News Letter 5847-021
5th day of the 5th month 5847 years after the creation of Adam
The 5th Month in the Second year of the third Sabbatical Cycle
The Third Sabbatical Cycle of the 119th Jubilee Cycle
The Sabbatical Cycle of Earthquakes Famines, and Pestilences.
August 6, 2011
Shabbat Shalom Brethren,
I want to urge you once again, that if your planning on joining us in Jerusalem for Sukkot this year, then we do need to hear from you ASAP.
Concerning Sukkot 2011 at Ramat Rachel, Jerusalem: we heard from the hotel management that due to the upcoming Sukkot “high season,” we MUST confirm our booking with them by August 15. Therefore, if you are thinking about coming on the Sukkot 2011 program with us, please register NOW. IF we are forced to cancel the program due to a lack of meeting the minimum number of particpants required to go forward at Ramat Rachel, we are making a stated PROMISE to refund your full deposit and to make sure that there is an alternative plan in place for you. PLEASE REGISTER between NOW and August 15, 2011 at the following link:
This is very, very important that you do not delay.
Shalom from Jerusalem
You can see what we are talking about doing on this tour at http://www.cominghome.co.il/tours/sukkot/sukkot_1.html and we hope to see you there this year.
New Moon Report
Fifth Biblical Month
On Monday August 1, 2011 the new moon was sighted from Israel. The moon was first sighted:
*from Jerusalem by Yoel Halevi at 7:38pm and shortly thereafter by Nehemia Gordon and Devorah Gordon;
*from elsewhere in Jerusalem by David Cachicas, Gabriel Cachicas, and Daniela Cachicas at 7:40pm;
*from Ariel by Frank Mecklenburg and Charlotte Mecklenburg at 7:42pm;
*from Haifa by Aaron Amihud at 8:06pm.
It was impossible to sight the new moon from Israel on the previous evening, July 31, 2011.
I posted my photos of the new moon taken from Jerusalem at:
Rosh Chodesh Samaech!
Happy New Moon!
I had an awesome letter from a fellow Canadian this week about last week’s News Letter.
Thank you dear Grandpa Joseph, for your bold Torah advice and for all the newsletters. You are so very right. I thank Yeshua for showing me the light of the Torah which is the breath of my life. No one listens when I explain to them the same things you mention in your newsletter, and so I have lost many friends. May Yeshua enlighten them.
Blessings in our Messiah Melech Yeshua
When I got her email I was again under attack from those I love. This subject is also part of this week’s 3 ½ year Torah study.
Joh 16:2 “They shall put you out of the congregations, but an hour is coming when everyone who kills you shall think he is rendering service to Elohim. 3 “And this they shall do to you because they did not know the Father, nor Me.
Mat 10:34 “Do not think that I have come to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword,1 Footnote: 1In Lk. 12:51 the word “division” is used, while “sword” has the same meaning here. 35 for I have come to bring division, a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law – 36 and a man’s enemies are those of his own household.1 Footnote: 1Lk. 12:53, Mic. 7:6. 37 “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me, and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.1 Footnote: 1See 19:29, Lk. 14:26. 38 “And he who does not take up his stake and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. 39 “He who has found his life shall lose it, and he that has lost his life for My sake shall find it. 40 “He who receives you receives Me, and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me.
Teaching the truth causes many to hate us and yes we lose many that used to be friends. It is often a lonely walk and I get excited when I meet those who also believe and act on those beliefs.
“It’s better to be divided by TRUTH, than to be united in error. It’s better to speak the truth that hurts & then heals, than to speak a lie that will comfort & then kill. It is better to be hated for telling the truth than to be loved for telling a lie. It’s better to stand alone with the truth, than to be wrong with a multitude. It is better to ultimately die with the truth, than to live with a lie.” ~Adrian Rogers
I also was sent this email this week about last week’s News letter.
“Zekaryah (Zechariah) 8:18-19
18 Then the word of YHWH of hosts came to me, saying,
19 “Thus says YHWH of hosts:
‘The fast of the fourth month, the fast of the fifth, the fast of the seventh, and the fast of the tenth shall be joy and gladness and cheerful feasts for the House of Judah. Therefore love truth and peace.’”
Many people mistakenly believe this passage means that the House of Judah is to keep these man-made traditional fast days with joy and gladness, but this is not YHWH’s meaning at all. Rather, YHWH is telling the Jews not to fast, but to be joyful on those days.”
YHVH is NOT telling them not to fast. He says that those days SHALL be joy and gladness. ???? yihyeh–third person masculine, singular, future of ??? = he will be
???? ???? ?????
Y’hudah to house he shall become
same as Psalm 126:5 “They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.”
?? ?? ?????? ?????? ???? ????? ?????
in joy reap he will
Hence: it is not that YHVH is telling them they are (in the present) not to weep, fast, and mourn at the destruction of the Temple. Rather, it is that He is telling them that their weeping will one day be turned to joy, that their fasting will one day be turned to feasting, for the Temple will not only be rebuilt, but haMashiach will rule the world from there.
As well, the warning to them is not that they are not to fast, but that their fasting and mourning be without hypocrisy, Zech 7:3-5. The accusation is not that they are fasting on days not mentioned in Torah, but that they are not fasting to YHVH in true teshuvah. In other words, they mourn the DESTRUCTION of the Temple, rather than the REASON for the destruction of the Temple, their adultery with other gods (I.e they were failing to take personal and national responsibility as Daniel took responsibility for his sins and the sins of Yisrael.) They were mourning the Temple as a personal loss, without taking personal responsibility for its destruction. God does not mind one fasting or mourning over sin ANY day so long as the mourning is in true teshuva, as it is written, While it is said, Today if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation.
Shalom b’hashem Yeshua,
From http://www.moneyandmarkets.com/experts/martin-d-weiss-ph-d we get this update on the US debt crisis that is affecting the whole world.
Just as we’ve been predicting all along, Congressional leaders and the White House reached an 11th-hour compromise on raising the U.S. debt ceiling.
With just over 24 hours left before Washington loses its ability to borrow money, Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Harry Reid are working feverishly to drum up support in the House and Senate.
Whether the compromise becomes law or not is still uncertain.
But their deadline is immutable — tomorrow at midnight.
This time, gathering Republican support shouldn’t be much of a problem: Boehner seems to have gotten most of what he was demanding all along. According the PowerPoint presentation he just sent to House Republicans …
• There are no tax hikes; the agreement effectively makes them impossible …
• There is a provision demanding that Congress vote on a balanced budget amendment by the end of this year …
• The increase in the debt ceiling takes place in two stages with the largest increase occurring ONLY if Congress has cut spending by at least $2.4 trillion in the meantime, and …
• The spending cuts are greater than the amount the debt ceiling will be raised.
But getting Democrats to support the bill already seems to be much more of a challenge. Last night, House minority leader Nancy Pelosi suggested that Democrats may not support the compromise.
And even if the compromise becomes law, as we suspect it will …
America is about to pay a VERY heavy price for this deal.
Don’t get me wrong: I’m 100% in favor of reducing Washington’s massive deficits. If we don’t, our creditors could simply cut us off.
So while spending cuts are necessary, they are coming at a time when the U.S. economy is extremely fragile — a time when every penny of public and private spending is desperately needed to avert a massive double dip in this great recession.
Remember back in 2008, when Washington spent trillions on bailouts and stimulus?
Well, that money is now gone. And just as we warned all along, the U.S. economy is now skidding to a halt:
Last Friday, we learned that, without government stimulus, GDP growth slowed to a paltry 1.3% in April, May and June. Worse, it slowed even more — to less than one-half of one percent — in January, February and March.
Plus, unemployment is rising again, back up above 9% and the real estate crisis that lit the fuse on the great recession of 2008-2009 is growing more severe with each passing month.
Why? Because the stimulus money that created the government’s bought-and-paid-for recovery has run out.
And now, instead of pouring stimulus INTO the economy, Washington has no choice but to take yet ANOTHER $2.4 trillion OUT of the economy, virtually guaranteeing even greater economic pain ahead.
Plus, massive ratings downgrades are now inevitable
Even in normal times, sharply cutting government spending would be enough to guarantee a deep recession.
Also in normal times, sharply raising interest rates would have a similar impact.
Well, guess what! Now it seems certain we’ll get BOTH!
S&P has made it clear that Washington would have to cut spending by an absolute minimum of $4 trillion to avert a ratings downgrade. The compromise reached last night initially cuts by only ONE-QUARTER that much. And even after more months of heated debate about a second round of cuts, it will STILL fall short by about $1.5 trillion!
Now, to preserve its credibility, S&P will have no choice but to cut Uncle Sam’s credit rating. And both Moody’s and Fitch are likely to follow.
This historic, unprecedented downgrading of U.S. government debt alone would normally be enough to send interest rates careening higher, killing what little economic growth is left.
But as I pointed out in Money and Markets this morning, S&P has already warned that its lowering of Washington’s debt could trigger similar downgrades of up to 7,000 municipalities as well.
Plus, our banks, credit unions, insurance companies, pension funds and other financial institutions own a staggering $6.3 trillion-worth of bonds and securities that are now vulnerable to downgrades.
Altogether, a whopping ONE-THIRD of all the financial assets of all U.S. financial institutions is potentially vulnerable to mass downgrades. And never forget: The lower the rating, the higher the interest rates they must pay. So that alone means that MUCH higher interest rates are likely ahead.
Plus, as the value of their portfolios is crushed, you can pretty much expect those financial stocks to get crushed.
And as always, you can expect the Fed to print money like there’s no tomorrow, — and to accelerate the dollar’s decline — as it attempts to fight the crisis.
Each of us must rush as fast as we can to get out of debt ASAP. If you have debt you will be in serious trouble very soon.
I had another great article from my friend Rodney Baker of Australia but I postponed his teaching until next week as I have just received news from Texas about something that we all need to take notice of.
On Face Book I have been posting and commenting on the drought in Texas and teasing the Bible belt because Yehovah does not hear their prayers.
In this article Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin called for a state wide day of prayer in hope of some divine intervention, “I think if we have a lot of people praying, it moves the heart of God,” says.
I then went on to say that each curse is added to the previous one. So now in the third Sabbatical cycle we have terrorism and drought and famine and earth quakes and soon disease outbreaks. War is the 4th curse and it is just 5 years away.
AS the heat stays high it will encourage diseases to break out due to unsanitary conditions. Again part of the curses for this 3rd Sabbatical cycle.
“But heat waves kill more people in the United States than all of the other so-called natural disasters combined. More than 400 Americans die from heat-related illnesses in a typical year. Annual mortality from tornadoes, earthquakes, and floods together is under 200.”
“Since heat waves inflict damage on the nation’s major cities, well within the range of most media organizations, the lack of visibility or panic is all the more mysterious.” Heat is a quiet killer. You do not see it coming and so the dangers of it are not as perceived.
Pro 28:9 He who turns away his ear from hearing the Torah, Even his prayer is an abomination . If you’re not keeping the Sabbath and Holy Days of Lev 23 AND THE SABBATICAL YEARS then your prayers may not be heard. They are an abomination to Yehovah. Stop and think about this. If you do not obey He does not hear you.
The prayers of this Governor if she is not keeping the Sabbath and Holy Days of Lev 23 and the Sabbatical years, then her prayers are an abomination to Yehovah.
We are told by Yehovah not to pray for this people. Our people who will not obey His voice. He said this for both Israel and Judah!!!
Jer 7:14 “I shall also do to this house, which is called by My Name, in which you trust, and to this place which I gave to you and your fathers, as I did to Shiloh.15 “And I shall cast you out of My presence, as I have cast out all your brothers, all the seed of Ephrayim.16 “And you, do not pray for this people, nor lift up a cry or prayer for them, nor make intercession to Me, for I do not hear you. 17 “Do you not see what they are doing in the cities of Yehud?ah and in the streets of Yerushalayim?18 “The children are gathering wood, the fathers are lighting the fire, and the women are kneading their dough, to make cakes for the sovereigness of the heavens, and to pour out drink offerings to other mighty ones, to provoke Me.
Do you pray for them to be saved so they can keep on keeping Christmas??? Yehovah says not to. Instead we are to go out and find the few who will obey and teach them His Torah.
But if the people hear the word and then act once they hear it then Yehovah will grant a reprieve. But he has to see them take action.
Jon 3:3 And Yonah arose and went to Ninew?h, according to the word of ????. Now Ninew?h was a great city before Elohim, of three day’s journey.4 And Yonah began to go in to the city on the first day’s walk. And he cried out and said, “Yet forty days, and Ninew?h shall be overthrown!”5 And the men of Ninew?h believed in Elohim, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest to the least of them.6 And the word reached the sovereign of Ninew?h, so he arose from his throne and took off his robe, and covered himself with sackcloth and sat in ashes.7 And he proclaimed and said throughout Ninew?h, “By decree of the sovereign and his nobles: No man or beast, herd or flock, shall taste whatever – let them not eat, let them not even drink water.8 “But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and call mightily to Elohim. And let each one turn from his evil way and from the violence that is in his hands.
“if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. 2nd Chronicles 7:14
You need to repent and begin to keep the Sabbatical years the same as you do the Sabbath and Holy Days which is the 4th commandment.
I then showed them this article on how bad the drought was.
The drought is killing crops and increasing fire danger. In Harper County, the conditions are forcing farmers to harvest dying crops early, and sell cattle they can’t feed.
It’s the same for farmers across Harper County dealing with not only failing crops, but dry ponds and streams. The U.S. Drought Monitor ranks the entire county in at least extreme drought conditions, with the southern portion in an exceptional state of drought.
“It’s just hard to put into terms until you’re out here and you’re seeing dust in the fields instead of stuff growing,” said Harper County Emergency Manager Thomas Winter.
?”You spend all year getting to this point and you just watch it wither away and there’s nothing you can really do about it,” said Harper County Extension Office Ag Agent Brian Waldschmidt.
Lev 26:19 ‘And I shall break the pride of your power, and shall make your heavens like iron and your earth like bronze. 20 ‘And your strength shall be spent in vain and your land not yield its crops, nor the trees of the land yield their fruit.
Huge dust clouds sweep across Colorado again this past week and Oklahoma is said to be close to being a dust bowl.
Then this week I saw this video of the Hurricane Don that just disappeared when it touched the coast of Texas.
After watching this video I believe Yehovah is preventing the rain from coming. It is as if He was teasing the people of Texas letting you know He is in control. But do the people get it?
Lev 26:19 ‘And I shall break the pride of your power, and shall make your heavens like iron and your earth like bronze. 20 ‘And your strength shall be spent in vain and your land not yield its crops, nor the trees of the land yield their fruit.
Then late this week I was shown this following video and news Story from Texas and it all came together.
You are witnessing the beginning of what is to come. As it gets hotter the fresh water supplies will dry up and turn red by the Chromatiaceae bacteria which thrives in oxygen-depleted water and often takes on an opaque red hue.
Read in Revelation as each curse is a result of the coming scorching sun.
Rev 16:1 And I heard a loud voice from the Dwelling Place saying to the seven messengers, “Go and pour out the bowls of the wrath of Elohim on the earth.” 2 And the first went and poured out his bowl upon the earth, and an evil and wicked sore came upon the men, those having the mark of the beast and those worshipping his image. 3 And the second messenger poured out his bowl on the sea, and it became blood, as of a dead one, and every living creature in the sea died. 4 And the third messenger poured out his bowl on the rivers and fountains of water, and they became blood. 5 And I heard the messenger of the waters saying, “You are righteous, O ????, the One who is and who was and who shall be, because You have judged these. 6 “Because they have shed the blood of set-apart ones and prophets, and You have given them blood to drink. For they deserve it.” 7 And I heard another out of the altar saying, “Yes, ???? ?l Shaddai, true and righteous are Your judgments.” 8 And the fourth messenger poured out his bowl on the sun, and it was given to him to burn men with fire. 9 And men were burned with great heat, and they blasphemed the Name of Elohim who possesses authority over these plagues. And they did not repent, to give Him esteem. 10 And the fifth messenger poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and his reign became darkened. And they gnawed their tongues from pain. 11 And they blasphemed the Elohim of the heaven for their pains and their sores, and did not repent of their works. 12 And the sixth messenger poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up, in order to prepare the way of the sovereigns from the east.
Then you can also read in Rev 11 about the two witnesses who will not allow the rains to come for 3 years. This is why the waters and the oceans turn blood red. Revelation is describing the times we are now entering into. We saw the ocean turn blood red due to the chemicals poured on the oil to break it up. We are now seeing the rivers and lakes dry up and as they become depleted of oxygen they appear blood red in colour; exactly as it is described in your bible.
In chapter 5 on page 113 of The Prophecies of Abraham I begin to explain to you the life cycle of Joseph and how the7 years of plenty begin for Egypt at a precise moment in time; The middle of the 4th Sabbatical cycle. This exact moment matches to the same fourth Sabbatical cycle in our day when the USA is to be destroyed in 2020.
So as the USA is destroyed then the 7 years of plenty begin for Babylon, i.e. the United European and Muslim hordes of the Mediterranean Sea region. They will ransack the USA and the UK and her commonwealth and for them they will have 7 years of plenty which begins in 2020. But 7 years later the next 7 years of famine begin. And this matches in our day 2027.
It is 3 ½ years before the 2030 which is the Year of Shuva as in Shabbat Shuva or return. It is at this time in 2027, that the two witnesses will tell the world there will be no rain for 3 ½ years. None.
Again read the plagues of Rev 16 and notice they are all heat related. Notice the two witnesses are also heat related. It is going to get hot and it is going to be hotter longer and the waters everywhere will dry up and as they do they will turn to blood which is a result of the Chromatiaceae bacteria doing what it naturally does. But also know that at this time due to the lack of rain ¼ of all mankind will die.
And it is because of this that the whole world will search out and bring each and every person of the 12 tribes of Israel back to the Land of Israel by Passover 2030.
The 7 years of Plenty for Babylon begin in 2020 when the USA is destroyed.
The 7 years of famine begin in 2027 when the two Witnesses begin to preach.
And once they have preached for 3 ½ years which will end in 2030 as all of the Israelites are brought home then they will be killed and so will many of those Israelites at this time in this great martyrdom. This begins the last three and half years of the Tribulation.
I strongly urge you all to get The Prophecies of Abraham and see exactly how the Sabbatical cycles show this in such clarity that it will shock many of you into reality. It can be at your door in just ten days. Order it now. http://www.authorhouse.com/BookStore/BookDetail.aspx?Book=286642
Again concerning the waters turning to blood; we first read of this in Exodus when Moses went to Pharaoh to demand he let the Israelites go.
Exo 7:17 ‘Thus said ????, “By this you know that I am ????. See, I am striking the waters which are in the river with the rod that is in my hand, and they shall be turned to blood, 18 and the fish in the river shall die. And the river shall stink, and the Mitsrites shall find it impossible to drink the water of the river.” ’ ” 19 And ???? spoke to Mosheh, “Say to Aharon, ‘Take your rod and stretch out your hand over the waters of Mitsrayim, over their streams, over their rivers, over their ponds, and over all their pools of water, that they become blood. And there shall be blood in all the land of Mitsrayim, both in wooden and in stone containers.’ ” 20 And Mosheh and Aharon did so, as ???? commanded. And he lifted up the rod and struck the waters that were in the river, in the eyes of Pharaoh and in the eyes of his servants. And all the waters that were in the river were turned to blood.21 And the fish that were in the river died, and the river stank, and the Mitsrites were unable to drink the water of the river. And the blood was in all the land of Mitsrayim.
Again notice what the news article said;
A drought has left the OC Fisher Reservoir in San Angelo State Park in West Texas almost entirely dry. The water that is left is stagnant, full of dead fish — and a deep, opaque red.
And here is another picture of the water turned to blood.
There has been many times I did not change the water in our bird bath and after a while it too turned red as it dried up, but I never considered it the same as what we are told in Exodus and Revelation. Now I know; it is caused by the excessive heat that is coming and will be with us for some time or as the bible says until the Tribulation is over in 2033.
Forecasters are calling for at least 19 Hurricanes this season due again to the Ocean being excessively warm this year. Forecasters are also saying the drought in Texas will be with us for at least one more year.
Triennial Torah Cycle
We now return to our 3 1/2 year Torah studies
06/08/2011 Ex 27 Isaiah 43-45 Ps 147 John 16-17
See last week’s commentary for Exodus 27.
This section of Isaiah beautifully shows how merciful and loving, even warmly affectionate, our great God is.
We left off in chapter 42 with Israel’s obstinate refusal to obey God. “But now,” says God in Isaiah 43:1, “…Fear not, for I have redeemed you.” God emphasizes that He is the One who created and formed Israel (verses 1, 7, 15, 21; 44:2, 21). He will help them and deliver them, even though they have not relied on Him (43:22). While God declared Himself Israel’s “Redeemer” in Isaiah 41:14, it is in chapters 43 and 44 that this concept is discussed in detail. And the theme is revisited frequently throughout the remainder of the book.
God will demand the release of His people, just as He demanded it from Pharaoh in ancient Egypt (43:6). He will sacrifice other peoples for the sake of His people, particularly the Babylonians (verses 4, 14), just as He did with ancient Egypt (verse 3). Of course, God gave the ultimate sacrifice in the person of Jesus Christ—for not only Israel but for all people.
God’s judgment on other nations in the course of redeeming His people applied in small measure to the fall of ancient Babylon, which allowed the return of a small portion of the Jewish captives to the Holy Land soon after. But there were no great and awesome visible miracles accompanying the ancient return of the exiles as those described in this chapter. Thus, the prophecy is primarily for the last days.
In Isaiah 11, God explained that He would bring His people back from modern Assyria and Egypt (verse 11). This, He said, would necessitate drying up the Euphrates River for the northern captives and drying up the Red Sea (as in Israel’s ancient Exodus) for those returning from Egypt (verse 15). And in chapter 43 we again find mention of this deliverance through these waters (verses 2, 16).
Israel is to serve as witness to the fact that God alone is Savior (verses 10-13). Incidentally, it should be mentioned that some use verse 10—”Before Me there was no God formed, nor shall there be after Me”—in an attempt to disprove Christ’s divinity and to show that there will be no other future divine members of the God family. However, it should be recognized that the word “God” in the verse is Elohim—a name that itself denotes a plurality in the Godhead (see our booklet Who Is God? to learn more http://www.ucg.org/booklet/who-god/ ). Furthermore, of course no God could be formed before or after God—for there is no such time as before or after God, who is eternal.
Continuing on, God’s end-time deliverance of Israel in the second Exodus will be so great that the ancient deliverance in the first Exodus from Egypt will be little thought of (verse 18; compare Jeremiah 16:14-15). God will create the miraculous highway of return in the desert, a route provided for with a lush environment from new springs and rivers (Isaiah 43:19-21). This represents a spiritual reality as well. God will direct the footsteps of His people back to Him spiritually. And this will be accomplished through waters in the desert—representative, as explained in 44:3, of the pouring out of God’s Spirit. Indeed, Jesus mentions “rivers of living water” in reference to the Holy Spirit (John 7:37-39).
Sadly, in the meantime, Israel is still given over to unfaithfulness and disobedience—failing even to call on the true God in time of trial. In listing the Israelites’ problems, it is stated in Isaiah 43:27 that their “first father sinned.” This might be a reference to Jacob, as his name is used in this passage (verses 22, 28). However, Jacob is an example of repentance and it therefore seems odd that he would be meant here. Perhaps the phrase denotes the father of all mankind, Adam, or even the reigning monarch or other national leader (compare 1 Samuel 24:11; 2 Chronicles 29:11). “Mediators” and “princes of the sanctuary” in verses 27-28 refer to the religious leaders. Until Israel repents, the entire nation is given over to punishment—indeed, “the curse,” which they have brought on themselves (verse 28; compare Deuteronomy 27:11-26; 28:15-68).
But Israel will yet be the model nation God intended it to be—a right example for the other nations to follow. In chapter 44, God again refers to Israel as “My servant” and “chosen” (verses 1-2)—and even “Jeshurun” (verse 2), a poetic name for Israel meaning “Upright One” (see Deuteronomy 32:15), symbolizing a cleansed and purified people. The people are brought back to God through His granting them repentance and then pouring out His Spirit on them (verse 3). Willow trees, in verse 4, need a great deal of water to be sustained. Just so, God will sustain His people spiritually through a great and steady supply of the Holy Spirit.
No longer will the name of Israel and worship of the Eternal be a reproach as it was in captivity. Indeed, the people will proudly bear the names of Israel and of God (verse 5).
Here we see one of the main reasons that skeptics want to divide the book of Isaiah, claiming that this part could not have been written by Isaiah the prophet—the amazingly accurate prophecy of Cyrus. As with the future Jewish king Josiah (1 Kings 13:2; 2 Kings 23:15-20), here is an instance of someone whose name and deeds are recorded by God long before his birth. Cyrus was the first ruler of the Persian Empire. He was destined to bring down Babylon in 539 B.C. and would issue the decree allowing the Jews to return to Jerusalem (Daniel 1:21; Ezra 1:1-4). The temple and Jerusalem had not yet been destroyed, so this prophecy must have seemed strange indeed (compare Isaiah 44:28).
Herodotus, the fifth-century-B.C. Greek historian, recounts a story of Cyrus’ birth and youth—which is here summarized. Asytages, son of Cyaxeres, the king of the Medes, had a daughter named Mandane, whom he gave in marriage to a Persian noble. Astyages had a dream that this daughter would have a child who would rule in his place, taking over not only his kingdom but all of Asia as well. Astyages feared the prospect of being replaced. So when Mandane had her first child, a son, Astyages ordered one of his servants, Harpagus, to have the child killed. Yet Harpagus didn’t want to commit such a vile act himself and therefore entrusted it to a herdsman named Mitradates. But Mitradates, on discovering that his own child had just been stillborn, decided to rear Mandane’s son as his own.
Later, when the boy was around 10, his true identity became known. The boy’s grandfather, Astyages the Median king, was infuriated. He had Harpagus punished by having the man’s own son killed and then revoltingly served to him at a royal dinner—after which Harpagus secretly vowed revenge. But the king made no move against the boy, who was now recognized as a Persian noble. Later, in 558 B.C., this boy, Cyrus, became a king among the Persians, yet still subject to Astyages’ Median rule. Harpagus encouraged Cyrus to overthrow Astyages. Eventually persuaded, Cyrus launched a coup and led his growing forces to victory. By about 548 B.C. he ruled all of Persia and Media. And in 539 he conquered Babylon, so that the Medo-Persian Empire succeeded the Babylonian Empire. And Cyrus then issued his proclamation freeing the Jews to rebuild the temple, just as God foretold. Perhaps the above story of Cyrus’ close brush with death soon after his birth, if true, represents an attempt by Satan to thwart God’s specific prophecy from being fulfilled. Yet Almighty God will not be thwarted.
Indeed, Cyrus himself worshiped pagan gods. Yet God was still able to use him to fulfill His will. This demonstrates God’s power. Proverbs 21:1 states it well: “The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, like the rivers of water; He turns it wherever He wishes.”
In Isaiah 45:1, God explains how Cyrus would be able to conquer by way of the “double doors” (the “two leaved gates” of the King James Version). This is a reference to the surprising way that Cyrus was able to invade the seemingly impregnable city of Babylon. Indeed, when the armies of Cyrus encamped around the gargantuan city, the Babylonians, looking down from towering walls, merely laughed. They were certain they could hold out against any siege for many years. But Cyrus’ men carried out a remarkable action. The Euphrates River flowed into Babylon through massive gates. So Cyrus had his men divert most of the river by removing ancient dykes that kept it in its course (referred to in 44:27). He also managed to get a spy into the city, who had the inner gates along the river unlocked. Then, in the predawn hours, under cover of darkness, Persian forces waded into the city though the mostly drained riverbed. Before sunrise, the great city of Babylon was conquered—and all according to prophecy.
It is interesting to consider that in the end-time, the Euphrates River will be dried up “so that the way of the kings from the east might be prepared” (Revelation 16:12). As mentioned in the highlights for Isaiah 21, it is likely that the Medes and Persians of the end time (along with other eastern forces) will be instrumental in inflicting a measure of terrible defeat on end-time Babylon prior to the return of Jesus Christ. Furthermore, Christ will smite the Euphrates in leading the exiles of Israel back to the Promised Land (Isaiah 11:15)—to utterly supplant end-time Babylon’s leaders, who will previously have been headquartered in Jerusalem.
Finally, we should consider the picture of Cyrus as a type of Israel’s ultimate Redeemer—the Messiah. Indeed, Cyrus is called Mashiach (Messiah or “Anointed”) in 45:1. The Hebrew for Cyrus here is Koresh. The meaning of the name is debated. In Hebrew this would appear to mean something like “Possess the Furnace.” We can certainly see a tie in to the coming of the Lord as a “consuming fire” (Hebrews 12:29; compare 2 Thessalonians 2:8). In Persian the name is Koorush or Korrush. (Cyrus is the Greek form.) The name in Persian is said to mean “sun” or “throne”—although this is disputed. Interestingly, Jesus is called the “Sun of Righteousness” (Malachi 4:2), in the same context where it is mentioned that “the day is coming, burning like an oven”—that is, like a furnace (verse 1). And of course, Jesus is to inherit the throne of the earth.
As Cyrus conquered and succeeded ancient Babylon, so will Jesus Christ conquer and succeed end-time Babylon—yet in a much greater way. Some might see Koresh in Isaiah 44 and 45 as exclusively applying to Christ. Others might view it as exclusively applying to Cyrus. Yet clearly, both deliverances—anciently through Cyrus and in the future through Jesus—are pictured in this section. It is a miraculous witness to Cyrus himself that God calls him by name (45:3), and this is despite the fact that he has not known God (verse 4). Clearly, this does not refer to Christ. (Interestingly, Josephus relates in his Antiquities of the Jews, Book 11, chapter 1, how Cyrus read and was motivated by Isaiah’s prophecies about him.) On the other hand, the statements about righteousness being rained from the skies and salvation being brought forth from the earth (verse 8)—that is, the spiritual conversion of Israel and then the world through the pouring out of the Holy Spirit as well as apparently the resurrection of the righteous dead from their graves—is certainly not a reference to the deliverance of Cyrus. Rather, it describes the return of the ultimate Savior.
Some use verse 7 as it is rendered in the King James Version—”I make peace, and create evil”—to argue that God is the author of evil. However, the New King James better renders this last word as “calamity.” God certainly brings calamity on the disobedient. Evil, on the other hand, is any violation of His will. He therefore did not create evil (see “Why Does Evil Exist?,” The Good News, Jan.-Feb. 2002, pp. 22-24). Again, “calamity” makes much more sense here. So should we then think that every single calamity is from God? Not at all. Frankly, Satan is responsible for much of the evil and calamity that exists in the world. And, tragically, people bring evil or calamity on themselves as a result of unwise personal choices and sin. Further, many people suffer as a result of decisions and actions that others make—such as children who suffer abuse from adults. (For more information on this subject, request or download our free booklet Why Does God Allow Suffering?)
So what’s the point of the verse in question? One of the fundamental rules of Bible study is to read a difficult-to-understand verse in its context. As explained above, in this section of Isaiah, God is confronting Israel about its corruption with idolatry, pointing out repeatedly how hollow its idolatry is in contrast with who and what He is. That’s what He’s essentially saying in Isaiah 45:7.
Pick up the context in verse 6: “That there is none besides Me. I am the Lord, and there is no other.” Now, continue on into verse 7: “I form the light and create darkness.” The same thought continues in the following phrase: “I make peace and create calamity.” Notice the contrast in both cases. God is basically saying: “I can make it light or dark. I can give peace and prosperity or I can bring calamity.” In other words, “I can do everything in contrast to your idols, which are incapable of anything.” Again, remember the context. God repeatedly says, “I am God; there’s nobody like Me.”
Finally, God shows His dominion over the creation in general and mankind in particular by picturing Himself as a potter working with clay. Unlike worthless idols, He controls the universe and directs the destiny of man. Yet, it should be noted, He still gives us all free will (to learn more on this subject, see the article “Twist of Fate” at www.ucg.org/brp/materials).
Verse 13 was fulfilled in part when Cyrus freed the Jewish captives, allowing them the choice to return to their homeland, and even issued a proclamation that the temple in Jerusalem should be rebuilt (2 Chronicles 36:22-23; Ezra 1:1-4). This decree allowed for the city of Jerusalem to be rebuilt as well—but a major effort to rebuild the city was not made until Nehemiah’s later initiative, allowed and aided by King Artaxerxes (who was the son of Xerxes and stepson of Esther, Nehemiah 1-2). Of course, a much greater fulfillment of this prophecy will be when Jesus Christ—of whom Cyrus was only a type—frees the exiles of the last days and rebuilds Jerusalem as the wondrous capital of the world.
In verses 6-8, God declares that there is no other God. The Jews use these verses to deny the deity of Jesus Christ. “Orthodox” Christians use them to argue that God the Father and Jesus Christ are one singular being. But these verses do not support either premise. Rather, God the Father and Jesus Christ do indeed constitute one God—but that one God is the God family. The word Elohim, as mentioned in the previous reading’s highlights, is a noun that is plural in form but often singular in usage, denoting, along with other evidence, that more than one being constitutes the one God. Apart from the true God family, there are no other gods. That is the point of these verses. To learn more about this subject, request or download our free booklet Who Is God?
Much of the rest of chapter 44 deals with the folly of idolatry. The NIV Study Bible points out in reference to verse 13 that, “man was made in the image of God…but an idol is made in the image of man.” In Romans 1:23 Paul stated that idolaters had exchanged “the glory of the incorruptible God” into the images of various things, including that of “corruptible man.”
The description of the craftsman who uses part of a tree to warm himself and cook his food, while worshiping the rest as a god is particularly graphic and even amusing (verses 13-17). Indeed, we can really see God’s sense of humor here, as He describes the scene (verse 15) and then twice repeats it (verses 16-17, 19). It’s almost like He’s saying: “Hello? Hello? Don’t you get it?” While idolatry is, of course, a serious matter, there is something to laugh at in the utter ridiculousness of it all. And yet God says that He has shut the people’s eyes so that they cannot see the absurdity (verses 18-19)—which really means that because of their rebellious and stubborn refusal to acknowledge obvious truth regarding God, He has given them over wholly to their own twisted way of thinking, allowing them to be further confounded. They remain willingly deceived (verse 20) by the arch-deceiver, Satan the Devil (Revelation 12:9).
The margin notes in some Bibles state that the Hebrew for “shut their eyes” in Isaiah 44:18 literally means, “their eyes are smeared over.” The New International Version renders it, “their eyes are plastered over.” This presents a graphic picture of those whose spiritual blindness is complete.
At last God will rescue the Israelites from their own foolish descent into idolatry. Indeed, among the modern nations of Israel, Roman Catholicism is widely practiced, wherein people pray to lifeless statues for help. Even those who don’t practice idolatry in that sense often do so in looking to mere created things for deliverance—such as possessions and money. God tells the people in verse 21 to remember the ridiculous word pictures He has painted in this chapter—to see the foolishness of relying on created things rather than the Creator. And now at last they will. For God will blot out their sin and redeem them (verse 22)—bringing them finally to right understanding. It will be a time of great rejoicing (verse 23).
Anciently, Egypt and territories south (verse 14) were not handed over to Cyrus. But they did fall to Cyrus’ half-mad son Cambyses, who was a cruel tyrant. In the end time, these areas will actually be delivered from oppression by the returning Jesus Christ. Then they will be given over to the Israelites as servants. Yet what kind of deliverance is that? Consider that their temporary servitude will actually be for their good, because the Israelites they serve will be converted Christians looking out for their interests. These servants will see the goodness of God in action. Treated so well, they and other previously Muslim peoples will at last repent of their former hatred against the Jews and other Israelites.
Verse 18 shows that God’s original creation of the earth was not in vain (Hebrew tohu). Therefore Genesis 1:2 should properly be translated, “The earth became without form [tohu] and void [bohu]…” (See the Bible Reading Program’s comments on Genesis 1 and pages 6-7 of our booklet Is the Bible True? for a more complete explanation of this often debated scripture.)
Psalm 147, the second of the final five Hallelujah Psalms, praises the Almighty Creator and Provider for His special devotion to His chosen nation, thanking Him for gathering Israel’s exiles to Jerusalem, blessing them with peace and abundance and teaching them His statutes and judgments. The Greek Septuagint translation of the Hebrew Bible divides the composition into two separate psalms (verses 1-11, 12-20). However, besides the unity maintained in the Hebrew text tradition and the cohesiveness of the subject matter, it has been argued that there is “a good defense for the unity [of the work] by a careful analysis of the structural components, repetition, and parallelism” ( Expositor’s Bible Commentary, introductory note on Psalm 147).
Thanking God in a psalm for the gathering of Israel’s outcasts (verse 2) would seem to suggest some actual experience of this as a present reality when the song was composed. The return of exiles here is paired with the “building up” of Jerusalem (see same verse), which probably refers to increasing population in addition to the restoration of buildings and institutions. Many commentators believe this psalm was composed following the return of the Jewish exiles from captivity in Babylon, which seems a reasonable conclusion. A number try to further pin down the setting, believing that the reference to Jerusalem’s gates being strengthened in verse 13 hints at the work of Nehemiah in rebuilding the city walls and gates. Some even suggest that this psalm was the one sung at the dedication of the rebuilt walls (see Nehemiah 12:27-43). There is, however, no way to know this, especially as God’s strengthening of Zion’s gates may be a figurative expression of His protection.
Even with a historical context for Psalm 147, the return of Israel’s outcasts should not be limited to the small Jewish return from ancient Babylon . Rather verse 2 is evidently meant in an ongoing sense. As time went on, God would further build up Jerusalem and gather the exiles-including those not only of Judah but of all Israel. As we know from other passages, this would happen in stages. Outcasts of Israel would first return to God in a spiritual sense-the forerunners in this return forming spiritual Zion or Jerusalem, the Church of God. Romans 11 explains that the Israelites were broken off from God’s covenant nation for disobedience, yet they would be grafted back in, in a spiritual return, through repentance-along with gentiles who would also become part of Israel spiritually. As also explained in that chapter, those returning are the elect according to grace-again, God’s Church. And this is a forerunner of a greater return of all Israel in the future-that return being both spiritual and geographic-as shown in numerous prophecies. There is no way to know whether the psalmist himself understood all this-but God, who inspired the psalm, certainly did.
The future gathering of all Israel to the Promised Land will occur when Jesus Christ returns in power and glory: “For the LORD shall build up Zion; He shall appear in His glory. He shall regard the prayer of the destitute, and shall not despise their prayer. This will be written for the generation to come, that a people yet to be created may praise the LORD” (Psalm 102:16-18). Psalm 147:3 speaks similarly of God healing the brokenhearted and binding up their wounds-God’s most important rebuilding work being within the human heart. In an ultimate sense these words apply to the wonderful time of God’s intervention to come. Yet there was a vital measure of application for the returned exiles at the time of the song’s composition-and so it is with us today. Indeed, this was part of the mission of the Messiah (Isaiah 61:1-2), and Jesus has already embarked on this mission (Luke 4:16-21) as He builds His Church, spiritual Zion , the Israel of God.
The psalm then abruptly turns to the matter of just who is doing this great work. It is the same One who made the vast universe and who also takes care of it (Psalm 147:4-9). Verses 4-6 are evidently taken in part from Isaiah 40, which mentions God counting the stars and calling them all by name (verse 26), as well as His understanding being unsearchable (verse 28) and His giving power to the weak who wait on Him (verses 29-31). As noted in the Bible Reading Program comments on Isaiah 40:26, the concept of God counting and naming all the stars is staggering beyond comprehension. For given that there are at least a hundred billion galaxies of a hundred billion stars each, naming each star at a rate of one per second would take more than 21,000 times the 15-billion-year age that scientists claim for the universe. “Great [ indeed ] is our Lord, and mighty in power; His understanding is infinite” (Psalm 147:5).
Thus He certainly knows how to care for those in need and render judgment on those who defy Him (compare verse 6). This contrast of verse 6-lifting the humble (tying back to verse 3) and casting down the wicked-parallels statements in the previous two psalms (145:14-20; 146:7-9).
Psalm 147:7-9 calls for thanks to God for not only His creation but for causing life to flourish through His care and provision. Giving food to the animals (verse 9a) recalls God providing for all living things in Psalm 145:15-16. The imagery of feeding the crying young ravens (147:9b) is drawn from God’s own words in Job 38:41. As the Bible Reading Program commented on that verse, Job was to understand that God’s point was about more than animals. Rather, as Jesus said to human beings about God providing for the birds, “Are you not of more value than they?” (Matthew 6:26).
The next verse, Psalm 147:10, should not be taken to mean that God doesn’t enjoy horses and their powerful strength or that he is unhappy with His creation of human legs. Rather, these things are elements in which people placed undue trust-horses and the strength and endurance of men’s legs being military assets. Consider Psalm 33:16-17: “No king is saved by the multitude of an army; a mighty man is not delivered by great strength. A horse is a vain hope for safety; neither shall it deliver any by its great strength.” There is only one reliable source of deliverance: “Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; but we will remember the name of the LORD our God” (20:7). The point of Psalm 147:10-11 is that God is not looking for powerful people or armies to prop Him up. He doesn’t need that at all. Instead, He wants humble people who realize their need for Him -who properly fear Him and rely on His hesed, His mercy or loving devotion.
For the exiles who returned from ancient Babylon this was a sorely needed message. They were weak militarily and beset by neighboring enemies. God says essentially: “Look, you don’t need to be some elite fighting force to be My people. You just look to Me, and I’ll take care of whatever needs to be taken care of.” We see this in the next verses, where the people of Jerusalem are told to praise God -for He has strengthened their gates, He has blessed their children, He gives them peace on their borders and He abundantly provides them with the best crops (147:12-14).
Verses 15-18 illustrate again God’s rule over nature, the imagery in this case being one of winter weather. Stress is put on the
elements of creation being immediately responsive to God’s commands (verses 15, 18)-a pattern that should be followed by God’s people, as implied in verses 19-20. There are perhaps other spiritual lessons here as well. It is hard to bear the bitter cold (verse 17). But in God’s time, seasonally, warm breezes come, the cold is broken, ice accumulation melts and water flows (verse 18)-again demonstrating God’s providence, and this on His time schedule. This is something to consider when times are hard. Know that there’s a point to it and that circumstances will ultimately vastly improve, culminating in refreshment and fulfillment.
Finally, far more important than the physical help and sustenance God has given to Israel is the blessing of His instructions-the code of conduct laid out in His Word. The words in verses 19-20 (coupled with the last verse of the next song, 148:14) echo those of Moses in Deuteronomy 4:7-8: “For what great nation is there that has God so near to it, as the LORD our God is to us, for whatever reason we may call upon Him? And what great nation is there that has such statutes and righteous judgments as are in all this law which I set before you this day?” God has not blessed any other nation in this way. In fact, for other nations to participate in this exclusive relationship, they must become part of Israel in a spiritual sense.
Of course, just understanding God’s laws is not enough. We must, as the natural realm, obey the commands God gives if they are to do us any good. Yet in our case He has given us the choice of whether to obey Him or not. Rejection of God’s commands excludes a person from God’s chosen covenant nation. Thus, for the returning outcasts, true return to God resulting in His healing and help requires embracing God’s laws and living by them. The same applies to us.
Joh 16:1 “These words I have spoken to you, so that you do not stumble. 2 “They shall put you out of the congregations, but an hour is coming when everyone who kills you shall think he is rendering service to Elohim. 3 “And this they shall do to you because they did not know the Father, nor Me.
Brethren the last couple of months have been hell around here for me. The love of my life hates me and can’t wait to split up and be done with me and my beliefs. I say this because many of you are also dealing with this on a daily basis. It is hard. Yet Israel has done the exact same thing by hating her groom Yehshua and He is doing everything to win her back. Can each of us in this difficult situation say the same thing?
I am trying but there are days I wonder why. Many of us think this but we must work to stay with those whom we agreed to in front of Yehovah to love honour and cheerish in sickness and in health in good times and in bad. We made a verbal agreement. We all need to remember to honour it.
Keep in mind Mathew 22, which warns us of the persecution that Israel who has the invitation to come to the wedding right now, will inflict on those of us who keep Torah. Then the King sends out the armies to destroy those who have persecuted and killed us. That Sabbatical cycle of war is to start in 2017 and goes to 2023. It is just 5 year away from now. So study to find yourself approved and repent and pray.
Joh 16:12 “I still have many words to say to you, but you are not able to bear them now. 13 “But when He comes, the Spirit of the Truth, He shall guide you into all the truth. For He shall not speak from Himself, but whatever He hears He shall speak, and He shall announce to you what is to come. 14 “He shall esteem Me, for He shall take of what is Mine and announce it to you. 15 “All that the Father has is Mine. That is why I said that He takes from what is Mine and announces it to you.
Joh 16:23 “And in that day you shall ask Me none at all. Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My Name He shall give you. 24 “Until now you have asked naught in My Name. Ask, and you shall receive, in order that your joy might be complete. 25 “These words I have spoken to you in figures of speech, but an hour is coming when I shall no longer speak to you in figures of speech, but I shall declare the Father plainly to you. 26 “In that day you shall ask in My Name, and I do not say to you that I shall pray the Father on your behalf, 27 for the Father Himself does love you, because you have loved Me, and have believed that I came forth from Elohim. 28 “I came forth from the Father and have come into the world. Again, I leave the world and go to the Father.”
Once again brethren how do we know we love the Father????
Joh 14:20 “In that day you shall know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you. 21 “He who possesses My commands and guards them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me shall be loved by My Father, and I shall love him and manifest Myself to him.”
Joh 15:9 “As the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you. Stay in My love. 10 “If you guard My commands, you shall stay in My love,1 even as I have guarded My Father’s commands and stay in His love. Footnote: 1See 14:15. 11 “These words I have spoken to you, so that My joy might be in you, and that your joy might be complete.12 “This is My command, that you love one another, as I have loved you.1 Footnote: 1See 13:34, 15:17.
So once again how do we know we love Yehshua and Yehovah?????
Joh 14:15 “If you love Me, you shall guard My commands.1 Footnote: 1See Ex. 20:6, vv. 21&23, 1 John 5:2-3, 2 John v. 6.
You show Yehovah you love Him by keeping the Commandments; by keeping Torah. This is the only way to show your love to Him and to the Brethren. Those who say they love Jesus and do not keep Torah are Liars and the truth is not in them.
1Jn 2:3 And by this we know that we know Him, if we guard His commands.1 Footnote: 1See 3:6. 4 The one who says, “I know Him,” and does not guard His commands, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5 But whoever guards His Word, truly the love of Elohim has been perfected1 in him. By this we know that we are in Him.2 Footnotes: 1Gen. 17:1, Ps. 119:1, Mt. 5:48. 2See 3:24.
Joh 17:9 “I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours.
Did you read that carefully. Yehshua said He does not pray for the world!!!!
He only prays for those who keep torah and do the Fathers will. Amazing.
Notice what Yehovah said to Jeremiah not once, not twice but 3 times not to pray for those Jews who were about to be punished.
Jer 7:16 “And you, do not pray for this people, nor lift up a cry or prayer for them, nor make intercession to Me, for I do not hear you. 17 “Do you not see what they are doing in the cities of Yehud?ah and in the streets of Yerushalayim? 18 “The children are gathering wood, the fathers are lighting the fire, and the women are kneading their dough, to make cakes for the sovereigness of the heavens, and to pour out drink offerings to other mighty ones, to provoke Me. 19 “Is it Me they are provoking?” declares ????. “Is it not themselves – unto the shame of their own faces?”
Don’t pray for them because they are still keeping Christmas!!!!! Read it again and see.
Jer 11:13 “For your mighty ones have become as many as your cities, O Yehud?ah. And you have set up as many altars to shame as there are streets in Yerushalayim – altars to burn incense to Ba?al. 14 “And you, do not pray for this people, or lift up a cry or prayer for them, for I do not hear them in the time that they cry out to Me because of their evil.
Judah still worship false gods the same as many people all around us do today. This applies to the USA. We should not pray for her because she still keeps Christmas and Easter and worships false gods.
Jer 14:10 Thus said ???? to this people, “So they have loved to wander, they have not restrained their feet. Therefore ???? has not accepted them. Now He does remember their crookedness and punish their sins.” 11 And ???? said to me, “Do not pray for this people for their good. 12 “When they fast, I do not hear their cry. And when they offer burnt offering and grain offering, I do not accept them. Instead, I am consuming them by sword, and by scarcity of food, and by pestilence.”
We are told that the prayers of those who will not keep Torah and refuse to keep the Sabbath or Holy Days of Lev 23 and the Sabbatical years, that even their prayers are an abomination to Yehovah. So were your prayers until you started to walk this way of life in truth. Only then did He hear you.
Pro 28:9 He who turns away his ear from hearing the Torah, Even his prayer is an abomination1. Footnote: 1See also 15:29, Isa. 59:1-2, John 9:31, 1 John 3:22.
Pro 15:29 ???? is far from the wrong ones, But He hears the prayer of the righteous1. Footnote: 1See 28:9.
Isa 59:1 Look, the hand of ???? has not become too short to save, nor His ear too heavy to hear. 2 But your crookednesses have separated you from your Elohim. And your sins have hidden His face from you, from hearing.
Read again what John says. Yehovah does not hear those who will not obey. So do not waist your breath praying for them. But if they are willing to obey then these you should pray for earnestly.
Joh 9:31 “And we know that Elohim does not hear sinners. But if anyone fears Elohim and does His desire, He hears him.
If you want to have answered prayers; If you really want to have your prayers heard on high then you must obey the Torah.
1Jn 3:22 And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we guard His commands and do what is pleasing in His sight.1 Footnote: 1Prov. 28:9, John 9:31, Jm. 5:16.
Jas 5:16 Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, so that you are healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous one accomplishes much.
Now knowing these things listen to what Yehshua prays for those of us who are keeping Torah in these last days.
Joh 17:14 “I have given them Your Word, and the world hated them because they are not of the world, as I am not of the world. 15 “I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You keep them from the wicked one. 16 “They are not of the world, as I am not of the world. 17 “Set them apart in Your truth – Your Word is truth.1 Footnote: 1See Ps. 119:142, 151. 18 “As You sent Me into the world, I also sent them into the world. 19 “And for them I set Myself apart, so that they too might be set apart in truth. 20 “And I do not pray for these alone, but also for those believing in Me through their word, 21 so that they all might be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You, so that they too might be one in Us, so that the world might believe that You have sent Me. 22 “And the esteem which You gave Me I have given them, so that they might be one as We are one, 23 “I in them, and You in Me, so that they might be perfected into one, so that the world knows that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.
We are to go into the world and teach others. We are not to hide in our homes and closets hoping no one will notice us. Get up and tell those worshiping the false gods. Tell the Christians. DO not come and sing the same song and dance I am doing to me; You waste your time. Go find those who do not know the truth and tell them.
The 613 Mitzvot
We now continue to study the 613 laws of Torah which we can read at http://www.jewfaq.org/613.htm
We are doing 7 laws each week. We shall study laws 500-506
We also have commentary, with editing from me, again from http://theownersmanual.net/The_Owners_Manual_02_The_Law_of_Love.Torah
Time and again in the Tanach we read that Yahweh wasn’t really interested in the Israelites’ sacrifices and offerings, not for their own sake, anyway. (For example, see Hosea 6:6, Micah 6:6-8, or Amos 5:21-24.) Without the proper heart attitude toward Him, the mechanical keeping of the Law was pointless, and He told them so. So why did He instruct them to do all these things in the first place? The author of the Book of Hebrews explains: “The old system in the law of Moses was only a shadow of the things to come, not the reality of the good things Christ has done for us.” Just as a schoolchild must learn his A-B-Cs and numbers before written paragraphs and algebraic equations can make any sense to him, the Law was given to teach us about the components of God’s love—learned by rote at first (the “shadow”), and only later graduating to meaningful understanding (the “reality”). “The sacrifices under the old system were repeated again and again, year after year, but they were never able to provide perfect cleansing for those who came to worship. If they could have provided perfect cleansing, the sacrifices would have stopped, for the worshipers would have been purified once for all time, and their feelings of guilt would have disappeared. But just the opposite happened….” Though the sacrifices were insufficient in themselves, those who trustingly offered them out of obedience to God’s Word were cleansed through their faith in what the sacrifices meant—even if they didn’t comprehend what that was or what form it would take.
However, the repetitive nature of the sacrificial system was an obvious clue that they were prophetic of something greater, a rehearsal of something perfect. “Those yearly sacrifices reminded them of their sins year after year. For it is not possible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. That is why Christ, when he came into the world, said, ‘You did not want animal sacrifices and grain offerings. But you have given me a body so that I may obey you. No, you were not pleased with animals burned on the altar or with other offerings for sin. Then I said, “Look, I have come to do your will, O God—just as it is written about me in the Scriptures….”’” Christ said this when He came into the world? Actually, this is a quote from David, from Psalm 40. The writer to the Hebrews is actually saying something quite profound: Christ, through the Holy Spirit, spoke through His prophets (in this case, David) as though He were already here among us. The Messiah, in other words, manifested Himself long before he was “born” in a stable in Bethlehem.
But let us not lose sight of the message while pondering the medium: “Christ said, ‘You did not want animal sacrifices or grain offerings or animals burned on the altar or other offerings for sin, nor were you pleased with them’ (though they are required by the law of Moses). Then he added, ‘Look, I have come to do your will.’ He cancels the first covenant in order to establish the second. And what God wants is for us to be made holy by the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all time.” (Hebrews 10:1-10 NLT) That’s pretty clear: we can’t “be made holy” by our own efforts, even in observing the Torah with all our might. It can only be achieved through Yahshua’s sacrifice. And more to the point, God wants us to become set apart to Him in this way. In fact, it’s all He wants.
As I said, all of this begs the question: if Yahweh didn’t “want animal sacrifices or grain offerings,” then why on earth did He command the children of Israel to do them? It was for the same reason we educate our small children: so that they might learn the basics, the A-B-Cs of the mind of God. The Law of Moses was never intended to be our whole life, or even our whole education. It was only grammar school. “Under the old covenant, the priest stands before the altar day after day, offering sacrifices that can never take away sins.” No, they can’t. But they do teach us that our sins can be taken away—important information indeed. “But our High Priest offered himself to God as one sacrifice for sins, good for all time. Then he sat down at the place of highest honor at God’s right hand. There he waits until his enemies are humbled as a footstool under his feet. For by that one offering he perfected forever all those whom he is making holy….” We’ve skipped from kindergarten to graduate school here. Just as attaining the ability to read (or write) an important book makes all the labor expended learning our A-B-Cs worth the effort, the sacrifice of Christ gave the Torah’s sacrifices and offerings meaning and purpose. But remember, there is life after grad school. Yahshua’s sacrifice was, just like the Law, only a means to an end. That end is our eternal life in fellowship with our God and King. Without that, none of the previous sacrifice—Old or New Covenant—makes any sense.
“And the Holy Spirit also testifies that this is so. First He says, ‘This is the new covenant I will make with my people on that day, says Yahweh: I will put my laws in their hearts so they will understand them, and I will write them on their minds so they will obey them.’ Then He adds, ‘I will never again remember their sins and lawless deeds….’” (quoted from Jeremiah 31:33-34.) There will come a time when the precepts of God will be understood perfectly by His people. The Torah will be seen not as a list of pointless or incomprehensible rules and regulations but rather as the exquisitely detailed “road map to peace” men have been seeking for so long—a road map that points the way to the Messiah and our salvation. We’re not completely there yet—we still see God’s truth “through a glass, darkly.” But the road has been built and the map has been drawn. All we have to do is finish our journey.
The dividing line between the Old Covenant and the New is now clear: “Now when sins have been forgiven, there is no need to offer any more sacrifices.” (Hebrews 10:11-18 NLT) Now that the Torah has been literally fulfilled in the life, death, and resurrection of Yahshua, now that atonement for our sins has been made through shedding the blood of the Messiah, the blood of bulls and goats is beside the point. A roadmap isn’t needed once your destination is in sight.
“And so, dear brothers and sisters, we can boldly enter heaven’s Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus. This is the new, life-giving way that Christ has opened up for us through the sacred curtain, by means of his death for us.” If you’ll recall, in the previous chapter we discussed how the temple had two rooms. The first, the Holy Place, represented the Law, while the second, the Most Holy Place, represented the grace to which the Law was the passageway. The veil separating the two rooms was torn in two at Yahshua’s crucifixion (Matthew 27:51), a sign that the place that had previously been accessible only on the annual Day of Atonement, and then only to the High Priest, was now “open for business” all day, every day—to anyone who had become a child of God. “And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God’s people, let us go right into the presence of God, with true hearts fully trusting him. For our evil consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water….” The imagery being used here is that of the ordination of priests as described in Leviticus 8. The remarkable truth being revealed is that Yahshua—the “great High Priest who rules”—has by his personal sacrifice set us apart as priests in our own right, giving us the ability and right to stand and minister before God.
Priests have duties within the temple of God, of course, and we are no exception. “Without wavering, let us hold tightly to the hope we say we have, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. Think of ways to encourage one another to outbursts of love and good deeds. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage and warn each other, especially now that the day of his coming back again is drawing near….” Thus these are our priestly duties under the New Covenant: be steadfast, hold onto our hope, trust in Yahweh, and be creative in our expressions of love toward each other. We are further instructed to meet together with other believers in order to encourage them and warn them of spiritual danger, and we are to watch for signs of our Messiah’s return—most of which are evident in abundance today as never before.
The conclusion to all of this sounds at first to be a disastrous loophole in the concept of grace: “Dear friends, if we deliberately continue sinning after we have received a full knowledge of the truth, there is no other sacrifice that will cover these sins. There will be nothing to look forward to but the terrible expectation of God’s judgment and the raging fire that will consume his enemies. Anyone who refused to obey the law of Moses was put to death without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. Think how much more terrible the punishment will be for those who have trampled on the Son of God and have treated the blood of the covenant as if it were common and unholy. Such people have insulted and enraged the Holy Spirit who brings God’s mercy to his people. (Hebrews 10:19-29 NLT) Is he saying that once we have received God’s grace we must never fall short of His perfect standard of behavior again ever in our lives, under pain of hell fire? If that’s the case, I’m a dead man, for although I have trusted in Yahweh my God for well over half a century now, I can say with all candor that I have indeed sinned against Him in the intervening years—and not just through carelessness or ignorance, either, but also high-handed, deliberate sin: I have been known to yield to temptation with great alacrity (just like you). Sure, I invariably felt terrible afterward, whether or not I repented right away, but the question remains: am I therefore disqualified from participation in my Savior’s grace? Should I have waited until I was on my deathbed to accept Yahshua, too old and feeble to backslide?
The vast preponderance of Scripture weighs in against this hypothesis. The judgment spoken of in verse 27 is levied against God’s “enemies,” or “adversaries.” Indeed, a passage very similar to this in II Peter 2 speaks of those who have “turned from the holy commandment” that had been given to them. This is far more serious than (and fundamentally different from) yielding to the occasional temptation to behave badly, or falling short of the standard set within the Torah—which as we have seen, no one keeps, no matter how hard they try. The people who are in such danger—in both passages—have turned their backs on grace. Not only have they “deliberately continued sinning,” they have concluded that God’s standard of holiness is not legitimate. They have weighed the evidence, examined the doctrine, and deliberately chosen to become God’s antagonists. So the author says, in so many words, “If Yahshua’s sacrifice isn’t deemed sufficient to cover their sins, then what is? There is nothing else available.”
Let us, then, return to our Torah study with a new appreciation of its importance as the foundation of our spiritual education, our “road map to peace.”
BLEMISHES, IMPERFECTIONS, and UNCLEANNESS
(500) A kohein’s daughter who profaned herself shall not eat of the holy things, neither of the heave offering nor of the breast, nor of the shoulder of peace offerings. “The breast of the wave offering and the thigh of the heave offering you shall eat in a clean place, you, your sons, and your daughters with you; for they are your due and your sons’ due, which are given from the sacrifices of peace offerings of the children of Israel.” (Leviticus 10:14); “If the priest’s daughter is married to an outsider, she may not eat of the holy offerings. But if the priest’s daughter is a widow or divorced, and has no child, and has returned to her father’s house as in her youth, she may eat her father’s food; but no outsider shall eat it.” (Leviticus 22:12-13) Normally, an unmarried daughter of a priest, being under his protection, would be automatically eligible, through her relationship with her father, to benefit from the tithes and offerings that were designated as his. When she grew up and got married, however, the relationship defining her privileges shifted to that with her husband. If she married another priest, then his portion of the offering would also become hers. But if she married an “outsider,” one who was not a priest, she was no longer eligible to eat of the holy offerings.
The defining characteristic of her eligibility, then, is whose protection she is under. The priest’s daughter here is a metaphor for all of humanity. The offerings are symbolic of salvation by grace. While we are young and immature, we are under our parent’s protection. If they are believers (“priests” in the metaphor), we are afforded the same status under God’s grace. That is, if a child of believing parents dies, Yahweh welcomes them as if they had consciously made a choice to follow Him, even though they were not sufficiently mature to make such a choice. This is not the same thing as the fictional “age of accountability” which purports that all children are given the same grace—it only applies to the children of believing parents.
When she reaches maturity, however, the “priest’s daughter” makes her own choices concerning whose protection (if any) she wishes to embrace. She could marry a priest—a metaphor for choosing to be part of the “bride of Christ.” Or she could choose to marry an “outsider.” The word comes from Zur, a Hebrew verb meaning to be a stranger, a foreigner, or even an enemy. The basic idea is non-relatedness or non-acquaintance. Marrying an outsider is a picture of spiritual alliance with someone other than Yahweh. The good news is that if she and the “outsider” have divorced, she may return to her father’s house—a picture of repentance.
(501) After childbirth, a woman shall bring an offering when she is clean. “When the days of her purification are fulfilled, whether for a son or a daughter, she shall bring to the priest a lamb of the first year as a burnt offering, and a young pigeon or a turtledove as a sin offering, to the door of the tabernacle of meeting. Then he shall offer it before Yahweh, and make atonement for her. And she shall be clean from the flow of her blood. This is the law for her who has borne a male or a female.” (Leviticus 12:6-7) When an Israelite woman bore a male child, she was considered ritually unclean (that is, as if she were menstruating) for seven days (See Mitzvah #564). She was to have her son circumcised on the eighth day, and then continue in the state of ritual impurity for thirty-three days (a total of forty days, symbolic, I believe, of the trial and testing to be expected in raising a child). For a female child, this time period was doubled, perhaps indicating that girls could be expected to be twice as trying to their mothers as boys might be. After this period of purification had elapsed, she was to bring an offering to the sanctuary. A lamb was brought for a burnt offering in homage to Yahweh (an olah—see Mitzvah #475), which could be substituted with a young pigeon or turtledove if the woman was poor. Also, a sin offering of a pigeon or turtledove was to be presented (a chata’t—see Mitzvah #481).
The odd Roman Catholic notion of Mary the mother of Yahshua being “immaculate” or “sinless” is specifically debunked by this mitzvah, for Luke 2:24 records that she brought a pair of turtledoves to the Temple—one of which was a sin offering, as required by the Law.
(502) The leper shall bring a sacrifice after he is cleansed. “And on the eighth day he shall take two male lambs without blemish, one ewe lamb of the first year without blemish, three-tenths of an ephah of fine flour mixed with oil as a grain offering, and one log of oil.” (Leviticus 14:10) Moses rambles on for two entire chapters—116 interminable verses—about how to identify leprosy and what to do when a leper was cleansed in Israel. I’m not going to go there (yet—see Mitzvot #565-568 and #577-580). By now, you have plenty of experience sorting out what the symbols of each sacrificial element might mean. Feel free to dig in and figure it all out. I just want to point out one salient fact: we have no record in the entire Old Testament about anyone being cleansed of leprosy under the rules of the Torah—ever. Sure, Miriam was cured of the disease, but that was before the Law was given. And yes, Naaman was cleansed through the ministry of Elisha, but he was a Syrian, not an Israelite. Elisha’s covetous servant, Gehazi, “inherited” Naaman’s disease for life. Likewise, Judah’s King Uzziah was struck with leprosy, but was never cured.
No one in the Bible cured anyone of leprosy—until you get to Yahshua, who by all accounts did it all the time. Being a son of the Torah, He naturally instructed those he cleansed to “Go, show yourself to the priests.” (Luke 17:14) And what was the result? You can’t do miracles like that without making an impression. Following the Day of Pentecost, we’re told, “A great many of the priests were obedient to the faith.” (Acts 6:7) Maimonides seems interested only in making sure those pesky ex-lepers coughed up the requisite sacrifices. Yahweh had bigger fish to fry.
(503) A man having an issue shall bring a sacrifice after he is cleansed of his issue. “And when he who has a discharge is cleansed of his discharge, then he shall count for himself seven days for his cleansing, wash his clothes, and bathe his body in running water; then he shall be clean. On the eighth day he shall take for himself two turtledoves or two young pigeons, and come before Yahweh, to the door of the tabernacle of meeting, and give them to the priest. Then the priest shall offer them, the one as a sin offering and the other as a burnt offering. So the priest shall make atonement for him before Yahweh because of his discharge.” (Leviticus 15:13-15) Again, this is just the tip of the scriptural iceberg. This entire fifteenth chapter of Leviticus addresses a health problem, just as we saw with leprosy above. Maimonides has made an arbitrary distinction between men’s and women’s discharges (see Mitzvah #504) but the offerings specified are identical. A “discharge” (Hebrew: zub) is literally a “flowing.” The context specifically excludes such things as sexual discharges (which are covered separately in verses 16-18), and normal menstruation (verse 25), but anything unusual—from a runny nose, to diarrhea, to pus from an infected wound—would be included.
In a future chapter, we will return to the subject of ritual purity—the practical precepts that would keep the transmission of disease to a minimum in Israel. At the moment, however, we’re primarily focusing on the sacrifices given in response to the cleansing from these things that made people “ritually defiled.” After washing his body and clothing and waiting for a week to be sure the condition had actually abated, the cleansed worshipper was to offer two turtledoves—one as a sin offering (chata’t) and the other as a burnt offering (olah). Why? One might have expected that a selem, a peace offering, would have been more appropriate—a spontaneous outpouring of thankfulness. But of course, a selem was voluntary—Yahweh would never command somebody to offer one. With the sin offering and burnt offering, I think Yahweh was trying to remind us of our fallen condition. Why do we get sick? Why do our bodies die? It’s because of our sinful natures—not necessarily the individual sins we commit from day to day (although they can have health consequences), but our definitive human predicament. By requiring a chata’t, Yahweh was saying, “Your sinful nature has made your body vulnerable to disease and death.” And by specifying the bringing of an olah, He was declaring, “Trust and honor Me, for I am your health, strength, and salvation.”
(504) A woman having an issue shall bring a sacrifice after she is cleansed of her issue. “But if she is cleansed of her discharge, then she shall count for herself seven days, and after that she shall be clean. And on the eighth day she shall take for herself two turtledoves or two young pigeons, and bring them to the priest, to the door of the tabernacle of meeting. Then the priest shall offer the one as a sin offering and the other as a burnt offering, and the priest shall make atonement for her before Yahweh for the discharge of her uncleanness.” (Leviticus 15:28-30) Special mention (verses 19-33) is given to a woman’s discharge of blood beyond the normal menstruation period. This law comes into play in an encounter (recorded in Matthew 9:20-22) between Yahshua and a woman who had suffered from just such an issue of blood for twelve long years. Her faith in the Messiah led her to surmise that merely touching His tsitzit or the hem of His garment would be enough to heal her. But the law had stated, “Whoever touches her shall be unclean until evening.” (Leviticus 15:19) Yahshua was willing to become “unclean” for our benefit, taking our defilement upon Himself in order that we might be healed. The prophet Malachi described the moment: “To you who fear My name, the Sun of Righteousness shall arise with healing in His wings.” (Malachi 4:2) Our healing ultimately depends on our reverence for Yahweh.
(505) Observe on Yom Kippur the service appointed for that day regarding the sacrifice, confessions, sending away of the scapegoat, etc. “And Yahweh said to Moses, ‘Tell Aaron your brother not to come at just any time into the Holy Place inside the veil, before the mercy seat which is on the ark, lest he die; for I will appear in the cloud above the mercy seat. Thus Aaron shall come into the Holy Place: with the blood of a young bull as a sin offering, and of a ram as a burnt offering.’” (Leviticus 16:2-3) Judaism 101 almost always lists just one or two verses to support the rabbinical mitzvah being presented. (I often expand the scope of the passage to include some explanatory context.) Here, however (to their credit), they referenced the entire salient passage, Leviticus 16:3-34. This is no doubt indicative of how seriously observant Jews are about Yom Kippur, or the Day of Atonement—considered the “holiest” day on the Jewish calendar. Though you could write an entire book about Leviticus 16, I’m just going to hit the high spots.
Though five of the seven “appointed convocations” (Hebrew: mow’ed miqra) had been mentioned before this point in Scripture, this is the first hint we have of a special Day of Atonement. (All seven are listed together for the first time in Leviticus 23, defining the annual cycle of Levitical holidays—three in the spring, one in early summer, and three more in the fall.) A miqra is an assembly, group, or convocation of people called out and gathered together for a specific purpose. It’s definition is thus virtually identical to that of the Greek word ekklesia, which we mis-translate as “Church.” A mow’ed-miqra, then, is an appointed time, place, and circumstance in which this called-out assembly is to come together for a specific purpose. In historical hindsight, we can see that Yahweh intended these seven annual appointed convocations to be prophetic dress rehearsals for the seven most significant events in His plan of redemption for all mankind, for the first four of them have been fulfilled—in detail, on the very dates of their Levitical mandates—in the life of Yahshua. (See Mitzvah #112 and #133-136 for information we’ve previously covered concerning the Day of Atonement.)
The occasion for this teaching was the sin of Aaron’s two sons Nadab and Abihu, who had waltzed into the tabernacle on their own volition and offered “profane fire” before Yahweh—and had paid for their arrogant presumption with their lives. Here God tells the High Priest that he is to come into the Most Holy Place to minister before Yahweh only one day a year, on the tenth day of the seventh month, Tishri (Leviticus 16:29). My studies of prophecy have led me to the conclusion that this is prophetic of the day Israel as a nation will finally realize and accept that Yahshua of Nazareth is their Messiah. That day is yet future, unfortunately.
The High Priest was to atone for three things: himself (vs. 11-14), the Sanctuary (vs. 15-19), and the people (vs. 20-28). He was to prepare by washing himself and putting on the holy priestly garments (see Mitzvah #372). He was then to sacrifice a young bull as a sin offering (chata’t) for himself and his household, and a ram as a burnt offering (olah). If you’ll recall, bulls indicated the sin of human pride leading to false doctrine or worship, and rams were metaphorical of Christ in authority—the anointed King. The priest was to burn incense (metaphorical of prayer) upon the altar of incense that stood before the veil (see Mitzvot #433, 434 and #439), and he was also to sprinkle the blood of the sin offering in front of the mercy seat and on the east side (that is, the side of the ark nearest the doorway). He was to “sprinkle some of the blood with his finger seven times” (verse 14). The details are telling: sprinkling the blood with his finger meant the High Priest (metaphorical of Yahshua) would be personally occupied with our atonement—a hands-on involvement. Seven applications, of course, signified that perfect, complete atonement was in view—in marked contrast to the need for an annual repetition of the Levitical rite. This is all supported by the sprinkling of the blood on the east side of the mercy seat—it looks forward to the coming King, who will enter His Millennial temple via the eastern gate (according to Ezekiel 43:4)
The central event of the Day of Atonement is the offering of two young goats. The High Priest was to cast lots to choose one of them for Yahweh. This one was to be offered up as a chata’t sin offering to atone for the sins of all the people for one year, but the other goat was set free in the wilderness. One died so that the other might live. This, like every other facet of the Day of Atonement, is so obviously prophetic of the sacrifice of the Messiah, it’s hard to see how the rabbis can manage to remain blind to its spiritual significance. And can somebody explain this to me? Why do Jews today make such a big deal of Yom Kippur when they haven’t been able to properly celebrate it since Nebuchadnezzar sacked Jerusalem in 586 B.C.—when the ark of the covenant and the integral mercy seat were secreted away? To this day, atonement remains an elusive dream to a stubborn and rebellious Israel. But that’s all about to change.
(506) Do not slaughter beasts set apart for sacrifices outside the Sanctuary. “Whatever man of the house of Israel who kills an ox or lamb or goat in the camp, or who kills it outside the camp, and does not bring it to the door of the tabernacle of meeting to offer an offering to Yahweh before the tabernacle of Yahweh, the guilt of bloodshed shall be imputed to that man. He has shed blood; and that man shall be cut off from among his people, to the end that the children of Israel may bring their sacrifices which they offer in the open field, that they may bring them to Yahweh at the door of the tabernacle of meeting, to the priest, and offer them as peace offerings to Yahweh.” (Leviticus 17:3-5) The thrust of the rabbinical mitzvah is right on the money, for a change. The admonition is not that an animal from one’s flocks or herds couldn’t be butchered for food, but rather that sacrificial rites were not to be performed in honor of anyone but Yahweh. This is made clear in verse 7: “They shall no more offer their sacrifices to demons, after whom they have played the harlot. This shall be a statute forever for them throughout their generations.”
This precept is specifically directed to Israel during their wilderness wanderings, for verse 3 pointedly refers to being in or outside “the camp.” But later, as the children of Israel were about to enter the Land, Moses clarified the issue: “Take heed to yourself that you do not offer your burnt offerings in every place that you see; but [only] in the place which Yahweh chooses, in one of your tribes, there you shall offer your burnt offerings, and there you shall do all that I command you.” That “place” was later identified as Jerusalem. “However, you may slaughter and eat meat within all your gates, whatever your heart desires, according to the blessing of Yahweh your God which He has given you; the unclean and the clean may eat of it, of the gazelle and the deer alike.” (Deuteronomy 12:13-15) There is a fundamental difference between having a barbecue and offering a sacrifice at the Temple, even if what you’re eating is identical. One is just food; the other is a picture of our redemption through the sacrifice of the Messiah. One feeds the body; the other feeds the soul.