Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Joshua-Part 13

Josh 21.1-45 tells us about the claim of the Levites for cities to live in once the land was divided to the tribes and everyone knew what cities belonged to them. The Levites had to live somewhere because they did not have a portion of land given to them because the Lord said he would be their inheritance (Josh 13.14, 13.33). So, cities were given to them according to their three main family divisions.

Yehovah gave Israel all the land which he had promised to give to their fathers, and they possessed it and lived in it. The Levites were “sprinkled” all through the land. There was never going to be a “state of Levi” but every tribe was to have the Levitical influence of this tribe among them. That is why believers are “sprinkled” all through the world instead of having one nation. He gave them rest on every side and the Lord gave all their enemies into their hands. Not one promise of God failed or did not come to pass.

These chapters tell us that God is concerned with the spiritual, but he is also concerned with the physical as well. The concept of “lots” (purim) in the Scriptures is a main theme. Lots were cast daily in the Temple, on Yom Kippur, for a replacement for Judas (Acts 1.26) and for Yeshua’s garments. The land was allotted to the tribes by lot (Josh 14.1-2). What does that tell us?

If a tribe got good land you could say, “Hey, look what the Lord gave us as an inheritance.” If you got a desert and mountains you could say, “Hey, look what the Lord gave us, there must be a blessing in it.” This teaches several messages. Why is it God calls one person to teach the Torah and not another? Why is it one person is born into a rich land like America and another is born into a poor country? Sometimes we ask ourselves why that is, but it is like a “lot” and it seems random but it isn’t. There is a plan of God involved.

We are told in the Torah that Israel was not to “trade” their land with others (Num 36.7-9). If Israel cannot transfer their inheritance from the tribe to tribe, what makes Israel think they can do it today with non-Jews like the Arabs or Palestinians? So, let’s look at Josh 21 and see what else the Lord has to teach us.

The heads of the households of the Levites and are like gifted spiritual leaders and they approached Eleazar the High Priest (like Yeshua our High Priest) and Joshua the son of Nun (Yeshua as our captain) in Shiloh (peace bringer-there is peace in God’s presence) and they brought their issue of inheritance to him, and the sons of Israel gave the Levites from their inheritance (believers need to support their leaders). Then they cast a lot and it came out for Kohath (obedience, gathering). The sons of Aaron received thirteen (the number of blessing and governed) cities from Judah (praise) and from Simeonites (to hear/obey) and from Benjamin (son of the last days/right hand), meaning, where there is praise and obedience we’ll see Messiah.

The rest of Kohath received ten cities (number of judgment) by lot from Ephraim (fruitful), Dan (judge) and the half-tribe of Manasseh (to forget) meaning leaders should be fruitful and wise in judgment and forget the past. The sons of Gershom (stranger there) received thirteen cities (blessing) from the families of Issachar (my hiring), Asher (happy) and the half-tribe of Naphtali (I will wrestle) and the half-tribe of Manasseh (to forget) meaning service to God makes us happy and we will forget the past (Phil 3.13-14).

The sons of Merari (bitterness) received twelve cities (number of teaching) from Reuben (see, a son), Gad (to cut) and from Zebulon (dwelling) meaning Yeshua’s bitter death where he was “cut off” as the son of man from the land of the living gives us a dwelling place with God. The sons of Israel also gave pasture lands with these cities meaning God provides for our temporal needs as well.

The names of these cities was Hebron (communion) in the mountain country of Judah (praise. We have commununion with God in the kingdom and we will praise him. The fields of the city and its villages they gave to Caleb (dog) as a possession. To the priests they gave Hebron, a city of refuge, and Libnah (whiteness). Communion and whiteness are linked. They also gave Jattir (excellent) and Eshtemoa (I will be heard), Holon (anguished), Debir (word), Ain (eye), Juttah (I will be turned aside= Satan) and Beth-shemesh (house of the sun…believers are a “house of the sun) a total of nine cities (resurrection). From Benjamin they gave Gibeon (hill town), Geba (hill), Anatoth (affliction), Almon (concealment). These names allude to the fact that we hear the excellent story of the anguished Messiah in the word of God and see him. Then Satan is turned aside and we make a place for the sun (Messiah) where we are raised up and concealed from the affliction of the birth-pains.

Ephraim (fruitful) gave Shechem (shoulder) and Gezer (a portion is cut off). Our place in Yeshua is cut off from the world (Rom 8.28). They also received Kibzaim (let the people arise) and Beth-horon (cavernous house), four cities (number of testing). From Dan (judge) they received Elteke (God is dread), Gibbethon (lofty…our ground in Yeshua), Aijalon (potruding, Gath-rimmon (winepress of pomegranates), four cities (testing). We are on the Lord’s shoulders and he carries us, and our portion in the world has been cut off in Yeshua. So we can arise from our graves and have been judged because we have a fear of God and are on lofty ground where we stick out in the world teaching the Torah. The half-tribe of Manasseh (forget) gave Taanach (she will afflict you) and Gath-rimmon (winepress of pomegrnates), two cities (witness) The world and false kahal will persecute us as we teach Torah.

To the sons of Gershom (stranger there) from the half-tribe of Manasseh they gave Golan (circle) in Bashan (shame), a city of refuge. They also gave Be-eshterah (in her flock), two cities (witness). We were a stranger and encircled in shame but now we are in the flock (Kahal= assembly) of God. From Issachar (my hiring) they gave Kishion (hardening), Daberath (you spoke), Jarmuth (heights), En-gannim (fountained gardens), four cities (testing). Our hearts were hardened but God spoke and lifted on high where we are washed by the word of God. The tribe of Asher (happy) gave Mishal (parables), Abdon (servant), Helkath (portion, field) and Rehob (open space= safety and salvation), four cities (testing). God was happy to speak in parables and tea h us the mysteries of hus word to give us a portion in his salvation.

From Naphtali (I will wrestle) they gave Kedesh (sanctuary) in Galilee (circle) which was a city of refuge. They also gave Hammoth-dor (habitation) and Kartan (city), three cities (resurrection). We wrestled with the Lord but he has given us sanctuary and encircled us and given us a habitation in the city of the New Jerusalem.

Zebulon (dwelling) gave Merari (bitterness) Jokneam (let the people acquire), Kartah (city), Dimnah (dung heap) and Nahalal (strength), four cities (testing). We dwelt in bitterness but the people acquired a city, leaving our fleshly works on the dung heap, thus acquiring strength. The tribe of Reuben (see a son) gave Bezer (fortress) and Jahaz (trodden down place), Kedemoth (antiquity/beginning) and Mephaath (place of radiance), four cities (testing). The son Yeshua has given us a strong place where we thresh out the word of glory from antiquity (Eph 1.4).

The tribe of Gad gave Ramoth (heights) in Gilead (heap of testimony), another city of refuge, and Mahanaim (two camps), Heshbon (human reason) and Jazer (let him help), four cities (testing). God in heaven has given his testimony and watches over us in heaven and earth and human reason plays a part in how God helps.

Altogether, the sons of Israel gave forty-eight cities (the factor is “four” meaning government is a test of obedience). God is concerned with our physical needs (the pasture lands around the cities) as well as our spiritual needs. The Lord gave them rest on every side and all their enemies into their hand. However, that doesn’t mean they were all dead. It is the same way spiritually. Our spiritual warfare isn’t over just because we are believers because our enemies will try to oppress us and retake our spiritual possessions and inheritances.

In Part 14 we will pick up in Josh 22.

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Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Joshua-Part 12

Joshua 20.1-9 is a chapter that deals with the renewal of the order to appoint six cities of refuge for those who have committed manslaughter (Num 35.6-34). They can flee there and have protection from the avenger of blood until the death of the High Priest. This only applies to one involved in manslaughter. This does not apply to a murderer. But there is another aspect to this that is a picture of the unbeliever. A sinner has boundaries and he can’t leave. He is separated from his family because of unbelief and if he died before he heard of the death of the High Priest, he never went home. His life was destroyed because he never heard about the death of the High Priest. That is what happens to a sinner who never gets to leave that life because he has never heard about the death of Yeshua the High Priest. The concept of the cities of refuge is very eschatological.

Psa 46.1 says that the Lord is our refuge, a very present help in times of trouble, or in other words, a city of refuge. Heb 6.18-20 says that we have fled for refuge in laying hold of the hope before us. This hope is an anchor to the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast. We have entered within the veil where Yeshua has entered before us. He is our High Priest forever according to the order (by God’s word) of Melchizedek (Psa 110.4). So, lets look at the phrase “according to the order of Melchizedek.” The word “order” is the word “davar” meaning “word” or “speak.” A priest speaks the word to God on behalf of the people, and vice versa. Paul has a midrash on this concept in Heb 4.12 through 7.28. Abraham paid tithes to Melchizedek so his priesthood supersedes the priesthood of Levi because he was in the loins of Abraham. As a result, the priesthood of Yeshua is after Melchizedek by God’s word. It comes with an oath that Aaron never had and Yeshua will never die, but Aaron and all the priests did. Yeshua is the only direct descendant and link to the heavenly Temple and the Olam Haba. As a result, his priesthood supersedes the Levitical priesthood.

In the Mishkan, there were six boards on the western wall in the Kodesh Ha Kodeshim (Holy of Holies). So, Heb 6.18-20 relates to our salvation. Besides the six cities of refuge, the Mishkan was a seventh place to seek refuge. Heb 6.18-20 tells us to “flee inside the veil” for refuge into God’s presence. Are we guilty of manslaughter with Yeshua? The avenger of blood will take us out and slay us if we reject Yeshua deliberately. His blood is on our hands. The person who has faith in God’s word accepts the offer of refuge in Yeshua, even though his sin caused his death and is guilty of manslaughter, not realizing the end result. Consequently, he is allowed to stay in the place of refuge as long as the High Priest lives. Since Yeshua will never die, that means he is safe forever (Heb 7.24; John 3.18).

The cities of refuge are not jails or detention centers, and they were in reach of anyone that needed help, open to all. They were environments in which the reckless person became aware that careless actions have consequences. The person was constantly under the influence of his neighbors the Levites. They would observe the Levite, pray with the Levite, learn and teach others. They would see what caring for others really was. The influence of the Levites would have a tremendous impact on the one finding refuge. The goal was to mold a new person whose activities were kinder and more careful. They were the “signs” that clearly marked the way to God and the Messiah.

Josh 20.7-9 tells us about the cities set apart. On the west side (the direction of the heavenly, spiritual side) of the Jordan (death) They set apart Kedesh (sanctuary) in Galilee (circle) in the mountain country of Naphtali (my wrestling) and Shechem (shoulder) in Ephraim (fruitfulness) and Hebron (communion) in the mountain country of Judah (praise). These names teach us that we killed Yeshua because of our sins. However, we return (repent) while a sanctuary (Kedesh) is found by the circle (Galilee) of days (life) and its wrestlings (Naphtali). Yeshua puts us on his shoulders (Shechem) to the kingdom and the Olam Haba (the mountain country) with our fruits (Ephraim), where we have communion (Hebron) and praise (Judah) with God.

The other three cities were beyond the Jordan east (the direction of the earthly, practical side) of Jericho (fragrance) and they designated Bezer (fortress) in the wilderness on the plain from the tribe of Reuben (see, a son), and Ramoth (heights) in Gilead (heap of testimony) from the tribe of Gad (invader, troop), and Golan (enclosed) in Bashan (fruitful) from the tribe of Manasseh (to forget). These names teach us that we are enclosed (Golan) in the fruits of sin (Bashan) and spiritually dead. Satan is an invader (Gad) and tries to get us to forget our state (Manasseh) because sin refuses to call itself sin, and being a sinner makes it hard to see ourselves as sinners. But then we see Yeshua as the Messiah (Reuben) and the heavenly (Ramoth) plan of the cross (Gilead) and he causes us to forget our past (Phil 3.13-14) and we are a sweet fragrance (Jericho) to God and he is our fortress (Bezer).

In Part 13 we will pick up in Joshua 21 and the cities and common lands appointed for the Levites. They did not have land set aside for them like the other tribes, but they had to live somewhere. So each tribe gave certain cities and common lands surrounding those cities. God was the inheritance of the Levites (Josh 13.14, 13.33).

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Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Joshua-Part 11

We pick up in Josh 19.1-51 with the account of the lots given to the six remaining tribes. In Josh 19.1-9 we have the allotment to the tribe of Simeon (hear/obey). Judah (praise) and Simeon (hear/obey) are connected in this portion and Simeon’s blessing is connected to Judah’s in Deut 33.7, fulfilling Jacob’s prophecy in Gen 49.7. This is the second lot (number of witness) and we learn that Simeon’s inheritance is in the midst of Judah’s because the inheritance of Judah was too large (v 9). This tells us that praise and obedience go together. We are going to give the meaning of the names in this chapter to gain insight into the mesdages being conveyed.

They had as their inheritance Beersheba (well of the oath-the beginning of the faith of Abraham) and Moladah (birth), Hazar-shual (enclosure of the jackal= our old nature can only be penned up-Rom 6.6), Balah (growing up), Ezem (strength), Eltolad (may God cause you to forget), Bethul (separate), Hormath (destruction), Ziklag (enveloped in grief-John 16.33), Beth-marcaboth (house of the chariot= don’t put your trust in them), Hazar-susah (mare enclosure), Beth-lebaoth (house of the lioness) and Sharuhen (dwelling of kindness/grace), thirteen cities (a positive number in Hebrew thought).

Then we have Ain (eye or fountain), Rimmon (pomegranate), Ether (prayer/ask), Ashan (smoke), a total of four cities (number of testing). They also received all the villages which were around these cities as far as Baalath-beer (city of the well), Ramath (height= we have the high ground in Messiah). This was the inheritance of Simeon.

Josh 19.10-16 tells us about the third lot (number of resurrection) and the inheritance given to Zebulon (dwell). Their territory went as far as Sarid (survivor, a remnant). The border went up to the west (approaching God) and to Maralah (shaking, trembling), and touched Dabbesheth (hump of a camel…a camel speaks of service to God) and reached to the brook that is before Jokneam (people will be purchased). Putting these names together means the remnant will approach God and dwell with fear and trembling and serve God as a people who have been purchased.

Then it turned from Sarid (survivor, remnant) to the east (direction of away from God) toward the sunrise as far as the border of Chisloth-tabor (hope of the heaped up) and it proceeded to Daberah (pasture of his word) and up to Japhia (natural light). From there it continued eastward toward the sunrise to Gath-hepher (winepress) to Eth-kazin (judge now) and proceeded to Rimmon (pomegranate= symbolic kingship and authority of the Messiah) which stretches to Neah (a shaking). And the border circled around it on the north to Hannathon (gift of grace) and ended at the valley of Iphtahel (God will open). Included also were Kattah (little) and Nahalal (pasture) and Shimron (guardian) and Idala (memorial of God) and Bethlehem (bread of God, a total of twelve cities (number of teaching). This was the inheritance of Zebulon.

The fourth lot in Josh 19.17-23 (the number of testing) fell to Issachar (my hiring) and their territory was to Jezreel (sown of God) and included Cheslulloth (stupidities) and Shunem (double rest) and Hapharaim (two shames) and Shion (ruin) and Anaharath (groaning of fear), and Rabbith (multitude) and Kishion (hardness) and Ebez (I will make white) and Remeth (elevation) and En-gannin (spring of gardens) and En-haddah (fountain of joy-John 15.1-11; Jer 17.13) and Beth-pazzez (house of dispersion). And the border reached to Tabor (you will purge-Heb 12.5-11) and Shahazzumah (toward the heights) and Beth-shemesh (house of the sun), and their border ended at the Jordan (descender/death), sixteen (the number of love) cities with their villages. This is the inheritance of Issachar.

The fifth lot (the number of responsibility) in Josh 19.24-31 fell to Asher (happy, meaning those who fulfill their responsibility are happy). Their territory was Helkath (possession) and Hali (jewel or pierced thing) and Beten (belly, womb) and Achshaph (sorcery-Gal 3.1) and Allammelech (oath of a king) and Amad (to stand) and Mishal (parables); and it reached to Carmel (fruitful field) on the west and to Shihor-libnath (shiny black and white). And it turned toward the east to Beth-dagon (house of dagon), and reached to Zebulon (exaltation) and to the valley of Jiphtah-el (God opens) northward (direction of the intellect) to Beth-emek (house of the valley) and Neiel (moved by God); then it proceeded on north to Cabul (as nothing), and Ebron (alliance) and Rehob (broad) and Hammon (sunny) and Kanah (place of reeds), as far as Great Sidon (fishery). And the border turned to Ramah (heights) and to the fortified city of Tyre (rock); then the border turned to Hosah (refuge), and it eneded by the sea (multitudes of unconverted humanity) by the region of Achzib (I will lie). Included also were Ummah (he was associated) and Aphek (riverbed) and Rehob (broad), twenty-two (number of witness) cities and villages were allotted to Asher.

The sixth lot (the number of man, weakness, sin) in Josh 19.32-39 fell to the sons of Naphtali (my struggle). Their border was from Heleph (change), from the oak in Zaanannim (wandering) and Adami-neker (ruddy soil) and Jabneel (God will build) as far as Lakkum (rising up-2 Cor 4.14) and it ended at the Jordan (descender/death). Then the border turned westward (towards God) to Aznoth-tabor (balance of purification) and proceeded from there to Hukkok (engraver, scribe) and it reached to Zebulon (to dwell) on the south (direction of faith) and it touched Asher (happy) on the west (direction of approaching God), and to Judah (praise) at the Jordan toward the east. This alludes to the fact that as we move towards God and we have a balance between the Torah and the prophets the law is engraved on our hearts and we will dwell and be happy as we approach God and be a praise to him, meaning death to the world.

And the fortified cities were Ziddim (sides), Zer (straight) and Hammath (hot place or corrupt world), Rakkath (thin, green, shore) and Chinnereth (harps) and Adamah (red, earth) and Ramah (height) and Hazor (village, enclosure) and Kedesh (sanctuary) and Edrei (good pasture) and En-hazor (fountain of the village) and Yiron (fearful) and Migdal-el (tower of God), Horem (banned) and Beth-anath (house of affliction) and Beth-shemesh (house of the sun); nineteen (number of God’s perfect order) cities with their villages. This was the inheritance of Naphtali (my struggle).

The seventh (number of completion) lot in Josh 19.40-48 fell to Dan (judge) and their territory was Zorah (she was smitten with leprosy) and Eshtoal (I will be asked-Jam 3.17) and Ir-shemesh (city of the sun) and Shaalabbin (jackel of discipline) and Aijalon (deer field) and Ithlah (he will hang=Yeshua hung) and Elon (mighty oak=the cross) and Timnah (portion is there) and Ekron (uproot) and Eltekeh (God is its fear) and Gibbethon (lofty) and Baalath (mistress) and Jehud (he will be praised) and Bene-berak (sons of lightning) and Gath-rimmon (wine press of pomegranates) and Me-jarkon (waters of green=alluding to life) and Rakkon (emaciation) with the territory over against Joppa (beautiful). The territory of Dan proceeded beyond them. This speaks of the fact that their lot was too small and we go beyond the boundaries set by God in judging others, too. They went up and fought with Leshem (precious stone) to the north and captured it. This speaks of judging others by our own human intellect.

In Josh 19. 49-51 we learn that when they finished apportioning the land, the sons of Israel gave an inheritance to Joshua, alluding to the inheritance that Yeshua has. The Lord gave him the city of Timnath-serah (extra portion) in the mountain country (a mountain signifies a kingdom) of Ephraim (fruitfulness). Yeshua receives a kingdom that will be fruitful (Dan 7.13-14) and we will inherit also. These are the inheritances which Eleazar (God helps) the priest (by the Urim v’ Thummim) and Joshua (Yeshua) the son of Nun (life) and the heads of the households of the tribes of Israel distributed by lot in Shiloh (peace bringer) before the Lord (at the Mishkan), at the doorway of the tent of meeting (Ohel Moed). Our peace bringer is at the doorway of the Mishkan (his presence and dwelling) and our inheritance awaits, too.

In Part 12 we will pick up in Josh 20.

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Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Joshua-Part 10

Josh 18.1-28 tells us about the setting up of the Mishkan (Tabernacle) at Shiloh and that seven tribes had not been allotted their inheritance yet. He sends out three people (three is the number of resurrection alluding to the fact that they must be a believer to serve God) from each tribe to scout out the land and then give a report to Joshua. This speaks of what the believer will experience when he stands before another Joshua to give a report at the judgment seat. After that, they will cast lots for the land. Casting lots shows us that it was the Lord who apportioned these lands to the respective tribe who took possession of them. This left out any arguing among the tribes. They were to discover the richness of their own inheritance. If the inheritance had water, trees and land, that was easy to see. But some of the land was desert and barren, and so the blessing was not as easy to see. They had to look for it.

Reuben, Gad and half the tribe of Manasseh have taken possession of their allotted land on the east side of the Jordan. The east (away from God) side speaks of earthly blessings. Judah, Ephraim and the other half of Manasseh were on the west (approaching God) side. This speaks of spiritual blessings. So, five tribes (five is the number of responsibility) have their inheritance. This alludes to the believers who are responsible to walk in obedience before God. The land will not be totally subdued before them until David. There are seven (number of completion) tribes to receive their inheritance. This speaks of the complete and perfect word of God that must be divided to fit the needs of the people.

So the men arose and spread out and walked about the land and described it by cities in seven divisions in a book, and then come to Joshua and then will cast lots at Shiloh (peace). Yeshua is our captain and the believer is an heir, and it is in “a book” (Mal 3.16; Phil 4.3 Rev 3.5, 13.8 20.12,15, 21.27) and our inheritance will bring peace. Like Abraham, our inheritance is spread out before us in his word (Gen 13.17).

Now, let’s go over some concepts related to the Mishkan and the bamot (high places). There were two types of bamot. The first one was dedicated to pagan gods and the other one was dedicated to Yehovah. We see the prophets offering korbanot on altars, like Samuel for instance. However, here is a principle. When the Mishkan was at Gilgal the bamot were permitted because the Ark was not there, it was with the army conquering the land. Shiloh with the Ark the high places were forbidden because the Ark was in the Mishkan. All offerings were to be brought there. When the Ark was at Nob the bamot were permitted because there was no Ark (1 Sam 4). When the Mishkan was at Gibeon the bamot were permitted because there was no Ark. It was in a tent in Jerusalem. Once the Ark was in the Temple in Jerusalem the bamot would be forever banned because they have entered into the inheritance of Deut 12.19.

Now the boundaries and cities of Benjamin are discussed in the rest of the chapter. The border on the north side began at the Jordan (a type of death…our inheritance begins there). Ephraim (fruitful) was its border and north is the direction of intelligence, fruitfulness goes with intelligence. Then the border went west and it ended at the wilderness of Beth-aven (house of the stone). Our journey west toward God ends in the “house of the stone” (Messiah).

From there the border continued to Luz (almond tree) to Bethel (house of God) southward (direction of faith) and the border went down to Ataroth-adar (crowns of glory), near the hill on the south of lower Beth-horon (house of caverns). The almond tree speaks of resurrection (Aaron’s rod budded almonds) and it is called the “hastening tree” because it is the first to bud in the spring. We will be resurrected and enter the house of God because we have faith in God. We will receive crowns of Glory and avoid the caverns and burial places of this world.

The border extended from there and turned on the west side side southward, from the hill before Beth-horon southward, and it ended at Kiriath-baal (city of Baal/Lord…Baal means husband and can be a name for the Lord-Hos 2.16) or Kiriath-jearim (city of forests…trees are a type of the believer), a city of the house of Judah (praise). This was the west side. Spiritually, believers (forests) move towards God and the city of their husband offering praise (Judah).

Then the south side (speaks of faith) was from the edge of Kiriath-jearim (city of forests) and the border went west (towards God) to the waters of Nephtoah (open spring). Faith in believers (the forests) cannot survive without insight into the water of the word of God. Then the border went down to the edge of the hill in the valley of Hinnom (drowsy) which is in the valley of Rephaim (giants) northward. It went down to the valley of Hinnom to the slope of the Jebusites (trodden down) to En-rogel (fountain of the traveler). It extended northward (direction of intelligence) and went to En-shemesh (fountain of the sun) and then to Geliloth (circles/eternal) which is opposite the ascent of Adummim (related to the word Adam meaning blood). It went down to the stone of Bohan (thumb). A believer has risen out of death because of the knowledge of God and comes to the fountain of the traveler and the sun (Messiah), which is the word of God. He does not “trample/trodden down” the word of God. We live in God’s borders (Torah) and his love is eternal (circles) to the blooded ones who have life (life in the blood).

The border continued to the side in front of the Arabah (desert wilderness) northward (the world is full of human intelligence) and then went down to the Arabah. It continued to the side of Beth-hoglah (house of the partridge) northward and the border ended at the north bay of the Salt Sea at the south end of the Jordan. This was the south border. This tells us that the Salt Sea and the Jordan are linked. Human wisdom will get you death (Jordan) and the Lake of Fire (Salt Sea). The Jordan (death) was its border on the east side (away from God). This was the inheritance of Benjamin.

In Josh 18.21-28 we have a list of the cities of the tribe of Benjamin so let’s see what they are saying to us. We begin with Jericho (fragrance), then Beth-hoglah (house of the partridge), Emek-keziz (valley of the cutting off), Beth-arabah (desert house), Zemaraim (double fleece of wool, or holiness both inside and out-Isa 1.18, Rev 1.14), Bethel (house of God), Avvim (perverters-Acts 20.30), Parah (heifer.. alludes to red heifer), Ophrah (dustiness). Pervertedness and dustiness can only be changed by Yeshua (the heifer). Other cities include Chephar-ammon (book of the son of the people), Ophni (mouldy), Geba (hill), Gibeon (the hill), Ramah (height), Beeroth (well of living water. The last four sites allude to the fact that Messiah has lifted us and is the well of living water. Then we come to Mizpeh (watch tower), Chephirah (little lioness), Mozah (unleavened), Rekem (vain pictures), Irpeel (God heals), Taralah (release the curse-Rev 22.3), Zelah (rib, side), Haeleph (thousand), Gibeah (hill), Kiriath (city).

We will pick up in Josh 19 in Part 11.

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Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Joshua-Part 9

Josh 16.1-10 deals with the territory of Ephraim and the half-tribe of Manasseh. So, lets deal with each verse and see what they allude to. The other half of Manasseh settled on the east side of the Jordan. It says that this portion, as with the others as well, was apportioned by lot. This was to show that it was the Lord who gave them the land and their inheritance. It is the same way with us. This lot went from the Jordan (death) at Jericho (fragrance) to the waters of Jericho on the east (way from God) into the wilderness (the world is a wilderness) through the hill country (mountain) to Bethel (house of God). Spiritually, this alludes to our inheritance begins at death and our conversion (a fragrance to God), and the waters of death (Jordan) flows through the world on the east (away from God) to the kingdom and the house of God.

It went from Bethel (house of God) to Luz (almond tree) and continued to the border of the Archites (long) at Ataroth (crowns). The almond tree is the first tree to bloom in the spring and speaks of resurrection. our eternal life (long) begins at the resurrection moving west (towards God) and we receive the crown of life. Josh 16.3 says that the border went down westward (towards God) to the territory of the Japhletites (belonging to) as far as lower Beth-horon (cavernous house= where the unbeliever goes at death) to Gezer (cut off= Satan is cut off) and it ended at the sea (humanity is in conflict and we need to be fishers of men-Isa 57.20; Matt 4.18-19).

Josh 16.4 says that Manasseh (to forget= we need to forget the past failures) and Ephraim (fruitful= we need to be fruitful) received their inheritance. Now this was the territory of the sons (our origins go back to the Messiah) of Ephraim. The border of their inheritance eastward was Ataroth (crowns of righteousness-2 Tim 4.8) as far as upper Beth-horon. Then the border went west (towards God) at Michmethath (place of hiding) on the north (direction of wisdom/intellect) and the border turned east (away from God) to Taanath-shiloh (approach to Shiloh= peace) and continue beyond it to the east of Janoah (resting place). Even though a believer turns east he has an opportunity to repent and obtain peace from God and find a resting place.

In Josh 16.7 the border went down from Janoah to Ataroth and to Naarah (maiden) and then reached Jericho and came out at the Jordan. The bride will have a fragrance when she reaches death, what she will be like. Then Josh 16.8 says from Tappuah (cause to breathe= life) the border continued westward (towards God) to the brook of Kanah (place of reeds) and ended at the sea. This was Ephraim’s inheritance. Josh 16.9 says says that this went together with the cities which were set apart for the sons of Ephraim in the “midst” of the inheritance of the sons of Manasseh. This teaches us that fruitfulness (Ephraim) can still be in the midst of forgetfulness in the flesh (Manasseh), the old nature and past failures.

Josh 16.10 says that they did not drive out the Canaanites (trafficker, merchants) who lived in Gezer (cut off), so the Canaanites lived in the midst of Ephraim to this day and they became forced laborers. This tells us what we should do. We need to drive out the spiritual merchants and traffickers, too, or the blessing will be cut off from God.

Now we come to Josh 17.1-18 and the lot (showing that this inheritance was from God) for Manasseh (to forget). He was the firstborn of Joseph (remember, the first born represents the flesh). To Machir (bought/bartered), the firstborn of Manasseh, the father of Gilead, was allotted Gilead (heap of stones/witness) and Bashan (in the tooth, ivory). The believer was bought at Golgotha (heap of witness/stone) by the pure (ivory) word (tooth) of God. In Josh 17.2 it says that a lot was made for the rest of the sons of Manasseh. In verse 3 it says that Zelophedad (dark shadow) did not have any sons, only daughters. So they came before Eleazar the high priest and Joshua to plead for an inheritance, and they were given one among their fathers’ brothers. This is discussed here because it was unusual for women to receive an inheritance. In this case it was more important to have the land stay within the ancestral families than to follow custom. This was already decided upon with Moses back in Num 27.1-11.

In Josh 17.7-13 we have the boundaries of the western half of Manasseh and their incomplete defeat of the land. Ten portions (ten is the number of God’s government) to Manasseh, besides Gilead and Bashan. The border of Manasseh ran from Asher (happy) to Michmethath (place of hiding) which was east (direction away from God) of Shechem (shoulder), then went south (direction of faith) to En-tappuah (fountain of an apple). The land of Tappuah belonged to Manasseh, but Tappuah on the border belonged to Ephraim.

In Josh 17.9 it says that the border went down to the brook Kanah (place of reeds), southward of the brook among the cities of Manasseh, and the border of Manasseh was on the north side (wisdom/intellect) of the brook and it ended at the sea (humanity-Isa 57.20). In verse 10 it says the south side (believers live in faith) belonged to Ephraim (fruitfulness) and the north side (intellect/wisdom) and they reached to Asher (happy) on the north to Issachar (man of hire/work) on the east (away from God). If we devote ourselves to the great work of fishing for men in the sea of humanity we will be happy.

Josh 17.11 tells us that Issachar, Asher and Manasseh had Beth-shean (house of quiet= believers can have peace-Phil 4.7) and its towns and Iblean (he will swallow= reminds us that Satan can ruin us) and its towns, and the inhabitants of Dor (habitation) and its towns, the inhabitants of Endor (fountain of Dor) and its towns and the inhabitants of Taanach (who answers you) and its towns, and the inhabitants of Megiddo (he will afflict you) and its towns, and Napheth (height). But in Josh 17.12 it says that Manasseh could not take possession of these cities because the Canaanite persisted in living in the land. Spiritually, the merchants and the traffickers will always hinder us in the congregations. In Josh 17.13 it says that when Israel became strong they put the Canaanites to forced labor but they did not drive them out completely.

In Josh 17.14-18 the sons of Joseph spoke to Joshua and said that their portion was too small, they were numerous. But Joshua told them to go up to the forest and and clear a place for themselves in the land of the Perizzites (squatters) and of the Rephaim (giants), since the hill country in Ephraim is too narrow. They are like believers today who want more spiritual territory without doing the work. But the sons of Joseph said the hill country was not enough (prayer and study isn’t enough for some) and the Canaanites in the valley of Beth-shean (house of quiet) and Jezreel (God will sow) had chariots. Spiritually, the traffickers in the faith are powerful (have chariots) as they rule but God will sow the good seed of peace and quiet (Psa 46.10). Joshua tells them in verse 17 that they will have another lot because they were too numerous and had great power. We will have our lot on earth, but we will have an additional lot in the Olam Haba. He also said in verse 18 that the hill country (mountain) will be theirs. They will drive out the Canaanites there because Joseph was powerful. This alludes to the fact that the kingdom (seen as a mountain-Dan 2.35; Isa 2.2-4) shall be ours even though the spiritual traffickers and merchants rule now. They will be driven out of the kingdom when Yeshua comes (Zech 14.21; Rev 22.15).

In Part 10 we will pick up in Josh 18.

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Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Joshua-Part 8

We continue with quoting from the book “The Aryeh Kaplan Anthology II” with what the author says about the significance of the boundaries and the search for the site of the Temple and the Altarbased on Josh 15.8 and the boundaries given there. Kaplan continues, “The commandment to build the Temple became an obligation as soon as peace was attained by the king. Such peace was achieved in the time of David. David very much wanted to build the House of God, and the scripture states, “When the king dwelt in his palace and God gave him rest from all his enemies round about, the king said to Nathan the prophet, ‘See now, I live in a house of cedar, but God’s Ark dwells in a curtain tent’ (2 Sam 7.2).”

“David was informed that he could not be the one to build the Temple since his hands were sullied by blood, as he later told his son Solomon, ‘God’s word came to me saying, “You have shed much blood and have made great wars, you shall not build a house to my name, because you have shed much blood in my sight”‘ (1 Chr 22.8). If even lifting iron against a stone renders it unfit for the Altar, how much more so was a king who had shed human blood unfit to build the Temple of God. Still, because David had been the one to occupy the chosen city, he was the one to earn the hereditary royal house of Israel for all time, as God told him through the prophet Nathan, ‘Your throne shall be established forever’ (2 Sam 7.16).”

“The final step was the revelation of the place of the Altar, and the Bible describes this most graphically. God became angry at David and tempted him to count the Israelites, bringing on them a terrible plague. David then prayed to God for forgiveness. He saw an angel standing on the threshing floor of Arnon the Jebusite. The prophet Gad then told David, ‘Go raise an altar to God on the threshing floor of Arnon the Jebusite’ (2 Sam 24.8), and David did so, bringing offerings to God as an atonement.”

“The place of the altar was thus revealed to David. This was the same place where Adam was created, and where he had offered the first sacrifice. There Cain and Abel, as well as Noah had brought offerings to God. On that very spot Abraham had bound his son Isaac when he was commanded by God. When this was revealed to David, he said, ‘This is the house of the Lord, God, and this is the Altar of sacrifice for Israel’ (1 Chron 22.1).”

“One thing that still must be clarified is the reason for the manner in which the place of the Altar was revealed. Why did it have to be revealed through a sin, and only after David’s subsequent repentance? Furthermore, the scripture states that ‘God became angry at Israel’ (2 Sam 24.1), but does not give any reason for it. If one looks at the verse immediately before this, however, one will find a mention of Uriah the Hittite, one of David’s generals. The Midrash states that God became angry at David and Israel because David had caused the death of Uriah. This Uriah was the husband of Bathsheba and when David wished to take Bathsheba for a wife, he sent Uriah to the front where he was killed. The fact that David had sent a man to certain death in order to marry his wife was considered a great wrong, and David was severely rebuked by the prophet Nathan.”

“The main idea of the Altar was that of forgiveness and atonement. Therefore, the episode involving Bathsheba, which was meant to teach the ways of repentance, was ultimately also the means through which the location of the Altar was revealed. It was almost as if the power of repentance revealed by David would be built into the Altar. In a similar vein, it should be noted that it was the son born to David and Bathsheba, Solomon, who eventually built the Temple. But it is important to note exactly how God brought this about. As a result of David’s misdeed with Bathsheba and her husband Uriah, God enticed him to take a census of the Israelites. God caused David to forget the injunction, ‘When you take the sum of the children of Israel, according to their number, then each man shall give a ransom for his soul to God when you number them, that there be no plague among them when you number them’ (Exo 30.12). The atonement in the time of Moses consisted of a half-shekel given toward the building of the Tabernacle. The census was taken by counting the total number of half-shekels, and Moses used this silver to build the foundations of the Tabernacle. As a result, every Israelite had a part in the foundation of the Tabernacle. Furthermore, it is evident that the idea of properly counting the Israelites was very closely related to the building of the Tabernacle and the Temple.”

“Thus, when God was ready to reveal the place of the Altar, he did so by tempting David to commit a wrong very closely related to the sanctuary, namely, counting the Israelites without the atonements of the half-shekel. The sin itself thus was bound to the very foundation of the Temple. When David subsequently repented and was forgiven, his repentance also became a part of the Altar’s foundation. David had thus done everything necessary to find the Altar according to Torah law. First, he sought it for himself. Finally he had been worthy of having the place revealed to him by Gad the prophet. David then bought the place of the Altar from Arnon the Jebusite for fifty shekels. He also collected fifty shekels from each of the twelve tribes of Israel, buying the entire city of Jerusalem from Arnon for 600 shekels. The entire city of Jerusalem thus became the common property of all Israel.”

“Although David could not build the Temple himself, he prepared for its construction, assembling all the necessary materials. David dug the foundations of the Temple, particularly in the place of the Altar. He also gave Solomon a complete written plan of how the Temple should be built, as he had received the tradition from the prophet Samuel and from Ahitofel. David gave the pattern to Solomon, saying, ‘All is in writing, as God has given me wisdom by his hand on me, all the works of this plan’ (1 Chr 28.19).”

“Before David died, he made sure that his son Solomon was anointed as king. This was done on the spring of Gihon in Jerusalem. Solomon took his father’s place as king over all Israel, and one of his first acts was to complete the wall of the Holy City. But Solomon’s greatest accomplishment was the building of the Temple of God, in the exact spot that had been designated by God from the beginning of creation. The Bible thus says, ‘Then Solomon built the house of God in Jerusalem, on Mount Moriah, where there had been a vision to his father, which he prepared in the place of David on the threshing floor of Arnon the Jebusite’ (2 Chr 3.1). Mount Moriah, of course, was the place where Abraham had bound his son Isaac as a sacrifice, and this was the place revealed to David to be the Altar of God.'”

What Rabbi Kaplan did not go on to say in his book is that Yeshua the Messiah was also crucified on Mount Moriah and that is a very important aspect to all of this. Of course, we did not include all the footnotes that are included in the book, so we encourage you get the book and look up the footnotes for yourself in order to see where Rabbi Kaplan documented some of his beliefs and statements.

Josh 15.9-62 gives the cities, villages and regions occupied by the children of Judah, but Josh 15.63 tells us that Jerusalem remained in Canaanite hands for the time being. This refers back to the treaty Abraham had with Abimelech in Gen 21.22-34. But after his posterity had died, they took it (Judges 1.8). Prophetically, this alludes to the fact that there will be no peace in Jerusalem until Messiah comes. Spiritually, Jerusalem is like the heart and until the old nature (the Jebusites) are driven out there will be no peace in a believer.

In Part 9 we will pick up in Josh 16.

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Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Joshua-Part 7

We are going to continue with our look into the book “The Aryeh Kaplan Anthology II” by Aryeh Kaplan to get a better insight into the conquest of the land, the significance of the boundaries and the search for the site of the Temple and the Altar. Kaplan continues, “For the most part, the portion of the tribe of Benjamin was north of that of Judah. In Jerusalem, however, the boundary took a sharp turn southward, cutting the Temple area in half, with the western side in Benjamin’s portion, and the eastern side in that of Judah. When the Temple was later built, the Hall of the Sanhedrin was in the portion of Judah, while the Altar and the Holy of Holies were in that of Benjamin.”

“The eastern part of Jerusalem, occupied by the Philistines, thus fell into the portion of Judah. Because of Abraham’s treaty with Abimelech and the Philistines, the tribe of Judah could not drive them out, and the scripture thus states, ‘The sons of Judah could not drive out the Jebusites, the inhabitants of Jerusalem’ (Josh 15.63. It was not until after the last descendants of Abimelech died after the time of Joshua that the tribe of Judah was able to conquer its portion of the city: ‘The children of Judah fought against Jerusalem and took it, smiting it with the sword and setting the city on fire’ (Judges 1.8).”

“The western part of Jerusalem, which belonged to Benjamin, was inhabited by the Hittite descendants of Ephron, who had made a covenant with Abraham when the cave of Machpelah was purchased. Just as the sale of Machpelah had been permanent, so was this covenant, so the Benjaminites could not drive the Hittites out of their portion of Jerusalem. It is thus written, ‘The children of Benjamin could not drive out the Jebusites who inhabited Jerusalem’ (Judges 1.21). As mentioned earlier, whatever people lived in Jerusalem at the time were called Jebusites, whether they were Philistines or Hittites. Somewhat later, we still find that Jerusalem was not inhabited by Jews, since a Levite said of it, ‘We will not turn aside into a city of a foreigner, which is not of the children of Israel’ (Judges 9.12). We thus see that the original tribes who lived in Jerusalem, the only ones who remained at the time of its conquest were the Hittite and the Amorite, the Philistines having arrived later. This is what the prophet Ezekiel meant when he said of Jerusalem, ‘Your father was an Amorite, and your mother was a Hittite’ (Ezek 16.3,45).”

“No further mention of Jerusalem is found until David’s famous battle, where he defeated the Philistine warrior Goliath. Here the scripture states, ‘David took the head of the Philistine and brought it to Jerusalem’ (1 Sam 17.54). No reason is given; it is certain that David did not know yet that Jerusalem would be the chosen city. It appears, however, that the verse stresses that Goliath was ‘the Philistine’ to teach that David brought his head to Jerusalem to indicate that Abraham’s covenant with the Philistines was no longer in force, since the Philistines had been the ones to initiate the war against the Israelites. Although the treaty had been breached in the time of Judah’s conquest of Jerusalem, and had been dishonored by the Philistines during their battles with Samson, the bringing of Goliath’s head to Jerusalem was a concrete symbol that the covenant was no longer in force.”

“Even though the place for the Temple ultimately had to be revealed prophetically, there was still an obligation for the one designated to found the royal line to attempt to find it logically. All his life, David sought this sacred place. and we thus find (Psals 132.2-5): ‘David swore to God, made a vow to the Mighty One of Jacob: I will not come in a tent as my house, I will not climb into my made bed, I will not allow my eyes to sleep, I will not let my eyelids rest, until I find the place of God, the dwelling of the Mighty One of Jacob.’ David called God ‘the Mighty One of Jacob’ in this psalm. This alludes to the fact that the place he sought was that of the Holy of Holies, which had been revealed to Jacob.”

Saul was king over Israel at this time, and being jealous of David, he sought to kill him. David escaped to Ramah, where he stayed with the prophet Samuel. Earlier, Samuel had already anointed David as the future king, but there was still the requirement that the king find the place of the Altar. David and Samuel carefully went over all the traditions in order to ascertain logically the precise spot. Although Samuel was the greatest prophet of the time and guided David so that the latter would find the promised place.”

“They knew the tradition that the Sanhedrin would have to be in the portion of Judah, near the Altar and the Holy of Holies was to be in the portion of Benjamin. It was therefore obvious that they would have to search along the border between Judah and Benjamin. They also knew that it would have to be the highest place on this border, since with regard to the Sanhedrin the Torah states, ‘You shall rise and go up to the place that the Lord your God shall choose’ (Deut 17.8). Samuel also knew that the secret of the chosen place had to be revealed to Joshua, so they carefully looked at the description of the border between Judah and Benjamin as described in the book of Joshua. Here they saw that the border ‘went upward’ as far as the ‘mountain overlooking the valley of Ben-Hinnom’ (Josh 15.8), which is the highest place on the border. It was thus ascertained that the mountain upon which the Temple would be built was in Jerusalem, and all that was needed now was to determine the precise place of the Altar.”

“Saul was later killed in battle and at the age of thirty, David was crowned king of his tribe Judah in Hebron. There he remained for seven years until the time became ripe for him to take Jerusalem. There was a tradition that the one who would conquer the chosen city would inherit the royal house of Israel for all time. David had already determined the place, and before he went forth to Jerusalem, he was anointed by all Israel as king.”

“By force, David occupied the eastern half of Jerusalem, where the Philistines originally lived, and which had earlier been captured and destroyed by the tribe of Judah. Since the place of the Altar could not be tainted by blood, he did not attack the western half in the portion of Benjamin, but he did remove the monuments containing Abraham’s treaty, which had been erected by the Hittite sons of Ephron. This was enough to indicate that David was in control of the city and thus established himself in the hereditary role of king. David also reunited the two parts of the city and built a wall around it.”

“There was no state of war between David and the Hittites; we later find that the Israelites dwelt together with them in peace. David’s conquest of the Philistine portion of Jerusalem, however, was seen as an act of war, and soon after this we find that they began to wage war against David in the valley of Raphaim, which was to the south of Jerusalem. After all these wars, David finally brought the Ark of God to Jerusalem, knowing that it was the chosen city. He set aside a special place for the Ark, as we find, ‘They brought the Ark of God and set it in its place; in the midst of the tent that David had made for it’ (2 Sam 6.17). A place for the Altar had not yet been determined, however, and they still sacrificed in Gibeon, outside of Jerusalem. Whenever David acquired gold or precious things in his conquests, he brought them to Jerusalem to be dedicated to the House of God that would be built there.”

In Part 8 we will pick up here and find out how David found the place site for the Altar.

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Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Joshua-Part 6

Josh 14.1-15 tells us about the division of the land on the western side of the Jordan and Caleb’s request. These borders will have names and places that will represent the things that mark the “borders” between a believer and an unbeliever as we pass through the world. For that reason, it would be a good idea to look up the meanings of all these names and places here. Joshua will be a type of the Yeshua as the captain of the armies of the Lord, and Eleazar the priest typifies him as our high priest. Believers in Yeshua are heirs of the blessings of God and these verses allude to that. The land on the western side of the Jordan does not typify “heaven” but the spiritual realm that believers can enter in this world. The heads of the households of the tribes are a type of the elders who lead and teach from God’s word into God’s inheritance today.

Moses had given the inheritance of the two tribes and the half tribe beyond the Jordan. BY half tribe we mean half of the tribe lived on the east side of the Jordan. The east side of the Jordan alludes to believers still on earth who have not entered the spiritual realm. The sons of Joseph (God will add) were two tribes, Manasseh (forget) and Ephraim (fruitful). They did not give an inheritance of the land to the tribe of Levi (to join). What this alludes to is God will add (Joseph) fruitfulness (Manasseh) by causing believers to forget (Ephraim) the past and be joined (Levi) to God. We make ourselves heirs to a richer inheritance in Yeshua (14.3-4).

Now we come to Caleb (dog), the son of Yephunneh (he will be prepared) the Kenizzite (the nest sprinkled) and he comes to Joshua in Gilgal (roll away) and remembers the promise of Moses (Deut 1.35-36), and makes a case to have the hill country given to him. Joshua knows that what Caleb is saying is true and gives him Hebron as an inheritance. Caleb is eighty-five years old by this time and yet he is as strong as before, and he wants to stay in the fight and drive out the Anakim there. This alludes to the fact that as we grow older we should never grow weaker in the Lord. A believer comes to Yeshua (Joshua) who has been sprinkled by the blood and their sin has been rolled away (Gilgal)

It is believed by some scholars that Caleb may have been a non-Jew. He was adopted into the tribe of Judah by marriage or conversion. His father Yephunneh may have been a descendant of Kenaz (Gen 36.10-11) and Kenaz was a descendant of Esau. Because Caleb was faithful he received an inheritance (Josh 15.13, 21.12). If he is a non-Jew there is an underlying message here. He is a picture of the non-Jews who will receive an inheritance as member of the commonwealth of Israel (Eph 2.11-22; Gal 3.7, 3.29).

In Josh 15.1-63 tells us about the boundaries of the tribe of Judah. It also deals with the assignment of Hebron to Caleb. Othniel, the son of Kenaz and brother of Caleb, captured Kiriath-Sepher (city of engraving/writing). It was renamed “Debir” (word). We must capture the writing of the Torah and get to a proper understanding. The Holy of Holies was also called the Debir (1 Kings 6.19) because Yehovah spoke from there (Exo 25.22). The source of true knowledge is the Word of God..

In Josh 15.8 we have a very interesting verse. It talks about the border of Judah and how it went up the valley of Hinnom to the slope of the Jebusite on the south (the direction of faith). Then the border went to the top of the mountain which is before the valley of Hinnom to the west, which is at the end of the valley of Rephaim toward the north (direction of worldly wisdom and intellect). This verse is telling us something very interesting. In order to understand its meaning we are going to need some information first.

We are going to quote from a book called “The Aryeh Kaplan Anthology II”, pages 65-71. This will give us some information on the conquest of the land and the significance of the boundaries listed here. This was used later to search for the proper site of the Temple and the altar, and Josh 15.8 figured into that search. Rather than comment on these passages (v 1-8), let’s get into the book and quote from it exclusively in order to properly get what the author was saying which will give us the needed insight. Then we will pick up with the rest of the chapter (v 9-63).

Kaplan says, “Moses did not live to enter the Promised Land; his disciple Joshua led the Israelites in the occupation. Even though Joshua knew that the Jerusalem would be the chosen city, he did not reveal this to any of the tribes. This would have to wait until the permanent royal line was chosen, which did not occur until the time of David. The first city in the Promised Land that the Israelites conquered was Jericho. Almost as soon as they entered the land, Joshua put aside the choicest fields near Jericho, later to be traded to the tribes in whose territory the chosen city would fall. This choice field was selected before the land was divided among the tribes; as territory common to them all, it was given over to the children of Moses’ father-in-law Jethro for safe keeping.”

“The Torah itself prescribes this as a method through which Jerusalem should be chosen. In one place it states that the chosen place will be from “all your tribes” (Deut 12.5). Elsewhere, however, the Torah states that it will be “in one of your tribes” (Deut 12.14). The Torah is speaking of the place of sacrifice (the altar) and initially, when the land was first divided, it would be in the portion of just one of the tribes, Benjamin. Then, however, it would be exchanged for the fields of Jericho, so that ultimately it would belong to all the tribes. Thus, when Jerusalem was eventually chosen and consecrated, it became the common property of all the tribes of Israel. As one place common to all, it had a strong effect in uniting the tribes.”

“It is in the book of Joshua that the first mention of Jerusalem occurs in the Bible. Here we see that Adoni-tzedek, king of Jerusalem, was involved in a battle with Joshua’s forces and is defeated. It is significant to note the remembrance of the name Adoni-tzedek to Melchi-tzedek, the title given to Shem when he became king of Jerusalem. This is because Jerusalem itself was called ‘Tzedek’ (righteousness) as discussed earlier, and Adoni-tzedek means ‘the lord of Tzedek.’ It was during the battle with Adoni-tzedek and his confederates that the Bible tells us the sun stood still for Joshua, aiding him in winning this battle.”

“The book of Joshua describes Adoni-tzedek as an Amorite king, so it appears that it was under the Amorites that the two parts of Jerusalem were united (Josh 10.5). As discussed earlier, the western part of Jerusalem was Jeru (Yeru), while the eastern part was known as Salem (Shalem). When the Amorite kings consolidated the two parts of the city, they also combined the names, calling the place Yeru-Shalem.”

“From certain traditions, it appears that the Jebusites, who had made Jerusalem their capital, had left some fifteen years before Joshua’s conquest, and were replaced by the Philistine descendants of Abimelech. The Philistines lived in Salem, the eastern district of Jerusalem, while the Hittite descendants of Ephron lived in the western half. By the time of Joshua’s conquest, Jerusalem had already been united by the Amorite kings, and had been fortified and surrounded by a single wall. After Joshua defeated the Amorites, it appears that Jerusalem again became divided into two districts.”

“Although Joshua defeated the king of Jerusalem, he did not make any attempt to conquer the city itself. This was because it was still protected by two covenants made by Abraham, one to Abimelech and the Philistines, and the other to Ephron and the Hittites. These ancient tribes were to have an important effect in giving Jerusalem special status.”

“Joshua then divided the land among the twelve tribes, according to a lottery and by the Urim and Thummim. Looking at the border of Judah’s portion, we see that it runs right through Jerusalem: ‘The border went up by the valley of Ben-Hinnom, to the shoulder of the Jebusite from the south, this is Jerusalem, and the boundary went up to the top of the mountain which overlooks the valley of Hinnom to the west’ (Josh 15.8). The mountain mentioned here is the Temple Mount, so we see that the boundary cuts right through the Temple area in Jerusalem. In describing the boundary of Benjamin, where the border runs from west to east, the scriptures states, ‘The boundary descended to the edge of the mountain that overlooks the valley of Ben-Hinnom, to the shoulder of the Jebusite to the south.'”

In Part 7 we will pick up here with more commentary from the book by Aryeh Kaplan on Josh 15.8.

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Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Joshua-Part 5

Josh 12.1-24 gives an account of all the victories made by Israel in the time of Moses and Joshua. This conquest took seven years and this alludes to the seven year Chevlai Shell Mashiach, or Birth-pains of the Messiah. We know from these verses that the Lord will always fight for those who are his people and that the kingdoms of this world will be given into the hand of his Messiah during the Birth-pains.

Israel possessed the land beyond the Jordan toward the west, from the valley of the Arnon (“shout for joy” alluding to being in Messiah) and the Arabah to the east, signifying the world (12.1). Remember, west is the direction towards God, the east is away from God. South is the direction of faith and north is the direction of reason and the intellect. Israel on the east side is a picture of believers in the world. To possess the west side pictures believers who enter the spiritual realm in the world. They had to leave their families, flocks and comforts to go to war for seven years. God’s affairs came first and they also show the Messiah who “crossed over” the Jordan (death) to secure the promises. They had to cross over the Jordan a second time to go back home, a type of second resurrection.

They defeated Sihon, king of the Ammorites. His name means “sweeping away” and this alludes to the sweeping away of false doctrines. The first enemy a new believer faces is false doctrine. He lived in Heshbon meaning “reason” but this is a false reason. He ruled from Aroer (ruins) which is on the edge of the Arnon (“I shall shout for joy” in Messiah), both the middle of the valley and half of Gilead (heap of witness). Satan rules over some spiritual territory and this alludes to Sihon being close to the Messiah (Arnon) but in ruins because he is not in Messiah (Aroer).

They also took the land as far as the Sea of Chinneroth toward the east and as far as the Arabah even the Salt Sea eastward, toward Beth-jeshimoth (house of desolation) and on the south at the foot of the slopes of Pisgah (ravines, cleft). Chinneroth means “harps” and this alludes to the fact that Satan influences worship away from God (the east) towards death and desolation (Jordan). Moses saw the land there. The harlot is a spoiler with false doctrine and it is impossible for a believer to fully see the Messiah and the promises fully when involved with her.

The territory of Og the king of Bashan was also taken. Og means “oven cake” and alludes to the earth. It has been hardened by the fire of the Ruach Ha Kodesh and has been seared. He was a remnant of the Rephaim who lived in Ashtaroth (mind readers) and Edrei (good pasture). Being a giant didn’t save him. He also ruled over Mount Hermon which means “devoted to destruction or banned by God” (worldly wisdom and “mind readers” are banned by God) and Salecah (walk) and all of Bashan (fertile) as far as the border of the Geshurites (bridge) and the Maacathites (castration).

Moses gave this land to the Reubenites, the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh as a possession. Josh 12.7-24 then gives a list of all the kings that were defeated by the Joshua. Let’s look at what these names mean and see how they relate to the victory Yeshua has purchased for us. We have the king of Jericho (city of the moon = the moon is a type of the believer and alludes to the Olam Haba); the king of Ai (heap = the world); the king of Jerusalem (he sees peace); the king of Hebron (communion/fellowship); the king of Jarmuth (death cast down); the king of Lachish (man’s walk); the king of Eglon (bull/calf); the king of Gezer (cut off); the king of Debir (word); the king of Geder (wall); the king of Hormath (destruction); the king of Arad (wild ass, fugitive); the king of Libnah (white); the king of Adullam (testimony); the king of Makkedah (crookedness, worshiping); the king of Bethel (house of God); the king of Tappuah (apple); the king of Hepher (pit); the king of Aphek (riverbed, fortress); the king of Lasharon (plain, level); the king of Madon (place of judgment); the king of Hazor (trumpet); the king of Shimron-meron (place of watching); the king of Achshaph (sorcery); the king of Taanach (who humbles you); the king of Megiddo (invading); the king of Kedesh (holy, set apart); the king of Jokneam (possessing, building up the people) in Carmel (garden); the king of Dor (habitation); the king of Goyim (nations) in Gilgal (roll away) and the king of Tirzah (she is my delight).

In Josh 13.1-33 we have the rest of the remaining land to be conquered and the allotments on the east side of the Jordan to the Reubenites, the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh. These tribes are a type of the believer still on earth (east side) and the tribes on the west side are believers who have entered the promises in the spiritual realm on earth. Joshua is old and the Lord tells him that much of the land still needed to be possessed (v 2-7). This alludes to Yeshua at the end of the Birth-pains who will still have much to do when the False Messiah and the nations are defeated and all is accomplished at the end of the Atid Lavo (The Future Age; Day of the Lord). The Lord gives us more insight as to why there was still nations to be defeated in Judges 3.1-2 which says, “Now these are the nations which the Lord left, to test Israel by them (that is, all who had not experienced any of the wars of Canaan; only in order that the generations of the sons of Israel might be taught war) those who had not experienced it formerly.”

This is what is called “Morehet Karav” or the “heritage of war.” This is spiritual warfare (look up the word “service” in Num 4.3). Warfare doesn’t build character, it reveals it. Yeshua has defeated all enemies but they are not destroyed because the Lord wants to teach us warfare. In Josh 13.22 we learn that the sons of Israel also killed Balaam (“destruction of the people”) the son of Beor (a burning), the diviner, with the sword. He did not go back home after his dealings with Balak but returned to Midian to receive his payment after hearing that his counsel to trap Israel had worked in Num 25. He received the same judgment the Midianites did.

The Levites did not receive an inheritance in the land, but Yehovah is their inheritance. They were set apart to lead the people in worship, to teach the Torah and bring true worship to God. Torah-based believers in Yeshua can closely identify with the Levites as opposed to the other tribes because the Lord is our inheritance (Eph 1.11; Col 1.12; 1 Pet 1.4) and Israel (and believers) as a nation were called priests in Exo 19.6 and 1 Pet 2.5 because they were set apart from the other nations. They are also called “holy” (has a kedusha on them) because they had a commission to lead the world to an understanding of the Lord, the Messiah, the redemption and true worship. Torah-based believers have the same calling.

We will pick up here in Part 6.

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Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Joshua-Part 4

Josh 10.1-27 deals with Adoni-zedek, the king of Jerusalem, and four other kings who will come against Joshua and Israel. He will be a picture of the False Messiah. Jerusalem will be a picture of the human heart that will know no peace until Yeshua reigns there. The False Messiah will oppose Yeshua as he comes to take the land (v 1-5). It will also deal with Joshua’s conquest of the land.

The men of Gibeon sent word to Joshua to come and help them, so Joshua went from Gilgal with all the people of war, all the valiant warriors (10.7). This alludes to the point when we realize that only Yeshua can save us and we are weak in ourselves. Yehovah said to Joshua, “Do not fear them for I have given them into your hands.” Satan could not defeat Yeshua alone, so how can he stand now that he is resurrected and has an army. This also alludes to when Yeshua comes with his army of glorified believers to take possession of the land from the False Messiah.

As Joshua confronts these kings, he devastates them. God threw great hailstones from heaven against them, and more died from the hailstones than from the sword. God’s power will also manifest itself in the birth-pains and will be available to those who believe. Yehovah even made the sun stand still in an answer to a prayer by Joshua. This gave him more time to defeat these enemies. Yeshua and the Kahal (believers in his congregation) will also overcome numerous nations during the conquest of the land during the birth-pains (10.12-15).

The five kings fled into a cave in Makkedah (place of shepherds) in the Shephelah (lowland, foothills) Valley or hilly lowland. Caves were used as burial places, so this is a type of “burial.” The flesh always tries to hide from Yeshua. But Joshua found out and rolled large stones against the mouth of the cave. Yehovah and Yeshua are both seen as a “stone” or “rock” in the Scriptures. This also alludes to having the flesh imprisoned and cutting off its activity, and we must guard against its escape.

After the fighting was over, they came back to the cave in peace. They opened the cave and brought out the five kings. They will be judged openly before the people, and they stepped on their necks. He tells them not to be afraid in future battles because the Lord is going to do this to all their enemies. Joshua kills them and hung them on trees until evening (Deut 24.23). They took them down and put their bodies in the cave they had been hiding in, and buried them. This alludes to what will happen at the end of the birth-pains as Yeshua makes his way to Jerusalem. He confronts the “king of Jerusalem” (the False Messiah) and those with him. He will defeat them and they will be judged before the people. Joshua continues to defeat the inhabitants in the south (10.29-43) and after this was done, he returns to Gilgal with the army.

Josh 11.1-23 deals with the conquest of the northern parts of Canaan. The kings in the north came together against Israel. This army of the enemy is going to be much larger than what Israel had seen before. But the Lord told Joshua to hamstring their horses and burn their chariots with fire. This teaches us to have no confidence in worldly might and wisdom. So, Joshua attacked them suddenly and the Lord delivered them into their hands and no survivor was left. In our spiritual battles, we need to attack suddenly with truth and the word will judge the unbeliever so that they cannot stand (John 12.47-48). If the enemy can’t stop your faith (Joshua’s victory in the south, the direction of faith, then he will corrupt our wisdom (the north is the direction of wisdom and reason).

Joshua hamstrung their horses and burned their chariots according to the word of the Lord. This tells us that we are not to rely on the weapons of the world, but on the word of the Lord. The Joshua turned back to defeat Hazor, the head of the northern kings. He utterly destroyed them all and all the cities of the kings. The word was obeyed and it gave them the victory, just like when we obey and we have victory over the world. Israel did not burn their cities that stood on mounds, except Hazor. Joshua is following the pattern set in Exo 23.29-30 by taking the land “little by little.” All the spoil of these cities, the cattle and other things, the sons of Israel took as plunder. We shouldn’t be afraid of taking the spoils. These are things in this world that we can use for the Lord and for what he calls us to do.

Now, the Lord had commanded Moses, and Moses commanded Joshua, and Joshua did it. He left nothing undone of all that the Lord had commanded Moses. Moses is a type of the Messiah who leads the people out of bondage, and Joshua is a picture of the resurrected Messiah (crossed the Jordan) who leads his people into the Olam Haba.

In Josh 11.16-20 it says Joshua will have a complete victory over the land of Canaan, just like Yeshua will. Let’s look at some of the names here and spiritually apply them. He had victory over the mountain country, a picture of earthly power, and the Negev (south is the area of faith). He also took Goshen so that we can “draw near to God.” The lowland (valley) is where we serve and bear fruit. He took everything from Mount Halak (smooth, bald) in the south (the area of faith) to Seir (shaggy goat), even as far as Baal-Gad (Lord of the troop, a type of worldly reason) in the valley of Lebanon (whiteness, self-righteousness)) in the north, at the foot of or under Mount Hermon (devoted to destruction, banned). So, spiritually this alludes to our life being between reason (Baal-gad) and faith (Mount Halak) and it is in our control. Satan rules over the “troops” (Baal-gad) who are in service (the valley) in self-righteousness (Lebanon). But they are devoted to judgment (under Mount Hermon).

There was not a city which made peace with Israel, except the Hivites in Gibeon, they took them all in battle. It was of the Lord to harden their hearts to meet Israel in battle in order that he might destroy them and that they receive no mercy. This is similar to what the Lord did with Pharaoh in order to fulfill his purposes in Egypt.

Josh 11,21-23 says that Joshua came and cut off the Anakim from the mountain country. Anakim means “long-necked” and this is symbolic of pride. He also cut them off in Hebron (communion) and from Debir (word). He also cut them off from Anab (grape, fruit bearing). What is this saying spiritually to us? Pride (Anakim) has no place in the life of our communion with God, his word and our fruit-bearing. There was no Anakim left in the land of Israel, only in Gaza (strong), Gath (wine-press, a type of sensual joy) and Ashdod (I will spoil). Spiritually, the Philistines (“wallower”) are a type of apostasy and it is alive and has power and is strong. It gives us a false, sensual joy and spoiling men by wallowing in false doctrine (2 Pet 2.22).

Joshua took the whole land according to all the Lord spoke to Moses. Joshua gave it as an inheritance to Israel according to their divisions by their tribes, and the land rested. Yeshua’s victory does this also, and as the land rested under Joshua, so will the whole earth rest under Yeshua in the Olam Haba.

We will pick up in Josh 12.1-24 in Part 5.

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Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Joshua-Part 3

In Josh 8.1-29 turns his attention again to Ai and defeats them. This is seen as a type of the coming judgment of the world when Messiah comes. Joshua sends out 30,000 warriors at night. The number 3 is the number of resurrection and only those who have passed from death unto life can participate in the defeat of the world’s system with Yeshua, and Yeshua overcame the darkness to bring the victory. Joshua tells some of the men to wait to ambush the city from behind, and this speaks of how we need to wait on the Lord in our spiritual battles, as well. God is going to deliver the city by his word and power and there will be a complete victory.

So Joshua sent the men away and put them between Ai (heap of ruins) on the east and Bethel (house of God) on the west. This is the spiritual position of every believer waiting at “night” with the world (Ai is a heap of ruins) on our east (away from God) and Bethel, the house of God, on the west (approaching God). Joshua spent that night in the valley. Yeshua was sent into the valley of death at night, also.

Now, the King of Ai (type of Satan) saw Israel he went out to meet them at the appointed place. Satan tried to stop Yeshua at the appointed place of Golgotha. Joshua acted like he was defeated (v 15) and it appeared that Yeshua was defeated also. The king sent out all the men to confront Joshua as he was running away, but that was the plan, as soon as they left the city God told Joshua to stretch out his javelin towards the city and God would give it to him, and so Joshua did.

When the army of Ai left, Israel set fire to the city, the rest of the army saw the smoke, turned around and utterly destroyed the army of Ai who were pursuing them. They captured the king alive and brought him to Joshua. Satan will be brought to Yeshua and bound (Rev 20.1-3), and the army of Ai was killed, as will the unbelievers when Yeshua returns. 12,000 men and women fell from Ai that day, and the number 12 is the number of Divine government. Israel took all the cattle and the spoil from the city, just like Israel will inherit the wealth of the nations. They hanged the king on a tree until evening, and then at sunset he was taken down and they threw it at the entrance of the city and raised a heap of stones over it. The gate is a place of government, and this showed his government had ended.

In Josh 8.30-35 we learn something interesting. Joshua has built an altar on Mount Ebal, just as Moses commanded him (Deut 27.1-26), and they offered korbanot on it. Then it says that Joshua “wrote down” a copy of the Torah in the presence of the people. No hint of an Oral Torah here. Then he read “all the words of the law, the blessing and the curse, according to all that is written in the book of the law. There was not one word of all that Moses had commanded which Joshua did not read before all the assembly of Israel with the women and the little ones and the stranger who were living among them” (Josh 8.34-35). There is no hint of an Oral Law even in existence in these verses.

As we can see, Joshua is a type of Yeshua the Messiah. Israel has come out of Egypt (sin), drossed the Red Sea (immersion and resurrection into a new life), gone into the wilderness (the world), crossed the Jordan (death) and entered Canaan (the promised land in a hostile world). We are in the midst of the chapters that deal with the conquest of the land (Chapters 6-12). Then we will have the distribution of the land (Chapters 13-21, the separation of the peaceful tribes (Chapter 22) and the parting address of Joshua (Chapter 23-24).

The Canaan side will be a picture of the realm of faith where the flesh still exists. God’s purpose for Israel was not only to bring them out of Egypt, but to bring them into the promises. Canaan does not picture “heaven.” It had giants, enemies and walled cities. The Lord doesn’t just save us from sin, but he will deliver us in our lives as we battle opposing armies and forces.

Josh 9.1-27 tells us the story of the Gibeonites, but lets look at some idioms. In 9.1 the hill country (mountain) symbolize a place of separation and can mean powerful kings or kingdoms. The valley is a symbol of fruitfulness and service. The sea is a type of the unconverted masses (Isa 57.20) and Lebanon means “white” and is a symbol of righteousness. It is in the north which is a type of worldly wisdom. We have already gone over the meaning of the nations mentioned there.

Now, the news of the victorious Israelites has spread, and the inhabitants of Gibeon heard that Joshua was coming, and that Jericho and Ai had fallen. So, they disguised themselves and deceived Joshua into making a covenant with them, allowing them to live. Joshua did not seek the counsel of the Lord. Israel was given the task of destroying the inhabitants of the land and they just made a covenant not to do what God wanted. This is going to cause a lot of trouble in the coming years (Deut 27.10-18).

How often have we as believers hurt ourselves by having relationships that are not consistent with the Torah? We enter into covenants with people who support false religions, worldly people and worldly designs. These relationships will always hinder us. The Gibeonites gave a false profession and human reasoning will hinder our joy and peace. They showed Joshua their crumbled bread, which is a fitting symbol of the spiritual food of an unbeliever (9.12).

Joshua eventually finds out that the Gibeonites deceived him, but because of the covenant, he will not kill them. So, they make them hewers of wood and drawers of water for the whole congregation, the Mishkan and later the Temple. The Gibeonites said they feared Israel and their lives, and they were in Joshua’s hands. But, in a way, this is also a picture of the unbeliever coming to Yeshua. So, let’s look at this event at a different angle.

They appear before Joshua in worn-out rags, which pictures the unbeliever appearing before Yeshua in the filthy rags their self-righteousness. The moldy bread of false religion will not keep them alive or sustain them. They admit they are in need of some help and have a healthy fear of Joshua, and will be servants. Joshua (Yeshua) makes a covenant of peace with them. Even though Joshua curses them in v 23 after he finds out about their ruse, we don’t believe he speaks for God here. The Lord protects them from angry Canaanites in Chapter 10 and they will serve the Mishkan and called the “Temple servants” or Nethanim” in 1 Chr 9.2, Ezra 2.43, 58, 8.20. The Mishkan will eventually be set up in Gibeon (2 Chr 1.13). Now, they are going to be a picture of the believer coming to the Lord and serving. They believed the word of God and they had a healthy fear of God (9.24). They placed themselves into the hands of Joshua and were submitted to him and cut wood and drew water for the congregation and the altar. We have placed our lives into Yeshua’s hands and we “cut wood” (humanity must be cut down by the word) and “draw the water” of the word which cleanses. This is our ministry in the assembly.

We will pick up here in Part 4.

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Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Joshua-Part 2

The priests will enter the Jordan on Nisan 10 (Josh 1.11, 3.2, 4.19) and Nisan 10 is the day that Yeshua rode into Jerusalem as the Passover lamb, and it will be the exact half-way point of the Birth-pains. The False Messiah will also enter Jerusalem and kill the two witnesses (Rev 11.1-14). Then he will declare himself God and “Jesus” in the Temple. Israel will flee into the wilderness of Jordan, from Pella to the south of Petra for the remaining 1260 days of the Birth-pains.

But, in Josh 3.12-17 we have another picture. It is springtime and the Jordan River has overflowed its banks (3.15). The people at Jericho know that a large army is approaching their city but they felt temporarily secure because they did not think anyone could cross the flooded Jordan. But as soon as the priests touched the edge of the Jordan the waters stopped flowing down, and they rose up in a heap going all the way back to a place called Adam, which is by Zarethan, and those flowing down toward the Arabah and the Dead Sea (3.16). This enabled Israel to cross the Jordan opposite Jericho. Now, what is being communicated here.

The flooding of the waters is a picture of death that has flooded mankind, but Yeshua (Joshua) has stopped that going back to Adam, the first man, which is by Zarethan, which means “distress” and man dwells beside “distress” and is always close to death (Jordan). But death has been cut off (3.16) for those in faith going all the way from Adam to the Salt Sea, called the Dead Sea or Lake of Fire (3.16). But, there is only one place to cross, only one way to enter death safely, and that is with Yeshua (Joshua) leading us (John 14.16; Acts 16.31). One day we will all come to the Jordan. Without Yeshua there is no safe crossing place..

Josh 4.1-24 has the story of the twelve stones that were taken from the middle of the Jordan. The stones were symbolic of the twelve tribes and were taken and placed where Israel lodged after crossing the Jordan. They were set up as a “mazavot” or memorial. In Matt 3.9 Yochanon Ha Matvil (John the Baptist) is immersing people in the Jordan and he says that “God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham.” Many believe the stones he is referring to are the twelve stones for the twelve tribes placed there by Joshua near the Jordan.

The place they were set up is called Gilgal (4.19-20) on the eastern edge of Jericho. This memorial was there to inform their children that “Israel crossed this Jordan on dry ground.” In Josh 5.1-12 we learn that Israel is going to be circumcised a second time (5.2). But when were they circumcised the first time? This alludes to the “circumcision of the heart” (Deut 10.16, 30.6). Those circumcised were the ones born in the wilderness (5.5). This circumcision is done at Gilgal, which means to “roll away” (5.9). Gilgal is related to the Hebrew “gulgoleth” (Num 1.2; 1 Chr 23.3, 24; 2 Kings 9.35) and the word “Golgotha” where Yeshua was crucified. It was called that because it was a little knoll “rounded” like a bare skull. His death “rolled away” our sin and the curse of the law (death). We are no longer “under arrest or indictment” and we can have the “circumcision of the heart.” Being “born again” is synonymous with the circumcision of the heart.

In Josh 5.13-15 we learn that Joshua is near Jericho when he see a man with a sword drawn. Joshua asks him if he is for Israel or their enemies. The man tells him that he is the captain of the armies of Yehovah. Joshua is to remove his sandals because he is standing on “adamat kodesh” or “holy ground” because this place had a kedusha on it because Jericho has been set apart to God and will be given to Israel. This being is called the “captain of the armies” and could be an angel sent by God as a shaliach (agent), or this is a “theophany” where God appears in human form, like he did with Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses Aaron, Samuel, David, Solomon and others. We believe this is a theophany. God could be seen and heard and he took upon himself a literal physical form. He is called Yehovah in Josh 6.2. However, a theophany is not an incarnation because even though it was all God, it was not all man in the flesh. The incarnation is “very God and very man.” Joshua falls down and worships this captain, which one is never to do if it is an angel (Rev 22.8-9).

Josh 6.1-27 tells us about the fall of Jericho. Jericho symbolizes the world and the seven day siege here is a picture of the Birth-pains where we have the destruction of the non-Jewish powers before entering into the land of the Messianic Kingdom. Israel was to march around the city once a day for six days with the Ark. Yeshua will be presented for seven years before final judgment falls in the seventh year. On the seventh day they were to march around the city seven times, then they were to blow trumpets of ram’s horns (the shofarot symbolize their testimony in pronouncing judgment). After that, the people were to shout (teruah) and then the wall of the city would fall flat (6.3-5). So for six days the people did what was commanded. The armed men (believers armed with a thorough knowledge of the word) went before the ark, then seven priests with trumpets before the ark, and then a rear guard. They were not to shout or let their voices be heard until the right time which tells us that our message is to be nothing more or nothing less than what God tells us to say. They continued to do this for six days. Then it came to the seventh day, which was the seventh day of Hag Ha Matzah. This was Nisan 21, the seventh day of the festival and the city was put under a ban (Lev 27.28-29). All that is within the city belonged to the Lord, except Rahab and all who are with her in the house (6.17).

The city was seen as the “first fruits” to God from the land, so the people were to avoid taking anything for themselves. All the silver, gold, bronze and iron would go into the treasury of Yehovah (6.19). The people took the city and Rahab and her family are delivered (6.23). In Josh 6.26 Joshua made the people take an oath, “Cursed before Yehovah is the man who rises up and builds this city Jericho; with the loss of his first-born he shall lay its foundation and with the loss of his youngest son he shall set up its gates.” Hiel is from Bethel and he tried to rebuild Jericho during the reign of King Ahab hundreds of years later, and this curse was fulfilled (1 Kings 16.34). This does not mean that Jericho would never be built again because the curse only referred to the one who attempted to rebuild it.

Josh 7.1-26 tells us the story of Achan (troubler) and why Israel was put to flight after Jericho at a city named Ai (7.1). This will teach us the concept of “communal responsibility.” Joshua sent some of the army against Ai and they were defeated. But the number didn’t matter, they could sent one and Ai would have been defeated. The point is, they went as God directed. Thirty-six (6 x 6 = six is the number of man and sin) Israelis were killed and Joshua inquired of the Lord about what happened. Joshua learns that it was not God’s unfaithfulness that was the problem, it was that Israel violated the ban on Jericho by taking something. Notice he says, “Israel has sinned” not just one man. A little leaven can leaven the whole loaf (1 Cor 5.6). Someone took something that belonged to God. Joshua tears his garment because there was a “tear” in the righteousness of Israel.

As a result of this sin, they had no power before their enemies, so this needed to be dealt with. The Lord begins a process of identifying the guilty party by passing before the Lord, starting with the tribe, then the family, then the household, then the individuals. A man named Achan is identified as the one who took something that was under the ban, and he confesses. Thirty-six people died because he took a Babylonian garment. This alludes to the Babylonian religion and its false righteousness (garment) which has caught the eye of many, despising God’s word about it (false religion), two hundred shekels of silver (a type of man’s effort to enter into the redemption) and a wedge of gold weighing fifty shekels (gold is the metal of deity). 1 Tim 6.10 reminds us about the love of money being at the root of all kinds of evil. Achan felt terrible after he got caught, but maybe he should have felt as terrible before he did it. Maybe we should all feel as terrible before we commit a sin as we do after we do it! Joshua has a word play on his name in verse 25, and lived up to his name. Achan is stoned in the Valley of Achor (trouble), along with his possessions, because of the singular (“you, you, him, him”) in 7.25-26, and the use of the plural in 7.24-25 (“them”) refers to his possessions and not his children.

We will pick up here in Part 3.

Posted in All Teachings, Articles, Idioms, Phrases and Concepts, Prophecy/Eschatology, The Feasts of the Lord, The Tanach, Understanding the New Testament

Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Joshua-Part 1

We are going to take a look at the book of Joshua and pick up some foundational concepts found there that will help us in our study of the Tanak. We have gone over the Torah in a foundational way and we are going to continue with that process in dealing with the Prophets (Nevi’im) and the Writings (Ketuvim).

As before, this will not be a verse by verse study, but we are going to pick up on selected portions to examine. In doing so, we will see many messianic passages and be able to apply them in our overall study of the Scriptures. To understand the Gospels and Epistles, we must have a foundational understanding of the Tanak. The book of Joshua is a study on spiritual warfare and some of the battles in Joshua will parallel later battles in history.

Israel has left slavery and have returned back to the land, and this also happened in 1948. Og and Sihon have been defeated and we will see that the campaign in Jericho will take six days. This will parallel the defeat of the Arabs after Israeli independence had been declared, and then we have what is called the Six Day War in 1967. Then they came to a city named Ai and Israel lost 36 men in a battle, and the army was shocked. This was the result of the people not listening to the Lord. This will parallel the 1973 Yom Kippur War when Israel was overconfident and lost 3600 men. These are just a few examples of how three battles and situations in the past will give us insight into the future.

Joshua has taken the place of Moses and he is from Ephraim (Josh 1.1), so he is a descendant of Joseph and a type of the Messiah Ben Joseph. He will fight Amalek, a type of the False Messiah. His name is related to the “Yeshua” and that is by design. We know that Moses symbolized the Torah, and the Torah is often called “Moses” (John 5.45-47; Luke 24.27; Acts 21.21). But, we also know that Moses could not take the people into the land, only Joshua could. What does that mean? The Torah (Moses) cannot save us and it stops at the Jordan (descender), a type of death. Only Yeshua (Joshua) can take us across death (Jordan) into the promised land (The Olam Haba).

Josh 1.8 tells us what Joshua learned all these years. He learned that no obedience means no success (Num 14.30-39). There will also be a phrase that is repeated in Josh 1.6-18 and it is “Be strong and courageous.” Joshua was to be strong and courageous and be equipped in the Torah, then he will be a force to be reckoned with. Josh 1.10 takes place on Nisan 7 because they will cross the Jordan three days later on Nisan 10 (Josh 4.19). The enemy will try to move him out of where he was going and try to get him off track. This is the strategy that the enemy will use against us.

In Josh 2.1-24 we learn that Israel is coming up to the city of Jericha (city of the moon). This is significant because they have just spent 38 years in Kadesh Barnea which means “desert of wandering.” Kadesh Barnea is known today as Wadi Rum, which means “valley of the moon.” Now, the moon is a picture of the believer (the bride) who reflects the light of the sun (the Messiah-Psa 19.4-5; Mal 4.2). The New Moon festival is called the festival of the “Born Again” because the moon begins to reflect the light of the sun, thus being born again every month.

As Israel approached, the king of Jericho will try to stop them. Spies had been sent out by Joshua and they stop at the house of Rahab (2.1) and the king found out. Satan also knew that Yeshua had come to destroy his kingdom also, and tries to stop him. Rahab will hide the two spies some flax that was stacked on the roof, and flax is symbolic of righteousness and worn in the garments of the priests (2.6). We are hidden from eternal death by the righteousness of Yeshua.

Rahab believes that Yehovah is with Israel and she saves the men. They promise to save her when the time came. She lets them down the wall by a rope, and she is told to have a cord of scarlet (shanni) hanging from her window. If she does this, she and her house will be spared (2.18). The scarlet thread is the color of blood and it is used in the garments of the High Priest. This cord of scarlet was “suspended between heaven and earth” just like Yeshua was “suspended between heaven and earth” at the crucifixion. This phrase is an idiom for “judgment.” If she obeys the word of the spies, she will live. If she doesn’t, she will die. She did as she was told which results in her salvation. The two men return safely to Joshua and they told him everything that had happened.

The scarlet cord, therefore, is symbolic of the blood of Yeshua and it was used in several stories in the Bible.. It is used in the cleansing of the Metzora (leper) and it was used in Gen 38 to designate which boy was the first born (Zerah). Scarlet thread was also used in the curtains of the Mishkan (Exo 26.1) and in the ephod of the High Priest (Exo 28.6). It is also used in the ceremony of the Parah Adumah (Red Heifer). The scarlet cord of Rahab worked for her and her house, the same way the blood of the lamb placed on the door worked in the Egyptian Passover.

In Josh 3.1-17 we learn that Joshua “rose early in the morning” and he made ready to cross over the Jordan. This is alluding to the Natzal (rapture) when believers will rise early in the Day of the Lord (the first day or Yom Teruah, Tishri 1) and cross over death unharmed (1 Thes 4.16-18). We learn that the Ark of the Covenant will go before the people at a distance of 2000 cubits because they have never gone that way before. This is a clear allusion to the 7000 year plan of God, and it alludes to Jewish eschatology where the last 2000 years of the Olam Ha Zeh (6000 years) is called the Yomot Mashiach, or “days of the Messiah.” Yeshua came 2000 years ago and we entered this last 2000 year period before the Atid Lavo (future coming), or “Day of the Lord.” Yeshua has gone before us into the Olam Haba (the promised land) in order to lead us there.

Joshua tells the priests who are carrying the Ark to come to the edge of the Jordan and stand still. The waters (of death) will be cut off (3.8, 13). There will be seven (number of completion) nations that they will need to dispossess in order to take the land, and they are are symbolic of the people who will confront us as we go on to posses the promises in this life (3.10). There will be Canaanites (merchants, traffickers) who want your money by selling their religious merchandise and making you think they are true teachers, but they make their living off people who buy their wares. The Hittite (terror) are those who will put spiritual fear on you for the wrong reasons, and misinterpreting the Scriptures to immobilize you in order make you dependent on them (“If you reject our teaching you will be lost” etc). The Hivite (a liver) is one who tells others about “life” but have no life themselves. The Perizzite (rustic squatter) are those who think they are born again but are on earth without a legitimate claim to the Kingdom of God. They are the ones who just come and sit, doing nothing. The Girgashite (stranger drawing near) are those who come around bible studies and congregations but have no place there. The Amorite (sayer, talker) are those who are all talk on spiritual things but do nothing. The Jebusite (trodden down) are those who have no regard for the spiritual things in the Torah like Jerusalem, the Sabbath, the Temple and so on.

In Part 2 we will pick up here.

Posted in All Teachings, Articles, Idioms, Phrases and Concepts, Prophecy/Eschatology, The Feasts of the Lord, The Tanach, Understanding the New Testament

Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Deuteronomy-Conclusion

Deut 34.1-12 is the last chapter of the book and it deals with the death of Moses. Given the nature of Israel and how the nation came to be out of a land of idolatry it was possible that the children of Israel would have “deified” Moses. They may have turned his burial into some kind of idolatrous worship center, so where Moses is buried is unknown to this day. But his death and burial is a picture of the death and burial of Yeshua, which we will touch on later.

Another aspect of the life of Moses is the price that must be paid for true leadership. Moses had a life of loneliness and the higher one rises in leadership, the lonelier it will be. Moses had few peers. Aaron was gone and Joshua was appointed by him as his successor. People can expect as they rise in leadership that the peer structure will get smaller and smaller. You will discover that;s the way it is supposed to be. He knew the Lord face to face, how could anyone relate to that, except for Yeshua. So, it is probably fitting that when it comes to the time to die, he is alone with God on a mountain, like it all started.

Moses still speaks today and he teaches us about the Messiah. He gives is instruction (the meaning of Torah) and guidance. He tells us about the name of God, his character and qualities. He teaches us about the Redemption and faith. He also teaches us about the plan of God. Yeshua links himself with Moses by saying, “had you believed Moses you would have believed me” (John 5.46). Yehovah uses Moses to teach us about Yeshua (John 5.47). That should be the goal of anyone who walks with the Lord, to see Yeshua for who he really is.

On the flip side of that, anyone who thinks he can know God and believe in Yeshua without understanding Moses is deceived. If we follow Yeshua, we must know Moses and his basic instruction to us. According to the Rabbis, there are Psalms that are written by Moses (Psa 90 through 100). So, we are going to take a brief look into the death of Moses in Deut 34.5-12 and pick up some things about Yeshua.

It says that Moses was the servant of God (Yeshua is the servant in Isa 40-66) and he died in the land of Moab, according to the will of the Lord. Deut 1.37 says that the Lord was angry with Moses “on your account” and it is the same with Yeshua. God’s anger was for the sake of the people (Isa 53.4-6: Rom 4.24-25). Deut 34.6 says God buried him in the valley in the land of Moab. Moab means “seed of the father.” Moses took care of Joseph and God took care of him. His burial place is unknown today. This teaches us that just as nobody knows where Moses is buried, neither will we know where Yeshua is buried. People knew in the first century, but not now. Don’t waste your time going to the Garden Tomb in Israel. That is not where he was buried.

Deut 34.7 says that Moses was 120 years old and his eye was not dim nor his vigor abated. That means his death was not by natural causes, just like Yeshua. In Deut 34.9 it tells us that Joshua was filled with the Spirit of wisdom because Moses had named him as his successor, and Israel listened to him. He represents the risen Yeshua, the captain of the armies of God who leads us into the promised land of the Olam Haba (the world to come). Deut 34.10 says no prophet has arisen in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew “face to face.” That is until Yeshua. The Torah ends with the people in the wilderness with Moses as their guide. We are in the wilderness, too, and the Torah (Moses) is our guide. Moses still speaks to us today. Our “Joshua” (Yeshua) will lead us into the promised land (Rom 10.4; Psa 119.105).

There is a traditional blessing that is said at the completion of a study. It goes like this, “Chazak, chazak, v’nitchazek.” This means, “Be strong, be strong, let us be strengthened.” We have received instruction form the Torah. Stand up in that strength and rise to the next level. In other words, be doers of the word, not just hearers. Take these commandments and turn them into a way of life. Choose the “kedusha” (holy) over the “chol” (common), the “tahor” (clean) over the “tamai” (unclean) and walk humbly before the Lord.

Don’t ever stop learning and renewing your mind. Only when Yeshua returns will we find out how great the Torah really is, and Yeshua will teach us himself. Life is a preparation for that day and we will all sit under his instruction.

TANAK FOUNDATIONS SOURCES AND REFERENCES SO FAR (PART 1):

* Hatikva Ministries Jerusalem Temple Series notes
* Mesorah Publications “Bereshit” p.527
* Wikipedia article on “Moses”
* “Arguments against Al-Lawz not being Sinai Refuted” by Steve Rudd, Bible.CA (Internet)
* Bible Review, “Mount Sinai in Arabia?” Allen Kerkslager
* “Philo of Alexandria and the Exodus Route: 50 AD”, Bible.CA by Steve Rudd
* Bible Hub, “Benjamin Tudelensis”
* NASB and KJV
* Strong’s Concordance
* Gesenius Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon of the Old Testament
* Encyclopedia of the Jewish Religion by Werblowsky and Wigoder
* Shamah-Elim. Info on the name meaning on the seven Canaanite nations
* “The Greatest Truth Never Told” at goecuk 321.blogspot
* Pentateuch and Haftorahs by Joseph Hertz, p. 158, 214, 217, 352
* “The Exodus You Almost Passed Over” by David Fohrman
* Artscroll Sukkot Machzor, p.802-805
* The Works of Josephus
* John Gill COmmentary on Gensis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy
* Wikipedia article “Sanhedrin” and the “Second Law of Thermodynamics”
* Herodotus, History, 2.148-149
* “Seven Little Known Wonders of the Ancient World” by Evan Andrews
* Strabo “Geography” 17.1.37-38
* “The Eighteenth Dynasty of Egypt” by Crystalinks
* “Pharaohs and Kings-A Biblical Quest” by David Rohl
* “The Temple: Its Symbolism and Meaning Then and Now” by Joshua Berman
* Koren Tanak
* “The Tabernacle of ISrael” by James Strong
* Temple Institute.Org
* “Pattern For Living” by Alex W. Ness
* Mishneh Torah by Moses Maimonides
* Measure the Pattern” by Joseph Good, Hatikva Ministries
* Ovadiah Soforno commentary on Exo 20.11
* “The Beast That Crouches at the Door” by David Fohrman
* “Understanding Asherah” in Biblical Archeology Review
* “Asherah” article in Jewish Encyclopedia
* Artscroll “Ezekiel” p. 77
* Got Questions.Org
* Midrash Bershit Rabbah 18.6
* Talmud, Yoma 39b
* “The History of the Jewish People; Second Temple Period” p. 153
* “Guide to the Perplexed” by Maimonides
* “The Crimson Worm” by Calvin Evans
* “Everything Kabbalah Book” by Mark Elber, Chapter 11
* “Ancient Israel” by Roland Devaux
* “Simple Pleasures in the Land of Milk and Honey” article in Haaretz
* Bible Review, August 1992
* “The Gold of Exodus” by Howard Blum
* The Biblical Repository and Classical Review” by James Manning Sherwood, John Holmes Agnew, Walter Hilliard
Bidwell, p. 746
* “Coming Out of Egypt: The Journey Out of Idolatry Begins” by K.C. Stricker, Vol 1, p. 121, 422
* Talmud, Avodah Zarah 9a
* Artscroll “Bershit” p.357
* Artscroll, Yom Kippur Machzor, p.336-337
* Artscroll “Vayikra” summary of the laws of Korbanot, p. 326-331
* “Flesh and Blood” by Dr. Elizabeth Mitchell, Oct 14, 2011, Answers in Genesis.Org
* Lion and Lamb Torah series
* Various videos by Nehemiah Gordon on the name of God on Youtube
* “Shattering the Conspiracy of Silence” by Nehemiah Gordon
* “The Book of the Divine Name” by Eleazar of Worms
* “A Disastrous Misunderstanding of the Name of Yehovah”, Nehemiah’s Wall
* “Biblical Tabernacle is Nothing Like You Would Think says Bible-savvy Engineer” article in Breaking Israel News-
Internet
* Mishnah tractate “Sotah”
* “The Temple” by Alfred Edersheim
* “Caleb the Goy” article by Dean and Susan Wheelock
* “Women and Tzitzit” by Rav C. Hartley
* “Was Mary a Levite, Making Jesus Both KIng and Priest” by Shana Abbott
* “His Hallowed Name Revealed Again” by Nehemiah Gordon
* “Caleb the Gentile?” by Avram Yehoshus, Seed of Abraham.Net
* “The Key to the Original Gospels” by George Lamsa
* “The Trinity-Evidence and Issues” by Dr. Robert Morey, p. 110-111

Posted in All Teachings, Articles, Idioms, Phrases and Concepts, Prophecy/Eschatology, The Feasts of the Lord, The Tanach, Understanding the New Testament

Tanak Foundations- Concepts in Deuteronomy-Part 34

Now we come to the last Torah portion called “V’zot ha Brachah” “This is the Blessing.” It goes from Deut 33.1 to 34.12. Moses will shift his focus again to the blessing, which is a good way to end any teaching. Moses has assembled with all the tribes at Mount Nebo and they will form a procession line, and he walks up to the mountain. As he proceeds, he is rendering a blessing unto all of the tribes, a series of goodbyes. At the end of Genesis Jacob did the same thing with his sons (the tribes). When he gets up on the mountain he turns and he can see the promised land. Moses will die before he finishes what he began, and this will be the same for us.

We have all had “mountain top” experiences that got through to us. But our assignment will not be fully accomplished until the next generation, or even after. What we have been a part of is multi-generational and can’t be accomplished alone. Nothing that is worth doing can be accomplished in our lifetime. So, with that said, we are going to go through Deut 33.1-29 and try to bring out what Moses is saying here.

There will be an eschatological aspect to what is being said here. This portion (33.1-34.12) is read in Simchat Torah (rejoicing in the Torah). We will give the verse and our commentary will be in parenthesis. This will make it easier to understand as we go through. This will not be an exhaustive commentary, but will it will help us understand what is being said here.

Deut 33.2…And he said, “Yehovah came from Sinai (Hab 3.3) and dawned (with the light of understanding) on them from Seir (Edom). He shone forth from Mount Paran (Edom-Isa 63.1; Hab 3.3-7) and he came from the midst of ten thousand holy ones (Angels-Psa 68.17; Jude 14; Zech 14.5; Rev 1.7-8). At his right hand there was a flashing lightning (a fiery law-Deut 4.6, 5.19-23; Matt 24.27; Hab 3.3-4) for them (their benefit).

Deut 33.3-4…Indeed, he loves the people, all thy holy ones are in thy hand (John 10.28), and they followed in thy steps (sat down at his feet to learn-Acts 22.3); everyone receives of thy words. Moses charged us with a law (Torah was called “Moses” because the Lord gave it through him (John 1.17, 5.39-47), a possession for the assembly (the kehilat, congregation) of Jacob.

Deut 33.5…And he was king in Yeshuran (meaning “upright one” and a term for Israel, until Israel wanted another king in 1 Sam 8.7. It is a form of “Yeshua”), when the heads of the people were gathered, the tribes of Israel together.”

Deut 33.6…”May Reuben (“see, a son”) live and not die (continue, not be extinct) nor his men few (he was the first-born but lost that status to Joseph).”

Deut 33.7…And this regarding Judah (“praise”), so he (Moses) said “Hear, O Lord, the voice of Judah (when he goes to battle in prayer and praise. They were the first to undertake the conquest of the unconquered part of Canaan), and bring him to his people (after a battle) with his hands be contended for them (in war); and may you be a help against his adversaries.” As a side note, Simeon’s blessing is included with Judah’s (Josh 19.1-9; 2 Sam 19.43).

Deut 33.8…And of Levi (“to join”) he said, “Let thy Thummim (perfections) and thy Urim (lights) belong to thy godly man (the High Priest), whom you did prove at Masseh, with whom you did contend at the waters of Meribah (Exo 17.1-7; Num 20.1-13-The people murmured against Aaron in particular).

Deut 33.9…Who said of his father and his mother, I did not consider them and he did not acknowledge his brothers; nor regard his own sons (he was impartial in judgment), for they observed thy words and kept thy covenant.

Deut 33.10…They shall teach thine ordinances to Jacob and thy law to Israel (they were the teachers (Lev 10.11; Num 8.24-26; 2 Chr 17.9, 31.4; Ezek 44.23). They shall put incense before you, and whole burnt offerings on thy altar.

Deut 33.11…O Lord, bless his substance (which came from tithes, first fruits, etc) and accept the work of his hands (in offering incense, korbanot and whatever administrations they do); shatter the loins of them that rise up against him (like Korah, Dathan and Abiram did), and those who hate him, so that they may not rise again (the enemies of the priests and Levites are the enemies of God).”

Deut 33.12…Of Benjamin (“son of the latter days or right hand”) he said, “May the beloved of the Lord (the first king was from them) dwell in security by him (the Temple was in his territory), who shields him all the day, and he dwells between his shoulders (supported by the Lord).”

Deut 33.13…And of Joseph (“he will add”) he said, “Blessed of the Lord be his land (he got the birthright of the first born) with the choice things of heaven, with the dew (influence of heaven in favor and goodness) and from the deep lying beneath (wells of water will make the land flourish and be fruitful), and with the choice yield of the sun (needed for growth and would make the land valuable), and with the choice produced from the months (the moon, and the good things produced every month),

Deut 33.15…and with the best of things of the ancient mountains (vines, figs and olives),

Deut 33.16…and with the choice things of the earth and its fullness (corn, grass and the cattle that feed on it, oak trees of Bashan) and the favor of him who dwelt in the bush (the shekinah of God), let it come to the head of Joseph, and to the crown of the head of the one distinguished among his brothers (sold into Egypt but had the status of first born).

Deut 33.17… As the first born of his ox (comely and majestic), majesty is his and his horns (the power and strength of the two tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh) are the horns of the wild ox (they push and destroy those who hurt them) and with them he shall push the people, all at once to the ends of the earth (they will spread their dominion to the ends of Canaan), and those are the ten thousands of Ephraim and those are the ten thousands of Manasseh).”

Deut 33.18…And of Zebulon (“to dwell”) he said, “Rejoice, Zebulon, in your going forth (out to sea to do business in foreign parts), and Issachar (“my hiring”) in your tents (they stayed home and were involved in farming, taking care of the animals, etc).

Deut 33.19…They shall call peoples (both Jewish and non-Jewish) to the mountain (to the Temple on Mount Moriah. They are joined together here because they had the same mother. Zebulon is the youngest of the two, but mentioned first); there they shall offer righteous sacrifices; for they shall draw out the abundance of the seas and the hidden treasures of the sand (produced glass at Acre, pearls, corrals, gold, silver and metal).”

Deut 33.20…And of Gad (troop, invading) he said, “Blessed is the one who enlarges Gad (Yehovah); he lies down as a lion (bold, secure) and tears the arm (the power of the enemy), also the crown of the head (the king of the enemy).

Deut 33.21…Then he provided the first part for himself (the portions of Sihon and Og were conquered first), for there the rulers portion was reserved (Moses set it aside for them), and he came with the leaders of the people (to ask for his portion on the east side of the Jordan, but would cross over to assist his brothers in the conquest of Canaan); he executed the justice of the Lord and his ordinances with Israel (he did what he promised and he carried out the righteous judgment of God on the Canaanites).”

Deut 33.22…And of Dan he said, “Dan (“judge”) is a lion’s welp (bold, strong) that leaps forth from Bashan (Bashan was a mountain area where lions lived. They had to be because the Danites were the first ones that enemies encountered when coming from the north).”

Deut 33.23…And of Naphtali he said, “O Naphtali (“my wrestling”), satisfied with favor (of men and God) and full of the blessing of the Lord, take possession of the sea (of Galilee) and to the south (of Dan).”

Deut 33.24…And of Asher (“happy”) he said, “More blessed with sons is Asher (large numbers), may he be favored by his brothers and may he dip his foot in oil (have plenty of oil to not only anoint the head, but the feet).

Deut 33.25…Your locks shall be iron and bronze (their land yielded much of this) and according to your days, so shall your leisurely walk be (as easy when you are old as it was when you were young).”

Deut 33.26…There is none like the God of Yeshuran (Israel-Deut 32.15), who rides the heavens to your help through the skies in his majesty (like with hail, thunder and lightning upon the Egyptians, etc).

Deut 33.27…The eternal God is a dwelling place (refuge) and underneath is the everlasting arms (God supporting his people); he drove out the enemy from before you (Canaanites) and said, “Destroy” (Deut 7.1-2).

Deut 33.28…So Israel dwells in security (with the Canaanites being cast out they should be safe), the fountain of Jacob (the Israelites who sprang from Jacob) secluded in a land of grain and new wine (Canaan was a land of abundant with grain and wine), his heavens also drop down dew (to water the fields and make it plentiful).

Deut 33.29…Blessed (happy) are you, O Israel; who is like you, a people saved by the Lord (and redeemed by him out of Egypt), who is the shield (the magen and protector-Prov 30.5-6) of your help, and the sword of your majesty (to destroy your enemies)! Your enemies shall cringe (to save themselves from fear) before you, and you shall tread upon their high places (their cities, fortresses, temples, altars and necks of their enemies).

In the conclusion we will pick up in Deut 34.

Posted in All Teachings, Articles, Idioms, Phrases and Concepts, Prophecy/Eschatology, The Feasts of the Lord, The Tanach, Understanding the New Testament

Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Deuteronomy-Part 33

In Deut 32.7-14, Moses gives a lesson from history. He tells them to remember the past (v 7) and to ask the fathers and they will instruct them about all that happened. The Lord gave the nations their inheritance and separated mankind and set the boundaries after the flood and Babel (v 8). This also alludes to twelve nations in Canaan (Gen 10.15-18), and Jacob had twelve sons. Canaan had enough room for all the tribes of Israel.

But the Lord;s inheritance is his people. He found Jacob (Israel) in the desert (Egypt-Ezek 16.1-14, 20.36) and encircled him by instruction. He guarded his as the pupil (“little man”) of his eye. Physically, the pupil is guarded by the orbit of the eye, eyelids and eyebrows. In other words, a guard upon a guard (v 9-10). Like an eagle (v 11), he hovered over Israel and caught them in his wings (Psa 91.3; Luke 13.34-35). It was the Lord alone who guarded them, no other gods (v 12).

He made Israel ride high and they ate the produce of the field (Josh 5.11). In v 13 it says he made them suck honey (from bees) and palm trees that grew out of the rock, and oil from a rock (olive oil that grew on the hills-Job 29.6). Curds of cows and milk from the flock with fat of lambs, and rams, with the finest of wheat and grapes. This shows their prosperity, but Israel showed ingratitude in v 15-18.

Israel got so fat and weighed down by the blessings they forsook the Lord and missed the point. They had the “system” in the Torah, the liturgy, the Temple, the priesthood and Levites, but they grew complacent and sick of it. They rejected the weightier measures of the Torah, like justice, mercy, kindness, compassion and faithfulness (Isa 1.11-17; Hos 12.6; Mic 6.8; Amos 5.21-23; Matt 23.23). They had become a “religious” people (dead). The problem with religious (dead) people is they won’t stay in the “coffin.” They keep walking out and keep coming back like religious “zombies.” They treated God lightly and what he had to say didn’t mean much. They thought because God had blessed them they were in the right. They made him “jealous” with their idolatry, so God made them jealous by including non-Jews into the covenant with them (Num 9.14, 15.14-16; Rom 10.19).

Deut 32.19-33 tells us they deserved punishment. They became a nation lacking counsel and understanding. They were out of the blessing, out of the “obedience business” and did not believe in the Lord or Yeshua when he came. They didn’t believe Moses, so they didn’t believe or understand Yeshua either (John 5.39-47).

Deut 32.34-43 goes on to say that God will punish them, and when their strength is gone, they will turn to the Lord and his Messiah (Hos 5.15 through 6.3; Ezek 39.22; Isa 37.1-3; Jer 30.4-8, Isa 35.3-4). Yeshua said in Luke 21.36 to pray for the strength to stand because Moses prophesied this was going to be a rough time. We need to come to terms with Deut 32.39. God is in control and in the latter days we better be hiding in the rock. In v 43 it says that God will avenge his servants and render vengeance on his adversaries, and he will “atone” for his land and for his people, a clear allusion to the return of Yeshua on Yom Kippur (Matt 24.29-31).

In Deut 32.44-51 we learn that Joshua’s (Yehoshua) name is changed back to “Hoshea.” He was called this originally (Num 13.16). When Moses added the “yod” it made his name “Ye’hoshua (Yeshua), and Moses was saying “Yehovah save you” from those who would harm you in the future. But now he is his own man, chosen by God, he has kept the faith, so Moses changes his name back to just Hoshea again because he can stand on his own before the Lord. He was a leader with Moses now. We need to take what Moses has said and take it to heart because it is our “life” (v 45-47). The Torah may be a “theological” exercise to some, but our lives depend on it (Rev 12.17; Matt 7.21-23, 19.17; Prov 10.27).

The Lord tells Moses to go up Mount Nebo (v 49), and this word is related to the word “prophet” in Hebrew (Navi). Now, the Lord said he could go up Nebo and he could look upon the land of Canaan at least. He tells Moses he would die on the mountain and be gathered to his people, as Aaron died on Mount Hor. This was the result of Moses breaking faith with the Lord at the waters of Meribah when he struck the rock instead of speaking to it. The Lord said he did not treat him with the kedusha that rested upon the Lord in the sight of all the people (Num 20.8-13). Here is the heart of the matter.

The people looked to Moses to meet their needs, not God. Moses knew what was going to happen, and that God was going to give them water, but he played a little game with them. That’s the problem with knowing the future, people will manipulate prophecy to their own advantage. Just look at what happens when someone thinks God spoke to them about an event, either past or future. They develop a ministry, get invited to prophecy conferences and exploit the people by selling tapes, books, videos and themselves. Moses was the “shaliach” (agent/messenger/sent one/apostle) sent by God to lead the people out of Egypt, to Mount Sinai, and then to the land of Canaan. He spoke for God and he did not do what the Lord told him to do. It wasn’t like he misunderstood what the Lord said because Moses spoke with the Lord face to face. Surely, if anyone had their ticket punched to the promised land it was Moses, right? But the Lord is not partial to anyone. This cost him his trip into the land because he did not speak to the rock, but he struck it.

Moses was angry with the people and he resented the fact that they were giving him a hard time, and always coming around when they needed something. So he was going to show them what a great guy he was and give them water when they didn’t deserve it. This only reinforced their belief that Moses was their provider, not the Lord. They didn’t think God heard them. The Lord had to correct this misconception. It wasn’t Moses who provided the water for them, it was the Lord Moses dishonored the Lord before the people, so the Lord dishonored Moses before the people, and he could not go into the land with them. In this instance, Moses would embody Israel when Yeshua came. They did not trust the Lord, they trusted their teachers and leaders. They trusted their own good works to save them. Yeshua was the shaliach of God and they would not listen to him, and they “struck” (crucified) the rock, just like Moses did, and this cost them the promised land, too.

In Part 34 we will pick up here with the last Torah portion called “V’zot ha Berachah” or “This is the blessing.”

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Tanak Foundations- Concepts in Deuteronomy-Part 32

The next Torah portion is called “Ha’azeinu” and it means to “give ear.” It goes from Deut 32.1-52. Moses knows the people will rebel against the Lord and he tells the people to assemble before him and he will tell them about the evil that will befall them in the “latter days.” Deut 29.14 this was written to a future generation also.

The Ha’azeinu is very eschatological and it was sung by the Levitical choir when the drink offering was poured in the Temple on the Sabbath and Mussaf (additional offerings on Sabbath). It has six sections (verses 1-6, 7-12, 13-18, 19-28- 29-39 and 40-43) and one section is sung every Sabbath.

Here is an important concept to remember. If you want to see what prayer and worship really is, study the Temple services. If you lived in the first century and wanted to know what prayer and worship was, you went to the Temple. Num 28-29, 1 Chr 28.11-19 and Ezek 43.10-12 says that God gave the services to the people to teach these concepts, so it is important to know what is being prayed and when.

The Temple is a choreographed epic on a stage. The Torah is the script and the music, and the priests and the people are the actors. There was a set time when everything is done, with no impromptu demonstrations. For example, you can’t start the Tamid service till sunrise. The priests would look south towards Hebron to see if the sun was up. If it was, then they said, “Bar Chai” (sunrise), and that was the signal to start the morning Tamid service. Now, why was Hebron significant? You could see other towns in the area from the Temple, so what made Hebron so special?

The cave of Machpelah is there and that is where Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Sarah, Rebecca and Leah are buried. Rachel is buried near Bethlehem. It is the belief that the resurrection of the righteous will begin there in Jewish eschatology. Every dawn is a rehearsal for the resurrection. The people “sleep” and then arise to a brighter day. Everything during the Tamid service is timed, conveying a message.

After the mizbeach (altar) is cleansed, the priests go into the Lishkat Ha Gazit (Chamber of Hewn Stone) for certain prayers. Why do they go to the Chamber of Hewn Stone? The mizbeach was not to be made of hewn stone (man’s action) because whatever business was conducted there was all of God. Man’s works and judgments were not recognized, but it is a place of God’s judgment. But the Chamber of Hewn Stone conveys man’s action, man’s self-evaluation and judgment. They were the “living stones.” But, not all business was conducted in the Temple.

There is a place on the Mount of Olives called “the Seat of the Shekinah.” Another name is “Ha Rosh” or “the head.” Ezek 8 through 11 tells us the Shekinah departed from the Temple and rested on the Mount of Olives for three years, waiting for the people to repent, but they didn’t. So, The Shekinah lifted into heaven from the mount. The Mount of Olives had four significant things happen there. David went over the mount when he fled from Absalom. He wept over the city like Yeshua did, in the same place (1 Sam 15.30; Luke 19.37-41). We also have the departure of the presence of God, as we have said, in Ezek 8-11, and the Shekinah departed just like Yeshua did in Acts 1.4-12. Lastly, we have a ceremony called the Parah Adumah (Red Heifer) performed at the Miphkad (appointed place) Altar outside of the Temple, on the Mount of Olives. David’s altar was there and both of these altars were seen as part of the Temple (1 Chr 21.24-26; 2 Sam 24.18-25).

Previously, we talked about, “Hear, O Israel” and how the people were instructed to “choose the blessing, not the curse.” But here we have a special Torah portion called the “Song of Moses.” Like David, Moses sings at certain times. In Exo 15 we have another song called the “Shirat ha Yam” or the “Song at the Sea.” This was sung after Israel was delivered from Pharaoh at the Red Sea. Both of these songs are very eschatological and were recited in the Temple. The Shirat ha Yam is sung in the Temple on the Sabbath, but it may be sung in Rev 15.1-4 when Israel is victorious over the False Messiah. But, this is a prophetic song and it is in seven parts which allude to the seven thousand year plan of God, and it is called a “new song” in Jewish thought (Hertz Siddur, p. 449). But, let’s get back to the Ha’azeinu.

Israel is entering the land and Moses is at the end of his life. He has done what the Lord asked and has seen a whole generation die in the wilderness. Now, their children are getting ready to cross over the Jordan into Canaan and into the promises of God. Deut 29.14 has already told us that this was spoken to a future generation and Deut 31.29 says this is also about the “latter years.” Deut 32 contains a message for this future generation.

This was one of the first things prayed daily in the Temple. It begins with an appeal to the universe (v 1-3). Teaching in the Scriptures is seen as drops of rain and the “dew” (tal). Rain and dew are seen as “resurrection” also because it brings life. Moses is telling the people to not look elsewhere for truth. His teaching (Torah) is seen as the dew (resurrection/life). Mic 5.7, Isa 45.8, Isa 26.19, Joel 2.23 and James 5.7-8 also will convey this idea. We have three types of rain in Deut 32.2 and this alludes to three types of student. Moses is saying that the Lord will punish Israel at the “end of days” or the “latter years” but they will be resurrected with true teaching (Hos 6.1-3).

In Deut 32.4-6 we have the faithfulness of the Lord. The word “rock” (tzur) will be used in verses 4,15,18,30 and 31. Now, the “rock” is a clear allusion to the Messiah in Gen 28.10-22, Isa 51.1, 1 Cor 10.4 and Matt 16.18. The “rock” was also an issue that most strongly affected the life of Moses. He did not honor the rock correctly by striking it instead of speaking to it in Num 20.8-12. He could not enter the promised land because of this interaction with the “rock.”

There are several other words for “rock” in the Scriptures. One is “cela” and that is a clefted rock (Num 20.8), which is different than “tzur” (Exo 17). Also, the word for “stone” is “aven” which consists of an aleph, beit and nun. If you take the first two letters (aleph, beit) you spell “Av” or “father.” If you take the last two letters (Beit, Nun) it spells “Ben” or “son.” The Father and the Son are alluded to in the concept of the rock/stone. Moses is a person who most embodied Israel, and Israel will “strike the rock down” (Messiah) in the future, and they will eventually be driven out of the land also (Acts 2.36, 3.14-15, 5.30). The rock is God in Psa 18.2.

Deut 32.4-5 tell us also that God’s work is perfect and his ways are just. There is perfect justification for what happens in the world, even when we don’t see it. We must try to understand that certain events are beneficial for us. His work is perfect, which also includes the Torah. But, the people acted corruptly towards the Lord and they are not his children because of this defect. The word “defect” alludes to the marks people make on their skin or foreheads with paint in various colors to their favorite gods. They are a perverse and crooked generation (their works, and natures-Matt 17.17). Their ingratitude and lack of wisdom led to rejecting him (Deut 32.15). Deut 32.6 Moses says, “Do you thus repay your Father who has bought you (from Egypt)? He has made you and established you.” This verse has the first usage of “Father” in the Tanak.

In Part 33, we will pick up here with Deut 32.7-14 of the Ha’azeinu.

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Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Deuteronomy-Part 31

In this teaching, we will pick up with Canto III in Salmon Ben Jeruham’s criticism of Rabbinic Judaism and their views on the Oral Law.

“Canto III: Where do you flee, O Fayyumite (Saadiah), to hide thyself from utter ruin? Let us rather come together for judgment; increase thine army of arguments and come out to battle. I have seen also in the Talmud, which you Rabbanites regard as if it were your main supporting column, and which is made by you a partner to the Law of Moses, and is held beloved and desirable in your hearts,”

“the bellowing of the School of Shammai against the School of Hillel, to controvert their words, as well as that of the School of Hillel against the School of Shammai, to refute their interpretations of the Law. This one invokes blessings, and that one heaps curses upon their heads, yet both are an abomination in the sight of the Lord. The words of which one of the two shall we accept, and the views of which one of the two shall we condemn, seeing that each one of them is attracted a great congregation of adherents, and each one of them turns to say, ‘I am the captain of the ship?'”

“Incline thine ears, if you desire pearls of wisdom; the matter cannot be both ways. If their words require interpretation with words of men of understanding, then this Mishnah cannot be the Law of the Master of masters. If the Mishnah be the Law of Moses, God’s servant, why do they not mention therein the name of Moses only? And why do they mention in each chapter of the Mishnah the names of teachers other than he? And why do they not say, ‘Thus said the Lord’ and ‘Thus said Moses’ after his meeting with the Lord? If you would yet double the rascalities, and would utter more error and falsehood, and would say, ‘They used to engage in scholarly discussion, in awe of him who dwells in glory.’ Remember that many fell slain among them in their stumbling.”

REFUTAION OF SAADIAH’S SEVEN ARGUMENTS

“God forbid that I should remain silent; rather will I establish the strongest proofs in the world, and I will refute you and despoil you of your claims, with the help of him who causes men to become rich as well as poor. The text of the seven written arguments which are set down in your commentary on Genesis, if at all times you did mention them publicly in order to seduce men’s hearts, yet now they will become like spears and swords over the head and the heart.”

“(1) May thy steps be hampered in walking, when you say that my congregation has need of the Mishnah in order to know the precise measurements of the ordinances of the ritual fringe, the lulav and the booth, and that is why they arranged it and set it down in writing. You have written lies, for not all ordinances have a definite measurement, and that is why the length of the fringe is not specified in the Law. If one should forcefully exhibit this argument, how will you distinguish, and what answer will you make to him, out of the words of the Divine Testimony?”

“(2) To heap up more lying words, you have written and set forth further, and has said, secondly, that the Mishnah is ancient, because in it is explained the precise amount of the heave offering, so that Israel might know what part of what part they are to give. This argument is identical with the preceding, and the answer to the former argument applies to the latter as well; no precise amount or sum has been specified for it; rather each person is to give as much as he wishes and will meet with no complaint.”

“(3) You have said, thirdly, that we have a need for the inherited tradition in order that we might know what day of the week is Sabbath, so that we might keep it holy. But the Sabbath is known to all the inhabitants of the world as a day of rest, from the factual knowledge and reasoning, not merely by reckoning by three, five, and six.”

“(4) You have turned from the right road and has labored much, when you have said, fourthly, that we need the Mishnah to know which vessel is capable of becoming ritually unclean. But you have erred, for you have not considered the verse, ‘whatsoever vessel it be, wherewith any work is done’ (Lev 11.32). All such vessels are specified in the Law, if you would but turn thy heart to it.”

“(5) Still you hold fast to broken arguments, and has said, fifthly, that there are ordinances which we must observe, and which are not explained in the Law, such as prayers, and other ordinances, yet the prayers are not mentioned in Scripture. Your mouth has not considered the verse, ‘and ye shall pray unto me’ (Jer 29.12); and prayers are mentioned also in many other places. Thus, you have not remembered, when you have spoken, the prayer of Daniel, the man greatly beloved of God. Therefore, I reject from before me all ordinances and statutes which are not written in the Law.”

“(6) Your flag fell from your bastion when you have said, sixth, that we need the tradition, and pride ourselves upon it, in order to know the number of years elapsed since the destruction and cessation of the Second Temple. I will answer you in this matter, and thy glory will wilt, O you who bindest together silly things without wisdom! In which sacred book is it written that it is our duty to know the reckoning of how many years shall elapse between the destruction of the Temple and the Dread Gathering?”

“(7) With much labor, but uselessly, you have written, seventh, and has said that we need the tradition, and pride ourselves upon it, to know the date of the period of the redemption of Israel, and the appointed time of the resurrection of the dead. In the song of the Prophets and other seers, all these things are already mentioned and are contained therein; they are bound and fastened therein as firmly as with ropes, and they do not follow from thy words and thy worthless traditions. Here ends my words concerning the Mishnah.”

To date, only the first three chapters of “The Book of the Wars of Hashem” have been translated into English. The rest of the book deals with various points of rabbinic law and some of the corrupt calendar practices of Rabbinic Judaism, which are still practiced today. He also deals with their blasphemous personification of God.

Deut 31.24-26 says that Moses finished writing (not oral) the words of this law (Torah) in a book until they were complete (nothing left out, like an “oral law”). The book was taken and placed beside the Ark of the Covenant so that it might remain there as a witness against the people because Moses knows the people would rebel after he is gone.

In Part 32 we will pick up with the next Torah portion called “Ha’azeinu” which means “Give ear.”

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Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Deuteronomy-Part 30

We are going to pick up with Canto II from Salmon Ben Yeruham’s “Book of the Wars of the Lord” where Salmon is tearing down the main pillars of Rabbanism (Rabbinic Judaism) and the “Oral Law.”

“I have discovered in my heart another argument, a handsome one, and majestic enough to be placed as a crown for the Karaites, to be their ornament, pride, and glory. I have looked again into the six divisions of the Mishnah, and behold, they represent the words of modern men. There are no majestic signs and miracles in them, and they lack the formula: “Thus the Lord spoke unto Moses and unto Aaron.”

“I therefore put them aside, and I said there is no true Law in them, for the Law is set forth in a different manner, in a majestic display of prophets, of signs, and of miracles; yet all this majestic beauty we do not see in the whole Mishnah. I have seen an end to every human purpose, but there is no end to the speaking about the majesty of his ordinances and utterance. Blessed by the Creator of what is below and of what is above, and may his blessing rest upon his people. Selah!”

“I am young in days, and you are older than I. Had not the blackguard (Saadiah) intruded among the scholars I would never have written this epistle. I have turned again to my first argument, to fortify it with truth and uprightness, without falsehood, and with might and power, like the power of Samson; however, the best answer of the tongue is from the Lord.”

“I have set the six divisions of the Mishnah before me, and I looked at them carefully with mine eyes. And I saw that they are very contradictory in content, this one Mishnaic scholar declares a thing to be forbidden to the people of Israel, while that one declares it to be permitted. My thought therefore answer me, and most of my reflections declare unto me, that there is in it no Law of logic, nor the Law of Moses the Wise.”

“I said, perhaps one of the two did not know the right way, wherefore he did not know how to reason it out with his companion; perhaps the truth lies with his companion; let me look into his words; perchance I will find relief from my perplexity. But instead I found there other men, sometimes they say, ‘Others say’ while none of the scholars issue a decision, agreeing with the one or the other, but contradicting both.”

“Had I been among them, I say, had I been among them I would not have accepted the words of these ‘others’ and ‘scholars.’ Rather would I have weighed the words of the Lord with them and I would have judged accordingly every word which they had contrived. Gird thyself with thy strength and hearken, and step up to me, and let the scholars of my congregation of Israel judge between us, and let them place our words upon the scales, so that I may walk in truth upon the road of my life’s course.”

“Know that there is no difference in learning between them and me. When they say, ‘Rabbi so-and-so said thus-and so’, I answer and say ‘I too am a learned so-and-so.’ Thine escape has been cut off by this argument, else answer me, if thou canst. His (Saadiah) heart is overlaid with stupidity as with fat, and I know well what he says and speaks, as he has set it forth in his written scroll; therefore will I turn my face toward him and do battle with him, and I will shake his loins and strike down his sword.”

“He has written that the sis divisions of the Mishnah are as authoritative as the Law of Moses, and that they wrote it down so that it would not be forgotten. I shall answer him concerning this, for I will not be silent, lest the blackguard (Saadiah) think that he had uttered an unanswerable argument. He who remembers forgotten things and knows what is hidden, had he deemed it proper to have them skillfully written down in order that they might not be forgotten upon the earth, he would have ordered his servant Moses to inscribe them, with might and power in a book.”

“If it is proper for men like us, who have none of the Holy Spirit in us, to turn the oral Law into a written Law by writing it down, why would it not be right for us to turn the written Law into a Law preserved only in our mouths? Hearken unto me and I will speak further: If thou should say, ‘This took place in the days of the Prophets and in the days of Ezra’ why is there no mention in it of these Prophets in the same manner as the names of the Prophets are recorded throughout Scripture?”

Be silent, and I will teach thee wisdom, if it be thy desire to learn wisdom. It is written: The Law of the Lord is perfect (Psa 19.8). What profit be there for us, then, in the written Mishnah? Moreover, if the Talmud originated with our master Moses, what profit is there for us in ‘another view’, and what can a third or a fourth view teach us, when they tell us first that the interpretation of this problem in law is thus-and-so, and then proceed to explain it with ‘another view?'”

“The truth stands upon one view only, for this is so in the wisdom of all mankind, and right counsel cannot be based upon two contradictory things. Now in this one thing he has fallen down and cannot stand up: If the Talmud is composed of the words of the words of the Prophets, why are contradictory views found in it? Now it is evident that this view of Saadiah’s is foolishness, and the words of fools. So testify to all mankind.”

In Part 31 we will pick up with Canto III in Salmon Ben Jeruham’s argument against Rabbinic Judaism and their view of the Oral Law. Again, we are presenting this because it is relevant to believers today because there are many teachers who say the Oral Law is applicable today to those who follow Yeshua. Again, all of this applies as part of our commentary on Deut 31.9 where it says, “So Moses wrote down this Law and gave it to the priests, the sons of Levi who carried the ark of the covenant of the Lord, and to all the elders of Israel.”

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Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Deuteronomy-Part 29

There has been an ongoing conflict between several groups in Judaism. One group is called ‘Karaism” (meaning “readers”) and the other group is called Rabbinic Judaism. This conflict has been going on for centuries. Basically, the Karaites accept what is written in the Tanak and the “Rabbanites” accept an Oral Law, along with what is written in the Tanak. At times, the Rabbanite view of the oral Law supersedes the words of Moses.

We would like to include an article that brings out some very interesting points on the subject of the Torah and the need for an Oral Law. The article can be found on the website called “The Karaite Korner” and the name of the article is called “Karaism versus Rabbanism in the writings of Salmon Ben Yeruham.” The article says, “The brilliant Karaite Bible commentator Salmon Ben Yeruham (10th century) wrote a devastating criticism of Rabbanite Judaism in his book ‘Sefer Milhamot Hashem’ (The Book of the Wars of Hashem). Salmon directed his polemic against Rabbanism in general and the Rabbanite leader Saadiah al-Fayyumi (known in Rabbinic circles as Rav Saadiah Gaon) in particular. In the three chapters presented below Salmon tears down the main pillars of Rabbanism and the “Oral Law.'”

“Saadiah Gaon was Salmon’s older contemporary and was notorious for his vicious writings against Karaism. Salmon
repeatedly rejects arguments of an unnamed foe with such formulas as “He says”, “You say”, etc. This unnamed opponent was none other that Saadiah Gaon who is also called by Salmon “The Fayyumite” (since Saadiah was from the Egyptian town of Fayyum), ‘The Black guard’, and “A man devoid of a good heart.’ Salmon had a detailed knowledge of Saadiah’s infamous anti-Karaite writings and towards the end of the third chapter he systematically refutes seven arguments presented in Saddiah’s ‘Commentary on Genesis.'”

‘The Book of the Wars of Hashem’ is written as a series of acrostic poems, opening with the letters of each stanza forming, in sequence, the Hebrew Alphabet (i.e. the first stanza opens with Aleph, the second stanza opens with Bet, etc). Salmon alternates between acrostics which start at the beginning of the Alphabet (Aleph) and work their way to the end (Tav) and those which start at the end of the Alphabet and work their way to the beginning. Salmon tells us that he wrote his work both in Hebrew and Arabic, although only the Hebrew version has survived.”

“To date only the first three chapters of ‘The Book of the Wars of Hashem’ have been translated into English. The rest of the book deals with various points of Rabbanite law, laying special emphasis on the corrupt Rabbanite calendrical practices and their blasphemous personification of God” (We are not going to include the Table of Contents in this article, but we will start with the following excerpts from the “Book of the Wars of Hashem” by Salmon Ben Yeruham). “The Book of the Wars of Hashem” remained in manuscript until it was published together with a commentary by Israel Davidson under the title “The Books of the Wars of the Lord”, New York 1934 (Hebrew). The present translation of the first three chapters of “The Book of the Wars of Hashem” were rendered into English by Leon Nemoy in his book “Karaite Anthology”, Yale University Press, 1952, pp 71-82.”

“Canto I: To you I call, O men-hearken to my explicit words, reinforced, clad, enveloped, and robed with proofs as solid as onyx and sapphire. When I was at the age of vanity, I did search for the right road for my course, that I might learn, as well as teach, in the midst of my Karaite congregation, and I sought to clear the stones from my path. I was a stranger in a foreign land, investigation and searching the ways of the Law. And I saw in the midst of the Jewish congregation a man (Saadiah) devoid of a good heart and straying away from justice.”

“He bent his bow to write complaints and to remonstrate in all languages, to tear up improved roads and to pervert with nonsense and trifles the highway of understanding. I understood his purpose and was overcome with apprehension, and my wrath was kindled like a burning fire; and I was seized with zeal for the sons of Judah, and for the Almighty, and for the Book of the Testimony. And I was afraid of the Day of Judgment and retribution, lest his wrath should burn with anger. Therefore I composed a double rejoinder against him, in the languages of Eber (Hebrew), and also in that of the sons of Dumah (Arabic). This is my consolation in my exile, that there are learned men to investigate my words fairly, who will know that I speak out of zeal for God, so that the men of my congregation might not be led astray.”

“He stated in him misleading discourse, and he did utter the assertion, that the Almighty chose to reveal himself to Moses at Mount Sinai, to give him two laws for his chosen people. The commandments of the one Law were set down in writing, while the commandments of the other were kept upon the tongue. Moreover, they were both to be, into everlasting eternity, an heirloom for the congregation of the seed of the perfect ones. My spirit advised me to reply to him in this matter, and to place my answer among my congregation in a written epistle, in order to remove the stumbling block, and to clear the path of stones, so that the flock of Israel would not go astray into the waterless desert of heresy. But rather that they would study it attentively, so that my congregation might not be seduced by what is hidden from them. And I hope that is my reward God Almighty will let me behold his good tidings in Zion.”

“We firmly believe that the Written Law was in truth given to Israel by the right hand of the Almighty, according to the testimony of the whole congregation of the Lily (The Children of Israel), who are scattered in every land. All of them, believers as well as unbelievers, divided as they are by language and tongue, all Israel, from the east to the westernmost ends of the world, testify to the sanctity of the written Law, all of them, the little and the great. This testimony has become firmly established in their midst, by their united and universal consent, without challenge. Likewise, the signs and the miracles which the Dweller of the heavenly abode has wrought are written therein and are explained for them who wish to understand.”

“Selah! They remember the splitting asunder of the Red Sea, and they do not deny the words spoken by the Almighty on Mount Sinai; and with their mouths they sing of the glory of the Law and the other miracles. Israel and all other nations peak of this as one. Now if Israel and Judah are all united concerning the validity of the oral Law which is, as they say, perfect, let them offer their testimony, and let their voices by heard; if not, then they Fayyumite’s (Saadiah’s) words are void and his tongue has been silenced.”

“I shall begin here with another argument, which I shall mention now, without delay, and I shall ask and demand a reply to it from everyone who holds to the oral Law and has given his preference to it. You say that the Rock (God) has given Israel two laws, one which is written, and one which is preserved in your mouths. If this is as you say, then indeed your deeds are but falsehood and rebellion against God. The Holy One has given you an oral Law, so that you could recite it orally, for, you say, he had deemed it, in his wisdom, a laudable command. Why, then, did you write it down in ornate script?”

“Had the Merciful One wished to write it down, he would have written it down by Moses. Now did he not give it to you to be studied orally, and had he not ordained it not to be inscribed in a book? Yet they altered God’s alleged words and wrote it down, and instead of studying it orally they transferred it into writing. How, then, can their words be believed, seeing that they have offended grievously? They wrote down both Laws, thus contemning the commandment of the Almighty. Where, then, is is the oral Law in which they place their trust? Their words have become void and meaningless, and out of their mouths have they testified that they have drawn God’s wrath upon themselves.”

In Part 30, we will pick up with Canto II and more excerpts from the “Book of the Wars of Hashem” by the Karaite Salmon Ben Yeruham in which he critiques the Rabbanites (Rabbinic Judaism) and their view of an oral Law.

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