Another valley of biblical importance is called the Jabbok Valley (Ya’vok). When Jacob returned from Babylon, he wrestles with the Angel of the Lord there, and renames it “Peniel” which means “face of God.” Several miles away, near where the Jabbok River enters the Jordan, there is Sukkot. Gideon destroyed this area when the inhabitants refused to help him (Judges 8.1-17). David made Sukkot a military headquarters and King Ahab is attacked by the King of Syria from there. A half mile or so away David was at Machanaim, and launched his attack against Absalom from there. King Solomon had vessels for the Temple made there. David, when fleeing Absalom, is a picture of the Jewish people fleeing the false messiah. Just north is Pella, a major Greek city, and another place that the Jewish people will flee to from the false messiah. When the Romans were coming against Jerusalem, believers in Yeshua fled there, believing his words in Matt 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21. Sixty years later, Rabbi Akiva said that Bar Kochba was the Messiah. Jewish believers in Yeshua would not serve him because of that, and fled to Pella, and they were expelled from the Jewish community, and called “meshumed” meaning “traitors.” Elijah was provided for at the Brook Cherith, near Pella. So, believers in Yeshua will flee to the wilderness, from Pella in the north to Petra in the south. This area is called the Moabite/Jordanian wilderness (Dan 11.41; Rev 12.17).
In Petra (Isa 16), will the believers that flee there be offering sacrifices? Let’s begin to develop this. Rev 12.17 says the people who flee there are Jewish and they keep the Torah, so they are Torah observant. The word “Torah” does not mean “law” as some teach and believe. It means “teaching, guidance and instruction” and there is a difference. The word “mitzvoth” means “good works and commandments.” Faith without good works (the mitzvoth, commandments) is dead. So, faith without the Torah is dead, in other words. Matt 5.16 says “let your light (understanding) shine before men, and in such a way they may see your good works (mitzvoth, Torah observance) and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” Rom 10.4 says that the Messiah is the goal of the Torah and that means he is what the instruction is all about. The word “telos” in Greek is translated “end” and is used in many translations, but it means “target, goal or objective.” It is where we get the word “telescope” from. The Torah is like a telescope that brings the Messiah close so we can see him. Heb 10.4 says that the blood of bulls and goats cannot take away sin, not the sins of Abraham, not Moses, not David, Paul or anyone else. Yet they all offered sacrifices, or “korbanot” which means “to draw near.” The “korbanot” or sacrifices never took away sin. You were always made righteous by your faith in God’s word and the “instruction” given to you (Torah) as you looked to the Messiah. Each sacrifice taught different aspects, and by breaking it all up into different ceremonies and requirements allowed the Lord to teach us in segments and in different applications. There were 11 steps to offering a sacrifice and they are fascinating to study out. Many will say “Sure, the Old Testament believers offered sacrifices, but that all changed after the cross.” Really? Let’s look at Paul, the writer of many Epistles.
In Acts 21.15-26 we read about the Apostle Paul who is coming to Jerusalem to keep the festival of Shavuot. It is 59 AD and 29 years after Yeshua. Paul has come from Asia Minor and his work among the Gentiles. James (Ya’akov) is the brother of Yeshua and he is the Nasi of the Jerusalem congregation of Messianic Believers. The brethren, who are zealous for the Torah (Acts 21.20), have been told that Paul is teaching the Jews among the Gentiles that they should forsake the Torah (this is what is taught in churches today) and that they should not circumcise their children nor walk (holech) according to the customs (the mishna’ot). To show that this is untrue, James tells Paul to pay for the expenses (sacrifices) for four other believers who are coming out of a Nazarite vow, something Paul was coming out of also (Acts 18.18). This was to show those who have heard this false account that Paul also walks orderly, keeping the Torah (21.24). This was to establish the fact that Paul was a Torah observant Jew and obviously not guilty of what they were accusing him of in v. 21. So, Paul does this and is purified with them (Paul had been ritually defiled while in the Diaspora, and therfore was ritually unclean and could not enter the Temple for seven days). The ceremony talked about here can be found in Num 6. What we have here is this. Paul took a Nazarite vow, and when coming out of the vow he had his hair cut in Acts 18.18. The other four were also coming out of a Nazarite vow and Paul paid their expenses (the animals) to complete the ceremony. Now you have a problem. You have Paul, at the request of the Apostles, the elders and writers of the New Testament offering animal sacrifices nearly 30 years after Yeshua. This goes completely contrary to what is taught in churches today because they teach that since Yeshua, you no longer offered animal sacrifices and all that was “done away with”, but they did! In Acts 24.17 we read that Paul says himself that he came to Jerusalem to give alms and to offer “kornanot” or sacrifices. There are five different types of them. There is the Asham, Olah, Minchah, Shelem and Chata’at. Why? Because the Messiah fulfills (meaning “gives meaning to”) all of them. The Minchah is a bread offering, speaking of the Word of God, the bread of life. The Chata’at is a sin offering. The Olah is a totally burnt offering, which shows homage and a surrender to the will of God. The Shelem is a peace offering, showing thanks to God. The Asham is a guilt offering. What is the difference between a sin, an iniquity or a transgression? A sin is intentional, an iniquity in intentional but due to a moral weakness. A transgression is intentional and the root is rebellion against God and willful.
You could not do whatever you wanted in the Temple. You could not sit in the Court of the Priests or the Israelites. Only a king descended from David could sit, and that was only once a year at Sukkot when the Torah was read. We have heard the story of how David moved the Ark and Uzzah (meaning “man’s strength”) touched the Ark, trying to prevent it from falling. He was trying to do a good thing, but nobody could touch the Ark. Uzzah was struck dead, and the Lord was saying that the Ark teaches about the Messiah and the Messiah doesn’t need the help of man. Moses struck the rock (Messiah) when he only had to speak to it to provide water. This act cost him a trip into the Promised Land. The Lord was saying that the rock only needs to be struck once (Yeshua died once and for all) and Moses interfered with the instruction, and it cost him. You would think that if there was anybody who had their “ticket punched” for entering the Promised Land it was Moses, but the Lord does not play favorites. You could not openly pray in the Temple, but there were certain prayers that were said at certain times. The Psalms were set for certain times. You can’t say Psalm 100 on the Sabbath, for example. This was seen as miscommunicating the message of Psalm 100.
This is why we have a problem of “rightly dividing” eschatology and prophecy today. Christianity has designed a whole new “replacement theology” that miscommunicates what he was trying to say. So, Paul did what was required. If you didn’t, you had trouble and it could lead to disaster for the entire nation if they departed from God’s ways. What is the most important verse to the Jewish people? It is Zech 14.9. The most important passage is the Shema in Deut 6.4-9. The most important chapter is Gen 22 and the “Akedah” meaning the “binding of the sacrifice.” In Gen 22, God reveals many messianic eschatological concepts like time (in the latter days); place (Mount Moriah); who (the Son); substitution (the ram caught in the thicket); age of the Messiah (Isaac was around 33 years old when this took place, not a little boy) and resurrection (Abraham believed that God would raise Isaac from the dead). The most important book is the book of Leviticus because it is about holiness. It is the first book that is taught a five year old child as they begin their biblical studies. In part 11, we will begin to talk about the korbanot and how this applies in the Birth-pains, and answer the question “Will believers offer sacrifices in Petra” after they flee there in the Birth-pains. We will also be presenting more concepts that must be understood if we are going to understand the second coming of the Messiah.