Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Ezra-Part 4

In Ezra 7.1-6 we learn about the genealogy of Ezra going back to Aaron. He has a right to the priesthood through Zadok. Ezra 7.6-10 describes his return to Jerusalem, along with many others. This was his second trip because he went with Zerubbabel earlier (Neh 12.1). We also learn something very interesting. He was a “scribe skilled in the law (Torah) of Moses” and that is because he studied it (2 Tim 2.15). The king granted him all that he requested because the hand of God was upon him.

Some of the sons of Israel (ten tribes) and some priests, Levites, singers, gatekeepers and Temple servants went up also. This alludes to the sad fact that only a few will come out of Babylon, and only a few will come out of Babylon spiritually, too. It took four months (the number of testing) for this group to get to Jerusalem. Ezra had set his heart to study the Torah and to practice it as it applied, and to teach it to the people, leading them in its statutes and ordinances.

As we have said before, Ezra is seen as a “second Moses” (Exo 18.13-16) who came in the “spirit of Moses” to teach the people. Just as Israel sunk into idolatry in Egypt, in the same way Israel sunk into idolatry and it casued them to be exiled to Babylon. So, the people needed a teacher, a “second Moses”, to teach them the ways of God again. Here is a concept to remember for today. Anyone can tell you what a verse says, but not everyone can tell you what a verse means. But Ezra could because he studied the Torah and was skilled in it.

In Ezra 7.11-26 we have the letter from Artaxerxes to Ezra in support of what he was doing. The king commissions helpers, a copy of the Torah and gifts for the Temple to go with Ezra. He also provides money for the korbanot and the promotion of Temple worship. In Ezra 7.23 we have the motive of the king. Like other kings, he wanted to pacify the gods of other people and the gods of the territory they have conquered. In Ezra 7.24-26 it tells us that Ezra is given legal authority to enforce the Torah. He exempted the priests and the temple workers from taxes and Ezra was to appoint magistrates and judges who know the Torah to judge the people. Ezra will also teach those who don’t. The king gave Ezra much authority and he gave him the authority to punish those who will not be Torah observant.

Ezra 7.27-28 shows how Ezra gave thanks to Yehovah for providing the support he needed. He moved the heart of Darius and Artaxerxes (Prov 21.1) to perform his will. This encouraged Ezra because it was clear that Yehovah was behind it all, not so much the kings. The hand of God was upon him and that is what encouraged him to proceed.

Ezra 8.1-14 gives us an accounting of who came with Ezra to Jerusalem. These will not be the first ones to return, but this is the “second aliyah” or return. This list is a list of families by males, so it does not include the women and the children, and he recounts the events in Ezra 7.1-10. In total, it is estimated that about 8000 people came with Ezra. That also means that the majority of the people stayed in Babylon. This is just like today and it parallels the last 70 plus years. Just like back then, more Jews live in Babylon (USA) than in the land. But before the birth-pains, there will be many Jews who will “come out of Babylon” and escape before her coming destruction, and return to the land (Jer 50.8,16, 51.6-9, 45, 50; Mic 4.10; Rev 18.4).

In Ezra 8.15-20 we learn that Ezra gathered the people at the river that led to Ahava (I will live) and he finds out that there were no Levites. Now, a Levite is different than a priest. They were a larger group of people in the tribe of Levi when compared to the priests, who had to descend from Aaron. A priest is a Levite, but not all Levites are priests because they came only from Aaron. It seems that the Levites were happy right where they were and didn’t want to be pioneers. Maybe they didn’t want to be under the authority of the priests in a Temple.

So, Ezra had a problem that needed to be addressed. He chose nine leaders and two men of understanding to make the appeal as persuasive as possible. He told Iddo what to say, the leading man of the people by permission of the king. God blessed the recruitment effort and a man of insight named Sherebiah (Yah sent heat) brought his sons and brothers, totaling 18 men, and 220 Temple servants (Nethanim). The Lord leads these men to set things in order for the Temple services. Remember, the Nethanim means “given ones” and they are the servants who helped the Levites. They did the menial work such as wood cutting and carrying water. This function probably goes back to the time of Moses. He was to select certain people to be give to the Levites to help with the Mishkan (Num 31.30). In Josh 9.26-27 the Gibeonites were saved from destruction by their deception of Joshua, and when this was discovered, they were made wood cutters and water carriers for the assembly (kahal) and to provide for the needs of the altar and other duties. We see them mentioned after the exile in Ezra 7.24; Neh 3.26, 10.28-29, 11.21).

Ezra 8.21-32 gives us a great lesson on what to do when you don’t know what to do. Ezra and the people are preparing for the journey and Ezra proclaims a fast at the river Ahava. It is very probable they met by a river because it was a good place for prayer (Ezek 1.1; Acts 16.13). They wanted to ask Yehovah for a safe journey for everyone who was going, and that their possessions would be safe. The journey had a lot of danger attached to it because of robbers and warring factions from time to time. This would not have been a good time to be stuck in the middle of a war.

They were also taking gold, silver, wheat, oil, salt and utensils for the service of God, and that made them a ripe target for robbers and looters. So, here is another problem. Ezra was reluctant to request troops and from the king to escort them safely to the land because he had boasted in the power of God and that God’s hand was on them. His anger was on all those who forsake him. So, they fasted and sought God concerning all this, and Yehovah heard their prayer. Fasting is a means of cleansing the mind of the earthly thoughts and desires in order to connect to the Lord at a higher spiritual level. So they separated themselves to hear from the Lord and didn’t stop until they knew what to do.

They had a lot of people and valuables to take to Jerusalem and had to have a plan from Yehovah on how to do it. Once he knew what to do, he set apart twelve of the leading priests and these would help in the administration of these duties, and we see that Yeshua also set twelve talmidim (students) apart to help him with the administration of duties. Ezra was acting as the “Gabbai Tzedekah” or “keeper of the treasury” here. He weighed out to them the silver and gold, the utensils and the offerings for the Temple which the king, his counselors, his princes and all Israel had offered. He then disperses the the valuables among the twelve evenly. He then said to them that they had a kedusha on them to the Lord. They were to watch the goods until they could be weighed again before the Levites and heads of the households of Israel at Jerusalem, in the chambers of the temple.

So all the priests and Levites accepted the gold, silver and utensils to bring to Jerusalem. This speaks well of the character of these men. They journeyed from the river Ahava on Nisan 12 to go to Jerusalem and everything was accounted for, and there is no evidence that they kept the Passover. God’s hand was upon them and he delivered everyone and everything from the hand of the enemy, ambushes and robbers along the way, and they came to Jerusalem four months later, during the month of Av (Ezra 7.9), and they remained there for three days and everything was accounted for (8.32-34).

Spiritually, this relates to us in this way. When we believe, we have kedusha on us also. We are entrusted with certain gifts. We have gold (symbolizes deity), we have silver (the metal of redemption) and other believers (the utensils). We watch over the gift and talents entrusted to us by Yehovah and we will have a full accounting when we reach the New Jerusalem after our resurrection (three is the number of resurrection-Ezra 8.32). The good news is God will also deliver us from the hand of our enemies, ambushes and robbers along the way.

Ezra 8.33-36 tells us that on the fourth day (number of testing) the gold and silver and utensils were weighed out in the Temple, and then it was numbered and recorded. So it will be when we stand before Yeshua at the Judgment Seat in the Temple in heaven (2 Cor 5.10). Sacrificial korbanot are made by the exiles who came back, and they offered twelve bulls as burnt offerings (Korban Olah) for all Israel to show their total dedication to Yehovah. They also gave ninety-six rams, eight for each tribe, which speaks of a new beginning of consecration. In addition, they also gave seventy-seven lambs which speaks of perfect submission and twelve male goats as a sin offering showing Israel’s admission to their sins.

Then they delivered the kings edicts to the king’s satraps (provincial governors)and to the governors beyond the River, and they supported the people and the Temple. Starting in our conclusion, Ezra will begin to administer correction and reform among the Jewish people who came back to the land.

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 Ezra-Part 3

Ezra 4.1-24 tells us that the Samaritan enemies of Judah and Benjamin make an offer to help the Jews build the Temple. These are the people that King Sennacherib of Assyria brought into the land about 200 years earlier. They were known as “Cuthites” and also known as “Samaritans.” We will look at this in more detail later. These are enemies and they are like Ha Satan who will try to get involved in God’s work in order to stop it.

They approached Zerubbabel (Seed of Babylon) who was the civil ruler at the time. They did not go to the religious leaders. Ha Satan and the enemies of God still try to use government against God’s people, too. They told Zerubbabel that they, too, “Seek your God and we have been sacrificing to him since the days of Esarhaddon, king of Assyria, who brought us here.” This was not true, they worshiped others gods. But, this alludes to another verse in John 4.18 where Yeshua is talking to a Samaritan woman. So we are going to take a look at this verse and what it is saying.

Yeshua goes to Jacob’s well in Sychar (Shechem) and a Samaritan woman comes to the well. Because there was no rope or bucket to draw water with, Yeshua asks the woman to give him a drink. They have a polite discourse about living water and wells. Then Yeshua says that that anyone who drinks out of this well will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water he has to give will never thirst again. So the woman says, “Sir, give me this water, so I will not be thirsty, nor come all the way here to draw” (John 4.5-15). Yeshua tells her in v 16 to go get her husband, and she says that she does not have a husband. Then Yeshua tells that she has answered well because she (who represents the Samaritans) has had five husbands, and the one she has now is not her husband (v 17-18).

Now, many interpret this verse to mean she has been married five times, and she is living with someone now. But, a closer look at these verses tell us there is something else going on. After he says this she immediately goes to the subject of worship in v 19-20. She is not changing the subject as some say, she understood exactly what Yeshua meant about the five husbands. He is talking about what happened when Assyria brought in others to Samaria.

The king of Assyria brought pagan people into Samaria (northern kingdom). In 2 Kings 17.24 it says he brought in five alien tribes with all their false gods into the land. The conversation in John is about the true God and true worship. Yeshua is referring to the five false gods named in 2 Kings 17.24 that ruled as a “Baal” (husband) over the Samaritans in John 4.18, not literal husbands. And the one she is living with now (the false religious system) is the worship that she was engaged in at the present time that claimed to be the true worship of God. For example, in the Jerusalem Post, April, 1995, it says a replica of the Second Temple was found on Mount Gerizim, following an account by Josephus that said that a high priest who flaunted Jewish law married a Samaritan woman. Jews said, “Either leave the Temple or your wife.” So he stayed with his wife. The Samaritans promised to build the high priest an exact copy of the Temple in Jerusalem, making him the high priest. The ruins are under a fifth century Byzantine church. It had the gates, walls and altar and it stood until 113 B.C. This concept of replacement theology was referred to in their conversation in John 4.19-24. Yeshua said that salvation was of the Jews (4.22).

So Zerubbabel refused their help knowing what they were going to do, and this made the Samaritans angry. They wrote a letter to Artaxerxes that was full of false accusations (fake news-Ezra 4.7), and the king gave orders for the Jews to stop building the Temple (Ezra 4.17-24). The politics back then is not much different than today. The world is against Israel and they try to provoke civil authorities against her. There is an antisemitic spirit that is trying to stop the Temple from being built.

The work of the Temple was interrupted for several years, and two other kings are mentioned in this chapter. We have Ahasuerus, the king in the book of Esther who married Esther, who was also known as Xerxes. He is the king who defeated the Greeks at the battle of Thermopylae. He reigned from 485 B.C. to 465 B.C. The other king is Artaxerxes, who reigned between 464 B.C. and 424 B.C.

The context in which Ahasuerus (Esther’s husband) is mentioned here gives us some background for the book of Esther. He has heard that these early returnees will rebel and are plotting to overthrow the Persian yoke (Ezra 4.7-131). Now, it isn’t true but Ahasuerus has heard it and believed it. So when Haman says that the Jews are a people dispersed among the nation, and have different laws, and they do not observe the kings laws, and they that they should not be allowed to live, Ahasuerus knows he has heard that before and agrees with Haman. The ears of the Persians were already poisoned against the Jews before Haman ever said what he said in Est 3.8. The bottom line is, the work has been stopped until the second year of the reign of Darius, king of Persia. He is the son of Ahasuerus and Esther according to some commentaries (Artscroll Tanach Series, Mesorah Publications, “Ezra”, p.129).

Ezra 5.1-17 tells us that work on the Temple resumed and Haggai the prophet gave direct encouragement to build (Hag 1.2-10). Zechariah also had a word that waas spiritually directed to the exiles, notably Zerubbabel and Ezra. So, we see the prophets were with them in this work and that is a very important concept to understand. However, Tattenai, the governor over the regions beyond the River (Euphrates), Shethar-bozenai and some colleagues wanted to know why the work had resumed (v 3). He was told that they were not in rebellion but that “the eye of God” was upon the elders of the Jews (v 5) and they were not going to stop till a report went to Darius. They were not going to be intimidated by what the governor and these leaders said.

A copy of this report is found in Ezra 5.7-17 and it asked the king to search the records. He would find that the Jews were given permission to build the Temple by King Cyrus. In the meantime, they were going to keep building because the government worked slow (like today) and they could also pray to God that he would guide Darius in his decision.

So, in Ezra 6.10-12 we learn that Darius issued a decree to search for the decree of Cyrus. A scroll was found and the text is found in Ezra 6.3-5. Darius replies to Tattenai in Ezra 6.6-12 and he backs up the intentions of Cyrus to allow the Jews to build the Temple, and says that no one is to hinder or violate the edict or a timber will be taken from his house and they will be impaled on it, and his house will become a refuse dump. In all of this we see the hand of Yehovah. We see that the greatest and strongest empire on earth at the time commanded that the Temple of God be finished (v 12).

In Ezra 6.13-18 we learn that the Temple was indeed finished and dedicated through the “prophesying of Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the son of Iddo. It was completed on the third day of Adar, and it was the sixth year of the reign of Darius (four years from Hag 1 and Zech 1). Then Israel (those of the ten tribes), the priests and the Levites and the rest of the exiles celebrated and dedicated the Beit Ha Mikdash (House of Kedusha) with joy (v 16). They offered 100 bulls, 200 rams, 400 lambs, and as a Korban Chata (sin offering) 12 male goats were offered corresponding to the twelve tribes of Israel. They appointed the priests and the Levites according to the mishmarot (divisions, courses) for the avodah (services) as it is “written in the book of Moses (Lev 21.8; Num 3.16, 18.23…note it was not according to an “oral” law).”

Ezra 6.19-22 says that the priests and the Levites purified themselves, and this would have been through the ashes of the Red Heifer. Then they slaughtered the Passover for all the exiles. There were some from the ten tribes that had returned also and they joined in the festival. It also says that there were those “who had separated themselves from the impurity of the nations of the land to join them” to eat the Passover. These were possibly non-Jews who believed (v 21). This verse is important because it corrects an impression one might get from Ezra 4.1-3 that the Jewish people excluded non-Jews. A non-Jewish believer was always given an open door to worship Yehovah, like Rahab, Ruth and Cornelius found out.

They also observed the festival of Unleavened Bread with joy and the heart of the king of “Assyria” was turned toward them by Yehovah. His name is Darius Artaxerxes and he is king of the Persians but he is called the king of Assyria because he had conquered the Assyrians. This is one of his many titles.

So, let’s deal with the phrase “impurity of the nations.” Jer 10.2 talks about the “way of the nations” involving idolatry. These practices included bestiality, Baal/Asherah worship and sexual perversions among other things (Mic 1.13; 2 Chr 33.6-7). We know that Judah had fallen into idolatry before they were exiled. It was like God was saying, “You want idols? I will give you idols. I am going to send you to the center of idolatry” and off they went to Babylon. While there they were exposed to all sorts of perversions, harlotry and idol worship. Israel got so sick of it that after the return from Babylon, this type of idolatry and idols were never a problem.

But, does the “impurity of the nations” still apply today? Yes, it does. Believers today are still confronted with the same issues they were, and we are surrounded by idolatry. The “harlot” (false religion) is portraying herself as the “virtuous woman” (a Torah-based faith in Yeshua). We have the birth of Yeshua perverted into Christmas with all its pagan roots (Deut 16.21; Jer 10.1-5; Isa 65.11). The festival of Bikkurim (First Fruits of the Barley) has been replaced by Easter with all its pagan roots. We also have Valentine’s Day which descends from the worship of Aphrodite and Venus, and has sexual “love” as the theme. These deities are related to the worship of Asherah. Cupid is the illegitimate son of Aphrodite and he is the god of lust. New Year’s Day was an ancient pagan day of worship and has nothing to do with the biblical new year’s day called Rosh Ha Shanah. The days of Lent are taken from the practice of “weeping for Tammuz” as seen in Jer 44.15-19. We haven’t even touched on Halloween or Sunday (Sol Invictus or the “invincible sun” is worshiped on the “day of the sun”) and how Christianity is more related to Mithraism than Judaism.

But people will say, “We don’t worship like the pagans. We turned these pagan festivals into God’s festivals and gave them biblical themes. Well, all that is a smoke screen. A rose by any other name is still a rose. Job 14.4 says, “Who can bring a clean thing out of the unclean? No one!” Jer 10.1-5 may not be talking about a Christmas tree literally, but it carries the same idea. It is a tree cut down, decorated and used in idolatry. God has his “tree of life” which is the Torah (Gen 2.8-9; 3.22-24; Prov 3.13-18, 11.30) and idolatry has its tree of life. The biggest problem in the faith today is we’ve learned the ways of the nations and merged the true worship of God with the Baalim and the Asherim, and false religions have given them new names. Yehovah would rather have us worship Satan outright than to falter between two opinions (Rev 3.16; Zeph 1.12; Luke 18.21; Matt 6.24).

We can’t tell you what was or was not allowed by God. What we can tell you is that which was given to pagan worship was not allowed, and that was the deciding factor. If we are not to learn the ways of the nations or Gentiles, then what were we to learn? We are to learn the ways of Yehovah given to Israel (Rom 9.1-5; 1 Cor 11.1-2).

We will pick up in Ezra 7.1-5 in Part 4.

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 Ezra-Part 2

In Ezra 2.1-70 we have a list of those who returned with Ezra. In Ezra 2.1-2 we have those who were closely associated with him, and they were called the “children of the province” and this means the province of Judah. Zerubbabel was the governor and he bore the Persian title of “Tirshatha” (Ezra 2.63). There were twelve people who came with Zerubbabel. Nahamani’s name is omitted in Ezra but is included in Neh 7.7, and this alludes to the twelve tribes. There are two names that many will recognize and they are Nehemiah and Mordechai. It is not known whether these two are the same people in the book of Nehemiah and Esther, but there are those who believe they are. If so, they came with Zerubbabel and then went back to Persia at a later date.

Ezra 2.3-35 contains a list of the families returning to Judah and Jerusalem. This list is just the heads of the families, with the number of males in that family. The total number would be more because they are listed by the family leaders. Then in Ezra 2.36-60 we have a list of the priestly families, Levites and Temple workers are given, plus the children of Solomon’s servants. The Temple Servants are called the “Nethanim” and they were Gibeonites whose ancestors deceived Joshua. Their employment was to minister to the Levites and work for the Temple.

Now, this list of those who are coming back from Babylon is teaching us something. We know that the Lord is stirring up the hearts of the people to return back to the land (1.5). They took advantage of the opportunity to “come out of Babylon.” This alludes to Torah-based believers in Yeshua whose hearts have been stirred to come out of religious Babylon.

In Ezra 2.61-63 we learn that there were people who claimed to have a priestly lineage but could not prove it through a genealogy. They were not allowed to eat of the Most Holy Things (Kodshai Kodashim) until they could consult with the Urim V’ Thummim. This is also spoken about in Neh 7.63. Evidently, they did not have this item at this time, along with other things that were in the First Temple.

In Ezra 2.65 we learn about the male and female singers. The Levitical women could participate as singers, but not in the Temple courts on the Duchan where the Levitical choir sang on the three steps. There had to be at least twelve singers on the Duchan to sing in the Temple.

In the Mishnah, Arakhin (vows of valuation) 2.6 it says, “There were never less than twelve Levites standing on the platform (duchan), and their number could be increased without end. None that was not of age could enter the Temple court to take part in the Temple service save only when the Levites stood up to sing; and they did not join in the singing with harp and lyre, but with the mouth alone to add spice to the music. R. Eliezer B. Jacob says: They did not help to make up the required number, nor did they stand on the platform; but they used to stand on the ground so that their heads were between the feet of the Levites; and they used to be called the Levites Tormentors.” They were called tormentors because they sang so well.

There are some rabbis who believe that women did enter the Temple court, called the Azarah. There was a gate on the north side called the Women’s Gate. They believe that the women entered through that gate to enter the Azarah. On the other hand, women also entered this gate to partake of the food that was set apart for the priest’s family, so that was the reason they called it the Women’s Gate. The priestly women came to a room on the north side of the Azarah to eat of the Kodshai Kodeahim (Most Holy) and the Kodshai Kelim (Holy) offerings. The Kodshai Kodeshim were the sin and guilt offering and could only be eaten in the Temple, but the Kodshai Kelim could be eaten within the walls of Jerusalem.

There is another reason that women were not allowed into the Azarah and it had nothing to do with sexism, but it did have something to do with paganism. Paganistic cults (meaning worship) were based on two things. The first thing was it was based on war and survival, and the second thing was it was based on the economy, centering on fertility. The priest and the priestess were prostitutes and homosexuals in pagan temples. God didn’t want that impression so women were not allowed into the inner courts. True worship was about so much more. It is totally separate from the pagan concept.

However, women sang when coming to the festivals and they sang at weddings, funerals and other occasions. They also worked with the men to tutor the younger Levites in the music of the Temple. They gave voice lessons and helped with the music. We have seen that the younger Levites would join the Levitical choir to add “sweetness” to the sound. If women were in the Levitical choir, you wouldn’t need the young voices to reach the high notes.

The people who arrived in the land gave offerings to rebuild the Temple (v 7). They gave freely and according to their ability. Paul may have had this in mind when he wrote the same thing in 1 Cor 16.2 and 2 Cor 8.3. After exile there seems to have been a large Jewish presence in the land as promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. During the exile, Judea was uninhabited however. The land kept its sabbaths and was not worked for seventy years. As a result, the land was empty until the exiles came back.

Ezra 3.1-3 deals with with restoration of the services (Avodah) and it is a very prophetic chapter. The people gathered together in the seventh month of Tishri according to the Religious calendar to Jerusalem. Neh 7.73 says the same thing. The Altar was rebuilt by a High Priest named Yeshua the son of Jozadak, and he is also called Joshua in Zech 6.11-12. This is prophetic because Yeshua the Messiah will be the first high priest after the return of the Jewish people after the Birth-pains, and he will rebuild Ezekiel’s Temple (Ezek 40 through 48). Notice that they builot it in Jerusalem.

They could have reasoned, like many people do today, that they were “the Temple” and the Temple and the Altar could have gone anywhere. After all, where the people were, that was where the true Temple is anyway, right? Wrong. In Hebrew thought based on the Torah, there was only one place to rebuild it, and that place was Jerusalem, on God’s “holy mountain” (Psa 2.6, 99.9; Isa 2.2-3; Mic 4.1-3).

Yeshua the son of Jozadak is the grandson of Seraiah the high priest who was put to death by Nebuchadnezzar in 2 Kings 25.18-21. Notice that they built the Altar before the Temple was rebuilt, and that is an important concept to remember. They understood the spiritual significance of the Altar. It was where sin was dealt with and where the common man could come and meet and conduct his business with Yehovah. Only the priests could enter the Sanctuary building. They needed to resume the korbanot like the Korban Olah and the Tamid as it is written the Torah. So we learn that there can be no Temple without the Altar, but there can be an Altar without a Temple. We also know they built this Altar on the foundations of the previous Altar, on the exact spot. We have already discussed the history of this spot in other teachings.

In Ezra 3.4-7 we learn that they celebrated the festival of Sukkot and they offered the appropriate korbanot (v 4). During their exile, the Jewish people were unable to offer any korbanot or keep any festivals because that could only be done in Jerusalem, at the Temple, with a priesthood, Altar and the holy things. After this, they gave money for the masons and carpenters on order to build the Temple (v 7).

Ezra 3.8-13 tells us that they began to work on the Temple with great joy in the second month (Iyar), which was the same month Solomon’s Temple was started (1 Kings 6.1). They also assigned Levites who were twenty years old and above to oversee the work (1 Chr 23.24). The Torah stated that the Levites were to start their work at thirty years of age (Num 4.1-37), but David changed that because they were no longer in the wilderness at the direction of Yehovah.

Then they laid the foundation of the Temple and there was an elaborate ceremony. The priests were dressed in their priestly robes, the musicians were ready for music and what they sang was possibly the Hallel (Psa 113-118) and the Great Hallel (Psa 136). This scene greatly resembled the scene in 2 Chr 5.13-14 but with lesser numbers. However, this gave the people hope that the Temple would be rebuilt again.

There was, however, a mixed reaction to all of this among the people. The men who had seen the First Temple wept because it just wasn’t the same, and many things had changed (v 12). There was no Ark of the Covenant, no divine fire, no Shekinah or king, or a palace for the king just south of the Temple. There was no Mercy Seat (Kipporet), pot of manna, Aaron’s rod, spirit of prophecy or the Urim V’ THummim. Solomon had spent much more on the First temple, so the kedusha on this Temple was not seen as the same, and it was diminished. The people could not distinguish the sound of the shouts of joy from the weeping of the people, and the sound could be heard from far away.

But regrets over the past is never productive. It can paralyze us in our present work. The prophets also warned against despising this Temple because it was not at the same level (Hag 2.1-9; Zech 4.8-10). Many shouted for joy also, and these were the younger ones who had never seen the Temple at all sitting on the site of so much history. So, there were many mixed emotions. There is also another thing to remember. Messiah himself would come to this Temple bringing the ultimate redemption of not only mankind, but also the creation.

Now, we have an eschatological picture in Ezra 3.1-6. First off, we see that the first high priest after the restoration and return of the people to begin Temple worship was a priest named Yeshua (v 2). This alludes to the fact that Yeshua the Messiah will be the high priest when worship begins in Ezekiel’s Temple after the restoration and return of the believers back to the land in the Second or Messianic Redemption.

Prophetically, we know that the Birth-pains are 2520 days long, and the first half will be 1260 days and the second half will be 1260 days. We also know that Yeshua will return on Yom Kippur at the end of the seven years. That means the Birth-pains will begin around a Yom Kippur. The Atid Lavo (Lord’s Day, Seventh Day, Sabbath of God, Millennium, etc) is also known as the Day of the Lord. This is the last one thousand years of the seven thousand year plan of God.

The first day of that last one thousand year Day of the Lord is Tishri 1, or Rosh Ha Shanah (Head of the Year). Ten days later we have the beginning of the Birth-pains on Yom Kippur. We believe that the Altar will be set up on Mount Moriah by Tishri 1 and the sacrifices will begin on Tishri 1, year 6001 from creation, just like they did in Ezra 3.1-6. We also believe that the Natzal, or the catching away of the believers to heaven, will also happen on Tishri 1, year 6001 from creation, possibly the same day that the sacrifices begin on the Altar in Jerusalem. The Altar must be built and cleansed at least seven days prior to it being used, so that means believers will see this process going on in Jerusalem. Those that understand what is going on will know that the Natzal could be near (1Thes 4.13 through 5.4). For the next few days after the Natzal (rapture), many other events will occur, like the destruction of Babylon (USA), the salvation and anointing of the 144,000 and their return to the land, and the identification of the False Messiah. Ten days later, on Yom Kippur, the Birth-pains will begin when the False Messiah signs a military treaty with Israel.

In Part 3 we will pick up in Ezra 4.1-24.

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Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Ezra-Part 1

We are going to begin a study of some of the concepts in the book of Ezra (help or helper). Again, it will not be an exhaustive study but we will point out some of the concepts that will help us understand the book better. Ezra contains a lot of history between the years 539 B.C. when Cyrus the Persian conquered Babylon, and 457 B.C. when Ezra came to Jerusalem to teach the people. Again, note the direct quote from 2 Chr 36.22-23 in Ezra 1.1-3. That’s because many believe that Ezra wrote Chronicles. He is a witness to the rampant intermarriage and the failure of that generation to fully live out what God wanted for the Temple and its symbolism.

We know that God has raised up Cyrus (Koresh meaning “farsighted” in Persian) to allow the Jewish people to return from exile in Babylon to rebuild the Beit Ha Mikdash (House of Kedusha), otherwise known as the Temple, according to the prophecy of Jeremiah (Jer 25.12). Cyrus believed that he was given the command to build the Temple by Yehovah, either being told to do it directly, or through Daniel who showed him the prophecies in Isaiah. However, many Jews did not want to leave the comforts of Babylon to be pioneers in a land very few were familiar with. The older generation had died off and the younger generation had no experience in the land. They did not want to leave a prosperous business or whatever in Babylon for a desolate, poverty stricken land surrounded by enemies. This who did come back put God first but allowed their enemies to stop the rebuilding of the Temple. The Temple will never return in status to be the symbolic platform for God’s glory (kivod) in the world as it was before, as seen in Hag 1.6-9.

After 16 years, a revival was sparked through the teaching of Haggai and Zechariah, and the Temple was completed (Ezra 5.1 through 6.22). In 457 B.C. Ezra comes (7.1-10) and he he is sent by the Persian king to teach and enforce Jewish law (Torah) and he is a priest, and teaching the Torah is his calling (Ezek 44.23). He brought a new generation of exiles back without an escort and he was faced with the problem of mixed marriages between Jews and pagans. After praying, he was able to take the people with him through an examination of this scandal and caused them to make a new covenant with Yehovah (10.44). This book will show us how Yehovah will use heathen rulers to do his will and it gives encouragement and a warning.

Ezra is seen as a second Moses, and he has the spirit of Moses (Exo 18.13-16; Ezra 7.10). Just as Israel has sunk into idolatry in Egypt, the people have sunk into idolatry causing the exile. The people needed a second Moses to teach them the Torah and the ways of God. Ezra will receive some opposition from the other priests who were also the teachers of the people. This dissension will evolve eventually into the teachers and the sages becoming “Pharisees” and the priests becoming “Sadducees” over time. Keep that concept in mind.

Ezra will pick up where he left off in Chronicles and he will write about events that happened before he came himself in the second aliyah (return). Eschatologically, what we see in this book is that it will happen again when Messiah comes. It will also confirm the fulfillment of prophecy concerning the return of the exiles, the rebuilding of the Temple and an account of the 70 years.

In Ezra 1.1-11 we have the book beginning with the first word “And” and in Hebrew that is signified by the Hebrew letter “Vav” (in some English Bibles it may have “Now”). This links Ezra with Chronicles, and Ezra 1.2-3 actually quotes the last two verses in Second Chronicles. Israel is no longer a kingdom but a province of Persia. It does not have a king but a governor. The king’s palace was on the Temple Mount and when they rebuild the Temple they will not build a palace, so everything has changed.

The people wanted to put up defensive positions when they returned because there were bandits everywhere in the area (Ezra 8.21-24). God had the heart of Cyrus in his hands (Prov 21.1) and he made a decree to allow the Jews to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the Temple, as we all know. Some say Daniel was instrumental in stirring up the prophecy in Isa 44.28 and 45.1-25 where it actually mentions the name of Cyrus 200 years before he was born.

So, the decree is written and the people are allowed to return and rebuild the Temple. There is no doubt that Cyrus was moved when he read his name in the book of Isaiah. But this action was also the general policy of the Persians. They liked diversity and integration into their administration system, but they also let the people have their own customs and beliefs. They were encouraged to seek the welfare of the king while engaged in their religious practices. However, a majority of the people declined to return. Those who did return knew they were doing a valuable work. But Yehovah said in Isa 10.22 that only a remnant would return from the exile anyway.

After the deportations, only the poor, the farmers and vine-growers were left in the land (2 Kings 25.12; Jer 39.10, 40.7, 52.16). They lived in the vacated areas (Jer 6.12). Refugees will eventually come back (Jer 40.11-12) and for 50 years those left behind lived in a dangerous position under Babylon (Lam 5.2-5). They were not treated very well and were used as slaves (Lam 11.13).

God had stirred up the spirits of the returnees and they were a dedicated group like the American pioneers in the 1800’s. There is a difference between having to be convinced to go and being moved by the Ruach Ha Kodesh to go. The journey was long and they were low on resources. They spread out over the land and had many enemies. The land was actually in the possession of another kingdom now.

But one good thing happened as a result of the Babylonian deportations . They did not replace the Jews with pagan peoples in the land like the Assyrians did. Judah was devastated but not defiled with pagan gods like Israel to the north was. Cyrus allowed the Temple treasures to be returned, but, there are some glaring omissions from the list given in Ezra 1.7-11. There is not mention of the Mizbeach Shell Zahav (Golden Altar of Incense), the Shulchan Ha Lechem Ha Pannim (Table of the Bread of the Faces), the Mizbeach Ha Gadol (Great Altar), the Menorah or the Aron Kodesh (Holy Ark). Some believe that these are lost to history, but we don’t think so.

We believe they may be hidden on the Temple Mount in a place prepared by Solomon. In the Mishnah, Shekalim 6.1-2 it says that the priests made a prostration apposite the wood-store. There was belief that came from their forefathers that the Ark was hidden there The Mishanh in Shekalim 6.1-2 also tells us about a priest who saw a block of pavement there that was different from the others. He told an associate, but before they could return to check it out he died. So they believed that the Ark was truly hidden there.

So, the question is asked, “Why wasn’t the Ark brought out in the Second Temple Period?” The Second Temple may have been below the kedusha of the First Temple. The First Temple was built for all of Israel. The northern kingdom was carried away into captivity. Even though the southern kingdom was allowed to return, they did not all return. The Temple was a “zekor” (remembrance) of the glory of what had been, and what is promised to be in the future. It is an example of the concept, “Here now, but not yet.”

Several times we have mentioned a concept called “kedusha.” When an object, place or a person has a kedusha (holiness), it cannot go “down or backwards” in kedusha. For example, when Antiochus Epiphanes IV was defeated by the Maccabees he had already defiled the altar in the Temple. When they decided to build another altar, they tore down the altar stones but they did not know what to do with them. The leaders were priests and they knew the concept of kedusha, so they knew you couldn’t just throw them away. So, they kept the stones in an area that had the same level of kedusha, and that was in the northwest chamber of the Temple called the Beit Ha Moked (Middot 1.6) meaning “Chamber of the Hearth.” It was the dormitory for the priests when they stayed there for their week of service in the Temple.

Its the same concept with the Ark and these other pieces of furniture. We believe they are hidden on the Temple Mount and they never left the sanctified (holy) area because of kedusha. In another example, when the bread was exchanged every Sabbath for the Shulchan Lechem ha Pannim (Table of the Bread of the Faces), it was brought to the sanctuary placed on a silver table to the right of the entrance into the Sanctuary. Then it was placed on the Shulchan Lechem ha Pannim (golden table) for one week. The old bread was taken off the Shulchan Lechem ha Pannim and placed on a golden table to the right of the entrance as you were leaving the sanctuary. It was on a golden table and when it was taken off it was placed on a golden table because it cannot diminish in kedusha.

The list of what was given back numbered 5,400 in total, and this is what was taken to Babylon (2 Chr 36.18). They were brought back by Sheshbazzar, the prince of Judah, who was a trusted leader Ezra 1.8,11). Some have said he was working with Zerubbabel (Ezra 2.2, 3.2) and others believe that this is a name for Zerubbabel. The fact is, nobody knows for sure. He is last mentioned in Ezra 5.16 where it says that he laid the foundation of the Temple. These were valuable items and Cyrus was very generous in giving these back. They were very expensive and could have helped in his own administrative finances. Some have said that these items were contaminated by idolatry in Babylon and that the Jewish people had lost all claim to them, but Ezra 1.11 despoils all such claims.

The people were coming back to rebuild the Temple before there are walls in Jerusalem (Neh 1.1-3). So we know that the situation was hard and dangerous. Another problem that developed was there were no crops. The people were starving. This is the situation that Ezra is dealing with, along with trying to build the Temple.

The Temple will be different that the First Temple in other way, too. There was no divine fire on the altar, Shekinah, Ruach Ha Kodesh or Urim v’ Thummim. The Urim v’ Thummim is prophesied to return in Neh 7.61-65. When Ezra comes back Judaism will also change. There is no king and the Temple is different for all of the above reasons. There is no palace for the king so that will change how the people approach the inner courts. The nature of the outer courts will change also.

Without a king there is no central authority figure. Yes, they had Yehovah but his earthly representative is the king, and we will have another major difference. Until Ezra, everybody was on the same page. Their allegiance to Yehovah depended on how good a king they had, or how bad. But there were no troublesome minorities within the majority. This will develop, however, after Ezra. We will have the Sadducees, Pharisees, Boethucians, Essenes, Traditional Jews and Hellenistic Jews, and all the various other groups that developed like the Babylonian Jews, Alexandrian Jews, the Asia Minor Jews, the Zealots and the Sicarii to name a few. This is a major change from what existed before.

The major problem in the First Temple period was idolatry and the people were enticed by it. We won’t have that problem in the Second Temple period. The people that returned learned their lesson and they passed that on to their children, but other problems developed like all the religious faction, sects or “denominations.” They also took measures to protect themselves in keeping the commandments. Ezra will institute certain customs. Whereas the First Temple period disregarded the Torah commands, after Ezra, they went the other way and built a fence of “customs” around the Torah in order to make sure the people didn’t transgress the Torah. The people “perished” in the First Temple Period because of the lack of “the knowledge” (“ha da’at” in the Hebrew of Hos 4.6) of the Torah and they did not want to make that mistake again. As a result, this attitude will develop into what we encounter in the Gospels and Epistles with all the different groups having contention with one another on how to walk (halakah) in the Torah.

Ezra comes back and he is a priest who will teach his people and fix that problem. The emphasis during the Second Temple period will be in educating the people in the Torah. Modern Jewish emphasis on education in the Tanak is molded after Ezra. But, that is not to say that there was no spiritual life among the exiles, too. Ezekiel has a “home Bible study” in Ezek 8.1. With no Temple, the emphasis was on meeting on the Sabbath, prayer, fasting, teaching and study. That is why Ezra is called the “second Moses.”

We will pick up here in Ezra 2.1-70.

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Tanak Foundations-Concepts on the Exile and Return-Conclusion

There is a theme that will be consistent in the prophecies of the prophets of return, such as Daniel, Esther, Zechariah, Haggai, Malachi, Ezra and Nehemiah. They will be dealing with the final return when Messiah comes, when the great dispersion that is being experienced today is over, and their prophecies will be dealing with the Day of the Lord (Messianic Kingdom, Lord’s Day, Atid Lavo, etc). But, you could say that about other books like Isaiah and Jeremiah also, but there is a different “tune” and mindset in the prophets of return as we shall soon see.

This time period between the end of the Divided Monarchy and the coming of Yeshua is also the beginning of what is called the “Apocalyptic Age.” This is a style of writing that had visions, dreams, symbols, signs and images that needed to be interpreted and the Jewish world was flooded with writings that were in this style. For example, the Book of Revelation, parts of Daniel, Zechariah and Ezeliel have apocalyptic writing styles. The book of First Enoch and some of the Pseudo-pigrapha were “apocalyptic” in style. The word means “to reveal” and that is why they call the last book of the New Testament is called “The Apocalypse” or as most people know it, “Revelation.” It is because of the style it was written in because it was to reveal the Messiah and teach about the birth-pains and his coming.

The word “apocalyptic” carries a different meaning to most today. We one says, “It is the apocalypse” it carried the meaning of “the end of the world” but it really does not mean that. People reading Revelation for instance tend to forget (or don’t know to begin with) that it is an apocalyptic work with visions, dreams, signs, symbols and images that will convey a prophetic meaning. They will try to read it in the “peshat” level (literal) and it doesn’t work because it is not written to be taken literally, unless the context tells you something is literal. When you understand the apocalyptic style you will be able to understand what the symbols, images and signs mean to understand the prophecies. For instance, in Rev 13 John sees a seven-headed beast rising out of the sea. That is not to be taken literally, but it is symbolic for Leviathan, the twisted serpent, who is also called Rahab and Pharaoh, who are pictures of the False Messiah (Isa 27.1; Ezek 29.1-7; 32.1-8; Psa 74.13-14; Job 26.12-13; Job 41). A Jewish person in the first century familiar with the apocalyptic style would have thought, “That’s Leviathan and a picture of the false Messiah!” We have discussed this many times before and if you want more information, see our teaching on the False Messiah on this site.

Nebuchadnezzar has a dream in Dan 2.1-45 and his dream is apocalyptic in style, and the dream needed to be interpreted. Daniel revealed the dream and the interpretation, and this pleased Nebuchadnezzar, but he was disturbed by the prophecies and the end of Babylonian rule and the coming of other nations. The small stone in his vision is of course Yeshua the Messiah who comes to set up an everlasting kingdom (Dan 2.35; Gen 49.24). He rebels against this interpretation and makes a huge statue of gold only in the valley of Dura (Dan 3.1-30). Some Jews did not bow to the image and were cast into a burning furnace, but survived. Nebuchadnezzar was amazed and had them released unhurt.

The valley of Dura will be the scene of another vision where Ezekiel sees the valley filled with dry bones (Ezek 37). This vision will have the bones coming alive after Ezekiel prophesies to them (Ezek 37.9-10). They come alive and they become a great army. Ezekiel brings the message of the dry bones coming alive to the exiles, telling them that Israel will once again have life and will return to the land (Ezek 37.11-13).

About 30 years after the destruction of the Temple, Nebuchadnezzar died and this caused the Jewish people to rejoice (Prov 11.10). Two Judean kings, Yehoichin and Zedekiah were released. Zedekiah dies soon after but Yehoichin lived for many more years as the guest of Evil-Merodach (man of Marduk), the son of Nebuchadnezzar. Yehoichin had a son while exiled named Shealtiel, and he became the father of Zerubbabel. Zerubbabel will eventually lead the Jews once they are back in the land as governor. Evil-Merodach reigned for 23 years and was followed by Belshazzar, the last Babylonian king.

Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, interpreted by Daniel, now unfolded when King Darius of Media and King Cyrus of Persia came together and conquered Babylon and the surrounding lands. Daniel was appointed to a high office in the Medo-Persian court, but others were jealous f him and plotted against him. They knew Daniel prayed to Yehovah so they got the king to issue a decree that disallowed anyone to pray to their own God for 30 days. But Daniel did not just offer silent prayers, but Daniel prayed toward the site of the destroyed Temple three times a day following Solomon’s prayer in 1 Kings 8.46-49. His enemies knew this and informed the king. They asked that Daniel be thrown into a lion’s den, and we have all heard the story.

Now, the king loved Daniel but he had to comply with his own law. And we all know the lions did not harm Daniel and when the king saw this miracle he commanded that Daniel’s enemies be thrown into the den. Then the king issued a decree that said all the people were to worship Yehovah.

After a one year rule, Darius the Mede was followed on the throne by Cyrus of Persia. This is the king that Isaiah prophesied would come about 200 years earlier. He said Cyrus (Hebrew “Koresh”) would defeat many nations and enable the Jewish exiles to return back to the land (Isa 45). When Cyrus ascended the throne, the 70 year captivity has passed and it was time to return.

However, during the Babylonian exile the enemies of Israel were now in possession of the land in Samaria, the Negev and the eastern part of the country. The people of Tyre settled along the coastline. There were no non-Jews in Judah in and around Jerusalem, and the land was desolate. Only a small portion of the people came back to the land, while the majority of the people stayed in Babylon/Persia. For example, the events of the Book of Esther happened to the Jews who did not return back to the land when they could have.

Several things will be different now. The Ark of the Covenant will not be in the Holy of Holies, the garments of the High Priest and the breastplate of judgment with the Urim and Thummim was missing (Neh 7.64-65). While the earlier prophets (Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel) prophesied of the coming redemption, the prophets of return will take that to a higher level. It will be a central focus. They will look at the “here and now” but they will also look at the return of all that was lost in the First Kingdom.

In the first year of his rule, Cyrus issued a decree found in Ezra 1.1-3. The Temple in Jerusalem will be built again. The leaders of the people were Zerubbabel, Yehoshua (Joshua) Ben Yehozadok the High Priest, Nehemiah, and the prophets Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi to name a few. Nearly fifty thousand people, accompanied by over seven thousand servants, came back. Those that stayed behind will help out financially and with livestock. Cyrus returned the holy vessels from the Temple that had been taken by the Babylonians.

Cyrus also sent troops to protect the people on the journey, and two hundred singers led the people in song. Here is an important note. The book of Ezra and Nehemiah were originally one book We will get into more detail on these books later.

So the people are returning because of the decree of Cyrus, which was prophesied 200 years before Isa 45. That prophecy was given by Yehovah before the Persian Empire even existed. Cyrus was one of seven people named in the Scriptures before they were born. The others are Isaac, Ishmael, Solomon, Josiah, Yochanon Ha Matvil (John the Immerser) and Yeshua.

The people do not come back to build forts and houses. Their primary objective is to build the Temple. This shows that at the core of their loss was not the destruction of Jerusalem or the land, but it was the loss of the Temple (Psa 126). It was the center of a Torah-based faith, the festivals, worship and prayer. Everything related around the Temple. In honor of Cyrus, in the Mishnah, Middot 1.3 it says there were five gates to the Temple Mount. One of them on the east side was called the Shushan Gate because it pointed to the Persian Empire, the ones who gave them permission to build the Temple.

When the people began to return, the first thing they did was to reinstate the korbanot (offerings) in Jerusalem, and they began to erect an altar even before the Temple was rebuilt (Ezra.3-16). After that they began to build the Temple and the people were very excited to see it go up in an answer to prayer. However, some of the older people who had seen the greatness of the First temple wept at the sight of this new sanctuary.

The Samaritans (Cuthites) didn’t like the fact that the Jews came back to rebuild because they had their own thing going. So they decided to obstruct the process. They wanted to “help” in the construction but the Jewish leaders said, “No.” Once this failed, they sent messages to Cyrus accusing the Jews of rebellion. Cyrus ordered that the work be stopped. After this, Cyrus dies and Ahasuerus (Achashverosh) ascends to the throne There are many who believe that Ahasuerus was Xerxes, the one who invaded Greece and won the battle of Thermopylae. It is also during his reign that the events in the book of Esther transpired.

We know that by the plan of God, the Jews were spared from an evil decree instigated by a man named Haman, a descendant of the Amalekites, as we shall see when we discuss the book of Esther. The Temple had not been built yet and it has been nearly 20 years since Zerubbabel had returned. The Jews in Persia had been saved from Haman, but in Judea the people struggled. Hag 1.6 describes their difficulties and the people were suffering because they had not rebuilt the Temple. Hag 2.4 tells us that the people were exhorted to start building the Temple again.

Again, the enemies of the Jews tried to stir up trouble again but Persia was ruled by the son of Ahasuerus and possibly Esther, King Darius II. He did not regard the accusations of the enemies of the Jews to be credible, and gave assistance to the rebuilding project. Four years later the Second Temple was completed and standing on the exact spot where the First Temple stood on Mount Moriah.

Eschatologically, when Israel gets the Temple Mount back very soon they will not have to have a sanctuary building in place in order to start offering the korbanot and have some services, according to Ezra 3.1-6. However, in order to start the services they will need to have an altar. Seven days prior to the beginning of these services, the site of the Temple, the altar, the priests, Levites and the vessels that will be used will need to be sprinkled with the ashes of a Red Heifer (the tenth one in Jewish history). But, you cannot stop at the building of the altar, you must continue to build everything else. The altar was just the first step. We will see the scenario in Ezra 3.1-6 and the reestablishment of the altar and the Temple will happen again. It will happen in the coming Third Temple and will also happen in Ezekiel’s Temple as well.

Many of the concepts we have briefly gone over in this short series will be revisited when we go into the coming books of the Tanak, only in much more detail. We wanted to go over a few things now so that we can have a basic understanding of what is going on as we move forward to the book of Ezra and the rest of the Tanak.

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 on the Exile and Return-Part 2

We are covering the time of the return to the first century in our study, so let’s go over a few things in a brief review. This subject has many concepts and these will be essential in our understanding of the Prophets, the Writings, the Gospels and the Epistles. The exile is called the “Galut” and the return is called the “Aliyah.” From the first galut to the third aliyah, it will be 70 years. From the end of the third galut to the beginning of the first aliyah, it will be 39 years.

Going back to the first galut and this 39 year period we will have two major prophets who will be ministering, Jeremiah (May Yehovah exalt) and Ezekiel (God will strengthen). Both will be priests from two different families of priests. At the time of David we have two high priests. We will have Zadok (righteous) and Abiathar (excellent father). Because we have the Mishkan at Gibeon in the north and we have the Ohel David (tent of David) in the south that housed the Ark near the Gihon Spring, two high priests were required.

When David flees into the wilderness both are loyal to David, but as he ages, his son’s compete with each other as to would be king. Absalom and Adonijah try to take the throne, and Abiathar sides with them. Zadok sides with David against Absalom and will also support Solomon.

The family of Abiathar can no longer minister in the Temple but they can still function as a priest (1 Kings 2.26-27). The family of Zadok can minister in the Temple (Ezek 44.15). Jeremiah, who is related to Abiathar, will stay in the land to minister to the people, but Ezekiel, who is related to Zadok, will go to Babylon with the exiles.

The Babylonians will set up a Jewish governor in the land named Gedaliah (Yah is my greatness). He will be killed by Ishmael and ten friends, and this alludes to the False Messiah and the ten kings with him. The Babylonians aren’t real happy with this because it was seen as an attack on Nebuchadnezzar himself who appointed him, and they come back and some of the people flee to Egypt (2 Kings 25.22-26), taking Jeremiah with them. Jeremiah will tell the people to stay in the land and surrender to the Babylonians because God has sent them for judgment, but they don’t listen. Nebuchadnezzar also comes to Egypt and conquers them, so they really didn’t get away. A few people escaped, including Jeremiah, who then went to Babylon to join the exile. This brings us to the end of the First Temple period with the murder of Gedaliah. Jerusalem and the Temple are destroyed and the people are exiled to Babylon. So, the third deportation came after the murder of Gedaliah, and now we will be setting the stage for the return.

There is a book called, “The History of the Jewish People:Second Temple Period” by Mesorah Publications , p. 16, and it says, “Within seven years of Gedaliah’s murder the land turned into a barren desert.” In the Tosefta, Bava Kama 7.2, it says that Yochanon Ben Zakkai said that Israel was exiled to Babylon because Abraham came from there. Ben Zakkai was the Av Beit Din (vice president) of the Sanhedrin at the destruction of the Temple by the Romans in 70.A.D. He restructured the “Judaisms” of the first century with his brand of Judaism (Beit Hillel) into what became known as Rabbinic Judaism. Many regard him as one of their favorite rabbis, and many believers think so, too. However, he was not a believer and opposed a Torah-based faith in Yeshua. One can gain some insight into the Judaism of the Pharisees in the first century, but he didn’t follow Moses or Yeshua, and that should be at least considered when reading his rulings.

So, in being taken back to Babylon, we have the Jewish people being taken back to their roots with Abraham. There will be certain things there that they were familiar with, as opposed to being sent to Greece or other places. After all, their ancestors walked on the same land as they were now and had some deep roots. Jacob fled there and lived there for 20 years while his sons (the tribes) basically grew up there. The Jewish community in Babylon will be the longest Jewish community in the world for hundreds of years. Peter even wrote to them in 1 Pet 5.13.

God had spared the nation but destroyed the buildings. Being sent to Babylon was like Yehovah saying, “You want to worship idols, then I am going to send you right into a land full of idols.” They were humiliated but built their lives back up again. The rulers allowed the exiles to be independent, but there were many adjustments that had to be made. There was no Temple, no Jerusalem, no festivals and much of their religious life centered around the Torah. With the Temple gone, much of the Torah didn’t apply, but it wasn’t like they were following it to begin with, or they would not have found themselves in Babylon. But it was going to be an adjustment, as we shall soon see. They learned Aramaic, which was similar to Hebrew. They also had help from their countrymen who were already in Babylon from before the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple. They would help their newly arrived brethren to adapt.

About a decade before the destruction of the Temple and the city, the Babylonians exiled about ten thousand Jews and many of these were some of the righteous of the nation, like Daniel, Chananiah, Mishael and Azariah. Some will know them by their Babylonian names of Belteshazzar, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednago. God would display his power through them over the years as we all know.

Jeremiah sent them a message that what had happened in the destruction was from God and they had to deal with that fact (Jer 29.1-28). So, the Jewish people settled in places along the Euphrates River and tried to limit their contact with the idolatrous Babylonians. They established a “knesset” (Hebrew word “assembly” and for the Greek “synagogue”) and with a Beit Midrashim (Houses of Study) attached to it to teach the Torah. However, they could no longer keep the festivals or offer korbanot because there was no Temple. This will be the first time they would not have a central sanctuary to worship in since coming out of Egypt. As a result, Babylon became a spiritual center for the people and remained that way for centuries, even hundreds of years after the destruction of the Temple again in 70.A.D. until that was destroyed, too.

Several people came out of the Babylonian exile and they would influence future generations. We will have people like Nehemiah, Ezra the scribe and Zerubbabel. Some feared that living in a prosperous civilization with many cities and a rich economy would cause assimilation. There were huge temples and idolatrous paganism was everywhere. But, this did not happen. The Jewish people could see for themselves the vanity of these pagan beliefs and finally realized that all of it was corrupt and inferior.

They rejected paganism and idolatry and tried to stay away from it. However, some did assimilate because they thought that God had rejected them, so they became like their non-Jewish neighbors. Ezekiel rebuked this attitude in Ezek 20.32-33. Ezekiel gave them hope that they had a future and that God had not rejected them, as did Jeremiah (Ezek 33.1-20; Jer 31.17-20).

The idea of a “knesset” (assembly)and a Beit Midrash (House of Study) attached to it was brought back to the land by Ezra. If they did it outside of the land, how much more should they have them once back in the land. They also established what is called “Yeshivot” or “academies” where scholars could be developed. They inspired “discussions” and heated arguments called a “pilpul” there. These were done by arguing a topic until they arrived a “truth” hopefully. This does not mean “angered argument” but a “scholastic analysis.” They would discuss a topic from every angle, and they would try and control their emotions. A hard thing to do sometimes.

The Babylonian Empire will go through three significant changes, and their time to rule is very limited as far as empires go, even though the city and been there a long time. They will be overthrown by the Medo-Persians. The Babylonian Period will also be called the Persian period. The Persians will eventually dominate the Medes and it becomes the “Persian Empire.” This empire will fall to the Greeks, but the Greeks break up after Alexander dies. Persia breaks free from the Greek influence and they become the third empire called called the Parthian Empire. They will be a huge rival to the Romans leading up to the first century and the Romans never will conquer them. The Jews who remained in Babylon and did not return to Israel were allowed to flourish in Parthia and they did not have to deal with the Romans or Christianity.

In the years before Yeshua was born, the Romans had what was called the First Triumvirate (60-53 B.C.) made up of three individuals and their names were Marcus Lucinius Crassus, Julius Caesar and Pompey. Pompey will be fighting the Parthians when he is called in to help in a civil war in Judea between the two Hasmonean brothers named Aristobulus and Hyrcanus. Pompey comes in and settles the civil war, but eventually this will lead to the reign of King Herod.

Now, let’s talk about Daniel, Mishael, Azariah and Chananiah. They were exiled in the first deportation, eleven years before the destruction of the Temple. Daniel was about fifteen years old when he was tested. The king wanted the promising youths to be served food and wine from the royal Temple, but Daniel and his friends refused to eat the food because it was either unkosher or sacrificed to idols . The cook was now concerned because if they didn’t eat it would look bad on him, so he brought the matter before the overseer. Daniel says “Please test your servants for ten days, and let us be given some vegetables to eat and water to drink. Then let our appearance be observed in your presence, and the appearance of the youths who are eating the kings’s choice food; and deal with your servants according to what you see.” After ten days they looked healthier than the non-Jewish youths.

They also grew in wisdom and were appointed as officials in the king’s court. They were called “wise men” and in Hebrew “Chachamim.” The “chachamin” were scholars and when you translate this word into Greek it is “magi.” As we go into Matt 2.1 we read about the “magi” or “chachamim” coming from the “east” or Babylon, where the largest Jewish community existed. These wise men or chachamim may have been Jewish descendants of those who had been carried away into exile to Babylon. They had settled there and may have been coming to the festival of Sukkot when the “star” appeared signaling the coming of the Messiah (Num 24.17). However, the word “magi” is not restricted to Jewish sages. It was a general term, like “kohen” could mean a Jewish or a pagan priest. When Nebuchadnezzar reached his peak, God gave him a dream about the end of his kingdom and the rise of other kingdoms leading up to the coming of the Messiah (Yeshua).

We will pick up here in our conclusion.

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 on the Exile and Return-Part 1

Before we move on to other books of the Tanak we are going to look at some of the concepts concerning the Exile (Galut) and the Return (Aliyah). We will be dealing with concepts that we think are important to know before we continue with other books that deal with the return from Babylon.

There is a word we need to know and it is called the “Schema” and it basically means the “background” to a certain subject. People today do not have a proper “schema” to know what is happening in the Scriptures. Christians have a Replacement Theology background so they can’t understand what is really being said, and Jews are coming from a Rabbinic Judaism background where Yeshua is rejected and the teachings of the rabbis take precedence over Moses and the Tanak. So, in order to understand the exile, the prophets, the return, and leading up to the events of the first century, we need to get some basic background first.

We will also have several empires dealing with the Jews in Babylon. First, we will have the Babylonians, and then Babylon falls to the Medo-Persians. After the Medo-Persians we will have the rise of Greek Hellenism, and then we have the rise of the Roman Empire that will bring us up to the first century. What we are going to look at is what happened after the Jews were allowed to go back to the land, but we will look at other things that developed during this time as well. This will give us a good background in the Scriptures.

Up to this point we have gone through several eras. We have the creation in the first five chapters in Genesis. Then we have Noah and the Flood leading up to the age of the Patriarchs. After that we have Moses and the Torah at Mount Sinai. Following that we have the Joshua and the conquest of the land.

Then we enter into the period of the Judges leading up to the Dual Monarchy of Saul, David and Solomon. That is where one king rules over Judah and Israel. Then we have the Divided Monarchy, with two kings ruling Judah and Israel. The Assyrians came and took away some of the ten northern tribes of Israel, and later the Babylonians came and took captive those from Judah in three separate deportations. The beginning of the 70 years of captivity spoken of by Jeremiah began about 597 B.C. with the first deportation (2 Kings 24.8-16). This happened during the reign of King Yehoiachin, and his mother’s name (the Givorah) was Nechusta (“serpent”), which is significant.

From the last deportation to the first of the returnees there will be only 39 years. This is an important fact because when they rebuild the Temple there will be many who are still alive who saw the First Temple. Ezekiel and the “elite” were taken in the first deportation (Ezek 1.2). When they rebuilt the Temple there were certain areas that were remembered by the people.

There were four huge buildings that measured 100 cubits by 50 cubits in the corners. In what would be called the Beit Ha Moked in the northwest corner there was what was called the “Shaar Yeconiah” or “Gate of Yehoiachin.” It was the gate he went through to go to Babylon (he lived 37 years). The Beit Ha Moked means “House of the Hearth” because it was the dormitory for the serving priests and it had a big fire for the priests to stay warm.

Across the courtyard (Azarah), in the southwest corner, there was another building called the “Beit Yair Ha Levanon” or the “House of the Forest of Lebanon” (2 Kings 24.13), and in the Second Temple it was called the “Beit Ha Otzrot” meaning “House of the Treasuries.” In the half closest to the inner court, treasure for the Lord was kept, and it was also an armory. South of that building was the location of Solomon’s palace, and all the kings to Zedekiah.

In 2 Kings 24.14 we learn that the people, captains and the mighty men of valor, ten thousand captives and craftsmen and smiths were carried away. The unlearned were left behind. Now, the term “craftsmen and smiths” are terms used to describe rabbis. The term “carpenter” meant a “rabbi or a teacher.” Literally, these terms in v 14 is “carpenters and locksmiths.” In the Artscroll Tanak series by Mesorah Publications, there is a book called “Yechezkel” (Ezekiel), and on page 75 it has a commentary on Ezek 1.2 that says, “King Yehoyachin’s exile. This was to be the nucleus from which a new, regenerated Israel would grow (see Overview and comm. to 11.15). Included in it were the best of Israel’s sons. The charash (carpenters) and masger (locksmiths) mentioned in 2 Kings 24.14 were no ordinary workers. The Sages (Sifri to Deut.32.25) identify them as the greatest teachers of Torah in the nation. They silenced everyone who would want to argue with them (the root for charash denotes “silence” as well as carpentry) with their brilliance; and when they spoke everyone else would close his mouth (s’ger, or to close, is also the root for locksmith) in order to listen.”

In the book “Jesus the Jew” by Geza Vermes, Maclillan Publication Co, it says, “Jesus the Carpenter. His secular profession remains uncertain. Tradition has it that he was a carpenter and learned his trade from his father, but this on the fragile evidence that after his first and last sermon in the synagogue of Nazareth, the townsfolk could not understand how “the carpenter” or “the carpenter’s son” could have acquired such great wisdom. Was he a carpenter himself, or was he only the son of a carpenter? The confused state of the Greek text of the Gospels usually indicate either (a) a doctrinal difficulty thought by some to demand rewording; or (b) the existence of a linguistic problem in the expression in Hellenistic terms of something typically Jewish. Here the second alternative applies. The congregation in the synagogue voices astonishment. ‘Where does he get it from/’ ‘What wisdom is this…?’ ‘Is this not the carpenter/the son of the carpenter…? Now those familiar with the language spoken by Jesus are acquainted with a metaphorical use of ‘carpenter’ and ‘carpenter’s son’ in ancient Jewish writings. In Talmudic sayings the Aramaic noun denoting carpenter or craftsmen (naggar) stands for a ‘scholar’ or ‘learned man.'”

Zedekiah (Mattaniah) was the last king of Judah. Jeremiah prophesied in his days also, and was put in prison. Zedekiah rebels against Babylon’s yoke and Nebuchadnezzar comes again and besieges Jerusalem. Zedekiah escapes (2 Kings 25.1-7) but is captured. His sons are killed before his eyes and Zedekiah is blinded. Then he is led away to Babylon. A second deportation commences.

The only king who has sons who survive is Yehoiachin, or Yeconiah, or just plain Coniah (Matt 1.12). However, he cannot have a son who sits on the throne, and that’s why we have a virgin birth (Jer 22.30). We will get back to this later. He has a son named Shealtiel, who then has a son named Zerubbabel. Yeconiah is the Greek form of Yehoiachin. In Zech 4.8, Zerubbabel, the grandson of Yehoiachin, will build the Temple. He is the governor over Judah, appointed by the Persians. Hag 1.1-2 confirms this also.

We have come to the end of the kingdom and the people have gone into exile in Judah. In the captivity, Zerubbabel is appointed governor of Judah as we have said. He is the last possible heir to the throne, being the grandson of Yehoiachin. He is sent back to the land 39 years after the last deportation. This is called “the beginning of the age of return” or an “aliyah.” This is a return from the first galut (exile) to the third aliyah, which will be 70 years.

Now everything begins to change. With the destruction of the Temple on Tisha B’ Av (ninth of Av) the kingship ended. With the destruction of the Second Temple on Tisha B’Av (ninth of Av), the platform for the priesthood ended. Up to this time in 70 A.D. the priesthood was a power to be reckoned with, but without the Temple, there was no stage for them anymore.

All of the laws of the Temple did not apply anymore, like the Festivals, the laws of clean and unclean, the korbanot (offerings), tithing and so on. These are going to be major changes in the lives of the Jewish people. The “Judaisms” that the people understood and the many different sects had to be “reformed” and the problem was, they restructured Judaism to be Rabbinic-based, and restructured away from being Torah-based.

Let’s go to Jer 22.11-12. One of the things we need to realize is people have more than one name in the Bible sometimes. Shallum is Yehoahaz (2 Kings 23.30-34, the son of Josiah. He was led away captive and never saw the land again. He is the first king after Josiah. Jer 22.13-17 are the charges brought against Yehoahaz. Jer 22.18-23 tells us about Yehoiakim, the successor of Yehoahaz.

Jer 22.24-30 tells us about Coniah, also known as Yehoiachin and Yeconiah. These verses refer to his captivity in Babylon, and it contains a very interesting prophecy. Does Yeconiah have descendants? Yes, he has a son named Shealtiel and a grandson named Zerubbabel. But he is written down “as if” he is childless. His sons will never sit or prosper sitting on the throne of David. So, if you descend from this man you cannot sit as a king over Israel.

Now, let’s go to Matt 1.6-12 and we have the line of David through Yeconiah, who had a son named Shealtiel, then Zerubbabel (the governor), then the genealogy goes down to Yeshua in verses 13-16. To be king, you must be a descendant of David through Solomon, which is the line of Yeconiah. But Yeconiah has a curse on his descendants and none of them can sit as king. As a result, Joseph (the husband of Miriam/Mary) had a right to the throne but he had the curse that was attached to the throne, so he never could have been king anyway. That is one reason that you had to have a virgin birth.

In Luke 3.31 we learn that in the genealogy of his mother Miriam (Mary), she was descended from David through Nathan, the third son of David and Bathsheba, followed by Solomon (2 Sam 5.14; 1 Chr 3.5). This is how Yeshua can be a son of David and be king. It just didn’t come through the same, cursed line of Yeconiah.

We will pick up here in the conclusion.

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 Second Chronicles-Conclusion

In 2 Chr 35.1-27 we learn that Josiah directs the priests and the Levites to celebrate Passover, slaughtering the lambs on Nisan 14. He set the priests in their offices and “Mishmarot”( or “courses”) according to 1 Chr 24.1-19. Only certain priests served at certain times and he encouraged them in the “service” or “avodah” of the Temple that was given by Yehovah in 1 Chr 28.11-19 and Rom 9.4. This involved the ceremonies, prayers, songs to be sung, readings and how everything was to be done. Many people think that the offerings and what was done in the Temple was devised by the Jewish people, but it wasn’t. It was given by Yehovah himself to David, then to Solomon, and then to the Jewish people to perform. That is why you could not just do whatever you wanted in the Temple services, either adding to or detracting from what God has prescribed (1 Chr 28.19)

Now we are going to learn something very interesting in 2 Chr 35.3. We learn that Josiah tells the Levites to “Put the holy (had a kedusha) ark in the house which Solomon the son of David king of Israel built; it will be a burden on your shoulders now longer. Now serve Yehovah your God and the people of Israel.” The Levites will no longer have the duties of carrying the ark like they did in the wilderness because it was going to stay on the Temple Mount.

Is this prophetic? Judgement was coming, according to Jeremiah and the prophets. On p. 309 of the book “Divrei Ha Yamim II” by Mesorah Publications, it says, “A bitter exile stretched before them and they needed to be prepared for fundamental changes. The removal of the Ark became a highly significant part of their education. They would have to learn to survive spiritually without it. Our phrase may mean as follows: There was a time when Israel wandered through a desert and you, the Levites, accompanied them, proudly bearing the Ark-symbol of God’s presence among them-on your shoulders. Israel is about to embark once more upon a trek through the desert-one infinitely more terrible and frightening than the other-the wilderness of the nations (Ezekiel 20.35; and see Artscroll edition there). But in this wilderness you will not accompany them with the Ark on your shoulders. It will remain, hidden in its vault, until the ultimate redemption.”

The Ark is still on the Temple Mount today, waiting for the Messianic Redemption with Yeshua the Messiah. This tells us that the Ark was never taken to Ethiopia by Menelek, the son of Solomon, or anyone else. It also tells us that Pharaoh Shishak didn’t take it 300 years earlier, as some believe (1 Kings 14.25-28). There are many so-called prophecy teachers out there that have written books and they say the Ark is in Ethiopia, or in some cave near the Dead Sea, but all that is nonsense. We can refute those theories with one word, “Kedusha.”

This concept is at the heart of what went on the Temple. The Temple was called the “Beit Ha Mikdash” which means “House of Kedusha.” Kedusha means “to designate or set apart for the service of God by formal and legal restrictions or limitations. The kedusha of periods of time are marked by limits on man’s activities of work and construction.” In other words, the Ark was to remain on the Temple Mount. It could never be taken away to some other locality that did not have the same level of kedusha as the Holy of Holies.

Here is an example of this concept. In the time of the Maccabean war, the Temple had been defiled by the Antiochus and the Greeks, but eventually the Jews gained control of the Temple again. But the altar of burnt offering had been defiled and they had to build a new one, but they did not know what to do with the old stones because they just couldn’t throw them away because of kedusha. The Maccabean leaders were priests and were familiar with the concept. So they decided to keep them on the Temple Mount and they were eventually stored in the Beit Ha Moked on the northwest corner of the Temple area, until a prophet came along and told them what to do with them (1 Maccabees 4.42-46). So, in the same way, we believe that the Ark is on the Temple Mount because of kedusha.

In the Mishnah, Shekalim 6.1-2 it says, “There were thirteen shofar chests, thirteen tables, and thirteen prostrations in the Temple (Middot 2.3..in thanksgiving for the deliverance of the Temple by the Maccabees). They of the House of Gamaliel and of the House of R. Hanina the Prefect (the Sagan or deputy High Priest) used to make fourteen prostrations. And where was the added one? Opposite the wood-store, for thus was the tradition among them from their forefathers, that there the Ark lay hidden. Once a priest was occupied therein and he saw a block of pavement that was different than the rest. He went and told it to his fellow, but before he could make an end of the matter his life departed. So they knew assuredly that there the Ark lay hidden.”

The Ark is hidden under the Deir Ha Etz, or the Wood Chamber, of the Temple, on the south side of the Temple complex. The concept of kedusha prevents it from leaving the Temple Mount. Solomon built a place on the Temple Mount to hide the Ark if the Temple turned from God, and this was according to the plan of God (1 Chr 28.11-19). In 2 Chr 35.3, Josiah moved the Ark during the repairs to the Temple, which would have included the Kodesh Ha Kodeshim (Holy of Holies). It is possible he took it to the place Solomon had prepared under the Deir Ha Etz chamber where it is today. It has the same level of kedusha as the Kodesh Ha Kodeshim. Anything with a certain level of kedusha cannot go to a lower level of kedusha.

Josiah and his princes supplied the people with animals for the Passover festival. Everything was prepared and done as the Lord required in the Torah, and they slaughtered the Passover. The priests immediately sprinkled the blood, and the Levites skinned them (v 11). They roasted the the Passover in what is called a “meal consecrated to God” or a Lord’s Supper, and they boiled the holy things in pots, kettles and pans (what you could not do with the lambs (Exo 12.9) and carried them to the lay people and eaten within the city. This is not a New Testament concept, but is seen throughout the Tanak. What Christianity has reduced it to is a thimble full of grape juice and a cracker, and it is a shame. It has little resemblance to the First Century concept of a Lord’s Supper. Now, we said earlier that the Levites skinned the animals but this is very unusual because the priests usually did it.

So all the service of the Lord was prepared on that day to celebrate the Passover, and to offer burnt offerings on the altar of the Lord as commanded by King Josiah. The sons of Israel who were present (they had to be in Jerusalem and the Temple) celebrated the Passover at that time, and the Festival of Hag Ha Matzah (Unleavened Bread). There had been no Passover kept in Israel like this one since the days of Samuel the prophet (v 18).

After Josiah had set the Temple in order, Pharaoh Neco of Egypt came to make war at Charchemish and Josiah went out to engage him as he moved north through Israel (v 20-27). There was a geopolitical struggle going on between the declining Assyrian Empire and the rising Babylonian Empire. The Assyrians had made an alliance with the Egyptians to try and stop Babylon from advancing towards Egypt. Israel is stuck in the middle, and Josiah attacked Egypt even after Neco warned him not get involved. Josiah is trying to throw off the Assyrian yoke, so he is coming to the aid of the Babylonians.

He enters into a battle at Megiddo, trying to intercept Egypt before they could help Assyria. Josiah disguises himself (like Ahab tried to do) but is killed by an arrow as he was riding in his chariot. They put him another chariot and brought him to Jerusalem where he died. We can’t help but wonder at the similarities between the death of Ahab and the death of Josiah. Each king disguised himself; each were shot by arrows; each said they were wounded; both were propped up in their chariots and later died.

Eschatologically, Pharaoh Neco is a picture of the False Messiah. Egypt is a picture of Europe, who will be allied with Russia (Assyria) after Russia is destroyed after they invade Israel at the end of the third, beginning of the fourth, year of the Birth-pains. The Kings of the East (army of Babylon) are advancing against the False Messiah who tries to stop them (Rev 16.12). Josiah is a picture of the believers in the Birth-pains who rise up against the False Messiah and are defeated at Megiddo.

After Josiah dies, Jeremiah gives a “kinah” or “lamentation” (v 25). Jeremiah has been saying all along that Babylon should not be resisted because God was going to use them to judge Judah. Whenever a “dirge” or lamentation is done for some sorrowful event, the singers will remember the loss of Josiah and they are written in the Lamentations (35.25). However, this is not the Book of Lamentations in the Tanak, but it is a book that is lost. The Book of Lamentations is about Zedekiah and Jerusalem. The reign of Josiah is a picture of the sixth year of the Birth-pains eschatologically.

2 Chr 36.1-23 tells us about the last four kings of Judah. Josiah was the last hope for the rebirth of Israel in righteousness, but to no avail. Now the decline will be sharp, swift and decisive with no hope of recovery. Two of these last four kings reigned three months, and the other two will reign for eleven years each. This is not a coincidence, this is a pattern that Yehovah has set forth for us to notice. It means something.

The names of these last four kings are Yehoahaz (Yah has grasped), Yehoiakim (Yah has raised up), Yehoichin (Yah has established) and Zedekiah (Yehovah is righteous). These kings did evil in the sight of God and Zedekiah also rebelled against Nebuchadnezzar. The people were very unfaithful to God and worshiped idols and defiling the Temple.

Yehovah has had enough and has been warning the people through his prophets and messengers that judgment was coming and he wanted the people to repent. But they continually mocked these messengers and prophets, despising God’s words to them. As a result, God brought up the Chaldeans who had no compassion on the people. The Temple and the city of Jerusalem were destroyed and all the articles and treasures of the Temple were brought to Babylon (except the Ark). Then the Babylonians burned the Temple and broke down the walls of Jerusalem. Those who escaped from the sword he took captive and were carried away to Babylon. Zedekiah was the last king, and he watched as his sons were killed before him, and then his eyes were put out. It was the last thing he ever saw.

This fulfilled the word of the Lord through Jeremiah until the land had enjoyed its sabbaths (Jer 29.10; Lev 26.33, 25.4). In the first year of the reign of King Cyrus seventy years later, in order to fulfill these words of Jeremiah and the seventy year captivity, Yehovah stirred up the heart (desire) of Cyrus to proclaim throughout his kingdom that the Jewish people could return back to the land. This teaches us that kings, emperors and presidents do not do whatever they want, but their heart and spirit is a channel for the will and plan of God to be accomplished in the earth.

The last four kings of Judah will be a picture of the seventh year of the Birth-pains because things will be moving very fast. The last two verses of this chapter and book (v 22-23) are the same as Ezra 1.1-3, and there is a good reason for that. It seems that Ezra wrote Chronicles, and the Book of Ezra picks up right where he left off. For a deeper eschatological view of the last ten kings of Judah, we refer you to our teaching on these kings in 2 Kings 15 through 25 on this site.

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 Second Chronicles-Part 10

2 Chr 33.1-20 tells us about the reign of Manasseh (to forget). We have already discussed his reign in Second Kings 21.1-18 so we aren’t going to go into massive detail again, but we will need to go over some things again. He was twelve years old when he became king which means he was born three years into Hezekiah’s additional fifteen years. He was an evil king at first but would later repent.

He set up the first Abomination of Desolation and he built altars in the Temple. He also made his sons pass through the fire in the Valley of Ben-Hinnom (Tophet), practiced witchcraft and used divination and sorcery. He made war on the tzadikim (saints) and he is a picture of the False Messiah in these things.

God spoke to Manasseh and the people through the prophets (2 Kings 21.10) but they did not listen, so Yehovah brought the Assyrian army against them and Manasseh was captured. A cord was put through his tongue and nose, and they dragged him off to Babylon, whom they defeated before invading Israel.

Once there, Manasseh sought Yehovah when he was in distress and he called Yehovah “his God” and he humbled himself, and this tells us his sin was pride, and Yehovah heard his prayer (33.12-13). He was brought back to Jerusalem and to his kingship and Manasseh knew that Yehovah was God. Manasseh was trained by a godly father and at the end he truly knew which way to go and he did not depart from it, and served God (Prov 22.6).

He didn’t care much for the defense of Judah and Jerusalem before his teshuvah, but after he repented he rebuilt the outer wall of the city of David on the west side of Gihon in the valley, to the Fish Gate, and encircled the Ophel with it and made it very high. The Ophel is a fortified place in Jerusalem on the east side near the wall (2 Chr 27.3, 33.14) and occupied after rebuilding the city. It adjoined the Kidron Valley and the Temple Mount.

He also removed the foreign gods and “the idol” from the Temple (v 15), and all the altars be built on the Temple Mount were removed also. He set up the altar of Yehovah and sacrificed Korban Shelem (peace offerings) and Korban Todah (thank offerings) upon it. He also ordered Judah to serve the Lord. But the people still sacrificed on the bamot (high places) but only to Yehovah. This was not allowed, however, because they were to come to the altar in the Temple.

Manasseh was an evil king but at the end of his life he truly repented and served Yehovah. But his teshuvah was too late to change the nation. Years later, when Jerusalem fell, 2 Kings 24.3-4 blames Judah’s punishment on the sins of Manasseh (his unfaithfulness, the high places, the Asherim, carved images, etc). He died and they buried him in his own house. His reign will be a picture of the fourth year of the Birth-pains.

2 Chr 33.21-25 tells us about the short reign of Amon (faithful). He will also be a picture of the False Messiah. We know that his father Manasseh was a repentant sinner for the last 33 years of his life, so we know that he was born to a righteous father, but it says he did evil in the sight of Yehovah. He sacrificed to idols and he was full of pride.

He is assassinated by a group of servants, who in turn are killed by the people. Then they made Josiah king (Yehovah has healed). Amon’s assassination was seen as a sign of hope considering they had put up with some very evil kings. It seems they wanted to have a righteous king, and God gave one to them in Josiah. The reign of Amon is a picture of the fifth year of the Birth-pains.

2 Chr 34.1-33 begins to tell us the story of Josiah. He is one of only seven people in the Scriptures whose name is given before they were born (1 Kings 13.1-2 360 years before). The others were Isaac, Ishmael, Solomon, Cyrus, Yochanon Ha Matvil (John the Immerser) and Yeshua. Josiah had a particular destiny (as we all do), and for more information of this, see our teaching called “The Sovereignty of God and the Elect” on this site.

Josiah was eight years old when he became king and he reigned thirty-one years. He did what was right in the sight of God and was a true carrier of the Davidic tradition. He is a picture of the righteous believers who find “the lost book of the Torah” and fights idolatry in the sixth year of the Birth-pains (Rev 7.9-17). When he was sixteen years old he began to seek Yehovah, and when he was twenty he began to purge Judah and Jerusalem of the bamot (illegal high places), the Asherim, the carved images and metal ones, and he tore down the altars of Baal “in his presence.” He chopped down the incense altars that were high above the altars of Baal. He also burned the bones of the priests of Baal on their altars This went as far as the cities of Manasseh, Ephraim, Simeon and as far as Naphtali, in their surrounding ruins. He is playing out the role that was predicted in 1 Kings 13.2. Then he returned to Jerusalem (23.6-7).

Idolatry was deeply rooted in Judah and there were idols dedicated to Baal and Asherah (2 Kings 23.4), and to all the stars, sun and moon (2 Kings 23.5) in the Temple (2 Kings 23.4). Josiah started there and worked his way outwards. He began to repair the Temple in the eighteenth year of his reign.

This purification in 2 Chr 34-35 came in two stages. He`purified the religious practices in the the north and south, and he continued the revival by finding the “the book of the Torah of the Lord given by Moses.” Now, hete is an important concept. Psa 119.154 says, “Revive me according to your word.” There are many false revivals that are not “according to your word (Torah).” We must judge any revival by the standard, “Is it according to the word of God (Torah)?” Josiah’s revival really picked up when they found the Torah next to the Ark in the Temple, and this is an example of a true revival because the people were brought back to Torah observance.

Assyria had already taken the ten northern tribes into exile, but there were pockets of people left behind that occupied those areas. They came under the control and authority of Josiah. Hilkiah (my portion is Yah) is the high priest and he is the father of the prophet Jeremiah (Jer 1.1-2). Jeremiah (Yehovah will exalt) would begin his work under the reign of Josiah. Hilkiah finds the Book of Devarim (Deuteronomy) beside the Ark where it was supposed to be (Deut 31.24-27). This book was neglected during that time and notice they found the written Torah, not an “oral” Torah. When they heard the words of the book, Josiah tore his clothes because of all the curses written in it for idolatry and rebellion. He realizes there is so much that they have not been doing, so now he will really “pick up the ball and run with it.” Again it was the discovery of the written Torah, not the oral traditions of men, that initiated true revival.

Hezekiah and those with the king went and told Huldah (earthling, mole, life) the prophetess about this. She was a royal prophetess who ministered on the southern steps of the Temple. The southern gates of the Temple were later called the Huldah Gate (Mishnah, Midot 1.3). She is the wife of Tokhath (hope..called Tikvah in 2 Kings 22.14). The term “second quarter” in 34.22 might have the meaning “double gate.” Little is known of Huldah but she was a recognized prophetess because Hilkiah the high priest consulted her.

A prophet who was a contemporary of Huldah is Jeremiah, and he is not even mentioned. He commended Josiah in Jer 22.15-16, and the prophet Zephaniah was also working (Zeph 1.1). This teaches us that Yehovah used women mightily and he is no respecter of persons.

Josiah knew that Judah deserved judgment and it was coming. The leaders and the people had been in rebellion against Yehovah too long, and they have already seen what happened to the northern tribes. God’s word is clear regarding the blessings and the curses. He will be faithful to it in both areas. Josiah was sensitive to the Torah and the convicting work of the Ruach Ha Kodesh (Holy Spirit). He is also sensitive to the message of judgment from Huldah in 2 Chr 34.23-28.

He humbled himself before Yehovah, which is a voluntary humiliation of the inner man, so he was told that he would not see the judgment that was coming (v 28). Jeremiah had the same message about the Babylonians being raised up and were coming, and there was no way of avoiding it. Josiah is told that he will die before judgment comes, and he had a violent death in battle (2 Chr 35.20-24), but this did not violate God’s promise to him.

He reads the words of God to all the leaders of Judah and he stood “in his place” and made a covenant with the Lord (v 31). This place was a dais or pillar for the king to stand in the Temple (2 Kings 11.14; 2 Kings 23.3; 2 Chr 23.13). He committed to obeying the Torah with all his heart and soul. Yehovah looks at our desire to follow the Torah by faith, not on our ability to keep every point of it. But it wasn’t enough that the king did it, the people had to follow his example and make a commitment themselves to follow the Torah. This is another turning point in Jewish history. Joshua had renewed the covenant in Josh 24.1-28 in Shechem, and Samuel told of the procedure (a Mishpat, custom) regarding a king by Samuel (1 Sam 8.11-17, 10.25). Josiah removed all the “abominations” (idols) from the land and made all who were present in Israel to serve Yehovah. Throughout his life they did not turn from following Yehovah.

In the conclusion, we will pick up in 2 Chr 35.1-27.

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 Second Chronicles-Part 9

2 Chr 31.1-21 tells us about the aftermath of this Passover celebration and revival. The people repented of their idolatry and broke the pillars into pieces, cut down the Asherim and pulled down the bamot (high places) and altars throughout the land. The “teshuvah” (repentance) was not only in Judah, but it was also seen in Ephraim and Manasseh.

Hezekiah organized the kohanim (priesthood) and the Levites into their divisions that were set up by David (1 Chr 24). He also supported their work with his own goods. This was for the Tamid service and for the fixed festivals, as written (not oral) in the Torah. He also commanded that the Tithe be brought (not an option) and given to the Levites (Num 18.21) so that they could devote themselves to the Torah. The people gave in abundance.

We want to go over an important concept here. Passover is not over till Shavuot, which is seen as the “atzeret” (conclusion) of the Passover season. That is why that “heaps” were made of the tithe until “the third month” (Sivan) when Shavuot occurred, and finished them by the “seventh month” at Sukkot (Tishri). Let’s take a brief look at the subject of Biblical Tithing.

Biblical Tithing only applied when you lived in the land, and it was agricultural, meaning you tithed if you made your living off the land. Biblical years to the Yovel (Jubilee) were broken down into seven year cycles called a Shemitah. Seven shemitah cycles (7 x 7), plus one year, brought you to the fiftieth year, called a Yovel. So a shemitah is a seven year period and tithing was broken down like this.

In the first year of the Shemitah, the first tithe (Maaser Rishon) was brought to the Levitical city storehouse in their area at Shavuot. At Sukkot, the Second Tithe (Maaser Sheni) was brought to the Temple for a massive banquet with the poor, the widow and the orphan, etc. You stayed until it was gone (Deut 14.22-29). In the second year of the Shemitah, the Maaser Rishon (first tithe) is brought to the Levitical city storehouse at Shavuot. At Sukkot, the Maaser Sheni (second tithe) is brought to the Temple for a massive banquet. In the third year, the Maaser Rishon is brought to the Levitical city storehouse at Shavuot and the Maaser Sheni is brought to the Levitical city storehouse at Sukkot.

In the fourth year of the Shemitah, the Maaser Rishon is brought to the Levitical city storehouse at Shavuo and the Maaser Sheni is taken to the Temple at Sukkot. In the fifth year, the Maaser Rishon is taken to the Levitical city storehouse at Shavuot, and the Maaser Sheni is taken to the Temple at Sukkot. In the sixth year, the Maaser Rishon is taken to the Levitical city storehouse at Shavuot, and the Maaser Sheni is taken to the Levitical city storehouse at Sukkot. In the seventh year there are no crops, so there was no tithing. It is the Shemitah year. If it was the forty-ninth year of the cycle, there was no crops the next year either because it was the Yovel year. For more information on this, see our article entitled “Tithing and Biblical Giving” on this website.

That is why the tithes of the “third month” at Shavuot (v 11) was put in heaps, and why Hezekiah prepared “rooms in the house” (storerooms in the Temple). Then Hezekiah organized the administration of the tithes by appointing overseers. Hezekiah did what was right before the Lord with all his heart, and he prospered.

2 Chr 32.1-33 tells us that even though Hezekiah was the most godly king since David, he still had trouble. The King of Assyria (Sennacherib) came and besieged the fortified cities of Judah. This invasion will be a picture of the Russian invasion of Israel in the third year of the Birth-pains, right before Sukkot. Isa 36 and 37, and Ezek 38 and 39 also talks about this event. The Lord will protect Israel against the Russians.

We think that if we are faithful to God we won’t have any problems, but Hezekiah faced an invasion of his kingdom by the most powerful army in the world, and he was sick (32.24). But Yehovah did not permit this invasion until after the reformation was accomplished. Hezekiah tried to “buy off” Sennacherib with gold and silver, but that didn’t work (2 Kings 18.13-16). The writer of Chronicles expects the reader to know that, so it was omitted.

Hezekiah prepares for war and a siege against Jerusalem. All the other cities of Judah have fallen and he knows that the real prize is Jerusalem, and Assyria can’t be stopped. He encourages the people by saying, “Be strong and courageous, do not fear of be dismayed because of the king of Assyria, nor because of his multitude which is with him; for the one with us is greater than the one with him” ((2 Chr 32.7). This concept is also quoted in 1 John 4.4. All Judah was lost and Hezekiah was losing the war. Sennacherib sent his agents to the last city standing, Jerusalem, to begin a propaganda campaign against Hezekiah and the people (v 9-19). Psychological warfare will also apply to our own spiritual warfare (Isa 36.1-22).

Sennacherib sent Rabshakeh (a title) as his agent and he began to speak words of discouragement to the people of Jerusalem (Isa 36.4-5), and he began to lift up the problems that he thought the Jews had (Isa 36.12). He also speaks to those who do not know what to do and plays mind games (Isa 36.10). He promises peace and false things, but they will end up in slavery anyway of they listen to his words. The essence of psychological warfare is to confuse the meaning of words and infiltrate the mind with conflicting concepts contrary to what is true.

Hezekiah wasn’t buying it and he says nothing, and he goes before the Lord in the Temple with Isaiah the prophet. Hezekiah needed to know what to do and he sought the Lord himself, but he also had godly counsel (Isaiah). So we learn two very important concepts here. First, Hezekiah never answered Rabshakeh’s words (good advice) and secondly, he sought godly counsel. He will also not be presumptuous in what he thought God was going to do (Isa 37.4; Lam 3.37).

Hezekiah was losing the war, as we have said, and he is trapped inside Jerusalem. He tried to cut a deal with Sennacherib and he lost his wives, sons and daughters to Sennacherib. He also paid tribute to Sennacherib out of the Temple treasury, but nothing worked. We don’t believe Hezekiah was correct doing this, but he had no strength to deliver his people. But the elders say to Isaiah, “Perhaps the Lord your God will hear” the blasphemous words of Sennacherib and help Judah (Isa 37.1-4). Yehovah answers his prayer through Isaiah the prophet and the Lord will deliver Judah and Jerusalem from the hand of the Assyrians. God sent a plague and the Assyrian army was destroyed.

Israel will be invaded in the third year of the Birth-pains, around Yom Kippur and before Sukkot. Hezekiah’s prayer will be a type of the prayer that the people of Israel will pray when Russia attacks. They will believe in Yeshua as the Messiah and God will destroy Russia like he did with the Assyrians.

Herodotus was a Greek historian and he said the army of the Assyria was infested with mice and they ate the bow strings, the slings and the feathers off the arrows of the Assyrian army. This story is also recorded in Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, Book 10, Chapter 1.4. The Egyptian army, led by Pharaoh Tirhakah, came up to fight Assyria to help Hezekiah, but after the weapons of the Assyrians were destroyed, the Assyrians turned and left the battlefield, and so Tirhakah and the Egyptians then unexpectedly left, and Hezekiah wasn’t helped at all.

But the Lord was going to destroy the Assyrians himself and did not allow Egypt to help. Right after that, 185,000 Assyrians were killed in one night by the Lord, ending Sennacherib’s campaign against Judah (Isa 37.36). He returned home defeated, but he was lifted up in pride. He commissioned a record of this campaign against Judah and it can be found in the Taylor Prism in the British Museum. He said he attacked Hezekiah of Judah and took 46 forts and carried away 200,150 people. He also had a multitude of horses, bulls, asses, camels and oxen. He had Hezekiah “locked up in Jerusalem like a bird in its cage.” He then laid siege to the city.

The Assyrian history basically agrees with the biblical account, but it leaves out the destruction of the army. It does not claim that Jerusalem was taken, but describes receiving tribute from Hezekiah. God spared Sennacherib from the plague because he had a different end planned for him. He died at the hands of his own children. In our spiritual warfare, when the Lord gives us a victory, we don’t need to plan revenge, leave all that in God’s hands.

We know Hezekiah became sick “In those days” (with Assyria invading-Isa 38.1-8) was going to die and he wept because he had no heir as promised, and this was during the Assyrian invasion on top of all that (v 6). But God gave him 15 more years and he had a son named Manasseh three years later. Eventually, Hezekiah died and they buried him in the upper section of the tombs of the sons of David. All of Judah and Jerusalem honored him at his death. The reign of Hezekiah is a picture of the third year of the Birth-pains.

We will pick up in 2 Chr 33.1-20 in Part 10.

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Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Second Chronicles-Part 8

2 Chr 29.1-36 begins to tell the story of Hezekiah (Yehovah strengthens) and he will be a picture of the Messiah, and the Talmud in Sanhedrin 94a says that he could have been the Messiah, and Sennacherib and Assyria Gog and Magog, but pride lifted him up. Now, we don’t believe that Hezekiah was ever going to be the Messiah, but this shows us two things. First, Jewish history does hold him in high regard and it also shows us that Sennacherib and Assyria is seen in Jewish eschatology as Gog and Magog (Russia). That is an important piece of eschatological information to know when you study Bible prophecy. It will also lead us to when the Russian invasion of Israel takes place.

Hezekiah begins to reign and he was 25 years old when he began, and he reigned 29 years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name (the givorah) was Abijah, the daughter of Zechariah. He was a good king and did what was right in the eyes of the Lord and he was a religious reformer. Ahaz and others had shut the doors to the Temple and put out the lampstands because the priests could not get in to light them. God’s wrath came upon Judah and Jerusalem for this. So Hezekiah opened those doors of the Temple and began to repair it. He cleanses the entire Temple with the ashes of the Red Heifer because his father built an altar to idolatry there and the priests and the people were ritually defiled, so he had to cleanse the Temple and the people before Passover. Ahaz and the fathers were unfaithful and sacrificed horses as a living sacrifice by staking them out to the sun god. They also built altars like the Assyrians did.

As a result of the Temple being closed and the above abominations, the wrath of God is against Judah and Jerusalem. That is why they were having problems with Syria, Israel, Edom, Philistia and Assyria. So, Hezekiah knows that if he wants a true revival they need to return to the Torah. He calls for them to take heed of what is going on. He calls the Levites to be focused on their calling because Yehovah “has chosen you” (v 11). Hezekiah is setting the example and even destroyed the Nechushtan, the bronze serpent that Moses made in the wilderness because it was being used in idolatry (2 Kings 18.4). The Nechushtan (bronze serpent) is a picture of the crucifixion (John 3.14), and the crucifix has been turned into an object of idolatry today, and we believe it is the Abomination of Desolation. We have a teaching on this website called “The Abomination of Desolation” that deals with this, and we recommend that you study it.

So the Levites arose in seven different groups, two each from Gershon, Merari and Kohath, and one from Elitzaphan. They ritually cleanse themselves, but the kohanim (priests) are the only ones who can go into the courts and the Sanctuary to remove the idols. They entered the Sanctuary to cleanse it and removed every unclean thing they found, then the Levites took it all to the Kidron Valley.

The consecration of the Temple began on Nisan 8 and it went on for eight days, and that brings us to Nisan 16. On Nisan 17 (v 20) Hezekiah rose early (a picture of the resurrection of Yeshua who rose from the dead early on Nisan 17-Matt 28.1) and they began to consecrate the Temple according to the Torah (v 21-25). He stationed the Levite musicians in the Temple and they began to offer korbanot on the altar while the whole assembly worshiped (v 25-28). 2 Chr 29-30 gives us a glimpse into what true worship and a true revival looks like. 2 Chr 30 gives us the first account of the killing of the Passover lambs in the Temple. The number of burnt offerings which the assembly (kahal) brought was 70 bulls, 100 rams, and 200 lambs. For the consecrated things there were 600 bulls and 3000 sheep.

But there was a problem, there weren’t enough priests so they were unable to skin all the olot (burnt offerings). So, the Levites helped them until the work was completed and the other priests had consecrated themselves. There were many burnt offerings with the fat and with the libations, but the service (avodah) of the Temple was established again. Then Hezekiah and all the people rejoiced over what Yehovah had done because all of it came about suddenly (v 32-36). Because they missed Passover in Nisan, they decided to celebrate Passover in the second month as prescribed in the Torah (Num 9.6-11).

2 Chr 30.1-27 tells us that Hezekiah wrote letters to all Israel and Judah (all twelve tribes) to come to the Temple to keep Passover. This tells us that they had to come to Jerusalem and the Temple to keep the festival. If it was possible to keep the festivals anywhere they were, like people try to do today, then he would have never invited them to come to Jerusalem and the Temple. The truth is, we can’t keep the biblical festivals today because there is no Temple, priesthood or holy vessels. The purity laws are no longer in force either. From the book, “The Pentateuch and Haftorahs” by Dr. J.H. Hertz, the late Chief Rabbi of the British Empire, p. 459, it says, “It is to be noted that most laws of purity and impurity apply only in reference to the Sanctuary and the holy objects connected with it. They do not apply in ordinary life, or to persons who did not intend to enter to the Sanctuary.” That is an important concept to keep in mind. For more information, see our teaching on this site called, “Can You Keep the Festivals Outside of Jerusalem and the Temple?”

There weren’t enough priests who had consecrated themselves in sufficient numbers in order to keep the Passover, and they had missed Passover anyway (Nisan 14), so they just postponed it according to the Torah.

When the messengers from Hezekiah arrived in the country of Ephraim, Manasseh and Zebulon in the north, the people laughed at them and mocked them. Hezekiah was hoping to reverse some of the negative side-effects of the exile in the north. Some individuals did come however, even from Ephraim, Manasseh, Asher, Issachar and Zebulon (v 11, 18). This tells us that the ten tribes were not “lost” at this point. Why did the Israelites reject Hezekiah’s message?

2 Chr 30.8 tells us that Hezekiah exhorted the people not to “stiffen” their necks, and this was a term that meant “no faith” (Deut 30.6). But, 2 Chr 30.11 tells us that the people who did come “humbled themselves” meaning they had faith. Remember, 2 Chr 10.16 says that when they established the Northern Kingdom, the people rejected the Kingdom of Heaven, the legitimate Davidic kingly line and the Temple. To answer Hezekiah’s call would have meant that they turn their back on the replacement theology traditions that have been set up in the north. They were not humble enough to come to Passover as a majority, but a few did. They could do this because Samaria was under Assyrian siege and King Hoshea was powerless to stop them. The cities of Bethel and Dan were the spiritual centers in the north and going to Jerusalem showed that they had turned their backs on the false idols there.

So, the Passover was reinstated and the people gathered at Jerusalem to celebrate Hag Ha Matzah also. Pagan altars were removed in Jerusalem, and all the incense altars. They were thrown into the Brook Kidron. Some of the priests and Levites were late in cleansing themselves because they did not believe Hezekiah could do everything so quick. There were many people who had not cleansed themselves and were still “Tamai” (ritually unclean) so they could not slaughter their animal, so the Levites did it instead, but only the priests can sprinkle the blood. The common people ate it in a state of ritual uncleanness, and that was a problem. So Hezekiah prayed for the people and asked Yehovah to forgive them their transgression (v 18-19). Yehovah heard his prayer and healed the people. He did not hold it against them because they were so excited to do it and they caught the “essence” or “spirit” of the Torah (2 Cor 3.6).

Notice in v 18 that they ate the Passover “otherwise than prescribed” and this means the written Torah. There is no hint of an “oral law” here. So, that brings up the concept on how we should approach the Torah and the commandments. They key to this is found in 2 Chr 31.20-21. Should we approach them with a “It doesn’t matter what I do” attitude or how Hezekiah approached them? The purpose of the commandments is to reveal the Messiah to us, the Redemption and things about Yehovah. If it is not accomplishing that then it is going to “kill.” Examples of this can be found in many places in the Scriptures, but let’s look at Luke 10.30-37 with the story of “The Good Samaritan.” The priests and the Levites passed by the wounded man thinking he was dead, but they never checked. The Torah commanded them to not become unclean for the dead. They followed the “letter” of the Torah but didn’t even check on the man to check whether he was even alive. Had they done so, they would have found out that he was not dead after all, and touching him would not have rendered them in unclean. Jewish teachings in the Talmud says that a priest, even the High Priest, can make himself unclean for a corpse if there is no one else around to help, like the Samaritan.

What is the reasoning for this? All mankind comes from the one man Adam. Any man in need of mercy, kindness and justice is our neighbor. Strict observance of the Torah can “kill” the essence and spirit of the Torah, which is mercy, kindness, justice, faith and compassion (Hos 12.6; Mic 6.8; Matt 23.23). We know that they did n ot follow the Torah “exactly” in this instance (30.18) but there is a concept that says that when one is compelled to break the Sabbath out of dire necessity, they are not to think that the Sabbath is lost to them. As long as the consciousness is alive in them, let them keep as much of the Sabbath as possible. This principle applies to all the commandments.

So, they celebrated Passover in the second month, and they also celebrated Hag Ha Matzah (unleavened bread) seven days (v 23) because they were so happy and they had enough meat, but God did not say that could be celebrated in the second month, but he allowed it anyway.

So the assembly of Judah, Israel and the non-Jews who believed in the God of Israel rejoiced during this festival time. There had been nothing like this since the time of David and Solomon (v 26). We also see the three “camps” that came out of Egypt in the first redemption, and we will see the same three groups come through in the second redemption (Isa 11.12), and Hezekiah’s Passover is a picture of that. Then the priests blessed the people and God heard their prayers from “his holy dwelling place in heaven” (v 27).

We will pick up in 2 Chr 31.1-21 in Part 9.

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 Second Chronicles-Part 7

2 Chr 25.1-28 tells us about Joash’s successor, Amaziah (strength of Yah). There is more information here than in 2 Kings 14 about Amaziah. He is the first king to reign after the murder of Zechariah in the Temple. He continued to reign in a godly way which was begun by his father, but not with a whole or loyal heart. In this he did not compare to David favorably. He killed the servants who killed his father, but not their children (Deut 24.16).

After this he prepares for battle against the Edomites. He counted 300,000 choice men, 25 years old and up from Judah and Benjamin. He also hired 100,000 mercenaries from Israel, but a prophet came forward and said that Amaziah was not to take the army of Israel with him, he said the Lord was not with the army of Israel. He couldn’t get the money back from paying the soldiers, but the prophet said God had much more to give him than that.

It made sense to have as large an army as he could, but it did not make sense spiritually. God had all power and authority anyway and he didn’t need an army at all. When he dismissed the Ephraimite troops they felt slighted and dishonored. They returned home in anger, and this shows why Yehovah didn’t want them.

But Amaziah was not discouraged with the loss of troops and he defeated the sons of Seir (Edomites) in the Valley of Salt (between Judah and Edom, south of the Dead Sea) and killed 10,000, and Judah captured another 10,000 and threw them off a cliff near Petra. Why they did this is not easy to say.

However, the army of Israel returned home, but returned and raided the cities of Judah from Samaria to Beth-horon. This shows how evil the released Israelites really were. They were determined to enrich themselves through plunder. This also teaches us that Amaziah was very foolish in trying to enlist the help of the Israelites. In our life, we need to be careful about who we align ourselves with because there will be consequences afterward which will follow us and cause damage. Sin can be forgiven but the consequences can be harsh.

After Amaziah returned, be brought the gods of the Edomites with him and set them up as his gods, and bowed down to them and burned incense to them. He failed to thank Yehovah in the process. Why would he worship gods who couldn’t save the Edomites? As a result, Yehovah sent a prophet to make that very point. But Amaziah rejected the word of the prophet, saying that he was not an advisor to the king. But the prophet said he knew that God had planned to destroy Amaziah because he would not listen.

Amaziah wanted to clothe his desire to defeat Israel in revenge by issuing what seemed to be an invitation to fight a battle, hoping he could unite the two kingdoms under himself. Amaziah knew that Yoash, king of Israel, would spurn the invitation, and then he could wage war against them. But Yoash was confident, as seen in his answer (v 18-19), and Amaziah miscalculated the strength of Israel. Yehovah directed Amaziah’s thoughts (v 20) to reject what Yoash said in order to punish him for his idol worship (v 16).

So, they faced each other in battle and Judah was defeated. Amaziah was captured and taken to Jerusalem (the battle was in Judah’s territory). Yoash tore down the wall of Jerusalem from the Gate of Ephraim (called this because it opened up to Ephraimite territory and when they came to the Temple they would enter there) and the Corner Gate (also called the “Turning Gate”).

Because of his attack on Israel, he lost gold and silver to Yoash, but also the people. Sometimes our bad decisions hurt others. Amaziah was hated and the people conspired against him. He had turned away from the Lord to idolatry and he fled to Lachish, a city of idols (Mic 1.13). He thought that if he fled he would be safe, but he was wrong. But the assassins who wanted to kill Amaziah sent word to have him killed there, and he was. It says he was buried “in the city of Judah” (Jerusalem-2 Kings 14.20). If he wanted to unite the two states and rule over them from Jerusalem, this phrase is ironic.

2 Chr 26-1-23 begins a narrative dealing with the last ten kings of Judah. We have dealt with the eschatological implications of these kings in our study of 2 Kings 15 through 25 so we are not going over the prophetic implications of these kings again here. We refer you to 2 Kings 15-25 for that. However, we are going to bring out other concepts relating to the “Peshat” (literal) understanding of these chapters.

With the ascension of King Uzziah (strength of Yehovah), a basic change in the future of the Jewish people begins. Spiritually, the people are corroding into idolatry. The first indication we have that all is not right is seen in a prophecy given when Uzziah dies in Isa 6.1-13. Four great prophets (Hosea, Isaiah, Amos and Micah) will reveal this corrupt nature within the people.

Uzziah was the son of Amaziah and he began to reign when he as 16 years old. His mother’s name (the givorah) was Yecoliah (Yah is able, prevails) of Jerusalem. He sought the Lord during the lifetime of Zechariah (the son of the one Yoash killed-Isa 8.2), who had an understanding of the Lord and the Torah. As long as he did this, God prospered him and he reigned 52 years.

He made war on the Philistines, Arabians and the Meunites. The Ammonites brought tribute and his fame spread. Repairs were needed in Jerusalem because of the damage done in the previous reign, note the mention of the Corner Gate in v 9 and how it was damaged in 2 Chr 23.23. The Valley Gate is mentioned in Neh 2.13, 3.13 and Jer 31.40. This gate led to the Kidron Valley.

Uzziah also loved the soil and great strides were made in agriculture. He also had an army ready for war and he made “engines” that made it possible to throw stones and shoot arrows. But Uzziah became proudful to the point of ruin. This was the cause of his fall. He entered the Temple to offer incense on the Golden Altar called the Mizbeach Shell Zahav. He was warned not to do this by Azariah the priest, who also had 80 valiant priests with him.

So at this point, Uzziah became enraged with the priests and it is believed that he was about to strike the priests with the censor that held the incense. At that moment, Zara’at (Leprosy) began to break out on his forehead (the seat of the intellect and reason) and it is also where the High Priest wears the Tzitz, the golden plate bearing the name of Yehovah, and it sets him apart to God’s service through the concept of Kedusha. Uzziah usurped that honor for himself, and Yehovah struck him with zara’at to testify to the futility of doing that. At the same time there was an earthquake, which was described by Josephus and several other places in the Tanak. Prophetically, this may be prophetic of a coming earthquake right before the Birth-pains begin (the reign of Uzziah) which will destroy the Dome of the Rock, opening the way for the coming Temple to be built.

Realizing this was punishment from God, he was hurried out of the Heichal (Holy Place) where the altar of incense was. He lived in a separate house, being a leper, and he was cut off from the Temple. His son Yotham (Yehovah is perfect) became co-regent because Uzziah was unable to fulfill his kingly duties. The house of Uzziah was found between Jerusalem and Bethlehem, and it was full of idols. It is two miles south of Rachel’s Hill, and 250 feet by 150 feet, with a casemate wall and a triple gate.

Yehovah still does these things today. We become haughty and speak against our brothers, and we want to “cut them off” from others with our words, like a leper. So, Yehovah makes us like one. Like Uzziah, we get insulted and rise up in pride and do harm to others. We think we have the right to stomp right into the Holy Place and come before God to “blow a little smoke” of our own.

There were other things that Uzziah did and these were documented by the Prophet Isaiah, but it is not likely that the Book of Isaiah is meant in v 22. Isaiah may have written another book that was not considered Scripture.

Uzziah died and was buried with his fathers that was “near them” because of his leprosy, not the actual tomb. The reign of Uzziah is a picture of the days leading up to the Chevlai Shell Mashiach or Birth-pains of the Messiah, and we have developed this out in our teaching on the these last kings of Judah in 2 Kings 15 through 25.

2 Chr 27.1-9 tells us about the reign of Yotham (Yehovah is perfect). He was a righteous king and reigned 16 years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Yerushah (owned, inheritance) the daughter of Zadok. He was 25 years old when he began to reign in his own right. He did what was right in the eyes of Yehovah, but he did not enter the Temple like his father. He learned his lesson, but the people continued to act corruptly. This corruption did not begin during the reign of Yotham. He was concerned with the Temple and built up the Upper Gate and the Wall of Ophel. He built castles in the hills of Judah and the forests.

He fought the kings of the Ammonites, who David defeated, and prevailed. They wanted to overthrow the yoke of Judah over them at times but never succeeded There is no other mention of this war in the Tanak. He succeeded because he walked in the Torah. Yotham’s acts and wars were written in the Book of the Kings of Israel and Judah. For more information on the royal records, see the book “Divrei Ha Yamim II” by Mesorah Publications, p. 92. There is a chart given on the kings and what record refers to them. Upon Yotham’s death, his son Ahaz (has held) becomes king. His name is a diminutive of a later king named Yehoahaz, meaning “Yehovah has held.” His reign gives us a picture of the first year of the Birth-pains.

2 Chr 28.1-27 tells us about the reign of Ahaz, and he was not a good king. He was 20 years old when he became king and he reigned 16 years. He walked in the ways of the kings of Israel (idolatry) and he made molten images for the Baals. He also burned incense in the Valley of Ben-Hinnom and burned his sons in fire to Molech. This valley was the site for this type of idolatry.

The Molech Cult burned a metal statue that represented the god until it was red hot. Then they would place a living infant on the outstretched hands of the statue, while beating drums drowned out the screams of the child until it was dead. Yehovah pronounced a death sentence on those who worship Molech in Lev 20.1-5. Even Solomon sanctioned this worship and built a temple to this idol in 2 Kings 11.7. This worship will plague Israel during the time of Manasseh and Josiah (2 Kings 23.10.

This valley is called “Tophet” (place of burning) and it was eventually converted into the city dump in Jerusalem. The west winds from the sea blew east and the smoke from the dump fires were blown away from the city. In Hebrew, the term “Gay Hinnom” means “Valley of Hinnom” because the Hinnom Valley wrapped itself around to the south of the city. The Tyropoeon and Kidron Valley meet there also. Gay Hinnom is where we get the word “Gehenna” from in Mk 9.43. This practice was “according to the abominations of the nations whom Yehovah had driven out before the sons of Israel.”

He also sacrificed and burned incense on the Bamot (pagan high places), on the hills and under every green tree. So, Yehovah brought the king of Syria against Ahaz, along with the king of Israel. They took much spoil and captives. Isa 7 says the goal of this war was to dethrone Ahaz, replacing the Davidic line with a Syrian king (Isa 7.6). But a prophet named Obed was sent to rebuke Israel for their crimes against their brothers, and Israel heeded his message and they repented (turned) from their sins. They took care of the captives and gave them up, along with the spoils.

To thwart this plot by Syria and Israel, Ahaz called upon Assyria for help (2 Kings 16). Syria and Israel defeated many cities in Judah but were laying siege to Jerusalem (2 Kings 16.5). Isaiah offered Ahaz a sign to show that the Lord would help, but Ahaz refused because he did not want to test Yehovah. He really wanted to trust in the king of Assyria.

But God gave him a sign anyway in Isa 7.14. Yehovah was not going to allow this plot against the Davidic line (and Messianic) to prosper. The dynasty would never be destroyed and there was going to be a remnant. But Judah was brought low because of Ahaz. Assyria came and he surrendered to them in order to defeat another. He refused to trust Yehovah (2 Kings 16.7).

Ahaz became even worse and more unfaithful to Yehovah. Times of trouble don’t necessarily drive people closer to God. This was the downfall of Ahaz. He suspended Temple worship and descended deeper into idolatry. He was probably the worst king of Judah and he died. They buried him in the city, but not in the tombs of the kings. His reign is a picture of the second year of the Birth-pains. His son Hezekiah began to reign in his place. His reign will be a picture of the third year of the Birth-pains.

We will pick up here in Part 8.

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 Second Chronicles-Part 6

2 Chr 22.1-12 begins to tell us about the only son left to Yehoram named Yehoahaz, also known as Ahaziah (God has taken), who succeeds his father. He is the only son left to Athaliah, the daughter of Ahab and Jezebel. They made him king because raiding Arabs had killed his older brothers. He would reign one year. He was wicked and was influenced by his mother and he eventually falls in judgment, along with Ahab’s house, by Yehu, the son of Nimshi. This was from the Lord (v 7). His connection with the house of Ahab was so close he entered an alliance with with Israel against the Syrians and visited Yehoram when he was injured.

Yehu was raised up by Yehovah to bring judgment against the dynasty of Omri (2 Kings 9.7). He did not have a direct command to bring judgment on the King of Judah, but he does anyway (2 Chr 22.8). Ahaziah, a blood relative of Ahab, was under God’s judgment against Ahab and his descendants. He failed to separate from Yehoram and suffered the consequences. Now, the Queen Mother (the givorah-22.2) was Athaliah (afflicted of Yehovah) and she will be a picture of Ha Satan and the False Messiah. We have discussed her and the eschatological implications earlier in 2 Kings 11, but we will go over these concepts briefly again because they are important to our understanding.

2 Chr 23.1-21 gives us the same story as 2 Kings 11, and we know that this story is a picture of the 7000 year plan of God. When Athaliah saw that her son was dead, she tried to destroy all the royal offspring, just like Ha Satan, Pharaoh and Herod tried to do. The False Messiah will try to do the same thing.

Yehosheva (Yehovah is an oath), the daughter of King Yehoram, the wife of Yehoyada (Yehovah knows) the priest his the last remaining son named Yoash (fire of Yehovah) in the Temple for six years. Yoash is a picture of Yeshua, the only son who could be king, who survived Herod’s persecution. He is hidden from view in heaven’s Temple for 6000 years. In the seventh year, Yehoyada brings Yoash out for the captains and hundreds of the guards to see. They kept him safe for six years. In the same way, Yeshua was “hidden” in the house of Yehovah where his enemies cannot go, but he will reveal himself to believers. At the end of the sixth year and going into the seventh year, the king’s son is brought out. After 6000 years and going into the last thousand years called the Day of the Lord, Yeshua, the king’s son, will be revealed. They coronated Yoash, and on Rosh Ha Shanah, year 6001 from creation, Yeshua will be coronated as king (Dan 7.9-10; Rev 4-5).

Now, Athaliah hears all the commotion is the Temple and realizes there is a legitimate king standing in the Temple. Ha Satan will also realize that his days are numbered when the legitimate king Yeshua is coronated in the Temple in heaven (Dan 7,9-10; Rev 4-5). Athaliah cries, “Treason! Treason!” However, her cries fall on deaf ears and she is taken out of the Temple and killed. In the same way, Yeshua will return to Jerusalem on Yom Kippur (Matt 24.29-31) and he will capture the False Messiah and will kill him outside of the Temple (Rev 19.20-21). This act is seen in the ceremony of the two goats on Yom Kippur (Lev 16). The goat called “L’Azazel” (a name for the False Messiah) is taken out and killed. This act is also pictured in Ezek 29.1-7 and 32.1-8 with Pharaoh, another picture of the False Messiah.

After the death of Athaliah, all the pagan houses of Baal, his altars and images were broken into pieces. They killed Mattan the priest of Baal before the altars. In the same way, all Replacement Theology religions and systems will be destroyed when Yeshua returns, and the False Prophet (Mattan is a picture of him) will also be killed (Rev 19.20-21). For a more detailed look into the False Messiah, go to our teachings called “The False Messiah (Introduction)” and “Torah and New Testament Foundations-The False Messiah” on this website.

2 Chr 24.1-27 tells us about the reign of Yoash. He was seven years old when he became king and this chapter tells us about his rise and fall over his forty year reign. His reign was blessed by Yehovah but he (like all of us) fell short of complete commitment. However, the Kingdom of Judah advanced during his reign.

After his coronation, he decided to repair the Temple and he wanted the priests and the Levites to collect money annually from all Israel to do it. However, they did not do it quickly because they did not have the same passion about is that Yoash did. This is like us when there is a godly project but we drag our feet.

Why the Temple was in disrepair is explained in 2 Chr 24.7 where it says, “For the sons of the wicked Athaliah had broken into the house of God and even used the holy things of the house of the Lord for the Baals. So the repair was not due to normal wear and tear. They defaced it and took the gold and silver vessels (2 Kings 12.13). Yoash ordered that a box was to be set outside the gate to the temple. This box seems to be different than the one in 2 Kings 12.6-13, which was by Yehoiada’s orders and set on the right side of the altar.

There is a possible explanation for these two boxes found in the book called “Divrei Ha Yamim II” (Chronicles) by Mesorah Publications, p. 179. It says, “V. 7 taught that Athaliah and her sons emptied the House treasury in order to use the money for Baal worship. The resources in the treasury consisted of the half-shekalim which every Jew sent annually to the House. Because the treasury was plundered and these shekalim were never used for their intended purpose, it now devolved upon Israel to send not only their current half-shekal to the House but also to make up the loss to the House treasury and send shekalim for previous years. When Yoash sent the Kohanim to travel around Judah in order to raise money for the restoration, he also charged them with collecting the shekalim for past years. Thus, there were two categories of shekalim pouring into the House. Current shekalim and those from previous years. The current shekalim are those dealt with in Kings. These were placed in the chest near the altar. Chronicles deals with those of previous years which were put in the chest near the entrance. The halachic status of these two categories is not the same. From the current ones, the daily sacrifices were brought, and only what remained after that was earmarked for the House repairs. The halachah requires that the dividing of the money between amounts required for the sacrifices and those which are to be used for other purposes, be done three times a year- this is the subject of the Kings passage. By contrast, the shekalim from past years are earmarked entirely for repair and upkeep, and from these moneys the required amount was to be withdrawn daily. This is the meaning of the Chronicles passage.”

This offering recalls the offering that was given in Exo 35 to build the Mishkan. God could have made the money “just appear” but he wanted this work funded through the gifts of the people. The project involved two activities, to rebuild and to repair. The word “restore” is “chadash” and chadash is the word used in the phrase “Brit Chadasha” meaning “New Testament/Covenant.” This tells us that the “new” covenant is part of the Torah (Deut 29.1 through 30.10) and is not a “new” covenant that replaces the Torah, or “instead of” but it is going to be restored/renewed in the hearts of the people through the circumcision of the heart (Deut 30.6; Jer 31.33).

The work “flourished under their hands” (v 13) and this is a term borrowed from the medical field. This is a healing process that brings life, vigor and power to a place where there had been sickness. Once the work was completed, they brought the money that remained to Yehoyada and it was used for new items for the Temple service (Avodah).

Yehoyada died at the age of 130 and he was the oldest guy since Moses. He helped restore the Davidic dynasty, stopped Athaliah and her plans and helped repair the Temple. There is an interesting phrase relating to this in v 16 where it says, “His House.” This is talking about the Temple, which is his house, but it also refers to the Davidic dynasty, the “house of David.” Of all the heroes up to this point, Yehoyada must rank near the top. It was he who made sure that Israel kept moving towards its destiny, which was to bring forth the Messiah and the Redemption, a destiny that goes all the way back to the Book of Genesis.

But after the death of Yehoyada, things began to change (v 17-18). Yoash begins to listen to the officials of Judah who were inclined to idolatry in their hearts. Yoash reveals himself to be a weak man and leader. He did good under the influence of Yehoyada, and evil under the influence of the leaders of Judah. These leaders did not want to come to the Temple anymore, and began to serve the Asherim and idols, so wrath came upon Judah and Jerusalem.

The Lord sent prophets to them, but they would not listen (v 19). Then the Ruach Ha Kodesh (Holy Spirit) came upon Zechariah (Yehovah remembers) Ben Yehoyada and he stood above the people in the Temple so they could hear him. He tells them that Yehovah has forsaken them because they have forsaken him. This is included in Chronicles and not in Kings because the returning exiles needed to remember why they were taken captive to Babylon in the first place, and that they needed to draw near to Yehovah now that they were back in the land.

But the people conspired against Zechariah about some legal issue, and by the command of Yoash, they stoned him in the court of the house of Yehovah. He is the last righteous one killed in the in the Tanak, and may be the one referred to in Matt 23.35. Yoash did not remember the kindness shown to him by Yehoyada when he saved him as an infant, and murdered his son in the same place Yehoyada anointed Yoash (v 21).

Jewish tradition in the Talmud, Taanit 4.5 says that Israel committed seven sins on this day. They killed a priest, a prophet, a judge, shed innocent blood, defiled the Temple it was a Sabbath and it was Yom Kippur. As Zechariah dies he says, “May Yehovah see and avenge” (v 22) in keeping with his principles of justice, and he does. A band of marauding soldiers came from Syria at “the turn of the year” (in Tishri) and destroyed (wiped out) the idolatrous officials of the people. They sent their spoils to Syria so that they would not look mercenary (v 23). They executed judgment on Yoash according to what Yehovah said in Lev 26.8, 17, 37.

When the Syrians left, Yoash was very sick and his own servants conspired against him because of the “sons of Yehoyada” (plural). This indicates that Zechariah’s murder wasn’t the only “son” of Yehoyada killed, or this refers to the “sons” or “grandsons” who would have been born. This concept can also be seen in the murder of Abel (“the voice of your brother’s bloods is crying to me from the ground”-Gen 4.10). Yehoyada saved Yoash’s future as an infant and the Messianic line, but Yoash robbed Zechariah of his future.

So, Yoash was murdered by his own servants on his bed. This was a fitting judgment because Zechariah considered himself safe in the Temple and he also did not figure that Yoash would have him killed because his father had saved him, but he was wrong and unprepared for what happened. In the same way,, Yoash was killed on his bed where he was unprepared for an assassination. He was buried in the city of David, but not in the tombs of the kings because of his crime.

Those who conspired against him are listed in 2 Chr 24.26. They are Zabad (dowry, gift) the son of Shimeah (hears or obeys) the Ammonitess, and Yehozabad (Yehovah has given) the son of Shimrith (guarded) the Moabitess. It is not surprising that Yoash’s murderers would come from Ammon and Moab. They refused to help Israel in the wilderness, and Balaam was hired by Moab to curse Israel. Ammon and Moab did not know the meaning of thankfulness and gratitude, but neither did Yoash. So, Amaziah, the son of Yoash became king (v 27).

We will pick up in 2 Chr 25.1-28 in Part 7.

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 Second Chronicles-Part 5

2 Chr 20.1-13 says that “after this” (Ramoth-Gilead) that the sons of Moab and Ammon, together with the Meunites, came to make war with Judah and Yehoshaphat. He has barely escaped the last battle, and now he has another war. The Meunites are probably from Meon, or “Maonites” (Judges 10.12) in Edom. Yehoshaphat is told about this army and he sought the Lord and proclaimed a fast…He gathered Judah together and he stood in the Temple and prayed. This is a model prayer that should be studied (v 6-12).

He recognizes the great power of Yehovah over heaven and all the kingdoms of the earth. Paganism recognized “local”gods and each kingdom had their own. He pointed out God’s great works in the past so he can be asked for great things now. He stood where Solomon stood when he prayed in 2 Chr 6.20-25. He knows that Yehovah did not allow Israel to invade the nations coming against them now (Deut 2.8-9, 19) so they were left alone. It would be unjust to allow them to destroy Judah now. He aske d God to not allow Judah to suffer for obeying his command. He confessed that he did not have the answer on what to do, but they were looking to Yehovah for deliverance.

So, in 2 Chr 14-23, Yehovah answers his prayer through Yahaziel (God will see), the son of Zechariah, a Levite, out of this huge assembly and said that they were not to be afraid because of this great army coming against them. This was Yehovah’s battle and he will fight for Judah. He told them to go down against them tomorrow. This is an important concept. One would think that Judah wouldn’t have to do anything, just let God do it, but Yehovah wanted them to participate in some way. This is telling us that we need to let God go to war for us against our enemies, but we need to do what he said, not stay back in our “Jerusalem” and pray. They still had to show up.

He told them where they were coming and they would be at the end of the “valley.” This was the wilderness of Tekoa (2 Chr 20.20). Tekoa means “trumpet.” Judah will not need to fight, but they had to show up and position themselves, stand still, and believe that Yehovah would defend them against such a large army. God would defeat this army anyway he wanted, but he chose a way that required their faith in him. Yehoshaphat and the people responded by bowing with their face to the ground in gratitude. They accepted this word in faith. Then they worshiped in song, led by the Levitical choir.

On the next day, they set out for battle being led by singing (2 Chr 20.20-23). This showed they really did believe the prophecy of Yahaziel. It is one thing to say you believe, and another thing to act on what God said to do (Jam 2.18).

The wilderness of tekoa is about ten miles south of Jerusalem. As they went out singing, Yehovah set ambushes against the sons of Ammon, Moab and Mount Seir and they began to fight against themselves. When Judah came to the wilderness, they looked and saw the corpses lying on the ground, and nobody escaped. Yehoshaphat and his army came to take the spoil, which included goods, garments and valuables. They couldn’t carry it all and it took three days to collect all of it. On the fourth day they assembled in a valley named “Berachah” which means “blessing.” They blessed the Lord there and gave him thanks for the victory and the spoils.

Then they all returned to Judah with joy and came to Jerusalem with harps, lyres and trumpets to the Temple where they offered thanksgiving again. As a result, the fear of God was on all the kingdoms around Judah because of what the Lord had done. Now, this was not a pattern for warfare in Judah and that “praise” was all they had to do to win battles. They did this because of a specific word from Yehovah. To do it this way in every future battle would have been wrong. However, in our spiritual warfare, we should always trust in the Lord and participate (do) what he instructs us to do. This also alludes to the fact that yeshua has fought our battle for salvation and he has already rescued us from eternal death.

2 Chr 20.31-37 says that Yehoshaphat reigned for twenty-five years and his mother’s name (the givorah) was Azubah (deserted) the daughter of Shilhi (weapon, armor). He walked in the way of his father Asa, who was a good king and followed the Torah. But he did not take down the bamot (high places) where offerings were given to the Lord. These were not permissible anymore since the Temple had been built (Mishnah, Kodashim 14.4-8). These high places were not for idol worship.

The people had not directed their hearts to Yehovah to offer only in Jerusalem and the Temple. He should have stopped this practice, but didn’t. The fault was not in Yehoshaphat but the people. Though they thought they were worshiping God, they did not go to the Temple because it was “inconvenient” to do so. It was hard for him to give up the “old ways.”

The rest of the acts of Yehoshaphat were written in the annals of Yehu, the son of Hanani, which is written in the book of the Kings of Israel. Remember, he was the prophet who gave Yehoshaphat a word in 2 Chr 19.2-3. The writers of the Tanak, the Gospels and the Epistles used this source along with the Targums, the Book of Gad, The Book of Jasher, the Book of the Wars of the Lord, the Book of Enoch and the Septuagint (LXX).

Yehoshaphat also allied himself with the ungodly King of Israel named Ahaziah. He got into the ship building business with him, and God destroyed these ships in 1 Kings 22.48-49. Eliezar the son of Dodavahu (Yehovah is loving) also rebuked Yehoshaphat saying, “Because you have allied yourself with Ahaziah, the Lord has destroyed your works (2 Chr 20 37).” So Yehoshaphat refused another alliance with Ahaziah (1 Kings 22.49) because he had learned his lesson. To some, it may sound cruel for Yehovah to destroy his “works” (the ships) with Ahaziah but it prevented him from entering into another alliance with the ungodly and it prevented him from getting hurt again. But Yehoshaphat helped “the wicked and loved those who hate the Lord” (2 Chr 19.2). This brought wrath upon himself from Yehovah and it is a lesson we all need to know. We can’t avoid all contact with the world and unbelievers, or we would have to be out of the world. But we should not be allied with them beyond what would be prudent. There is no doubt about it, “bad company corrupts good morals” ( 1 Cor 15.33).

This chapter is also a picture of the Chevlai Shell Mashiach, or “Birth-pains of the Messiah.” Israel, like Yehoshaphat, will have entered into an ungodly relationship with the False Messiah and God will destroy that work, too. Israel will also be surrounded by enemies, but the Lord will also destroy them as well.

2 Chr 21.1-20 will also be a picture of the False Messiah. Yehoshaphat dies and is replaced by his son Yehoram (“Yehovah is exalted”) and was thirty-two when he became king. He reigned eight years and was an evil king (like the False Messiah). He married Athaliah, the daughter of Ahab and Jezebel if that tells you anything, and he walked in the evil and idolatrous ways of the kings of Israel.

Yehovah was not willing to destroy the House of David, however, because he had made a promise to David to have a “lamp” or descendant of his on the throne (1 Kings 11.36). The term “son of David” has messianic implications and is a title for the Messiah. Yehoram killed his six brothers (made war on the saints), even though Yehoshaphat has scattered them throughout the land. He also killed some chief nobles. Yehoshaphat, as we have seen, was a good king but he compromised with evil people. This habit will have serious consequences, like the marriage of his son to the evil Athaliah.

Edom revolts against Judah and Yehoram goes to war and defeats them, but they will continue in revolt. As long as the Judean kings walked with God the nations were kept under control by Yehovah. However, when Judah revolted against God, these nations revolted. Yehoram also made high places (bamot) for idolatrous worship, something Asa (his grandfather) and Yehoshaphat (his father) opposed. So, in these ways, he is like the False Messiah. He was Jewish, made war on the saints (his brothers and nobles), was lawless (Torah-less) and he promoted idolatry.

We learn in 2 Chr 21.12-15 we learn that a letter came to him from Elijah the Prophet, ten years after the events of 2 Kings 2.1-14. We do not believe that Elijah was “taken to Heaven” because Yeshua said that nobody has “ascended to heaven” at least at the time he said this in John 3.13. So, let’s go over some of the things we have said before in 2 Kings 2.1-14.

According to the Scriptures, we know that there are three “heavens” (2 Cor 12.2). There is the “heaven” where the clouds, birds and airplanes fly, and there is a second heaven containing the sun, moon and the stars. The third heaven is where God and his throne is. When Elijah departed, his ministry was over as far as God was concerned, and Elisha was given the double-portion as “heir” to the prophets and the ministry (2 Kings 2.9). When this event was over, some thought that they should go out and search for Elijah because “perhaps the Spirit of Yehovah has taken him and cast him on some mountain or into some valley. So, some thought Elijah could have been taken to another place, which is alluded to in 1 Kings 18.12, and actually done in Acts 8.39 with Phillip. We believe that Elijah was taken away to another location, having entered the first heaven (where the birds fly) by the Ruach Ha Kodesh, and later was able to write this letter about the politics of the day.. The only other possibility is that this letter was written beforehand and then given ten years later, but we doubt it. For more information on this, we refer you to Tanak Foundations-Second Kings-Part 1. This letter from Elijah condemned Yehoram’s sins and predicted his demise. Because he had no “bowels” or compassion for his family and brothers, he will be struck with a disease of the bowels (21.15).

Then Yehovah stirred up against Yehoram the spirit of the Philistines and the Arabs who bordered the Ethiopians. They came to Judah and invaded it and carried away all his possessions found in his house, along with his sons and his wives. Only one son, Yehoahaz, was left to him. There is a concept in the Scriptures called “Middah Kneged Middah” and it means “measure for measure.” In trying to protect his throne he murdered all his brothers. Now, all his sons were taken except one (a “lamp” for David as promised in 1 Kings 11.36). After this, Yehovah struck Yehoram in his bowels with an incurable sickness (Deut 32.39).

In the course of time (two years) his bowels came out because of this disease and he died in great pain. The people “made no fire” in his honor like they did with Asa in 2 Chr 16.14. Nobody regretted his death and they buried him in the city of David, but not in the royal tombs. He was a cruel tyrant, promoted Baal worship and prostituted women to Ashtoret and made war on his brothers and chief nobles and he is a picture of the False Messiah.

The problem with Yehoram is just because he has died doesn’t mean that his legacy has ended. His wife Athaliah will rule as the givorah with Yehoram’s youngest son Ahaziah. She will be his counselor and will advise him to do evil, just like the house of Ahab. When he dies, she will kill all the royal offspring and usurp the throne for herself. She will be another picture of the False Messiah and we will deal with her in 2 Chr 22 and 23.

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 Second Chronicles-Part 4

2 Chr 16.1-14 tells us about a treaty that Asa makes with Ben-Hadad of Syria. Baasha (he that seeks or lays waste), King of Israel, had come up against Judah and built up Ramah. This would block a main route into Judah that would stop people from coming to Jerusalem for the festivals and other reasons. Baasha hoped hoped this would put military and economic pressure on Judah, forcing Asa to give Baasha what he wanted.

So Asa brought Ben-Hadad treasure so that he would withdraw his support of Baasha (v 3). Asa seems to have forgotten that he had a covenant with Yehovah. He didn’t need one with Ben-Hadad. But Asa’s plan was successful and came against the cities of Israel. When Baasha heard this, he stopped working on Ramah. However, Yehovah sent word to Asa through Hannani the Prophet and rebuked Asa for relying on the king of Syria (v 7). Not much is known about him but he had a son who was a prophet also (1 Kings 16.1, 7; 2 Chre 19.2). This rebuke from Yehovah was something Asa did not expect, after all, his plan worked.

He believed his main enemy was Israel and got the help he needed from Syria. But, this is not what the Lord saw. The bigger enemy was Syria and Yehovah wanted to give him a victory over them. When he compromised, he became blind, and that is true with us also. Yehovah wanted Asa to remember the victories he gave in the past (v 7-10). Yehovah looks for ways to help his people and those who are in faith. What Asa did was to show Yehovah he did not trust him to defend Judah. As a result, Asa would have wars and no protection.

But Asa rejected the message of Hanani and put him in prison. He also harassed others who knew what Asa did was wrong (v 10). So Asa became diseased in his feet and (some say it was gout in his feet for putting the feet of Hanani in stocks) it was severe. And yet, he did not seek the Lord, but his doctors. He refused to trust or rely on the Lord. Now, the Scriptures have a lot of good things to say about doctors (Col 4.14; Acts 28.9; Jam 5.14-15; 1 Tim 5.23) but it is not right to seek medical help instead of the Lord. God can move through a doctor for our healing, so we should do both. Asa died in the forty-first year of his reign and he had a great burial and funeral (v 13-14). They made a great fire for him, and this was customary (Jer 34.5). This was not a cremation, but it was done to honor Asa (2 Chr 21.19).

2 Chr 17.1-19 begins to tell us about the reign of Yehoshaphat (Yehovah is judge), the son of Asa, and how he pleased the Lord. He followed the example of his father David (v 3) and fortified himself against Israel (ten northern tribes). He removed the idolatrous bamot (high places) and the Asherim and in 1 Kings 22.43 it says he did not remove the high places, but these are the ones dedicated to Yehovah, not idolatry. He should have removed them also because the Temple had been built and when that happened, no more bamot were allowed as before. 2 Chr 20.33 says the same thing because the people had not yet directed their hearts to Yehovah (to offer korbanat only in Jerusalem-Deut 12.5).

In the Mishnah, Kodashim 14.4-8 explains the relationship between the Temple and the high places dedicated to Yehovah. It says, “Before the tabernacle was set up, the high places were permitted and the altar service was fulfilled by the first born. But after the tabernacle was set up, the high places were forbidden, and the altar service was fulfilled by the priests; the Most Holy Things (Kodshai Kodashim) were consumed withing the curtains, and the Lesser Holy Things (Kodshai Kelim) throughout the camp of Israel.”

“After they came to Gilgal the high places were again permitted; the Most Holy Things could be eaten only within the curtains but the Lesser Holy Things in any place. After they came to Shiloh the high places were forbidden. There was no roof-beam there, below was a house of stone and above were hangings, and this was the ‘resting place.’ The Most Holy Things were consumed within the curtains, and the Lesser Holy Things and the Second Tithe (Maaser Sheni) in any place within sight of Shiloh.”

After they came to Nob and to Gibeon the high places were permitted; the Most Holy Things were consumed within the curtains and the Lesser Holy Things throughout the cities of Israel. After they came to Jerusalem the high places were forbidden and never again permitted; and this was the ‘inheritance.’ The Most Holy Things were consumed within the curtains and the Lesser Holy Things and the Second Tithe within the wall of Jerusalem.”

Yehoshaphat also sent five princes, along with nine Levites, to teach Judah from the Torah, how to worship and obey the Lord (v 7-9). As a result, the fear (awe) of Yehovah came upon all the kingdoms that were around Judah and they made no war against Yehoshaphat. Even the Philistines brought gifts and silver to Yehoshpaphat and Arabians brought flocks (v 10-11). Yehoshaphat grew greater and greater and he built defenses and storage facilities in Judah in case of war (v 12-13). All of them were ready to fight when the king needed them. In addition, there was a militia who were also ready (v 14-19).

In 2 Chr 18-1-7 we learn that Yehoshaphat enters into an alliance with King Ahab (Ahav meaning “brother father”) in the north when his son Joram marries the daughter of Ahab and Jezebel named Athaliah. We will see that she is not much different than her infamous parents. Ahab now wants Yehoshaphat to go up with him against Ramoth-Gilead (“heights of Gilead”). The king of Syria had promised to return certain cities in exchange for mercy after he was defeated in battle. Ben-Hadad failed to return Ramoth-Gilead because it was in a strategic position (1 Kings 20.34), and it was a city of refuge (Josh 20.8).

So Yehoshaphat wanted to seek the Lord about this (v 4-6), so Ahab assembled false prophets but Yehoshaphat asked if there was a prophet of Yehovah yet in the land (remember, Ahab and Jezebel were persecuting the true prophets of Yehovah). Ahab said, Yes” but he said the prophet hated him because he never prophesied anything good. His name was Micaiah (“Who is like Yah”).

2 Chr 18.8-11 says the false prophets prophesied in the name of Yehovah (Matt 7.22), and these were not pagan pagan prophets, and they said Ahab should go up and fight, and he would succeed. Ahab knew that Micaiah was a true prophet of God, and in 2 Chr 18.12-22 it says that Micaiah is consulted, and he tells them “go up and succeed, for they will be given into your hand.” He said this sarcastically but Ahab knew did not say, “Thus says Yehovah” so he knew he wasn’t serious. Ahab then tells him to speak to him only what Yehovah tells him.

So Micaiah tells him that he saw Israel scattered on the mountains like sheep with no shepherd, and Yehovah said “These have no master.” Then Micaiah tells him he was given insight into the heavenly realm and that Ahab’s prophets were inspired by lying spirits (v 22). He saw the Lord sitting on his throne and all the armies of heaven were around him. He asks, “Who will entice Ahab the king of Israel to go up andd fall at Ramoth-Gilead?” And one said this and another said that, but then a spirit came forward and stood before Yehovah and said, “I will entice him.” and Yehovah asked, “How” and the spirit said that he would go and be a deceiving spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. And the Lord told him to go and entice him, and prevail. So Micaiah says that Yehovah has put a deceiving spirit into the moths of all his prophets because the Lord has proclaimed “disaster against you (v 18-23).”

Spiritually, just because someone says they are of the Lord doesn’t mean they are. Matt 7.21-23 tells us that there will be many who claim to have prophesied in the name of the Lord but the Lord never knew them. They were “lawless” or “Torah-less. This brings us up to the subject of “revivals.” Psa 119.154 says, “revive me according to your word (“davar”, another name for the Torah). There are also false revivals which are “not according to your word (Torah).” We should judge any “revival” by the standard, “Is this according to God’s word (Torah).” Any revival in the Scriptures always brought the people back to the Torah (2 Kings 22.1-20; 2 Chr 29 and 30 for instance). False revivals will quote 2 Chr 7.14 but that verse is calling the people to repent and come back to the Torah. God will forgive their sin, and sin is defined by the Torah (Rom 3.20; 1 John 3.4). If the “revival” does not call people back to a Torah-based faith in Yeshua (Sabbath, biblical kosher, no idolatry or idolatrous holidays, etc) it is a false revival and just the work of man.

2 Chr 18.23 tells us that Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah (international trader) came forward and struck Micaiah on the cheek and said, “How did the Spirit of Yehovah pass from me to speak to you?” Evidently, Zedekiah thought he had the Ruach Ha Kodesh, but he really didn’t. This is just like the prophets of today. When they are defeated they get angry. So Ahab put Micaiah in prison and to keep him there till Ahab got back from the battle (v 26), and Micaiah tells Ahab that if he returns from battle then Yehovah did not speak to him (in 2 Chr 18.16).

In 2 Chr 18.28-34 Ahab goes to battle, along with Yehoshaphat. Why Yehoshaphat went along after hearing all this is very curious, especially after a defeat was predicted. And Ahab, knowing the prophecy of Micaiah, decided to disguise himself and thought this would protect him Yehoshaphat would be the only identifiable king on the battlefield, and why he went along with this also is very, very curious. But this would not save Ahab.

Ben-Hadad tells his army to fight with no one small or great, but only with the King of Israel. Ahab’s previous mercy to Ben-Hadad in 1 Kings 20.31-34 will not be reciprocated. He will return evil for good, but God was directing Ben-Hadad in this. So when the battle started, Yehoshaphat noticed the enemy was coming after him because he was the only one dressed as a king. He cries out to Yehovah in v 31 and the Lord diverted their hearts away from him.

Now, a certain archer drew his bow and shot a random arrow and it struck Ahab between his armor. God directed the arrow to hit Ahab. Man cannot hide from the judgment of God even though he thinks he can. Micaiah obeyed the Lord and ended up in prison, but that was better off than a king he did not obey the Lord. Ahab propped himself up in his chariot with the help of the “shalish.” The shalish is a third man in a chariot, along with the driver. To Ahab’s credit, he stayed propped up in his chariot, facing the Syrians until sunset, when he died.

2 Chr 19.1-11 tells us that Yehoshaphat returns after the battle, showing Yehovah’s mercy even to those who use bad judgment. However, Yehu, the son of Hanani the prophet, rebuked Yehoshaphat for helping Ahab, saying, “Should you help the wicked and love those who hate the Lord and so bring wrath on yourself from Yehovah? But there is some good in you for you have removed the Asheroth from the land and you have set your heart to seek God.” He had zeal for Yehovah but the wrath of Yehovah would come in the coming war with the Ammonites and Moabites and the death of his great-grandsons by Ahab’s daughter Athaliah.

Yehoshaphat responded by instituting reforms (v 6-10). He appointed judges in Judah and admonished them to remember they were judging for Yehovah, not man. These verses are included here and not in Kings because they served as an example to the leaders who were coming back to rebuild Judah and Jerusalem after the Babylonian exile. Without the Torah and those who judged righteously, the nation would not prosper and survive.

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 Second Chronicles-Part 3

In the book, “Ancient Israel: Its Life and Institutions” by Roland Devaux, there is a great description of who the Givorah (mistress, great lady) in the courts of Judah really was, and what they really did. Devaux spells it “g’birah” but we will use “givorah” to simplify it. Also, his spelling of the king’s names will be different than what we would use, but we will keep Devaux’s spellings. In a subsection called “The Great Lady” on p.117-119 Devaux says, “On the other hand, at the court of Judah, official rank was accorded to the givorah. In ordinary speech the word means ‘mistress’ as opposed to servant, and corresponds to ‘adon’, ‘lord’, the feminine of which is not used in Hebrew (2 Kings 5.3; Isa 24.2; Psa 123.2; Prov 30.23). In 1 Kings 11.19 it is applied the the Pharaoh’s wife and consort, but it is never used of the wife of a king of Judah; under Asa, the givorah is his grandmother Maakah (1 Kings 15.13; 2 Chr 15.6). The givorah carried into captivity in Jer 29.2 is the king’s mother, according to the parallel in 2 Kings 24.15. The sons of the givorah mentioned in 2 Kings 10.13 along with the sons of the king must be distinct from them; they are the sons of the queen-mother (and therefore the king’s brothers). In Jer 13.18 the king and the givorah are Joiakin and his mother. Etymology and usage suggest that the title should be rendered as Great Lady.”

“This title implied a certain dignity and special powers. Bathsheba was certainly givorah under Solomon; he receives her with great honor and seats her on his right (1 Kings 2.19). The power of the Great Lady did not proceed merely from the influence of a mother over a son, as with Bathsheba; it was more extensive, and for abusing it, Maakah was deprived by Asa of her dignity of Great Lady (1 Kings 15.13). This authority of the queen-mother explains how Athaliah could so easily seize power on the death of Ochoziah (2 Kings 11.1); the queen-mother had an official position in the kingdom, and hence the Nooks of Kings always mentions the name of the king’s mother in the introduction to each reign in Judah-except in the cases of Joram and Achaz, where no woman is named, and of Asa, where his grandmother’s name takes the place of his mother’s. It is possible that the Great Lady was accorded her rank on the accession of her son, which would explain the career of Hamital, wife of Josias, who was queen-mother under Joachaz, was set aside under Joiaqim and Joiakin, and returned under Sedecias, the brother of Joachaz (2 Kings 23.31,36; 24.8,18). It is also possible that the mother became givorah as soon as her son was designated heir to the throne, as is suggested by 2 Chr 11.22-22. The story of Bathsheba does not enable us us to decide this point, since Solomon’s sacring took place immediately after his nomination; but it does at least prove that before his nomination Solomon’s mother had not the dignity which she subsequently enjoyed (cf. 1 Kings 1.15-16,31 and 2.13-19). Bathsheba was the first Great Lady in Israel. On the other hand it seems that the Great Lady could keep her position after her son’s death; Maakah, wife of Roboam, was still givorah under her grandson Asa, after the short reign of her son Abiyyam (1 Kings 15.13). From the same passage we see the the givorah could be dismissed by the king: Maakah had favoured the cult of Asherah.”

“Hittite parallels may help to elucidate this rather complicated question. The tavannana was the lawful queen, the mother of the heir-apparent, and played an important part in policy and religion. If she survived the king she retained the same position during the reign of her son (or sons, if two brothers succeeded to the throne); and only on her death did the dignity pass to her daughter-in-law, the wife of the reigniong king. Like Maakah, she could be dismissed for a serious offence against the king or the state; but, as in Judah, this seems to habe been exceptional. The queen-mother must have held a similar position un Ugarit, where several letters are addressed to the king’s mother, also called the ‘adath’, which is feminine of ‘adon’, and therefore the equivalent of givorah. The Akkadian texts of Ras Shamra indicate that this queen-mother intervened in political affairs, and they also mention a Great Lady of Amurru. For Assyria the evidence is less clear, but we should remember the part played by the queens Sammuramat and Naqi’a during the reigns of their husbands and then their sons. This tradition is preserved in the Greek legends of Semiramis and Nitokris. One may allso point to the in fluence of Ada-guppi, the mother of Nabonidus.”

“There is no direct evidence of the existence of a Great Lady in the northern kingdom. In the introductions to the reigns in Israel, the name of the king’s mother is never given. 2 Kings 10.13 mentions a givorah who can only be Jezebe, but the word is put in the mouth of the princes of Judah. The institution, moreover, presupposes a dynastic stability which was not usually found in the kingdom of Israel. But we must draw attention to a rare term, which is perhaps the Israelite equivalent of the givorah of Judah. In Psa 45.10, the ‘shegal’ is mentioned as standing on the right hand of the king; she is not classed with the other women of the harem, for she is the queen consort. Now, Psa 45 has been interpreted as a wedding-hymn composed for a king of Israel. It is also very tempting to restore the word shegal at the end of Judges 5.30 in the Hymn of Devorah, in place of the impossible shalal, ‘booty.’. The word is parallel to Sisera, and would denote the queen or queen-mother, cf. v. 28. Once again, the Hymn of Deborah is a composition of northern Israel. The only other examples of the term in the Old Testament, Neh 2.6 (the queen of Persia) and Dan 5.2,3,23 (the Aramaic plural form: the wives of Balthazar) do not prove that the word was an official term in Judah before the exile.”

Rehoboam did evil because he did not set his heart to seek Yehovah, he had a heart problem. He did not even have the relationship with God that his father Solomon had. His heart was the root of his problems. There is more detail about Rehoboam here than in First Kings because Rehoboam is a pattern of what repentance and God’s mercy can do for the returning exiles, to encourage them.

As we have said before, Chronicles was one book and it is a retelling of Israel’s monarchy in light of the return from Babylonian exile. The message is, despite experiencing God’s punishment through exile, Yehovah is still with his people and has not rejected them after their exile. Whatever happened to their ancestors did not change the fact that Yehovah is Israel’s God and they have hope for the future.

2 Chr 13.1-22 tells us about the rise of Abijah in Judah, and his mother’s name (the givorah) was Micaiah, the daughter of Uriel of Gibeah. He only reigned three years. The armies of Abijah and Jeroboam got ready for war, and Abijah gives an appeal to Jeroboam and Israel. He says the dynasty of David is the only true kingship to rule over the tribes, including the northern tribes. God promised this in a covenant and it was ratified in blood and salt (Lev 2.13).

But Jeroboam was accused of rebellion by Abijah, but that was not the whole story. He did rebel, but he was provoked by Rehoboam, along with the ten northern tribes, and Jeroboam was ungodly, but so is Abijah (1 Kings 15.3). Abijah compared the faithfulness of the southern tribes with the unfaithfulness of Jeroboam and Israel. He said if you fight against Abijah, you fight against the Lord. But Jeroboam did not listen and caused an ambush during negotiations for peace. Now Abijah had an army in front and in the rear, so they cried out to the Lord.

As the men of Judah shouted, God routed Jeroboam. Judah won because they depended on the Lord, and they even captured Bethel where the golden calves were (1 Kings 12.28-33). These false gods could not defend their own place of worship. This war ended Jeroboam’s threat and the Lord struck him and he died.

Abijah grew stronger but he was not Torah observant. He walked is all the sins of his father, and he was not loyal to God (1 Kings 15.3). The lesson here is just because you have a great victory does not mean your life before God is faithful. We should never trust in past victories.

Now we come to 1 Chr 14.1-15 and the reign of Asa. He is the great-grandson of Solomon and replaces Abijah, and he was more like David than his father was (1 Kings 15.11). He began to come against the paganism and idolatry in his realm. He banished the male cult prostitutes, or state-sanctioned homosexuality (1 Kings 14.24, 15.12). He also removed his grandmother Maacah from being the givorah because she made an obscene image of Asherah (1 Kings 15.13). He removed the bamot (high places) for idolatry, but not the ones dedicated to Yehovah (2 Chr 14.3, 15.14). Asa followed Yehovah (1 Kings 15.14) and God gave his kingdom peace. He concentrated on building defenses for Judah (2 Chr 14.7-8).

This account in Chronicles is included here, and not in Kings, because those returning from exile needed encouragement. They needed to rebuild the city of Jerusalem and its defenses and the writers wanted to show that they would have success if they followed Yehovah, like Asa did.

But, an army from Ethiopia came out against Judah and posed a great threat. Judah had an army of 580,000 (2 Chr 14.8) but the Ethiopians had twice that many. Asa knew that whether he was strong or weak, it had nothing to do with the Lord’s power because he was unlimited. This battle belonged to the Lord. So he cries out to God and said, “Do not let man prevail against you” and Yehovah gave him a great victory. They not only won, but became rich in the process.

2 Chr 15.1-19 tells us about a great revival in Judah. Azariah was a lesser known prophet in Judah, but God gave him a word for Asa and he came to deliver it. Asa and Judah have just won a great victory and it would be easy to get complacent and think they would always enjoy God’s favor, but the “key” is living in God’s favor. He is told that if he seeks God, he will “let” you find him. Yehovah will not hide himself from a seeking heart (Deut 4.29; Jer 29.13; Matt 7.7).

We should remember that the opposite is just as true. If we don’t seek him, we will not find him. In a way, we get what we want from him. If we don’t want to keep the Torah, then we will be with people who don’t want to keep it either. He gives the heart that rejects his ways what it desires, even eternally. When people hate to hear the Scriptures quoted to them, or don’t want to hear what King David had to say, then God will send to where the Scriptures aren’t quoted and where King David isn’t going to be.

Then the Lord says that Israel (in the time of the Judges) did not have the true God, they were without a teaching priest and without the Torah (2 Chr 15.3), but they sought the Lord in their distress, and he let them find him. This was written in Chronicles to remind those returning to the land from Babylon that Israel has been at a low point before, but Yehovah always restored them. So they were to be strong. for there is a reward for their work. That is the message here.

So Asa cleanses the land and gathers Judah, Benjamin and any others together from Manasseh, Ephraim and Simeon who had defected from Israel because they knew God was with Asa. They gathered in Jerusalem in the third month (probably around Shavuot) and they entered into a covenant with Yehovah and ratified it with korbanot, and this covenant was connected to the covenant at Sinai (Exo 24.7-8). everyone in Judah rejoiced and swore this oath with a sincere heart.

So Yehovah gave them rest on all sides. He removed Maacah from being queen mother (the givorah) because of her idolatry. He cut down, crushed and burned the “horrid image” she had and burned it in the brook Kidron. He brought into the Temple the dedicated things of his father, and his own dedicated things of silver, gold and utensils. And there was no more war until Asa’s thirty-fifth year, but there will be skirmishes with Baasha, the king of Israel, all their days.

In Part 4 we will pick up in 2 CHr 16.1-14.

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 Second Chronicles-Part 2

2 Chr 8.1-18 tells us that after twenty years the kingdom of Solomon was secure. It took seven years to build the Temple and thirteen years to build his palace. He also built cities which Huram (Hiram) gave back to him because they were unsuitable for him (1 Kings 9.11). He captured Hamath-zobal, built Tadmor in the wilderness and all the storage cities which he built in Hamath. He strengthened upper Beth-horon and lower Beth-horon in the border with the Philitines. He fortified many cities and storage cities, cities for his chariots and horsemen in Israel, Jerusalem and in all the land.

Solomon also raised forced laborers from the descendants of the Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites that remained in the land under his rule. However, he did not make the children of Israel work as forced laborers because they were the warriors, captains and commanders and they managed the forced labor.

Solomon also married the daughter of Pharaoh Horemheb. She was a pagan and her house may have been in the area of Golgotha because many Egyptian artifacts were found there outside the city gates. This marriage was not to the credit of Solomon and it marked the beginning of Solomon’s decline. He moved her because he did not think it was proper far a pagan to be in a place that had a kedusha on it (his palace).

Solomon administered the korbanot according to the Torah and also made sure the priestly divisions were there for the Temple services (avodah). He was also involved in sea trade, which was unusual for the people of Israel. Huram supplied the ships and seamen because the Israelites were not known as sailors or had the skills. With this ability, Solomon was able to go to Ophir and obtain 450 talents of gold. Nobody knows where Ophir was but there are several candidates for it like India or Arabia.

2 Chr 9.1-31 tells us about the visit of the Queen of Sheba and more of Solomon’s achievements. Sheba is where Yemen is today and was a wealthy kingdom at the time. It was about 1500 miles south of Israel and probably came to negotiate a treaty as a part of a trade delegation. She tested him with hard questions, having heard of his wisdom.

After seeing the splendor and luxury of everything that Solomon had built, she was left “breathless” (v 4). She saw his ministers and what they wore and his stairway (2 Kings 11.11-19). Now, she was accustomed to luxury but she had not seen anything like this. Yeshua used this queen as an example of someone who seeks the Lord and wants answers. She came from a great distance, through hardship and dangers, to get to Solomon and have her questions answered. She had gifts to offer and came to question and learn. She saw the riches of the king and did not leave right away. She also told the king everything that was on her heart.

In 2 Chr 9.11 we find that Solomon built steps, or raised pavements with beautiful designs, for the Temple and the king’s palace from “algum.” This is spelled “almug” in 1 Kings 10.11-12 and this was an aromatic wood. We also learn that Solomon obtained 666 talents of gold every year in 2 Chr 9.13. He is the only other person in Scripture associated with this number. It is the number “of a man” in Rev 13.18 (in Greek, which is related to the False Messiah. Now, if 666 is the number “of a man” (in Greek) could that be alluding to Solomon in Rev 13.18? We are not saying he is the False Messiah but it could be alluding to the fact that the False Messiah may start out as a wise and good king, who then turns from Yehovah to idolatry. This verse is also telling us that Solomon was not following the instructions (Torah) in Deut 17.14-20 about multiplying gold and silver to himself. Now, it is true, that God said he would bless Solomon with riches because he didn’t ask for them in 2 Chr 1.11, but Solomon allowed himself to be corrupted by them.

Solomon also had a very interesting throne that alludes to Jewish eschatology. It was ivory overlaid with gold and there were six steps that led to the throne. The two arms had two lions standing by them, and twelve lions were standing on the six steps, six on each side. The six steps that led to the throne alludes to the 6000 years that will lead to the throne of Messiah in the Messianic Kingdom. The lions standing next to the arms allude to the kingly tribe of Judah and royal power and strength. The twelve lions represent the twelve tribes he rules over.

Solomon was greater than all the kings of the earth in riches and wisdom and he died after ruling forty years, and the golden age of Israel comes to an end. Powers in the north and south are rising and Israel is in the middle, which makes it the battle ground.

Some scholars believe that he began to rule when he was only twenty, and that means he did not live a very long life. David was seventy when he died. Yehovah said in 1 Kings 3.4 that if Solomon walked in God’s ways he would lengthen his days. When we look at what Solomon did in his life in regards to multiplying wives, gold, silver and horses to himself, along with his idolatrous practices, it is no wonder why he died relatively young.

There are scholars who say Solomon died in unbelief, while others say he repented at the end of his life and wrote the Book of Ecclesiastes. The book explains how he had experienced just about everything you could experience and how empty and vain it all was. His conclusion, “when all has been heard is; fear God and keep the commandments, because this applies to everyone.” In any case, we learn that material wealth and grandeur damaged Solomon and the people of Israel, and rebellion was underneath and at work, ready to break out after his death.

2 Chr 10.1-19 introduces us to Solomon’s son Rehoboam (people are enlarged). All the people came to Jerusalem to make him king. Jeroboam (the people contend) was told by a prophet that he was going to rule over a portion of a divided Israel (1 Kings 11.26-40). So, he was interested in who the successor was going to be.

The people complained about the heavy taxation and forced servitude during Solomon’s reign, but they should have been complaining about the idolatry he placed among them, but they don’t. God warned Israel about what a king would do in 1 Sam 8.10-18. The elders made a serious mistake by not demanding spiritual reforms from Rehoboam. It looks like idolatry and the rebellion of Solomon against the Lord and the Torah didn’t bother them.

So Rehoboam listened to the older elders who served Solomon, and they told him to be kinder to the people than his father was, but he rejected their advice. Then he listened to the younger advisors and he took their advice to make their burdens heavier. These younger advisors may have been some of David’s other sons (like Jerimoth in 11.18), or his friends. This is like today when we go “advice shopping.” We ask different people until we find someone who tells us what we want to hear. These “advisors” were people who grew up with Rehoboam (v 10) and were about as spoiled as Rehoboam was. They were surrounded by luxury and remained hardened to the complaints of the people. Young people never listen to the advice of the elders even today. So, Rehoboam did not listen to the people and showed himself to be an unwise ruler. However, this series of events was from Yehovah (v 15).

In 1 Kings 11.29-43 it tells us about a prophecy to Jeroboam. He would be given ten tribes to rule over because of what Solomon had done. Solomon tries to kill Jeroboam, but he fled to Egypt until the death of Solomon. Israel is now in rebellion and the people reject the dynasty of David.

2 Chr 11.1-12 tells us that Shemaiah gave a prophecy that avoided a civil war. He told the two remaining tribes of Judah and Benjamin to stand down and not go to war against the ten northern tribes with Jeroboam. He told them that these events were “from me” so they listened to the Word of Yehovah in this matter through Shemaiah, and built cities for defense in Judah.

2 Chr 11.13-17 tells us that the priests and Levites in the land stood with Rehoboam from all their districts, and the Temple was in the south as well. As a result, Jeroboam appoints false priests in the high places for idolatry in Bethel and Dan (1 Kings 12.31, 13.33; 2 Chr 13.4-12). What Jeroboam did is called “Replacement Theology” because he replaced the true place of worship, the true priesthood with others who were not Levites, and the true time of worship with other festivals. That is exactly what Christianity, Judaism, Messianic Judaism, the Hebrew Roots Movement and the Sacred Name Movement has done, along with all the other religions and denominations all over the world. It is Replacement Theology.

In 2 Chr 11.18-23 Rehoboam marries Mahalath (lyre), the daughter of Jerimoth (elevation), an unknown son of David, and Abihail (might), the daughter of Eliab (God is my father), David’s brother. He had eighteen wives and ten concubines. evidently he did not learn from the mistakes of his father. He had fewer wives that Solomon because he could not support anymore since the kingdom was divided now, but his behavior broke the Torah command in Deut 17.17. He also appointed Abijah (my father is Yehovah), the son of Maacah (crushed) to be his successor (v 22). He also dispersed his sons throughout the kingdom so that they would not form an alliance against Abijah.

In 2 Chr 12.1-6 it tells us about Rehoboam and his people and how they turned away from the Torah and was chastised by Yehovah. Shishak, the Pharaoh of Egypt, came against Jerusalem with people without number. Josephus says it was about 100,000 infantry. He was taking advantage of the civil unrest in Israel (2 Chr 10.16). He took the fortress at Sukkot first and cut off any help. He then used it as a base to come against Jerusalem.

Then Shemaiah the prophet came again and he spoke to all the princes of Judah because they were gathered in Jerusalem because of Shishak. They were told that they had forsaken the Lord, so he forsook them to Shishak. As a result, they repented and humbled themselves and the Lord said he would not destroy Jerusalem, but allow Shishak some success. Judah would become servants of Egypt (pay tribute) so that they would learn the difference in serving Yehovah, and from serving the kingdoms of this world.

Some deliverance was given to Judah but Shishak took away the treasures of the Temple, the king’s palace and the golden shields Solomon had made. Rehoboam replaced these shields with shields of bronze, trying to keep up appearances. The golden shields were worth millions in today’s money and now Egypt had them. How many times have we masqueraded around with cheaper spiritual substitutes and imitations of the real “gold” that we could have had from Yehovah?

Rehoboam had more humbling to do, even after 2 Chr 12.6-8. God knew there was more work to be done. After this, Yehovah turned away so as to not destroy him completely, and conditions were good in Judah. So Rehoboam, because of God’s mercy, survived Shishak and reigned for seventeen years in Jerusalem. Then it mentions his mother Naamah (pleasant) the Ammonitess, a non-Jew. She was one of the many wives of Solomon. Now, here is an important concept that we are going to discuss. In the southern kingdom of Judah, the mother of the king was “Queen Mother” and not the wife of the king. She was called the “Givorah” or “Great Lady” and dominated the king’s harem, acted as an advisor to her son the king and had immeasurable influence in society. In Part 3 we will look into this concept a little deeper.

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 Second Chronicles-Part 1

As we have said before, this book was originally one book called the “Divrei Ha Yamim” and this book starts out with the confirmation of Solomon and his kingdom, and how he became well settled and established. His reign will be a picture of the Messianic Kingdom under Yeshua at the high point (2 Chr 1.1-2). Solomon meets Yehovah at Gibeon where the Mishkan was, with all the Kahal (congregation), at the altar made by Bezaleel (Exo 31.2, 1 Chr 16.39-40). Much of the information in this book was covered in Kings so we will not spend as much time covering the same material.

The Mishkan and the Ark was brought to Shilah by Joshua (Josh 18). When Eli was high priest, the Ark was captured and the Mishkan vandalized (1 Sam 4, Psa 78.60-64; Jer 7.12, 26.9). The Ark came back to Kiriath-Jearim (1 Sam 7.1-2). Saul restored the Mishkan at Nob (1 Sam 21) and then eventually moved it to Gibeon (1 Chr 16.39-40). David brought the Ark to Jerusalem and built a temporary tent called the “Ohel David” or the “Tent of David” (2 Sam 6.17; 2 Chr 1.4).

There are several reasons why David did not bring the Mishkan from Gibeon to Jerusalem. First, he may have thought that if the Mishkan was in Jerusalem, the people would not see any need for a Temple. In the past, the Mishkan was only moved when necessary. David was now focused on the Temple and was moving away from having a continuing Mishkan, and this was by Yehovha’s design. David apparently had no word from the Lord to move it.

So, Solomon and the kahal (assembly) came before Yehovah and Solomon offered a thousand “Olot” (burnt offerings) on the Altar of Bronze, the same altar used in the wilderness. That night, Yehovah appeared to Solomon in a dream and the Lord wanted Solomon to ask him for anything. So Solomon asked for wisdom and knowledge so that he could lead the people, and he receives more than he ever expected.

However, he did not ask for the deep communion with Yehovah that his father had, and this would have been better for him in the long run. Solomon fell away at the end of his life (1 Kings 11.1-11) and this shows us that SOlomon lacked something. On the other hand, many believe that Solomon repented from his sins and wrote the Book of Ecclesiastes as a result, which is entirely possible. In the end, did Solomon waste all these gifts from God? Instead of being the wisest of all, he worshiped idols and he became a disappointing character in Scripture.

2 Chr 1.13-17 describes the great riches of Solomon, and he became a trader in the chariot business (v 17). This, however, begins to document the decline of Solomon already. He was not to multiply horses and chariots to himself according to the Torah (Deut 17.6), and he got connected with the Egyptians. He then marries Pharaoh’s daughter, and then started to marry other foreign wives (1 Kings 11.1-4). He then began to build temples to their gods (1 Kings 11.7-8, and eventually begins to worship these other gods himself (1 Kings 11.4-5).

2 Chr 2.1-18 tells us about Solomon’s goal of building the Temple and palace for himself. He conscripted thousands to bear the burdens of building the Temple and hewing stones. He sent to Huram (Hiram) of Tyre to have cedars used for the Temple, and also sent a man who had the skill to work in gold and silver, bronze, iron, stone and wood. he could also work in fabrics. In exchange, Solomon sent wheat, barley, oil and wine.

The timber was cut from Lebanon and it was brought down on rafts by sea to Joppa and it was carried to Jerusalem from there. Solomon numbered all the foreigners who were in Israel, and he found 153,600 of them. Some were used to carry loads (70,000), and some were used to quarry stones in the mountains (80,000), and some (3600) were used as supervisors. Spiritually, Yeshua is building his temple using Jews and non-Jews, not with wood and stone, but with his blood. We have already gone over this in 1 Kings 3.16 to 4.34, 5.16.

2 Chr 3.1 tells us that the Temple will be built on Mount Moriah where Abraham was told by Yehovah to take Isaac and offer him there (Gen 22). This was also the place where Jacob saw his dream and Bethel, the house of God (Gen 28). David was told to put the altar there on the threshing floor of Ornan (1 Chr 21). Yeshua will also be crucified on the same set of hills. Construction of the Temple began on the second day of the second month (Iyar 2) in the fourth year of his reign. This doesn’t mean he delayed obeying the Lord four four years, but it took time to prepare all the materials from Lebanon and other places.

2 Chr 3.3-17 tells us that Solomon built the foundations (rock platform) for the Temple at the place David prepared. He also built the surrounding areas, so there would be four main things he will be building. First, he will build the Temple itself, with two rooms called the Kodesh Ha Kodeshim (Holy of Holies), also known as the “Devir” (to speak) in Scripture (1 Kings 6.19-22) and it is related to the word “davar” meaning “word.” The other room was called the Heichal or the Ha Kodesh (“holy place”).

He also built the Ulam (porch) on the east side of the building. Then you will have the three-storied side chambers (1 Kings 6.5) which surrounded the sanctuary on the north, west and south sides. Then he built a large courtyard surrounding the whole sanctuary (1 Kings 6.36). He decorated the house with precious stones and he carved Keruvim (cherubim, a type of angel) on the walls, as one would encounter in heaven (Psa 80.1; Isa 37.16; Ezek 10.3). It also had palm trees, flowers and pomegranates all over the inside. This was to give the impression of a garden as in the Garden of Eden. It believed that the Eden was the surrounding area and that the garden where God met Adam was where the Temple would stand.

2 Chr 3.8-14 tells us about the Kodesh Ha Kodeshim (Devir). He overlaid it with gold, and he carved two 14-16 foot high keruvim (a class of angel) out of olive wood (1 Kings 6.23) and overlaid them with gold. Their wings were spread out so that one wing was touching one wall and the other wing touching in the center over the Ark (1 Kings 6.27). Then he made a veil over the doors to the Kodesh Ha Kodeshim. He also made two pillars of bronze for the front of the sanctuary. He named the one on the right, as you looked at them, “Yachin” meaning “Yehovah shall establish” and the one on the left was called “Boaz” meaning “Strength.” They will symbolize the Messiah ultimately, but also David and Solomon. Yachin (Yehovah shall establish) alludes to Solomon in that God establishes the Davidic kingship beginning with him. Boaz alludes to David and one of his ancestors. David received the plans for the Temple and Solomon carried them out. Together, they symbolize to all who are weak and feeble that Yehovah will establish us and strengthen us through the Messiah by emunah (faith).

2 Chr 4.1-22 gives us the account of the building of the Temple, of the materials, its parts and the form of it. He made a bronze altar and a cast metal basin or “sea.” He had figures like oxen all around it and it stood on twelve oxen, with three on all four sides. It held 3000 baths and this alludes to the 3000 immersed after they became believers in Acts 2.41. It also alludes to the 3000 years from the resurrection of Yeshua and the end of the Messianic Kingdom (“the third day” in Hos 6.3). He also made ten basins in which to wash and set five on the right and five on the left. These were used to wash korbanot, and the basin was for the priests. He also made ten golden lampstands in the way God prescribed and set them in the Temple, five on the right and five on the left. With the six branches on each, this totals sixty and this is alluded to in Song 3.7. These guarded the “couch” (aperion) of Solomon. Spiritually, these represent the angelic guardians of the Shekinah.

He also made ten tables (stands fore the ten lampstands) and placed them in the Temple, five on the right and left. He also made one hundred golden bowls used for the drink offerings. He also made the courts (azarah) of the priests and the great court (of Israel) and doors for the court, overlaid with bronze (judgment). He set the sea basin southeast of the altar. Huram made pails, shovels and bowls and he finished the work which Solomon gave him to do. These were used to carry away ashes, removing ashes and the bowls for receiving and sprinkling the blood of the korbanot. What follows in verses 12-18 is a list of what he did. The castings were formed in the plains of the Jordan, in the clay ground between Sukkot and Zeredah (Zarthan-1 Kings 7.46).

Then in 2 Chr 4.19-22 we have a list of the items Solomon had made for the Sanctuary: The Golden Altar; the tables with the bread of the faces on them; the lampstands with their lamps of pure gold; to burn in front of the Devir in the way written; the flowers, the lamps, and the golden tongs; the snuffers, the bowls, the spoons; and the entrance of the house, its inner doors for the Holy of Holies, and the doors of the house, that is the the doors leading into the Holy Place.

2 Chr 5.1 tells us that Solomon completed the work, and 1 Kings 6.38 says it was completed in Chesvan, after seven years. 2 Chr 5.2-14 says that the furniture was brought in before the people and the Ark was brought up out of the city of David. All of the people then assembled nearly a year later during the month of Tishri (seventh month on the religious calendar), around the festivals of Rosh Ha Shanah, Yom Kippur and Sukkot (1 Kings 8.2-65) to dediate the Temple.

The Kivod (glory of Yehovah) filled the house and the priests could not stand in the Holy Place because they were not comfortable in their sinful state. The kivod of the Lord would stay there until the events described in Ezek 9.3 to 11.23. Jewish tradition says the cloud was there by day, and a fire by night. This first appeared to Israel on Tishri 15. The illumination of the Temple with the four poles and sixteen vats at Sukkot allude to this. This light was called the ‘Light of the World” and it was a light to show the way in the midst of darkness. It was at the Festival of Sukkot in John 7.1 to 8.12 that Yeshua used these lights as a metaphor when he said, “I am the light of the world.” It is also believed that Yeshua was born at the festival of Sukkot.

In 2 Chr 6.1-42 we have the prayer of Solomon at the dedication of the Temple. He said that Yehovah has said that he will dwell (Shkan as in “Mishkan”) in the thick cloud (Shekinah). Then he turned to the people and blessed them. Then in 2 Chr 6.14-42 we have his prayer of dedication on a bronze platform that he had made (v 13), and it is an excellent model for us to follow. This prayer asks Yehovah to hear the prayers of Israel when they sin against each other, or when they are defeated by an enemy because of their sins and they repent. In a time of famine, he asks that Yehovah hear their prayers and forgive the people of the sins that caused the famine.

This also covers the case of a plague, locusts, mildew, blight or if an enemy besieges a city. When they turn towards the Temple to pray (a good practice for today, even with no Temple) he asks that the Lord hear their prayers. And we even have his request on behalf of the non-Jews to hear their prayers. When Israel goes out to battle, he wants Yehovah to hear their prayers and to maintain their cause. If Israel sins and they are taken captive and taken to a foreign land, and they pray for forgiveness and return to the Lord, then he wants the Lord to hear their prayer and and forgive the people.

2 Chr 7.1-22 talks about the Shekinah coming down upon the altar, the dedication of the Temple during the festivals in Tishri, and Yehovah’s promises and warnings. When Solomon was finished with his prayer, fire came down out of heaven and consumed the olot (burnt offerings) and the korbanot. and how the kivod (glory) filled the house, orHoly Place (v 1.3). Then it says that Solomon and all the people offered korbanot before Yehovah, and Solomon offered 22,000 oxen and 120,000 sheep in dedicating the Temple. This dedication involved both God and man (v 4-7. We also learn that this dedication took place during the month of Tishri, at the time of Sukkot and at the conclusion of Solomon’s work on the Temple (v 8-11).

In 2 Chr 7.12-22 we learn that Yehovah appeared to Solomon again. He was assured that his prayer of dedication in the Temple (6.14 42). This is the second time Yehovah appeared to Solomon. God promised to hear from heaven when his people seek his face and turn from their wicked ways as defined in the Torah, and he would forgive them. He also gave Solomon a warning. If Solomon walked before him as his father David did, then he would establish his throne. He was not asking for perfection, but what God asked for was not impossible. But if Solomon turned away from the Lord and the Torah, then the people will be uprooted and Temple will be cast away and the people chastised. When the other nations pass by and ask why all this has happened, then it will be said it was because they forsook the Lord who had brought them out of Egypt and they worshiped other gods. And it will be known that it was Yehovah who had brought all of this on them.

In Part 2 we will pick up in 2 Chr 8.

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 First Chronicles-Conclusion

In 1 Chr 23.1-32 we find that David turns over the kingdom to Solomon. There were other sons who had a claim to the throne (like Adonijah), but David knew that it was the will of Yehovah to have Solomon, and David favored him. David organized the priests (kohanim) and the Levites (Levi’im) to help Solomon with the Temple and the administration of the kingdom. These divisions did not come from David, but were organized by Yehovah (1 Chr 28.11-19). The Levites were numbered at first according to Num 4.1-3 (from 30 years and up), and there were 38,000 qualified Levites. They were also officers and judges in the civil government also. Gatekeepers numbered 4,000 and they provided security. They made sure that only those who were ready could come into the Temple. Another 4,000 were singers and musicians.

All of these were separated into “mishmarot” (divisions) among the sons of Gershon, Merari and Kohath. These family groupings had certain responsibilities. Gershon took care of the skins that covered the Mishakn, Kohath took care of the furniture including the Aron (Ark), the Shulchan Lechem Ha Pannim (Table of Bread) and so on. They also worked under the High Priest. Merari took care of the structural aspects of the Mishkan (boards, sockets, rings, etc). Now, according to the last words of David, the sons of Levi were counted from 20 years old and upward (v 24-27). They had finally reached the “rest” promised by the Lord and they did not need to carry the Mishkan anymore. The service of the Temple was elaborate and more Levites were needed now.

1 Chr 24.1-16 tells us that the priests were divided into 24 courses, or mishmarot. Lots were cast to see when each mishmar came to serve in the Temple. The first lot began to serve at the beginning of Nisan and each mishmar served one week, coming in and leaving on the Sabbath (2 Kings 11.4-8). All the priests would serve on the festivals. Lists like this and the genealogies are passed over many times but they can give us a lot of information if you know what you are looking for.

For example, 1 Chr 24.10 tells us about the the mishmar of Abijah. This tells us what time of year Zechariah came to serve in the Temple in Luke 1.5-17. He was of the division (mishmar) of Abijah and that means he was in the Temple with his mishmar about ten weeks into the religious calendar, about mid-June (we will see why later). It was the eighth course and that indicate a new beginning and that is when the angel appeared to him and told him he was going to have a son, who would be the forerunner of the Messiah. After they served for one week in the first half of the religious year, they would start over and come to serve a second week in the second half of the year.

Knowing this will give us the date of Yeshua’s birth at the festival of Sukkot. In order to see this as a whole, and to see when Yeshua was born, we want to go to the book “Rosh Ha Shanah and the Messianic Kingdom to Come” by Joseph Good, P. 155-157, 161-162. Good says, “An easy to document, but not well known fact, is the date of the birth of Yeshua. This is done by establishing several things: (1) The date that Gabriel the angel tells Zechariah, the soon to be father of Yochanon, about his son’s birth. (The birth date of Yochanon (John) is established by going forward nine months, the term of pregnancy). (2) The approximate date of Miriam’s (Mary’s) conception. (3) The date of Herod’s death.”

“The date that Gabriel the angel told Zechariah that he and his wife were going to have Yochanon is established from the following. Luke 1.5 states that Zechariah is a priest of the course of Abijah. King david, according to 1 Chr 24, had divided the priestly families into twenty-four groups. Each group was called a course, named after the head of that particular family. each course served for one week in the first half of the years, and for another week in the second half of the year. This was in addition to to the weeks of Hag Ha Matzah, Shavuot and Sukkot, when all the courses were required to be present (Deut 16.16). Therefore, the first course served for the first week of the year (Aviv); the second course, the second week; then all the courses, the third, because it was Hag Ha Matzah, and so on. 1 Chr 24.10 lists the course of Abijah as the eighth course. This course would serve the tenth week of the first half of the year, having allowed two weeks for Hag Ha Matzah and Shavuot. It is the time that Zechariah receives the prophecy of Yochanon’s birth.”

Due to the laws of separation (Lev 12.5, 15.19, 25), two additional weeks have to be counted. Allowing for this and going forward a normal pregnancy, the time of Yochanon’s birth (if this is the first half of the year) would be approximately Pesach, when it is expected that Elijah would appear. Six months following Elizabeth’s conception, the angel Gabriel is sent to Miriam (Mary), the cousin of Elizabeth. Starting at Chanukah, which begins on Kislev 25 and continues for eight days, and counting through the nine months of Miriam’s pregnancy brings one to to the approximate time of Sukkot.”

It is apparent that as long as Herod was alive, they could not appear at the Temple. There fore, if the approximate date of Herod’s death could be determined, it would establish the season of Yeshua’s birth. The Jewish historian, Josephus, who lived during the first century C.E. documents in detail Herod’s death. Josephus relates that Herod became very ill immediately following an act of impiety against the priesthood, at which time an eclipse of the moon occurred. This eclipse, the only one mentioned by Josephus, happened on March 13 in the year of the Julian period 4710, and the fourth year before the Common Era. Herod’s illness lasted several months and is documented in great detail as being painful and distressful. Many times cures were sought and brought about temporary relief, however, nothing prevented imminent death. According to Josephus’ calculations, Herod’s death occurred about September, in the fourth year before the Common Era. Therefore, with the knowledge that Herod died in autumn, the same time of year as Sukkot, and that his death was within forty days of the birth of Yeshua, it is established that Yeshua was born at this time of year.” So, as we can see by these courses listed in 1 Chr 24.7-18, much information can be gleaned in regards to the birth of Yeshua God put these type of things in the Scriptures for a reason.

1 Chr 25.1-31 tells us about the musicians that were separated for the Temple music. They were the sons of Asaph, Heman and Jeduthan. In 1 Chr 26.1-32 we have a further account of how the Levites were divided to serve in other offices. In 1 Chr 27.1-34 we have an account of how the army was divided into twelve mishmarot, and who would command them. This is the reserve army that served one month out of the year (27.1). The Givorim (Mighty Men) commanded a region or district, each being an army to itself. Each served one month and the tribal chiefs took care of any internal affairs or issues. Stores and supplies from the various regions were used for the maintenance of the army. 1 Chr 27.30 says that donkeys were used because horses were not used much, and saddles were not developed. The terrain was rough so donkeys were better, sort of an “all terrain” animal.

1 Chr 28.10-21 contains some very important information. David had intended to build a permanent home for the Ark of the Covenant. The Ark was seen as the “footstool” of God on earth. He reigned and sat in heaven, and rested his foot on the earth (Psa 99.5, 132.7-8, Isa 66.1). The imagery also had Yehovah “sitting” on the kipporet of the Ark (throne) and the chest as a footstool. We will also see in this 1 Chr 28.5-7 that the kings were seen as being adopted by Yehovah and the actual son of God (2 Sam 7.14). We will also see that the kings sat on the throne of the “Kingdom of the Lord (Yehovah” over Israel. The Kingdom of Heaven (or God) is a variation of this (1 Chr 13.8). The Term “Sons of God” became a title for the kings (Luke 3.38; Mark 16.16; John 1.49; Psa 2.6-7).

In 1 Chr 28.11-19, David was given the plans for the Temple in its fullness, but it will come about in stages through the years with later kings. David gave the plan to Solomon but the plans came from God (v 19). The plan included the courts of the house, the surrounding rooms, the storehouses and the Mishmarot (divisions) of the priests and Levites, and for all the work (melakah) of the service (avodah) of the Temple.

God gave to David, and David to Solomon, the plan for the golden utensils for every kind of service, and for the silver utensils for every kind of service. He also gave the weight of gold for the golden lampstands (plural) and their golden lamps, with the weight of each lampstand and its lamps; the weight of of silver for the silver lampstands, with the weight of each lampstand and its lamps according to the use of each lampstand.

He also had the gold weight for the tables of showbread; for each table and silver for the silver tables. Also, the forks, the basins, and the pitchers of pure Gold; and for the golden bowls with the weight for each bowl; and for the silver bowls with the weight for each bowl; and for the altar of incense refined gold by weight; and gold for the model of the chariot (“merkavah” or Ark) the cherubim that spread out (their wings) and covered the ark of the covenant of Yehovah (1 Kings 6.23-about 14 feet high).

The 1 Chr 28.19 says, “All (this) Yehovah made me understand in writing by his hand upon me, all the details of this pattern (2 Chr 35.3-4).” In other words, all of this was given to David by Yehovah, who made him understand in writing by his hand upon David. This included all the details of this pattern (“tavnit” or blueprint, like he did with Moses with the Mishkan in Exo 25.8-9). This is the Temple in its fullness, after many years and many stages. David and Solomon began the process. The rabbis, sages and priests did not have the authority to institute something that God did not put into the Scriptures. As a result, anything related to the Temple could not be “added to or deleted from.”

The struggle over the Temple Mount and the Temple has been going on for a long time (1 Kings 12.28, 14.26; 2 Kings 14.12-14, 16.10-18, 18.15; 2 Chr 32 ; 2 Kings 21.1-7, 25.9-13; Ezra 4.1-23; Dan 11 with Antiochus and Chanukah; Pompey in 63 B.C.; Yeshua’s predictions and Herod’s rebuilding projects; the Roman Wars with the Jews in 70 A.D.; the Bar Kochba revolt in 132 A.D.; Emperor Julian tries to rebuild the Temple in 363 A.D.; problems in 463, 629 and 715 A.D.; the Crusaders; 1917, 1948, 1967, 1973 all the way to the problems today.

1 Chr 29.1-30 tells us about how David gave provisions for the Temple and how joyful he and all the people were in doing so (v 9). Then David says a prayer for Solomon and offers korbanot when placing Solomon on the throne for ma second time. The first time was when Adonijah revolted. 1 Chr 29.10-13 is read on Rosh Ha Shanah because it deals with the enthronement of Solomon.

1 Chr 29.27 tells us that David reigned over Israel for forty years; and he reigned in Hebron seven years and in Jerusalem thirty-three years. Now, this is a very eschatological verse and is full of meaning. Hebron (meaning “communion”) is where Abraham is buried, and it is believed that the resurrection from the dead will start there. Hebron is also called “Abraham’s Bosom” and it is an idiom for heaven.

The resurrection was rehearsed every day in the Temple. Before the sun was up and it was still dark, a priest would go and see if the time had come for the morning Tamid lamb to be slain (Num 28). If it had come, he that perceived it would say, “It is daylight” or “Bat Chai” in Hebrew. Then he would say, “The whole east is alight.” Then they would say, “As far as Hebron?” And the priest would answer, “Yes.” So, the sun rising over Hebron was a type or symbolic of the resurrection. We also rehearse the resurrection every morning when we wake up.

So, David reigned in Hebron (heaven) for seven years. Then he comes to Jerusalem and he reigned another thirty-three years, the same age Yeshua was when he rode into Jerusalem as the King of Israel and the Messiah. Eschatologically, we will come to the end of the Olam Ha Zeh (6000 years from creation called the “Present World or age”) on Tishri 1, year 6001. Then we enter into the Atid Lavo (future or coming age), also known as the “Day of the Lord” or “Lord’s Day.” This period will last 1000 years.

On Tishri 1, the Natzal (Rapture or gathering) will occur and we will have the resurrection of the righteous dead (1 Thes 4.13-18; 1 Cor 15.50-52). Yeshua will be coronated as King on that day (Tishri 1 or Rosh Ha Shanah) and he will rule from heaven (Hebron) for seven years (like David), which will run concurrently with the seven year Birth-pains on earth. At the end of the seven years, Yeshua will leave heaven (Hebron) with his bride and return to Jerusalem on Yom Kippur to rule (like David) for the remaining 993 years of the Atid Lavo (Matt 24.29-31; Dan 7.13-14, 21-22).

1 Chr 29.28-31 tells us about the death of David, and he was a great king and his greatness lives on because of his connection to Yeshua the Messiah. One of the titles Yeshua has is “son of david” which not only denotes he is a descendant, but also the king. We can learn many things from the life of David. He came to the throne through a sea of sorrows, well documented in the Book of Psalms, and we have our sorrows, too. David was just a man who sinned in the matter with Uriah, and had other sins, and he suffered greatly because of them also. But, he repented and his sins could not surpass the eternal mercy of God. His guilt was taken away and he was restored, and this should give us great comfort and encouragement. Yehovah is a great God, and his mercy endures forever.

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 First Chronicles-Part 3

In 1 Chr 16.1-43 David offers korbanot when the Ark was brought into the city. He appointed the proper people to minister before the Ark, but also before the Mishkan in Gibeon. In 1 Chr 16.7-36 we have a song of David that was taught to Asaph and his family, who were musicians and psalmists. This song was intended to be sung when the Ark was brought to Jerusalem.

In the Rosh Ha Shanah Machzor (prayer book) by Mesorah Publications, p.224, it says that “during the last 43 years before Solomon inaugurated the Temple, the first fifteen verses (v 8-22) were sung in the Tabernacle every day during the morning Tamid offering service, and the last fourteen verses (v 23-36) were sung during the afternoon Tamid service.”

The song “calls upon Israel to maintain its faith in God and its confidence that he will bring it salvation from exile and persecution. The first fifteen verses refer to the miracles of past salvations and how our patriarchs had complete faith in God, even though they had nothing to go by but his covenant and oath. The second group of fourteen verses begins with ‘Sing to Yehovah, everyone on earth.’ It refers to the song of gratitude that everyone will sing in Messianic times. Thus, this section parallels the theme of the morning Shema blessings in which we emphasize the redemption of the past, while the second section parallels the evening Shema blessings in which we stress the redemption of the future.” The Mishkan and the Altar of Burnt Offering remained in Gibeon until the place for the Altar was determined. All burnt offerings to Yehovah were offered morning and evening as prescribed in the Torah (v 39-40).

1 Chr 17.1-27 is the same as 2 Sam 7.1-29 and it contains the story of how David intended to build a Temple to Yehovah. However, he was not to be the one to build it, but God was going to build a “house” for David. He would establish a permanent, secure Israel for David, and because David was a shepherd and he was concerned for the welfare of his people, Yehovah eased his mind in this.

David was a man of war and God wanted a man of peace (Shlomo/Solomon means peace) to build it. He did not tell David this at the time, but later (1 Chr 22.8-10). David accepted Yehovah’s reason, and it would have wounded David to tell everything at this time. David’s “house” would rule Israel forever, and they did rule for over 400 years, but that is not what the Lord had in mind here. Those kings ended with the exile. Isa 11.1-2 says that a shoot out of the stem of Jesse would rule forever. Messiah would come when all seemed lost, and come from the supposed “dead” line of David to rule. This alludes to the resurrection of Yeshua who came back to life from the dead “line” of David to rule forever (Jer 23.5-6; Isa 9.6-7; Luke 1.31-33).

There are scriptures that allude to David possibly being God’s chosen prince over Israel in the Atid Lavo (Hos 3.5; Ezek 37.24-25, 34.23-24; Jer 30.9). However, these verses could also be referring to the Messiah who is also called a prince (Acts 3.15). The term for prince is “Nasi” in Hebrew and it can be a civil ruler or a biological descendant of David. He may be fully human, have descendants (Ezek 46.16) and own a tribal lot of land. On the other hand, this is also a term for the Messiah (Ezek 44.3).

David went into the tent that was prepared for the Ark (1 Chr 15.1, 16.1) and sat before the Lord and prayed (17.16). As we can see, sitting was a posture used in prayer. David was humble in his thanks and praise to God. He asks that the promise be fulfilled as spoken.

1 Chr 18.1-17 tells us about David’s kingdom being strengthened. 2 Sam 8 deals with this also, so we have already discussed what happens here. The key thing to understand in this chapter is verse 14. David reigned over Israel and he administered justice and righteousness for all his people. This can only come through the Torah.

Joab, David’s nephew (1 Chr 2.16) and Abishai’s brother, commanded the professional army. Yehoshaphat was the recorder (clerk historian) and Zadok was the High Priest, and Abimelech was the “Sagan” (Deputy High Priest). Shavsha (“joyful”) was secretary (chief of staff). Benaiah was over the Cherethites and Pelethites, and these were Philitines who were royal bodyguards. Again we see non-Jews involved in the administration of David, just as non-Jews will be involved in the administration of the kingdom under Yeshua.

1 Chr 9.1-19 tells us about an incident with the Ammonites. This chapter is identical to 2 Sam 10. David sent ambassadors to attend the funeral of Nachash (serpent), the king of the Ammonites. But these ambassadors were suspected as being spies because they did not shave off their beards or cut their hair in mourning (as others did) because the Torah did not permit such practices (Lev 19.27-28, 21.4-5; Deut 14.1). So the Ammonites cut their beards to humiliate them and this was an insult to an ambassador. When David found out he was furious. He told them to wait in Jericho until their beards grew back out. He cared for their dignity and honor, and David prepared for war.

The Ammonites knew they had done wrong and hired the Syrians to help them, and David sent Joab and the professional army. The best warriors of Israel were lined up against the hired Syrians, the regular army under Abishai was lined up against the Ammonites. Israel had to fight on two fronts. Joab says something very interesting that we can use in our spiritual battles here. He says, “If the Syrians are too strong for me, then you shall help me; but if the sons of Ammon are too strong for you, then I will help. Be strong and let us show ourselves courageous for the sake of our people and for the cities of our God; and may Yehovah do what is good in his sight.” Do all we can do in our warfare, the rest is up to Yehovah.

When the hired Syrians saw they had to fight the Givorim (mighty men) of David, who had a reputation as fierce and deadly warriors, they fled as fast as they could run because they were hirelings and had no heart for a tough fight. When the Ammonites saw that, they fled also. As a result, the Ammonites were defeated. But the Syrians regatheredthemselves and went out to fight David. But they fled again and David killed the men of 700 chariots and 40,000 cavalry, and Shobach their commander (2 Sam 10.18). The Syrians then made peace with Israel.

1 Chr 20.1-8 tells us about Joab going out to fight Rabbah of Ammon and laying siege to it in the spring, and David remained at Jerusalem. David has been criticized for staying behind but that is because these critics know very little about warfare. Kings did not go out to fight during a siege of a city if they could help it. A siege could take a very long time and a king could not afford to be away from the capital city for too long. There was a lot of state business to attend to. When the city was ready to fall, then the king would come for the fall and the actual taking of the city. David did nothing out of the ordinary here. Joab defeats Rabbah and David came to put the finishing touches on the siege (20.2). This chapter also tells us about Israeli victories over Philistine giants. These giants seem to be related to Goliath (20.8).

1 Chr 21.1-30 is a very interesting chapter, and we have gone into detail on this in 2 Sam 24. However, we can pick up some additional information here. It going to deal with how Yehovah provided the place of the Altar of the coming Temple, and how it was revealed. This was the final step in this process of locating the Temple site. David knew the city and he knew what mountain within the city, and now he the site of the Altar will be revealed through a sin of David.

David counted Israel without using the half shekel being counted as well. The threshing floor of Ornan (1 Chr 21.15) is the same as the threshing floor of Araunah (2 Sam 24.16). The exact site of this Altar was known before by some. Abraham (Gen 22.14), Jacob (Gen 28.10-19) and Noah may have built their altars there (Targum Yonaton on Gen 8.20). It is believed that Adam sacrificed there at creation and may have been created there according to Jewish tradition. Hilkot Beit Ha Bechirah 2.1-2 says it was a time honored oral tradition. The site is alluded to in the Torah because non-Jews would have hindered the site from being discovered and as a result obliterated the Temple Mount. It has happened before.

The twelve tribes agreed on the division of the land. If the true site was known at that time they would have challenged it like they did with the priesthood of Aaron and the leadership of Moses. There was a plague that broke out because of what David did and an angel stood between David and the Altar of Burnt offering at the Mishkan in Gibeon (1 Chr 21.29-30). If the Temple site was where Ernest Martin and Bob Cornuke say it was in their books (Gihon9 Spring), the angel would not have been between David and the Mishkan. Gibeon is north and Gihon (where they say the Temple was) was southeast of David’s palace.

In 2 Sam 24.24 David purchases the floor, oxen and instruments from Araunah/Ornan for fifty shekels. Here in 1 Chr 21.25 David buys the ground on which the Temple would stand, with its courts, for 600 shekels. This was Ornan’s farm and surroundings.

1 Chr 22.1-19 tells us that David has now found the place for the sanctuary and the Altar (v 1). The command to build a temple was an obligation when Israel was at peace, when they had a king and the place of the Altar was revealed. David gives orders in verse 2 to gather the “Ger T’shav” (foreigners) who were artisans to work on the stones for the sanctuary. The Israelites were farmers, herdsmen and shepherds, not stone cutters, so their expertise was needed. This alludes to how the non-Jews will be concerned with building the spiritual house of God, too.

In “Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Second Samuel-Part 5 and 6” we did a review of how David came to the place for the Temple and the Altar from the book “The Aryeh Kaplan Anthology-Vol II” p. 63-68. That process is how he could say “This is the house of the Lord God, and this is the Altar of Burnt Offering for Israel” in 1 Chr 22.1. We highly recommend that you go back to that teaching to pick up information on how David came to this realization

In 1 Chr 22.3-5 we learn that David prepared large quantities of iron to make nails for the doors of the gates and for the clamps. Large amounts of cedar logs were brought by the Sidonians and the Tyrians to David. David couldn’t build the house of God but David made preparations for it before he died so that Solomon had the materials.

1 Chr 22.6-19 tells us about David’s call to build the Temple and that this call came from God. David will receive the plans for the Temple and its services directly from God, as we shall soon see. However, David was not the man to build it. He was a warrior and the Temple was going to be a place of peace. This is not saying that David’s wars were wrong. The Temple could only be built after the wars were over, not in the middle of them. David had more work to do.

The Messiah will build the Messianic Kingdom Temple, seen in the book of Ezekiel, after the wars of the Birth-pains. Yeshua is the “Prince (King) of Peace” (Isa 9.6) and it will not be built by power or force, but by God’s Spirit. The Temple will be a place where the Edenic vision of peace and rest can be seen. If lifting up an iron tool against a stone was unfit for the Altar, how much more so was a king who had shed human blood unfit to build the Temple.

That’s why David’s son Shlomo (Solomon) was charged with the job. His very name is related to the Hebrew word for peace (Shalom). So, as we have seen, David did prepare for the building of the Temple by gathering gold, silver, bronze and iron. He also gathered timber and stone. There were woodsmen and stone cutters with the skill who were ready to do the job.

To call this Temple “Solomon’s Temple” is not totally accurate. David was given the plans in 1 Chr 28.11-19 and he prepared the materials. David won the peace to make it all possible and he found and purchased the site to build on. He also organized the administration of the Temple involving the priests, Levites, servants, singers and musicians, etc.

But nobody calls it “David’s Temple.” All the credit went to to Solomon. This teaches us that sometimes we prepare the way for others. They may get all the credit but you did what God told you to do. He prepared and called you and you may not be as successful as the next guy, but we are preparing the way for one greater than “Solomon” to come along (Matt 12.42; Luke 11.31).

David commanded the leaders in Israel to help Solomon. He told them to “set your heart and your soul to seek Yehovah your God.” This is in the context of work, not prayer (v 19). Seeking is obedience and not necessarily a search (1 Chr 28.9).

We will pick up in 1 Chr 23.1-32 in Part 4.

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