Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Job-Part 6

Job 20.1-29 tells us that Zophar answers Job and says Job’s words “disquieted” him and he is inwardly agitated (v 2). This has caused Zophar to speak up because he felt like Job reproached him, so his rational mind (“spirit of my understanding”) has prompted him to answer (v 3).

He again claims some sort of authority by saying in v 4, “Do you not know” meaning “everybody knows this” so what he is going to say proves his claim that Job was a hypocrite. Any good a wicked person (like Job) has experienced will quickly pass (v 5-11). He goes on to describe the life of a wicked person in v 12-19. Job may have enjoyed some good things in life, but God will be against him eventually and then everything goes bad. Zophar is implying that Job is this wicked person.

In Job 20.20-29 he says that Job has no satisfaction within him because he is wicked, and there is no escape. God is angry with him and nobody can put out the “unfanned fire” against him because it was started by God. The arrows of God, even if he escapes the iron weapon, will find him. In other words, if he escapes one judgment, another will find him. What has happened so far is Job’s friends came to him and they didn’t seem to regard him as wicked (Job 2.11-13). However, when they tried to make Job understand he was a sinner, Job didn’t agree with them. So they began to think he was being stubborn. Once they reasoned that he was a wicked man, they became convinced he was being a hypocrite and anything he says is just a cover and lies.

Zophar is convinced that Job deserves what is happening to him. The mistake they are making is they are focusing on his material losses, and not seeing the spiritual aspects to all this. Zophar’s conclusion (he speaks no more in this book) is that the wrath of God is upon Job and his “heritage” now. Now, Zophar is not totally wrong in this chapter. There is judgment on the wicked by God and some of the things that are happening to Job is done to them (the wicked). But in Job’s case, he is not a wicked person and these calamities do not come from God, but Satan. He is trying to get Job to curse God (Job 2.1-6).

In Job 21.1-34 Job answers and says that he is not going to listen to man’s wisdom, just like they are not listening to him. But he says, “Listen” and after you can mock him (v 1-3). He asks them why they are so upset with him. He isn’t against them. He also says that his complaint is with Yehovah, and why shouldn’t he be impatient, he is getting no answer. He tells them to “put your hand over your mouth” and be silent. When he thinks of the providences of God, he is disturbed. He see’s the different treatment of the good and bad.

According to the wisdom of his friends, since Job is suffering all these things, he must be wicked, but that is how man thinks. Job says, “I hate to tell you this but the wicked prosper and have long lives (v 7).” Their descendants carry on after them. Their houses are safe from fear and God’s chastisement (rod) is not on them. Their livestock prospers, they sing and rejoice and live in prosperity and with ease go down to Sheol (abode of the dead). In life they say to God, “Depart from us! We don not even desire the knowledge of thy ways. Who is the Almighty that we should serve him (like Pharaoh said) and what would we gain if we entreat him (v 14-15)?” Obviously they have no concept of the rewards to be given in the Olam Haba. Their prosperity will not stay with them to keep and Job shunned their impious thoughts, words and deeds (v 4-16).

In Job 21.17-26 Job asks how often “is the lamp (life) of the wicked put out” or does “their calamity fall on them?” Job implies not very often. Job says when they live in their wickedness they are not killed, and blessed in what they do. Job is saying that they are presenting a case to him that is just as reverse as what they are saying to him. Are their bodies like stubble in the wind, carried off by a storm (v 18)? The answer is “No.”

Job tells them, “Are you saying that the sins of the father will be taken out on the children if punishment is delayed (v 19)? God is not going to do that. Each person will answer for his own sin. If the children continue their sinful ways of the fathers, then that child will be punished for what he has done, not for his father.

God is wise, but the wicked seem to prosper and the righteous suffer. Job is questioning God’s ways. But he knows he was wrong so he says, “Can anyone teach God knowledge?” The answer is “No!” God does things that seem to contradict in man’s eyes, but we don’t know the whole story. Job thinks that it is somewhat unfair that the righteous and the wicked lie in the grave and nobody can tell who is who.

In Job 21.27-34 Job says he knows what his friends are thinking after all this. They were shocked that he questioned God. He knew they were thinking he was a hypocrite and he thinks different than they do. He is telling them that we can’t develop a law of retribution based on what we observe in this life. But who ever confronts an evil person and tells him to his face that he is in danger and reserved for the day of calamity and the day of fury (Day of the Lord-v 30)? Who will confront him with his actions? The answer is “nobody.” The wicked will die and have great funerals and pompous ceremonies.

Then he asks his friends, “How then will you vainly comfort me?” He says he has shown them that good men suffer and the wicked prosper, so their “comfort” in telling him that he suffers because he is wicked is not correct. Telling him to repent is no comfort at all. Job has won a victory over their false doctrines. He knows that just because he is afflicted does not mean he is wicked. God’s plan plays a role but Job cannot see what it is a this point.

In Job 22.1-30 Eliphaz is going to get angry with Job and this is his last reply. He asks Job if he thinks he can change God by what he is saying? He tells Job that his point is, God does not send prosperity to some and calamities to others. It is because of what they do, so Job’s problems prove he is guilty. He then begins to list some of Job’s alleged crimes. He doesn’t believe Job was a man who feared God and that God was dealing with him. He accuses Job falsely of stealing from the poor, neglecting the starving and of oppression. That is how Job got rich according to Eliphaz (v 6-11). Now Job has been ensnared by dread and fear and calamity (darkness) has come to Job so he can’t understand (“so that you cannot see”). The “abundant waters” that cover him is affliction (Psa 69, Psa 88).

In Job 22.12-16 Eliphaz will attack Job’s theology and concept of God, and he makes a contrast between the righteous and the wicked. He thinks Job has not admitted his wrong doing because Job doesn’t understand God. He warns Job about following the ancient path of those who were “snatched away before their time” and washed away by a flood. This will be an allusion to the state of the people before the flood of Noah.

In Job 22.17-21 it says they rejected God and said, “Depart from us” and “What can the Almighty do to them?” But he filled their houses with good things like Job, and they were ungrateful. But the righteous are glad that God is vindicated by his judgments. They are happy that their adversaries are no more and their possessions are consumed by fire.

In Job 22.22-26 Eliphaz tells Job he needs to get right with the Lord and be at peace. He wants Job to receive instruction and treasure his words in his heart. This is good counsel if Job was the problem, but he isn’t the root of what is going on (Job 1.6-22, 2.1-6). Job was agonizing because he did not take “delight” in the Lord.

In Job 22.27-30 he tells Job that he needs to “decree (lift up your voice in prayer and repentance) a thing and it will be established for you (by faith, and God will answer.” When Job is cast down he shall still prosper, and God will save the humble (Eliphaz is suggesting that Job is not). He says even the wicked will be delivered because of Job’s prayers, and ironically, that is exactly what Job will do for his friends in Job 42.7-8. All Job needs to do is get right with God and listen to what Eliphaz is telling him.

Job 23.1-17 tells us that Job has not been helped by the speech of Eliphaz, and he still feels desperate and he still can’t hear from God for himself. He would “present” his case as in court before Yehovah, especially after hearing the false accusations of his friends. Job knows he has a clear conscience and would find favor with God, and that God was not against him like his friends say (v 1-7).

Job has looked everywhere for Yehovah but cannot perceive him. He has gone forward, backward, to the left and to the right but can’t see him (v 8-9). But the Lord knows where he is and Job shows his great faith here when he says that even though he cannot connect with the Lord, he has confidence (emunah/faith) that God will bring him through this life like gold (v 10). In Job 22.11-12 it says he has walked in God’s ways and he has “treasured the words of his mouth.” But how did God speak?God spoke to Job through what Jacob and the family taught (remember he is Jacob’s grandson) through the oral commands that were passed down before there was the Torah or written word. For an example of this concept, Moses taught the people “the statutes of God and the laws (Torah)” before the written law was given on Mount Sinai (Exo 18.13-16).

But it says in Job 22.13-17 that Job cannot make God do anything even though he trusted him. God was going to do with Job “what is appointed for me” and many such “decrees are with him (v 14).” This makes Job “dismayed” at the presence of the Lord (his hand of affliction) and when he thinks about all this, he is terrified. But he has not been silenced (by death) by these afflictions just yet (v 15-17).

We will pick up in Job 24.1-25 in Part 7.

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Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Job-Part 5

Having answered his three friends, Eliphaz now speaks again in Job 15.1-35. He begins to dispute what Job has said and basically says Job has “filled himself with the east wind” and was full of unprofitable talk (v 1-3). Eliphaz says Job has done away with the fear of God and any true meditation and prayer to God. He says when Job talks he is uttering iniquity in his heart, and he is lying (v 4-6). Basically, he is saying that if Job was so wise he wouldn’t be so proud and full of loud boasting.

He says to Job, “Were you the first man to be born, or were you brought forth before the hills” (so old he thinks he is smarter than everyone else, including God…v 7-11)? He also says Job is prideful and full of conceit of others, and the Lord is angry with him about this (v 12-13).

Eliphaz does not understand how Job can be as innocent before God as he says he is? If God puts no trust in his holy ones (angels), and the heavens (the inhabitants thereof) are not pure, how much less is Job who is detestable and a sinner, who sins like he is drinking water (v 14-16). Eliphaz then tells him about what he has seen, and “everybody knows this.” Only the wicked suffer like Job does, and t he sooner he admits that he is a sinner the better it will be. He accuses Job of being defiant in this and being stubborn (v 17-26).

He then tells Job that even the wicked succeed for awhile (like Job did), but that is just a show. Job was actually poor and has a gross misunderstanding about God. This is a true statement about the wicked, but it was not true about Job. But Eliphaz keeps accusing Job of all sorts of sins and of “bringing forth iniquity” through deceit, corruption and foolishness (v 27-35). Job is being attacked in his body by Satan and his friends are accusing him falsely. What Job didn’t know is God is only going to let them go so far.

In Job 16.1-22 Job answers Eliphaz and we learn that Job thinks his friends are “sorry comforters.” Job tells them that what they are saying is “old news” and he has heard that before. Like his friends have said, “everyone knows these things” (Job 15.14-15). Job is giving it right back to them here (see Job 6.15). He said that what his friends have been saying is a bag of windy speeches. He could act like they do, unsympathetic and concerning (v 1-5).

Talking to them does nothing to ease his suffering and is a waste of time. If he doesn’t talk, he looks guilty. He is tired and God has “exhausted him.” His family is gone and his friends are useless. His body is wasting away and he is skin and bones, so even that testifies against him. He says that Go9d has torn him, and hunted him down. He says, “My enemy glares (sharpens his eyes) at me” thinking it is God who is his adversary, but we know he is totally mistaken here. He believes God is using his three friends as instruments to lay charges upon him and reproach him (v 6-11).

He remembers he was at ease with good things in life, but then he was shattered. He calls his diseases and his friends “his arrows” that surrounded him without mercy (v 12-14). He recounts how he demonstrated his grief with sackcloth and dust on his head. He was not a violent man and he just doesn’t understand how this is happening to him. His prayers are pure and he will not give up his conviction that his conscience is clear. He was not God’s enemy and is not the man his friends say he is (v 15-17).

Job then appeals to creation saying, , “O earth, do not cover up my blood.” In other words, let it cry out about the injustice done to him if he dies (v 18). We see Job’s struggle in v 19 when he says, “Even now, behold, my witness is in heaven and my advocate is on high.” A few verses earlier he thought God was fighting against him. But in truth, he believed that there was a witness in heaven that knew the truth about him, but he is still in agony.

In this verse we see the role of Yeshua and Job’s foresight about the coming Messiah (1 Tim 2.5; 1 John 2.1) Job knew he needed a “lawyer” (advocate) and someone who knew the truth and would stand in the gap between heaven and earth for him and prove his case. In this we see that Job showed a confidence in Yeshua even before he ever came. This is called faith and this was according to the promise of God going all the way back to Eden (Gen 3.15). Although Job did not live to see Yeshua, he had confidence (faith) in that promise (v 19-22).

Job 17.1-16 continues with Job’s dialogue and it tells us that Job’s spirit is broken because of his pain, and he is surrounded by mockers. His friends had sympathy at the beginning, but now they mock him. He asks God to set things right because he does not know what to do (v 1-3). He tells his friends that deceitful tongues will be punished and for some reason God has kept them from understanding and they will be held accountable. Their lack of understanding was proof that God was displeased with them (v 4-5).

Job has been humiliated and people find it hard to believe that this has happened to a good man. They saw God behind it all put it was hard to see God’s plan. His weeping has made his eyes dim and his flesh was consumed. But, the righteous will vindicate him in the future. Job knows he is right and he will hold fast to his integrity and grow stronger (v 6-9).

Job cannot find one person who has judged him correctly and he has accepted that his good days are past and may be looking at a slow decline instead of a quick end to his misery (v 10-11). His griefs disturb him so much that he can no more sleep at night than in the day. The “light is short” means that daytime can give comfort to people in distress, but not to him because he is “in the presence of darkness” (his pains follow him during the day and the night-v 12). The grave will soon be his bed and Sheol will be like a family member who is close. It was vain and empty to feed him with hope of outward happiness (v 13-16).

In Job 18.1-27 Bildad objects to what Job has said. He basically tells Job to stop babbling and to start listening. He was getting tired of listening to Job talk. He tells Job that his condition speaks for itself, Job is in sin. Are you so important that the world will stop when you die (v 1-4)? Bildad says, “The light (reason) of the wicked goes out” because he wants Job to see that he is among the wicked. He wants Job to see that the wicked gets what is coming to them. Job’s dark outlook on life means he is wicked. Bildad believes the wicked man’s steps are shortened and his wicked days will bring him down. He walks into his own snare (v 5-10).

Bildad uses as evidence that Job is wicked all the afflictions he has suffered. He says the wicked are “full of terror” and his strength is diminished, and his skin is devoured (Job 2.7-8, 7.5, 30.30). His soul is taken (Psa 52.5) and he is taken before the king of terrors (horrors/death). He is judged and utterly consumed and there is nothing left. Nobody will remember him and this was a very evil statement because Job has lost all his children and has no heir. He says, “Those in the west (those who come after him) are appalled at his fate, and those in the east (alive now by comparison) are seized with horror. Bildad says that Job is in “the dwellings of the wicked” and this is the place for those who don’t know God (v 11-21).

In Job 19.1-29 Job feels insulted and that his friends don’t understand. They crush him with their words and insulted him “ten times” which is an idiom meaning “many.” Job says, “even if I have truly erred, my error lodges with me” meaning his sin is nothing to them, why are they so troubled about it? If they insist on this kind of proof they need to listen. He is not a guilty man and if God has sent this upon him, then God has wronged him and will not give him a fair hearing. But we can understand Job’s frustrations here, and good people have thought and said similar things under oppression. He tells Bildad that these afflictions are by God’s hand so be careful as to “why” you think they are happening and be cautious of what you say concerning his dealings (v 1-6).

Job says he prays “violence” to God because of what his friends have been saying as if he is in a courtroom, but gets no answer or help. His “troops” (afflictions) have marched against him and have camped around his tent like in a siege. Job feels like one of God’s enemies, but Job still doesn’t know that God favored him and expected him to weather these afflictions by faith, even when he is being besieged by afflictions and negative feelings (v 7-12).

He even says that God has removed his brothers from him, meaning, he expected to find comfort with family but they are so shocked that they fled from him (v 13-14). Those that dwell in his house have failed him and even seen as a foreigner in their sight, and even his servants don’t answer him when he calls. Everyone has failed him (v 15-16). His “breath is offensive to my wife” and this means his words are alien to her and she won’t answer him, just like the servant in v 16. In verse 18 it says, “young children despise me” but it is the Hebrew word “evelim” here and it means “fools, or the wicked.” His associates (Hebrew “sowdi” meaning inner council of intimate friends) abhor him, even those he loved. All he had left was the “skin of his teeth” (that which covers the teeth) or the ability to talk (v 16-20). Satan left those intact so he could talk and curse God in front of everyone.

He wants his friends to have sympathy for him instead of persecuting him as if they were in God’s place (v 21-22). Jon 19.23-27 is showing us how sure Job was in his faith, and this is how sure we should be when we hear from God. He wished his words were written and in a book “with an iron stylus and lead and engraved in the rock forever” (and they were).

Job 19.25 is an eschatological verse where he says, “I know that my redeemer lives” which is an amazing statement. He knows he has a goel (kinsman redeemer) or an “avenger of blood.” He is saying that the wrong done to him will find their avenger of blood (goel). He knows his goel lives and will avenge him. He then goes on to say that “at the last (in the latter days, the Day of the Lord) he will take his stand on the earth (Job 14.10-15; Isa11.10, 13.2, 18.3, 26.19; 1 Cor 15.50-58; 1 Thes 4.13-18; 2 Thes 2.3). Even “after my skin is destroyed, yet from my flesh I shall see God” meaning he will be raised and his body will be incorruptible (1 Cor 15.53-55). He will behold Yehovah and his heart yearns for this resurrection.

But if everyone wants to continue this and ask themselves, “How shall we persecute him” and “What pretext for a case against him can we find” then they are to be very afraid of the sword of divine judgment and justice for themselves, for “wrath brings the punishment of the sword (to avenge the wrongs to the innocent), so that you may know there is judgment (justice by the hand of the Lord).” He tells them this because Job believes he will be vindicated so he will wait on Yehovah (v 26-29).

In Part 6, we will pick up in Job 20.1-29.

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 Job-Part 4

In Job 10.1-22 Job still blames God for all his troubles, and his friends say it is because of Job’s sins that God is judging him. He wants Yehovah to show him what he can do to please him and stop his afflictions. Job complains that God oppresses the innocent, despises the work of his own hands and that God blesses the wicked. He is going too far here (v 1-3).

He wants to know if God is like man now, who is unfair. But God knows he is innocent, so why all the trouble? He is not wicked like his friends say he is, and God can stop this any time he wants. Job is sure that he is innocent, and God is fair, but he hasn’t found out that it is Satan causing all this yet, and as far as we know, he never will. He is close, and he is questioning God, but he has not cursed him (v 4-7).

Job was formed “round about” by God like a potter works clay, is he going to turn him into dust again (v 8-11)? God has always blessed Job and all he has known is success. Now, he has trouble and he doesn’t know why. But Yehovah knows why and is he trying to keep him off guard (v12-13)? Job is confused about this whole affair (v 14-15).

If Job holds his head up, God comes along and puts him down he thinks. God renews witnesses (afflictions) against him. Job 10.17 carries the idea of warfare. One “hardship” (Hebrew “tzava”=war) after “hardship” (war). Believers can take authority over Satan and his army and order him out of our lives like Yeshua did. We can get the things that make us unhappy out of our lives and set our hearts on God (Luke 10.18-19). But Job is sick of life and wishes he was never born. He is feeling sorry for himself, as we would be, too, over a lot less. Job has a dark view of death here (v 16-22). This can happen to us as well. If we don’t keep our minds on Yehovah, we will listen to evil spirits and be consumed with a dark view of life also.

In Job 11.1-20 we now have Zophar (sparrow) giving his opinions. He will be like a sparrow who goes about his business, and everybody else’s business too. Then when trouble comes, they disappear. He will attack Job very severely and says Job deserves worse. He stood by and listened to his two other friends, and to what Job said in reply. He says right off that a multitude of words should be answered, but many words does not make him (Job) right (v 1-2).

Zophar says shall a person talk nonsense and nobody confront you about how you talk to the Lord? Well, Zophar is now coming forward to set Job straight. He says Job has claimed to be innocent before God, but he tells Job that he better hope that God doesn’t “open his lips” and speak against Job about what he has said up to now, and convince Job of his sins. He will show Job “the secrets of wisdom” and Job will know why all this is happening (v 3-6).\

Can Job understand God or stop him when he comes to bring him to judgment? Can anyone hinder him (v 7-12)? He tells Job to repent and turn to God. He wants Job to root out all wickedness, but Zophar does not know that God is not doing this, either. Job was blameless in God’s eyes, and Job knows that he has not sinned. He wants Job to confess his sins and repent because he could then “lift up his face” without moral defect and he would be steadfast and not fear (v 15). But, in truth, it would not matter how many times Job repented because he hasn’t done anything. Also, Satan is the one causing Jobs afflictions and he won’t listen to what Job says, he wants Job to curse God. Satan knows what Job is going through and knows that he is in distress about the cause, and probably thinks it is funny. Zophar says that because Job wants to die, it proves that he is wicked (v 13-20).

In Job 12.1-25 Job finally responds to his three friends, and he is going to get sarcastic in saying that his friends act as if they have all the wisdom, and when they die, wisdom dies with them (v 1-2). But Job understood more that his friends give him credit for. They mock him and don’t understand. Job knows what his life was like and he could call on God and get an answer. Job wasn’t a “lamp” ready to slip because things were going well. The tents of the destroyers prosper and those who provoke the Lord are safe, so now he thinks his former understandings of God might be wrong (v 3-6), but the solution to this is Psa 73.

Job says that all creation knows the power of God and Job says if you want to know the Lord, look at how God governs the world (v 7-12). Then in Job 12.13-25 Job describes the power of God and rebukes Zophar’s speech. Zophar does not know God and Job is not stupid, so don’t bring that up again (as in 11.12). He then describes the power and wisdom of God. Whatever God wants to do with a person, he does it. He can tear down a person and build him back up again. He can cause a drought that causes a famine, or cause it to rain and bring a flood. The misled and the misleader was created by God. Eschatologically, even Satan will go to destruction, along with the False Messiah, the False Prophet and those who follow them.

We can take counselors and mix up their thoughts to where their words are foolish (v 17). He can make a king’s edict disappear, and “binds their loins with a girdle” (can make those kings a servant). Priests can be demoted and can bring down the mighty in the land. He will make those who are trusted and in positions of leadership and cause them to say dumb things (v 18-20). He controls those in charge and causes their decisions to be weak (v 21).

There are many “mysteries” (Hebrew “sowd” meaning “hidden, secret) in God’s plan and he can reveal them to whoever he wants, or hide them from whoever he wants. He also can make a nation great, then destroys them. Everything that happens in a nation comes from Yehovah. He can cause nations to have treaties one minute, and then have them go to war with each other the next minute. He can cause presidents, kings and rulers of all nations (“chiefs of the earth”) to become confused and not be able to tell good from evil. They will make good decisions, then have them make bad decisions. God can cause them to be blinded about important things and focus on foolish things. When we see all the confusion in a nation, they are likened to drunks who stagger around in the darkness. News today is nothing but a bunch of fools speaking their minds, so keep this in mind when we see the politics in the land.

Job 13.1-28 continues with Job’s speech to Zophar. Job has extensive knowledge and is not “less knowing” than his friends. He has seen everything that he is speaking about and understands it. Job doesn’t want to argue with his friends, he wants answers from God himself (v 1-2). His friends tell him to repent, but put no true knowledge into Job’s mind (v 3-4). They are like bible teachers today. They tell you what you are doing wrong, but don’t know the plan of God, or refer you to the Torah because they don’t believe it applies because they are not under the Torah. They would be much wiser if they would just be quiet and stop talking (v 5). He wants them to listen to him and he can plead his own case.

Are they going to be like God and Judge him? If they do, God is going to put them in their place. Their words are like ashes, easily blown away, and their defenses are like clay, easily broken (v 3-12). He wants them to be quiet so he can speak. When he is speaking truth, he has no fear of reproach. Why should he “take my flesh in my lip” (meaning “bit my lip” or “be quiet”).

Even if God takes his life, he will trust in the Lord and will present his case, and in the end he will be vindicated (and he was). He asks who is going to dispute with him, and if proven wrong he will be silent and die (v 13-19).

He tells the Lord to reveal to him of sin is really the problem. What has he been charges with, arraigned, condemned and punished for? Job likens himself to a leaf that is blown away by the wind. They are falling and trodden under foot. They are worthless, weak and nobody cares. Job knew he was a sinner and was afraid God was holding these things against him now. He feels he has no escape, like his feet are in stocks. He is decaying like a “rotten thing” and a garment that is “moth-eaten” (v 20-28).

Job 14.1-22 tells us about the finality of death. He talks about man who is “born of woman” meaning frail, weak and subject to temptation. LIke a flower that comes from the ground (like a womb) that flourishes then withers (v 1-3). He then says, “Who can make the clean out of the unclean?” IN other words, there is none born righteous and pure. The only one who can make a person clean is the Lord (v 4).

Job is telling his friends he is not clean like they were accusing him of being. Spiritually, we can’t call a thing clean if it is unclean by the Lord’s standard and word, the Torah. We can’t call animals that God has declared forbidden to eat acceptable to eat now. But many religions do just that, but this verse negates that view. A rose by any other name is still a rose.

Man’s days are determined by God and the number of his months are also with God (Psa 139.16). God has limited each person to a life. It would be better if God would just “look away” so an afflicted one (Job) could rest (v 5-6).

In Job 14.7-12 is a passage that deals with the resurrection. Job says there is hope for a tree when it is cut down that it will sprout again because the roots will not fail. At the scent of water it will flourish, even if the stump is old in the ground. This is an allusion to Israel, a “cursed tree.” Een that tree has hope (Mic 7.1-2; Mark 11.12-14; Jer 31.15-31; Hos 6.1-3, 14.1-9; Song 2.13; Job 19.25-26). Israel as a nation will rise (Joel 2.28; Ezek 39.22; Rom 11.26; Isa 66.7-9; Amos 9.15).

But Job is also talking about two aspects of man, flesh and spirit. He is talking about the mortal body in v 10-12. It dies and lies prostrate. Man is cut down and will not rise (Ecc 12.7). The body stays in the ground and the body will not “wake up” or be aroused out of his sleep by others.

Job 14.13-17 then tells us that Job wants God to tell him how long his life will be, don’t keep me in the dark. He asks the question, “If a man dies will he live again? All the days of my struggle I will wait, until my change comes” (v 15). Job is looking for that change when he dies and it will at least give him a rest from all his afflictions. God will call, and Job will answer because then God will receive the work of his hands (his body-v 15).

Yehovah has numbered Job’s steps and Job’s sins, transgressions and iniquities are “sealed in a bag” (v 17). Sin is an unintentional violation, a transgression is rebellion and iniquities are intentional due to a weakness. Job doesn’t even know what these are in his case. He is puzzled as to why all of this is happening to him. He doesn’t know it is Satan doing this, not Yehovah punishing him for any sins, transgressions or iniquities.

We know that when a believer dies his mortal body returns to the dust and his spirit lives and goes to the Lord (Ecc 12.7). God will call and we will answer (Isa 13.2, 18.3, 26.19; Eph 5.14; 1 Cor 15.50-53; 1 John 3.2; Phil 3.21; Psa 17.15; Rev 4.1).

Job 14. 18-22 tells us that Job returns to similes about the fallen state of man. Job hoped for a restoration of his relationship with God after he died. He erroneously thinks that relationship has been broken, but it wasn’t. God’s power is limitless and if he sets himself against a man, group or nation, God will take away any hope that he will live again in the world after he dies, and he will prevail. There is nothing he can do. He doesn’t know what happens to his family after he is gone, or what happens in the world for that matter. His body will corrupt in the grave, and his soul regrets that he was ever born.

We will pick up in Job 15.1-35 in Part 5.

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Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Job-Part 3

In Job 6.1-30 Job begins to defend himself and says Eliphaz has not proved a thing. His suffering was great and Eliphaz only made it worse, and God confirms it at the end of the book (Job 42.7). Job admits that his words in Chapter 3 were hasty, but he did not curse Yehovah. He was under a lot of pressure and pain. He is mistaken in verse 4 when he says, “The arrows of the almighty are within me” because it was Satan who was doing it (Job 2.6).

Even the animals don’t complain without a reason (v 5) and in this Job is saying he has a reason because he has not sinned like Eliphaz was saying. Their words were useless and tasteless like unsalted food or the white of an egg. In the same way Job refuses to “eat” the words of Eliphaz (v 6-7).

Job just wants his misery to end (v 8-9) and his one consolation is he haas not denied (hidden) the words of Yehovah, he is faithful. But the load is too great for him to carry and prolonging his life won’t do him any good. His strength is not like a cornerstone or foundation that can support a building, or like brass that can hold a load. He is flesh and blood, weak, and death would be better (v 12).

He thinks he should be pitied, not insulted. Job should be shown kindness from his friends (v 14), but they do not fear the Lord because they do not show Job kindness. Jam 1.26 says, “If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart ,this man’s religion is worthless.” His friends have acted deceitfully “like a wadi” and this means that they are like a wadi that is fed by rain and snow. At first, it looks like a big river, but then it fades to a dry creek bed and fades. When Job was prosperous they looked like friends, but now they look like unfaithful and deceitful people who offer no comfort to him (Job 16.1). When you really need the water of comfort it isn’t there (v 15-17). The caravans look for water and they are disappointed. They trusted that there was water, and were ashamed (v 20).

Job says his friends have become like that. They see what happened to him, and they think it would happen to them if they comfort him because they think this is a righteous judgment of God (v 21). Did Job invite them? Did he even ask for their help (v 22-23)? He wants them to show him where he is wrong, he is open to it (v 24).

But their arguments had no truth in them and they didn’t prove a thing. Were they going to just use words with no reasoning behind them? Job’s words were as the “wind” and empty to them and they weren’t even going to listen (v 25-26). He compares himself to an “orphan” who has nothing, and they come to overwhelm him even more and entangle him in a pit of words (v 27).

Job asks them to look upon him favorably and think of him with better thoughts. He tells them to look at him and see if they can detect and falsehood in what he is saying (v 28). He wants them to stop looking at him with criticism before they go too far and sin. He wants them to hear what he is trying to tell them. If they do, they will see that he has not done evil and that his senses can tell the difference between good and evil (v 29-30, 12.11).

In Job 7.1-21 Job begins to defend himself before Yehovah. There is a set time for a person to be born and to die. He is like a man who is hired for a set time, it is fixed before God. He works and his days are full of trouble (v 1). Man is like a servant who “pants” for the shade after his work is done. He looks forward to the time he can rest, and get his reward (v 2). In the same way, Job are allotted a certain time to work, but it is empty of joy. He gets no rest because of his afflictions and he can’t sleep, and that just leads to more weariness (v 3-4).

His flesh is clothed with worms and crusty dirt, with boils and ulcers and he wants it all to end (v 5-6). He says his days in general , especially his prosperous days, went quickly and he wished for them again (Job 29.1-25). His life is like the wind, poor and weak like an air bubble. He did not think he would ever see good in this world again (v 7). After he has died, no eye will behold him in the “land of the living” anymore and he will vanish and not return, so he is going to speak what is on his mind now (v 8-11).

Is he like the raging, tossing sea that stirs up trouble and dirt? This is compared to the wicked in Isa 57.20. Then he says in v 12, “or the sea monster?” This is “tannin” in Hebrew and he is saying, “Am I as evil as Leviathan that you had to restrain me?” In Scripture, Leviathan is a seven-headed sea monster who lives in the sea and is picture of the False Messiah, or “the beast” (Isa 27.1; Rev 13.1; Psa 74.13-14). As we have said before, Job is very eschatological and this is one of many verses that allude to individuals that will be in the Acharit Yamim (the Last Days or Day of the Lord).

When he lies down to rest, God awakens him with dreams and visions. This only makes things worse (v 13-14). He says his breathing stops due to his diseases, and death would be better (v 15). He is wasting away and he isn’t going to live forever. He wants Yehovah to heal him or just let him die (v 16). What is man in the long run that God would set him over the earth, or that God should be concerned with him (v 17). God examines or tests man everyday about his faithfulness. Will the Lord ever stop wrestling and contending with him (v 18-19).

Job asks whether he has sinned like his friends say, but then he remembers that he has been forgiven, so why is he afflicted? Why is he a target for God’s arrows? Job does not understand that this is not coming from God. God has allowed Satan to touch him because he is a righteous man, not a sinner, and Yehovah will keep him all through this process. Again, there is no evidence from Scripture that Job ever does learn about the true source and cause of his troubles. He even asks, “When then dost thou not pardon my transgression and take away my iniquity?” He thinks that by forgiving him, the afflictions would be taken away. He just wants to lie down in the dust (die), and God will seek him on the earth, but can’t find him (v 20-21).

In Job 8.1-22, Bildad (beloved Lord) the Shuhite (wealth) now enters the discussion and asserts the justice of God in these events. He takes the side of Eliphaz and says since Job’s sins have been found out, God has delivered him over to judgment. He thinks that Job has charged God with injustice. If Job was innocent, then God would deliver him from these afflictions (v 1-7). But Bildad does not see the heavenly scene that is behind Job’s troubles either, and interprets Job’s troubles to a cause and effect situation.

He then uses similes to illustrate his assertion that Job’s situation is an example of cause and effect. Even as papyrus and rushes fade quickly and dies, so will all those who turn their backs on God (v 11-13). But Bildad is misapplying these pictures from the natural world to Job as if he is sinning. If Job turns back to God he would be blessed again. Eliphaz and Bildad have concluded that God does not afflict the righteous in such a severe manner. He does not keep or prosper the wicked for long, so Job must be wicked because that is what is happening to him (v 14-22).

In Job 9.1-35 Job answers and agrees that God is just, and God’s ways are beyond his ability to know. How can a man be righteous before God or demand answers as if he was in a law suit. Job will admit to doing this in Job 42.1-6 and he repents of it (v 1-8). He praises God for his mighty works in the heavens, but these do not comfort him. The Lord is too great to even notice a mere man. So he is not going to even try to contend with God in a judicial way (v 13-24).

In Job 9.13 we have another eschatological reference to the False Messiah where it says, “God will not turn back his anger, beneath him crouch the helpers of Rahab.” In the Peshat (literal) level, this means that God shows his anger and answers to no one. Even the helpers of the False Messiah will answer to him. The word “Rahab” is a term for the False Messiah in the Scriptures. It means “pride, Egypt, prostitute and broad wall.”

Job 41.34 talks about Leviathan, another name for the False Messiah (Isa 27.1; Rev 13.1), “He (Leviathan) looks on everything that is high, he is king over all the sons of pride.” The word “pride” is Rahab. Job 26.12 says that God “quieted the sea with his power (Isa 57.20), and by his understanding he shattered Rahab. By his breath the heavens are cleared, his hand has pierced the fleeing serpent” (Isa 27.1). Isa 30.7 says, “Even Egypt, whose help is vain and empty, therefore, I have called her Rahab who has been exterminated.”

Now, Egypt is a type of Europe, and Pharaoh a type of the False Messiah in biblical eschatology. Just as Egypt had Pharaoh, Europe will have the False Messiah rule over it. Pharaoh is a type of the False Messiah who will be destroyed (Ezek 29.1-7, 32.1-8 for instance). Isa 51.9 says, “Awake, awake, put on strength, O arm of the Lord (a term for Messiah). Awake as in the days of old, the generations of long ago. Was it not you who cut Rahab in pieces, who pierced the dragon (Leviathan, Pharaoh, False Messiah).” The context here is the Second Redemption. Just as Moses defeated Pharaoh and Egypt, so will Messiah defeat the False Messiah. In Psa 87.4 Rahab is used for Egypt. All of these are under God’s power.

Job wonders how he can discuss anything with God since he is infinite. Even if he was righteous, he would still not contend with the Lord, but beg for mercy. If he called to God, and he answered, he would still not believe God even listened to a mere man. Job says God is “bruising me with a tempest” but in actuality he wasn’t, it was Satan, and he wasn’t even letting him rest long enough to “get my breath” (v 17-18).

He wants to find someone who can set him up with God to plead his case. If he tries to justify himself, he is lying because nobody is righteous (v 19-20). God afflicts the righteous and the wicked. If these things happen to the innocent, then who is doing it? God chooses how to use his elect, and the giving of “things” is no proof of Job’s goodness, nor the taking away of those “things” proof of his wickedness (v 21-24). His days are going faster than a runner, like they never were (v 25-26).

Job knows he has sinned, and God will not hold him innocent. Snow water is pure and if he cleansed himself with that, God would still find him unclean, as if he was thrown into a mud pit (v 27-31). God is not like a man that Job may answer him in a court. There is no “umpire” (lawyer) between them, who may mediate between God and Job? Job has nobody to present his case to God, and he has nobody to turn to (v 32-33).

Job wants God to remove his “rod” (affliction) from him. But again, God is not doing it and we know this from Job 1.12, 2.6. He tells Bildad that he is not what Bildad and Eliphaz are making of him. Job isn’t perfect, but he is not the evil person they say he is. Job has not figured out why all this is happening, but he does know that God is fair in all his dealings (v 34-35).

We will pick up in Job 10.1-22 in Part 4.

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

Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Job-Part 2

In Job 2.1-10 we learn about a second trial. Again, it happened on “a day” when the sons of God (angels) came to present themselves before Yehovah, and Satan came again to present himself to the Lord. This is a Yom Ha Din (Day of Judgment) and not long after the first Yom Ha Din of Rosh Ha Shanah because his friends haven’t even visited him yet. So, this Yom Ha Din is Yom Kippur, ten days after the Yom Ha Din of Rosh Ha Shanah in v 6.

Dan 7.9-10 tells us that God keeps “books” recording what is taking place on earth, as well as the “Sefer Ha Chaim” or the “Book of Life.” The context for these verses is a Yom Ha Din of Rosh Ha Shanah.

Satan again comes before Yehovah and the same question is asked of him as in Job 1.7. He again intended Satan to express what the Lord wanted expressed by him because the Lord knew where he had come from. Satan boasts that he was “roaming about on the earth and walking around on it” seeking who he can devour (Matt 12.43; 1 Pet 5.8).

Yehovah said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, fearing God and turning away from evil. And he holds fast to his integrity, although you incited me against him, to ruin him without cause.” Job did not sin against the Lord in the first trial. He succeeded because it was God’s will for him to do so (Jude 24; Col 1.17). Yehovah kept him from sinning (and us), and when that stops there is evil (Ezek 28.15). That is an important concept to remember. Job didn’t fail because God kept him from failing, and this is something that Satan does not understand here.

In this scene, Stan goes further and says, “Skin for skin. Yes, all that a man has he will give for his life.” He thinks Job will not only part with all the “skins” he had (family, animals, wealth) but he would part with Yehovah, his religion and his faith to save his life. Satan says touch his body, and he will curse you. He will call your wisdom, justice and truth into question (like in Rev 16.11). So the Lord said, “Behold, he is in your power, only spare his life” (v 1-6).

So Satan goes out and smote Job with boils all over his body (v 7). He would cleanse his wounds with a potsherd to relieve himself from itching, dead skin and infection because nobody wanted to get close to him, and there was no remedy to help. His wife says, “Bless God and die!” Now, the word “barak” (bless) is used in v 9. She is saying to bless the Lord and then die because there was no hope in this life for what he had. She did not like seeing him suffer. She is saying “Bless God for all the blessings you had and look for the hope of the resurrection.”

But Job tells her she is speaking as a “foolish woman” which she wasn’t (v 10). Sould he accept the good things from the Lord and not the bad? In this Job did not sin (Lam 3.37-39; Deut 32.39). Remember, Job and his wife have no idea (and never will as far as we know from the book) about the heavenly scene between Yehovah and Satan. Of course this was revealed to the author of the book but during the story they have no idea.

There is no God besides Yehovah; and he is the one who puts to death and gives life. He wounds and he heals, and there is none who can deliver from his hand. Here are some other Scriptures that should drive this concept home (Ezek 24.16-18; Gen 38.7-10; 1 Chr 10.14; 2 Chr 18.18-22, 21.18; Ezek 3.20; Isa 53.10; Ecc 7.14; Isa 45.7; Job 5.18; 2 Kings 13.14; Amos 4.6-13; Psa 139.16; Jer 43.11, 44.27; Exo 4.23, 21.24; Ezek 9.6; Deut 7.15; 2 Chr 22.7). Job’s wife is a good woman but she is speaking in a carnal way here.

In Job 2.11-13 Job has three friends who come to visit him and they are Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite. They heard about Job’s losses and health and wanted to show him kindness. Eliphaz is a descendant of Esau and his grandson (Gen 36.11) and Bildad the Shuhite was a descendant of Shuah, a son of Abraham by Keturah (Gen 25.2) and Zophar’s origins are unknown, but he probably lived in the area also.

When they got there they did not even recognize him (v 12) and their heart broke for him. Each of them tore his robe and threw dust over their heads in mourning. They sat with him for seven days and did not know what to say to him. Was this because Job did some evil? What could they even say to him, seeing he was in such a condition. They couldn’t even bring themselves to ask what happened. But Job will also have to endure their false accusations as we shall see. In this he is like Yeshua (Matt 27.36-44). everyone was verbally abusing him, even the robber who will eventually believe in him.

Job 3.1-26 tells us that finally Job speaks. Perhaps his affliction subsided long enough for him to want to engage in a conversation and to communicate. He cursed the day of his birth, but he did not curse Yehovah like Satan said he would. He said his birth was nothing to celebrate and that there should be no rejoicing during the year and his birthday should not be numbered in the days of the months (v 2-7).

Then in Job 3.8 he says something very interesting. He says, “Let those curse it who curse “the day” (the day of the Lord and its evil), who are prepared to rouse Leviathan.” The climate for the False Messiah will be ready in the people to accept him, like it was among the German people tom accept Adolf Hitler.

Now, Leviathan is a picture of the False Messiah in Jewish eschatology and the Scriptures (Isa 27.1; Psa 104.26; Psa 74.13-14; Job 26.12-13; Job 41.1, 34; Isa 51.9; Rev 12.1-3, 13.1, 17.1-3).

He then says the stars should be darkened because they did not hinder his conception, and then he wonders why he did not die in the womb. This shows that Job was alive at his conception and in the womb, contrary to what those who support abortion and infanticide believe He also wonders why he didn’t die at birth (v 9-11).

He then asks why his knees kept him from falling or why there was milk in the breasts that fed him. If he had died, he would have been at rest, in the grave, equal to the great kings, princes and counselors who have died. Or better yet, like a miscarriage which never saw the light of day. There the wicked cease from raging (doing evil), and there the weary are at rest (from such acts). Prisoners don’t hear the voices of their guards, and the small and great are there (v 12-19).

Then he wonders why life is given to those who suffer (v 20-22 They are happy to die, and why is life given to a man who is hidden, who the Lord has neglected and not cared for. God has hedged him in with thorns and afflictions (v 23). He groans at the sight of food because he has no appetite even for a simple meal (v 24). He even fears wht could happen next, and thinks that if he thinks it, it will happen because there has been no intermission between afflictions, they are coming in waves and he can’t rest (v 25).

In Job 4.1-21 we learn that Job’s afflictions and his behavior has laid the foundation for the coming dispute between him and his three friends. Eliphaz the Temanite, Esau’s grandson (Gen 36.11, 40-42) now begins to speak and he says that if they speak with him be would be impatient with them. He taught many in the knowledge of God but he is acting contrary to his own advice. Maybe he isn’t so virtuous in his heart after all (Job 29.1-25). Where is his confidence now, or did he even have it (v 1-6).

Then he insinuates that Job isn’t so innocent (v7) and those who sow trouble will harvest it (v 8). By the breath of God the lawless perish and are broken. The lion (Job) perishes for lack of prey (nobody to oppress), and his whelps (his children) of the lioness (his wife) are scattered. Eliphaz is saying that God is taking what Job has gotten by oppression (v 9-11). Then in v 12 he says that he has heard from God by a quiet word, or a whisper, even dreams (Dan 2.29; Job 33.14-14, 29). Eliphaz says he saw a “spirit” (angel) and he heard a voice saying, “can mankind be just before God?” If the angels are not pure compared to God, how can man who is created from the dust. They are exposed to death and their “tent cords” holding the tents to the earth are plucked up (v 12-21). Eliphaz is saying God is pure and holy, and man is weak and sinful. Man cannot be just in the sight of God, so Job is wrong to say that he is innocent in all this and had integrity.

Job 5.1-27 tells us that Eliphaz goes on to say only the wicked are afflicted by God, and all the “holy ones” (tzadikim) will say the same thing. He insinuates in v 2 that Job is foolish and angry, and that’s why it kills the simple. In his experience, Eliphaz then says that the foolish are blessed for awhile and then he saw the curse of God in their house (v 1-3). He says he has seen the sons of the foolish oppressed in the courts with nobody to help them (v 4).

Eliphaz says that trouble does not come from the “dust” (nowhere) or just “springs up from the ground” (v 6). He is telling Job that judgment comes from God because he sows trouble. When trouble happens, he (Eliphaz) goes to God (v 8) because God is great, and Job should too. He believes that Job’s problems are because God is dealing with Job’s sins, and he is correcting him. He believes that the humble will patiently bear it and causes grief in many ways, but he will repair it. Evil will come six ways (it comes in many ways), and even in seven (all possible troubles) it will not touch him (v 17-19). God will protect him from evil tongues and violence, and Job will have nothing to fear.

Job 5.20-26 tells us that such things as famine he will redeem Job from, and in war the sword will not touch him. He will laugh at violence and will not be afraid of wild beasts. His house will be secure and he will manage his home without fear of loss. His descendants will be many and he will come to the grave with full vigor (ready). Eliphaz is sure of his observations and he uses “we” in v 27 to show he was not alone in understanding this. However, his words cannot explain what he doesn’t know. He doesn’t know the hidden purposes of God that we have seen in Job 1 and 2. What Eliphaz is saying to Job is useless because it doesn’t apply, and Job knew it.

It will be interesting to see that in Job 42.7-9 Yehovah will single out Eliphaz for a special rebuke. He says he is angry with Eliphaz because he did not speak about the Lord correctly “as my servant Job has.” Eliphaz meant well but he missed the boat here. Eliphaz says Job’s reaction to what God was obviously doing with Job proves that Job was in sin.

It’s not that Eliphaz was wrong about what he knew about God (he is just, reproves sin, delivers, etc), but he was ignorant of God’s hidden purposes. Nobody knows that Satan appeared in heaven in Job 1.6-12 and Job 2.1-6, and that Job was the subject of a dispute with Satan over whether Job would be faithful or not. Everything Eliphaz says is correct but it is useless in the case of Job because it doesn’t apply. The Book of Job teaches us that we must respect what we don’t understand and we will not always have an answer for. There are things that words cannot explain, and we must wait for God to do what he wills to do.

We will pick up in Job 6.1-30 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 Job-Part 1

We are going to begin a study of the Book of Job (“Iyov”= “persecuted”). The central character was possibly Jewish and a son of Issachar named Iyov (or Job) (Gen 46.13). He came into Egypt with his grandfather Jacob, and he left Egypt to be an administrator in Edom/Moab area for Pharaoh (Gen 47.6). The names of Job’s friends and the events of the book indicate that this was after the time of Abraham and the entrance of Jacob into Egypt and before the Exodus. No author is named in the book, but Jewish tradition teaches that Moses wrote the book, and others believe it was written around the sixth century B.C.

The tribe of Issachar were people who understood the times, with knowledge of what to do (1 Chr 12.32). They were very eschatological and so is the Book of Job as we will see. This book will tell us about the redemption of man, the coming of the Messiah, the resurrection of the dead, the Natzal (Rapture), the False Messiah, the False Prophet, the war of Gog and Magog and spiritual warfare.

Wisdom literature in the Bible is an interesting blend of books. Proverbs gives a clear sense of cause and effect in the universe. Bad choices will end in bad consequences, and good choices will end with good consequences. In Ecclesiastes, we learn it not so clear and simple. The good suffer and die like the wicked, and seasons come and go without regard to choices. But the Book of Job turns the “Law of Harvest” upside down. Good and righteous people experience horrible problems with no visible cause Job will be able to point to. The lesson of Job? We may never know.

Job will be a picture of the Messiah’s love for us, even when suffering loss and even to the point of death (Phil 2.7-11). In the end, God will finally reveal himself to Job and Job will understand everything God has been saying to him. But he will never know what we will find out in Chapter 1, that all of his troubles are the result of the dispute between God and Satan as to whether would remain faithful or not. Up until the last chapter, Job only “heard” about Yehovah. In the end, he will see Yehovah for himself. Job is a “religious” man at first because he did not have a deep experience. He knew about the Lord, but didn’t “know” him. This book is about his journey from religion to revelation (Jam 5.11), and this is one of the most misunderstood books in the Scriptures.

This book will deal with the classic problem of the “tzadik ve-ra lo” or “evil coming upon the righteous.” Through out the book, Job and his companions are involved in raising questions about this problem. Nobody tries to do anything to change the situation, they just talk about it. Even the solution in the end is philosophical. Job never does find out what we know from Chapter 1, as we have said. God never does reveal the solution to Job concerning his suffering, but deals with the question about man coming before God with complaints.

Job is just one example of suffering which comes upon man without his understanding why, and Yehovah wants to make it clear that even when man does not understand, he does not have the right to complain before God. After all, who is man in the first place? He is just dust and he is going to return to dust. How can he stand before Yehovah? God will make this point clear beginning in Chapter 38. Only when Job admits that God is God and can do whatever he wants, and said things he did not understand or knew, does everything come full circle ((Job 42.2-3, 10).

This book will give us a view of human suffering from God’s point of view. He is faithful and never unfair, and he is righteous in all that he does. We have a very limited perspective and a short life span and we cannot judge the Lord. Man’s actions do not always determine his destiny. Even when we don’t understand, we must recognize that Yehovah is God, and we are not (Psa 8.5-10).

This will not be a verse by verse study, but we will again bring out many concepts that point to the Messiah and the Redemption. We will do this without neglecting the historical and literal story as well.

Job 1.1-5 tells us right at the beginning who the central character is. Iyov (Job) means “persecuted” and he lived in the land of Uz, which most believe is Edom, or in that area. One of the first clues has to do with the raiders who come to destroy Job’s livestock and herds (1.15). The Sabeans come from Sabra in southern Arabia. The second clue is a raiding party of Chaldeans from southern Mesopotamia. So, the land of Uz is somewhere in between the Sabeans (Arabia) and the Chaldeans (Mesopotamia).

Lam 4.21 places Edom in the land of Uz. One of Job’s friends is a man named Eliphaz the Temanite. Teman is a city in Edom near Petra. Another friend is named Zophar, a Naamite and this was in northwest Arabia. A third friend was Bildad, who is a descendant of Shuah, a son of Abraham. Job’s wisest friend is Elihu the Buzite, a descendant of Buz, who was the brother of Uz, sons of Abraham’s brother Nahor (Gen 22.21). All of this points to Uz being south and somewhat east of Israel. In Job’s lifetime, Uz was probably in the northwest part of Arabia, near the Gulf of Aqaba. As we can see, it was founded after Esau (Edom-Gen 36.8-11, 40-42).

Job was “perfect” in the same way Noah, Abraham and others were. He had a righteousness that came by faith. He was also “blameless” and that had to do with his fellow man. Nobody could charge Job with moral failures. He was not sinless because he will say as much in the book, and he offers korbanot (offerings) for sin.

He had a large family and was prosperous in business. He had 3000 camels that were used in trade, and it also says that he was “the greatest of all men of the east.” In this he is a type of the Messiah (Matt 3.17). His sons would hold a feast in the house of each one “on his day” (birthday) and they would invite their sisters over to eat and drink with them. Job would also serve as a priest to his family, rising early in the morning to intercede for his family with korbanot (offerings).

As we read these verses one begins to see that this book is about spiritual warfare. No city or nation is attacked, no battles are won or lost, but Job will be fighting a spiritual battle in his life, and the life of his family and village.

Job 1.6-12 begins to show us a scene in heaven that is unknown to Job or others on earth, and will remain unknown to them after everything is all over. This book can only be understood by knowing and understanding these verses. There is no evidence from Scripture that Job ever knew about this scene in heaven. He never does find out what we know. All his troubles are the result of a dispute between God and Satan as to whether Job will remain faithful to Yehovah.

In Job 1.6 it says that there “was a day” (possibly Rosh Ha Shanah, a Yom Ha Din or “Day of judgment”) when the sons of God (angels) came to present themselves before Yehovah, and an “adversary” (Satan in Hebrew) also came among them (the angels-1 Chr 21.1; 2 Chr 18.18-22). On Rosh Ha Shanah (Tishri 1), the court is seated and the books are opened (Dan 7.9-10). Being a Yom Ha Din (Day of Judgment), Satan would have been there accusing the righteous as the prosecutor in a court scene.

Yehovah says to Satan, “From where do you come from?” Now, God already knows, but he allows Satan to come into his presence, but as he wills. He wanted to bring out of him what he intended to have expressed. Satan boasts that he has come from the earth (1 Pet 5.8). Yehovah asks if Satan has “considered” or “put your heart on ” his servant Job. There is none like him and he really was blameless and a righteous (tzadik) man no matter what Job or any other person says about him in the coming chapters. No matter what Job has done, Yehovah saw him as blameless because he had “faith.”

Now Satan demonstrates why he is called “the accuse of the brethren” (Rev 12.10). He basically says Job only served God to see what he could get from him. Satan is an absolute cynic because he thinks nobody or anything can be good and it is all based on dishonesty. Satan says that God has protected him and blessed him. Yeshua said that Satan wanted to do things to Peter also, but God would not let him (Luke 22.31-32).

But Job was a son of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob who followed God and Deut 28.1-14 says that God will protect and bless those who follow him. Est 6.13 says that Haman will not overcome Mordechai because he is “of the seed of the Jews” and would certainly fall.

Satan tells Yehovah that if God put forth his hand and touched all that Job had, he would curse God to his face. Satan can do nothing without having permission from God, that is one thing we can learn from these verses (Psa 135.5-6). God even gives Satan permission to touch all that Job has, but he cannot touch Job himself. Again, God is in control and limits Satan’s power. Job will have no idea that this was the cause of all his troubles. He will never know that the origin of his battle started here. So Satan departs from the presence of the Lord. What the enemy intended for harm against Job will be have a very different ending.

Job 1.13-19 says that on the same day the scene in heaven took place, the sons and daughters were eating and drinking. A messenger came to Job saying the Sabeans (descended from Abraham through Keturah-Gen 25.3) attacked and took oxen and donkeys that were in the field. Then another messenger came and said that the fire of God (lightning) fell and burned up the sheep and the servants, and consumed them. Only the messenger escaped to tell the story.

Then another messenger came and said the Chaldeans (from Nahor the brother of Abraham-Gen 22.22) came and raided the camels and killed the servants, and only the messenger survived. Then another messenger came and told Job that his sons and daughters were feasting at the older brother’s house and a great wind came from the wilderness and struck the house on all sides, showing how unnatural this was, and the house fell on his children, killing all of them. Only the messenger survived.

This tells us something very important about our enemy. On the same day his children were feasting (v 6), Satan attacked within a few hours of appearing before God. He wasted no time in bringing these horrific events to pass. Satan is cruel and any advantage we give him will be exploited to its fullest extent.

Job arose, either from a table or a task he was performing, and tore his robe on account of his dead family, and shaved his head. This was a sign of mourning in the east (Isa 15.2). and not forbidden in the Torah (that one was between the eyes-Deut 14.1). He fell down on the ground in worship and prayer. Then he says one of the most famous prayers in Scripture, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb (1 Tim 6.7), and naked I shall return to there (to the earth). Yehovah gave and Yehovah has taken away (everything comes from God according to Job). Blessed be the name of Yehovah (for all his blessings and gifts whihi he received).”

Through all of this (the rending of his garments, shaving the head, lying prostrate, etc) Job did not sin (like the accuser said he would, curse God to his face), nor did he blame God. He did not question God’s wisdom or charge him with doing wrong to him. He knew Yehovah was wise and did all things according to the counsel of his own will. He did not curse Yehovah (like Satan would) in his hearts, thoughts, words or deeds. This is exactly what the testimony of the Lord was about Job in Job 1.8.

We will pick up in Job 2.1-13 in Part 2.

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 Esther-Conclusion

When the events of Esther were going on in Persia, there were other events in the world going on that will relate to eschatology. There was a group of ten men who had a major role in the history of a nation called Rome, and they were called the “Decem Viri” meaning “ten men.” This concept of “ten men” is alluded to in the Scriptures from the murder of Gedaliah by Ishmael in 2 Kings 25.22-30 and Jer 40-41, to the False Messiah and the ten kings with him. We have already seen how the ten sons of Haman are related to eschatology, but there is more. So, let’s look at the Decem Viri of Rome and how they relate to prophecy.

Rome was founded in 753 B.C, but the people grew tired of corrupt rulers, so they founded a republic. But, two classes emerged called the Patricians (the ruling class, wealthy) and the Plebians (the poorer classes). Many disputes followed and the Plebians wanted a law passed that granted equality to everyone. So, the Plebians created the Decem Viri to write a code of laws that would protect the rights of all citizens of Rome. The group was formed around 450 B.C. and just around the the time of the events of Esther, and they remained for two years. They created what was called “The Twelve Tablets” that were written on clay tablets.

Following the fall of the Roman Empire, these laws were lost. In the eleventh century A.D. they were rediscovered and United States law in many cases was influenced by it, including the “veto” (I forbid) where an action can be terminated. The Decem Viri did some good work but these people were forced from their position after a few years due to corruption.

Now, the Decem Viri concept relates directly to the False Messiah who has ten kings who are involved in his empire (Dan 7.7-8, 20, 24; Rev 13.1). The ten sons of Haman allude to the Decem Viri, the ten men with Ishmael and the ten kings of the False Messiah. Rev 17.12 tells us that these ten kings were not royalty, just like Haman’s sons. So, let'[s take this concept to modern times.

There are unusual prophecies found in the list of the ten sons of Haman. They were slain on Adar 13 (Est 9.11-12). Esther requested that the war to protect the Jews continue into Adar 14, and “let Haman’s ten sons be hanged upon the gallows” (Est 9.13). The question is this, why impale them a day after they were killed? For over two thousand years this act puzzled scholars and rabbis, until World War II.

We are all familiar with Adolf Hitler and the Holocaust. He followed the same ideology as Haman, which was to exterminate the Jews. When the war was over, Nazi war criminals were tried in Nuremburg, Germany. eleven men were sentenced to death by hanging on October 16,1946. Two hours before the execution was to be carried out, Hermann Goering committed suicide, leaving ten men to be hanged.

One of the ten men named Julius Streicher shouted “Purim Fest 1946” as he was on the gallows. He published an antisemitic newspaper call “Der Sturmer” which became a central element of the Nazi propaganda mechanism. He wrote an article called “Das Purimfest” (“Festival of Purim”) so we know he was quite familiar with Purim, Haman and his ten sons and what happened, but why did he say “the festival of Purim 1946” before he was hung?

There is a Scriptural answer to this question that is quite amazing. In the list of Haman’s sons there are several Hebrew letters that are written smaller than normal, and you can see them quite clearly when you see the Hebrew. We have already pointed out the enlarged Vav in the last name of the Vaizatha (v 9), but what do these other letters mean?

The name of the first son is Parshandatha, and when you read it in Hebrew you will notice that a small Tav (T sound) is written as the second to the last letter of his name. Now, remember, every jot, tittle and letter in the Scriptures is written by the inspiration of the Ruach Ha Kodesh (the Holy Spirit-2 Tim 3.16) and these letters and their meanings will not pass away until they are all fulfilled, but we need to know their meanings (Matt 5.18). A second diminished letter can be found in the name Parmashta. His name is spelled with a small Shin (sh sound) in the third to the last letter of his name. A third diminished letter can be found in the last son Vaizatha. In addition to the enlarged Vav in his name, there is also a small Zayin (z sound).

We have already seen that the Hebrew alphabet also represents numbers. When we put all three of these diminished letters together they represent the number 1946, the year the ten Nazis were hung. In addition, if this weren’t enough, the execution of these Nazis took place on on October 16, 1946. Now, October 16 that year fell on Tishri 21 on the Hebrew calendar, which is also called Hoshana Rabbah meaning “the Great Salvation.”

In this same passage, following each son’s name, you will find the Hebrew word “V’et” and this is grammatically untranslated, but it carries the meaning of “ten more” or “and again.” There are the ten sons of Haman and then there will be ten more. The ten Nazis hung at Nuremburg were the sons of Haman in spirit, or “cut out of the same cloth.”

Here is another aspect to this story in Esther and it ties into the Nazis, but it also involves the Russian leader Josef Stalin. Stalin was working on a plot to kill the Jews of Russia in what was called “The Doctor’s Plot.” Nine doctors, of which six were Jewish, were going to go to trial for trying to poison Stalin, which was completely false. Then Stalin would use that as a pretext to deport two to four million Jews to Siberian concentration camps to be annihilated.

But on Purim, March 1, 1953, a few days before the Jewish doctors were going to go on trial and as the trains were being requisitioned to carry the Jews into exile and death, Stalin collapsed in a fit of rage during a meeting in which his supporters expressed opposition to his plans. Jews were freed on that Purim and Stalin died on March 5, 1953. This is not a coincidence and God saved the Jewish people again on Purim. All of these events in Persia, Nuremburg and Russia are precursors to the final end of the False Messiah and his ten kings.

Esther 10.1-3 tells us that the deliverance of the Jewish people and the state of affairs in Persia returned to normal. The king began to levy taxes and the empire grew stronger under Mordechai because we know that he was promoted to a position second only to the king, like Joseph was in Egypt. All of his accomplishments, strengths and “the full account of the greatness of Mordechai” was written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Media and Persia. This book, however, is now lost.

Mordechai grew great among the Jews and in favor with the multitude of his kinsmen, one who sought the good of his people and the one who spoke for the welfare of his people. These closing verses give us a very good picture of Yeshua as the Messiah and what he will do in the Messianic Kingdom (1 Cor 15.20-25).

The Book of Esther spans the period of nine years (years 3 through 12 of the reign Ahasuerus). It teaches how God can move behind the scenes to accomplish his will not only in the time of Esther, but even later with the ten Nazis and the death of Stalin. Let’s go over some of the things he did to accomplish what happened in this story in Esther for instance, but keep in mind, this is what the Lord does in the lives of all men.

Yehovah arranged to have Vashti removed and arranged to have a beauty pageant to replace her. He then made it possible to have Hadassah (Esther) enter the competition and gave her special favor over 400 other women. He placed Mordechai in a position to have access to both Esther and the affairs of state. He arranged the lot of Haman to fall in such a way to give the Jews nearly a year’s worth of warning before the evil decree took effect.

Yehovah also made sure that the decree said the Jews were to be killed by the citizens and not the army of Persia. He restrained Haman’s anger and did not allow him to kill Mordechai immediately. He made sure there were two banquets, with the second one on Nisan 17, a significant day in the Scriptures. He made sure the king and Hamn could not sleep on the same night, at the same time, and that the king heard from a certain book of the chronicles that Mordechai saved his life. He also arranged to have Haman come to the court at that exact moment. He then arranges to have Haman think the king is going to honor him and comes up with an elaborate ceremony, only to find out the ceremony is for Mordechai.

He then makes sure Haman has no time to think about all this when he gets home because he is hastily brought to the second banquet of Esther. He arranges to have his evil decree exposed at the banquet, and the king’s anger elevated to the point that he had to leave Esther alone with the man who was going to kill her and her people. Haman pleads for his life and God arranges to have Haman fall on the couch where Esther was sitting just as the king walks in, causing the king to think that Haman is assaulting his wife!

He then arranges to have Haman hung on the very gallows he made for Mordechai. Then the Jews have enough time to defend themselves a year later when the evil decree took force. Then on Adar 13 a year later the ten sons of Haman are killed and God arranges to have them impaled, which is a picture of the ten Nazis that will be hung at Nuremburg in 1946, and the ten kings that will fall with the False Messiah.

The miracle of Purim came through feasts, starting in Est 1, then in Est 5 and Est 7. These feasts involved the drinking of wine, and wine is a picture in the Scriptures of covenant, marriage, Messiah, teaching, blood, joy and life.

This book teaches us about God’s plan for our lives, too. God has a plan and there will be moments in our lives when God will alter circumstances to accomplish that plan, and we must have courage. Fasting and prayer will help us understand and we must obey the Lord. Yehovah will use everything to accomplish his purpose in out lives. But he also does this in every life and every circumstance of all people on earth. The real miracle of Esther is how the Lord can take all these lives and have them doing exactly what he wants, by the specific people he wants to do them.

The overall context of Esther can be seen in relation to the exile and return. The Jews of Shushan remained in Exile while other Jews were returning to the land to rebuild Jerusalem and the Temple. The accusations against the Jews in Ezra 4.4-13 can also be seen in Haman’s charges in Est 3.8. The returnees were harassed in the land and now in Persia. Haman’s charges were heard by people who were already prejudiced against the Jews.

Another thing to know is Shushan is referred to in Est 2.1 as the capital (palace) or “Ha Birah” in Hebrew meaning “fortress.” This word is only used in the context of the Temple (1 Chr 29.19). Much of the book takes place in the king’s palace. It had techelet blue wool, argamon purple wool, gold and silver (Est 1.6-7). These materials were in the Mishkan and the Temple (Exo 25.3-4). This palace had an inner court (Est 4.11) and an outer court (Est 6.4), and so did the Temple.

Anyone who entered the king’s chamber without being summoned would be put to death (Est 4.11). This is similar to the law about the High Priest could only go into the inner court of the Holy of Holies under certain circumstances. If he violated the Torah (law-Est 4.11) concerning this he would die. So, the question is, why do we have all this Temple imagery in Esther?

The Jewish people were called to serve God, the true king. But when in exile they must come to a palace, a substitute Temple, to a king who is just a man. They must do homage and seek his favor. The name of Yehovah cannot be found in Esther, but the word “king” is found almost 200 times. God is “hidden” to those who were called to serve him, even though he is guiding things “behind the scenes” as we have just gone over. Serving an earthly king took precedence over serving Yehovah it seems.

This book is a story about life in exile at a time when they should have been going back to Jerusalem to build the Temple. By staying behind, they were subject to the king’s taxes, edicts and rule. They were dependent on a man who was a king when they should have been dependent on Yehovah only. The Jews in this story should have been building Jerusalem and the true Temple, serving the true king who lives forever, instead of remaining in exile to serve a false king in a false temple who only rules a few years. But we also learn that even then, Yehovah saved them and delivered them and caused these circumstances to be used to teach his eschatological plan for his glory.

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 Esther-Part 5

Est 8.1-17 tells us that on the day that Haman was hanged, the king gave the house of Haman to Esther, and Mordechai came before the king. Esther has told the king what he was related to her, and the king took off his signet ring which he had taken away from Haman, and gave it to Mordechai. Now, the term “on that day” in Est 8.1 is an eschatological term relating to the coming of the Messiah and the Messianic Kingdom The king gives all that belonged to Haman to Esther, and she gives it to Mordechai. In the same way, “on that day” when Yeshua returns, all that belonged to the False Messiah will be given to Yeshua. Any decree which was written in the name of the king and sealed with the signet ring may not be revoked.

However, Haman’s evil decree that called for the destruction of the Jewish people was still in force. Esther comes before the king and asks him to revoke the letters of Haman that exposed her people to danger. He tells her to “write to the Jews” (v 8) with his name affixed to it, telling the Jews to defend themselves against anyone who comes against them on the 13th of Adar.

Which side was the king on? There are two conflicting letters now, and the local rulers couldn’t help but wonder what the king was doing. First, we can kill the Jews, now we let them defend themselves. They had to make the right decision. That means Mordechai had a job to do. He had to win over the governors and rulers to enforce the second letter and ignore the first letter, and that was not going to be easy. So, he went out in royal robes of blue and white, with a large crown of gold and a garment of fine linen and purple, and the city of Shushan rejoiced.

This was psychological warfare now. He did this to show everyone that the second decree was where the heart of the king was, even if he was indifferent about it. In each city where the king’s new decree was heard, there was gladness and joy for the Jews, a feast and a holiday. And many among the peoples of the land became Jews, for “the dread of the Jews had fallen on them.” But many were not true converts but were motivated by fear. Est 8.17 says they “feigned Jewishness” when they had no intention of really converting (Vilna Gaon).

Est 9.1-32 is a picture of the Second Redemption. There is a period of time from the death of Haman, the second decree and the thirteenth of Adar, which is nearly a year. In the same manner, there is a period of time between Yeshua’s victory over Satan at the cross and resurrection until the final redemption. As a side note, when the Temple was standing and there was a functioning priesthood in the first century, the month of Adar is a time when people prepare for Passover by cleansing themselves and their house. But this will have a new application in Persia, and the Jews will be cleansing the land of their enemies. Mordechai’s fame spread throughout the provinces in the same way Yeshua’s fame has spread throughout the provinces of the world (v 1-4).

The twelfth month of Adar (on the religious calendar) arrived and on the thirteenth day the Jews were ready to defend themselves. Things were different now. The Jews had the help of the king and on a day the enemies of the Jews thought they were going to overpower them, the opposite occurred. The Jews struck all their enemies with the sword and they did whatever they wanted to those who hated them. In Shushan alone they killed 500 men (v 11-12).

Now Haman had ten sons and these sons were killed, and their names are listed in Est 9.7-9. These sons are a picture of the ten kings that are associated with the False Messiah and fall with him (Dan 7.7, 20, 24; Rev 13.1, 17.12). Although Haman was hung on Nisan 17, these sons were killed much later, on Adar 13 (Est 9.6-10). But, as we are going to see, this event is very eschatological.

We are going to spend some time in this chapter in order to glean many of the prophetic implications found in these verses, but it won’t be all of them we can assure you. We will go over the literal, historical events first, then go over the eschatological meanings.

On Adar 13, all the people who were killed in Shushan the capital was reported to the king, and the ten sons of Haman. In addition, Shushan was divided and in two parts. Esther requested that the ten sons of Haman be hanged on the gallows. In other words, they were killed first and then impaled. They were put on display to show that the people’s justice was done, and that the king was in solidarity with the Jews. It also showed that the king commanded it and it was done (v 12).

On Adar 14, an additional 300 were killed in the other part of Shushan. Some saw what happened and hid so there wasn’t as many. The rest of the Jews who were in the provinces were assembled to defend themselves, and they killed 75,000 of those who hated them. In each case, the Jews did not plunder the belongings of those killed. This was to show they had no financial reason to slay them, it was only in self defense (v 15).

So, their defense took place on Adar 13 in the provinces and they rested on Adar 14, and they made it a holiday of feasting and joy. However, the Jews is Shushan assembled on Adar 13 and 14, and they rested on Adar 15, and that was a day of feasting. As a result, the Jews in the rural areas made Adar 14 a holiday. There is an old saying that sums up many of the biblical festivals, “They tried to kill us, we won, let’s eat” (v 17-19).

Then Mordechai wrote down all these events and sent letters to all the Jews in the provinces, obliging them to celebrate Adar 14 and Adar 15 annually (v 21). They would feast, rejoice and send portions of food to the poor, with gifts. Remember, Haman had planned to destroy the Jews, and had cast “lots” (purim) to find the right date to do it. Therefore, they called those days “Purim” meaning “lots.”

These days were to be remembered and celebrated throughout every generation, family, province and city. So letters were sent to all the Jews in all 127 provinces to be celebrated at the appointed time. These customs were established by Esther and written in the book which bears her name. Jewish tradition says that she wanted to include this book among the other sacred writings in the Tanak.

So, now we are going look at how this chapter relates to prophecy and the redemption and see what the Lord was trying to communicate to us through what happened. So, we are going to go back and look at the tens sons of Haman first. As we have said before, Haman is a picture of the False Messiah and his sons are a picture of the ten kings who will rise with him and eventually fall (Dan 7.7, 20, 24; Rev 13.1, 17.12).

Ten is the number of judgment and in Est 9.7-10 we have the names of the ten sons listed. Usually, names are written in block form in Hebrew, showing strength like a wall. But in Esther they are written in a vertical column, showing weakness. You can go to any interlinear Hebrew Bible and see this configuration. We know that this book was written in Hebrew and so many of the things we will be discussing will not be seen in our English bibles, so we suggest you get a copy of the Book of Esther in Hebrew so that you can follow along.

We have already discussed how the book was written in block form (like a wall) until we get to the ten sons of Haman who are killed in Est 9.1-10. Then you will see how they are written in a column form (like a gallows). There will be several letters written differently from the rest of the letters in Hebrew, that you will not see in English. This is what Yeshua was referring to in Matt 5.18. So, let’s go to the last of Haman’s sons listed in v 9 named Vaizatha. In the Hebrew, the first letter of his name is enlarged from the other letters in his name, and it is the letter ‘Vav” which has a “v” sound. The letter “Vav” is the number six in Hebrew and is the number of man and it means, “nail or peg, to secure.” The rabbis teach that the vav was enlarged to show how the ten sons would be impaled, and that is true. This letter in Hebrew looks like a stake or a Persian gallows. We know that the one Haman made for Mordechai was over 80 feet high and there would have been enough room to impale one son on top of another.

Remember, these sons were not hung by a “noose” around the neck. The word “gallows” in English conveys a wrong idea. In Persia, criminals or those sentenced to capital punishment, were impaled on stakes, then they were left there for public view.

As we have said, the vav represents the number six in Hebrew, and this alludes to the number of man, who was created on the sixth day. We see this concept in Rev 13.18 where we see that the number of the False Messiah is the number of a man (six, six, six). Adam was created to be immortal but he sinned and became mortal, and everyone who descended from him was mortal. All the generations of man have now been diminished.

In Gen 2.4 it says, “These are the generations” and the word for generations is “toledot” in Hebrew (tav, vav ,lamed, dalet, vav, tav). After Adam sinned, the word “toledot” (generations) always has a vav (the number of man) missing from the spelling, it is either the first one or the second one. What this is saying is “man’s generations (toledot) is diminished.”

But, when we get to Ruth 4.18 we find something very interesting. The word “toledot” is written out fully once again where it says, “These are the generations of Perez: Perez begot Hezron.” Because of Adam’s sin, man is diminished from the original creation. Messiah will restore man’s generations and the passage of Ruth 4 gives us the genealogy of David, which is the genealogy of Yeshua the Messiah. Through Yeshua, the son of David, man’s generations will be restored. So, the Lord is communicating this fact so “toledot” is written out fully, with both vavs present.

In the Mishkan, when you approached the sanctuary there were five poles. The middle pole was called the “yotaid.” The yotaid was a tent peg, one of the meanings of vav. A vav looked like a nail or peg. The vessels used in the Mishkan services were hung on this pole by these pegs. Scholars have always taught that this pole is a picture of the Messiah.

In Isa 22.15-19 the man named Shebna holds a very important position. He is like the prime minister to the king, but he is thrown out of that position by God violently. In Isa 22.20-23 we learn about Shebna’s replacement named Eliakim. Yeshua can be seen in these passages, and you can see him where Yehovah says in Isa 22.24, “So they hang on him (Messiah-Matt 22.40) all the glory of his father’s house (household of God), offspring and issue, all the least of the vessels, from the bowls to all the jars.” The true Messiah will defeat the False Messiah (the false yotaid) and rule in the Kingdom of God with those who placed their fatih in him. Then in Isa 22.25, it refers back to Shebna, the one removed, and it says that “the peg driven in a firm place will give way, it will even break off and fall, and the load hanging on it (those who depended on him) will be cut off.” He will represent the False Messiah who will fall, taking everyone with him all those who depended or had faith in him.

We will pick up here in our conclusion with more letters in the names of the ten sons of Haman and what they mean in history. We will see that this is an allusion to the ten kings of the False Messiah, but also to the ten Nazis who where hung after the Nuremburg trials.

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 Esther-Part 4

In Est 6.1-14 we learn that the king could not sleep on the night of Nisan 16 (literally “the sleep of the king was shaken”) and it may be that his jealousy may been working on him, and “not knowing” for sure about his wife and Haman is the worst. Why was she inviting Haman to the banquet? But we know whatever it was, it was the hand of Yehovah who was disturbing his sleep and this caused the king to send out an order to bring the book of records, the chronicles, to have read before him (v 1).

It was found written in these chronicles what Mordechai did in exposing the plot to kill the king. The king also learned that nothing was done to reward Mordechai. This is the only place in the Bible where the phrase “Sefer Zikranot” which means literally “the Book of Remembrance” is used in conjunction with “Divrei Ha Yamim” or annals/chronicles. This alludes to the Scripture in Mal 3.16 where it says, “Then those who feared Yehovah spoke to one another, and Yehovah gave attention and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for those who fear Yehovah and who esteem his name.” Rosh Ha Shanah (Yom Teruah) is called “Yom Ha Zikaron” which means “Day of Remembrance.”

Why didn’t the king reward Mordechai at the time? Because it was not in the plan of God to reward Mordechai just yet. This is all part of the trap that Yehovah is laying down for Haman and the deliverance of his people. This concept should also encourage us. The Lord operates in our lives but sometimes we don’t see the fruits and rewards right away. But we must realize that everything works for the good to those who love the Lord and to those who are called (elected) according to his purpose (Rom 8.28).

Then the king said as all this was going on, “Who is in the court?” Well, according to the plan of God, Haman just happens to come to speak to the king about hanging Mordechai on the gallows had just prepared. God had ordered the steps of Haman to appear before the king at a time when the king could not sleep. The Ruach Ha Kodesh had caused both men to remain awake that night, and Haman arrives at the exact moment the king realizes that Mordechai has not been rewarded yet for saving his life.

The king is told, “Behold, Haman is standing in the court.” So the king tells his servants to let him in. So, Haman comes in and the king said to him, “What is to be done for the man whom the king desires to honor?” Haman said to himself because of his pride, “Whom would the king desire to honor more than me?”

The timing here could only be orchestrated by the hand of Yehovah. Both men can’t sleep, and the king wants to honor Mordechai at the same time Haman is coming to ask the king for the death of Mordechai, and Haman thinks the king wants to honor him! So Haman tells the king the things he would like to be done to him, but then he finds out that the honor is going to Mordechai, and Haman must carry it out for Mordechai. So, instead of killing Mordechai, he must honor him! Surely Haman is beginning to see his downfall coming, right? Let’s see!

Haman must put the royal robe on Mordechai and lead him through the city square on one of the king’s horses. This is a picture of the coronation of the Messiah, and Haman’s humiliation is a picture of the degradation of Satan and the False Messiah. Then Mordechai returned to his position at the king’s gate, and Haman hurried home, mourning with his head covered in utter humiliation. All of this had to be done before Esther’s banquet later that day (Nisan 17). And Haman told Zeresh his wife and all his friends everything that took place. Haman believed that all of this was just a coincidence and he still intended on going to the king for permission to hang Mordechai.

On the other hand, Zeresh and his friends did not share Haman’s view on these events, and they tell him, “If Mordechai, before whom you have begun to fall, is of the seed of the Jews, you will not overcome him, but will surely fall before him.” They saw it coming and must have had some knowledge of Jewish history and what God had done in the past. They knew of God’s promises. While they were speaking, the king’s eunuchs arrived and hastily brought Haman to the banquet which Esther had prepared. It’s too late for Haman because all the pieces are coming together too fast and they will lead to Haman’s demise.

Eschatologically, it will also be the same for the unbelievers who follow the False Messiah when Yeshua comes at the end of the birth-pains (tribulation). Esther’s banquet alludes to the Feast of Leviathan after the judgment between the sheep and the goats (Matt 25.31-46). When Yeshua returns on Yom Kippur to Jerusalem (Matt 24.29-31) there will be a judgment, and the unrighteous will be gathered first (Matt 13.24-30) to Jerusalem as Yeshua sits on the Mount of Olives. These are judged and killed. Their bodies are taken to the Valley of Hinnom, also called the Tophet (Jer 7.32-34, 19.1-5) and the Valley of Decision (Joel 3.9-17). This valley in Hebrew is called “gei Hinnom” or “Gehenna.”

The bodies of these unbelievers will be food for the birds of the air and the beasts of the field (Ezek 29.2-7, 32.1-8; Matt 24.27-28; Luke 17.37; Rev 19.21), and this event is called the Feast of Leviathan in Jewish eschatology, and Leviathan is another word for the False Messiah and these are his followers who are alive on the earth when Yeshua returned (Isa 27.1; Psa 74.13-14; Psa 104.26; Job 26.12-13; Rev 13.1, 19.11-21).

Est 7.1-10 tells us that the king and Haman came to the Banquet. This is now Nosan 17 and the king asks Esther for the third time what her petition is. Esther asks, “Let my life be given me as my petition, and my people as my request” (referring to the 13th of Adar when Haman’s plot is to be carried out against the Jews). She then says, “we” have been sold to be killed, not just sold as slaves. If it was only to be sold as slaves, Esther said she would not have even brought it up because the matter was not worth the attention of the king (v 4). The plan to exterminate the Jews is seen all through history, and is going on right now. It will also be attempted by the False Messiah in the birth-pains.

The king immediately asks, “Who is he, and where is he, who would presume to do this?” The queen of the king was threatened, and her family. Ahasuerus, or Xerxes, is famous for his temper. Haman does not know that Esther is a Jew and a target of his plot, and that she is related to Mordechai. All the king knows is that his wife is threatened, but he does not know she is Jewish at this point.

Then Esther, says, “A foe and an enemy is this wicked Haman.” Haman hears this and is terrified and all his best laid plans against the Jews and Mordechai won’t save him now. Haman was an enemy, not only to the Jews, but to the king. His kingdom could be destabilized due to the loss of so many productive citizens, and the loss of revenue and productivity.

The king arose and went into the palace garden to “cool off” and to think. He knows he has a temper, but in his drunken state he leaves Esther alone with Haman. In one example of his temper, Xerxes is going to invade Greece and he has to cross the Hellespont (Dardanelles today) with his huge army. They needed a bridge to across over, so they built it beforehand. When it was set up a storm came and destroyed the bridge, and Xerxes went out to the sea and whipped it 300 times while his men watched and cursed the sea. They rebuilt the bridge and eventually crossed over to Greece, where they were eventually expelled out of Europe by the Greeks back to Persia. This is the person Haman had to deal with now.

Knowing that harm had been determined against him, Haman begins to beg for his life to Esther. When the king returns, he sees Haman falling on the couch where Esther was. His suspicions of Est 5.4-8 and his jealousy is being confirmed in his mind. He even accuses Haman of assaulting the queen “with me in the house?” As he said this, they covered Haman’s face so the king doesn’t have to see him anymore. The fear of Haman alludes to the fear that will come upon Satan and the False Messiah as they experience the wrath of the King of Kings.

Harbonah (donkey driver) was the one who went to get Haman and bring him to the banquet. He told the king that there was a gallows at Haman’s house that was made for Mordechai. Evidently, while Harbonah was waiting for Haman at his house he saw the gallows and overheard the plot to hang Mordechai on it.

This gallows was a stake on which they would impale a person, and this was 80 feet high. This is not like a gallows you would see in a cowboy movie when they would hang a criminal, this was much worse. So the king said, “Hang him on it” and they took Haman and hanged him (impaled him) on it. After this, Est 7.10 says that the king’s anger “subsided.” The word “subsided” in Hebrew is “shakah” (shin, kof, hay) but in this verse the word is written with an extra kof or “shakakah” (shin, kof, kof, hay). This shows that the king was really, really angry at Haman. Haman’s plot nearly killed his wife and he still thought Haman was assaulting his wife when he fell on her couch, making him think Haman was plotting to kill him and take the throne, along with Esther.

Now, remember, this was Nisan 17 and this date is very significant eschatologically. Here are just a few examples from Jewish history. Noah’s Ark rested on the mountains of Ararat in Gen 8.4 (on the civil calendar); Moses crosses the Red Sea and Pharaoh dies on Nisan 17; Hezekiah cleanses the Temple by Nisan 17 (2 Chr 29.3-28). Most importantly, Yeshua was resurrected from the dead on Nisan 17. Haman’s death on Nisan 17 was no coincidence. His defeat is a picture of God’s judgement and justice.

We will pick in Est 8.1-17 in Part 5.

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 Esther-Part 3

In Est 3.1-15, after Mordechai’s reputation has been established in Est 2.22, the king elevates Haman to power to make his fall even greater. Haman is the son of Hammedatha the Agagite. He would have never been born had Saul been successful in wiping out the Amalekites. But there is a spiritual lesson here to be learned.

Mordechai and Esther are descendants of Saul and this will be important. The fact that a descendant of Agag the Amalekite, who Saul allowed to live (1 Sam 15.9), and a descendant of Saul will have a confrontation in the Book of Esther shows that the Lord is behind these events to give us a picture of what would happen at the coming of the Messiah (Rom 15.4). Saul is a picture of Adam who fell as the first king over the Kingdom of God, and Mordechai is a picture of the Messiah who will be successful in overcoming the evil of the False Messiah, pictured by Haman.

Mordechai would not bow to Haman at the king’s gate, and this homage was idolatrous in the mind of Mordechai. This filled Haman with anger, so he persuaded the king to pass a law requiring everyone to bow to him, but Mordechai still wouldn’t do it (3.2). Besides, he was an Amalekite and he wasn’t going to submit to that. The rabbis have a tradition that says Haman had an image of a false god around his neck. It has always been permissible for a Jew to bow in respect to an official, but not when there was an idol involved. This alludes to the False Messiah who will have an image of himself made and requiring all people to worship it. This is referred to in Scripture as the Abomination of Desolation.

As a result, Haman begins to plot against Mordechai and all the Jews to have them destroyed, just like Pharaoh, Herod, Hitler and the False Messiah will do. Four years after the king’s marriage to Esther, a lot (pur) was cast before Haman day to day and month to month to find his course of action, and it was decided that they should destroy the Jews on the 13th of Adar, nearly a year away. God overruled the lot giving time for the plan of God to be played out for their redemption (Prov 16.33). Now he must get permission.

Haman complains to the king that there is a “certain people” in his kingdom who are different. He says their laws are different (Torah) and they do not keep the king’s laws, so it would be in the king’s interest that they should be exterminated. The background for this attitude and charges can be seen in Ezra 4.4-7,12-13 with the early returnees. This is also like Antiochus Epiphanes, Hitler, Stalin and others who persecuted the Jews because they follow Yehovah and the Torah. Stalin’s death will be associated with Purim as we shall see later in this teaching.

Haman said he would pay ten thousand talents of silver into the hands of those who carry out this business, and to put into the king’s treasuries because of the loss of the taxes and tribute that the king would lose once the Jews were killed. He would also repay this loss with the spoil that would be taken from the Jews after they have been destroyed (v 9).

So, the king took his signet ring and gave it to Haman as a token of his power to carry out his plan, saying he could do whatever he wanted to do. The king seems very cold here and he doesn’t even care that he just agreed to exterminate a whole people living under his protection, or he thought it was just a few rebellious individuals. Then the king summoned his scribes on the 13th day of the first month (Nisan) and an order was written out, just as Haman had determined. This law could not be revoked now and now the drama begins. Letters were sent out by messengers to destroy, kill and to annihilate all the Jews in one day, the 13th day of Adar, the twelfth month.

The king and Haman sat down to drink and the city of Shushan was in confusion. They were shocked at such a bloody scheme against a people they knew to be law-abiding citizens. With such a bloody mob unleashed nobody knew where it would end.

Now, as we can see, this event happened during the season of Passover, and in one year the Jews were to be exterminated. So we are getting a hint that this story has eschatological implications. Little did Haman know that his moves against the Jews was a move against Yehovah himself.

Est 4.1-17 begins to tell us that on the same day (Nisan 13) Mordechai hears of the plot he goes to Esther through an intermediary named Hatach. He tells him what is going on and wants him to tell her to use her position to help stop Haman. The messenger goes to Esther and gives her the message. But Esther can only see the king if he calls for her, and if he holds out his golden scepter. She also says she hasn’t seen him for 30 days, implying that he may not be as fond of her as at the first, and the messenger returns to Mordechai with the news.

Then Mordechai tells him to tell Esther that she will not escape these evil plans just because she is in the palace. He says in Est 4.14, “For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place and you and your father’s house will perish.”

Now, the word for “silent” in v 14 is used in Num 30.4 when talking about hearing a vow and remaining silent. If done, the vow will stand. Then in Num 30.13 it says a husband can “annul” the vow. The word there is “peram” and it has the same root as “purim” (Est 9.24-26). Mordechai goes on to say in v 14, “And who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this.” In other words, God’s providence may have placed her there as his instrument to “annul” the vow of Haman to exterminate the Jews. If she doesn’t, the vow will stand.

Esther tells the messenger to tell Mordechai to have the Jews assemble in Shushan. They are to fast for three days, night and day. She will do the same thing, then go into the king without being summoned. And she says, “If I perish, I perish” and literally it says, ” What I have lost, I have lost.” Esther will be committing a crime by doing this, and the penalty is death unless he extends to her his golden scepter.

Spiritually, the scepter is a picture of Messiah (Gen 49.10; Num 24.27). We have said before that the king is a picture of Yehovah whose laws cannot be broken or rescinded (the Torah cannot be “done away with”). The scepter is a picture of Messiah and unless God extends the Messiah to us, we are under the death penalty for our crimes. She must humble herself and hope that he will offer her “life” as she comes before him as a living sacrifice. We must do the same thing before Yehovah.

Now, remember, this was Nisan 13 and they will fast till Nisan 16. There is no indication that the Jews in captivity kept Passover or any festival because they were not in Jerusalem and there was no Temple or priesthood. We know they did not keep Passover here because they were fasting and praying on Nisan 14, the day of Passover. Esther was placed in the palace for such a time as this, and there will be eschatological pictures emerging as we move forward.

Esther 5.1-14 tells us that on “the third day” (Nisan 16) the praying and fasting has been accomplished and now Esther appears in the inner court of the king’s palace, and the king was sitting on his royal throne. Esther already has seen what happens when a queen disobeys the king’s command, and to approach the king without being summoned was as dangerous as not coming when you are summoned.

Yehovah has already given Esther grace in his eyes, and Esther goes in, and the king extended to Esther the golden scepter. By doing this he is taking her under his protection. He asks her, “What is troubling you, Queen Esther?” Perhaps the three days of fasting was showing on her face. He said he would grant to her “even to the half of the kingdom” which was courtly hyperbole.

She had something very important to ask him, but not yet. She requested that the king and Haman come to a banquet. She knew he would be more relaxed when she gave him her request. She may have been showing an interest in Haman to get his jealousy working in her favor against Haman. She was setting a trap for Haman so he would not have anytime to form a conspiracy. The king was fickle and didn’t want him to change his mind about having Haman there.

The name of God (YHVH or Yehovah) is encoded in the phrase, “yavo ha melek v’ Haman ha yom” and it is one of several places where the name can be found (1.20, 5.13,7.7). This is Nisan 16 and the banquet was for later that day. At the banquet the king asks her what he petition is. So she says, “My petition is: if I have found favor in the sight of the king, and it please the king to grant my petition and do what I request, may the king and Haman come to the banquet which I shall prepare for them, and tomorrow I will do as the king says.”

She is planting the seeds of jealousy here by placing Haman in the same place as the king when she said, “for them” in v 8. The king knows something is on her mind because she will not have risked her life just to ask him to come to a banquet. So he again asks her about her request (v 6). He knows this is personal to her and says he will grant it “even to the half of the kingdom.”

Well, needless to say, Haman is really pleased with himself about such an honor. His pride is evident in v 9, but as he goes home he sees Mordechai, and he does not stand before Haman, and Haman is again filled with rage. Haman disquised his anger and controlled himself, but he wanted to kill Mordechai even before the date of the evil decree. The False Messiah will also be blinded by his hatred for the Jews in the Birth-pains, and will make war on the Jewish people (Rev 12.1-17).

When Haman got to his house, he sent for his wife Zeresh and his friends, and he recounted to them the “glory of his riches and the number of his sons (ten), and every instance where the king had magnified him, and how he had promoted him above the princes and servants of the king.” His pride is evident as he says, “Even Queen Esther let no one but me come with the king to the banquet which she had prepared; and tomorrow also I am invited by her with the king. Yet all of this does not satisfy me every time I see Mordechai the Jew sitting at the king’s gate.”

Then Zeresh his wife and all his friends said to him, “Have a gallows 50 cubits high (80 feet high so all could see) made and in the morning ask the king to have Mordechai hanged on it, then go joyfully with the king to the banquet.” The advice pleased Haman, so he had the gallows made. All of this was without the king’s permission.

In a Bible Code, starting with the resh (r) in “Mordechai” in v 14 and counting in sequential digression (11, 10,9,8,7,6 etc) it spells “ra’ah satan olah” meaning “evil Satan of the Holocaust.” Haman could not wait eleven more months to kill Mordechai, now he only had to wait 24 more hours. But Haman did not realize that all these things coming to a head spelled his own doom. This will also be the case with the False Messiah. Everything he will do will come upon his own head when Yeshua returns.

We will pick up in Est 6.1-14 in Part 4.

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

Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Esther-Part 2

In Est 1.1-22 we learn that the king is going to hold a huge banquet. This is about 483.B.C. and about three years before his invasion of Greece and the Battle of Thermopylae. Ezra has returned to Jerusalem and the Temple has been built. Nehemiah would return to Jerusalem about 40 years later under Artaxerxes I, Ahasuerus’ son and successor.

The king is actually going to have three feasts, and the first one was for all the government officials where he shows the glory of his kingdom. The second feast was for the citizens of the capital city, Shushan. The third feast was for the women in the palace conducted by Vashti the queen (v 9).

Ahasuerus has defeated Egypt and was planning a war with Greece, so he calls all the chief men of the kingdom together to discuss it ( Est 1.1, Dan 11.2). He calls his wife Vashti to come forward to display her beauty, and his heart was “merry with wine.” The king was the embodiment of Persia, and so was the queen. She was seen as “mother Persia” but she refused to come, and the king was furious.

In Est 1.16 a man named Memucan (dignified) says that Vashti should be banished, and her position given to another. Now, Memucan is spelled in Hebrew with a mem, mem, vav, kof and nun. But in the verse it is spelled with a mem, vav, mem, kof and nun. It is a combination of two words, “mum” and “can” meaning “a blemish here.” The blemish was because he spoke out of turn. He is mentioned last, but was the first to speak (“The Megillah”, Mesorah Pub., p.48-49). This book is a Jewish Orthodox commentary on Esther and has some very valuable information in it. In some Jewish traditions, Memucan is seen as another name for Haman.

If the word got out that Vashti refused to come, other wives would show disrespect to their husbands as well and there would be some real problems (v 17-18). Once the king made a decree, it could not be repealed. So he sent out a decree that “every man should be the master in his own house.” God had ordained that this new law giving the king absolute powers be written in their laws so that it could be later used against Haman (Est 7.9). In other words, God’s plan for the demise of Haman was already set in motion before Haman had done a thing against the Jews yet. Spiritually, that is an important concept to remember. When our enemies come against us, God has already provided the vehicle for their defeat, too.

The fallen relationship between Ahasuerus and Vashti had to be replaced by a renewed spirit, and this alludes to being born again (John 3.5-8). Through out the first chapter of Esther, Vashti is referred to as “Queen Vashti” until she provokes the king. From Est 1.19 onward she is simply referred to as Vashti. Eschatologically, she represents the unbeliever caught within paganism who will be replaced by the rightful bride of Messiah.

Esther 2.1-23 tells us about the plan to replace Vashti with a new queen. They propose that all the young, beautiful virgins in the kingdom be gathered to Shushan. Then the king can choose a new queen from among them (2.4).

At this time, there was a Jew in Shushan named Mordechai, the son of Jair, the son of Shimei, the son of Kish, from the tribe of Benjamin. In other words, he is a relative of King Saul (1 Sam 9.1, 2 Sam 16.5). That will be an important point to remember at a later time. The term Jew (v 5) meant “Judeans” who were taken to Babylon. So, before we go any further, let’s look at the definition of “Jew” and “Hebrew” and “Israelite.” These definitions are from the Easton’s Bible Dictionary at “Biblestudytools.com.” The reason we are presenting this is because there are people who vehemently argue that the term “Jew” is not a term for any Israelite or Hebrew and they have constructed a whole false theology around this point, but we shall see that these terms became synonymous.

It begins, “Hebrew-a name applied to the Israelites in Scripture only by one who is a foreigner (Gen 19.14, 17; 41.12, etc), or by the Israelites when they speak of themselves to foreigners (Gen 40.15; Exo 1.19), or when spoken of and contrasted with other peoples (Gen 43.32; Exo 1.3, 7, 15; Deut 15.12. In the New Testament there is the same contrast between Hebrews and foreigners (Acts 6.1; Phil 3.5).”

“Israel- the name conferred on Jacob after the great prayer-struggle at Peniel (Gen 32.28), because ‘as a prince he had power with God and prevailed.’ (See Jacob). This is the common name given to Jacob’s descendants. The whole people of the twelve tribes are called “Israelites,” “the children of Israel” (Josh 3.17, 7.25; Judges 8.27; Jer 3.21), and the “house of Israel” (Exo 16.31; 40.38). This name Israel is sometimes used emphatically for the true Israel (Psa 73.1; Isa 45.17, 49.3; John 1.47; Rom 9.6, 11.26).”

“After the death of Saul the ten tribes arrogated to themselves this name, as if they were the whole nation (2 Sam 2.9, 10, 17, 28; 3.10, 17; 19.40-43), and the kings of the ten tribes were called “kings of Israel,” while the kings of the two tribes were called “kings of Judah.” After the exile the name Israel was assumed as designating the entire nation.”

“Jew-the name derived from the patriarch Judah, at first given to one belonging to the tribe of Judah or to a separate kingdom of Judah (2 Kings 16.6; 25.25; Jer 32.12; 33.19; 40.11; 41.3), in contradistinction from those belonging to the kingdom of the ten tribes, who were called Israelites. During the captivity, and after the restoration, the name, however, was extended to all the Hebrew nations without distinction (est 3.6, 10; Dan 3.8, 12; Ezra 4.12; 5.1, 5). Originally this people were called Hebrews (Gen 39.14; 40.15; Exo 2.7; 3.8; 5.3; 1 Sam 4.6, 9), but after the exile this name fell into disuse. But Paul was styled a Hebrew (2 Cor 11.22; Phil 3.5).”

“There are three names used in the New Testament to designate this people, Jews as regards their nationality, to distinguish from the Gentiles. Hebrews with regard to their language and education to distinguish them from Hellenists, Jews who spoke the Greek language. Israelites as respects their sacred privileges as the chosen people of God. According to the above definitions, the people of the 12 tribes (i.e. the descendants of Jacob) are referred to in the New Testament as “Jews,” “Hebrews,” and “Israelites.” The term “Jew” distinguishes them from Gentiles (i.e. everyone who is not a Jew).”

Now, Mordechai was bringing up a young girl named Hadassah (myrtle) and that is the Hebrew name of Esther. She was Mordechai’s cousin (his uncle had a daughter), and he adopted her as his own daughter. When it came about that the command and decree of the king was heard, many young ladies were gathered to Shushan. Now, why would a nice Jewish girl want to marry a pagan king? The answer can be found in Est 2.8.

It says that Esther was “taken” against her will (v 8) and taken to the harem of the king. Josephus says there were 400 young women gathered there. She was put into the custody of Hegai (meditation, word), and Hadassah pleased him. So he gave her cosmetics, food and seven choice maids. He also transferred her to the best place in the harem. Already, as we can see, God’s hand is on her. He is providing the cure (Esther) before the sickness (Haman), and Mordechai has instructed her to not tell anyone that she is Jewish. This will play a role in the fall of Haman.

Mordechai would walk about in front of the court of the harem to learn about how Esther was doing. The word for “walk” in v 11 is not “holech” but “mithhalech” meaning “strolled.” He did not want to be obvious to the guards that he was checking on her. Evidently, Mordechai had a high position in order to do that (2.19).

Ahasuerus wanted to make sure that none of the girls were sick, so he waits twelve months. During that time the women were preapred in ways that enhanced their beauty. Each woman would come before the king for one night. After that, they were taken to a second harem. She would not go again to the king unless he delighted in her and she was called again.

Esther could not have felt good about this whole process. She lost any possibility of marriage and a family among her people now that she was a part of this, but God had a plan to use her to save the whole nation. This book is also a book about the sovereignty of God. Events and the people involved are placed in their roles by the Lord without the participants even knowing what was being played out, but Yehovah did.

So we know she was taken against her will to the king in the tenth month (Tevet) in the seventh month year of his reign and this is eschatological. Messiah will take his bride and marry her in the seventh year also (Messianic Kingdom). He loved Esther more than all the others because she had found favor in the eyes of all who saw her (v 15) and he marries her.

The king gave another banquet and made a holiday for the provinces. This is a picture of the Wedding Supper of the Lamb at Sukkot. Mordechai was sitting at the “king’s gate” and this is an idiom meaning he had a position of trust in the government. He may have been a bodyguard of some sort to the king. Many Jews have served as advisors to the kings they were under. Daniel sat in the king’s gate and had ruled over certain areas, and Nehemiah was a cup-bearer and governor of Judea, and we all know the story of Joseph, although this was in a different type of captivity.

Esther has not told anyone about her heritage as Mordechai commanded her (2.10). Now, as we have said, Mordechai was involved with security of the king. Foreigners were often used in this way because they were not involved in nor interested in all the tribal and family politics of the nation. David had Philistines as bodyguards, for instance.

In those days Mordechai was at the king’s gate and two of the king’s officials who “guarded the door” (v 21) became angry with the king. Their names were Bigthan (gift of God) and Teresh (feared) and they wanted to lay hands on the king. They certainly had the opportunity because they guarded the door, possibly to his bedroom. But their plot became known to Mordechai and he told Queen Esther, and she informed the king in Mordechai’s name.

They were arrested and after an investigation, Bigthan and Teresh were found guilty and hanged on a gallows. This was recorded in the Book of the Chronicles in the king’s presence. Later, the king will be unable to sleep and he will read about what Mordechai did, and will reward him using Mordechai’s enemy Haman. Again, God is weaving into the story the destruction of Haman by establishing the reputation of Mordechai before the king.

In Part 3 we will pick up in Est 3.1-15.

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 Esther-Part 1

We are going to look at some concepts in the Book of Esther which will help us understand this book in a deeper way. As usual in our “concepts” series, we will not be doing a verse by verse study but we will go over concepts, idioms, phrases and the eschatology that is presented.

Like many books in the Tanak, the author of Esther is not known, but Jewish tradition says it was Esther and Mordechai, and later redacted by the Men of the Great Assembly. It takes place after the Babylonian Exile when Persia was reigning. The story is set in Susa (Shushan) and it was the royal city of the Persians, not the Medes. The modern day city of Shush in Iran is the site of ancient Susa and there are several archaeological sites there today.

The reigning king is Ahasuerus, also known as Xerxes, and he is the king who invaded Greece and fought the Spartan King Leonidas at the Battle of Thermopylae. He reigned between 486 and 465 B.C. Some Jews had returned to Jerusalem already and had control over their own lives, as we have seen in our study of Ezra and Nehemiah. But others, like Mordechai and Esther, remained behind for reasons only known to themselves. However, the majority of the people remained behind so that was not unusual, but the Jews were a minority group and this was a very dangerous position to be in. As we shall see, they will face a life threatening series of events.

The Book of Esther tells us about how a Jewish girl became queen of Persia and how she thwarted a plot to exterminate her people. She will be assisted in this by her guardian named Mordechai. But, besides the historical events presented in this book, we will look at how this story will play out again eschatologicall in the coming of the Messiah.

As part of the introduction to this book, we would like to quote from the book, “Prophecies in the Book of Esther” by Joseph Good of Hatikvah Ministries, p. 2-6, “The Book of Esther is unique in that it is the only book in the Bible that never mentions the Name of God directly in the text. However, the Name is found several times encoded into the text. The name of the book is derived from the Babylonian name Ishtar which means ‘as beautiful as the moon.’ It’s Hebrew derivative, vocalized Ha Ester, means ‘covering or the covering of God’s face,’ “And I will surely hide my face in that day for all the evils which they shall have wrought, in that they turned unto other gods” (Deut 31.18).”

“This is, perhaps, one reason why the name of God is not spelled out in the text of the book. Rashi, a Talmudic scholar of the eleventh century, stated that there was a concealment of the divine countenance during the days of Esther. Why would God conceal his face from those he loved? The rabbis teach that the Jews assimilated and began to forget and neglect their total dependence upon God. This caused the conditions that clouded the Divine Image and allowed an obstacle to conceal his countenance. However, though concealed, God never departed from his children, but went with them into captivity. The virtue of Mordechai and Esther showed and caused a return to God (repentance) among the Jews during which time God’s presence was again revealed.”

“Although his countenance was covered, it was later revealed. There are at least four times when the ineffable Name of God appears in acrostic form embedded in the text of Esther. This ineffable name, known as the tetragrammaton, was pronounced only by the High Priest of Israel, only on the Day of Atonement. The Hebrew letters Yod, Hay, Vav, Hay are vocalized YHVH. In Hebrew texts, whenever YHVH appears, it is pronounced Adonai (Lord) in order to keep from using the Name in vain. The YHVH appears in Esther 1.20 as the first letters of four consecutive words when read backward: Hi v’chol h’nashim yitnu, ‘It, and all women will give.’ In Esther 5.4 these letters appear again by initial letters of four consecutive words when read forward, Yavo hamelech v’haman hayom, ‘and let the king and Haman come today.’ Again, in Esther 5.13 the YHVH is formed by final letters of four consecutive words when read backward, zah ainenu shoveh li, ‘This gives no satisfaction to me.’ Once more the tetragrammaton is seen in Esther 7.7 by the final letter of four consecutive words read forward, ki chaltah ailav hara’ah, ‘that his fate had been determined.’ “

“Without a doubt, the book of Esther gives a vivid description of the triumph of the true Messiah and glimpses into the Kingdom of God on earth. The book of Esther is unique in being the story of ancient accounts, yet it provides a profound vision of the future. More than any other book of the Scriptures, Esther deals with the nature of the False Messiah and his demonic hatred for the Jews.”

“Many years before the events of this story came to pass, the earthly stage was set and the characters were created. The Babylonian Empire had succumbed to the power of the mighty Persian Empire. Nebuchadnezzar had taken the Jews into Babylon in three stages. Among those taken were Daniel, who later served the Babylonian king and sat at his gate, Ezekiel, and many more who would later return to Jerusalem. Jeremiah prophesied that after seventy years of captivity the Jews would return to rebuild the Temple and Jerusalem. No one knows exactly when the seventy years begins or ends. A prince of Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar, provoked God by using the sacred vessels from the Temple for lustful purposes. He died within hours as Cyrus the Mede conquered Babylon, and thus began the Median-Persian empire.”

“Cyrus is regarded in Scripture as a just ruler who beheld the awesome power of God and vowed that the Temple in Jerusalem would be restored. His reign was short’ however, and his empire passed into the hands of his son, Cambyses and Smerdis. Smerdis probably tried to usurp the throne and was later assassinated by the cohorts of Darius I. Cambyses presumably died in battle with Egypt. By this time the foundation for the Temple had been laid, but work stopped and would not commence for another twenty years.”

“Cyrus began restoring the old Elamite city if Susa. Darius continued the restoration and conducted many affairs of state there. Susa is known in the Bible as Shushan. He enlarged the empire and began a large building campaign. Darius is regarded historically as a great ruler, and according to tradition, this is the same Darius is Scripture who allowed many Jews, such as Ezra, Zerubbabel, and Yeshua the son of Yosadak the High Priest, to return to Jerusalem and undertake the task of rebuilding. At any rate, the Persian Empire flourished under Darius’ regime. He was succeeded by his son, Xerxes, who reigned for twenty years and was succeeded by his son, Artaxerxes, who commissioned Nehemiah to return for the rebuilding of the walls of Jeruslaem.”

“Tradition holds that the Jews were allowed to return during the reign of Darius, but were called back to Persia during the reign of Ahasuerus. The rabbis teach that Ahasuerus disliked the Jews and was afraid of their efforts to rebuild the Temple. There is no factual evidence to support this tradition, but timing would allow for such an event to occur. This would also lend itself well to reasons for the story of Esther to transpire, to further allow for the Jews to finish rebuilding the Temple as Cyrus had long ago promised.”

“It is not known for certain exactly which king Ahasuerus represents, but most theologians support that he must have been Xerxes. This concluded by the similarity in descriptions of their reigns. each had a large banquet with many nobles during their third year as monarch. Each is described as being a ruler of numerous provinces. Although nothing exists in Persian history to substantiate the story of Esther, nothing exists to disprove the story. Also, the timing of events in the book of Esther coincides with the timing of recorded history concerning Xerxes. In the third year of his reign, Xerxes began his campaigns with the Greeks which lasted until his seventh year, at which time he returned to Persia in order to develop his kingdom. It is during this same seventh year that Ahasuerus takes Esther as queen. Most of the historical accounts on Xerxes are in Greek literature, therefor, they may be tainted as Xerxes led several campaigns against the Greeks and lost. His Persian name was Khshayarsha which the Greeks translated as Xerxes. There are several similarities between Ahasuerus and Khshayarsha. The Hebrew pronunciation of Ahasuerus is Achashveyrosh.”

“Whatever the plight of the Jews during the reign of Ahasuerus, there were many Jews still captive in Persia. Those taken into captivity from the old Babylonian Empire learned to live new lives a foreigners in yet another country. everything that develops in the story had already been seen by a Higher Authority. The redemptive work had already been provided many years before. The stage had been set, and so the story begins.”

What is interesting about this book is God is never named. Going back to Deut 31.18 again, which we have quoted above, the word “hide” is spelled Esther. God’s name is hidden in Est 1.20, 5.4, 5.13 and 7.7 and that’s why this book was never found at Qumran and part of the Dead Sea Scrolls (DSS), or a genizah, which is a depository for old writings with the name of God (YHVH or Yehovah) in them. Because Esther did not have the name of God in it, they did not need to put it into the caves at Qumran, so it was never found there.

The cast of characters in the book will play major roles in the court, but they will also be a picture of several eschatological characters. First, we have Ahasuerus (ruler among kings, or king of kings), also known by his Greek name Xerxes. He will be a picture of God who is the ruler among kings, and whose laws cannot be broken or changed. Then we have a man named Haman (noisy, illustrious), who is a descendant of Agag, an Amalekite. He will be a picture of the False Messiah. He will have ten sons who will be hanged when Haman falls, and they are a picture of the ten kings who fall with the False Messiah. They will also be a picture of the ten Nazis that were hung after the Nuremburg trials. In an encoded message in Hebrew where the sons are listed in Esther, the date for their hanging is given. Mordechai (of Marduk, bitter oppression) is a descendant of Shimei, who is a descendant of King Saul, who cursed David in 2 Sam 16.5-14 and was allowed to live by King David. He will be a picture of the Messiah. We will have more on the relationship between King Saul and Agag, David and Shimei, and Mordechai and Haman later on in this teaching. King Saul is picture of the first Adam who sinned, and Mordechai will be a picture of the Second Adam (Yeshua). Esther (star), who had the Hebrew name Hadassah (myrtle), will be a picture of the believer. Queen Vashti (beautiful one) will be a picture of the unbeliever, who was called before the throne of the king but refused to come. So, as we move along in the book keep these concepts in mind because they will be playing out an eschatological scenario.

The festival of Purim will be inaugurated in this book to celebrate the deliverance God provided, and it occurs on Adar 14 every year. Although it is not one of the festivals listed in Lev 23, it is a biblical festival and it will play a role in biblical prophecy because in the birth-pains, the Abomination of Desolation will be set up around that date by the False Prophet, pointing the way to the False Messiah, who will declare himself to be God about one month later, on Nisan 10 (2 Thes 2).

So, as we can see, this book is full of historical facts, but it is full of eschatological pictures, and we will point these out as we move along in our study. We will pick up in Est 1.1-22 in Part 2.

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

Tanak Foundations-Nehemiah and the Temple-Conclusion

Many people have put out videos that say the Temple was not on the Temple Mount. What we want you to do is go to a map of the City of David and the Temple Mount on the Internet. We want you to look at the map you want to use as we continue, and as we name a location, you can find where we are talking about. You will soon see that the Temple could not have been in the City of David. The City of David is the oldest part of Jerusalem and there are fortifications in these areas that are being discovered, and they go back to before Israel arrived.

So, for some reference points, look at the southern end of the city and you will see the Siloam Pool. Going up the eastern side of the city you will see the Kidron Valley and the Gihon Spring. Then David’s Palace is just north and then we come to the Ophel. North of that we have the Temple Mount. On other maps you can see more detail, the southern steps of the Temple and other sites.

Some of Israel’s best archaeologists are working in the area of the old City of David, like Eilat Mazar and Ronny Reich. Dr. Mazar published an article on where David’s Palace would be located without digging. How did she figure that out? She read the Scriptures and surmised that it would be at the northern end of the City of David. She found a large structure dating back to the time of David with many artifacts inside. Most scholars agree that it was David’s Palace. Some try to discount it, but most of the big archaeologists agree with Mazar. There is a stepped stone structure that was built going down into the Kidron Valley because they needed to increase the size of the foundation of this huge building. That is important and you can go to the Internet and look at the pictures there on this discovery.

Solomon would build his palace on the Temple Mount and David’s Palace became an administration center. They found a toilet there and were able to examine some of the stone and found that people using this toilet had tape worms because they were eating raw meat during the Babylonian siege of Jerusalem. All the wood had been used up to make defenses and the cooking of food, and eventually they ran out of wood. They also found a seal that was baked due to the burning of Jerusalem and it was baked also. They found a whole area full of seals and some of them had the names of some of the people we see in the Scriptures.

The Gihon Spring has some massive excavations going on, too. It is south of David’s Palace. There is a parking lot called the Givati parking lot and they are finding ruins from the Hasmonean (Maccabees) to the Roman period. That’s because David’s Palace was at the northern end of the City of David and the Givati parking lot is west of the palace. They have also found the street that went from the Siloam Pool to the Temple Mount. They found the sewer that was below the street and found many artifacts in there. So, we have gone over the Temple Mount, the Ophel, the City of David, David’s Palace, the Gihon Spring, the Siloam Pool (Shiloach) and the Givati parking lot.

Now let’s talk about the Siloam (Shiloach) Pool for a moment. When people came up to the festivals they would congregate there, clean up and prepare their gifts to God before they went up to the Temple. A delegation was sent to the Temple notifying the priests that such and such group from such and such were there. Was the Siloam Pool a mikvah (immersion bath)? Some debate this even now. The rules for a Temple era mikvah by the first century were very strict and so you can make a good argument that it wasn’t a mikvah. It was just an open area with a pool. There are other mikvaot all over the place.

In the City of David they have not found very many mikvaot. There are some but not many. On the other hand, just south of the Temple Mount they have discovered mikvaot, and some on the southwest side. For more information on this subject we refer you to our teaching called, “Tevilah (immersion) and Rachatz (washing)” on this website.

At any rate, having the steps leading up to the Temple Mount as it is today and having mikvaot there is important evidence because you had to immerse before going up to the Temple. There were other mikvaot south of the inner courtyard and in the outer courtyard of the Temple.

There was another mikvah which was discovered under the Lishkat Ha Metzorim (Chamber of the Lepers). This chamber was in the northwest part of the Court of the Women. A cistern was found under what would have been the Leper’s Chamber by Conraad Shick in 1870. The locations of these mikvaot are not only verified by the leading mikvaot archaeologists, like Ronny Reich, but they are also backed up by the Jewish writings like the Mishnah, Josephus and others that tell us a mikvah should be located there.

Dr. Ernest Martin wrote a book called, “The Temples That Jerusalem Forgot” and Bob Cornuke wrote one called, “Temple:Amazing New Discoveries That Changed Everything About the Location of Solomon’s Temple.” These books say that the Temple was just north of David’s Palace, in the Ophel. 2 Chr 3.1 says that Solomon began building the Temple on Mount Moriah, the same mountain that Abraham nearly sacrificed Isaac in Gen 22. It is also the same mountain that Jacob had his dream about the ladder in Gen 28. Yeshua will also be crucified on that mountain. David numbered the people in 1 Chr 21.1-30 and sins, so a plague breaks out and David buys the threshing floor of Ornan, and builds an altar. So, 2 Chr 3.1 says that Solomon began to build the Temple there. The Altar of the Temple will be in the same spot as David’s altar (1 Chr 21.18), and the altar that David built is on the same location that Abraham built his altar with Isaac. We have a continuing of locations.

Dr. Martin has the Temple Mount as the Roman fortress Antonia and the Temple is south of the Ophel, and just north of David’s Palace. His book has a picture of this layout but you can look it up on the Internet now. The size of his Temple is much smaller than it actually was. He says that the Fortress Antonia that most have pictured in the northwest corner of the Temple complex could not hold 600 Roman soldiers and all that went with them, so they had to have the whole Temple Mount. However, the size of his Temple is smaller than his reconfigured Fortress Antonia, but the Temple would hold hundreds of thousands on a festival everyday. His logic does not add up numerically.

His layout of the whole Temple-Antonia area does not match the descriptions. He has porticos running north and south but nobody ever saw those. He has the Gihon Spring right below his Temple complex, but in reality, it would have been further south of the Temple. Martin and Cornuke say the Temple got its water from the Gihon Spring, but according to historical texts it came from the Etam Spring near Bethlehem, reaching the Temple by means of a lower aquaduct (Jerusalem Talmud, Yoma 3.41; “Etam Spring-Temple Mount Water,” TempleMountLocation.com). The Gihon Spring was not a factor in the Temple.

The Sanhedrin met in three places. The “Sanhedrin Gedolah” or Great Sanhedrin had 71 judges and it met in Beit Avtinas, and they had to meet there to render a death sentence according to the Torah. They eventually moved to the eastern end of the Royal Stoa in protest about Pontius Pilate in 30 A.D. This was right before Yeshua was brought before them and why they could not pronounce a death sentence on him.

A second court called the “Sanhedrin Katanah” or Smaller Sanhedrin of 23 judges met in a building to the right side of the gate leading into the Court of the Women called the Eastern Gate. A third court called the “Beit Zekanim” or House of Elders, made up of 3 judges that met at the southern steps leading up to the Temple Mount, and this building has been found because they found a portion of a plaque that had two connecting fragments, and it had the word “Zekanim” (elders) written on it, referring to the elders of the Sanhedrin. They found that nowhere near where Ernest Martin and Bob Cornuke have their temples. These southern steps lead up to the Temple Mount today and people can walk on them.

These areas we have been talking about have been thoroughly documented. Dr. Mazar has documented, drawn and measured every stone in the northern wall. What we want to illustrate here is that everything has been documented and done by trained archaeologists at the top of their professions.

The Soreg was a small wall around the Temple courts about two cubits high with signs on them warning the non-Jews to stay out of the courts or they would be responsible for their own death. Josephus records the wording and they have found two of those signs. One is completely intact and in Istanbul, and it was found at the northeast end of the Temple Mount, a long way from the City of David. The second one is a partial sign in the Israel Museum and it was found on the northwest side of the Temple Mount, also a long way from the City of David.

In 2 Sam 24.10-14 we learn that David has sinned by numbering the people. He is given three things to choose from as punishment. He can choose seven years of famine, fleeing for three months before his enemies while they pursue him, or three days of pestilence. David chooses the third option because the other two would have put the whole nation at risk by other nations. He does not want to fall into the hands of men, so he wants to be in the hands of God because he is a merciful God and he would be just as exposed to the pestilence as everyone else.

2 Sam 24.15-17 talks about the plague and an angel is stopped from destroying the people at the threshing floor of Araunah (Ornan) the Jebusite (the name for anyone dwelling in Jerusalem). David sees the angel who was striking down the people and he tells the Lord that he was the one who sinned, not “these sheep, what have they done?”

So, 2 Sam 24.18 says that the prophet Gad came to David and said, “Go up, erect an altar to the Lord on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite.” This is where the Temple altar will be. Gibeon is where the Mishkan was at the time was too far to go to an altar and the angel was standing in between Gibeon and David. David is in his palace (v 18) and we are going to have Araunah’s floor, the Ophel, David’s Palace, the Gihon Spring and the Siloam Pool in that order as you moved south.

Notice David is told to “Go up” to the threshing floor of Araunah, which would be north. He is not going to go “down” to the south to the Gihon Spring to the threshing floor of Araunah. He is told to build an altar there, to the north of his palace (“go up”). In 2 Chr 5.1-7 it says that the Ark was brought “up” from the City of David by the priests (v 5) to its place, into the inner sanctuary of the Temple (v 7).

We are making all these points to show that the Temple was on the temple Mount where the Dome of the Rock is because many people are looking at certain videos and buying books that say the Temple was in the City of David. The Jews did not “forget” where the Temple was like Martin asserts. Believing this theory makes it sound like the Jews don’t know what they are talking about. We can assure you they did not forget where the Temple was, and the best archaeologists in the world have verified it over and over again. There is a “mountain” of evidence out there, and we have only presented a minuscule amount to prove it.

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

Tanak Foundations-Nehemiah and the Temple-Part 2

In Neh 3.1 we are going to deal with an important word. The priests built the Sheep Gate and they consecrated it. The word for “consecrated” is “Kadshuhu” and it comes from the word “Kodesh.” They sanctified this gate and there is only one place in Jerusalem that it could be referring to, and only the priests were allowed there, so that’s why they were the ones to concentrate it. It is not the “Temple Mount at large” or the inner courtyards, but it is a specific part of the inner courtyards called the Ezrat Kohanim (Court of the Priests).

The Tower of the Hundred is the northeast corner building of the Temple, and would later be called the Beit Ha Nitzotz. The Tower of Hananel (God has favored) would be later called the Beit Ha Moked in the northwest corner of the Temple. The reference to the Sheep Gate alludes to Yeshua as the Lamb of God. Most maps have the Temple configured wrong.

Neh 3.2-3 mentions the “Fish Gate” (alludes to being “fishers of men”) and the sons of Hassenah laid its beams and hung its doors. So, we can see that the path they will be going in Nehemiah is in the north moving west, then heading south and then around to the east side.

In Neh 3.4-6 it tells us who did the work going into the “Old Gate.” This gate has not been located yet but they are now moving south in Nehemiah. This “Old Gate” alludes to the fact that the “old man” needs a lamb and redemption.

Neh 3.7-8 tells us about who did the work up to the “Broad Wall.” Archaeologists know where this is but it is south of the Old Gate and part of it is in the Jewish Quarter behind a shop called “Shorashim” on the way to the western restrooms. The Broad wall was built over a wall that Solomon built and Hezekiah expanded it by making it wider. You can follow it for several hundred yards.

Then in Neh 3.9-12 it tells us who worked on the wall and it mentions the “Tower of Furnaces.” We are now in the Ophel area and we are entering the City of David (Ir David) going south on the west side of the city. Neh 3.13 talks about the the “Valley Gate” at the Tyropoeon Valley. This gate alludes to how a person must be brought low in humility before he can call on Yehovah.

Neh 3.13-14 mentions the “Refuse Gate” or “Dung Gate” and it alludes to our works. The gate is in the southwest part of the western wall of the City of David, but as far south (low) as you can get. It was right at the bottom of the hill where the Cheesemakers Valley (Tyropoeon) meets Gei Hinnom (Gehenna) or the Valley of Hinnom. Spiritually, we must be as low as we can get and realize our works are as “dung” and it is part of the process we need to go through where “old things are passed away.” When you turn the corner here you are moving north towards the Temple on the eastern side of the city.

Neh 3.15 mentions the “Fountain Gate” and it relates to the Pool of Siloam (“Shiloach” or sent) and we know where that is. This gate is in the south and it relates to the concepts of regeneration and washing. He has “turned the corner” from sin to redemption. The water in the pool of Siloam alludes to the Ruach Ha Kodesh being “sent” (Shiloach-John 16.7). Now, keep in mind that if you walked from the eastern side of the City of David to the western side of the City of David it would take you less than ten minutes. We are not talking about a big area at all.

Neh 3.16-25 tells us who is building the eastern wall moving north. In verse 25 it mentions David’s palace and it was built north of the City of David because they have found it. David does not build the Temple but he did build his palace. The Temple was north of that, and his palace was located by using Scripture by Eilat Mazar. Solomon did not use David’s palace when he became king. He built a new palace to the north of David’s on the Temple Mount.

Neh 3.26-27 says that the temple servants (Netanim) lived in the Ophel and made repairs as far as the “Water gate.” The Water Gate was near the Gihon Spring above the Kidron Valley. This gate alludes to cleansing and several mikvahs have been located. Nehemiah would gather all the people to the Water Gate to hear the Torah. It was a place for gathering, teaching and fellowship and it tells us that a believer should gather, teach and learn, and fellowship around Torah study. The Tekoites repaired another section in front of the great projecting tower (out of the wall) and as far as the wall of Ophel.

Neh 3.28 tells us about the “Horse Gate” and above the Horse Gate (north) the priests carried out repairs, each in front of his house. This was an entrance to Solomon’s Stables, or just stables in general. The horse was symbolic of power in warfare and alludes to our power in spiritual warfare after our conversion. This led to the King’s Palace on the Temple Mount built by Solomon. We are now past the City of David and we haven’t even gotten to the Temple yet. The King’s Palace was south of the Temple.

So, if you say the Temple was south in the City of David you are saying that all of this is wrong. You can read 2 Kings 11.16 and 2 Chr 23.15 to substantiate that the Horse Gate led to the palace. Athaliah was killed there outside the gate after she was led out of the Temple.

The “East Gate” in Neh 3.29 leads to the Temple area, the House of God. This alludes to our worship and prayer, and our entering into the “Household of God.” It is called the Shaar Mizrach. Over the gate they had a depiction of the palace in Shushan of the Persian kings. They had given the Jews permission to come back to the land and to rebuild the Temple, so they honored them.

Neh 3.31 talks about the “Inspection Gate” (Miphkad) and it is the last gate. This is where the people were mustered and inspected for military purposes or war, and sheep would be inspected for Temple use. This gate alludes to the Judgment (inspection) Seat of Messiah where we are mustered in the Natzal (Rapture) and inspected. After that we go to war with Yeshua when he returns to the earth to rule and reign. We know where this gate was, and it is under what is now called the “Golden Gate.” North of that is the old sheep market that was used until 1965 or so. The “BenjaminGate” was up there, which is today called the “Lion’s Gate.”

When you go into the Lions’s Gate about 70 yards you come to the Sheep pools or the Pools of Bethesda. They would bring the sheep down to the sheep market, then they would be purchased for the Temple and washed in the Sheep pols, and then they would be brought through the Inspection Gate.

Neh 3.32 takes us back back to the Sheep Gate and we have made a complete circle going counter-clockwise around the City of David. When one looks at the Golden Gate from outside the wall, all the stones to the left (south) are the ones we have been reading about with Nehemiah, and all the stones to the right (north) are Herodian. There is what is called the “Offset” and that is where the masonry changes. On the Internet, you can go to the website called “Eastern Wall, NE end-Jerusalem 101” at www.generationword.com and they have pictures that have the stones Nehemiah set, the Offset Stone and then Herodian stones. But there are many sites you can do some research on as well.

The cornerstone in the photos marked the northeast corner of the original 500 x 500 cubit Temple Mount from the time of Solomon to Yeshua. North of that is Herodian and part of the Roman fortress called Antonia. This Offset stone can also be seen in the book “Measure the Pattern, A Study of the Structures Surrounding the Inner Courtyard of the Temple” Vol 1, p. 27, by Joseph Good of Hatikva Ministries. Anyone interested in current Temple archaeology should purchase this book.

The scholars, archaeologists and people of this generation have located specific locations mentioned in Neh 3 and we have established that the Temple was not in the City of David, but north of it. The Horse Gate, the East Gate and the Inspection Gate (Miphkad) are all Temple gates,and they are north of the City of David.

Scripturally, we can establish that the Temple was not in the City of David. In Gen 22, Abraham is told to build an altar on a mountain God will show him. The location where he builds that altar is where Solomon builds his altar. Ezra 5.15 says that the Persian king commanded that the Temple be built at the exact same place the previous Temple stood before it was destroyed.

Current books out there by Ernest Martin, Bob Cornuke and others say the Temple was located further south. After reading these books people say, “The Jews changed it to the Temple Mount because they forgot where the Temple really was” but they aren’t taking into account that these authors are changing the archaeology and the Scriptures. Solomon’s palace was not where David’s palace was in the City of David. It was on the Temple Mount, but why?

In pagan societies, a king may see himself as a god, or one of the gods.. This was the case in Egypt. In Israel, the king was seen as an adopted son of God (1 Chr 28.5-7) and God’s representative for the Kingdom of God on earth (1 Chr 28.5; 2 Chr 13.8). The laws of Israel were contained in the Torah and there was no such thing as “separation of church and state” but a “merging” of the two. So we know that we cannot have structures on the Temple Mount if it is not a part of the “tavnit” or pattern/blueprint that God originally gave to David, and then to Solomon (1 Chr 28.11-19). Solomon’s palace (and the succeeding kings) was built at a lower level than the Temple and it was in the outer court area. As a result, it did not have the same kedusha as the inner courts of the Temple.

The belief that the Temple was not on the Temple Mount does not have any foundation in the Scriptures or archaeology, as we have seen so far in this study. We believe that we are the generation that will see the rebuilding of the Temple, and it is not a question of “If” or “Maybe.” It is coming and when it happens it will come sudden and when you least expect it. Yehovah will do something nobody saw coming and everything will change.

Now, there are two things that will be needed in order to have a Temple that is real and that is serviceable. There are many other things, but we will touch on that later. The first thing that will be needed is a Parah Adumah, or Red Heifer. The Temple Mount, the priesthood and all the utensils, garments and furniture must be sprinkled with the ashes before they can be used.

Secondly, there is the Temple Mount itself. It must be totally in the hands of the Jewish people with the Dome of the Rock and other Muslim sites vacated on the Temple Mount. The will of the people is going to play a major role in all this when the time comes. The attitude is changing and more and more people are moving towards wanting a Temple, but its not there yet and it won’t be easy or cheap.

There is a spiritual energy associated with the Temple and the Temple Mount and the governments of the world don’t realize how important Jerusalem is, and they certainly don’t realize how important that 35 acres on the Temple Mount is. Church organizations don’t realize it, and neither do the political parties in the Untied States. But there are two organizations in this world that realize how important it is.

The first is the Vatican and Roman Catholicism. They see the Temple as a repudiation of their replacement theology that says the church has replaced Israel and the Temple was destroyed to show that God is done with the Jews. For the Temple to be rebuilt would be a terrible blow to their church doctrines. God is done with the Jews so that is why there is no Temple, that Sunday has replaced the Sabbath, that the Catholic priests have replaced the Levitical priesthood, the sacrifice of the Mass has replaced all animal sacrifices and Christianity has replaced a Torah-based Judaism. That’s why they want control over the Temple Mount and want to have a say in what happens there. They see value in it. For more information on this, see our teaching called, “The Real Agenda of the Vatican” on this website.

The second organization is Islam and their attempts to keep Israel from rebuilding the Temple. They see value in it. In their eyes, if a Temple went up on the Temple Mount, replacing the Dome of the Rock, it would look like the God of the Jews (Yehovah) is more powerful than the god of Islam (Allah), and that would be a real problem to the Muslims, so they are not going to allow that, but they aren’t going to have much say in it. When Yehovah is ready, the Temple Mount will be ready for a Temple. There is a real spiritual battle going on in the natural, but with the Lord there isn’t much of a struggle going on. When the Lord is ready, the Temple is going to be rebuilt and that will be that.

We will pick up here in our conclusion.

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

Tanak Foundations-Nehemiah and the Temple-Part 1

Since we have been studying the Book of Nehemiah, let’s talk about the Temple Mount and the Temple. There is a teaching going around today that says the Temple was located in the City of David and not on the Temple Mount where the Dome of the Rock is located. We are going to show that this is virtually impossible. To believe that the Temple was located in the City of David you would have to deny the Scriptures. You would have to say that the Book of Nehemiah, which we have just gone over, is inaccurate and wrong in what it is saying.

This book plainly puts the Temple on the present day Temple Mount, and Josephus puts the Temple on the present day Temple Mount. But one of the big problems people have is that they are unfamiliar with the geography of Jerusalem. So we are going to try and correct that with some valid information. For those of you who do not like geography, please stick with us because it will be a real blessing for you. You will need a good map of the ancient City of David with the gates to go along with this teaching, and they are easily available on the Internet.

We have two detailed accounts of the geography of Jerusalem and both will be in the Second Temple period. The first will be in Nehemiah 3, with additional information in Neh 12, and the second account will be Josephus, Wars of the Jews, Book 5. He gives a very detailed account of the Temple at the time it was destroyed, as well as the city of Jerusalem.

Nehemiah is giving his account at the time the Temple was being rebuilt with Ezra, Yehoshua Ben Yehozadak the high priest and Zerubbabel. That will be early Second Temple period but it gives us a real good view of Jerusalem and the Temple of the late First Temple period.

The view that the Temple was located in the City of David does not fit the archaeology. Archaeologists can tell us in detail what has been found and one of the best archaeologists today is Eilat Mazar. She has a book called “The Complete Guide to Temple Mount Excavations.” She is the granddaughter of Benjamin Mazar, who conducted the excavation around the south and southwest of the Temple Mount. The archaeologists can also tell us what is not there.

If one is going to study the Bible, you need to study Jerusalem. It is the Throne of God on earth and the center piece of the Bible, from beginning to end (Jer 17.12). Yehovah “planted a garden toward the east in Eden and there he placed the man he had formed” (Gen 2.8). The question is, “East of what?” You have to have a reference point. That reference point is east of the throne, and the throne of God is the Temple. There is a belief that the Temple was a representation of the Garden of Eden, and that Jerusalem and the Garden of Eden are linked. The motif of the Temple relates back to a garden (trees, pomegranates, gourds, flowers, olive wood, etc-1 Kings 6.18, 29, 31, 7.18, 36; Psa 52.8; 92.12-14; Ezek 31.8-9) and Ezek 28.13-16 speaks of “Eden, the garden of God” and the “mountain of God.” Adam fell in what would be Jerusalem and the Temple Mount, and Yeshua as the second Adam restored mankind from the sin of Adam in Jerusalem and on the Temple Mount, and was buried in a nearby garden. But, that again is another story.

The stone within the Kodesh Ha Kodeshim is called the “Even Shetiyah” or “Foundation Stone.” It is taught that from that point Yehovah created the world. So, from the beginning (Bereshit means “beginning” and is the Hebrew name for the Book of Genesis) of the Bible to the Book of Revelation, we have Jerusalem.

If you want to understand the Tanak, the Gospels, Epistles and prophecy, you need to understand the geography of Jerusalem. If you don’t, you will end up making all types of assumptions based on what you learn in Sunday School, movies, books and teachings by people who didn’t know the geography. It is a key to understanding the Scriptures.

The oldest part of Jerusalem is called “Ir David” or the City of David. You can look on any map and you can locate it, and it is only about 14 acres. By comparison, the White House grounds in Washington, D.C. is 18 acres, so the City of David is a small area.

North of the the city is a place called the Ophel (fortified hill) and it is like a bridge between the City of David (Ir David) and the Temple Mount. This is a biblical word that can be found in 2 Chr 27.2, 33.14; Neh 3.26 and Neh 11.21. So we are talking about a real geological location.

At the southern tip of the City of David you will see the Dung Gate. In the Torah, latrines must be outside of the “camp of Israel.” When they come into the land, the camp of Israel was defined as being within sight of the Mishkan in Shiloh (Mishnah, Zevachim 14.6). In Jerusalem, the camp of Israel was within the walls of the city (Mishnah, Zevachim 14.8). Because of that there was a Dung Gate at the south end of the city.

That doesn’t mean everyone in the north part of the city had to go all the way south to the Dung Gate to use a latrine. But what it does mean is they used chamber pots, and once the refuse was collected it was carried out of the city to the Hinnom Valley where it was thrown in heaps. They also burned trash there and it was later called “Tophet” (Jer 7.30-34) and “Gehenna” (Gei Hinnom or Valley of Hinnom) to the south of the city.

This valley south of the city formed a “wind tunnel” that carried the smoke and odor away from the city to the east. The Dung Gate is also called the “Potter’s Gate” (Jer 19.1-2) for the same reason. The potter’s need clay and water, and there were several pools to the south called Siloam (Sent) and the King’s Pool, and there was a spring in En-Rogel.

To the north we have the Gihon Spring and when Solomon was crowned it was held at the Gihon Spring (1 Kings 1.32-39). Adonijah his brother is going to appoint himself king at En-rogel (1 Kings 5-9). The distance between the two sites is only about a half a mile. That is why Adonijah and all the guests could hear Solomon’s coronation at the Gihon Spring (1 Kings 1.38-43).

The potters fired their pottery at the southern end of the city also and the wind carried the smoke away from the city. Jer 18 tells us about the potter and the clay, and Jer 19.1-2 says, “Thus says Yehovah, ‘Go and buy a potters earthenware jar and take some of the elders of the people and some of the senior priests. Then go out to the Valley of Ben-hinnom which is by the entrance of the potsherd gate and proclaim there the word that I shall tell you.’ “

There is a term called “Gei Hinnom” or “Valley of Hinnom” and this is where we get the word “Gehenna” (Matt 5.22; Mark 9.43). That is the valley we have mentioned before that comes around from the west side to the south of Jerusalem. That is where they burned the trash and the dung. Jer 19.5-7 says that the bamot (high places) to Baal were built to burn their sons in the fire as burnt offerings to Baal. So Yehovah says the days were coming when this place will no longer be called Tophet (spitting) or the Valley of Ben-hinnom (sons of Hinnom) but rather the Valley of Slaughter.

God will deliver the carcasses of the unbelievers over as food for the birds of the sky and the beasts of the earth there after he judges them at his return (Isa 66.24; Ezek 29.1-8, 32.1-8; Luke 17.33; Matt 13.30; Matt 24.28; Rev 19.21). Spiritually, we “burn” our children when we don’t tell them about the truth of God, but the doctrines of some religion that runs contrary to the Torah, and they die unconverted. This valley is seen as the most cursed place in Jerusalem, Israel and the earth.

In Jer 19.14-15 it says that Jeremiah came from Tophet where Yehovah had sent him to prophesy, and he stood in the court (azarah) of the Temple and said that Yehovah was going on Jerusalem and all its towns the calamity that he has prophesied about because the people have stiffened their necks and were not listening to God’s words. They would not accpet the “yoke” of the Torah and they wanted to be “free from the Law.”

The Temple Mount is at the top of the hill and the Tophet and Gei Hinnom were at the bottom of the hill of Mount Moriah. The blood from the Temple would flow down to a place called “Akeldama” meaning “Field of Blood.” They have recently discovered the conduit that carried the blood from the Temple through the Ophel, down the Kidron Valley to Akeldama and into the soil. It was called the Amah (mother, conduit) and Judas will hang himself in Akeldama (Acts 1.18-19).

But this area is also called the Potter’s Field because it was near the Potter’s Gate. The richest and most elaborate tomb in Jerusalem in the First Century was the tomb of Annas, and it was found in Tophet where Akeldama was. Now, why would he choose to be buried in Tophet, at Gehenna, the most cursed place in Jerusalem and the world? Because he got a real good real estate deal. He was a Sadducee and they only believed what was written in the Torah, not any other books. So, he didn’t believe in Jeremiah’s prophecies or that there was going to be a judgment from God, the Messiah or the resurrection. Geography is the key.

In Luke 16.19-31 we have the parable (aggadah) of Lazarus and the Rich Man. Both pass away and Lazarus goes to “Abraham’s Bosom” in Sheol, and the rich man goes to “Torments” in Sheol. Before yeshua died and was resurrected, the righteous went to Abraham’s Bosom and the unrighteous went to Torments. After the resurrection, the righteous go to Heaven (Abraham’s Bosom) and the unrighteous go to Sheol to await the Great White Throne judgment of God (Rev 20.11-15). In the story, Abraham’s Bosom is seen as the Temple, and Torments is seen as the Valley of Hinnom (Tophet/Gehenna). The rich man “lifted up his eyes” and saw Lazarus and wanted him to come and give him some water, but there was a great chasm between the two, and this alludes to the decree of God that fixes the eternal state of the righteous and the wicked.

Now, if you stood in the Valley of Hinnom and if you “lifted up” your eyes you would see the Temple Mount, and in between you would have the Pool of Siloam filled with water. The setting for this parable is the Temple, the Pool of Siloam and the Hinnom Valley (Tophet/Gehenna), all according to the geography of the time.

The teaching that the Temple was in the City of David (Ir David) does a lot of harm because the Moslems love the idea. They say, “See, you never had the place where the Dome of the Rock is, it was never Jewish.” Secondly, it overtly says, “You Jews don’t know what you are talking about.” The bottom line is, the belief that the Temple was not on the Temple Mount is antisemitic and this is a real problem. In our opinion, that belief is based on shoddy scholarship and we are going to show that it denies what we have in the Tanak.

So, in Part 2, we are going to go to Neh 3 to show that the Temple Mount is where the Dome of the Rock is. We could use other books as well but that is for another time.

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

Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Nehemiah-Conclusion

Neh 12.1-26 gives us a list of the chief priests and the Levites who came up from the captivity with Zerubbabel. In Neh 12.4 for instance we learn about Iddo, and he is the grandfather of Zechariah the prophet, who was a priest. In Neh 12.11 we have a man named Jaddua (known) and his grandson Shimon was the High Priest when Alexander the Great came into the land to destroy the city and the Temple. He was engaged at Tyre and demanded men and supplies from the Jews. But the high priest delayed saying that they were still under the rule of Alexander’s enemy King Darius. This infuriated Alexander and he began to move against Jerusalem. When Alexander saw Shimon in the vestments of the high priest he prostrated before him and said, “That is no mere Jew, that is this face of the angel I see every time were are victorious in battle” (Talmud, Yoma 69a). Josephus in Antiquities of the Jews, Book 11, Chapter 8, Sec 5, the Whiston translation, has more on this incident. Shimon also showed Alexander the prophecies of Daniel and the verses that referred to Alexander. This also confirms the fact that Daniel was written before Alexander was born, or at least by the time of the first century. But it is an interesting story.

In Neh 12.16 we have the prophet Zechariah mentioned. Neh 12.27-30 we learn of the dedication of the wall of Jerusalem. This is prophetic because in the birth-pains Jerusalem will be destroyed, but Yeshua will rebuild it. The word “dedication” is where we get the word “Chanukah” from We know from Josephus that this occurred in Kislev and it went eight days. This predates the festival of Chanukah and is a picture of it.

Jerusalem had a special “kedusha” on it. The kodshai kodashim (most holy) korbanot was eaten within the Temple, but the kodshai kelim (holy) korbanot was eaten within the walls of Jerusalem.

We also learn that this dedication was celebrated with hymns and songs with the accompaniment of cymbals, harps and lyres. There were schools for the singers who were taught what songs to sing (Neh 7.66-67). The priests and the Levites purified themselves and they purified the people, the gates and the wall with the ashes of the Red Heifer (Parah Adumah-Num 19).

In Neh 12.31-47 we learn that the wall was wide enough to walk on. Nehemiah divided the leaders of Judah into two great choirs and one went to the right and the other went to the left and turned north. Nehemiah brought up the rear. Once this was completed, they met in the Temple and they offered great offerings. In Neh 12.41 we have the name Hananiah. His name was found on a scroll in Egypt. He ruled a province for Persia and was head of religious affairs in Elephantine.

On this day some were appointed over the Chamber of the Treasuries. The korbanot (offerings), first fruits and tithes were gathered by them and stored. The priests and Levites served according to their divisions (courses called “Mishmarot”), along with the singers and gatekeepers. People had been appointed over the singers to instruct them since the days of David and Asaph. Zerubbabel and Nehemiah governed and did their duty, and gave the singers and the gatekeepers as each day required, and set apart the consecrated portions for the Levites, and the Levites set apart the consecrated portions for the priests.

Neh 13.1-31 tells us about the reformation of certain abuses that had plagued the people. Nehemiah had returned to Persia as agreed (Neh 2.6, 13.6-7), but he will return after some time, which some believe was anywhere between one to twelve years (v 7). The Torah was read to the people and the people had expelled the Moabites and Ammonites from the assembly, which means they were not permitted to marry an Israelite. They also excluded all foreigners from Israel, and when they found out what to do, they did it according to the Torah (v 1-3).

Neh 13.4-9 tells us that prior to this, Eliashib the high priest was put over the chambers of the Temple, and he was related to Tobiah. He prepared a great room for Tobiah in a chamber that was formerly used to house the grain offerings, frankincense, utensils, the tithes of grain, wine and oil prescribed for the Levites, singers and gatekeepers, and the contributions for the priests.

Nehemiah was not in Jerusalem then because he had gone back to Persia. After asking leave from Artaxerxes, he returned and learned about the evil Eliashib had done by giving Tobiah a room in the Temple, which was a desecration. So Nehemiah ordered that the room be cleansed and he returned the items for the Temple that belonged in there.

Neh 13.10-14 talks about restoring the tithe to the singers and Levites. The people were not giving what was commanded and because of that, the Levites could not serve the people because they had to make a living so they went to their own fields. God was their inheritance and they were not to make a living from the fields. They were to server Yehovah and the people.

So Nehemiah reprimanded the officials and said, “Why is the house of God forsaken (by the Levites)?” So he gathered the Levites and singers together and restored them to their posts. He also reorganized the collection of tithes and how they were distributed. He then asked the Lord to remember him (in his Book of Remembrance-Hos 6.10) and to “not blot out my loyal deeds which I have performed for the house of my God and its services.” He was not asking this in the sense of strict justice as if he earned anything, but in a way of grace and mercy. It was done for God’s honor and wanted the Lord to overlook his faults. Next he is going to confront the priorities of the people.

He saw some in Judah doing things that were not necessary on the Sabbath, like treading wine-presses, bringing in sacks of grain, as well as wine, grapes, figs, and every other type of food. They brought them to Jerusalem on the Sabbath (Jer 17.19-127; Exo 20.9; Amos 8.5; 2 Kings 4.23). There was to be no buying and selling on the Sabbath (Mark 16.1; Luke 23.56) and their animals were not to work on the Sabbath either. In addition, non-Jews who lived there sold fish that was imported to the sons of Israel on the Sabbath, even in Jerusalem (v 15-16).

Nehemiah reprimanded the nobles of Judah for allowing this (v 17). This was not only a personal sin, but if this went uncorrected it would bring on the wrath of Yehovah again. He didn’t just stand by and let this happen, he threatened them with force if this continued. They got the message and did not do this again (v 19-21).

Evidently, during the time Nehemiah was away the people had again taken foreign from Ashdod, Ammon and Moab. The children couldn’t even speak Hebrew, but the language of Ashdod (v 24). Romance is irrelevant in these cases. Now, there is no provision in the Torah that said an Israelite could not marry people from other nations, but they had to be a part of the faith in that they had to reject paganism and idolatry. Nehemiah seems to ban this altogether and it became the basis for the modern day rabbinical practice in Judaism to develop formal “rites” which permitted an Israelite to marry foreigners.

But the Torah already said an Israelite can marry a woman who rejects paganism and idolatry. A priest cannot marry a divorced woman or one who has been profaned by idolatry, and the high priest cannot marry a divorced woman or a widow, just a Jewish virgin.

Nehemiah contended with them with arguments and reprovals. He assured them that the curse of God would come upon them unless they repented. He even ordered that some of them be beaten with rods and scourged, and he even had their hair plucked to humiliate them (v 23-25). He made them swear that they would not intermarry with them, renewing what they had sworn before in Neh 10.29.

In Neh 13.26-31 Nehemiah reminded them that King Solomon had sinned in this manner (1 Kings 11.3) and he was drawn into idolatry. He was made king and was beloved of Yehovah (this alludes to his name “Yedidiyah”-2 Sam 12.24). And if so great and wise man like Solomon was enticed by idolatrous women, how much more ordinary people. Even the grandson of Eliashib the high priest had become the son-in-law of Sanballat, the enemy of Israel. Nehemiah put him out of the congregation, the altar and the city (called “karet”).

He then purified them from everything foreign and their pagan wives because they had defiled the priesthood, and he appointed priests and Levites to their duties. He also arranged for the supply of wood at the appointed times (Neh 10.34) and for the first fruits.

All of this is a picture of what Yeshua will do when he returns. He will reestablish true worship according to the Torah, set the priesthood and the Levites in order, and destroy paganism from among the people and cleanse the people (Isa 66.18-24; Ezek 40-48; Zech 14.9-21).

Next we will take a further look into Nehemiah and some concepts relating to the Temple and the Temple Mount.

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 Nehemiah-Part 6

Neh 8.13-18 tells us that on the “second day” (Tishri 2) the elders of the families and the priests and Levites gathered to Ezra so that they might gain understanding into the Torah. They found written in the Torah that they were to live in booths (sukkot) during the feast of the seventh month, which is called Sukkot. This tells us that they didn’t keep the festivals while in Babylonian captivity because they didn’t even know what to do at Sukkot (Lev 23.39-44). This also tells us that there is no hint of an Oral Torah here because they had to read it to find out about it.

So they circulated a proclamation in all of their cities and in Jerusalem saying “Go out to the hills and bring olive branches and wild olive branches from other leafy trees to make booths, as it is written.” So the people did it and put the sukkahs on their roof, and in their courts, and in the courts (azarah) of the Temple. They also put them up in the square at the Shaar Mayim (Water Gate) on the south side, and in the Shaar Ephraim (Gate of Ephraim) on the north side.

The entire kahal (assembly) lived in them. Israel had not done this since the days of Yeshua the son of Nun. This is an idiom meaning that it had not been celebrated with such zeal for God since then (1 Kings 8.2). Also notice that Joshua’s name is Yeshua here in v 17 in the Hebrew text.

They had read from the book of the Torah of God daily, from the first day (Tishri 15) to the last day (Tishri 21, which is also known as Hoshanna Rabbah (the Great Salvation). On the eighth day day (Shemini Atzeret meaning the concluding eighth day) there was a solemn assembly according to the Torah (Num 29.35-38). If Sukkot is a picture of the Messianic Kingdom, then Shemini Atzeret is a picture of the Olam Haba. But the one thing to notice in Neh 8.13-18 is they were not keeping the festivals in Babylon or up to this point because they had to find out about them after they had read the Torah (v 14).

Neh 9.1-38 tells us that Israel is assembling after the festivals on Tishri 24 to fast in sackcloth with dirt on them. This is two days after Sukkot has ended. They separated themselves from all foreigners and confessed their sins and iniquities (v 1-2) of their fathers. This does not mean that there was a generational curse of some sort on them, like some ministries teach today. Ezek 18 plainly teaches that the individual is responsible for his own sins. However, we know that there are those who are raised in an environment of sin and they may repeat those sins, but not because of some curse but because their environment influenced them to make the choice easier. After all, if Daddy did it it must be the thing to do!

So, while they stood in their place, they read from the book of the Torah (probably Deuteronomy) for three hours and spent another three hours confessing and worshiping Yehovah. The Levites platform is called the “Duchan” where they sang during the Temple services (v 4). Eight people stood leading the people and they cried with a loud voice to Yehovah. Their prayer is believed to be the longest prayer in the Bible and yet it only takes about five minutes to read. This tells us that prayer does not need to be long to be effective (James 5.16).

The prayer begins with a praise to Yehovah, the God of all creation (v 5-6). This is the reason for their praise bécasse he is the great Yehovah who created all things, and they certainly want him to create a new life for them back in the land. Neh 9.7-8 praises God who chose Abraham and made a covenant with him. He was Avram (exalted father) and God changed his name to Avraham (father of a multitude) and made a covenant with him.

Neh 9.9-15 gives praise to Yehovah for delivering Israel from Egypt and provided for them for forty years in the wilderness. But Neh 9.16-21 tells us about their sinful response to his goodness. They became stiff-necked and would not listen to the Torah, and God’s gracious response to them.

Neh 9.22-31 speaks about the cycle of Israel’s relationship to God. The cycle began with Yehovah showing his goodness and blessings. Then when the people were safe and prosperous, they would turn from him. Then God corrected them and they would return. Then when the people were blessed they would turn from him again, and the cycle begins again. Each time this happened, each cycle would get darker and darker, but Yehovah doesn’t change. Here is a key concept. Sometimes we feel that God gets tired of us and we can’t ask him for forgiveness again and again. But he does not get tired of us and does not turn away from a repentant heart.

Neh 9.32-37 tells us about their cry to God for help. They know who Yehovah is and who they are, and they needed God to save them from their enemies. Israel was a province of Persia, not an independent nation. They were under heavy Persian taxes and tribute. They want God to deliver them from this oppression. So, Neh 9.38 says they made a covenant with God, knowing who Yehovah is and who they are (sinners and rebellious). They decide to commit to his ways. God’s work in us will bring us to a point where we must make a decision, too.

Any self-examination is good. If things aren’t going right spiritually, we can ask, “How is my Temple set up? Do I have a fire going on the the Altar (cross, zeal)? Is there water (the Torah/Scriptures) in my Kior? Is the light (understanding) on the Menorah still burning? Is there bread on the table (the Word)? Is there incense (prayer) on the Golden Altar? Are the commandments (Torah) in my Ark (heart)?

Neh 10.1-8 gives us a list of those who signed the covenant document. Now, covenants were “cut” in ancient times because an animal was offered in most cases. Eighty-four leaders put their names on the dotted line in this document. This included Nehemiah the governor, the priests (v 1-8), the Levites (v 9-13) and leaders (v 14-27).

Neh 10.28-29 tells us about this covenant and mentions “the rest of the people” who did not actually sign it but joined in. They agreed to not give their daughters to the peoples of the land or take their daughters for their sons. They also would not buy grain or merchandise from those who bring their goods in on the Sabbath or a holy day, and they would let the land rest every seven years, and not demand payment of a debt on the seventh year (Deut 15.2). They also would give one third of a shekel every year for the Temple and the services, and these obligations or ordinances were laws among themselves that God did not command (v 32-33).

Neh 10.34 says they cast lots to see who would bring wood to the Temple at fixed times annually. The Rabbis say there were nine times in the year when wood was brought. On Nisan 1 the sons of Arach of the tribe of Judah brought wood, on the 20th of Tammuz the descendants of David brought it; on the 5th of Av the descendants of Parosh of Judah; on the 7th of Av the sons of Jonadab, the son of Rechab; on the 10th of Av the descendants of Senaah of Benjamin; on the 15th of Av the children of Zaitu, with them the priests and Levites and all who were of uncertain tribe. On the 20th of Elul the descendants of Adin of Judah and on Tevet 1 the children of Parosh again brought wood. These laws or “mishpatim” were made among themselves, and God did not command this. Notice, that Yeshua, as a descendant of David, was required to bring wood on Tammuz 20 according to the rabbinical ruling. Why so much wood? Because Lev 6.12 says that the fires (there were three) on the Great Altar had to be kept burning at all times, twenty-four hours a day, in every type of weather.

Neh 10.35-39 gives other things they did to fulfill the Torah commands concerning the First Fruits (Bikkurim), the First Born (Bekor), the law of Challah and Terumot, the fruit of every tree, the new wine, oil and the Tithe (Maaser). The Levites and the people would bring these to the Temple. They were not to neglect the Temple and the watch and worship, nor were they to neglect to make provisions for it in the future.

In Neh 11.1-36 we have record of those from the tribe of Judah and Benjamin who settled around Jerusalem. The rulers dwelt there but lots were cast to have one-tenth of the people live there. Many volunteered and were blessed by the people. Judea was a province of the Persian Empire as we have said before, and the people dwelt in the land of their inheritance, along with the priests and Levites in their cities. Neh 11.4-36 gives a list of who lived where.

Neh 11.22 says that Uzzi, the son of Bani, the son of Hashabiah, the son of Mattaniah, the son of Mica, from the sons of Asaph (recorder, gatherer) was the overseer of the Levites. He made sure the Temple service (avodah) was what God had commanded, with the right songs at the right time, and that the avodah (service) was in order. The name “Asaph” was probably a title given to those who were in charge of the Temple avodah and music.

We will pick up in Neh 12.1-47 in our conclusion.

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

Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Nehemiah-Part 5

Neh 6.1-19 tells us that Sanballat, Tobiah and Geshem heard that the walls were finished and wanted to have a meeting with Nehemiah at Chephirim (“one of the towns”) in the plain of Ono (“his trouble”). But Nehemiah didn’t trust them (v 2) and refused to meet with them. He said he was doing a great work and couldn’t come. He did not want to be diverted into spending his time defending himself, but they kept after him.

Then Sanballat sent four letters to Nehemiah and he answered them the same way. Then he sent a fifth letter to Nehemiah that was “open” meaning it was unsealed and unrolled. He was acting like he was more friendly than the others and he says there is a rumor among the nations, and Geshem, that Nehemiah and the Jews are planning to rebel and that is why they are building the wall. He also said the rumors indicate that Nehemiah is the king, and he also said that Nehemiah has appointed prophets to proclaim that Nehemiah was king in Judah. This has been reported to the king of Persia so Sanballat wants to meet with Nehemiah and take counsel together. His real intention was to get his hands on Nehemiah.

Nehemiah sends him a message saying that what Sanballat has been saying is false. He discerned their tactics (v 9) and then went to Yehovah to stop them. Nehemiah meets with Shemaiah (Yah has heard) the son of Delaiah (door of Yah), son of Mehetabel (God benefits) who was confined at home. He says they should meet in the Temple, within the Heichal (Holy Place) and close the doors behind them because they are coming to kill Nehemiah at night. But that area in the Temple was only reserved for the priests, so Nehemiah knew God had not spoken to him or sent him (v 11-12). He was a false prophet. Spiritually, when people give us a word and it does not line up with Scripture, we know the word they give us is not from God and false. God would not tell him to violate a Torah prohibition that only applied to the priests (Deut 13.1-5).

But Nehemiah could not leave and hide, everyone that was working depended on him and it would look like he was a coward. He knew his enemies had hired Shemaiah, and not only him, but a prophetess named Noadiah (Meeting with Yah) and other prophets to frighten him (v 14). Nehemiah turned them over to the Lord to deal with for what they were doing.

The wall was finished in 52 days (v 15) and when all their enemies heard that the wall was finished, they were disheartened. This was in spite of the fact that some of the nobles of Judah sent letters to Tobiah informing him of what was going on and working against the true interests of the nation. They were loyal to Tobiah by oath because of his connections with some noble families who came with Zerubbabel (Ezra 2.5). Nehemiah didn’t want anything to do with him so Tobiah threatened him. Our enemies will also try to use intimidation, humor, accusations and a “word from the Lord” to stop us.

Neh 7.1-73 tells us that Nehemiah appointed two people to be in charge of the city. He set watches and took special care about the gates. Remember, the gates of a city are the weakest points. Spiritually, what are the gates to “our city?” The gates are our senses because it is through the senses that we relate to the world around us on the outside. What we allow from the outside world in goes into our minds, so we should always guard our “gates/senses.”

Once we have a great victory or a job that Yehovah has given us is done, we must realize that it is the most dangerous time. We tend to relax, but we should be in the word (Neh 8.1, 9.3). Nehemiah appointed his brother Hanani and Hananiah to be in charge. It was Hanani who first told Neehemiah about the sad state of Jerusalem in Neh 1.2. Nehemiah told them not to open the gates of the city until the “sun is hot.” If any enemy was lying outside the city gate they would see them and they would have time for a defense. They were to appoint guards from the people of Jerusalem at certain posts and in front of their own homes to stop infiltration from inside the walls.

Jerusalem at the time was 6 miles around according to Josephus, but the people were few and the houses had not been built, at least not all of them. Then the Lord spoke to Nehemiah’s heart (2 Cor 3.5) to assemble the nobles and the people to be enrolled in genealogies. He also found a register of those who came up first with Zerubbabel, and they are listed in Neh 7.7-65.

We learn that there were those who said they were priests but they could not verify it (v 64). As a rsult, they were excused from eating the kodshai kodeshim (most holy things) until a priest arose with the Urim v’ Thummim (v 65). That means that the Urim v’ Thummim was not used in the Second Temple. This scenario will happen again when Yeshua comes. Priests will be needed in Ezekiel’s Temple, but Yeshua will be able to discern who is a priest and who isn’t (Isa 49.20-21, 66.18-23).

The whole assembly at the time was 42,360 people. Neh 7.67 says there were 245 male and female singers. These female singers did not sing with the Levites on the duchan in the Temple, but they taught music in schools for the singers (Neh 12.28), but not in the Temple (1 Chr 25.5-6). Where it says “All these” in v 6 it refers to only the sons, which is proved by the number of choir members listed in 1 Chr 25.7-31 (288). Twelve were assigned to each course (12 x 24 = 288). The work was done by the twenty-fourth day of Elul (Hag 1.14-15). Five days later it was the seventh month of Tishri (Ezra 3.1-13) and the fall festivals of Yom Teruah, Yom Kippur and Sukkot (Neh 7.73).

Neh 8.1-12 will tells us that Ezra wanted to read the book of Devarim (Deuteronomy) to the people at the festival of Sukkot as directed by Deut 31.10-13. The words of the Torah were to be read every seven years before all the people, even the children. It was Tishri 1, a high holy day called Yom Teruah (v 2). This day is also known as Rosh Ha Shanah, meaning “head of the year.” You will notice that the people were gathered as one, and and this is a picture of the Natzal , also known as the gathering in Jewish eschatology (2 Thes 2.1), and the “rapture” in Christian eschatology.

So we know we are in what is called the “High Holy Days” of Yom Teruah (Rosh Ha Shanah), Yom Kippur and Sukkot in these passages, and these festivals will be the backdrop for the events of this chapter. The High Holy Days are a ten day period (time of judgment) also called the “Yamim Noraim” or “Days of Awe.” The people gathered in a square in front of the Shaar Mayim, or the Water Gate (8.1). This is located in the Temple courtyard but Ezra was not in the azarah but outside the gate. So, there will be Yom Teruah (Day of the Awakening Blast) themes here, which will allude to the Natzal when the righteous will be resurrected and gathered in heaven for the wedding and coronation of the Messiah (1 Thes 4.13-18).

So Ezra brought the Torah before the Kahal (assembly) who were gathered, and all who could listen with understanding (in Hebrew) did so. But there was a language barrier (v 8). He read from the early morning until the miday standing on a wooden “pulpit” called a “tower” which could hold 14 people who approved. He could stand high above the people so they could hear him. When he began to read, they stood up (v 5).

Ezra blessed the Lord and the people answered “Amen, Amen” while lifting their hands. Then they bowed low and worshiped Yehovah with their faces to the ground (1 Kings 8.12; 1 Tim 2.8). The Levites and others explained the Torah to the people, translating to give the sense of the reading (Neh 8.8; 1 Cor 14.26).

Nehemiah was the “Hatirshata” (Governor) and Ezra was a priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all the people, “This day is holy (has a kedusha) to Yehovah your God; do not mourn or weep.” For all the people were weeping when they heard the words of the Torah. They had not obedient to what was being read and they were afraid of judgment. Spiritually, on a future Yom Teruah (at the Natzal/Rapture/gathering), believers will be gathered together and we will be shocked at how much we have missed and how we have been disobedient to the Torah also. But it will not be a time to weep but to rejoice because “this day is holy (has a kedusha).”

They told the people to “eat of the fat, drink of the sweet, and send portions to him who has nothing prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not be grieved, for the joy of Yehovah is your strength.” This is a picture of how to celebrate a festival. The meal they talked about is called a “meal consecrated to God” or a “Lord’s Supper.” What is done in Christianity is not even close to a biblical Lord’s Supper. For more information on this topic, see our teaching called “The Lord’s Supper” on this website. However, we are going to go over some concepts related to a Lord’s Supper now so that we can have a basic understanding of a meal consecrated to God and a background to what is going on in Nehemiah.

This concept plays a role in two eschatological banquets called the ‘Wedding Supper” and the “Feast of Leviathan” which we will cover later. These are two meals “set apart” to God, with two different themes. In Deut 14.23 it says that the people were to gather to eat in the presence of the Lord at Sukkot. God is bringing things to its fullness and this is a type of the Wedding Supper. There is also a concept related to this called “Ushpuzin” (invited guests) where the people ate in their Sukkahs for seven days, and Yeshua alluded to this day in Matt 8.11 when he said we will sit and eat in the kingdom with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Matt 8.11).

There were two requirements when dealing with a sukkah at Sukkot. First, you were to live in it for seven days, and second you were to eat your meals in it This was seen as a rehearsal for the Messianic Kingdom. Now, there will be two types of people in the kingdom. There will be those with glorified bodies and those with physical bodies (unglorified). Zech 14.9 will be fulfilled (realized) because the Yehovah will reign over the earth. The meals during the week point to the Sabbath, the Sabbath points to Sukkot, and Sukkot points to the Messianic Kingdom. Each festival had their own meals consecrated (set apart) to God attached to them, or a Lord’s Supper. These meals included songs, prayers, hymns, themes, teaching, ceremonies, certain foods and Scriptures.

For example, the Sabbath after Yom Teruah (Rosh Ha Shanah) is called “Shabbat Shuvah” or the Sabbath of Return. Jer 31.13-22 is read and this portion is called the Merciful Father. But others know it as “The Prodigal Son.” This section is being alluded to by Yeshua in Luke 15.11-32 and it is about the return of Ephraim (ten northern tribes-Gen 48.19; Rom 11.25-26). We know that the Messiah returns to Jerusalem on Yom Kippur with the bride (Joel 2.15-16; Matt 24.29-31; Luke 12.35-36; Rev 19.7-9). What happens after Yeshua returns on Yom Kippur and the start of Sukkot five days later? The angels will be sent out to gather the unsaved survivors of the Birth-pains first (Matt 13.24-30) and then the elect. Each group will be separated and judged. The believers enter into the kingdom and the unrighteous are killed and their bodies are put into a place called Tophet south of the city (Matt 25.1-46).

The bride has returned to the earth with Yeshua for the Wedding Supper (Isa 25.6; Matt 8.11, 22.1-14; Luke 12.35-36; Rev 19.7-9). Yeshua will gird himself and serve (Luke 12.35-37) and the Song of Songs written by Solomon teach these concepts. Many are called to the wedding supper (hear the message) but few are chosen (elected). Yeshua is the groom, the believers are the bride and the two friends of the bridegroom are Moses (personifying the Torah) and Elijah (personifying the prophets).

But there is another eschatological banquet we will need to know about called the Feast of Leviathan (Luke 17.34-37). Job 41.1-33 tells us about Leviathan, the twisted serpent and he is a picture of the False Messiah (Isa 27.1. Ezek 29.1-7; 32.1-8; Psa 74 13-14; Job 26.13; Psa 104.26). Ezek 21.25-27 tells us what happens to the False Messiah.

Unbelievers are called to a meal consecrated (set apart) to God called the Feast of Leviathan, where they will not eat a banquet meal, but they will be the banquet meal for the birds (vultures) and wild animals (Rev 19.17; Ezek 29.5, 32.4). The theme of the birds and the wild animals feasting on their dead bodies is also an idiom meaning “an impending disaster.”

On the other hand, believers will go to the banquet called the ‘Wedding Supper of the Lamb” which is also a meal consecrated (set apart) to God. Believers are called to a gathering of the people with all the noise, sound, sights and loved ones rejoicing in Yehovah. This judgment will occur between Tishri 10 (Yom Kippur when Yeshua returns) and Tishri 15 (the first day of Sukkot).

We will pick up here in Part 6.

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 Nehemiah-Part 4

Neh 4.1-23 tells us about the enemies of the Jewish people who try to stop the rebuilding of the walls. This chapter will deal with enemies “outside the camp.” In Chapter 5 we will find out about the problems inside the walls. Sanballat (“eminent moon god” or “Sin has begotten” ) held some authority in Samaria when Nehemiah came., and he begins to mock the Jews building the wall. He uses psychological warfare to discourage the people and stop the work of God. This has been a common tactic since the beginning. Even today, the enemies of the United States don’t like the building of a wall on our southern borders, either, and they will use psychological warfare against anyone supporting it. But, there are many things that will not change in this world, and two of them are the need for a wheel and the need for walls.

So, let’s look at some concepts on psychological warfare because we have either fought a psychological battle, are currently fighting one, or will fight one. The essence of psychological warfare is to confuse the meaning of words and infiltrate the mind with conflicting concepts. Before a battle even begins in our life, the enemy will work on us in this area.

We must learn to “speak loudly when we carry a small stick.” What does that mean? Gideon made his 300 soldiers look more numerous than they really were when they blew the trumpets and smashed the pitchers down in Judges 7.16-22. In the 1973 Yom Kippur War Israel used this same concept in what was called “Operation Gideon.” They sent some people out with many radios and knew that the enemy was going to pick up on their transmissions. Using that knowledge to their advantage, Israel made it sound like there was a larger force out there because of all the chatter.

We must realize when we are under a psychological attack during a physical attack. A psychological attack makes your enemy work all the time, and time is on our side. We must never carry “Arks” into a battle to “assure victory” like good luck charms, crosses, statues, a Star of David or use magic formulas. Israel carried the Ark into battle thinking this would assure them of victory at Aphek, and it didn’t. The Israelite army was routed and the Ark was captured by the Philistines (2 Sam 4.1-22).

We should show our strength even more than it is and make it obvious, and accentuate the positives. We should stay psychologically strong in Yehovah. Hezekiah listened to Isaiah and not to the representatives of the pagan king Sennacherib. A soldier for the Confederate army after the battle of Chickamauga during the Civil War said, “You Yanks got into our innards.” We must be prepared to go out on a limb and get hurt. That’s what the people did during the Maccabean War against the Greeks.

Psychological war always keeps the enemy at war within themselves, and this is done to weaken them. That is how we can recognize it, or use it against our enemies. This is what Sanballat is trying to do, and the Romans did it against the Jews inside Jerusalem in the First Jewish Revolt. We must be able to know when the enemy is disintegrating within, and then keep them in confusion. Spiritual battles don’t have to be centered in logic, and our enemies will be illogical. Biblical battles will be successful because God told them to go, and he told them what to do. That is a major lesson in our spiritual warfare. Make sure God told you to go and fight a battle, and then listen to what he is telling you to do. Anything less than that is presumption and it will be doomed to fail for the most part.

Isa 36 and 37 are two great chapters on psychological warfare. The Assyrians are coming against Hezekiah and Jerusalem. The whole nation has fallen to the Assyrians who are so powerful they can have numerous sieges going on at the same time, thus cutting all reinforcements off from coming to the besieged cities. The Assyrians only have Jerusalem to defeat so they try to get the Jews inside the city to doubt their ability to stand against them. In our warfare, we should never let the enemy discourage us or those around us.

We should take the example of Hezekiah and not talk to the enemy (Isa 36.21). We should not hate our enemies because we don’t need it to defeat them. The representative of Sennacherib said that the Jews in the city would “drink their own urine” because the city did not have enough water. But how would he know? What the Assyrians didn’t know was Hezekiah had built a water tunnel bringing water into the city, and you can still see it today. Hezekiah didn’t say, “Oh yeah! That’s what you think. We have water because I built a water tunnel!” Hezekiah didn’t say anything because he did not want to interrupt his enemy when they were making a mistake. Never talk to the enemy or let them know what you are thinking in a battle.

We should come before the Lord in humility to pray for help (Isa 37.1). God directs the battles, not the believers (Isa 37.4). No “name it claim it” believers here because they knew it was the Lord who directs the battle (Amos 3.6). Our enemies will lift up problems we have (or they think we have) and will try to speak to others who they think don’t know what to do. They will play mind games with you and others, and promise false things, but in the end we will be slaves if we listen, so don’t listen.

Sanballat had help in Tobiah the Ammonite, who also mocked the Jewish effort to rebuild the walls. They did not answer these people, but Nehemiah prayed about it and asked that their reproaches would return upon their own heads, and that their iniquity would not be forgiven, nor let their sin be blotted out, for they have demoralized the builders (v 4-5). So they continued to build the wall because they had a spirit to work because it was based on the knowledge that God was behind them and it was by his direction.

When we are angry and have a real enemy, Nehemiah’s prayer shows that we can go at them in prayer and leave it up to Yehovah to deal with them. This is not in the sense of “praying evil” upon them, but he turned them over to a just God because he knows what is best. The Jewish enemies were very angry when they heard the gates were closing, and the wall was only half as high as it should be, but it was continuously being worked on now. So, they conspired together again to use violence this time, but they never attacked. They just talked about it. Satan uses the same strategy to instill fear in us and paralyze us from the work God has given us, which is to rebuild the torn down walls and gates of the faith, which is a Torah-based faith in Yeshua as Messiah. The people prayed to Yehovah and they set up a guard against them twenty-four hours a day. Notice they put action to their prayers, which is an important concept to remember (v 9).

They were fighting a two-front war. There was discouragement on the inside (v 10) and the enemies on the outside were threatening surprise attacks (v 11). Our adversary (Satan means adversary) knows when we are discouraged and attacks against us can be planned. Attacks are often successful because they come as a surprise to us. That’s why we should never let our shield (guard) down, and we should always be ready for an attack.

The builders were warned “ten times” about attacks and this was driven by fear (v 12). Ten is the number of judgment, and it was coming alright, against God’s enemies, and even though the people panicked, Nehemiah didn’t. He gets a defense ready and did not stand there in panic, or whine about it all. He trusted God and acted wisely.

He told them to arm themselves and get ready for a fight. He reminded them that God was with them, and he wanted the walls built, and they were fighting for each other, their families and households (v 14). But in all this they kept working, holding a weapon and wearing armor (v 17-18). Trumpets were used to communicate and they were blown if there was trouble. They were ready at all times. They worked past dark, even sleeping at their job sites to guard against an attack, and they slept in their clothes ( v 21-23).

We need to have the same attitude in our battles. We need to keep up the work God gave us to do, be ready to fight at a minutes notice (like spiritual “minutemen”), and put on the armor of God and be ready for that trumpet twenty-four hours a day.

In Neh 5.1-19 we learn about the enemy within due to financial issues. This chapter depicts their plight and poverty, and their outcry. They had an enemy on the outside and on the inside. They were not walking in the Torah and Nehemiah will need to confront the ones he loves.

The poor had a complaint against the rich. The poor had larger families to support and they had to borrow money by mortgaging their fields and houses to get grain because there was a famine. This may have been caused by the enemy outside intercepting provisions that might have been brought in (5.3). They had to sell their children into servitude because of poverty to pay their debts (Exo 21.7).

This caused an indignation towards the rich, and Nehemiah was angry also because he considered the tears of the oppressed (Ecc 4.1). He rebukes the nobles and the rulers who were taking advantage of the poor and charging interest on loans (Exo 22.25; Neh 5.7). He tells the rich that they were once slaves and had sold themselves to Babylon. They could not leave when Cyrus said they could go because of that. Many Jews had been bought (redeemed) out of that servitude and were able to leave. Now, Jews are being sold again to other Jews because they could not pay off the high interest (v 8). Nehemiah said this was not right.

Things had to be set right again, and what they had taken as collateral had to be given back (v 11). The rich said that they would restore everything back, and if they didn’t, God would require it from them. They would be “shaken out” of their worldly goods and emptied (v 13). They praised the Lord and did according to what they had promised. Nehemiah set the good example by putting God’s work above his personal needs. He did not tax the people for his support like some others had done (Zerubbabel, Methulam, Hananiah). Paul also did this in 1 Cor 9.1-15).

Evidently, Nehemiah went back to Persia to give an accounting, and then was sent back as governor (v 14-15). This was done after the wall was done in 52 days. Others had taken provisions before him but Nehemiah did not exert that right for himself. He had a healthy fear of God and he knew that others were suffering lack and he would have to answer to the Lord. He did not care what others did before him, and gave away the king’s provisions for him (v 18), and he applied himself to the work on the wall.

Nehemiah was living in the way he told the rich to live. He also prayed to Yehovah that he would remember the good he was doing (v 19). He did not ask his reward from men, but from Yehovah (Heb 6.10). This was right and proper to do. We can ask the Lord to remember us for good. Nehemiah was leading by example and could tell others what to do because he was walking in the Torah and the correct ways of the Lord.

We will pick up in Neh 6.1-19 in Part 5.

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 Nehemiah-Part 3

Now we are going to see how the building of the walls and gates by Nehemiah applies to us in our spiritual warfare. The goal of our spiritual life is to “Know the Lord” not fight battles. Part of the battle is the decision to do it. We should consider our ways (Hag 1.7). Are we wasting our lives or are we building the House and City of God (Ezek 13.1-5). We “repair our walls” like Nehemiah with each piece of true information we learn. They are like a brick in the wall. Song 8.8 asks if we are a wall (strong) or a door (weak). The Scriptures liken us to a city with walls in Jer 1.18. We deliver our city by wisdom , which is “Chachmah” in Hebrew and means an “inspired intellect and input into the mind” found in the Torah (Matt 13.45-46; Job 28.18).

One of the main things Nehemiah needed to rebuild the city was water. Without water, the city would fall quickly. Spiritually, we need water and no matter what, we should never be cut off from it. Our enemy will attack us through the water that is the Word of God. They will say, “The Word of God says such and such” when it really doesn’t. We must have Da’at (Knowledge of God in the Torah) and Chachmah and drink the mayim chaim” (living water) not the “foul water” of false teaching. The walls of our city allude to the knowledge and wisdom of God. These walls must have a solid foundation and be set deep and broad into the bedrock (Torah). Nehemiah knew it wasn’t enough to have a wall, but he needed a good wall. He also needed to take steps so that those walls could not be undermined. He took steps beforehand, not after something like that happened. Jer 50.15 says, “the walls have been torn down.” if we look closer at any issue there will be great gaps in what is and what should be. How did Babylon’s great walls fall? It was a lack of true knowledge. There is a verse that defines how to fight spiritually. Isa 33.6 says, And he (Messiah( shall be the stability (confidence) of your times, a wealth of salvation (Yeshua means salvation), wisdom (chachmah) and knowledge (da’at). The fear (freverence) of Yehovah is his treasure.” Only then can we “rebuild” (Isa 58.12, 61.4). But first we need to remove the “rubble and trash” from years of false doctrine.

In the war against the Romans in the first century, The Jewish people captured advanced and heavy military artillery from the Romans. The problem was they could load it, they could fire it but they couldn’t hit a thing. They were just throwing rocks. It was not enough to have the artillery, we need to be trained in how to use it. We must also be balanced and hit the target (Isa 8.16-20). The knowledge of God allows us to know good and evil. The wisdom of God should be balanced with knowledge. This should increase, but the sophistication of our battles will increase also.

Nehemiah didn’t build the same type of walls David did because warfare had changed. Our battles will increase proportionately, but only as God allows. God will not allow us to get “hit” at a level you are not prepared for unless you have not put in the work and proceeded to the level you should be at in your walk. If you are a “child” who is in the first grade but should be in the fifth grade, God will allow the adversary (ha Satan) to hit you with fifth grade level weapons. Why? Because you failed to learn the things you needed to know.

Nehemiah had to build walls and gates that could withstand battering rams and rock throwing machines. David, on the other hand, did not have to contend with that. Apply that concept into your own life and ask, “What is my foundation? What is my wall?” We should be building our wall and it must be tempered with chachmah or it is useless. We build our walls with what we understand (binah=comprehension) about God. That is your armor and your defenses Isa 59.17; Eph 6.10-17). We have the shield of faith (emunah) which means “confidence.” Today it is defined as “whatever you want if you believe” but that is a false teaching.

The more you know about Yehovah the more confidence you will have. Confidence in a battle is your “shield” or walls. These will “deflect” the arrows and missiles the enemy will fire at us, which is untruth. If you know that what you believe is the truth, you can stand (Rev 2.13). Antipas refused to burn incense to the emperor (idolatry) and he was roasted alive in an iron bull. What made Antipas stand? Confidence! If we are going to pay a price, do it for the truth and for what you believe.

Our walls cannot be your walls. You must have your own walls, shields, armor, sword and helmet to stand yourself. You must have your own emunah, da’at, chachmah and binah, not ours. Nehemiah knew these concepts well and so did the people. Nehemiah and other leaders can help, but the people had to fight their own battles. In our spiritual warfare, and as we build and repair our walls, your teacher, pastor, rabbi or friends won’t be in there fighting for you. It will be you and your enemy. If you don’t know how to fight or when to “duck” or counter attack, you won’t last long.

In Neh 3 we learn that the walls had towers (v 1, 26 ,27). In spiritual warfare, what are our “towers?” Towers are the individual units we have studied and mastered, like the Hebrew language, Eschatology, Prophecy, Idioms, the Temple, the Torah, the Korbanot, the Festivals, the Clean and Unclean, Kosher and Unkosher animals, the Priesthood and Levites, the Gospels and Epistles, Geography and the list goes on. They will “overlap” each other so that all ground is covered in the case of an attack. There should be no gaps or holes in our defenses that the enemy can use to approach our walls. The more units you master (the tower) the better you can guard your wall at all times. You can keep the enemy from “getting in.” We have knowledge (da’at) with chachmah (wisdom) and Emunah (confidence/stability) as seen in Isa 33.6.

Each subject we learn is like building a tower. It should have overlapping fields of fire with the other units you have studied if it is true. We should never abandon our towers in a battle. The better you master a subject (tower) the stronger your tower is. A square tower was simple, and it is like learning a unit of study “in the rough.” A semi-circular tower was more sophisticated and took more skill and it is like learning a unit of study very well.

The towers were built with balconies which had slots to fire straight down on the enemy. This means taking our knowledge and extending it out so we can use it. This is what we call “application.” Balconies on our towers are how we apply what we have learned to defeat the enemy id he gets close to our walls. There should be no “dead ground” and the enemy will pay a price in order to get close to us.

Now, another way to keep the enemy away from our walls is to build a “glacis.” A glacis is a gently sloping bank that slopes down away from the walls of the city, exposing the attackers to defensive missiles. You don’s want the enemy to just walk right up to your walls. Nehemiah had natural valleys on three sides of the city where the enemy could not approach the walls with siege engines or battering rams. However, the north side was vulnerable, and north is the side of human wisdom and intellect. There were no valleys and natural defenses on that side, so that was where the attack would come from (the battle of the mind).

Spiritually, a glacis can be many things. It is like a spiritual “stiff arm.” How does the enemy reach us? Through jobs, finances, relationships, health, emotions, depression, deception and more. When the enemy comes, he will come against us in more than one way. He will create a diversion, a distraction and use division. He may use finances to destroy his real goal, your family relationships or health. He wants to put pressure on you. Depression can manifest in several ways, making you “daydream” or just sitting around being non-productive and apathetic for the Kingdom of God and spiritual things.

We need to build a glacis and what is it? It is our attitude (Judges 7.5-6; 2 Tim 4.2). If our attitude fails, the enemy will get into our walls (close) and it doesn’t matter how good our wall is. If our attitude is strong, we will be content no matter what we are faced with. The enemy is not going to get to our wall. We have an example of attitude in 2 Kings 13.14-19. The king was faint in heart so he will be faint in heart in battle, too. The better you build your attitude the better your glacis will be. Our attitude should be Isa 55.8-9, but changed to say God’s ways are our ways, and his thoughts are our thoughts.

Our walls of defense must complement one another. Amos 3.3 literally says, “Can two walk together without having met one another?” We must have common ground. If not, the enemy will isolate us. The things in our lives should complement each other, and not work against each other. This includes our relationships, job and what we study.

There is another thing we can do to keep the enemy away from our wall. We can build a “moat.” Nehemiah built a moat (Dan 9.24-27), so what is a moat? A moat is a deep, wide ditch surrounding the walls that are usually filled with water and intended to keep siege engines and battering rams away from the walls. What does a moat symbolize in our spiritual warfare? It is our observance in keeping and guarding the Torah.

A “keep” was also part of the defense of a fort or city. Deut 28.1-14 tells us that our most important weapon is righteous behavior as defined by the Torah. A keep was a type of fortified citadel built within a fort or city where the defenders could fall back to if the walls failed. It was very well constructed, with walls and towers that were very thick. Prov 16.1 tells us that “The plans of the heart belong to man (prepare), but the answer of the tongue is from Yehovah.” In other words, we should prepare but God will speak to us. We must know what we are talking about so that God can use us when the time comes.

What kind of city do we want? We want a city with broad (wide) walls, with crenels (openings to fire from on a wall), embrasures (the solid wall between crenels to hide from enemy fire), a moat, a glacis, catapults and top of the line weapons and towers. But we can’t build our walls overnight. We can’t build what we need by attending a few meetings. We must study and learn for hours everyday, but even that isn’t enough. We must do it with God’s wisdom. We must realize that we are going to be attacked, so we must build our walls strong before all that happens like Nehemiah did.

In Part 4, we will pick up in Neh 4.1-23.

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