lies they perverted me; but I study Your orders. (Psalm 119:78)
79 Let those who fear You turn to me, and those who know Your witnesses. (Psalm 119:79)
80 Let my heart be perfect in Your laws, so that I am not put to shame. (Psalm 119:80)

 

Day Eleven | Prayer For Deliverance | Psalm 119:81-88

Today is the fourth day of the second week of seven weeks. Today is the eleventh day of the counting of fifty days from the day of the waving of the Omer on the morrow after the Sabbath.

1 Elohim does favor us and bless us. Cause His face to shine upon us. Selah. (Psalm 67:1)
2 For Your way to be known on earth, Your deliverance among all nations. (Psalm 67:2)
3 Let the peoples praise You, O Elohim, let all the peoples praise You. (Psalm 67:3)
4 Let the nations be glad and sing for joy! For You judge the peoples uprightly, and lead the nations on earth. Selah. (Psalm 67:4)
5 Let the peoples praise You, O Elohim; let all the peoples praise You. (Psalm 67:5)
6 The earth shall give her increase; Elohim, our own Elohim, blesses us! (Psalm 67:6)
7 Elohim blesses us! And all the ends of the earth fear Him! (Psalm 67:7)

81 For Your deliverance my being has pined away, for I have waited for Your Word. (Psalm 119:81)
82 My eyes have pined away for Your Word, saying, “When would it comfort me?” (Psalm 119:82)
83 For I have become like a wineskin in the smoke, Your laws I have not forgotten. (Psalm 119:83)
84 How many are the days of Your servant? When do You execute right-ruling on those who persecute me? (Psalm 119:84)
85 The proud have dug pits for me, which is not according to Your Torah. (Psalm 119:85)
86 All Your commands are trustworthy. They have persecuted me with lies. Help me! (Psalm 119:86)
87 They almost made an end of me on earth, but I, I did not forsake Your orders. (Psalm 119:87)
88 Revive me according to Your kindness, that I might guard the witness of Your mouth. (Psalm 119:88)

 

Day Twelve | In the Law of Yehovah | Psalm 119:89-96

Today is the fifth day of the second week of seven weeks. Today is the twelfth day of the counting of fifty days from the day of the waving of the Omer on the morrow after the Sabbath.

1 Elohim does favor us and bless us. Cause His face to shine upon us. Selah. (Psalm 67:1)
2 For Your way to be known on earth, Your deliverance among all nations. (Psalm 67:2)
3 Let the peoples praise You, O Elohim, let all the peoples praise You. (Psalm 67:3)
4 Let the nations be glad and sing for joy! For You judge the peoples uprightly, and lead the nations on earth. Selah. (Psalm 67:4)
5 Let the peoples praise You, O Elohim; let all the peoples praise You. (Psalm 67:5)
6 The earth shall give her increase; Elohim, our own Elohim, blesses us! (Psalm 67:6)
7 Elohim blesses us! And all the ends of the earth fear Him! (Psalm 67:7)

89 Forever, O ????, Your Word stands firm in the heavens. (Psalm 119:89)
90 Your trustworthiness is to all generations; You established the earth, and it stands. (Psalm 119:90)
91 According to Your right-rulings, they have stood to this day, for all are Your servants. (Psalm 119:91)
92 If Your Torah had not been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction. (Psalm 119:92)
93 Let me never forget Your orders, for by them You have given me life. (Psalm 119:93)
94 I am Yours, save me; for I have sought Your orders. (Psalm 119:94)
95 The wrong have waited for me to destroy me; I understand Your witnesses. (Psalm 119:95)
96 I have seen an end of all perfection; Your command is exceedingly broad. (Psalm 119:96)

 

Day Thirteen | Love For the Law of Yehovah | Psalm 119:97-104

Today is the sixth day of the second week of seven weeks. Today is the thirteenth day of the counting of fifty days from the day of the waving of the Omer on the morrow after the Sabbath.

1 Elohim does favor us and bless us. Cause His face to shine upon us. Selah. (Psalm 67:1)
2 For Your way to be known on earth, Your deliverance among all nations. (Psalm 67:2)
3 Let the peoples praise You, O Elohim, let all the peoples praise You. (Psalm 67:3)
4 Let the nations be glad and sing for joy! For You judge the peoples uprightly, and lead the nations on earth. Selah. (Psalm 67:4)
5 Let the peoples praise You, O Elohim; let all the peoples praise You. (Psalm 67:5)
6 The earth shall give her increase; Elohim, our own Elohim, blesses us! (Psalm 67:6)
7 Elohim blesses us! And all the ends of the earth fear Him! (Psalm 67:7)

97 O how I love Your Torah1! It is my study all day long. (Psalm 119:97 | Footnote: 1See also vv. 119:113, 119:119, 119:127, 119:163, 119:165, 119:167)
98 Your commands make me wiser than my enemies; for it is ever before me. (Psalm 119:98)
99 I have more understanding than all my teachers, for Your witnesses are my study. (Psalm 119:99)
100 I understand more than the aged, for I have observed Your orders. (Psalm 119:100)
101 I have restrained my feet from every evil way, that I might guard Your Word. (Psalm 119:101)
102 I have not turned aside from Your right-rulings, for You Yourself have taught me. (Psalm 119:102)
103 How sweet to my taste has Your Word been, more than honey to my mouth! (Psalm 119:103)
104 From Your orders I get understanding; therefore I have hated every false way. (Psalm 119:104)

 

Day Fourteen | Light From the Law of Yehovah | Psalm 119:105-112

Today is the seventh day of the second week of seven weeks. Today is the fourteenth day of the counting of fifty days from the day of the waving of the Omer on the morrow after the Sabbath. Today is Sabbath, the second Sabbath of seven Sabbaths. Today completes the second week of seven weeks.

1 Elohim does favor us and bless us. Cause His face to shine upon us. Selah. (Psalm 67:1)
2 For Your way to be known on earth, Your deliverance among all nations. (Psalm 67:2)
3 Let the peoples praise You, O Elohim, let all the peoples praise You. (Psalm 67:3)
4 Let the nations be glad and sing for joy! For You judge the peoples uprightly, and lead the nations on earth. Selah. (Psalm 67:4)
5 Let the peoples praise You, O Elohim; let all the peoples praise You. (Psalm 67:5)
6 The earth shall give her increase; Elohim, our own Elohim, blesses us! (Psalm 67:6)
7 Elohim blesses us! And all the ends of the earth fear Him! (Psalm 67:7)

105 Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. (Psalm 119:105)
106 I have sworn, and I confirm, to guard Your righteous right-rulings. (Psalm 119:106)
107 I have been afflicted very much; O ????, revive me according to Your Word. (Psalm 119:107)
108 Please accept the voluntary offerings of my mouth, O ????, and teach me Your right-rulings. (Psalm 119:108)
109 My life is in my hand continually, and Your Torah I have not forgotten. (Psalm 119:109)
110 The wrong have laid a snare for me, but I have not strayed from Your orders. (Psalm 119:110)
111 Your witnesses are my inheritance forever, for they are the joy of my heart. (Psalm 119:111)
112 I have inclined my heart to do Your laws forever, to the end. (Psalm 119:112)

 


Triennial Torah Cycle

We continue this weekend with our regular Triennial Torah reading which can be found at?https://sightedmoon.com/sightedmoon_2015/files/TriennialCycleBeginningAviv.pdf

06/04/2013     Deut 12     1 Chron 10-11       Phillip 1-2

 

No Pagan Customs in the Worship of God (Deuteronomy 12)

Moses announces to the Israelites that when they have entered the Promised Land, there will have to be one specific place to bring their sacrifices, lest they be tempted to adopt the worship customs of the pagans, who sacrifice to their gods in every place they choose (verses 2-8, 13-14, 18). God is very concerned that Israel’s worship practices not incorporate pagan elements in any way. He specifically warns them to “take heed to yourself that you…do not inquire after their gods, saying, ‘How did these nations serve their gods? I will also do likewise.’ You shall not worship the Lord your God in that way; for every abomination to the Lord which He hates they have done to their gods…. Whatever I command you, be careful to observe it; you shall not add to it nor take away from it” (verses 30-32).

Today, the nominal Christian world celebrates religious holidays whose origin and customs are steeped in paganism, while refusing to keep God’s weekly seventh-day Sabbath or His annual Holy Days. For example, Sunday, the first day of the week, was the day on which pagans worshiped the sun god since ancient times. “Easter” was a feast of the fertility goddess Astarte or Ashtoreth, also called Ishtar, Ostara or Eostre—which helps explain why the holiday bears that unusual name and is celebrated with such fertility symbols as bunny rabbits and eggs. And “Christmas” was originally the holy day of Mithras, Attis and other pagan gods. It is also remarkable that many such pagan “saviors” were supposedly born on December 25, killed on a Friday and “resurrected” on a Sunday during the “Easter” season—while the Scriptures show that the true Christ was neither born in December nor killed on a Friday nor resurrected on a Sunday.

Evergreen trees were employed as idols of Ashtoreth—such trees being referred to as asherah in the Hebrew Bible. God forbade them from being placed near His altar, as if to honor Him, as He did not want His worship system corrupted by them (Deuteronomy 16:21). Setting them up and decorating them as part of a religious observance is clearly condemned in Jeremiah 10:1-4—showing what God thinks of Christmas trees, which are in part derived from this ancient custom. Easter cakes (cakes to the “queen of heaven”) and sunrise services (in honor of Tammuz) are clearly condemned in the Bible (compare Jeremiah 7:18; 44:17-27; Ezekiel 8:13-17). According to the Ryrie Study Bible, the “queen of heaven” is a reference to “the Assyro-Babylonian goddess Ishtar”—i.e., Easter. And in regard to “Tammuz,” the same source identifies him as “a Babylonian deity, husband of Ishtar, who after his death supposedly became god of the underworld. Some have understood him as a vegetation-deity, dying in the heat of the summer and rising in the spring.”

It is no secret that the early Roman church absorbed pagan elements into its worship to accommodate new converts and make the new faith attractive to the pagan world, attaching “Christian” significance to these elements. Thus, many customs of traditional Christianity, following ancient Israel’s bad example, clearly violate God’s commands to avoid heathen practices in worshiping the true God. And not only have they added pagan elements to the worship of God—they have deleted godly elements that should be observed today. (To learn more, request or download our free booklet Holidays or Holy Days: Does It Matter Which Days We Keep?)

In verse 31, Moses warned Israel to avoid one of the most hideous worship rites practiced by the Canaanites, that of infant sacrifice. Archaeologists have discovered in a number of locations the grisly remains of burned infant skeletons buried in large jars. Sadly, however, Israel did descend to this despicable practice too (2 Kings 21:1-9; 2 Chronicles 28:1-4).

1 Chronicles 10-11

David’s Harem Grows; Alliance with Phoenicia and a Royal Palace
(1 Chronicles 14; 2 Samuel 5:11-25; 1 Chronicles 3:5-9; Psalm 30)

As time draws on, David’s kingdom increases in fame throughout the region due to God’s blessing and unification of all Israel. But again, one of David’s weaknesses is exposed in that he takes to himself yet more wives. The account in 1 Chronicles 3:5-9 lists the children born to David in Jerusalem. Four sons are born by Bathsheba (including Solomon). Nine sons are born to his other wives. There are also other sons and daughters born to David’s concubines.

Hiram, King of Tyre, a powerful city-state on the Mediterranean coast north of Israel and center of the Phoenician Empire, shows great respect by sending builders and materials to help build a palace for David at Jerusalem. This demonstrates David’s growing prominence—that the ruler of the Phoenician Empire, which dominated ancient maritime commerce, would seek to cement an alliance with Israel through such projects. The Philistines, on the other hand, regarded David’s strength as a threat to their nation. Here, David’s real strength is shown as he once again seeks God first for instruction in regard to the Philistines. After defeating the Philistines, David burns the idols that are left behind. Once again, God is with him in defeating his enemies.

Psalm 30 is written by David in his dedication of the palace built for him in Jerusalem. In these verses, David recounts both the dark times and the bright times. This chapter can be a testimony for us today. All of us have experienced troubling times in our lives in which we cried out to God for His intervention. Though we never deserve it, and cannot earn it, God has constantly shown us His endless grace and mercy. Individually, it would be helpful to record some of our own trials and remember how God has always delivered us when we have sought Him, as David did, with all our heart. Can God look upon each of us and say, “I have found _______ a man/woman after My own heart, who will do all My will”? We have a great advantage today, as we can strive to emulate the positive qualities of a man like King David and also learn not to repeat his mistakes.

Let’s follow the example of David and give thanks to God forever!

Phillipians 1 (http://allanturner.com/phil.html)

Ten miles inland from the harbor city of Neapolis was Philippi. It was one of the principle cities of Macedonia and was historically famous in the annals of both Greece and Rome. It was founded by and named after Philip of Macedon, the father of Alexander the Great. In Roman history, Philippi was best known for the battle that took place there in 42 B.C. between the Second Triumvirate (Octavius, Antonius, and Lepidus) and the republicans of Rome under Brutus and Cassius, which resulted in the defeat and death of the latter. After the victory, Octavius made Philippi a colony (cf. Acts 16:12). After the battle of Actium in 31 B.C., Augustus transported a large number of Roman veterans to the colony and granted it the status of jus Italicum, which placed it on a par with the Roman colonies of Italy. Consequently, Philippi considered itself as being an entirely Roman city. Its citizens were Roman citizens who enjoyed all the rights and privileges of such: exemption from scourging, from arrest except in extreme cases, and the right to appeal to the emperor. The official language was Latin. They were governed by their own magistrates who took great pride in calling themselves Praetors. These appeared in public with attendant lictors who bore the official bundles of rods or fasces with a mace protruding from the center which were the symbols of Roman power and authority.

From our point of interest, Philippi is the first place in Europe where the gospel was preached. The story of the founding of the church at Philippi is told by Luke in Acts 16:11-40. Apparently, the Jewish population of Philippi was so small that they did not even have a synagogue in which to worship, only a “place where prayer was customarily made” by the riverside. The first convert, Lydia, as exhibited by her conduct in offering her house and hospitality to Paul and his entourage, was a generous and kind woman, and her actions set the tone of generosity for this church. In Philippians 4:15,16, this church sent gifts to Paul who was then in Thessalonica. And, of course, this present epistle returns thanks for a gift sent by the hand of Epaphroditus while Paul was in Rome during his first imprisonment. This church, along with the other churches of Macedonia, had made a name for themselves when it came to liberality (II Corinthians 8:1-5). What a joyful occasion their concern for Paul must have been to him. Consequently, it should not surprise us to hear him refer to them as “my beloved and longed-for brethren, my joy and crown” (Philippians 4:1).

Even though things began and continued well at Philippi, soon after the conversion of Lydia and her household, persecution lifted up its ugly head. Perhaps to demonstrate that the Lord’s work is advanced by difficulties and discouragements, rather than by ease and prosperity, Paul and Silas are brought into conflict with heathen superstition in one of its worst forms, and with the rough violence of colonial authorities. In expelling a demon from a slave girl, who had been a source of much gain for her masters, Paul incurs the wrath of these men, who then falsely accuse Paul and Silas of teaching “customs which are not lawful for us, being Romans, to receive or observe” (Acts 16:21). This appeal to political prejudice resulted in the imprisonment and beating of Paul and Silas, who were subsequently released from prison by an earthquake. As a result of all this, more people are converted to Christ, including the Philippian jailor.

When Paul left Philippi in the year 52, Timothy and Luke remained behind to build up the new church. Timothy soon followed Paul, and when he was sent back to Macedonia from Athens, he probably again visited Philippi. Luke, it would seem, continued to work in Philippi. His first “we” section (Acts 16:11-40) ends with Paul’s departure from Philippi and the second does not begin until Paul again returns to the city (Acts 20:5,6). This occurred in 58, when Paul and the servants of the churches took the great collection to Jerusalem (Acts 20:4). Paul had actually been in Philippi the previous summer when on his way from Ephesus to Corinth he spent some time in Macedonia (II Corinthians 2:13). Therefore, Paul was in Philippi on three different occasions. His second visit was probably his longest. It seems very likely that his second letter to the Corinthians, which was written while he was in Macedonia, was written in Philippi.

Timothy is mentioned along with Paul in this epistle (1:1). He was with Paul when the church was established. As was mentioned earlier, when Timothy was sent back to Thessalonica from Athens, he probably went back to Philippi (I Thessalonians 3:1,2,6). Timothy was also in Philippi when Paul sent him by land on an extended commission from Ephesus to Corinth prior to Paul’s own slower journey over the same land route. This occurred in 57. Finally, Timothy was in the group that took the collection from Corinth to Jerusalem via Philippi (Acts 20:4). Timothy’s connection with Philippi cast light on the statements Paul made about him in Philippians 2:19-23. Once more this faithful and beloved servant of Paul’s is being sent to this beloved church.

The Occasion For And Date Of This Epistle

In Paul’s time, letters were written to people at a distance when opportunity presented itself to forward them to their destination. In this particular case, Epaphroditus was about to return to Philippi (2:38). He had brought Paul a gift and also possibly a letter from the Philippian church (4:1-14,17,18). Verses that intimate he may be replying to a letter are found in 1:12; 1:19; 1:25f; 2:26; 3:2; and 4:10-13. But, even if he had not recently received a letter from them, he had received their generous gift. As Epaphroditus was about to go back to Philippi, Paul took the opportunity to send his warm expression of gratitude, along with his fervent admonition to steadfastness and humility. Also, and maybe even more importantly, this epistle was an opportunity for Paul to inform his beloved brethren just how his appeal was proceeding.

Although the epistle does not easily lend itself to outline form, we gather the following from this letter: Paul wrote (1) to express his appreciation for their fellowship in the gospel, his confidence in their progress, and his ambition for them (1:3-11); (2) to report his circumstances, hopes, and fears (1:12-26); (3) to exhort them to unity, humility, and consistency (1:27-2:18); (4) to inform them of his purpose to send Timothy and Epaphroditus to them (2:19-30); (5) to warn them against the Judaizers (3:1-14) and the antinomianists (3:15-4:1); (6) to appeal for the reconciliation of Euodia and Syntyche (4:2,3); (7) to admonish them to joyfulness, prayerfulness, and the pursuit of all that is good (4:4-9); (8) to express his gratitude for their recent gift (4:10-20); and (9) to send his greetings (4:21-23).

The letter was clearly written from Rome by Paul while he was in “chains” in the Praetorium. He sends greetings from “Caesar’s household” (4:22), indicates that he expects something to happen very soon concerning his appeal (1:20-26), and expresses confident hope that he will visit the Philippians again (1:26; 2:24). This all points to Paul’s first imprisonment in Rome, which we know lasted for “two whole years” (Acts 28:30). In must have been written during the end of these two years, which would make the date somewhere around A.D. 63. Considerable preaching had already been done in Rome since Paul’s arrival (1:12-18). Furthermore, his case is on verge of a final decision (1:12,13,23-26). This could not have been the case during his early months in the city. In addition, considerable time was needed for the events to transpire that lie between Paul’s arrival at Rome and the writing of this letter. (1) News of Paul’s arrival had to travel to Philippi; (2) Epaphroditus had to come from Philippi; (3) the news of his illness while at Rome had to get back to Philippi; and (4) the news of the Philippians’ concern for Epaphroditus had to get back to Rome. Many scholars believe that Philippians is the last of the so-called four “Prison Epistles.”

 

Greetings—1:1-2

(1) Paul and Timothy, servants of Jesus Christ, To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, with the bishops and deacons: (2) Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

1. Paul and Timothy,. Timothy is with Paul at Rome. He helped found the church at Philippi and was going to be sent to it again (2:19f).

Servants of Jesus Christ,. Paul does not identify himself as an apostle in this letter as he does in many of his other epistles. Perhaps this is because his right to be called an apostle had not been called into question by this church as it had been in some other places. When it was not necessary to defend his apostleship and his teaching as from God, he was modest and unassuming and simply placed himself on an equality with the humblest servant of the Lord Jesus Christ. He assumed no titles or dignities. The spirit of Christ and His religion are contrary to the assumption of titles and dignities that exalt one Christian above another—something so prevalent in the religious world. Timothy, who was not an apostle and did not have Paul’s authority, was considered by Paul to be his equal when it came to servanthood.

To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi,. This letter is being written to all the sanctified, set apart from, separated to, or set apart ones in Christ. The term “saint” to designate a Christian is regularly used in the New Testament beginning with Acts 9:13. When one obeys the gospel, he is set apart or sanctified by the blood of Christ. The more the saint sanctifies the word of God in his heart, the more he is sanctified and deserves the name “saint.” Even so, all disciples are saints, no matter how weak or liable to err they may be. Therefore, it must be understood that this term does not suggest perfectionalism.

With the bishops and the deacons:. This wonderful church was blessed in that it was fully organized scripturally. These bishops or overseers are elsewhere referred to as “elders.” The men who would oversee the local congregation, were to be older mature men who met the qualification set down in I Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9. The use of the term “bishop” to refer to men who exercised control over more than one church is completely foreign to the New Testament and originated with the doctrines of men so prevalent in denominationalism. Deacons were servants of the church and served the local congregation under the oversight of the bishops. It is interesting to note that there was a plurality of both bishops and deacons. This is the New Testament pattern.

2. Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. This is the usual salutation extended by Paul (cf. Romans 1:7; I Corinthians 1:3; and II Corinthians 1:2).
Thankfulness And Prayer—1:3-11
(3) I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, (4) always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy, (5) for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now, (6) being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete {it} until the day of Jesus Christ; (7) just as it is right for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart, inasmuch as both in my chains and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers with me of grace. (8) For God is my witness, how greatly I long for you all with the affection of Jesus Christ. (9) And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, (10) that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ, (11) being filled with the fruits of righteousness which {are} by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.

3. I thank my God upon every remembrance of you,. Paul is always thankful for the Philippians brethren. Thankful for their faithfulness to the Lord and to him.

4. Always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy,. His prayers for them were always of joyful supplication to God to bless them. Often Paul was forced to pray for his brethren with grief and tears, but not so with the Philippians. This makes them unique among the early New Testament churches.

5. For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now,. From the very beginning they had been moved with sympathetic cooperation in the furtherance of the gospel. For this end, the Philippian worked together, with one another, or with Paul and others.

6. Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete {it} until the day of Jesus Christ;. Paul, although he and his companions started the work in Philippi, gives all credit to God. According to Paul, it must always be remembered that it was God, through the gospel, who started this work. Furthermore, what He started, He will finish! Even so, we must do our part. As Paul stresses in 2:12b, “Work out you own salvation with fear and trembling.”

7. Just as it is right for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart, inasmuch as both in my chains and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers with me of grace. Paul loved them and they loved him. They had proved their faithfulness and love over and over again. He was, therefore, confident that they were always going to be faithful to the Lord and to him.

8. For God is my witness, how greatly I long for you all with the affection of Jesus Christ. Paul loved the Philippians and was willing to suffer for them, just as Christ loved us all and was willing to suffer for us. Paul is not making a oath, as some think, but is simply saying that his longing for them is hidden in his heart, hence God alone is the direct witness of its presence.

9. And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment,. He prays that their love for God and His word will cause them to grow in knowledge and understanding. This would fit them more and more to cherish the same love for man that God cherishes. In Romans 14, love must use the knowledge of the strong Christian so as not to hurt the weak. Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up (I Corinthians 8:1). To have all knowledge but not love is to be nothing (I Corinthians 13:2). Godly wisdom, knowledge, and understanding come after faith and love (Ephesians 1:15-17).

10. That you may approve the things that are excellent,. This will allow them to be able to discern between good and evil. If we distinguish between things that differ, it is for the sake of approving what is excellent. In this process, we are not merely to distinguish the good from the bad, but the best from among the good. This, then, is a true description of Biblical wisdom, love growing continually richer in knowledge and spiritual discernment. That you may be sincere. Sincerity denotes truthfulness and uprightness. When a person is sincere, there will be agreement between heart and tongue. A sincere person is not double-minded or deceitful. And without offense till the day of Christ. Offense is the cause of stumbling. It means without giving or receiving offense. The idea being conveyed here is that by the increase of the knowledge of God’s will, one may neither find occasion himself, or cause others, to stumble in the Christian race.

11. Being filled with the fruits of righteousness which {are} by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God. Here, the fruits that are produced by righteousness are under consideration. Some of these are mentioned in Galatians 5:22 and 23. All this comes as a result of Christ and glorifies the Father, whose eternal plan was that men and women would be conformed to the image of His wonderful Son.

Christ Is Preached—1:12-18

(12) But I want you to know, brethren, that the things {which happened} to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel, (13) so that it has become evident to the whole palace guard, and to all the rest, that my chains are in Christ; (14) and most of the brethren in the Lord, having become confident by my chains, are much more bold to speak the word without fear. (15) Some indeed preach Christ even from envy and strife, and some also from good will: (16) The former preach Christ from selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my chains; (17) but the latter out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel. (18) What then? Only {that} in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is preached; and in this I rejoice, yes, and will rejoice.

12. But I want you to know, brethren, that the things {which happened} to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel,. When this letter is being written, Paul has been a prisoner in Rome for some time. He had appealed his case while at Caesarea to the emperor of Rome. For a long time, it seems, the trial before Caesar is delayed. He was allowed to live in his own hired house, guarded by a soldier, for two years. Now, it would seem that the trial had begun or had already taken place and he was awaiting the verdict, expecting to be released, but still not sure. As they might have looked upon his imprisonment as a hinderance to the furtherance of the gospel, he wants to dispel this idea. By all earthly standards, what would seem to have been a loss, God had turned into great gain.

13. So that it has become evident to the whole palace guard, and to all the rest, that my chains are in Christ;. It had become evident to the palace guard and to all at Rome that his imprisonment was not a political matter, neither was it on account of any crime he had committed; but is was because of his connection with Jesus Christ. It was for this, and this alone, that he was on trial.

14. And most of the brethren in the Lord, having become confident by my chains, are much more bold to speak the word without fear. “Most” means not all the brethren at Rome had become more bold in preaching and teaching the word. Courage, as well as fear, is contagious. Seeing Paul preach Christ before the highest officers and dignitaries of the Roman government had inspired many others to boldly “speak the word of God without fear.”

15. Some indeed preach Christ even from envy and strife,. Paul is addressing himself to the motivation of some who proclaim the gospel. Those referred to here are not preaching Christ out of any desire to exalt Him, but because of their envious and contentious spirit toward Paul. The gospel had preceded Paul in Rome. Evidently, some who had received a degree of prominence in the church before Paul’s arrival in chains were fading in the light of Paul’s success in proclaiming the gospel. While in chains, Paul had done more to spread the gospel throughout Rome than they had done in their freedom. Consequently, they resented his presence in Rome. Therefore, in their preaching, which ironically had become much bolder as a result of Paul’s experience with the Roman authorities, they hoped, being unfettered by Paul’s chains, to have more success than the apostle. This, they believed, would allow them to regain their prominence at Rome. As horrible and ungodly as this kind of thinking is, it should not surprise us that, living in the seat of power of the most powerful government on the face of the earth, some brethren could, and did, get caught up in the pursuit of power, striving out of envy for preeminence among the brethren. Unfortunately, Paul mentions nothing that is not still present with us today. Are there not preachers today who are envious and contentious toward their fellow preachers? They preach Christ with the same competitive spirit as did their Roman counterparts.

And some also from good will:. The good will mentioned here is contrasted with envy and strife. Like envy and strife, good will is a personal motive, but unlike envy and strife, a motive of good will is noble and pure.

16. The former preach Christ from selfish ambition,. According to Strong’s Greek and Hebrew Lexicon, the word translated “selfish ambition” means “electioneering or intriguing for office.” From the earliest times, the churches were troubled by those who sought adherents only that they might glory in their abilities as leaders. Not sincerely,. Their motivation was not pure and honest. Supposing to add affliction to my chains;. These were mean people who were more than willing to add insult to injury.

17. But the latter out of love,. Loving the Lord, they preached the gospel with the sole purpose of exalting and glorifying Him through the salvation of sinners. Loving Paul, they did not preach the gospel with any sense of competition with him, but with the realization that they were his co-workers in the furtherance of the Lord’s work. “Love does not envy” (I Corinthians 13:4). Knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel. The word “appointed” designates the apostle’s work in defending the gospel as being of divine appointment (cf. Acts 22:14,15; I Thessalonians 3:3). Those in Rome who preached the gospel out of good will toward Paul, who loved both him and the Lord, knew that his defense of the gospel was not out of any self-seeking, self-exalting motive, but only with the desire to exalt Him who had appointed him to this great work. Having the same motive as the apostle in their preaching, they obviously cooperated with him in every way they could to see that the gospel was defended from all charges made against it so that sinners would accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. It was not really Paul who was on trial, it was the gospel of Jesus Christ.

18. What then? Only {that} in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is preached; and in this I rejoice, yes, and will rejoice. Unlike his enemies in the church, Paul’s great desire was not to exalt himself and build up a clique, but to exalt Christ and build up His church. Thus, he would rejoice, and continue to rejoice, whenever Christ was preached, whether “in pretense” (the message was correct but the motive was wrong) or “in truth” (the message was correct and the motive was right). It is illogical to assume that those who preached with a wrong motive also preached a different gospel from those who preached from a pure motive. The difference in their preaching was not in substance but in purpose. Paul would certainly not have rejoiced in the preaching of a false gospel. Furthermore, a wrong motive in preaching an unadulterated gospel does not nullify its saving power. Therefore, Paul could rejoice at the preaching of the gospel by his enemies.

To Live Is Christ—1:19-26

(19) For I know that this will turn out for my salvation through your prayer and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, (20) according to my earnest expectation and hope that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but {that} with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death. (21) For to me, to live {is} Christ, and to die {is} gain. (22) But if {I} live on in the flesh, this {will mean} fruit from {my} labor; yet what I shall choose I cannot tell. (23) For I am hard pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, {which is} far better. (24) Nevertheless to remain in the flesh {is} more needful for you. (25) And being confident of this, I know that I shall remain and continue with you all for your progress and joy of faith, (26) that your rejoicing for me may be more abundant in Jesus Christ by my coming to you again.

19. For I know that this will turn out for my salvation. The context (verses 20-23) indicates that Paul is thinking of his heavenly salvation. He “knows” that no matter how his trial turns out, he is going to heaven. Through your prayer and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ. He is assured of this because of their prayers on his behalf and the supply (in consequence of those prayers) that comes from the Spirit of Jesus Christ (namely, the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Godhead). His confidence here reminds us of his affirmation in II Timothy 1:12.

20. According to my earnest expectation and hope that in nothing I shall be ashamed,. Looking ahead in his defense of the gospel, he knew that, with the prayers of his fellow Christians and the work of the Holy Spirit, he was not going to fail. In other words, Paul knew that he could do all things through Christ who strengthened him (4:13).

But {that} with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ will be magnified in my body,. Instead of being put to shame by failing to preach the gospel in the face of opposition, becoming in the process a disgrace to himself and the cause of Christ, Paul affirmed that he would continue to boldly preach the gospel in his imprisonment, just as he always had. Therefore, the body he used to boldly proclaim the gospel of Christ, to suffer for Him and His cause, was the means by which he was currently magnifying and glorifying His Lord (cf. I Corinthians 6:20).

Whether by life or by death. Paul, although inspired, was not omniscient. Although he was expecting to be released, he could not be certain that he would. But, whatever happened, he was confident that he would be able to magnify Jesus. If he continued to live, he would magnify the Lord by faithfully preaching His word and living for Him. On the other hand, if his trial resulted in him being put to death, he would still be able to magnify Jesus as one who was martyred for Him and His cause. This knowledge must have had a very good effect on the mind of Paul…no matter what happened, the Lord would be magnified!

21. For to me, to live {is} Christ, and to die {is} gain. No finer example of a soul that is truly surrendered to Christ can possibly be found that this. His ego had been merged with Christ’s. Consequently, he declared, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the {life} which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me (Galatians 2:20). His philosophy of living was that the sum total of his life belonged to Christ: his time, strength, ability, body, soul, and spirit. Paul was saying that he was a Christ-intoxicated, Christ-led, Christ-dominated Christian. Can we make this claim? Of this one thing we can be sure: If we are ever going to be willing to die for the Lord, we must first be willing to live for Him!

22. But if {I} live on in the flesh, this {will mean} fruit from {my} labor; yet what I shall choose I cannot tell. This is a difficult and disjointed passage. The grammar probably reflects the real conflict of feelings in Paul’s mind, expressed by the next verse.

23. For I am hard pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, {which is} far better. The “two” refers back to the life and death previously mentioned in verse 21. Of course, the only resolution he could make to such a dilemma, which every likeminded Christ will also make, is found in James 4:15, which says, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.” His preference, of course, was to die and be with the Lord (cf. II Corinthians 5:6-8; Acts 7:59). Such a desire expressed Paul’s great trust in the promises of the Lord and a steadfast, unmovable hope of being with Him after this life is over (I Corinthians 15:58).

24. Nevertheless to remain in the flesh {is} more needful for you. Paul knew that it would be much better for him to be with the Lord than to continue living in a body that was subject to sickness, suffering, and sorrow. “Nevertheless,” it was to their advantage that he remain alive at the moment. Paul knew that after his departure many evils and departures from the faith would occur (Acts 20:18-35). To the Thessalonians, he wrote, “For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains {will do so} until He is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming” (II Thessalonians 2:7,8). Paul may very well have been writing of himself in this passage.
25. And being confident of this, I know that I shall remain and continue with you all for your progress and joy of faith,. Consequently, he has come to realize that there is much work left for him to do and he will probably be released from prison so that he can administer to them once again.

26. That your rejoicing for me may be more abundant in Jesus Christ by my coming to you again. The ground of glorying was first and comprehensively in Christ; then in Paul as representing Christ; then in Paul’s personal presence with them. This latter would be the cause of their glorying since all his work on their behalf would contribute to their spiritual growth and joy in Christ.

 

Striving And Suffering For Christ—1:27-30

(27) Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel, (28) and not in any way terrified by your adversaries, which is to them a proof of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that from God. (29) For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake, (30) having the same conflict which you saw in me and now hear {is} in me.

27. Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ,. The word translated “conduct” has to do with living as a citizen. Therefore, Paul was saying that, as citizens of the kingdom of God, they needed to reflect in their lives their exaltation, adoration, and glorification of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

So that whether I come and see you or am absent,. Even though he has expressed his firm confidence that his case would be resolved successfully, he had to leave some doubt concerning the matter, recognizing the possibility that the Lord might not allow him to fulfill his confidence.

I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast . Either way, he wanted to know (“hear”) about their faithfulness to Christ and His cause. The Greek word rendered “stand fast” conveys the idea of holding one’s ground in a battle.

In one spirit,. The words “one spirit” indicates the disposition and attitude of unity that should prevail in the Lord’s body. The Devil’s tactic is to divide and conquer. Christians must stand fast against such a tactic.

With one mind. This one mind is to be the mind of Christ (2:5-11; I Peter 4:1; cf. I Corinthians 1:10).
Striving together for the faith of the gospel,. As the Philippians stood fast in the disposition of togetherness or unity, they were to strive with one concerted mind or purpose to maintain the integrity and purity of the gospel system. The word “striving” in the Greek literally portrays an athletic contest. Paul here thought of the Philippian church as a team, cooperatively working against every opposition to uphold and defend the faith which was once and for all delivered to the saints (Jude 3).

28. And not in any way terrified by your adversaries, which is to them a proof of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that from God. Although Paul makes his point in the negative, what he is talking about is the united courage of the Philippians, which serves as evident proof of the ultimate defeat and punishment of the enemies of the gospel, while at the same time indicating that courageous Christians are going to heaven. God, of course, is the One who has prepared both heaven and hell, and the “proof,” that some are going to heaven and some to hell (the courageous and united defense of the gospel) can be read by either side. Like the pillar of God’s presence mentioned in Exodus 14:20, it is “the cloud and darkness” to the one group, but “light by night” to the other.

29. For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake,. The Philippians had been granted grace or favor in that they were not just allowed to believe in Christ, but to suffer for Him also. After the apostles had been condemned and beaten by the council, it is said, “So they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name” (Acts 5:41). And Peter wrote, “But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, {you are} blessed. And do not be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled” (I Peter 3:14). Christians ought to think it an honor when they are permitted to suffer for the name of Christ.

30. Having the same conflict which you saw in me and now hear {is} in me. The word “conflict” in the Greek (agona) is used of an athletic contest. From it, we get our word “agony.” The apostle used it to describe his untiring work for the Lord in the face of all opposition. When he had preached at Philippi, he suffered persecution (Acts 16:19-40; I Thessalonians 2:2). This was the conflict the Philippians brethren “saw” in him. They now had the opportunity to “hear” about his Roman imprisonment. They, too, were suffering. Why? Because they were involved in the same “conflict”; they were on the same team.

 

Phillipians 2

Unity Through Humility—2:1-4

(1) Therefore if {there is} any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, (2) fulfill my joy by being like minded, having the same love, {being} of one accord, of one mind. (3) {Let} nothing {be done} through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. (4) Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.

1. Therefore. The word “therefore” here indicates that Paul is expounding on the exhortation of 1:27, i.e., “in one spirit, with one mind, etc.” He now lists four things that would motivate them to unity. If {there is} any consolation in Christ,. The first motive Paul gives is “consolation in Christ.” The Greek word translated here as “consolation” is translated eight places in the New Testament as “exhortation,” and conveys the idea of admonition. In other words, the Philippians were to strive for unity on the basis of the will of Christ, because he admonished them to do so in His word. This, of course, should be the basic motive for unity in any congregation—loyalty to the exhortation or teaching of Christ. If any comfort of love,. In the Greek, the word here translated “comfort” indicates “a word which comes to the side of one to stimulate and encourage him.” Thus, the idea of encouragement is conveyed in the use of this word. The love under discussion is divine love or agape. Christ exhorted the Philippians to unity, but He did so through the appeal or encouragement of His love for them. Their appreciation of the divine love that had saved them through Christ would encourage them to live together in unity. Furthermore, the love they had for each other, which was but a reflection of the love Christ had for them, would cause them to live and work together in unity. If any fellowship of the Spirit,. The human heart is said to be full of the Spirit when its inward state, its affections, and its acts are directed and controlled by Him so as to be a constant manifestation of His presence. If the Philippians had an intimate, loving, forebearing relationship with each other because they jointly enjoyed fellowship with the Holy Spirit, then they would be “endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:3). The presence and power of the Holy Spirit in the lives of Christians are never an incitement to confusion and factionalism, but always to peace and unity (cf. I Corinthians 14:33). If any affection and mercy,. This is the fourth and final reason given for the Philippians to live in harmony with each other. Paul is writing of tender mercies and compassion. With these graces present in their lives, they would live at peace with one another—quarrelings would cease, differences would be patched up, and estrangements would be healed.

2. Fulfill my joy. Paul dearly loved and appreciated the Philippians. He felt great joy in them. But now he wanted this joy to be made full or complete by any unity that was lacking in them (cf. 4:2). By being likeminded,. The Greek here literally means “think the same thing.” It is defined by the two clauses that follow. Having the same love,. Here they are being exhorted to unity of affection. They were to love the same things (1:9,10) and have the same love for one another and for the Lord. {Being} of one accord,. Here they are being exhorted to unity of sentiment. The Greek word rendered “accord” does not appear anywhere else in the New Testament. It literally means “with united spirits.” The Philippians were to so think and act as if they were but one soul. This was Paul’s plea to Christians everywhere, “Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and {that} there be no divisions among you, but {that} you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment” (I Corinthians 1:10). Of one mind. This is a little stronger form than the phrase “being likeminded.” Its literal meaning is “thinking the one thing.” The unity Paul is writing about is found in Romans 15:5-7, which says: “Now may the God of patience and comfort grant you to be like minded toward one another, according to Christ Jesus, (6) that you may with one mind {and} one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. (7) Therefore receive one another, just as Christ also received us, to the glory of God.”

3. {Let} nothing {be done} through selfish ambition or conceit,. Selfish ambition, self-seeking, and rivalry, which always lead to factions or party making, must not rear its ugly head among brethren. The factious man wants to win followers to himself rather than to build up the body of Christ (cf. I Corinthians 12:12-27). The word “conceit” means groundless self-esteem and empty pride. Many churches have been torn asunder by the conceit of elders, preachers, and other members who desired, like Diotrephes, to have the preeminence rather then to exalt Christ and seek for the edification of their brethren. But in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. The only way to counter things being done through selfish ambition or conceit is through cultivating “lowliness of mind.” This word means humility, having a humble opinion of one’s self, or a deep sense of one’s moral littleness. This word is elsewhere translated “humbleness of mind” (Colossians 3:12) and “lowliness” (Ephesians 4:2). In both these passages, the word comes just before meekness and long-suffering, demonstrating that it is only by a wise and lowly estimate of ourselves that we come to know what is due to others. Humility, then, describes the spirit of one who knows himself in relation to God. It is, therefore, primarily a Christian grace and not a social virtue. Contrary to pagan thought and current wisdom, there is nothing weak about humility. In fact, it is the badge of the strong, the first test of a truly great man. It is the one specific virtue and quality that above all others explains the work and character of Christ, our Savior, who “made Himself of no reputation” (2:7) and “humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death” (2:8). “Lowliness of mind” was the creation of Christ Himself; it was He who brought this new spirit into the world and illustrated it in his own person because He was “gentle and lowly in heart” (Matthew 11:29).

4. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. A healthy self-concern or self-esteem is not what Paul is here condemning. Self-interest is entirely consistent with the will of God; but it must not be confused with selfishness. The two are diametrically opposed to each other. The Christian who has a healthy concern for his own welfare, who is truly humble and unselfish, looks out “not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.” He realizes that self-concern and concern for others are inextricably tied together (cf. Romans 13:9; I Corinthians 10:24; 13:5). Such a person willingly gives himself in the service of others, realizing that the greater blessedness of the Christian life is not in receiving but in giving (Acts 20:35).

 

The Humbled And Exalted Christ—2:5-11

(5) Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, (6) who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, (7) but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a servant, {and} coming in the likeness of men. (8) And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to {the point of} death, even the death of the cross. (9) Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, (10) that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, (11) and {that} every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ {is} Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

5. Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,. The mind which Paul exhorts the Philippians to imitate was the loving, self-denying lowliness of mind demonstrated by the Lord Jesus Christ in the flesh. The Christian with this kind of mind will always make himself of service to his fellow men, no matter how ignoble or self-abasing his service may be (cf. John 13:3-17).

Note: The next seven verses are controversial. Down through the ages, volumes have been written on these passages. Presently, they are the center of attention in a controversy over the deity of Christ. So-called “Kenotic theory” holds that these verses teach that Jesus divested Himself of His divinity and Godhood and became a man, just a man, and only a man as He lived here on this earth. Therefore, I find it more than just ironic that these passages, originally designed to counter factionalism, have become the focal point of what promises to be one of the greatest factions that has ever occurred in the churches of Christ. The Bible teaches that Jesus was not just God in human disguise, nor was He simply a man with divine qualities; He was, and is, the God-man, fully man and fully God. Refute this idea and Christianity suffers a mortal blow.
Consequently, it is not surprising to learn that recent critics of Christianity have pounced upon belief in this core doctrine as being nothing less than a logical contradiction. They argue that just as it is logically impossible, according to the “law of noncontradiction,” for something to be a property (A) and its logical complement (non-A) at the same time in the same sense, it is just as impossible for Jesus Christ to be fully God and fully man simultaneously. These critics are quick to point out that God, according to the traditional definition, possesses certain attributes that man does not possess, like eternalness, omnipotence, omniscience, omnipresence, immutability, incorporeality, and absolute holiness. On the other hand, they tell us, man seems to have the opposite properties, i.e., human beings are not without beginning, not all powerful, not all knowing, not sinless, etc. Therefore, according to these antagonists, the only conclusion to be reached by one who wants to reason soundly is that the doctrine of the incarnation, as traditionally vocalized, is nothing more than an incoherent theological construct articulated in the creeds of the “early church” councils: namely, the Council of Nicea in 325 and the Council of Chalcedon in 451.

Personally, I have never felt the need to defend the machinations of an apostate church and its councils, but it is only fair to point out that truth is still truth even when it is spoken by an apostate church. The beliefs expressed by the Nicean and Chalcedonian councils that Jesus Christ was fully God and fully man are not inconsistent with what I believe the Bible teaches on this subject. Therefore, when I defend what I believe the Bible to be teaching on this subject, the unprincipled critic will seek to discredit my defense by saying it is simply a regurgitation of the Nicean and Chalcedonian creeds. Unfortunately, there are those presently among us who are saying and writing this very thing. They think a defense of Jesus that says He was, and is, fully God and fully man at the same time is goofy and laughable. It is, they tell us, a logical contradiction that is definitely not scriptural, and, in the end, is simply a reflection of the man-made creeds of a recreant Christendom. They are wrong!

As long as Colossians 2:9 is a part of Scripture, then I know that all the fullness of the Godhead dwells in Jesus bodily. I did not learn this truth by reason alone. Nevertheless, I am firmly convinced that a revelation from God cannot contradict reason or logic. If it does, then it is not from God. Therefore, if Colossians 2:9 is a violation of Logic’s law of noncontradiction, then it simply does not mean what it seems to mean. This, of course, is exactly the conclusion of some among us. Thinking the idea that Jesus was fully God and fully man a logical contradiction, they have attempted to interpret Colossians 2:9 totally different from the way it has been traditionally understood. According to their erroneous position, the Son of God gave up His Godhood, divesting Himself of His divine attributes, and became a man, just a man, just an ordinary man like you and me. Consequently, Colossians 2:9 should be interpreted, “All the blessings of God resided on or in Jesus totally.” But, and here is my point, before one assumes that the clear teaching of a Bible passage is not its true teaching because he thinks the obvious teaching contradicts a rule of logic, he had better make sure he has fully examined his own thinking, fully understands the rule he believes has been violated, and has actually formulated the question correctly.

The critics of Jesus being fully God and fully man are wrong not because the law of noncontradiction is faulty (in fact, this law is absolutely necessary if we are to make sense of anything), they are wrong because they have made some incorrect assumptions about what it means to be human. They have assumed that man’s common characteristics (viz., not without beginning, not all powerful, not all knowing, not sinless, etc.) are, in fact, essential characteristics of being human. There can be no question that these characteristics are common to mankind, but where is the argument that says they are essential to being fully human? Jesus, I believe, was fully God. Consequently, He possessed certain essential characteristics or attributes of Deity, like eternalness, omnipotence, omniscience, omnipresence, immutability, incorporeality, and absolute holiness. In other words, and using the terms of logic, anyone lacking these properties (A) could not be God. But, all this being true, where is the argument, other than a false assumption on the part of the critics, that says the complement (non-A) of these are essential characteristics and attributes of being fully human? True, these are essential characteristics and attributes of being merely human, but the Bible never teaches that Jesus was merely human; it teaches He was and is fully human and fully God at the same time. I am fully human in that I possess all the essential characteristics of basic human nature (e.g., body and spirit). It is in this respect that Jesus is like me. Furthermore, I am merely human in that I have some additional limitation characteristics or properties, as well, such as lacking omnipotence, omniscience, etc. In this regard, Jesus was not and is not like me. Correct thinking about Jesus Christ diminishes neither His full and complete Deity nor His full and complete humanity. Far from being contradictory, belief in the God-man is absolutely reasonable.

In trying to explain the verses that follow, I reject the classical interpretation that says these verses begin with the Son of God in heaven in the glory of His preexistent condition of sharing the divine essence with God the Father (“in the form of God existing”) then tracing His downward movement by means of the incarnation (“Himself He emptied”) to His “cross work” as the Father’s Servant, and then His upward movement by means of the Father’s exaltation through resurrection and ascension to His present session at His Father’s right hand as Lord. In rejecting this interpretation, I want to make it very clear that I do not take exception to the sentiments behind such an interpretation or the “high Christiology” extracted from these verses by such an exposition. I state unequivocally that I do not intend to deny the full unqualified deity of the incarnated Son or His full equality with the Father in power and glory. One can be assured, then, that I do not espouse the kenotic theory. On the contrary, my interpretation of Philippians 2:6-8 is thought to eliminate any advantage the kenotic theorists believe they have in these verses.

And what are these alleged advantages? First, if one understands, as most do, that the beginning point of the descent-ascent flow of Philippians 2:6-11 is the preexistent state of the Son of God, who existed in the form of God and was equal to God, and take the phrases “Himself He emptied, taking the form of a servant” as the allusion to the “downward” event of the incarnation, then, it is only with great difficulty, because of the intervening clause, that one can avoid the conclusion that the “emptying” involved His surrendering the “form” (very nature”—NIV) of God. About this, Lightfoot, Warfield, Murray, Wells et al. say, “When our Lord is said to be in `the form of God,’ therefore, He is declared, in the most express manner possible, to be all that God is, to possess the whole fullness of attributes which make God God” (Warfield, The Person and Work of Christ, p. 39). The advantage the kenotic theorists think they have is the intervening clause, “He did not consider His equality with God [i.e., His divine nature] a thing to be held onto,” which in the “flow” of things has to reflect an attitude in the preexistent Son on the “prior side” of the incarnation. What would be the point of telling us the pre-incarnate Son did not consider His equality with God or divine nature a thing to be held on to if He did not, as the next clause says, “empty Himself”?

Although I totally reject kenotic doctrine, it seems to me that these verses, as traditionally interpreted (viz., the descent-ascent flow), give credence to the kenotic assertion that the preexistent Son of God gave up at least some of His equality with God in the incarnation. One can escape this dilemma by only one of two methods: hermeneutical gymnastics or a rejection of the traditional interpretation.

When resorting to hermeneutical gymnastics, some say that the Son did not divest Himself of His divine attributes, but only the independent use of these attributes. But when did the Son ever exercise His attributes independently? Others say He did not divest Himself of His deity, but only His rights (i.e. powers and prerogatives). But which rights did He give up when He became a man? Still others say He did not divest Himself of His deity, but only His divine glory. But does not this divine glory belong to deity? Remember, the traditional interpretation of this passage says that the pre-incarnate Son of God did not consider His “equality with God” a thing to be held on to. Therefore, He emptied Himself and took the form of a servant. I believe the latter are right when they say the majestic glory (doxa) of the incarnate Son of God was veiled by His flesh (cf. Hebrews 10:20). Otherwise, why would He pray that the Father restore to Him the glory He had with Him before the world was (cf. John 17:5)? However, the traditional interpretation does not say that the pre-incarnate Son of God did not think His “majestic glory” was something that He needed to hold on to; instead, it says, He did not consider His “equality with God” a thing to be held on to. Consequently, according to the traditional interpretation, not holding on to “equality with God,” the Son of God emptied himself by taking the form of a servant. The emptying, one would argue, was effected by the Son taking on the role of a servant and being seen in appearance as a man. But, in reality, this will just not work when one wants to turn around and argue that the Son did not give up His equality with God. It now seems to me that there is something terribly wrong with such hermeneutical gymnastics.

This brings us to a closer examination of my rejection of the classical interpretation of Philippians 2:6-11. I reject the idea that these verses indicate a descent-ascent flow. I believe these verses begin with the incarnate Son of God, who, in his incarnated state, existed in the very form of God (i.e., possessed all the characteristics and attributes of the divine nature). In other words, Philippians 2:6a and Colossians 2:9 are parallel in that they teach that all the fullness of the Godhead (i.e., all the characteristics and attributes of deity) dwelt in Jesus’ body. Consequently, the attitude of mind these passages instruct us to develop is not that of the pre-incarnate Son of God, but the humility exhibited by the God-man, Jesus Christ, the Suffering Servant of Isaiah 53, who poured himself out unto death (cf. I Peter 2:18-25).

With this said, let us now spend some time with the verses.
6. Who,. This speaks antecedently of Jesus Christ. Being in the form of God,. This is not speaking of His pre-existence. This speaks of the Word after He became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:14). While on earth, He was in the form of God. In other words, all the fullness of the Godhead dwelt in Him bodily (Colossians 2:9). Did not consider it robbery to be equal with God,. In the Greek, the word translated “robbery” means “the act of seizing.” Therefore, this passage could rightly be rendered “did not regard equality with God a thing to be seized.” Paul, who in other places is willing to contrast the first Adam with Christ, who he called the “last Adam” (cf. Romans 5:12-19; I Corinthians 15:45-49), is here saying that Jesus Christ, the “last Adam,” unlike the first Adam, did not attempt to seize equality with God, the Father. You remember that in the serpent’s temptation, he said, “…you will be like [or equal to] God” (Genesis 3:5). Jesus, the Last Adam, when urged to “seize equality with God” (cf. Matthew 4:3,6: “Since you are the Son of God…”) by taking matters into his own hands and asserting His rights as the Son per se and not as the Son already dispatched on His Messianic mission as the Servant of the Lord, “did not regard equality with God a thing to be seized.” Jesus, praise God, refused to succumb to the tempter’s suggestion that He achieve “lordship” of the kingdoms of the world (Matthew 4:8) by a means of self-exaltation. Let this same mind be in us also.

7. But made Himself of no reputation,. In the flesh, as the Servant of the Lord, the Son of God made Himself of no reputation or, as other translations put it, He emptied Himself. The Greek word under consideration is kenoo. It is from this word that the kenotic theory gets its name. Again, this theory contends that the divine Logos, who had been equal with God in heaven, gave up (emptied) His Godhead and became a man, just a man, and only a man. Actually, kenoticists try to make this phrase say that He emptied something out of Himself (viz., His divine attributes). The point is, Jesus emptied Himself (i.e., He humbled Himself or “made Himself of no reputation”). We will have more to say about this further along. Taking the form of a servant,. Here now is the real crux of the matter. Did Jesus empty Himself or make Himself of no reputation by taking on the form of a servant, as the passage, as translated, clearly seems to indicate, or is there another way of translating this phrase? The Greek word translated “taking” in this phrase is lambano, an aorist participle, and can be translated “having taken,” according to a common rule of Greek syntax which says that an aorist participle generally denotes action preceding the main verb. (Anyone interested in pursuing this further is referred to Robert L. Reymond, Jesus, Divine Messiah, footnote 54, page 264.) Of course, this puts a whole different twist on the verse. Jesus’ emptying did not occur prior to Him taking the form of a servant; instead, it occurred coincident with it. In other words, Jesus Christ, who was and is God, even when He took upon Himself flesh, did not, unlike Adam, regard equality with God a thing to be seized at His temptation by a self-willed exercise of power, but poured Himself out unto death, having taken the form of the Suffering Servant of Isaiah 53. In fact, the phrase “He emptied Himself” is the nonliteral Greek equivalent of the “He poured out His soul [which means, `He poured Himself out’] unto death” (which means, “He voluntarily died”) of Isaiah 53:12. Thus interpreted, the phrase refers to the humble sacrifice of Jesus’ life and not the self-emptying of His incarnation.

{And} coming in the likeness of men. “And” is supplied by the translators in order to connect this phrase with the preceding phrase, “taking the form of a servant.” Actually, a separation could just as legitimately be made between these two phrases, with “coming in the likeness of men” being the starting point for a retelling of what has already been mentioned. Redundancy is an excellent way to teach and is often resorted to by the apostle Paul. Consequently, I am suggesting that a period after “servant” in the preceding phrase is just as legitimate as the present punctuation. This means that “Coming [or `having been born’] in the likeness of men” ought to start the next verse. (Remember, verses and numbers were added later and are not inspired.)

8. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to {the point of} death, even the death of the cross. Put a comma after “men” in the previous phrase, and you have the completed idea that having been born in the precise likeness of men, and having been found by external appearance to be a man, Jesus humbled Himself, having become obedient unto death—even the death of the cross. Again, tie this in with Isaiah 53, and the point Paul is making is emphatic.

9. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name,. Because of Christ’s servant work, He has been highly exalted and given a name above all others. The exaltation mentioned in this passage does not refer directly to God the Son per se, but to God the Son in His incarnate state as the Messiah. In other words, it is the God-man, Jesus Christ, who is exalted. Therefore, without denigrating in any way His divine nature, it can be said that the Father’s exaltation of Jesus Christ entailed for the Son, as the Messiah, a new and genuine experience of exaltation.

10. That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth,. The King’s name is Jesus. Because we must use the word “human” as part of our description of Him now, we can also say that something truly new and unique occurred at the resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ: Jesus the man—the Last Adam—assumed actual sovereignty over the universe, over all the principalities and powers in heavenly places, and over all other men, demanding that they submit to the authority of His scepter.

11. And {that} every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ {is} Lord, to the glory of God the Father. At the mentioning of His name, some day every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus, the Messiah, is Lord! This confession will rebound to the glory of the Father, who elevated Jesus to this exalted state.

 

Light Bearers—2:12-18

(12) Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; (13) for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for {His} good pleasure. (14) Do all things without murmuring and disputing, (15) that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, (16) holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain. (17) Yes, and if I am being poured out {as a drink offering} on the sacrifice and service of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. (18) For the same reason you also be glad and rejoice with me.

12. Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed,. With Christ’s obedience as their guide and with His exaltation as encouragement, the Philippians had been faithful from the very beginning. Not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence,. In this parenthetical statement, Paul’s says their obedience was even now more evident in his absence. Here were people for whom it was not necessary for Paul to be in their midst watching over them in order for them to be faithful to the Lord. Here were Christians who were serious about what they were during. This is why this letter is called the epistle of joy.

Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling;. The Greek word translated “work out” means “to perform, accomplish, achieve, or complete.” The word “own” emphasizes the personal responsibility each Christian has concerning his own salvation. Having been saved by grace through faith, the Philippians were going to complete their salvation by continuing in obedient faith to the will of the Lord. This obedient faith would be properly motivated by fear and trembling. In Isaiah 66:2, the Lord said, “But on this one will I look, On him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, and who tremble at My word.” In Paul’s letters, these two words occur together in three other places and always refer to obedience (I Corinthians 2:3; II Corinthians 7:15; and Ephesians 6:5). This fear is of the greatness of the task we have been given and the consequences of failure. When it comes to the instructions of the Lord, the Christian must be very careful about what he is or is not doing: “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall” (II Corinthians 10:12). “Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away. (2) For if the word spoken through angels proved steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just reward, (3) how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation…” (Hebrews 2:1-3). This fear and trembling is the caution and circumspection that shrinks away from whatever would offend and dishonor the Godhead. This is not to be confused with the fear that has torment, which perfect love casts out (I John 4:18). On the contrary, the fear and trembling of this passage helps us demonstrate our love for God by keeping His commandments (cf. I John 5:2,3).

13. For it is God who works in you both to will and to do for {His} good pleasure. When one is obedient to the word of the Lord, God is working in and through this person to do His good pleasure. The term “good pleasure” comes from a Greek word meaning will or choice. It is God’s word that produces in us both “to will” (the motivation) and “to do” (the work) His will. Without the word of God and the example of Jesus Christ, the works God prepared beforehand that the followers of His Son would do (cf. Ephesians 2:10) would not be done.

14. Do all things without murmuring and disputing,. The Greek word translated “murmuring” conveys the idea of a secret debate. In other words, complaints and charges made not openly and honestly, but those done behind the scene. This fault had been prevalent in ancient Israel (Exodus 16:7; Numbers 16:41; I Corinthians 10:10), and if it became prevalent in the Philippian church, their good work and name would be sorely effected. The word translated “disputing” means to suspiciously question and doubt. If the Philippians developed this sort of attitude with each other, then wranglings and disputings would arise to wreck spiritual havoc in their midst. Of course, murmuring and disputing could arise against God or their fellow Christians, and the cause would be the “selfish ambition and conceit” of 2:3.

15. That you may become blameless and harmless,. Paul now mentions the basic reason why they should abstain from murmuring and disputing. The word “blameless” addresses itself to moral integrity, which will manifest itself in the sight of others. “Harmless” means unmixed, unadulterated, sincere, and guileless, and represents moral integrity with respect to the mind or heart. Paul was exhorting the Philippians to be upright both in what was seen and unseen, both outwardly, and inwardly. Children of God without fault. The illusion is to animal sacrifice. They were already children of God, but Paul wants to encourage them to go on to perfection (cf. 3:13). In the midst of a crooked and perverse generation,. Peter used the word “crooked” in the indictment of his generation (Acts 2:40), and particularly to describe harsh or bad-tempered masters (I Peter 2:18). It means “wicked.” “Perverse” coveys the idea of “distorted” and is a little stronger word than “crooked.” It is used here and in Matthew 17:17 to denote a moral nature all warped and knotted and describes the extreme depravity of a generation that has turned from the truth of God’s word. Among whom you shine as lights in the world,. In their crooked and perverse culture, the Philippians were to maintain their moral integrity. They were in the world, but they were not of the world (cf. John 15:19; Romans 12:2).

16. Holding fast the word of life,. As the Philippians “held forth” the word of life, both by example and by teaching, they would be light-bearers. In doing so, they would be pointing men and women to Him who is “the light of the world” (John 8:12). So that I may rejoice in the day of Christ. The Philippians’ fidelity will be a source of Paul’s rejoicing at the second coming of Christ (cf. 4:1; II Corinthians 1:14; I Thessalonians 2:19). That I have not run in vain or labored in vain. Paul’s “run” or “labor” among the Philippians had been to bring them to Christ and encourage them to live in conformity to His will. If they remained faithful, then his labor among them was not in vain.

17. Yes, and if I am being poured out {as a drink offering} on the sacrifice and service of your faith,. Paul, who is imitating Christ, is pouring himself out for the Philippians. If the ultimate sacrifice is required, then he, like Christ, will pour himself out unto death. I am glad and rejoice with you all. In doing so, he will be glad (“filled with joy”). The word translated “rejoice” means “to rejoice together, to congratulate.” Paul is saying he felt genuine personal joy in that his dying would be a means of honoring the faith of the Philippians and goes on to say, “I congratulate you upon it”: i.e., upon the honor occurring to you by my blood being poured on the sacrifice and service of your faith.

18. For the same reason you also be glad and rejoice with me. Paul wanted the Philippians to see the situation as he saw it. As he “congratulated” the Philippians on the honor his martyrdom would bring their faith, so they were to “congratulate” him on the honor that such a death would bring to his own faith.
Timothy Commended—2:19-24
(19) But I trust in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you shortly, that I also may be encouraged when I know your state. (20) For I have no one like minded, who will sincerely care for your state. (21) For all seek their own, not the things which are of Christ Jesus. (22) But you know his proven character, that as a son with {his} father he served with me in the gospel. (23) Therefore I hope to send him at once, as soon as I see how it goes with me. (24) But I trust in the Lord that I myself shall also come shortly.

19. But I trust in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you shortly, that I also may be encouraged when I know your state. Having just spoken of the possibility of his death, he now seems to revert to the conviction that he would receive a speedy release or at least an improvement in his circumstances that he could dispense with the presence and service of Timothy for a season. He trusted that with the approval of the Lord, and under His ordering, he would be able to send his beloved son in the gospel to know how they were doing. He expressed confidence that the report he would receive concerning them would be favorable.

20. For I have no one like minded, who will sincerely care for your state. Paul was willing to pour himself out unto death for the Philippians, and there was no one else in Rome like minded (“equal in soul”) except Timothy, whose “care” or “interest in what was best for” the Philippians was faithfully “sincere” or “genuine.” Consequently, any concern he overtly showed them would not be of necessity or grudging, but of a willing, sympathetic, and loving heart (cf. II Corinthians 9:7).

21. For all seek their own, not the things which are of Christ Jesus. In light of 1:15-17 and II Timothy 4:10, 16, we are not shocked by what we now read. There is no way to soften what he is saying. This is a severe indictment of the evangelists who were currently in Rome. In seeking their own things, these people, who graciously remained unnamed by Paul, were not willing to be poured out for the cause of Christ and were therefore unfit for the journey to Philippi.

22. But you know his proven character, that as a son with {his} father he served with me in the gospel. Timothy’s faith in and love for the Lord had been proven in the crucible of Christian service. This “proof” had been amply demonstrated to the Philippians from the very beginning. Furthermore, Timothy was Paul’s child in the faith (I Corinthians 4:17; I Timothy 1:2; II Timothy 1:2). However, Paul does not speak of Timothy serving him but of Timothy serving “with” or “along side of” him. Their working together was for a common goal; namely, the furtherance of the gospel.

23. Therefore I hope to send him at once, as soon as I see how it goes with me. As soon as Paul was able to be certain about how things were going to go with himself (whether he would be sentenced to death or acquitted), he would send Timothy to them immediately.

24. But I trust in the Lord that I myself shall also come shortly. In the preceding verse, Paul expressed his uncertainty as to what the outcome would be. In 2:17, he said he was willing to die if necessary. But now he expresses trust he will be released and be able to come to them. His confidence here no way contradicts any uncertainty he previously expressed. Paul’s words reflect the reality of faith and trust. Whatever happened would have to be according to the Lord’s will, not his own think-sos. As James 4:13-15 expresses it: “Come now, you who say, `Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit’; whereas you do not know what {will happen} tomorrow. For what {is} your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you {ought} to say, `If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.’”

Epaphroditus Praised—2:25-30

(25) Yet I considered it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother, fellow worker, and fellow soldier, but your messenger and the one who ministered to my need; (26) since he was longing for you all, and was distressed because you had heard that he was sick. (27) For indeed he was sick almost unto death; but God had mercy on him, and not only on him but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow. (28) Therefore I sent him the more eagerly, that when you see him again you may rejoice, and I may be less sorrowful. (29) Receive him therefore in the Lord with all gladness, and hold such men in esteem; (30) because for the work of Christ he came close to death, not regarding his life, to supply what was lacking in your service toward me.

25. Yet I considered it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother, fellow worker, and fellow soldier, but your messenger and the one who ministered to my need;. As messenger of the Philippian church, Epaphroditus had brought things to Paul and was expected to minister to his needs. Now, concerned about the Philippians, he was returning Epaphroditus to them. As we shall see, Epaphroditus was not just a brother in Christ. In addition, he was a true fellow worker and soldier of the cross.

26. Since he was longing for you all, and was distressed because you had heard that he was sick. Epaphroditus was homesick and longed to see the faces of those he had left in Philippi. Add to this terrible homesickness his acute concern for their distress over his ill health, and it was time for Epaphroditus to go home to Philippi.

27. For indeed he was sick almost unto death; but God had mercy on him, and not only on him but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow. In his service to Paul, Epaphroditus had hazarded his health. As a result, he had almost died from some illness, but the Lord had mercy and compassion on both Epaphroditus and Paul and raised Epaphroditus up. The apostle had already been caused great sorrow by Epaphroditus’ illness, but if his brother in Christ, fellow worker and fellow soldier had died, he would have had sorrow upon sorrow. It is wonderful to know that the heart of God is filled with mercy.

28. Therefore I sent him the more eagerly, that when you see him again you may rejoice, and I may be less sorrowful. Although we can be sure Paul hated for this wonderful man to part from him, out of his unselfish love for Epaphroditus and the Philippians, Paul was even the more eager to send Epaphroditus back to them. Knowing of their happiness at Epaphroditus’ return, Paul, from a heart motivated by his unselfish love for them, would indeed be less sorrowful. Their joy would make his burden lighter.

29. Receive him therefore in the Lord with all gladness, and hold such men in esteem;. They were to receive this faithful minister with deep gratitude to the Lord. Like Paul and Timothy, here was one of their own who was willing to pour himself out for the cause of Christ. Therefore, they ought to hold Epaphroditus in high honor.

30. Because for the work of Christ he came close to death, not regarding his life,. From the viewpoint of the world, and in the minds of carnal Christians, what Epaphroditus did was very foolish. Would that the modern church would become fools for Christ (cf. I Corinthians 4:10). To supply what was lacking in your service toward me. The only thing lacking in their service to him was their ministering to him in person. This, of course, had been provided by Epaphroditus.

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