Tanak Foundations-Concepts in First Samuel-Part 5

1 Sam 6.1-21 tells us that the Philistines had the Ark “in the field” for seven months, which possibly makes this about the month of Tishri (v 13), and what they did with it, and what Israel did with it once it was back in the land of Israel. The ark sat in the open because they thought this would deliver them from their plagues, and they wanted to send the Ark back with a guilt offering but didn’t know exactly how to do it. The Philistine priests knew enough about Yehovah to know they offended him. Why they kept the Ark that long nobody knows, but it was hard for them to give up such a trophy. So they sent five golden tumors and five golden mice, according to the five cities of the Philistines (Ashdod, Gaza, Gath, Ekron and Askelon), and placed them into a box by the side of the Ark. They were wise enough not to look into the Ark, however. It is believed that these were sent because there was some sort of plague caused by the mice. So, they acknowledged God’s power over all the gods of the Philistines and they knew the story of what God did to the Egyptians and didn’t want any part of that (v 16).

They decided to use two cows and a wagon to carry the Ark back. Now, that is not how God instructed the Israelites to carry the Ark (Num 4.15), but they didn’t know any better. They did not know the Torah. Some would say this was not fair, but God can show mercy to whoever he wants. However, this will play a role later when David tries to bring the Ark into Jerusalem (2 Sam 6.3-7). The two cows had never been yoked and had never pulled a cart, and they had calves and if they ignored their instincts to return to the calves to nurse and went to the land of Israel, they would know this plague was from God. So there were two tests to see if this was from God. No need to repent if they didn’t have to, right? But the cows went straight into the direction of Beth-shemesh (“house of the sun” or “east”) which was against their natural instincts, which was a priestly city (Josh 21.13-16; 1 Chr 6.59). The cows should have been resisting the yoke which was upon them because they had never been harnessed.

The cows were “lowing” was they went so they were not particularly happy about this, but the Lord overpowered their instinctive nature and they did the will of God anyway. Ever wonder why there is no sin in the Olam Haba? Learn the lesson of these cows. The people of Beth-shemesh were reaping their wheat harvest (done around Tishri in the fall) and saw the Ark and the cart coming, and rejoiced as it came into the field of Joshua (Yeshua) the Beth-shemite (“house of the sun”) and the cart stopped near a large stone that stood there (for an altar). They split wood from the cart and offered the cows as a Korban Olah. Female cows were not usually offered to the Lord (Lev 1.3, 22.19) and they offered them away from the Mishkan (Deut 12.5-6), but the Lord knew their hearts and this was an unusual case.

So the Levites came from the city and took the Ark (Num 4.1-6, 15) and the box that was with it, and put them on the large stone. Then they offered korbanot, which was not the usual place. When the Philistines saw this they returned to Ekron (“extermination”). The large stone on which the Ark sat served as a witness in the filed of Joshua the Beth-shemite. However, not all went well. Yehovah struck down some of the men of Beth-shemesh because they looked into the Ark, which was forbidden (Num 4.20). They opened it to see if everything was there or if anything had been put into it. The Lord struck down 50,070 men, but the Hebrew seems to indicate that only 70 died out of the 50,000 men that flocked to see it. Josephus says there were only 70 slain, and so do others (Antiquities of the Jews, 6.1.4). Beth-shemesh is a small city, so 50,070 is not a believable number.

The people mourned the slain and the men of Beth-shemesh said, “Who is able to stand before Yehovah, this holy God? And to whom shall he go up from us?” The answer is “No one” without the kipporet (Yeshua). They thought the kedusha of the Lord was a problem and they wanted to put some distance between them and God. But, they should have asked the question, “How can we be made right with this God?” They sent word to Kiriath-jearim (“city of woods”) for them to come to take the Ark. This city was further into the land of Israel and lay in the woods (where it got its name), and it will remain there until David brings it to Jerusalem.

We will pick up here in Part 6.

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Tanak Foundations-Concepts in First Samuel-Part 4

1 Sam 2.1-22 begins with a war with the Philistines, and the consequences. This is a great chapter on spiritual warfare and we will point out a few things out as we move along. It will also tell us how it is going to play out with Eli and his sons according to the word spoken about them.

Israel has come out for war against the Philistines (where we get the Latin word “Palestinians” from) and Samuel was known as a prophet now in Israel. Israel camped at a place called Ebenezer (“stone of help”) and the Philistines (“Palestinians”) camped at Aphek (“enclosure”), six miles from Shiloh where the Mishkan and the Ark of the Covenant was. Israel was defeated in the first encounter and they wondered why the Lord allowed that to happen. So, according to Num 10.35-36, they decided to go get the Ark to deliver them (v 3). Here is a concept to remember.

The use of superstition, “magic” or “things” to fight our battles for us is not from Yehovah. Crosses, mezuzahs, saint medals, garlic, Bibles or anything else has no power. The Lord had relegated Israel to these calamities and he is greater than any magic formula or object. When the Ark came up, the Philistines heard the shouts of Israel. They believed that the Ark of the Lord had come into the camp and they were afraid that “God had come into the camp.” They believed that God’s Shekinah (presence) was inseparable from the Ark.

The Philistines knew about this God in Israel and what the did to Egypt in the First Redemption. So the Philistine leaders encouraged the army to fight or they would be slaves to the Hebrews. It is better to die at the hands of their God than to be slaves, they thought (v 8-9). So the Philistines fought and Israel was defeated, and the Ark was taken! Hophni and Pinchas, the two sons of Eli died (1 Sam 2.12-17,34). Eli waited by the road (he was nearly blind) because he was afraid for the Ark and what they were doing was superstition. He hears the noise of the outcry and a man who escaped told Eli what happened. The word “news” in verse 17 is the word “Basar” or “gospel.” He was told that the Philistines had taken the Ark. The city of Shiloh where the Mishkan was was also destroyed (Psa 78.60-64; Jer 7.12, 26.9).

Eli fell off his seat backwards and broke his neck. This alludes to the unredeemed donkey in Exo 13.13 which has its neck broken. This unredeemed donkey speaks of those who are “stiff necked.” Eli was an older man (98) and very overweight. He judged Israel for 40 years, the number of testing. Now, his daughter-in-law was pregnant (wife of Pinchas) and about to give birth, and when she heard the news about the Ark, Eli and her husband, she kneeled down and gave birth, for “birth pains” came upon her (this alludes to Matt 24.19). When she was about to die, the women with her told her she gave birth to a son. She named the boy “Ichabod” meaning “the kivod (glory) has departed.” This alludes to the Ark being taken and the death of the High Priest and his sons.

This concept of the glory departing from Israel was also seen after the birth pains in 70 AD and Rome’s victory over Israel, but did it really? The question is, “How could God allow such a thing to happen?” First, this was his righteous judgment upon Israel as a nation and Eli and his house. Second, he allowed to happen to correct their superstitious views about the Ark and trusting in it. Third, God was not worried about how things were going to turn out. In reality, the glory had not departed at all, no matter what man said, but he was just beginning to show his glory. The Philistines are making a huge mistake of their own here, as we shall soon see.

Many things in our life seemed “calamitous” at the time but God used it in a way to glorify himself through us. This also is true in nations. The problem is we don’t have the confidence many times to see things that way and that he was going to take care of his people. God didn’t “lose” this battle to the Philistines, he was going to reveal his glory through this event but everyone didn’t know it yet.

1 Sam 5.1-12 begins to show his plan and the humiliation of the Philistine gods. They brought the Ark to Ashdod (“I will spoil”) and they placed the Ark in a temple of Dagon (“little fish”). He had the head of a man and the body of a fish. There was a belief, and it is still there today among the heathen, that when a nation was defeated their gods were defeated also. But that is not the case with Israel. God is going to vindicate his name, not the Ark.

The Ark was set next to Dagon as “dedicated spoils” and the Ark will now serve Dagon, as if in submission, like a trophy. They were very happy about all this and thought that their gods were stronger than Yehovah, but that is another mistake they make because the next morning comes and they find that Dagon had fallen on his face to the ground before the Ark, in submission! The people took Dagon and set him up again in his place. They were too blind to see that Dagon couldn’t even get up by himself. The next day Dagon had fallen again before the Ark, and both hands were cut off on the threshold, with only the trunk left. This brings us to the concept of the
“Threshold Covenant.”

In Isa 6.4 we see that the foundations of the thresholds trembled at the voice of Yehovah who called out, while the heavenly Temple was filling with smoke. The threshold was a “marked” spot with a special kedusha and specific taboos (Zeph 1.9). There were special “keepers” of the threshold (2 Kings 22.4; 1 Chr 9.22; 2 Chr 23.4; Jer 35.4). In Exo 12.22 we learn that the blood of the lamb was placed on the threshold of the house. The word for Passover in Hebrew is “Pesach” which means “to leap over” the threshold after it has been marked and set apart by the blood of the lamb, as part of a “threshold covenant.” The threshold of Dagon was held sacred (1 Sam 5.5).

In 1 Kings 18.20-21 we have the words of Elijah asking the people how long they were going to “hesitate” or “leap over” both thresholds of Yehovah and Baal. The word for “hesitate” is “pasach” and it means to “leap over” and has the same root as Pesach/Passover. The threshold was seen as a boundary between the earth and God’s portion. The “blood” protects the house and death cannot enter over the threshhold of a house that placed the blood there. Anyone entering was submitting themselves under the the authority of the believers in that house. In the case of Dagon, Baal or any other god, Yehovah was entering in and they must submit to his authority.

1 Sam 5.6-12 tells us that the leaders of the Philistines realized all this because tumors broke out on the Ashdodites and they said that the Ark of God must not remain with them because “his hand is severe on us and Dagon our god.” Whatever these tumors were, it was bad. So they sent the Ark to other cities (Gath, Ekron) and the same things happened, and the people thought the Ark was brought to them to kill them. It was finally decided that the Ark had to return to Israel and to its own place unless it killed all of them. The hand of God was very severe. God’s glory had not departed and he will vindicate his name even among the heathen, but what were the Philistines going to do?

We will pick up here in Part 5.

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Tanak Foundations-Concepts in First Samuel-Part 3

1 Sam 3.1-21 gives us the story of how God called Samuel to be a prophet (Hebrew “Navi”). The word of the Lord was rare in those days, just like it was when Yochanon Ha Matvil was called. And it is rare today because there are no true prophets of God today, but there will be. For more information on this, go to our teaching called “Do True Prophets of God Exist Today” on this website. The hardness of the heart of Israel and a corrupt priesthood who were the teachers contributed to this, as it does today.

Eli was lying down and his eyesight wasn’t very good. This alludes to the “eyesight” of the leaders in the first century, who were nearly blind also (John 9.41). The lamp of God had not yet gone out, meaning that some of the lamps were still burning in the Menorah, so this was just before daylight. Samuel was sleeping “in the Temple of the Lord” where the Levites slept who were on duty. Then Yehovah called out to Samuel, and Samuel said, “Hineni” (“here I am”), which was a common reply to the Lord (Gen 22.11, 46.2; Exo 3.4; Isa 6.8), but Samuel thought it was Eli so he went to see what he wanted. But Eli did not call him, so Samuel went to lie down. And Yehovah called out to Samuel for the third time, so Samuel went to Eli again, and was told the same thing. Then Yehovah called to Samuel again, and then Eli realized it was Yehovah.

Samuel did not know (“yada”) Yehovah by experience yet, and the word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him. So, Eli told him to go lie down, and if the Lord calls him again to say, “Speak, Lord, for they servant is listening.” When it happened again, it says the the Lord “stood” and called his name twice. The Lord probably appeared to Samuel but Samuel could not discern the form (Job 4.12-16) in this vision (3.15).

Yehovah said that he was doing a new thing in Israel “at which both ears of everyone who hears it will tingle.” Tingling ears is a sign of severe judgment (1 Kings 21.12; Jer 19.3). This speaks of a “piercing word” to Israel. There would be a contrast between the lack of vision in those days and the fresh activity of the word of the Lord that would be coming through Samuel.

The Lord told Samuel about the coming judgment on the house of Eli for not rebuking his sons (1 Sam 2.27). Their sins will not be atoned for by sacrifice or offering forever (meaning “as long as they live”). After this, Samuel went to lie down until morning when the doors of the house of the Lord were opened, but he was afraid to tell the vision to Eli. Then Eli asked about what the Lord had said, so Samuel told him everything, which is what a prophet does. Eli responded by saying, “It is the Lord; let him do what seems good to him.”

So Samuel grew and the Lord was with him, like Yochanon Ha Matvil in Luke 1.80. None of the words God spoke failed (literally “fell to the ground”) and 1 Sam 3.20 is a very important verse where it says that all Israel knew that Samuel was confirmed as a prophet of the Lord. This is important if one thinks they are a prophet. That is why there are no true prophets today.

There are four basic things to look for in a true prophet. First, does what they say come true (Deut 18.21-22; Isa 8.20). Second, does it line up with Scripture (Deut 13.1-5). Third, as in the case of Samuel, everyone knew who the true prophets were because the Lord made sure the people knew who they were because they were confirmed by signs, like Samuel was (3.20). Moses was confirmed as a prophet before Pharaoh and Elijah was confirmed before the prophets of Ba’al on Mount Carmel.

Moses, Elijah and every other prophet was confirmed through various signs. That’s why there were consequences for not listening to them. If the people did not know that a person was a true prophet of the Lord, that prophet could prove it. Fourth, true prophets had a specific word for the people before an event happened (Amos 3.7). He told them exactly what they had to do to avoid judgment. Sometimes, a judgment could not be avoided, but the people knew what was going to happen. Today’s “prophets” do not measure up to the biblical requirements. Most, if not all, of them don’t even believe in keeping the Torah, yet they are prophets? True prophets do not teach false doctrine (Deut 13.1-5). Most of what passes for a “prophecy” today is in error. But this was not the case with Samuel, and the Lord will confirm his word through Samuel over and over again.

1 Sam 3.21 is a very important verse because it says, “The Lord appeared again at Shiloh, because the Lord revealed himself to Samuel at Shiloh by the word of the Lord.” The Lord appeared as the word of the Lord is a concept that can be seen throughout the Tanak and it is expressed in John 1.1. Jewish concepts often spoke of the Messiah as the “word.” Prov 30.4 says, “who has ascended and descended, and gathered the wind in his fists (John 3.5,8)? Who has wrapped the waters in his garment (John 3.5)? Who has established all the ends of the earth (John 3.16-17)? What is his name or his son’s name? Surely you know!” Then Prov 30.5-6 says, “Every word of God is tested (Torah); He (the word is a “He”-Psa 84.9, 119.114)) is a shield (Psa 91.4-the protective quality of the Torah) to those who take refuge in him. Do not add to his words (the word is a he) lest he reprove you and you be proved a liar.” Yeshua is the “son” and the divine expression of God and the Lord reveals himself (appears) through his word.

The Torah protects the nation so they can enjoy their inheritance, and it protects the individual people in the nation to enjoy their inheritance. It also protects the unsaved until the time God reveals his salvation to them through the Messiah at the appointed time. The word is symbolized in Jewish thought as the “Aleph and Tav” or the first and last letter of the Hebrew alphabet. There is a Jewish concept that speaks of the Messiah as the Davar, or “word of God.” In Psa 33.6 it says, “By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and by the breath of his mouth (word) all their host” (the Davar is the divine expression).

In Part 4 we will pick up in 1 Sam 4.1-22.

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Tanak Foundations-Concepts in First Samuel-Part 2

In 1 Sam 2.1-10 we have what is called “The Song of Hannah.” This is a psalm of thanksgiving and praise to God on the day that she left Samuel at the Mishkan. There is a similarity in 1 Sam 2.1 with what Zechariah prayed in Luke 1.69, it is very prophetic. Miriam, Yeshua’s mother, also said something similar in Luke 1.46. Hannah tells those who had been insulting her about being barren to “boast no more” and 1 Sam 2.4 is similar to Luke 1.51..

She says that those who are full in this life “hire themselves out for bread” meaning they have been stripped of everything (Luke 15.13; Lam 4.6). In verse 5 it says that “even the barren gives birth to seven” and Hannah will have five more children for a total of six in all (1 Sam 2.20-21). In 1 Sam 2.6 it says, “Yehovah kills and makes alive” is similar to what is said in Deut 32.39; Lam 3.37 and Exo 4.11.

In 1 Sam 2.8-10 it says the “pillars of the earth are the Lord’s and he sets the world on them” and this refers to the creation of the earth’s foundations, but it also alludes to the people who are leaders supporting the world and protecting the people (Gal 2.9; Zech 10.4). It also says that man will prevail because of the power of God and not on their own strength. Her song ends and she tells us that the Lord will judge the earth, give strength to his king (Messiah) and exalt the horn (power) of his anointed (Messiah). These are all Rosh Ha Shanah terms and that is why 1 Sam 1.1 to 2.10 is the Haftorah reading for Rosh Ha Shanah.

1 Sam 2.11 tells us that Elkanah went to his home in Ramah (“lofty place”), but Samuel went to serve the Lord before Eli the High Priest. This is similar to Yochanon who went to live in the wilderness until his ministry began (Luke 1.80). Then as a young adult Yochanon went to the Judean wilderness. He was not taught by any rabbinical school such as the School of Hillel or the School of Shammai.

1 Sam 2.12-17 tells us that Eli’s sons were “worthless men” (Hebrew “sons of Belial”) meaning they were lawless or did not follow the Torah. Belial comes from the words “beliy” meaning “not” and “ya’al meaning “profit or worth.” They did not know the Lord, but were priests. Now, this brings up an interesting concept. These sons knew who the Lord was, so knowing the Lord means something else. To know the Lord means that there is an intimate knowledge. The word for “know” is “yada” and it is translated as “relations” in Gen 4.1. Adam had relations with Chava and they had a son.

In Hos 2.20 it says, “And I will betroth you to me in faithfulness, then you will know (yada’at) Yehovah.” The word “da’at” (knowledge) is linked to “yada” and it means to “know by experience. Then in Hos 4.6 we have one of the most quoted verses of the Bible, but those who quote it leave out the most important part. Hos 4.6 says, “My people are destroyed for the lack of “the” knowledge(Hebrew “ha da’at”-to know the Lord by experience) because you have rejected “the” knowledge (ha da’at) I will also reject you from being my priest, since you have forgotten the Torah of your God, I will also forget your children.” Notice that in Hebrew it says “the knowledge” and one may ask, “What knowledge?” The verse tells you that this knowledge is the Torah. One who does not follow the Torah is seen as “lawless” or “without Torah” and they do not know the Lord. That’s why these sons were called the sons of no worth, or lawless.

How does this apply today? We know that the word “lawless” in the New Testament is “anomos” in Greek and it means “without Torah.” Matt 7. 21-23 tells us, “Not everyone who says to me ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day (idiom for when the Lord returns) ‘Lord, Lord’, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name cast out demons, and in your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you who practice lawlessness.” These verses tell us that when the Lord returns there will be a group of people who will say they knew the Lord and did many works. But Yeshua said he “never knew” them. He didn’t say “I once knew you, but don’t anymore” but “I never knew you.” They were never born again and they rejected the Torah, and that is why he said they were “lawless” or “without the Torah.” 1 John 2.3-4 says, “And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. The one who says, ‘I have come to know him’ and does not keep his commandments is a liar and the truth is not in him.”

Eli’s sons were like that. They would take extra meat that did not belong to them from the korbanot (sacrifices). Before they burned the fat that only belonged to the Lord, the priest’s servants would come to a person offering korbanot and say to the, “Give the priest meat for roasting, as we will not take boiled meat from you, only raw.” If the worshiper said, “They must surely burn the fat first and then take the meat (portion for the priest)” the servant would say, “No, but you shall give it to me now, and if not, I will take it by force.” They would also take boiling meat from a worshiper that was for the Lord and take it for themselves. This was a great sin before the Lord.

1 Sam 2.18-20 says that Samuel was ministering before the Lord in his linen ephod (like the priests). His mother would also make an outer coat for him to wear over others like the priests every year (Exo 28.4). Eli would bless Elkanah and his wife and the Lord gave Hannah three sons and two daughters. In 1 Sam 2.22 we learn that there was a group of women who served at the Mishkan (Judges 11.39-40; Luke 2.37) and Eli’s sons would have sexual relations with them. Eli rebuked them but they would not listen (v 23-25). Meanwhile, Samuel grew in stature and favor with the Lord and men.

In 1 Sam 2.27-36 a prophet of Yehovah came along and told Eli that God chose his house to serve him, yet they despised his korbanot. As a result, the Lord was going to change the high priesthood from the sons of Eleazar to Ithamar to Abiathar to Zadok as time went by, ultimately taking it from Abiathar of the line of Eli in 1 Kings 2.26-27, to fulfill this prophecy. 1 Sam 2.27-30 says that Eli’s house would serve the Lord “forever” (olam), but they were not faithful, and those conditions changed and that “world” ended (“olam”) and so the high priesthood was going to be taken from the house of Eli. God was not going to cut off every male of Eli’s from the altar (v 33) but they would die in the prime of life.

The sign to Eli that this would happen is Hophni and Pinchas would die on the same day (v 34). He would raise up a faithful priest, which would literally be a man named Zadok, the high priest under David and Solomon, but eschatologically, this also alludes to the Messiah (Zech 6.11-13; Psa 110.1-4; Heb 5.5-6). Eli’s sons would come to bow before this priest for assignment to a priestly course (1 Chr 24.1-19; Luke 1.5) just so they receive a piece of silver or a loaf of bread (v 36). This is how far they would fall because they were wicked priests.

We will pick up here in Part 3.

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

Tanak Foundations-Concepts in First Samuel-Part 1

We are going to begin a study of First Samuel, but in the beginning, the two books of Samuel formed one historical book. It was separated into two books around 200 BC when the Tanak was translated into Greek. Samuel wrote some of the book but most of the book takes place after his death, so whoever else did is unknown. These books are called Samuel because they describe his ministry and the long lasting affect of it. Samuel will bridge the gap between Samson the Judge and David the King. The Talmud says Samuel wrote chapters 1-24 of this book, and Gad and Nathan the Prophets are considered to be the authors of the rest of it (remember, it was originally one book). 1 Chr 29.29 may be alluding to this.

The books were written to represent the transition from the time of the Judges to the time of the Kings. Samuel is the central figure and the last judge and first prophet (Acts 3.24, 13.20). One of the key themes is the choosing of a king (12.31). Samuel designated David, just like Yochanon designated Yeshua, so Samuel is a type of the “forerunner.” Both Samuel and Yochanon were Nazarites (Num 6.1-21) and both were Levites with a miraculous birth. Both will contend with a corrupt priesthood.

The name Samuel is pronounced “Sh’muel” in Hebrew and it means “name of God” and “heard of God.” As we have said in the previous books, we are not going to go through this book verse by verse, but we will give an overall survey of it injecting concepts that we need to know and understand along the way.

In 1 Sam 1.1-8 we learn about Elkananh (“God has created”) and his two wives, Hannah (“favor”) and Peninnah (“pearl”). Elkanah and Hannah will be the parents of Samuel and 1 Sam 1.1 says that Elkanah was “an Ephraimite” because he was a Levite living in Ephraim (1 Chr 6.28-33). He loved Hannah but the Lord had “closed her womb.” Peninnah would provoke her to irritate her because of this, and this went on year after year. Elkanah would go up to Shiloh where the Mishkan was to keep the three pilgrim festivals as required by the Torah. He would perform korbanot and give the portions to his two wives, with Hannah getting a double portion. Her irritation was so bad that she would not of the korbanot portions because these were considered a Lord’s Supper or a “meal consecrated to God” and you must have joy in your heart, so she would not eat. Elkanah took it personally and finally asked her why she was so sad and not eating the portions and he said to her, “Am I not better to you than ten sons?”

1 Sam 1.9-18 says she went to Shiloh where the Mishkan was. You can go to Shiloh today and see where the Mishkan stood for many years because you can see the outline of the site. Eli was the High Priest and he had two sons named Hophni (“pugilist”) and Pinchas (“mouth of brass”) and they are mentioned because they were notorious for being wicked priests. Eli was sitting on a seat by the doorpost of the “temple of the Lord.” This is a curious name for a tent, but by this time the Mishkan was in transition from a tent to a building. The bottom half was made of stone and it was covered by animal skins.

Now, Hannah was praying for a son and she promised Yehovah that he would be a Nazarite, totally dedicated to the Lord. Eli was watching her mouth and she was speaking in her heart but her lips were moving. Her voice was not heard. This teaches us about biblical “meditation.” It is a prayer spoken, so let’s talk about this concept.

In Gen 24.63 we see Isaac “meditating” and in Josh 1.8 it says, This book of the Torah shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it (no hint of an oral law here); for then you will make your way prosperous and then you will have success. The word for success is “sakal” and it literally means “understanding and insight”. The word for “meditate” is “hagah” and it means “to mutter or murmur, to growl or speak” to oneself in a low tone.

Biblical meditation is speaking in a low tone to yourself about the things of God. It does not carry the idea of the eastern concept of meditation, where one contemplates inwardly. Biblical meditation is outward. It consists of prayer, meditating on the works of God (Psa 143.5) and remembering the things that once faced us but now are free of them (Isa 33.18). It has several meanings related to this, and in 1 Chr 16.9 it says, “Sing to him, sing praises to him; speak (meditate) on all his wonders (acts).” What passes for meditation in many circles today has pagan roots and has little to do with biblical meditation.

Eli thought she had been drinking, but Hannah said she wasn’t, but she is a woman “oppressed in spirit; I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but I have poured out my soul before the Lord.” Notice the Hebrew parallelism here. Spirit (ruach) and soul (nefesh) are synonymous. For more information on this concept go to our teaching on this website called “Heart, Mind, Soul and Spirit in Hebrew thought.” Eli told her to go in peace and “may the God of Israel grant your petition.” This alludes to the angel visiting Miriam in Luke 1.26-38. Eli and his two sons will symbolize a decaying priesthood and corruption, similar to when Yeshua was born.

In 1 Sam 1.19-28 we learn about the birth of Samuel, and a miraculous birth it was. This again alludes to the birth of Yochanon Ha Matvil (John the Immerser). After the morning Tamid service (Num 28.1-8) she went before the Lord again and worshiped. Elkanah and Hannah returned home and had relations, and Yehovah remembered her prayer, and in due time (“circuit of days”) Hannah conceived a son and gave birth. She named him “Shm’uel” (Samuel).

Now, Elkanah went up again with all his household to offer the yearly korban and pay his vows during the one of the three pilgrim festivals. However, Hannah would not go up with him until Samuel was weaned. Then she would come to the Mishkan and appear before the Lord and give Samuel to him so that he may stay there “forever.” Now, let’s look at this word “forever.”

In Hebrew it is the word “olam” and it seems to mean “indefinitely” with reference to the nature of the thing being described. If the nature is God, then olam truly means eternally. If it is referring to a human, it means as long as he lives. If it is a relationship, it means as long as the conditions exist upon which the relationship was based still holds. Olan does not mean “eternally” but it is relative to some base.

For example, the ages in Jewish eschatology are called the Olam Ha Zeh (present age of 6000 years) and the Olam Haba (World to come). They are long periods of time. The Olam Ha Zeh will end when certain conditions change. That time period ends after 6000 years and then we enter the Atid Lavo (also called the Day of the Lord, Millenium or the Sabbath of God, etc). The word “olam” does not mean “eternal.” Other uses of olam can be seen in Deut 32.7, 33.15; Hab 3.6; Exo 14.13; Jer 17.4, 25.9, 31.4; 1 Sam 2.30. In other words, olam does not necessarily mean “continuously in force throughout infinite time, no matter what happens.” It also does not mean “irreversible” or something God cannot end if he wants to, or should certain conditions change.

When Hannah weaned Samuel she took him to the house of the Lord in Shiloh and slaughtered a bull. She brought Samuel to Eli and reminded him that she prayed for a son, and here he is. She dedicated (“shaal” in Hebrew meaning to “loan”) Samuel to Yehovah as long as he lives and he will be a Nazarite like Yochanon Ha Matvil (Luke 1.15-17).

In Part 2 we will pick up in 1 Sam 2.1-10.

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 Ruth-Conclusion

In Ruth 3.10-13 we learn that Boaz blessed her and agreed to do whatever she asked. With us, we were lost sinners and filthy spiritual harlots yet Yeshua agreed to redeem us, too. But Boaz brought up a problem, he said there was another relative closer than he was. This alludes to the “works of the law” but this was going to be dealt with in the redemption that Yeshua will provide. So, she remained that night (type of spiritual darkness) and when morning came (truth and light) she got up before anyone noticed. This alludes to the bride of Yeshua (the Kahal) who is hidden from others, as in Eph 3.3-12 and Col 1.26-27.

In Ruth 3.14-18 it says that Boaz asked for the cloak that was on Ruth, and she held it out and he measured out six (number of man) measures of barley, alluding to God’s provision for man, and then she went into the city. Naomi asked how everything went and Ruth told her. She said these six measures of barley were to be a token to Naomi. This teaches us about the provision Messiah gives us to enrich our new relationship. Naomi then told Ruth to wait until she understood how this matter was going to turn out because Boaz was not going to rest until he settled the matter that day. We can only “rest” in Yeshua’s work, too, because it is for him to accomplish. There is nothing we can do to add to or detract from what he is going to do to settle our redemption.

Ruth 4.1-6 begins with Boaz going up to the gate and he sat down there. The gates were where business was taken care of and there were courts there. They will be a type of the heavenly courts (Dan 7.9-10) and God’s government planning our redemption in this chapter. The close relative of Boaz spoke about was passing by, and this close relative (the goel) symbolizes the works of the law and the flesh. Works will not provide true spiritual heirs.

Boaz asks him to come into the courts (gaate) and sit down. He took ten elders of the city and asked them to sit down to conduct business. This alludes to all things being under the dominion of Yeshua (Dan 7.14; Zech 9.10; 1 Pet 3.22). Then Boaz said to the goel, “Naomi who has come back from the land of Moab has to sell the piece of land which belonged to Elimelech.” The earth belonged to Adam (Elimelech) but it was lost due to death and sin. The kinsman redeemer will redeem it (Boaz). Boaz wanted to inform the closest relative (goel) to buy the land before the ten elders who are witnesses. If he wants it, then redeem it, but if not, tell him because he was next in line to redeem it. The goel said he would redeem it, but he did not know about Ruth. We are going to see how this is very eschatological. Works (the goel) has been given every opportunity to show that it can redeem.

Then Boaz said, “On the day you buy the field from the hand of Naomi, you must also acquire Ruth the Moabitess, the widow of the deceased in order to raise up the name of the deceased on his inheritance.” Inheritance of the land is pointless without the one who it is given for, the heir (mankind). Rashi explained that Elimelech had two brothers named Tov (“good”) and Salmon (“robe man”). Boaz is the son of Salmon (4.21), which made him the nephew of Elimelech. As a result, Tov was the name of this goel and was closer, so he had first call.

After hearing about Ruth, the goel said he could not redeem it for himself, lest he jeopardize his own inheritance. He wouldn’t really, but he would be spending his own money on all this just to have it go the other heirs. There would be children to raise (money), and he would have to take care of the elderly Naomi (money).

Ruth 4.7-12 says that there was a custom in Israel concerning the redemption and the exchange of land to confirm any matter. A man removed his sandal and gave it to another, and this was the manner of attestation in Israel. In other words, he gave up his right to “walk” on this land as his possession. In Deut 25.5-10 we have what is called “Halitzah” meaning the taking off of the shoe. This was done when one brother dies but the closest brother refuses to raise up children in the name of his deceased brother with his sister-in-law. He refuses his duty to the family, so she pulls off his sandal and spits in his face. This is done to the man who does not build up his brother’s house. This ceremony alludes to this ceremony in Deut 25 in some respects.

So, the goel told Boaz to buy it, and he removed his sandal. The goel wanted the land, but did not care about the girl, which is similar to what Satan desires. He wants the universe but doesn’t care about mankind. Then Boaz said to the elders, “You are witnesses today that I have bought from the hand of Naomi all that belonged to Elimelech and all that belonged to Chilion and Mahlon.” This was also done at Golgotha. Yeshua redeemed Israel (Elimelech) who was sick (Chilion) and consumed with sin (Mahlon).

Boaz said that he has “acquired Ruth the Moabitess, the widow of Mahlon, to be my wife in order to raise up the name of the deceased on his inheritance, so that the name of the deceased may not be cut off from his brothers or from the country of his birth place; you are witnesses today.” Ruth had a special place in his heart, being a Moabitess. She is brought in by grace (Deut 23.3-6) and she was the “treasure in the field” (Matt 13.44).

All the elders and the people said, “We are witnesses.” This alludes to when Pilate called on the elders and the people to be witnesses about Yeshua in Matt 27.24-25. Then they blessed Ruth and said that they wished her to be like Rachel and Leah, and to achieve wealth and Ephratah and famous in Bethlehem. This blessing literally came true because both places are associated with Yeshua eternally. They also said, “May your house be like the house of Perez (the ancestor of Joseph, the husband of Mary-Matt 1.3).” His story is told in Gen 38.27-30. Tamar has twins by Judah, and when it came to give birth, one put out his hand and the midwife took it and tied a scarlet thread on his hand (a type of the blood), saying, “This one came out first.” But then he drew back his hand and his brother came out. She then said, “What a breach you have made for yourself” so she named him “Poretz” (Perez) meaning “the breach maker.” Afterward, his brother came out with the scarlet thread and was named Zerah, meaning “dawning, rising.” This is very eschatological.

Adam’s sin caused a “breach” and this first born is also Yochanon Ha Matvil (John the Baptist) who opened the way for Yeshua (Isa 62.10; Isa 40.3; Micah 2.12-13). The name Zerah is a form of the name Zeroah which means “arm” and a term for the Messiah (Isa 53.1). The name alludes to the “sun” (Mal 4.2; Psa 19.4-6) and it is also a term for the Messiah. It also alludes to the goel (Yeshua) who was coming after Yochanon (Luke 1.78, 2.34).

Ruth 4.13-22 then tells us that Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife. Yehovah enabled her to conceive and she bore a son. Boaz and Ruth bore fruit, which is a picture of the fruitfulness of those in union with Messiah (Isa 4.1-2). She blessed Yehovah for giving her a goel and being a restorer to life (like Yeshua) and Ruth was better than seven sons (a full blessing). So, Naomi took the child (Israel will take Yeshua as Messiah) and laid him on her lap, and she nursed him. The neighbor women gave him a name saying, “A son has been born to Naomi” so they named him “Obed” meaning servant. He became the father of Jesse (wealthy), who became the father of David, the king (beloved).

We also have something else interesting in Ruth 4.18. We have the generations from Perez to David listed, which is the messianic line. Here is a concept. In Gen 2.4 we have the account of how the universe was created. The word for “account” (NASB) is the word “toldot” in Hebrew (in the KJV it is translated as “generations”). The word toldot is written out fully in Hebrew. But after Adam sinned, the word toldot (Hebrew letters tav, vav, lamed, dalet, vav, tav) is never written out fully again until Ruth 4.18. One or both of the “vavs” is missing, and the letter vav is the number six in Hebrew, the number of man and sin. But, in Ruth 4.18, the messianic line from whom the Goel (kinsman redeemer) will come, the word for “generations” is written fully again (not seen since Gen 2.4).

The meaning is this. Man’s generations have been diminished by sin, but when Yeshua the Messiah comes and brings the redemption as our goel, man’s generations will be restored again. That is why toldot is written fully again in Ruth 4.18, Yeshua’s ancestors. In an ancient Hebrew text of Matthew 1.1, toldot is written out fully also (see “The Gospel of Matthew According to a Primitive Hebrew text” by George Howard, page 2).

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Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Ruth-Part 3

Boaz said to his servants who were in charge of the reapers, “Whose young woman is this?” This brings to mind what Yeshua said in Matt 13.44 about a treasure in the field. They told him she was a Moabite (“seed of the father”) who had returned with Naomi from Moab. She asked to glean after the reapers for her personal use. Spiritually, Ruth 2.7 is seen as instruction for us. We should glean (study) after the reapers (teachers) among the sheaves (true believers), remaining (continuing) from morning until now (wholehearted-Ecc 9.10).

Ruth 2.8-13 continues with Boaz speaking to Ruth saying, “Do not glean in another field (stay in the word/Torah); further more, do not go on from this one, but stay here with my maids (a type of other believers). Let your eyes be on the field when they reap, and go after them (learn what the teachers learn). I have commanded the servants not to touch you. When you are thirsty (for the word) go to that water jars and drink (study) from what the servants draw.”

She thanked him and asked why she had found favor with him since she was a foreigner. Aliens to the Kingdom of God have no claim on the things of God either. Boaz said he knows what she has done for Naomi and her whole story. Yeshua knows our works, too. She also came to a people that she did not know, like when a non-Jew believes and are grafted into the commonwealth of Israel (Eph 2.11-22). Boaz asked the Lord to reward her work and that her wages be full from Yehovah, under whose wings (kanaf) she has come to seek refuge (Psa 91.4). She said that she has found grace in his sight and has comforted her. This speaks of God’s provision to the non-Jews who have joined themselves to Yehovah (Isa 56.6-8).

Ruth 2.14-23 tells us that at mealtime Boaz invited Ruth to eat with him (a type of the study of the word) and she sat beside the reapers (the teachers) to eat (learn) and Boaz served her (Yeshua will reveal meanings to us as we sit and study the Scriptures) roasted grain (our daily bread inspired by the fire of the Ruach Ha Kodesh). What are some lessons we can learn from what Ruth was doing and how it can be applied to our study. First, she worked hard and could only pick up so much at a time. She had to hold on to that grain and not drop it. She took the grain home and “worked it” and was nourished by the grain. However, we must understand that our knowledge of Scripture is given by the Lord and without the Ruach Ha Kodesh, we would not understand anything.

Boaz was generous and commanded his servants to purposely pull out for Ruth extra grain, and do not stop her. The Lord is a bountiful giver and these crops were part of the “Maaser Ani” or “Poor Tithe”, part of the “Laws of Pe’ah” or “corners ” of a field where the poor can harvest from a field, vineyard or tree based on the Torah (Lev 19.10). The reason that there is such a lack of knowledge of Torah and the Scriptures (Hos 4.6) is people don’t glean and seek that knowledge. Ruth gleaned until evening (seek and study all our lives) and brought home about ephah of barley (about five and half gallons), then she worked what she had gleaned. Spiritually, just reading a few chapters a day is not enough, we must work it and sift through what we have read. She also took out what she gleaned and shared it with Naomi. A good student will always have something to share.

Naomi asked Ruth where she had gleaned and she told her about Boaz. Naomi began to realize that he could be the Goel (kinsman redeemer). Death does not end things for a believer, as Naomi is going to find out. Ruth said he told her to stay close to his servants until the harvest is finished. This alludes to studying with the spiritually strong all our lives. Naomi told Ruth it was a good idea to go out with his maids (it is a good idea to stay close to those who are walking in subjection to the Lord through the Torah) lest others fall upon her in another field. This teaches us that there is danger with involvement with religious groups that are not Torah-based in Yeshua. So she stayed close to the maids of Boaz until the end of the barley harvest and the wheat harvest, which tells us that we should continue in a Torah-based faith in Yeshua.

Ruth 3.1-5 begins to to tell us about how Naomi works to get Ruth a “house” of her own, or as the NASB translates it, “security.” The word security is the word “m’nuchah” and it means “rest” and “completion” in Hebrew. This chapter will allude to what it cost the Lord to make redemption possible. Naomi says that Boaz is their kinsman (Yeshua is the son of man) whose maids she was with. That means Boaz had a duty to the family of Elimelech and they were going to appeal to him to safeguard the “rest” and “completion” of the posterity of the family. In other words, they wanted Boaz to act as the goel and marry Ruth. She tells her that he will be winnowing barley at the threshing floor that night. This alludes to Yeshua in Gethsemane, and winnowing separates the wheat from the chaff.

Ruth was to wash herself (submission) and anoint herself (the work of the Ruach Ha Kodesh) and put on her best clothes (repent from sin) and go down to the threshing floor. She was not to make herself known until he has finished eating and drinking (shows satisfaction of the soul). Yeshua resigned himself to drinking the bitter cup of his Father, and was satisfied that it was the only way to redeem his bride. When Boaz went to lie down, she was to notice where he goes (we must go to Golgotha) and uncover his feet (let him know she was there and this alludes to showing her need of redemption and her submission). He would tell her what to do (we need to obey Yeshua). This shows that they completely trusted Boaz and Ruth could submit to him with confidence (we can with Yeshua, too). Ruth was there to claim a right given by the Torah and Ruth says that she will do what Naomi says, receiving her counsel. On a side note, husbands today wish they had a wife like Ruth who submitted to them like Ruth did. However, they don’t provide the kind of true, godly leadership that Boaz did towards Ruth. On the other hand, many wives wish they had a husband like Boaz, but they do not show the same kind of humble submission and respect to the husband’s godly leadership like Ruth did.

Ruth 3.6-9 tells us that Ruth went down to the threshing floor and did all that Naomi had commanded, even if she didn’t understand all that was going on and the Law of the Goel. When Boaz had eaten and his heart was merry (alludes to the satisfaction Yeshua will have after the harvest), he went to lie down. Ruth came and uncovered his feet and lay down. In the middle of the night he was startled and bent forward and saw her. He asked, “Who are you?” Ruth said, “I am Ruth your maid (Yeshua can redeem us if we confess who we are) so spread your covering (kanaf/wings) over your maid, for you are a close relative.” In other words, Ruth was saying, “Take me under your wings (authority) as my goel, and enter a covenant with me (Ezek 16.8; Psa 91.4; Mal 4.2).

In the conclusion, we will pick up in Ruth 3.10 to the end of the book.

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 Ruth-Part 2

We have seen in Ruth 2.4 that the name of God (Yehovah) was openly pronounced by Boaz and the reapers. We also saw that the Mishnah recommends that we greet one another using God’s name (Berachot 9.7). According to the book “Shattering the Conspiracy of Silence ” by Nehemiah Gordon, p 69, some say “Yahweh” was his name and that is how to pronounce it. However, “that is based on a second-hand Samaritan tradition reported by a 5th century Christian author named Theodoret of Cyprus who didn’t know Hebrew and was writing in Greek.” So, just how did the idea that one cannot pronounce the name of God come about? To get a good understanding of this ban we want to quote again from the book “Shattering the Conspiracy of Silence” by Nehemiah Gordon, pp 93-98, giving us a proper understanding of what happened and why this ban is still followed by Rabbinic Judaism today. This will be a long quote but we need it to get the proper context.

“The gaunt Galilean preacher drags a large wooden beam down the center of the narrow village street. One end of the beam weighs heavily on his right shoulder causing him to hunch over. The other end scrapes the ground, cutting its way through filth. The preacher’s left eye is swollen shut from an earlier beating. Villagers line the street, some shouting curses at the preacher, others weeping over his plight. A Roman soldier steps out of the crowd, swinging a whip through the air. The whip cracks as it breaks the sound barrier, sending a small startled dog fleeing down the side-alley.”

“The whip comes down hard on the preachers back, spraying the bystanders with droplets of blood. A passerby is pressed into service to help carry the heavy beam. When they reach the top of the hill just outside the village, the preacher collapses. Two Roman soldiers secure him to the wooden beam as a satisfied centurion looks on. The soldiers plant one end of the beam in a small hole hewn in the rock and raise the other end with ropes. Today’s execution is a rabbi. His name: Hanina ben Teradion. The method of execution: burning at the stake. The crime: speaking the name of the Jewish God in public.”

“When I came across the story of Hanina ben Teradion, I couldn’t believe it. The Talmud relates that the Romans executed this rabbi sometime between 130 and 138 CE during the reign of the emperor Hadrian, who issued a series of decrees designed to eradicate the Jewish faith. Rabbi Hanina was martyred during these persecutions after speaking the name of God in public, as the Talmud reports: ‘The (Romans) brought forth Rabbi Hanina be Teradion and asked him, “Why did you engage in the study of the Torah?” He answered, “Because the Lord my God commanded me.” They immediately sentenced him to be burned…They sentenced him to be burned because he used to pronounce the name the way it is written…(Babylonian Talmud, Avodah Zarah 17b-181a)'”

“The Romans executed Rabbi Hanina for publicly teaching the Torah. During his illegal sessions, Rabbi Hanina ‘used to pronounce the name the way it is written.’ This transgression earned him a particularly vicious mode of execution, as the Talmud further relates: ‘They took hold of him, wrapped him in a Torah scroll, surrounded him in bundles of branches and set them on fire. They also brought tufts of wool, which they soaked in water, and placed them over his heart, so that he would not expire quickly (Babylonian Talmud, Avodah Zarah 18a).'”

“The story of Rabbi Hanina puzzled later rabbis. By the 3rd century, the pronunciation of God’s name had become a secret and they couldn’t understand why this martyred rabbi would speak it publicly a hundred years earlier. They believed it acceptable for Rabbi Hanina to speak God’s name in the secrecy of a private Torah teaching but not in a public lesson. According to these later rabbis, it was God who was offended by this and who sentenced Rabbi Hanina to be burned alive at the hand of the Romans (Babylonian Talmud, Avodah Zarah 18a).”

“The later rabbinical explanation notwithstanding, there was no disputing that Rabbi Hanina ‘used to pronounce the name the way it was written,’ meaning he spoke the name of Yehovah in public on multiple occasions. Another rabbinical source corroborated that it was commonplace in the period of the Hadrianic persecutions for Jews to pronounce the Tetragrammaton (Midrash Psalms on Psalms 36.7 {8}). Evidently, the Romans wanted to put a stop to this, so they made an example of rabbi Hanina.”

“I was a little confused why the Romans would care about a Jew speaking God’s holy name until I came across an early rabbinical report about the Greek persecutions during the time of the Maccabees, three hundred years before Hadrian: ‘The Greeks made decrees to eradicate Israel, ordering them to deny the kingdom of heaven, to declare that they have no portion with the God of Israel, and to not mention the heavenly name on their lips (Scholion on Megilat Ta’anit, 3rd of Tishrei).’ I knew Hadrian patterned his anti-Jewish decrees after those of the Greeks and he must have also banned speaking God’s heavenly name as the Greeks did.”

“I was shocked to learn that the ban on speaking God’s name started out as a Roman decree. I needed to know when the rabbis adopted this Roman ban and why. I eventually discovered that the earlier rabbinical teaching against speaking God’s name dated to shortly after Rabbi Hanina’s martyrdom. This new ruling appeared in the name of Abba Saul, one of the rabbis to survive the Hadrianic persecutions (Mishnah, Sanhedrin 10.1). I couldn’t believe this was a coincidence. Here, I have to humble myself as a Karaite Jew and give credit to the rabbis for something they brilliantly accomplished. One of the ways the rabbis preserved the Jewish people during millennia of persecution was by adapting to the changing circumstances of foreign occupation and dispersion. This is a survival strategy I have mixed feelings about, but I can’t deny it worked.”

“An early example of this strategy is the teaching that a rabbinical court should never impose the death penalty more than once in seventy years (Mishnah, Makkot 1.10). This teaching was supported by a series of interpretations that made it virtually impossible to sentence someone to death in a rabbinical court. These rulings coincided with the Roman subjugation of Judea, which stripped the rabbis of the authority to carry out the death penalty (Ethics of the Fathers, 1.9; Mishnah, Makkot 1.10). Other famous examples are the Calendar Reform of Hillel II in 359 CE and the ‘Takanot of Rabbenu Gershom’ in the 10th Century, both of which adapted rabbinical law to the limitations imposed by despotic rule.”

“The rabbinical ban on using God’s name in public may have a similar adaptation. After the martyrdom of Rabbi Hanina, the rabbis had to make a choice between losing an entire generation of Jewish leaders or adapting to the Roman prohibition against speaking God’s name. In private, the rabbis continued to ‘transmit the four-letter name to their disciples once in a seven year period (Babylonian Talmud, Kiddushin 71a).’ However, in public, in earshot of roman collaborators, they replaced God’s name with Adonai (Lord).”

“The ban on the name put the kohanim, the Aaronic priests, in a difficult position. God commanded them to place his holy name over the people during the Priestly blessing, but the rabbis forbade them to speak it. They eventually found an ingenious workaround through a unique hand gesture Mr. Spock used to make in the old Star Trek series, but with both hands. This was more than a coincidence. The actor who played Spock was a Jew who saw the kohanim display this in the synagogue as a child. He even combined it with his own Vulcan version of the Priestly Blessing: ‘Live long and prosper (Star Trek, created by Gene Roddenberry, 1966-1969)!’ I chuckled when I thought about this. In the most abstract terms, this really was the basic message of the ancient Hebrew blessing from the Book of Numbers, long life and prosperity.”

“What the Jewish actor who played Spock didn’t know was that his character was proclaiming the holy name of Yehovah all over the universe through his Vulcan greeting. The idiosyncratic way of holding the hands he saw in the synagogue was actually a cipher for God’s holy name. One of the earliest sources to mention it explains, ‘the priest would form the letters of the Tetragrammaton with his hands (Bachya ben Asher, Biur Al Ha-Torah, volume 3, page 34).'” When I first read this I thought it was far-fetched until I found a diagram of the way the kohanim hold their hands during the Priestly Blessing in an old Hebrew Book. It had two of the letters of God’s holy name inscribed on each of the wrists, and I could see how the strange way of holding the fingers corresponded to the letters of the Tetragrammaton. It formed the letters Yod-Hay-Vav-Hay about as well as the modern ‘OK’ hand gesture forms the letter ‘K.’ If you don’t know what that is supposed to mean, you’d never figure it out. Of course, that is exactly the point. Using this cryptic sign language allowed the Aaronic priests to place God’s name on the people despite rabbinical prohibition to speak it (Shabbathai Horowitz, Shefa Tal, Hanau 1612, page 15).”

“When I discovered that the rabbinical ban on God’s holy name was instituted as a protective measure against Roman persecution, I felt like I uncovered a great secret that I needed to share. I decided to approach a young rabbi I knew and hear his opinion. I met him at his synagogue in Jerusalem and started to tell him about the Romans executing Hanina ben Teradion for speaking God’s name. He stopped me midway through and told me he knew all about it. I then told him about finding God’s name with a full set of vowels in the Aleppo Codex. ‘The true pronunciation of God’s name is Yehovah!’ I announced excitedly. The rabbi leaned back in his chair and responded with a single word” ‘Peshita.’ In Aramaic this literally means ‘simple,’ but in Talmudic jargon it is a sarcastic way of saying, ‘Obviously, Sherlock.’ After a long pause, he asked me never to speak the Almighty’s name in his presence again. ‘Men greater than either of us established the tradition of not speaking Hashem’s name,’ he told me assuredly, ‘and only men greater than us can change it back.'”

“I was amazed at how profoundly the rabbi epitomized the difference between a rabbinical and a Karaite worldview. He did not dispute the Scriptural or historical facts but deferred to the authority of the rabbinical sages. From my perspective, this was not about authority; it was about truth. When I shared this thought with him, he snapped back that I was being extremely arrogant. I chuckled when he said this and I nodded my head in agreement. I suppose he was right in a way. It was a little arrogant of me thinking I could decide for myself how to live by Scripture even when it ran contrary to generations of Jewish tradition.”

There is a lot more information on the name of God in his book and we recommend that you get “Shattering the Conspiracy of Silence” by Nehemiah Gordon if you want to know more about the name of God and how it is pronounced, and how it is tied in with the Priestly Blessing. We also recommend that you go to You Tube and search for his video teachings on the name of God. Just go to You Tube, type in “name of God Nehemiah Gordon” and it should take you to numerous videos. In Part 3, we will pick up again the the Book of Ruth.

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 Ruth-Part 1

We are going to take a look into the Book of Ruth and try to glean (a good word for this book) some concepts from this book that will help us in numerous areas. This book is a teaching on lovingkindness, betrothal, non-Jewish believers, redemption, harvest and very messianic. It takes place at the time of Shavuot and the first tithe and bikurim (first fruits), which was the time of the giving of the Torah. The kinsman redeemer in this story is called the “Goel” in Hebrew and he must have three things in order to be the goel. First, he must be related by blood to the one redeemed. This is why Yeshua became man, he had to be a blood relative to us. Second, he must be willing to redeem. Third, he must be able to redeem.

This is a clear teaching about the role of Yeshua as Messiah in the second redemption, as does all the Scriptures (Psa 40.7; John 5.39-47; Luke 24.27). We will look at this book closely because it is full of teaching that will help us understand this redemption, and we will look at phrases and words that allude to different concepts. The goal is to have you understand this book in a deeper way and to have you understand the second redemption through Yeshua.

We will have several people and places in this story that will be a picture some eschatological concepts. Elimelech and Naomi will be a picture of Israel. Their two sons will be a picture of the lost children of Israel. Bethlehem (“house of bread”) will be a picture of the Kingdom of God. Boaz is “Lord of the Harvest” and the Goel and a picture of Yeshua. Ruth is a picture of the non-Jewish believers, and Orpah typifies the unbelieving non-Jews. The next of kin, who fails to obtain the inheritance, is a picture of Adam. As we go through this story we will refer to these characters and how they typify eschatological characters.

Ruth 1.1-5 tells us there was a famine in the land in the closing days of the Judges. These were dark days in the history of Israel and it was summed up in the last verse of Judges, “In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” The theme song for the period of the Judges was, “(I Did it) My Way” by Frank Sinatra.

There was a man in Bethlehem (“house of bread” symbolizing what the Kahal and and the Kingdom should be) who went o sojourn eastward in Moab (“seed of the father”). This alludes to Adam leading mankind away from God (to the east) and Israel going into the nations. He was clearly going in the wrong direction, right into the wilderness. The man’s name was Elimelech (“my God is king”) and his wife was Naomi (“pleasantness”) and she will be a type of believing Israel. They took their two sons, Mahlon (“sick”) and Chilion (“consumption”). This alludes to the fact that if we move away from God it leads to sickness and consumption (death-1 Cor 11.30).

Elimelech died in Moab (Rom 8.13) and Naomi was left with her two sons. When they were older, they took for themselves Moabite women as wives (Ezra 9.12; Neh 13.23). One was named Orphah (“her neck” alluding to pride and self-will-Exo 32.9; Acts 7.51). The other was Ruth (“satisfied”). They lived in Moab for ten years (the number of divine government and judgment) and then Mahlon and Chilion died (alluding to judgment imposed).

Ruth 1.6-22 tells us that Naomi arose with her daughters-in-law so that she might return to the land, for she had heard that the Lord had “visited” his people with food. The word “visited” is an allusion to the redemption (Gen 50.24; Exo 3.16, 13.10; Luke 19.44). A spiritual person will see the Lord in things, and a non-spiritual person will see things as an act of nature. So she departed from Moab with Naomi and Orpah and went towards Judah (like in 1948). She told Naomi and Orpah to go back to their families. They wept because at the time they both did not want to leave her, but emotions are not to be trusted, especially when dealing with the spiritual.

So, they wanted to continue on with her, but Naomi insisted they go back. She was too old to have any more children so there were husbands in the future for them. So Orpah decided to go back to Moab, to her people and to her gods. Orpah is a type of the unbelieving non-Jews who turn away from God’s ways, and she forfeits any prospect of an inheritance from Naomi and family. Naomi says that the hand of the Lord has gone forth against her and she typifies a believer who is grieved when they obey the flesh rather than the Spirit, and suffers the consequences. But she did not see that the Lord was working in her life and his hand would go out on her behalf very shortly.

But Ruth knows that Naomi is the last link to her husband and she is determined to go with Naomi. Ruth is a type of the non-Jewish believer who comes to the Torah and the ways of God. Ruth says in v 16-17, “Do not urge me to leave you or turn back from following you; for where you go, I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge. Your people will be my people, and your God, my god. Where you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. Thus may the Lord do me, and more, if death parts you and me.” This is one of the most beautiful statements of faith in the Scriptures. She was willing to forsake all the Moabite gods and embrace the Torah of the God of Israel as it applied to her. For ten years Naomi compromised in the land of Moab, but as soon as she decided to go back to Judah and put her life into the hands of the God of Israel, Ruth decides to go with her. We will never lead anyone to the Lord by compromising about Yeshua as Messiah and the Torah.

So, the two of them departed and went on their way to Bethlehem, and we know from Scripture that the Messiah and the Goel will come to Bethlehem in Yeshua (Mic 4.8; 5.1-2), and the city was stirred because of their return. Bethlehem was a small village so everyone knew everyone else, and even the ones who left years earlier. She wasn’t going to sugar-coat her absence in front of everyone who knew her. Naomi says to the people, “Do not call me Naomi (“pleasantness”); call me Mara (“bitterness”), for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me.” She knew that the things that happened to her was not by chance but were a part of God’s sovereign plan for her, but she could not see how it would all end. She was not “bitter” towards the Lord, and she knew that the answer to her problems was not to stay in Moab, but to come back to God, his land and his promises.

This also shows the harm in a believer’s life that comes from disobedience. She went out full but came back in spiritual poverty. She went to Moab in subjection to her husband, but she suffered due to his disobedience. They came to Bethlehem with very little and at the beginning of the the barley harvest in the spring. This was the time of the spring festivals and they teach about the first coming of the Messiah.

In Ruth 2.1-7 we begin to get into the heart of this book and the story of the redemption. Naomi had a kinsman (a type of the second Adam and Yeshua) of her dead husband (a type of Adam) who was wealthy, and his name was Boaz (“swiftness”). Ruth wanted to go to the fields (type of the world, harvest) and glean (alludes to the personal study of the word of God) according to Lev 19.9-10. So she leaves and starts to glean. She went straight there and this alludes to the fact that the study of God’s word is for our “daily bread” needs, not just listening to things. Ruth 2.3 says that she “happened” to come (no accident, this was by the leading of the Ruach Ha Kodesh) to where the reapers (type of the teachers) were working, in the portion of the field that belonged to Boaz, who was of the family of Elimelech.

Boaz is the “Lord of the Harvest” and a type of Yeshua, and Ruth comes under the authority and control of Boaz. Now, Ruth 2.4 is a very important verse and we are going to spend some time on it. We have heard teachers say that it is forbidden to say the name of God. We know that the name of God is Yehovah because it has been found in over 1000 Hebrew manuscripts, even the Aleppo Codex. In this verse we have Boaz greeting the reapers by saying, “May Yehovah be with you” and the reapers replying, “May Yehovah bless you.” This is just one case of many where the name of God was spoken openly by people in everyday conversation. The Mishnah recommends that we should greet others by using God’s name in Berachot (“blessings”) 9.7 where it says, “And it is ordained that a man should salute his fellow with the use of the name of God” and then it quotes Ruth 2.4.

In Part 2, we want to get into this concept a little more and dispel any belief that it is improper to say the name Yehovah. Many messianic believers follow the rabbis who prohibit the saying of the name and we will show you why this is incorrect and how this prohibition came about. It was never God’s intention that his people not say or even know what his name was, so what happened? We will get into all that and more in Part 2.

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

Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Judges-Conclusion

Judges 20 tells us how the children of Israel dealt with the incident in Judges 19. They agreed to chastise the inhabitants of Gilead for what they had done so they contacted the tribe of Benjamin to give up the offenders. However, instead of complying, they took up arms to defend the offenders.

Three battles will come about, and the children of Israel, who were in the right, lost the first two battles. You would think that because they were doing the right thing that the Lord would give them a victory right away, but that is not what happened. The Lord had a controversy with booth sides here because of idolatry. He told them to go up and fight (v 18, 23) through the Urim and Thummim of Pinchas, the grandson of Aaron, who was alive at the time. Well, they went up to fight in the first battle and Benjamin killed 22,000 men of Israel.

The men of Israel encouraged themselves and they went before the Lord weeping until evening. Then they inquired of the Lord again and the Lord said they should “go up” and fight. So the sons of Israel came out against Benjamin a second time and Benjamin killed 18,000 men of Israel. So, the sons of Israel came up to Bethel (“house of God”) and wept before the Lord and fasted. They offered burnt offerings (olah) and peace (shelemim) offerings (not allowed at Bethel because the Mishkan was at Shiloh-Mishnah, Zevachim 14.4-8), and they again inquired before the Lord. God wanted to humble Israel through these losses. Even though he may tell us to do something that doesn’t mean it will be successful. He may allow it to fail to humble us, too.

God allowed these losses to teach that the whole nation. The crime at Gibeah was not merely the result of one group or even one tribe. The whole nation had to be humbled because they thought the sin was only in Benjamin. But the whole nation had problems and the Lord was showing them this fact. But the Lord did not want these two losses and times of chastening to discourage Israel and make them think they could not win.

Pinchas, the grandson of Aaron, was high priest at the time, and he stood before the Lord and inquired of the Lord a third time (v 28) and the Lord said “Go up, for tomorrow I will deliver them into your hands.” So Israel employed the same strategy they used at Ai (Josh 8) and set men in ambush around Gibeah. Benjamin was drawn out of the city and was defeated, and 25,000 men were killed, leaving only 600 men. They fled and sought refuge in the wilderness, to the rock at Rimmon (“rock of the pomegranate” and a type of Yeshua) for four months. Life here in the “rock” is a time of testing. Even though the tribe of Benjamin was guilty, Israel would regret that they may had gone too far.

In Judges 21.1-25 we learn that a curse was put upon anyone who gave their daughters as wives to Benjamin at Mizpeh, but they realize that a whole tribe is on the verge of extinction now. So they wanted a way out of this dilemma. The Lord was not in this oath and the withholding of wives at all, and they wept before the Lord for not allowing wives and that one tribe is cut off. A wife is symbolic of life and with no wife there is no “life.” Their grief is like feeling sorry for our unsaved loved ones who have “no life.”

As a result, they wanted to do something to provide wives (life) to those who were left (the 600) without violating the curse. So, they wanted to know who from the tribes did not come up to the Lord at Mizpeh and participate in the oath. They found out that nobody from Jabesh-Gilead (“dry heap of witness”) came out to be mustered for war, so they sent 12,000 valiant warriors to the city and were told to kill every inhabitant. They piled error upon error here instead of repenting of their oath. As a result of the slaughter of Jabesh-gilead, 400 virgins were spared. They were brought to Shiloh. However, they were 200 short because there were 600 men from Benjamin.

So the elders of the congregation did not know what to do for those 200 who were left. They could not give them their daughters because of their oath, so they came up with this plan. There was a feast of the Lord from year to year in Shiloh. The Mishnah in Ta’anit 4.8 says that on Yom Kippur the daughters used to go out in white to dance in the vineyards and be chosen for wives by the young men, so that was what they planned to do here (v 19). Shiloh was where the Mishkan was and on the north (side of wisdom/intellect) of Bethel (“house of God”), on the east side of the highway (man is on the east side, away from God, on the highway of life) that goes up from Bethel to Shechem (“shoulder” symbolic of security and strength) and on the south side (faith brings salvation) of Lebonah (“frankincense”, symbolizing prayer).

They told the sons of Benjamin to go wait in the vineyard and watch. When the daughters of Shilah came out to dance then they could come out and catch his wife from these daughters, and then go back to Benjamin. When the fathers and brothers come to complain about the kidnapping of their daughters and sisters they were told that these daughters were not given to the sons of Benjamin for wives. They were taken and not given in marriage to Benjamin (willingly “kidnapped) so they did not “violate” their oath, but for the sake of all Israel they were advised to just let it go. Rather than just repent of their ungodly oath, they went to all this trouble to make things right. So, the women were taken back to Benjamin and the tribe of Benjamin was restored to the point that it provided Israel with their first king (Saul).

In Judges 21.25 we come to one of the saddest verses in the Bible, “In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” The chaos we have read about in Judges could only happen in a society where the people forgot about God as their king, and there was no anointed king over Israel to administer Torah justice. When they rejected the rule of Torah over their lives, they accepted the standard of their own making to rule in their individual life. This is what is happening today. People reject the Torah so they do what their “heart” tells them to do. There is nothing restraining people from doing what they want now because they follow their heart, and how can that be wrong? How can you judge someone for that? That is why there is so much evil today.

Torah-based believers have a code to go by and we are not to judge things based on ourselves. The Torah is the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, but there is a counterfeit tree also (the heart and instinct, how one “feels”). There is a way that seems right to man, but its end is the way of death (Prov 14.12). That is the sad story of the Book of Judges. When man follows his own instincts and “heart” it leads to ruin because there is nothing to restrain him, and that is the situation in the book of Judges.

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 Judges-Part 16

In Judges 19.1-30 teaches about the error of going beyond the written word of God. There was no king in Israel so wickedness was committed without much fear. There was a Levite staying in Ephraim and he took a concubine for himself from Bethlehem (“House of Bread”), which is a picture of the written word of God. A concubine was a secondary wife, taken without a wedding and a dowry and speaks of going beyond the Scriptures. He was considered her husband as seen from several verses in this chapter (v 3,4,7,9) and she would not have been guilty of adultery otherwise. Many people in the Tanak had concubines including Abraham, Jacob, Caleb, Saul, David and Solomon. From the beginning God’s plan was one man and one woman at a time.

But his concubine played the harlot against him and went back to her father’s house in Bethlehem and was there for four months (number of testing), but the Levite went after her to bring her back home. This was a test to see if he could live without her. He took a servant and two donkeys (one for her). Donkeys symbolize the old nature and the servant is a type of the Holy Spirit. The father-in-law detains the Levite for three days. He is type of Satan who tries to hold on to us.

The father-in-law detains him and remained there three days, so they ate and drank, and the father was glad they were there. Eating and drinking speak of satisfaction and pleasure. Satan always rejoices when we don’t follow the Lord (v 1-4). On the fourth day (number of testing) they try to leave. Many who are tested will try to leave their bondage. The father again asks them to stay for some food and then go. When they arose to go, they are enticed to stay.

On the fifth day this happens again, but late in the day the Levite, servant and the concubine leave. Taking the concubine is a type of going beyond the Scriptures. They come to a place opposite Jebus (Jerusalem) which means “trodden down.” When we disobey the Lord the Scriptures are “trodden down.” When the day was almost gone the servant says, “Please come and let us turn aside into the city of the Jebusites and spend the night in it.” By saying, “the sun had set on them” in verse 14 it alludes to the time of grace running out.

The Levite refuses and wants to go as far as Gibeah (“little hill”). So, they go on to Gibeah which belongs to Benjamin. They are in the open square of the city and nobody invites them into their homes, which shows how far they have fallen and will not be hospitable or show concern. But an old man was coming out of the field after working, and he represents the believing remnant who come home after faithful service in the world. The old man was from Ephraim, staying in Gibeah.

He sees the Levite, the servant and the concubine in the square and asks them where they are going, showing concern. The Levite tells him he is going from Bethlehem (“house of bread” and a type of the written word) to Ephraim (“fruitfulness” of evil works in a negative sense). He says he is going to “my house” but in Hebrew it says “Beit Yehovah” or “house of the Lord” because the Mishkan was in Shiloh (Judges 21.19). He intended to offer korbanot there and to seek reconciliation with his wife. The old man said he would help them so he took them home.

While they were eating, worthless fellows (“sons of Beliel”) surrounded the house, pounding on the door, and asked to have the man brought out so they could have relations with him. This is very similar to Lot in Gen 19.1-11 and Luke 17.28-29. The old man offered his virgin daughter and the Levite’s concubine, but the men would not listen. Then the Levite brought out his concubine and gave her to the men. They abused her all night (the refusal of God’s light). At dawn (this alludes to the coming of the Messiah (Mal 4.2; Psa 19.4-6) their evil was done, and the woman came and fell at the door and died. The Levite saw her and thought she was sleeping and told her to get up because they were going, but there was no answer. He realizes she is dead.

He placed her on his donkey and went to his house. He took a knife and cut her up into twelve pieces and sent the pieces throughout the territory of Israel. He told the messengers to tell everyone what happened. There were no courts in Israel to apply to and there was no justice in the land. Everyone said that nothing like this has been seen in Israel since the day they came out of the land of Egypt (v 28-30). The Egyptian Passover was the night that spiritually taught the salvation of the sinner, and the sinful activity of the unsaved brought this incident about. Centuries later this incident at Gibeah was still remembered and used as an example of wickedness (Hos 9.9, 10.9). We are to have nothing to do with the sinful activity of our “unsaved days” either. The people were to think about all this and decide what was to be done.

Judges 20.1-48 deals with how the children of Israel dealt with this incident. They assembled at Mizpeh (“watchtower”) as one man to Yehovah and were able to muster 400,000 people (God was testing Israel, too) who drew the sword, but Benjamin refused to attend. The Levite then tells them the story about what happened, and they agreed to chastise the inhabitants of Gibeah for what they had one. Had Israel judged all this at the first it would have never come to this. Small sins build up. The tribe of Benjamin was notified to give up the offenders. But, instead of complying with this request, Benjamin took up arms to defend them. Benjamin was numbered at 26,700 and the sons of Israel had 400,000. They had more loyalty to the tribe than to obeying the Torah. People today make the same mistake. They will put the interest of their family or nation above loyalty to the Kingdom of God, which is the rule of God in our lives. People will go to a congregation because everyone in the family goes there, even though it is teaching replacement theology.

In the conclusion, we will pick up in Judges 20.8-48 and see that three battles will be fought at the direction of the Lord, and the Israelites who were in the right will lose the first two battles. We are going to see that the Lord had a controversy with both sides here and we will see why they were allowed to lose two battles. It will also be a lesson in spiritual warfare.

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 Judges-Part 15

Judges 17.1-13 gives us another picture of what happens when Israel does not follow the Torah and the first rise of idolatry after Joshua. There was a man from Ephraim (“fruitful”) whose name was Micah (“who is like Yehovah”). He tells his mother, who is a picture of Israel as a whole, that he had stolen 1100 pieces of silver from her. This was the same price given for the destruction of Samson the Danite, and it is the same amount for the destruction of his tribe later on. His mother had uttered a curse in her son’s hearing, but when she heard that her son had taken it, she blessed him. She curses the sin in others, but tolerated sin in her family.

He gave the silver back and his mother dedicated it all to the Lord for her son to make a graven image and a molten image. So, Micah had a shrine in his house for the consecrated idols and he made an ephod and had one of his sons serve as a priest. All of this was forbidden but everyone did what was right in his own eyes and there was no king in Israel.

There was a young man in Bethlehem (“house of bread”) who was from the family of Judah, who was a Levite, was staying there. He left Bethlehem to sojourn where he could, possibly because he was not receiving support from the people through the tithes, etc. He came to Ephraim and to Micah’s house and told him he was a Levite. Micah asks him to stay and teach him, and be a “priest” to him. He would pay him ten shekels a years, and provide clothing. This Levite is a type of the hireling religious “cleric” looking for a congregation who would support him.

So, the Levite agreed and was consecrated as a priest and lived in the house of Micah, a house of idols (not allowed by the Torah). Micah thinks that Yehovah will now prosper him because he has a Levite as a priest. This shows the influence of ignorance and superstition.

Judges 18.1-30 we have the Danites wanting more land due to overcrowding, so they send out scouts to search out the land for more space. They failed to take possession of their own inheritance, or they were too lazy and could not defend it (Josh 19.40-45; Judges 1.34-35, 5.17). There were five scouts (five is the number of responsibility), one from each family, and came to Ephraim and the house of Micah. When they came near to the house they recognized the voice of the LLevite. They asked “Who brought you here?”. They knew he was from Bethlehem. The Torah states he was to be at the Mishkan, not in his own “house of idols.” If we go to a congregation God has not ordained we are wrong no matter what is going on there. What you like there, or participate in, or what ministry they have given you has nothing to do with it.

So the scouts ask him to inquire of the Lord about their business and if it would be prosperous. The Levite tells them what they want to hear, and that they would be successful in their undertaking. So, the five men depart and come to Laish (“well-knit”) and saw how they were living. They lived like Sidonians (“fishery/hunting”) and were by themselves. They had no treaty with others for help if they were attacked. They came back to Zorah (“she was smitten with leprosy”) and Eshtaol (“I will be entreated”) and told the others what they saw.

As a result of their report, they went to capture with 600 men (the number of man) and came to Micah’s house with the household idols, and took them. The Levite just stood by and let them do it because he had no loyalty to Micah because he was a typical hireling. They asked him to come with them and be a priest to many. In other words, bigger is better to an apostate who is blind to the spiritual state of those he is going to serve. This all started because one man did not keep his place, and the evil spreads, and he was happy to hear this. He only cared about himself and his “career” rather than observe sound doctrine as found in the Torah. But Micah didn’t like what happened and assembled others to go after his idols. The Danites ask him, “What is the matter with you” and he tells them he doesn’t like the fact that they took his priest and his gods. This illustrates the contention between apostates in Rabbinic Judaism and Replacement Theology Christianity. These idols speak about the fact that the smith “labors” to make these idols in the same way apostates “labor” in producing false worship and false works.

The Danites told Micah to be quiet or he would die, along with his household. So, Micah went home because they were too strong for him. Replacement Theology Christianity has been too strong for the Rabbis in Judaism throughout history. Both groups are desolate without Messiah, too. They took what Micah and the priest had made and came to Laish and struck them and burned the city with fire because there was no one to deliver them (no allies). It was in the valley which is near Beth-rehob (“house of a street”) and they rebuilt the city and named it Dan. They then set up for themselves the graven image of Micah, and Jonathan (“Yehovah has given”), the son of Gershom (“stranger there”), the son of Manasseh (“to forget”), he and his sons were priests to the tribe of Dan until the day of the captivity of the land by the Assyrians. This Jonathan seems to be the Levite Micah took into his house. The tribe of Dan has now openly adopted the image of Micah and idolatry is now established in the north. There was individual idolatry before this, but now it is official in a tribe. So, this whole thing started with a son who stole 1100 pieces of silver and it ends with an entire tribe given over to idolatry.

One of the lessons that we can glean from this whole story is that Micah probably had no idea how his individual idolatry would spread to an entire tribe. This idolatry would be in competition with the true worship of God in the Mishkan, located at Shiloh. We should learn that what we do, even though isolated at the time, can spread to others very, very quickly. Participating in Replacement Theology will spread to others, and who knows where that could lead. I’m sure Micah did not realize that his household idols would lead to the destruction of the ten tribes eventually.

Let’s go back to the phrase “the son of Manasseh” in Judges 18.30. In Hebrew it is “Ben Moshe” or “son of Moses.” It has a suspended Hebrew letter “nun” over the word “Moshe” as if it was “inserted” into the original name, making it Manasseh. Some scholars think it was done to spare Moses shame in that one of his descendants lead this idolatry. Others believe another Manasseh was intended, but that doesn’t explain the suspended letter “nun.” We know that Aaron’s grandson Pinchas was still alive so it is possible this Jonathan could have been the grandson of Moses (Judges 20.28) and that may be why the name “Moshe” was changed to “Manasseh” in this passage.

In Part 16 we will pick up in Judges 19.1-30.

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 Judges-Part 14

In Judges 16.5-31 we pick up in the story of Samson where we learn that the Philistine leaders came to Delilah and wanted her to entice Samson to find out where his great strength came from. They wanted to get rid of him and they would each pay her eleven hundred pieces of silver for the information. Silver is symbolic of redemption in the Scriptures. Delilah’s efforts to find the source of Samson’s strength portrays the efforts of the Jewish leaders to trap and get rid of Yeshua.

When Delilah asks Samson where his strength comes from, Samson says, “Bind me with seven fresh cords that have not been dried, then I shall become weak and like any other man.” Of course, he is lying to her because at this time he was guarding the secret of his strength. So the cords were brought to her and she bound him. When she said, “The Philistines are upon you” he snapped the cords as if they were nothing. The secret of his power had not been discovered, and this alludes to the parables that Yeshua spoke and that he cannot be “bound” by any power other than his own.

But Delilah persisted to press Samson about the source of his power, just like the Jewish leaders persisted in trying to trap and kill Yeshua. They did not believe he was the Messiah and so they wanted to know the source of his power, too. So, Samson tells her that if he is bound with new ropes which have not been used, then he will become weak. He deceives her a second time because when she told him the Philistines were coming, he broke those as well.

So, Delilah acts offended and accuses him of lying to her. So he says to her, “If you weave the seven locks of my hair with a the web and fasten it with a pin, then I shall become weak weak and be like any other man.” So, as he sleeps, Delilah took his hair and weaved it as he said and fastened it with the pin, but when he heard that the Philistines were coming, he pulled out the pin.

Now she she is really upset with him and says “How can you say ‘I love you’ when your heart is not with me? You have deceived me these three times and have not told me where your great strength is.” She appeals to his love for her. She kept pressing him about his strength until he started getting annoyed. So he places himself into her treacherous hands and tells her all that was in his heart, and he said to her, “A razor has never come on my head, for I have been a Nazarite to God from my mother’s womb. If I am shaved, then my strength will leave me and I shall become weak and be like any other man.” Spiritually, because of his love for treacherous Israel, who was out to harm him, Yeshua placed himself into the hands of the Jewish leaders.

Delilah called for the Philistines once more and told them that he had told her all that was in his heart. So, they came and brought the money to her, just like the Jewish leaders did with Judas. She mad Samson sleep on her knees and called for another to come and shave his head. She began to afflict him and his strength left him and she called to Samson saying, “The Philistines are upon you” and he awoke from his sleep and thought he could go out and make himself free, but he did not know that the Lord had left him. Then the Philistines seized him and gouged out his eyes, and brought him to Gaza in bronze chains. Bronze speaks of judgment. Likewise, Yeshua came under the power of the enemy and they bound him and took him away. However, the hair on his head began to grow again and so did the spirit of Samson. This speaks of the promise of resurrection.

Now, the rulers of the Philistines assembled to offer a sacrifice in the temple of Dagon (“cultivator of natural abundance”) their god and have a great festival. This clearly alludes to when the Jewish rulers assembled for Passover sacrifice in the Temple in 30 AD when Yeshua was arrested. The Philistines said, “Our god has given Samson our enemy into our hands.” When the people saw this, they praised their god because they saw Samson as “the destroyer of our country.” The Jewish leaders also rejoiced at Passover because their enemy (Yeshua) had been captured and bound. They saw Yeshua as a destroyer of the country (John 11.47-52). Even some of the people rejoiced over Yeshua because they wanted the release of Barabbas over Yeshua.

So, the Philistines brought Samson out of prison so that he might amuse them, and they could mock him. So they called for Samson and he “entertained them.” They made him stand between two pillars, like Yeshua was put between two thieves. Yeshua’s crucifixion amused the Jewish rulers and people also, and he “entertained them.” Samson was led to the pillars by a nameless boy, who is a type of the Ruach Ha Kodesh who is the nameless servant who guided Yeshua to the cross. Samson asked the boy to let him feel the pillars, which means his arms were outstretched like Yeshua on the cross.

Now, the temple was full of two groups of people, the rulers and the people (men and women), about 3000 of them. At Yeshua’s crucifixion, the Jerusalem Temple was full of these two groups, too. They looked upon Samson just like they looked upon Yeshua. Then Samson called to Yehovah and asked him to “please remember me and please strengthen me one last time, O God, that I may be avenged of the Philistines for my two eyes.” He then grasped the two middle pillars on which the house rested. In like manner, Yeshua is the mediator between two opposites, God and man, heaven and earth.

Samson braced himself against them, the one on his right and the other on his left (like on the cross). He then says, “Let me die with the Philistines” and he bent with all his might so that the house fell on the leaders and all the people that were in it. This teaches the destruction of the house of Satan, which was accomplished by the death of Yeshua, and it also alludes to the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple 40 years later. The victory over the Philistines was accomplished by the death of Samson, just like the victory over Satan was accomplished by the death of Yeshua.

Then his brothers and all his father’s household came down, took his body, and brought him up and buried him between Zorah (“she is smitten with leprosy”) and Eshtaol (“I will be entreated”) in the tomb of Manoah his father. In the same way, Yeshua’s brothers in the faith and “his Father’s household” came and buried him. He now “rests” with his Father in heaven and he has the ministry of being “entreated” as the mediator between God and man because man is afflicted with sin (leprosy).

The story of Samson is the tragic story of a man who wasted his ministry, but has renewed strength to destroy the enemies of the Lord on one hand, but it is also a picture of Yeshua and his successful ministry to destroy the power of our enemy on the other hand. Samson’s life was not a waste because it can instruct us on what not to do, but it is also a wonderful picture of the Messiah himself, and that aspect is often ignored or goes unnoticed. Hopefully, when we remember Samson, we can see him as a picture of Yeshua and not dwell on all the negative. He is a very intriguing figure.

In Part 15 we will pick up in Judges 17.

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Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Judges-Part 13

Judges 15.1-20 gives us another prophetic picture in the life of Samson. In the time of the wheat harvest in the fall (speaks of the Birthpains and the coming of Yeshua during the fall festivals) Samson visited his wife and brings a young goat. This is alluding to Yeshua who gave himself as the Messiah to unbelieving Israel because he loved her. Samson learns that she has gone over to another man (Israel in apostasy) because the father thought he hated her. So, he offers Samson her sister. This is like Satan who offers Replacement Theology because they think God hates Israel and has rejected the Jewish people. Samson says he will be blameless in what he will do to the Philistines, just like Yeshua will be blameless when he executes judgment in the Birthpains. God will use Samson’s anger for his purposes.

Samson goes and catches three hundred foxes, but the word (“shual”) used there can also mean jackel, but we will use foxes here. These were unclean animals and allude to false prophets. He took torches (“lapidim”) and turned the foxes tail to tail (the tail alludes to false prophets-Isa 9.15) and the torch was put between the two tails. The number two speaks of witness, so this is a false witness. He set fire to the torches and releases the foxes into the standing grain (speaking of unused Word of God) and burns up the grain along with vineyards (ungathered grapes, alluding to the true teaching of the Torah and the Scriptures that was unused) and the groves (olive groves, alluding to the oil of the Ruach Ha Kodesh, or Holy Spirit, that has not enlightened them). This tells us that those that will be judged know nothing of the Scriptures.

The Philistines wanted to know who did this, and they found out it was Samson, the son-in-law of the Timnite, because he took his wife and gave her to another. So, the Philistines came and burned her and her father with fire. This alludes to the fact that in the Birthpains the False Messiah will use Replacement Theology Christianity for awhile, but then will destroy it (Rev 17.16). Samson heard about this and came against the Philistines, and then lived in cleft of the rock of Etam (“cleft”).

Then the Philistines went up to Judah and spread out in Lehi (“cheek or jawbone”), a type of Golgotha (Mic 5.1). The men of Judah wanted to know why they came up against them, and the Philistines said they had come to get Samson and bind him and do to him what he did to them. So, the men from Judah bound Samson with ropes because they did not want any trouble from the Philistines, just like the Jews bound Yeshua because they did not want any trouble from the Romans (John 11.49-52). Yeshua was “bound” by his love for the Father and for sinful Israel.

When Samson came to Lehi (“cheek or jawbone”) the Philistines shouted, and the Ruach Ha Kodesh (Holy Spirit) came upon Samson and he broke the ropes binding him. And he found a fresh jawbone of a donkey and killed 1000 Philistines with it. The jaw alludes to the strength of the tongue (Jam 3.3-12; Isa 30.20-21) and Samson using a jawbone to kill 1000 Philistines alludes to the fact that the teachings of God through Yeshua was used to defeat the enemy and bring in a new age (1000 alludes to an age), the “Yomot Ha Mashiach” or “Days of the Messiah.”

When he was done he threw the jawbone down (Yeshua said, “It is finished”) and he named the place Ramath-lehi (“high place of the jawbone” and a type of Golgotha) and he was thirsty (Yeshua became thirsty at the end of his victory at Golgotha-John 19.28). God split the hollow place that was in Lehi and water came out (just like it did with Moses in Num 20.8) and Samson was revived (Yeshua was resurrected).

Now we come to Judges 16.1-3 and we are going to continue with the picture God has given us in the story of Samson about the spiritual idolatry of unbelieving Israel. Again, Samson’s story, though tragic, was a picture of God, Messiah and Israel. Samson goes down to Gaza (“she was strong”) and visited a harlot (a picture of apostate Israel-Isa 1.21; Jer 2.20, Book of Hosea). The Gazites were told that Samson was there and plotted to kill him (some leaders of Israel plotted to kill Yeshua in Matt 26.1-5. They waited at the gate of the city, where the leaders would meet.

At midnight (when Messiah comes-Matt 25.6) Samson took hold of doors of the city and the two posts and pulled them up along with the bars (Jerusalem was destroyed after Israel rejected the Kingdom offer in the first century, and the Jewish leaders were destroyed also). He took the gates 48 miles to Hebron (“communion”), and Hebron is an idiom for heaven, and also called “Abraham’s Bosom.” Yeshua ascended to heaven and the eschatological congregation (the Kahal) began when the Ruach Ha Kodesh came in communion with the believer in Acts 2 as promised.

Beginning in Judges 16.4 we have another picture in the life of Samson. Samson loved a woman in the valley of Sorek, meaning “a choice vine” and immediately we have an allusion to Israel (Isa 5.1-7). Her name was Delilah, meaning “languishing” and she will be a picture of Israel who was “weak” and “languishing” in unbelief. This will continue the same theme of unbelieving Israel involved in spiritual harlotry, and we will pick up with the story of Samson, Delilah, his capture and how his death is a picture of the crucifixion and how it brought final victory in Part 14.

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Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Judges-Part 12

In Judges 14.1-20 we have the story of Samson desiring a wife from among the Philistines. This story has a deeper meaning than what many will give in their commentaries on this chapter. They will be very critical about Samson but we are going to see that this will be a picture of Yeshua who marries apostate Israel, and there is more to this story than meets the eye. Samson goes to Timnah (“allotted portion”) and finds a woman, like Yeshua came to the woman Israel and found his “allotted” talmidim (apostles). Samson wants her as a wife, like Yeshua desired to take a remnant as his wife from apostate Israel. Samson says, “she looks good to me” but his parents object saying, “Is there no woman among the daughters of your relatives, or among all our people, that you go to take a wife from the uncircumcised Philistines?”

Matt 9.11-13 tells us that there were objections to some of Yeshua’s converts, too. Some were tax collectors, harlots and plain sinners, but the Lord saw them as righteous in the Kingdom of God and “good in his eyes” (John 1.47-51). However, Judges 14.4 tells us that his parents did not know that this was of the Lord, for “he was seeking an occasion against the Philistines.” In other words, it was the will of God that a way should be opened to judge the Philistines for what they were doing. They were ruling over Israel in the same way the Pharisees from Beit Shammai ruled over Israel through their rulings in the Sanhedrin, like the 18 Edicts, in Yeshua’s day and the Lord took issue with them in Matt 23.

When Samson went down to Timnah alone a lion came roaring towards him. Yeshua came to the “allotted portion” seeking his people, and this lion alludes to Satan who “prowls about like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour” (1 Pet 5.8). The Ruach Ha Kodesh (Holy Spirit) came upon Samson and he defeated the lion with nothing in his hands. Yeshua has defeated Satan by the power of the Ruach Ha Kodesh alone, with no weapons but his obedience to Yehovah and the Torah.

So Samson continues to Timnah and he talks with the woman and she looked right in his eyes. He returned later (resurrection) to take the woman in marriage, and he turned aside to see the carcass of the lion and there was a swarm (“edah” meaning “congregation or assembly”) of bees, and honey was in the body of the lion. He ate some and brought the honey to his parents, but did not tell them that he scraped the honey out of the lion’s carcass. Only a small remnant will enjoy the “honey” of the Lord’s word (Psa 119.103).

Eschatologically, after Yeshua resurrected he sent the Ruach Ha Kodesh on Shavuot, called Yom Kahal or “the day of the assembly” (Deut 18.16). Shavuot is the betrothal of the bride to Yeshua. Honey is eaten at this festival which speaks of the sweetness of the Torah and the word of the Lord which was given on that day. Israel did not know that Yeshua had killed the lion.

Then Samson’s father went down to the woman and Samson made a feast there, and this alludes to the wedding feast of the Messiah in the presence of his Father. When the people of Timnah saw him, they brought thirty companions to be assigned to the groom. These men allude to the people who saw the miracles of Yeshua, but would later betray and reject him, as these men will.

Then Samson proposes a riddle to his companions. They were to give him the answer within seven days of the feast. If they got the right answer, he would give them thirty linen wraps and thirty changes of clothes. The wraps were undergarments (what God can see) and the number thirty is the number of resurrection, maturity and service (Gen 41.46; 2 Sam 5.4; Luke 3.23; Num 20.29; Deut 34.8; Num 4.1-3; Exo 21.32; Zech 11.12-13; Matt 2615). Linen represents righteousness and the changes of clothes were outer garments and the righteousness that can be seen by men. Man will need a “change of clothes” to reign with the bridegroom in the Messianic Kingdom because we must be “born again” (John 3.3; 1 Cor 15.50-53). If they were unable to solve the riddle, then they were to give Samson thirty linen wraps and thirty changes of clothes. Failure will result in spiritual losses as well.

So, Samson gives them the riddle, but they could not tell the riddle after three days. The riddle alludes to the riddle of the Messiah, the mysteries of the Basar (gospel, good news) and Yeshua’s resurrection after three days. Unbelievers at the time did not understand the basar of the kingdom of God or what happened to Yeshua in the resurrection after three days. They could not explain the riddle. Yeshua defeated the lion and honey came forth, which is the fulfillment of bible prophecy concerning the Messiah (Luke 24.27) and his enemies didn’t get it.

On the seventh day (alludes to the Lord’s Day, the Atid Lavo or Millenium) they came to Samson’s wife and they wanted her to entice Samson for the answer. Their animosity towards Samson now extended to his wife. This also teaches us that the unbeliever will not understand the Scriptures concerning Yeshua and their animosity towards God will extend to his bride (John 15.18-21). She tries to get the answer for them in Judges 14.16-17, and he finally tells her. Now, Samson loved her but she was still a Philistine. It’s the same with Israel. She didn’t know the riddle and Israel doesn’t understand the riddle of the Messiah. But, what is the riddle of the Messiah you may wonder? Let’s explain that.

Our thoughts are like trees in a secret garden. On each tree there are leaves which are words, and these words are blown by the winds which utter their meanings. Here is the riddle. We are thinking of someone in history who left an indelible mark on mankind. Without a biological miracle on the womb of his mother, his birth would have been impossible. As an infant he was called the son of God. He was taken to Egypt to preserve life. He returned to the land of Israel and was hated by those around him, despised and rejected by men. He was hated so much that he was executed by the Romans. On the third day he was raised up and finally, he will never die again.

Now, some of you who are reading this are thinking of Yeshua, but that is not who we have in mind. Yeshua brought Israel’s meaning to its fullest depth, but we were referring to Israel. Without a biological miracle in the womb of Sarah, Isaac would have never been born. As an infant Israel was called the son of God (Exo 4.22-23; Hos 11.1). Israel was taken to Egypt to preserve life (Gen 43.1-3, 45.7). Israel returned to the land and was hated by those around him (Canaanites, Ammonites, Moabites, Amalekites, Edomites, Perizzites, Hittites, Girgashites, Amorites, Hivites and Jebusites). He was hated so greatly he was executed by the Romans in 70 AD, but on the third day he will be raised up (Hos 5.11-15, 6.1-3; Ezek 37.1-28). The riddle of the Messiah teaches us to look further.

Samson’s wife weeps before him and he tells her the answer to the riddle, but she betrays him and she told the sons of her people the answer. How different things would have been had she told Samson of their plot against him. How different things would have been if Israel trusted in Yeshua and stopped the plot against him instead of betraying him (Matt 26.1-5). So, the men came to Samson (v 18) before the sun went down and told him the answer. Samson knew his wife had betrayed him and says, “If you had not plowed with my heifer you would not have found out my riddle.”

Then the Ruach Ha Kodesh came upon Samson and he went down to Ashkelon, which means “fire of infamy” and a type of God’s judgment, and killed thirty of them and took their spoil (stripped of their self-righteousness). He gave their clothes to those who told the riddle’s answer. Now, these were Philistine clothes, not Israeli, and this means that their self-righteousness was increased. His anger burned (God was angry with Israel) and he went “up” to his father’s house, like Yeshua did after he left self-righteous Israel (Hos 5.15 through 63; John 14.1-3; Acts 1.9; Rev 12.5). Samson’s wife was given to his friend, which alludes to the fact that Israel rejected Yeshua and she was given over to apostasy and Rabbinic Judaism (another husband). Keep in mind that the Philistines are a picture of the unbeliever as we move through the story of Samson.

In Part 13, we will pick up in Judges 15.1-20.

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Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Judges-Part 11

Judges 12.1-15 tells us about a quarrel between Yiftach and the Ephraimites. The tribe got together and probably was able to muster about 50,000 men (they will lose 42,000). They crossed over the Jordan to the land near Mount Hermon where Yiftach lived and they wanted to know why they were not summoned to help against the Ammonites, very similar to what happened with Gideon. They even threatened to burn his house down. Yiftach told them that there was strife between the Gileadites and Ammon because of a land dispute, and Yiftach says he did call them but they would not help. So, he proceeded without them and defeated the Ammonites. Instead of being grateful the Ephraimites were resentful. We sometimes want the credit without doing the job, too, which was similar to Judges 8.1. It seems this tribe had problem with this attitude.

As a result, Yiftach gathered the men of Gilead and fought against Ephraim and defeated them. It seems they could talk a good fight but couldn’t fight a good fight. Yiftach and Gilead took the fords of the river Jordan. If someone attempted to cross over they would ask them to say “Shibbolet.” Yiftach knew that they spoke the same language but Ephraim had trouble saying the “sh” sound because of regional dialects. If their speech gave them away, they were seized and killed at the Jordan. We should not think that this technique is strange because we can do this very thing today by listening to the “shibbolets” of Torah. When someone talks about keeping the Torah we can learn something about them. Do they talk about how much they love bacon? Do they talk about how much they love Christmas, or working on the Sabbath? Do they say they are “free from the law.” Their speech will “give them away” as to whether they know the Lord or not (1 John 2.3-4).

In all, 42,000 Ephraimites were killed. This alludes to the last 42 months of the birth-pains when many will be slain for the same reason. This also alludes to something spiritual. When we “cross over” death (Jordan) what answer will we give to the question, “Is your testimony of Yeshua and do you keep the commandments” (Rev 12.17)? Yiftach judged Israel six years, and then he died and was buried in one of the cities of Gilead. Then Izban (“illustrious or splendid”) of Bethlehem (“house of bread”) judged Israel after him. He had 30 sons and thirty daughters, which was quite a contrast to Yiftach who only had one daughter. Ibzan judged Israel for seven years, which alludes to perfection and completion.

Now, Elon (“might”) the Zebulonite (“dwelling”) judged Israel for ten years. Ten speaks of God’s judgment and government. After him came Abdon (“servant, working one”) the son of Hillel (“praise”) and he judged Israel for eight years, which speaks of a new beginning. He had forty sons (“testing”) and thirty grandsons (“resurrection”) who rode around on colts. In Scripture, a “colt” speaks of the new birth, while a donkey speaks of the old nature. Riding a colt speaks of having control of the new nature.

Now we come to one of the most important judges of Israel in Scripture, the story of Shimshon Ben Manoach, or Samson the son of Manoach, which covers Judges 13.1 through 16.31. Samson means “sunshine” and Manoach means “rest.” We will see that Samson is a picture of the Messiah in his strengths, and mankind in his weaknesses So, lets begin in Judges 13.1-25.

The sad cycle of evil starts again in Israel and the Lord gave them into the hands of the Philistines (“wallowers”-2 Pet 2.22-symbolic of apostasy) for forty (“testing”) years. This was probably a gradual slide through the years and that is what apostasy does in congregations today. There was a man who lived in Zorah (“she was smitten with leprosy” which alludes to Israel in sin) of the family of the Danites (“judge”) whose name was Manoach (“rest”). His wife was barren and had borne no children, and the angel of the Lord appeared to the woman. This story is very similar to Joseph and Miriam (Luke 1.31). This was no ordinary angel but this was the second person of the Godhead on a mission (Gen 22.11; Judges 2.1-5, 6.11-24). He tells her that she will conceive and bear a son (Gen 3.15).

Now, this son came with special instructions. She was not to eat anything that comes from the vine, drink wine or eat any unclean thing. Her son was to be lifelong Nazarite (Judges 13.5) and devoted to God. He was not to cut his hair, drink no wine or eat grape products and avoid having any contact with the dead (Num 6.1-21). Now, taking a Nazarite vow was not unusual but taking one from the womb was very rare. She came to her husband and told him the story. Not knowing he was the angel of the Lord, she calls him a “man of God.” Manoach will not realize it right away either (v 21). Their son would deliver Israel from the Philistines (v 4-5). So, Manoach asks for confirmation in Judges 13.8, and the angel comes again to his wife and she was in the field. This alludes to Israel in “the world” waiting for the coming of the Messiah, but Manoach was not with her so she ran to get Manoach. He asks the angel if he was the same man who had spoken to his wife, and he says “I am.

He asks the angel about the boy and his mode of life and vocation. Being a Nazarite from birth, he sensed that he would have a special calling. Then the angel went over all the special instructions. Manoach then wants the angel stay while he prepared a kid for him, showing his hospitality. But the angel said he would not eat with him, but if they prepared a Korban Minchah and a Korban Olah and offered it to Yehovah he would stay. Manoach didn’t know this was an angel either (v 16). Spiritually, unbelieving Israel can have no communion with God until Yeshua is accepted. Israel is also ignorant of the fact that Yeshua is the angel of the Lord, but will eventually have that revealed to them.

Then Manoach says, “What is your name?” Jacob did the same thing in Gen 32.29 The angel asks, “Why do you ask my name, seeing that it is hidden?” (meaning incomprehensible). This alludes to Exo 6.3; Rev 19.12; Isa 30.27; Isa 9.6; Rev 21.20; Psa 119.18, 129). So, Manoach took the kid with a grain offering and offered it on the rock to Yehovah, and he performed wonders while Manoach and his wife looked on (bringing fire out of the rock). Flames went up from the altar toward heaven and the angel of the Lord ascended in the flame. When they saw this they fell on their faces. This alludes to Yeshua ascending to heaven in Acts 1.9 and being received in a cloud after he had been offered on the “rock” (Golgotha).

Manoach now realizes that that this was no “man of God” but an angel of the Lord and they have seen God, and he feared for their lives. But his wife, being less fearful, said if the Lord wanted to kill them he would not have made the promises he did and accepted their korban. Spiritually, this tells that if God wanted to harm us after showing us our sin we would have never been shown grace and mercy. Justice has been served and we can be assured that the Lord will not kill us and we also await his promises to us. Yeshua is our Korban Olah and Korban Minchah and he has been accepted and why he ascended to heaven in Acts 1.9-11.

So, his wife gave birth to a son and named his Shimshon meaning “sunshine” because of the shining countenance of the angel, and his job of leading Israel out of darkness. This alludes to the Messiah in Psa 19.4-5; Mal 4.2; Gen 32.31; Isa 30.26; Judges 5.31; Psa 84.11; Hab 3.4; Isa 59.19; Luke 1.78; Matt 17.1-2).

The Spirit of the Lord began to stir him in Mahaneh-dan (“camp of Dan”), between Zorah (“she was smitten with leprosy”) and Eshtaol (“petition”). This alludes to the fact that Yehovah will be sought out by those who are stirred by the Spirit and judge themselves and repent of leprosy (Zorah/zara’at).

We will pick up in Judges 14.1-20 in Part 12.

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Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Judges-Part 10

Judges 11.1-40 gives us the account of Yiftach (“he will open”) and his character, and of the elders who will call him to be a leader against the Ammonites. We will also deal with his controversial vow in Judges 11.31. Yiftach was from Gilead (where Elijah was from) and a valiant warrior. He was the son of a harlot and Gilead (“heap of witness”) his father.

Gilead’s wife bore him sons and she will be a type of unbelieving Israel, and when they got older they drove Yiftach out, and Joseph and Yeshua were rejected by their brethren (Gen 37.1-36; Mark 3.21; John 5.43, 7.5, 8.41). They told Yiftach that he will not have an inheritance in “our father’s house” and this is exactly what happened to Joseph and Yeshua. So, Yiftach fled from his brothers and lived in the land of Tob (“good”). The exact place is not known but it seems it was not far from Ammon because they hired soldiers from there (2 Sam 10.6). Tov alludes to the “good land” and place the believers are in. The poor and downtrodden gathered themselves to Yiftach because they had no hope, so they joined him. This what happened with Yeshua (Matt 15.22; Mark 2.15; Luke 7.39, 15.1).

When the sons of Ammon (“seed of the people”) came to fight against Israel, it alludes to the coming Birth-pains. The elders of Gilead went to Yiftach in the land of Tov and asked him to join them as their chief against the Ammonites. Of course Yiftach asks them, “Did you not hate me and drive me from my father’s house? So why have you come to me now when you are in trouble?” They accept him as their head and Yiftach goes with them. In the same way, Israel will call upon Yeshua in the birth-pains but before Yeshua can deliver them, they must accept him (Ezek 39.22; Hos 5.15; Matt 23.39).

Yiftach sends messengers to the king of Ammon and asks them what the problem is. Why do they want a war? Ammon answered and said that when Israel came up from Egypt they took their land, from the Arnon as far as the Jabbok and the Jordan. They wanted those lands returned. This is much like the argument today with the Arabs and Palestinians. Yiftach again sent messengers denying their charge and giving the true story of what happened, and how Yehovah himself gave Israel the land that was in question (Judges 11.14-27). But the king of Ammon disregarded the message from Yiftach. Now, Israel was forbidden to make war on Ammon in Deut 2.19, however, they could defend themselves.

Then the Ruach ha Kodesh came upon Yiftach and he passed through Gilead (“heap of witness”-Golgotha) and Manasseh (“to forget”), then he passed through Mizpah (“watchtower”) and on to to take on the sons of Ammon (“seed of the people”). In the same way, we don’t need to cling to the “old rugged cross” but move on, forgetting our past. Only then can we be watchful enough to take on the “seed of the people” in the world when they come, and they will come.

Now we come to one of the most controversial sections of Scripture, but not so much once we understand what really happened. Yiftach makes a vow and says, “If you will indeed give the sons of Ammon into my hand, then it will be that whatever comes out the of the doors of my house to meet me when I return in peace from the sons of Ammon, it shall be the Lord’s, and I will offer it up as a burnt offering.” We will come back to this verse later.

So, Yiftach crossed over and defeated Ammon, which is what Yeshua will do to his enemies, and when he returns, his daughter came out of the doors of the house to meet him. When he saw her, he tore his clothes and said, “Alas, my daughter! You have made me very low (depressed) and you are among those who trouble me; for I have given my word to Yehovah and I cannot take it back.” So she answers, “My father, you have given your word to Yehovah; do to me as you have said, since Yehovah has avenged you of your enemies, the sons of Ammon.” She went on to say, “Let this thing be done for me; let me alone two months, that I may go to the mountains and weep because of my virginity, I and my companions.”

Then Yiftach said, “Go.” So, he sent her away for two months and she left with her friends and wept on the mountains because she was going to remain a virgin. At the end of two months she returned to her father, who did to her according to the vow which he had made, and she had no relations with a man. Thus it became a custom in Israel that the daughters of Israel went yearly to commemorate (“l’tanot” meaning “celebrate”) the daughter of Yiftach the Gileadite four days in the year. By sending her to the service of the Mishkan, it shows just how serious Yiftach and his daughter took the vow.

As we have said, this is one of the most misunderstood portions of Scripture in the Tanak, Gospels and Epistles. So, let’s break this down and take a look at what is being communicated here. Yiftach did not offer his daughter as burnt offering (Korban Olah) and here is why. First of all, it says in Judges 11.31, “it shall be the Lord’s and I will offer it up as a burnt offering.” In Hebrew, the “and” in that verse can mean “or” meaning, “it shall be the Lord’s or I will offer it up as a burnt offering.” He did not offer her as a burnt offering because that would violate the Torah in Lev 20.2-3.

In the Mishkan we know that women participated in the construction of many items (Exo 35.25-26), and there were certain women who dedicated themselves to service there (Exo 38.8; 1 Sam 2.22). Samuel was dedicated to the Lord to serve there in 1 Sam 1.22-28 and in Luke 2.37 we learn of Anna who never left the Temple, serving night and day with fasting and prayer. Yiftach dedicated her to serve in the Mishkan as a “spiritual olah” who was totally dedicated to Yehovah, with her own free will and given with joy. These people never married and remained totally focused on Yehovah.

In the Torah you cannot sacrifice a person. The misunderstanding comes from a translation of the Hebrew letter “vav” as “and” and not “or.” BY using “or” it changes the whole meaning. Secondly, you cannot offer a korban to God something that was not permitted, like a deer, camel or especially a person. Third, sacrificing children was an abomination to Yehovah (Lev 20.1-3). Fourth, there is no precedent for such a thing anyway.

Fifth, no father by his own authority could put an offending child to death (Deut 21.18-21), much less an innocent one. Sixth, we have have already gone over the class of women who were devoted to Yehovah, the Mishkan and later the Temple services. Seven, the word in Judges 11.40 for “lament” in KJV and “commemorate” in NASB is “l’tanot” in Hebrew and it means “to celebrate.” Eight, Yiftach’s sorrow is due to the fact that he will have no descendants (Judges 11.34-36) because she was his only child. And in conclusion, it is possible she could have been redeemed from his vow by money based on Lev 27.1-5. So, she was not killed as a Korban Olah, but there are those who believe she was, and that is based on the lack of a Torah-based understanding of the Scriptures.

We will pick up in Judges 12.1-15 in Part 11.

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Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Judges-Part 9

Judges 10.1-18 tells us about two judges and how during their days Israel enjoyed peace. After they died, however, Israel turns against God again and were oppressed by their enemies for 18 years. The Ammonites invade and Israel confesses their sins and and the chapter ends with Israel preparing for battle. These judges will be picture of Yeshua.

After Abimelech died a man named Tola arose. His name is very prophetic and alludes to worm that secretes a red dye called “tolat shanni” that is used in the Mishkan. Psalm 22 is called the crucifixion psalm, and in Psa 22.6 it says, “But I am a worm (tola) and not a man, a reproach of men, and despised by the people.” This has clear allusions to Yeshua who was despised and placed on the cross. The female tola worm attaches itself to a tree and makes a hard shell. She cannot be detached from the tree without killing her. This worm lays her eggs under her shell and when the eggs hatch, they stay under that shell. The mother’s body gives protection and food.

After a few days the young ones are able to take care of themselves, and the mother dies. She oozes a scarlet red dye which stains the tree and her young ones, and they are red for the rest of their lives. After three days the dead mother’s body loses her scarlet color and turns into a white wax which falls to the ground. It is this red dye that is used to create the “tolat shanni” color that was used in the Mishkan and garments. So, in this psalm, it says, “I am a worm (tola)” and alludes to that fact that Yeshua is alluding to this worm and he has attached himself to a tree and gave up his life so that we be washed in his blood and “though your sins be as scarlet, they will be as white as snow (Isa 1.18).” Now, Tola was the son of Puah (“utterance/speech”), the son of Dodo (“his beloved”). He was from the tribe of Issachar (“my hiring”). He ruled for 23 years and died and was buried in Shamir (“to keep/guard”) in Ephraim (“fruitful”). Yeshua died as the first fruits (1 Cor 15.20) and he keeps us (Shamir) by his word or utterance, and we are his beloved.

After that Jair (“he will enlighten”) the Gileadite (“heap of witness”) arose and judged Israel for 22 years. Yeshua will enlighten us by his word and he died on Golgotha, the heap of witness. There are 22 letters in the Hebrew alphabet. Jair died and was buried in Kamon, meaning “to rise up” and this alludes to the resurrection of not only the Messiah, but our resurrection, too. Clearly, these two judges allude to Yeshua.

But the sons of Israel again did evil in the sight of Yehovah and served the Baals (“Master”) and the Ashtaroth (“mind readers”) the gods of the Syria (“elevated”), the gods of Sidon (“hunter/fisher”), the gods of Moab (“seed of the father”), the gods of the sons of Ammon (“seed of the people”) and the gods of the Philistines (“wallower”). The spiritual battle we fight is one of the mind and our enemy (the False Messiah is the “seed of the his father” the serpent-Gen 3.15) is hunting for those who will follow him from the world who think they have replaced Israel with the false doctrines of Replacement Theology Christianity (2 Pet 2.22) and other false religions.

As a result, Yehovah gave them over to the Philistines and Ammon and they crushed for 18 years. After the Lord had dealt with them, Israel cried out to Yehovah after the consequences of their sin came upon their own heads. Their cry seemed a little empty and the Lord told them that their hearts were not in a good place even thought they said the right words. After the Lord reminded them of all the good he had done for them he told them to call upon the gods they had been worshiping to help them. They answered and said, “Do to us whatever seems good to you; only please deliver us this day.”

It seems that Israel finally came to the place where where they totally surrendered to Yehovah and wanted to be delivered from the hands of men and into the hands of God, however he saw fit to deal with them. They showed the Lord evidence of the truth of their teshuvah (repentance) and that their humiliation was for real by putting away the foreign gods from among them and served Yehovah. As a result, it says that “his soul could bear the misery of Israel no longer.” This is stated in this way for us to understand that God decided to stop afflicting Israel and that he had good will towards them.

Ammon had crossed over the Jordan to fight against Judah, Benjamin and Ephraim (10.9), and then crossed back over the Jordan and camped in Gilead on the east side. Israel gathered together and camped in Mizpah (“watchtower”) in the territory of Manasseh (“to forget”). Although the forces had been gathered, there was no “man” to command them against the Ammonites. To encourage someone to come forth, they said that the man who does come forward shall be the judge or governor over all the people of Gilead (where Elijah was from).

God will always raise up a person to carry out the work that needs to be done. This is a clear set up for the rise of Yiftach (Jephtah) meaning “he will open” in the next chapter. He will be a picture of Yeshua who will open up the way of salvation for his people. There will also be allusions to the story of Joseph in who Yiftaach was and what he did, so we will look for that. A great work needed to be done and God prepared the Messiah to come and to accomplish that great work. The story of Yiftach will be very similar to the story of Joseph and Yeshua.

For example, Israel was looking for man to lead them, a Messiah (anointed one) to come and deliver them, much like Israel was during the first century. Yiftach was rejected by his brothers and driven out, gathered around him the undesirables and social misfits. He tells the king of the Ammonites that no one will take away what the Lord has given (Judges 11.21-27; John 10.28). We will touch on all of this and more in Part 10.

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Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Judges-Part 8

Judges 9.1-57 will give us insight into a character named Abimelech, but it will also give us insight into the Birth-pains, the False Messiah and the apostasy. As we have said before, these stories not only have a literal sense (Peshat) value but they they will have prophetic implications in the Sowd (hidden, secret) level. This chapter tells us about the crafty and cruel ways of Abimelech (“my father is king”), who is a type of the False Messiah. Abimelech is not the clear successor to his father and he had 70 other brothers (Judges 8.30, 9.5,18). In addition, a hereditary system of governing had not been established in Israel yet.

Abimelech went to Shechem (“shoulder”) to his mother’s relatives and he spoke with them about having one leader (himself) or 70 (all the sons of Gideon). The leaders heard these words and were inclined to follow Abimelech. They gave him 70 pieces of silver from the house of Baal-berith (“master of the covenant” and the false god of Apostate Christianity). His promotion was financial, religious and political. The False Messiah will get his power from the consent of unbelievers from the financial arena, Replacement Theology Christianity (RTC) and political leaders.

He went to his father’s house and killed all his brothers on one stone (the False Messiah will persecute his Jewish brethren who have faith in the living stone Yeshua-Rev 12.17). But Yotham (“Yehovah is perfect”) escaped and hid himself. He represents a small remnant who will escape the False Messiah during the Birth-pains. The men of Shechem and Beth-millo (“house of the earth” who represent the unbelieving Jew and Gentile in the world) assembled and made Abimelech king by the oak (represents the “tree” or crucifix which is the Abomination of Desolation in this case).

Yotham will be a type of the two witnesses and the 144,000 who will speak against the False Messiah. He goes to the top of Mount Gerizim (“cutting off”) near Shechem and he gives them a parable. He says that once the trees (Israel) went to anoint a king to reign over them, but the olive tree (Gideon, a good man) refused. Then the trees said to the fig tree (one of Gideon’s sons or another good man) to reign over them, but said no. Then they went to the vine (another symbol of a useful or good man) and asked it to reign over them, but the vine said no. Israel will not rule over the nations until it accepts Yeshua.

Finally the trees (Israel) went to the bramble (a useless fruitless tree) and asked it to reign over them. This Abimelech (or the False Messiah). The bramble says, “If in truth you are anointing me as king, come and take refuge in my shade.” This was a false promise because a bramble is too low to cast a shadow. This is just like the empty promises of the False Messiah. The bramble says, “But if not, may fire come out from the bramble and consume the cedars of Lebanon (the leaders and rulers).”

Yotham then says that if they have dealt in truth and integrity in making Abimelech king and have dealt well with Gideon and his house, then be happy with Abimelech and let him rejoice in you. But Gideon risked his life and delivered them from Midian, and they have risen up against his house and killed seventy men on one stone. But if they have not been dealing in truth and integrity, let fire come out from Abimelech and consume the men of Shechem and Beth-millo, and let fire come out from of Shechem and from Beth-millo and consume Abimelech. This alludes to the False Messiah consuming the False Kahal of “church” of Apostate Christianity. Yotham escaped and fled and went to Beer (“well”- which is symbolic of the word of God). At the halfway point of the Birth-pains believers will flee from the False Messiah (Isa 16.1-5; Rev 12.1-17).

Abimelech ruled over Israel three years, and the False Messiah rule rule over Israel for three and a half years. Then Yehovah sent an evil spirit between Abimelech and the people, just like the last three and a half years of the Birth-pains when many will turn against the False Messiah. As a result, there was war and the men of Shechem turn against Abimelech and try to ambush him, but he finds out. The men of Shechem have a festival and they curse Abimelech. Zebul (“exalted”), the ruler of the city, sent messengers to to Abimelech and said that Gaal (“loathing”) has stirred up the city against him.

So Abimelech and his men arose by night (a type of spiritual darkness of the world under the False Messiah) and had 400 men waiting in ambush. When Gaal came to the city gate, Abimelech and his people rushed against him from the hills, and Gaal went out to meet him and many fell dead at the entrance to the city. The next day the people went out to the field and Abimelech rose up and went out against them. Abimelech fought against the city all that day and captured the city and destroyed it. The leaders of Shechem heard of this and entered the inner chamber of the temple of El-berith (“God of the covenant”). Abimelech was told about this and he and his men cut down branches and set the temple on fire, along with the tower of Shechem. About a thousand men and women died. The utter destruction of Shechem is a type of the utter destruction of apostate Christianity and the seizure of its wealth.

Then Abimelech went to Thebez (“whiteness”) and camped against it. There was a strong tower (a citadel with walls) in the center of the city (this alludes to the Messiah) and the people of the city went into it for safety. Abimelech came to it and fought against it and tried to burn the entrance with fire. But a certain woman threw a millstone on Abimelech’s head and killed him, crushing his skull. This is like what happened to Sisera in Judges 4.21. This is a type of the destruction of the False Messiah by the stone (Gen 3.15, 28.18, 49.24; 1 Sam 17.4;, Hab 3.13; 1 Cor 10.4).

Abimelech called to his armor bearer and said, “Draw your sword and kill me, lest it be said of me, ‘A woman slew him.'” So he pierced him through, and he died. The sword is a picture of the word of God that comes against the False Messiah (Rev 19.11-16). When the men of Israel saw that Abimelech was dead, each departed and went home. There is a concept in the Scriptures called “midah kneged midah” which means “measure for measure.” God repaid the wickedness of Abimelech, which he had done to his father, in killing his seventy brothers. God also returned all the wickedness of the men of Shechem on their heads, and the curse of Yotham the son of Gideon came upon them. This chapter is not only telling us about a literal historical event (Peshat), but it is telling us about eschatological concepts concerning the False Messiah and the Birth-pains.

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Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Judges-Part 7

Judges 8.1-35 tells us about how the Ephraimites started complaining about not being sent to fight the Midianites. Gideon tells them that he only blew a few trumpets, broke pitchers and held torches, but the Lord did it all and sent the Midianites against one another. Gideon didn’t lose a man. He may have started the fight (“vintage of Abiezer”) but the Ephraimites “gleaned” by killing the two leaders (v 2). God gave Oreb and Zeev into their hands (v 3). Spiritually, we may be called on after a battle has begun. We may be part of the end of the battle, but we should not complain about that. We should be content with our own role.

Gideon pursues Zebah (“korban/sacrifice”) and Zalmunna (“shadow denied”), kings of Midian, on the east side of the Jordan. They had 15,000 men and Gideon became weary. He asks for provisions from the city of Sukkot and Penuel but they would not help. This was discouraging to Gideon and the people made excuses. The two kings had not been captured yet and they didn’t think Gideon could win with his little army. They feared that Zebah and Zalmunna would come back and punish them if they heard they had helped Gideon. So, Gideon said that when he captured these two kings, he was coming back for them. He knew he was going to win the peace.

Once they two kings had been captured, Gideon returned from battle by the ascent of Heres (rising of the sun). He captured a youth from Sukkot and questioned him, and the youth wrote down for him the princes of Sukkot and its 77 elders. God also keeps a record of what the believer and unbeliever has done. He brings the two kings with him to show them. He took briars from the wilderness and disciplined the elders of Sukkot, and then tore down the tower of Penuel and killed the men of the city as he had said he would do (8.9,17).

He then said to Zebah and Zalmunna, “What kind of men were they whom you killed at Tabor?” This is a type of the persecution of the believers. Tabor means “You will purge” alluding to the fact that the birth pains will purge those who persecuted the true believers (Rev 12.13-17). Apparently they had killed Gideon’s brothers and he wanted this known before he dealt with them (8.19). They answered, “They were like you, each one resembling the son of a king.” Spiritually, this alludes to the fact that we are like Messiah and this is our standing before God. He then took the crescent ornaments which were on their camels necks and killed Zebah and Zalmunna. These were replicas of the moon and alludes to the fact that the religion of the unbeliever will not save them either.

Then the men of Israel wanted Gideon to rule over them as a king, not just a judge, but Gideon refused and said that the Lord rules over them already. This request would be granted in the days of Samuel. He did ask for an earing from each of them from their spoils of war, besides the crescent ornaments, pendants and purple robes which were on the kings of Midian and the chains that were on the camels necks. This amounted to a great deal of gold (about 50 pounds), and Gideon then made it all into an ephod and placed it in his city of Ophel (dustiness). Gilgal, and later Shiloh, were the designated cities of worship selected by God in Ephraim, and this was a departure. All Israel played the harlot with it there, so it became a snare to the household of Gideon. He assumed the role of a religious leader and he lead Israel into idolatry. It is not known why Gideon did this, but he may have done it to set up an alternative place of worship to compete with the tribe that gave him trouble in the battle against the Midianites (8.1-3).

All of these items were associated with the enemy and it was mixed together with the true worship of God. Man has set up a carnal replacement theology in place of the Torah. Great religious art can impress us but it is not necessarily godly. Gideon may have been sincere but sincerity is not to be our measure for the truth. Despite the idolatry, God’s grace still blessed them and Midian was subdued. Peace is always the outcome when contention and strife (Midian) are subdued. The land was undisturbed for 40 years (time of testing) and Gideon went to live in his own house. He may have provided a physical security but he did a lot of spiritual damage.

Gideon had 70 sons (God has many sons, 70 is a number of completion) because he had many wives. The Torah does not expressly prohibit polygamy but it does show that these relationships usually end up with bitter consequences. He also had a concubine in Shechem, meaning “shoulder/strength.” She had a house there or lived with her father and Gideon would visit there when he went to Shechem as a judge. This symbolizes the strength of the false kahal (assembly) that can even be seen today. They had a son named Abimelech (my father is king) and alludes to the fact that Gideon may have been trying to set up a hereditary leadership system. Could the name have been chosen to indicate that his son was to be the leader after he was gone (which they did in Judges 9.6)?

Gideon died at a ripe old age and was buried in the tomb of his father Joash in Ophrah of the Abiezrites. But as soon as he was dead, the sons of Israel again played the harlot with the Baals and made Baal-berith (master of the covenant) their god. He handled adversity better than he handled success because his reputation and riches brought him down eventually. His influence was strong as long as he was alive, and this is like the first century. As long as the people who knew Yeshua were alive (Peter, Matthew, James, etc) their influence was strong, but when they passed away the faith departed from the Torah into Rabbinic Judaism and Apostate Christianity.

Israel did not remember the Lord their God who had delivered them so many times in the past. How did they do that? They neglected the Torah, failed to pray and assemble together to hear the true word of God taught. They also failed to show kindness to the household of Gideon in accordance with all the good he had done for Israel. They showed ingratitude to the instrument of their deliverance.

We will pick up here in Part 8.

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