Monthly Archives: February 2017

An Easy Read through Psalm 119 – Teth & Jod

gavelWhy was David in love with God’s Law? Because it is better than gold and silver. Because His judgments are right. God’s Law benefits us in every way. It harms us in no way. We harm ourselves when we remain in disobedience to the Law, and that is where the curse originates. Not in the perfect Law, but in our rebellion to it.

65 Thou hast dealt well with thy servant, O Lord, according unto thy word.

66 Teach me good judgment and knowledge: for I have believed thy commandments.

67 Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word.

68 Thou art good, and doest good; teach me thy statutes.

69 The proud have forged a lie against me: but I will keep thy precepts with my whole heart.

70 Their heart is as fat as grease; but I delight in thy law.

71 It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes.

72 The law of thy mouth is better unto me than thousands of gold and silver.

73 Thy hands have made me and fashioned me: give me understanding, that I may learn thy commandments.

74 They that fear thee will be glad when they see me; because I have hoped in thy word.

75 I know, O Lord, that thy judgments are right, and that thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me.

76 Let, I pray thee, thy merciful kindness be for my comfort, according to thy word unto thy servant.

77 Let thy tender mercies come unto me, that I may live: for thy law is my delight.

78 Let the proud be ashamed; for they dealt perversely with me without a cause: but I will meditate in thy precepts.

79 Let those that fear thee turn unto me, and those that have known thy testimonies.

80 Let my heart be sound in thy statutes; that I be not ashamed.

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An Easy Read through Psalm 119 – Zain & Cheth

gavelIf, at any moment in the last few months, you have wondered whether I’ve gone off the deep end, then please, please, please read Psalm 119. I predict that if you can read this Psalm all the way through (all 176 verses) and believe every word of it, you will at least see where I am coming from the next time I bring up God’s Law.

49 Remember the word unto thy servant, upon which thou hast caused me to hope.

50 This is my comfort in my affliction: for thy word hath quickened me.

51 The proud have had me greatly in derision: yet have I not declined from thy law.

52 I remembered thy judgments of old, O Lord; and have comforted myself.

53 Horror hath taken hold upon me because of the wicked that forsake thy law.

54 Thy statutes have been my songs in the house of my pilgrimage.

55 I have remembered thy name, O Lord, in the night, and have kept thy law.

56 This I had, because I kept thy precepts.

57 Thou art my portion, O Lord: I have said that I would keep thy words.

58 I intreated thy favour with my whole heart: be merciful unto me according to thy word.

59 I thought on my ways, and turned my feet unto thy testimonies.

60 I made haste, and delayed not to keep thy commandments.

61 The bands of the wicked have robbed me: but I have not forgotten thy law.

62 At midnight I will rise to give thanks unto thee because of thy righteous judgments.

63 I am a companion of all them that fear thee, and of them that keep thy precepts.

64 The earth, O Lord, is full of thy mercy: teach me thy statutes.

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An Easy Read through Psalm 119 – He & Vau

gavelWhat is liberty?

But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed. James 1:25

33 Teach me, O Lord, the way of thy statutes; and I shall keep it unto the end.

34 Give me understanding, and I shall keep thy law; yea, I shall observe it with my whole heart.

35 Make me to go in the path of thy commandments; for therein do I delight.

36 Incline my heart unto thy testimonies, and not to covetousness.

37 Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity; and quicken thou me in thy way.

38 Stablish thy word unto thy servant, who is devoted to thy fear.

39 Turn away my reproach which I fear: for thy judgments are good.

40 Behold, I have longed after thy precepts: quicken me in thy righteousness.

41 Let thy mercies come also unto me, O Lord, even thy salvation, according to thy word.

42 So shall I have wherewith to answer him that reproacheth me: for I trust in thy word.

43 And take not the word of truth utterly out of my mouth; for I have hoped in thy judgments.

44 So shall I keep thy law continually for ever and ever.

45 And I will walk at liberty: for I seek thy precepts.

46 I will speak of thy testimonies also before kings, and will not be ashamed.

47 And I will delight myself in thy commandments, which I have loved.

48 My hands also will I lift up unto thy commandments, which I have loved; and I will meditate in thy statutes.

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An Easy Read through Psalm 119 – Gimel & Daleth


Every time I read the Torah: “Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.” Psalm 119:18

Remember that the Law points to Christ: “For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me; for he wrote of me. But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?” John 5:46-47

“For Christ is the end [goal] of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.” Romans 10:4

“Having therefore obtained help of God, I continue unto this day, witnessing both to small and great, saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come: That Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first that should rise from the dead, and should shew light unto the people, and to the Gentiles.” Acts 26:22-23


17 Deal bountifully with thy servant, that I may live, and keep thy word.

18 Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.

19 I am a stranger in the earth: hide not thy commandments from me.

20 My soul breaketh for the longing that it hath unto thy judgments at all times.

21 Thou hast rebuked the proud that are cursed, which do err from thy commandments.

22 Remove from me reproach and contempt; for I have kept thy testimonies.

23 Princes also did sit and speak against me: but thy servant did meditate in thy statutes.

24 Thy testimonies also are my delight and my counselors.

25 My soul cleaveth unto the dust: quicken thou me according to thy word.

26 I have declared my ways, and thou heardest me: teach me thy statutes.

27 Make me to understand the way of thy precepts: so shall I talk of thy wondrous works.

28 My soul melteth for heaviness: strengthen thou me according unto thy word.

29 Remove from me the way of lying: and grant me thy law graciously.

30 I have chosen the way of truth: thy judgments have I laid before me.

31 I have stuck unto thy testimonies: O Lord, put me not to shame.

32 I will run the way of thy commandments, when thou shalt enlarge my heart.

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An Easy Read through Psalm 119 – Aleph & Beth

gavelI remember reading through Psalm 119 a few years ago and wondering why in the world David was so in love with God’s Law. Well, I have a lot of things to say about that, but I’m not going to. Not yet. Instead, I’m going to be spending the next 11 days posting Psalm 119 in manageable chunks. I keep saying, “Read Psalm 119!” If you haven’t done so already, here’s your chance.

119 Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the Lord.

Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart.

They also do no iniquity: they walk in his ways.

Thou hast commanded us to keep thy precepts diligently.

O that my ways were directed to keep thy statutes!

Then shall I not be ashamed, when I have respect unto all thy commandments.

I will praise thee with uprightness of heart, when I shall have learned thy righteous judgments.

I will keep thy statutes: O forsake me not utterly.

Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word.

10 With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments.

11 Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.

12 Blessed art thou, O Lord: teach me thy statutes.

13 With my lips have I declared all the judgments of thy mouth.

14 I have rejoiced in the way of thy testimonies, as much as in all riches.

15 I will meditate in thy precepts, and have respect unto thy ways.

16 I will delight myself in thy statutes: I will not forget thy word.

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I Stand in Awe of Him

Here is the sixth reason why I persist in studying the Old Testament through a Jewish lens: it has put me in utter amazement. I have been familiar with the gospel for over 30 years, but until a couple of years ago, I had never experienced the mind-blowing comprehension of the gospel as it is foreshadowed in the Old Testament.

His providence astounds me. His redemption is beyond fathoming. I cannot put into words for you how God’s plan for mankind affects me. He gave Adam everything he needed, including a relationship with the Almighty. Adam walked away from that relationship, and the Father has been plotting a way to restore it ever since. “We must all die; we are like water spilled on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again. But God will not take away life, and he devises means so that the banished one will not remain an outcast.” 2 Samuel 14:14 (ESV)


(Picture from 119 Ministries)

He is constantly working on our behalf: “Behold, I go forward, but he is not there; and backward, but I cannot perceive him: On the left hand, where he doth work, but I cannot behold him: he hideth himself on the right hand, that I cannot see him:” Job 23:8-9

I have been smitten by God’s enormous love and brought to tears over and over again as I discover more about His personality and provision for us. Sometimes I feel like my human body can not bear up under the presence of His overwhelming holiness. Just catching a small glimpse of Him here and there throughout the scriptures has made me fully aware that a man cannot see God and live. (Exodus 33:20)

In light of my recent studies, I am convinced that we cannot so much as comprehend Him and live! I am certainly going to need a new body before I meet Him face to face, so I won’t have to worry about whether my heart stops or whether I’m still breathing. And I will need a new mind that will not crumple in the light of His magnificent truth. And then I’m going to need an eternity with Him to search out His goodness, His wisdom, His love.

Let me tell you something. Satan and the forces of this world do not want you to study the Old Testament. The richness of God’s salvation is hidden on every page, and Satan doesn’t want us to know about that. Satan is good at deceiving, so he tells us that some things (aka the OT) are just not important anymore.

God, on the other hand, desires to have a relationship with us. He wants us to know everything we can about Him, to be constantly hungry for more. God wants you to study the entire Word. That’s why He left it for us. “As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?” Psalm 42:1-2

Let me leave you with a song that praises Him for His indescribable nature:

You are beautiful beyond description
Too marvelous for words
Too wonderful for comprehension
Like nothing ever seen or heard
Who can grasp you infinite wisdom
Who can fathom the depth of your love
You are beautiful beyond description
Majesty enthroned above

And I stand, I stand in awe of you
I stand, I stand in awe of you
Holy God to whom all praise is due
I stand in awe of you

(I Stand in Awe of You, Hillsong)

Do You Really Believe in the Old Testament?

8624465192_1d123f2711_nFor the past few days, I have been posting articles concerning Jewish beliefs or interpretations of the scriptures. If only the Jewish nation knew everything that Christians knew about Christ, and if Christendom knew everything the Jews knew about their language, customs, and scriptures. There would be a mountain of evidence between us, all pointing to the true Messiah. If we could come together, I feel that we would be able to show any seeker the truth – atheist, Muslim, you name it.

Point #5.

What’s the point in studying the Old Testament? How does it advance the kingdom of God?

Finding out as much as possible about the OT is a great way to win souls. You can flat out “prove” the inerrancy of the Scriptures, mostly due to the prophecies and the harmony between testaments. Much of what you find in the New Testament is a reference, commentary, or explanation of the Old Testament revealed in the light of the redemptive work of Jesus Christ (like the references to the cities of refuge). The more you know, the more you can prove. Luke thought it appropriate to prove that Jesus is who He said He is. (Read Luke and Acts to discover Luke’s methods. I also talk a bit about them in my post Proof of God.)

In addition to building a body of evidence, there is another reason to read the Old Testament. It is quite silly to say you believe in something that you have never studied or even read. I was speaking with a devout Jewish woman last year about one of my favorite quotes from Zephaniah: “For then will I turn to the people a pure language, that they may all call upon the name of the LORD, to serve him with one consent.” Zephaniah 3:9. (I have so much to say about this verse, but that is for another post. ) She responded that she had never read Zephaniah in all her life, and that she only studied the Torah because there was enough in it to keep her busy.

While I would agree that there are mountains of knowledge in the Torah, and that you could probably never exhaust the supply of information and meaning hidden within it, I found it strange that she would not read everything at her disposal. Wouldn’t she be curious about the other revelations? If Zephaniah and the other prophets and writings are inspired of God, why would you neglect to read them? How can you even claim to believe something you have not studied? You can say that you believe the Bible is true. That is belief in a statement. Someone told you the Bible is true, and you believe it. But can you honestly say that you believe facts, histories, prophecies, and foreshadowings if you have never even read them?

As we read through the Bible, the Word works in us to reveal that it is true: “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12. But you have to read it if you want to benefit from these effects! If you don’t read it, then you are accepting someone else’s interpretation of it, and not the Holy Spirit’s.

Today I feel compelled to impress upon you the importance of reading the entire Word of God. Also, I want you to realize that the two testaments were inspired by the same God, whose plan for mankind has not altered in the least over the course of history. Christ was “slain from the foundation of the world.” Revelation 13:8 “And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed.” Galatians 3:8

Here’s one more reason to study the Old Testament, if these others have failed to convince you: We are told to do it. If you don’t believe me, check out these verses about studying.

I want to help you learn to read and study the scriptures, so here are a couple of ideas to get you started:

Because we forget so easily, because spaced repetition is the key to long-term memory, and because our understanding  of the Word is ever growing, I think it’s important to read the Bible through once a year. While that may seem like a mountain of homework to some, it is not as difficult as you think. If you read at a pretty standard speed, you can do it in fifteen minutes a day. To make it even easier, there are Daily Bible reading apps, The One Year Bible in print (you can get it on Amazon), Bible reading charts that you can download, etc. My favorite Kindle Bible is the Daily Bible in One Year. Here is its description from Amazon: “The readings are categorized into Epistles, the Law, History, Psalms, Poetry, Prophecy, and Gospels which repeat every seven days. They are designed to provide variety in your reading while allowing sufficient time each day to reflect on each reading.” If you just want to stick with the Bible on your shelf, here is my favorite reading plan. It follows the same format as the Kindle Bible I just mentioned. Also, and this might be the easiest thing to do, you could just divide the number of pages in your Bible by 365, round up to the nearest whole page, and read that much every day. It will probably be much less than what you might have imagined.

If reading is difficult for you, might I suggest listening online? Here is an audio Bible from to get you started, but you might also check Librivox and YouTube.

Tomorrow I intend to wrap this series up, with what may very well be my favorite reason for studying the Old Testament.

A Jewish Quote that Accidentally Proved Jesus as Messiah

Let me take a moment and be completely, painfully honest with you. I grew up in church and was saved at a very young age, so I didn’t have the advantage of the proof of a changed life. I spent 15-20 years  doubting my salvation. I cried myself to sleep many a night because I knew this is the one thing I had to get right. I am not alone in this. All over the internet, all over my hometown, I am surrounded by others who are doubting or who have doubted.

This is not something we discuss openly because there is an “Emperor’s New Clothes” mindset going on here. If we admit to our doubt, we fear that others will suspect we’ve never actually encountered the real God. However, God knows how human we are. How often we forget or doubt Him. He is well acquainted with the nature of His people. Read Exodus if you want to observe a nation who constantly doubted and forgot God in spite of having witnessed the 10 plagues and having walked through the Red Sea.

Most of my studies are motivated by one thing: proving to myself that the Word of God is true, and that Jesus is who He claimed to be. Don’t let anyone tell you that it’s wrong to look into these things, to use your brain instead of your heart: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” Jeremiah 17:9

How many Jews and Muslims would come to Christ if they would investigate instead of believing what mommy and daddy taught them? Instead of believing the rabbis and the imams? It may seem to you that I am kicking against tradition here. Let me clarify that for you: I am kicking AND screaming. I will not be guilty of believing what I’ve been told merely out of respect for a religious denomination or leader. That is not placing your faith in Jesus Christ. That is placing your faith in religion.

There is only one standard for my faith, and that is the revealed Word of the Living God. This Word has proven its faithfulness to me, over and over again, and Jesus is the Word made flesh. I’m not just being sappy here or placing my belief in something I cannot prove. The Word is historically, scientifically, and prophetically accurate. I challenge you to look into it. See if it’s true.

In case you’re one of those who feels guilty for having occasional doubts, let me encourage you. There’s nothing wrong with seeking proof: “Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us, Even as they delivered them unto us, which from the beginning were eyewitnesses, and ministers of the word; It seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus, That thou mightest know the certainty of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed.” Luke 1:1-4

Here is the wonderful thing about being human: doubting leads to seeking, and seeking will lead you to the proof you are looking for. “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.” Matthew 7:7 “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.” Matthew 5:6

The articles that I’ve been posting recently are an effort to share with you some of the things I have learned about the Word. I want you to know beyond the shadow of a doubt that Jesus is the Messiah, the Savior of all mankind. Here’s the irony: some of the greatest proofs lie in what the Jews reject about their Messiah and what Christianity has forgotten about Him.

Point Four glances backwards at previous posts, especially point Three. Here is point Four: Messiah is not a contrivance of the Jews any more than Jesus is an invention of the Christians. This is more proof that He is, in fact, Messiah. The Jews don’t understand Christianity, and Christians don’t understand Jewishness, but if either party would look into what the other believes and why, they would find a perfect fulfillment of Scriptures, a perfect harmony between the Testaments that only God could be responsible for, especially since Jews and Christians don’t understand each other.

Now, take a look at this quote:

When the members of the Sanhedrin found themselves deprived of their right over life and death, a general consternation took possession of them; they covered their heads with ashes, and their bodies with sackcloth, exclaiming: “Woe unto us, for the scepter has departed from Judah, and the Messiah has not come!” ( LeMann’s Jesus Before the Sanhedrin, page 30.)

LeMann also tells us that in AD 11, the Sanhedrin lost the judicial power to issue capital punishment. The Roman Empire took it upon themselves to try capital offenders. This event is a fulfillment of Genesis 49:10: “The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.”

If you want more proof that the loss of the scepter refers to this event, or that Shiloh refers to the Messiah, or even more details surrounding the quote, I recommend Josh McDowell’s book The New Evidence that Demands a Verdict. It is more than 700 pages long and filled with scholarly evidence that Jesus is the Christ. If you have it already, you can find this topic on pages 195-197.

Here’s my point: Jesus was alive and walking among the Jewish people when this event occurred. God had kept His promise to Judah and had sent the promised Redeemer at the appointed time. If Messiah had not showed up on time, then God would have been guilty of lying to them. If He could lie about one thing, who is to say that He couldn’t lie about everything? Why even believe in a Messiah at all if He did not arrive when prophesied?

If Jesus were not the Messiah, then it is too late. There will not be another one. I find it strange that the Jewish nation would more easily believe that God had failed in keeping His promise to them, rather than accept Yeshua as Messiah.

Let me just remind you that Jewish rejection of the Messiah is also a fulfillment of prophecy. It’s a prophecy they do not want to fulfill, but they are doing it in spite of themselves. More proof for the accuracy of the Scriptures? Assuredly so.

Here’s what Jews have failed to understand: Messiah had to have shown up before the scepter departed from Judah. That means He has been here already. If the Jewish nation would look into this more deeply, they would realize that Jesus fulfilled all of the prophecies concerning Messiah ben Joseph. (Prophecies concerning Messiah ben David will be fulfilled at the return of Christ.)

Here’s what the Christians have failed to understand: The significance of Genesis 49:10 is absolute proof and should be very helpful for winning Jews, agnostics, and atheists. For instance, if Jesus as Messiah was a set-up, how could the conspirators have controlled what Rome was doing to the Jewish nation in AD 11, or even what the Sanhedrin would say concerning the Messiah? Jesus just happened to be alive already when that event took place and when those words were uttered? How much “coincidence” is needed before it begins to be a body of evidence?


Jewish High Days and the Resurrection of the Messiah

Here is my third point describing my interest into what Jews believe. If this intrigues you, check out points one and two.

The very things that the Jews misunderstand about their own writings prove that they have been blinded to the truth. And before you think I’m being presumptuous here, let me remind you that Hebrew people prophesied against the Hebrew nation, claiming that they would not understand. If they had not rejected the Messiah, the prophecies would be untrue. And not just the prophecies, but their blindness is foreshadowed all the way back in the Torah. (Exodus 34:34-35, 2 Corinthians 3: 12-15) “Seeing then that we have such hope, we use great plainness of speech: And not as Moses, which put a vail over his face, that the children of Israel could not stedfastly look to the end of that which is abolished: But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which vail is done away in Christ. But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their heart.”

Yesterday’s post mentioned the prophecy about the cornerstone that has been rejected. If you want to look into this more, here is a page on BibleHub quoting Jeremiah 5:21, complete with clickable cross-references: “Hear now this, O foolish people, and without understanding; which have eyes, and see not; which have ears, and hear not:”

And while Jews need to open their eyes to the scriptures, the flip side of that coin is true as well. It is abundantly clear that Jesus is the Messiah, especially in light of what the Jews know that is hidden from the Gentiles. And before you think I typed that backwards, think about this: The Jews are blinded to the Word made flesh. The Gentiles need to open their eyes concerning the written Word, the Torah. We have invalidated it and ignored it to the point that we cannot even use it to prove the most basic truths about Jesus, that He is who He says He is. As a matter of fact, without understanding the Torah, it is even difficult to prove that Jesus ever even claimed to be the Son of God. The Muslims say that this claim never came from His own mouth, and I was hard-pressed to prove them wrong at first. (Of course, he does verify the claim of Peter and answer the high priest’s question during His interview.) However, I finally learned that, yes, God does have a name and that Jesus Christ used this name to prove His identity several times in the New Testament.

Exodus 3:14: And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.

John 8:58: Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am. (Why do you think Jesus used an uncommon grammatical structure for His statement here? So He could speak the holy name of Yahweh and claim to be one with the Father.)

Mark 14:62: And Jesus said, I am: and ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.

John 18:4-6: Jesus therefore, knowing all things that should come upon him, went forth, and said unto them, Whom seek ye? They answered him, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus saith unto them, I am he. And Judas also, which betrayed him, stood with them. As soon then as he had said unto them, I am he, they went backward, and fell to the ground. (The word “he” following “I am” in this passage was inserted into the English for grammatical clarification. Jesus didn’t actually speak the word for “he.”)

Okay, so that was a rabbit trail I did not intend to follow this morning. Let me try to be brief with the rest:

If the Jews were to open their eyes to the symbolism and foreshadowing in their own religion, there would be insurmountable evidence supporting Yeshua as the Messiah. Some of this evidence, Gentiles have understood for hundreds of years, and some of it has been forgotten. Due in large part to the influence of the Catholic church, many anti-Jewish doctrines and traditions prevail in Christianity today. They want to discount everything Jewish as meaningless and pretend that Christianity, at its very root, is not a Hebrew religion. Let me show you how this ignorance has hurt us.

I’m going to make a statement here, 100% true, but many (if not most) of you will disagree with me. If Jesus died on a Friday and rose from the grave on a Sunday, He is not the Messiah. I say that because He would have failed to fulfill the only sign He prophesied would be given to this generation: that of the prophet Jonah. “For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” Matthew 12:40

Our best and brightest, our Bible “scholars” and those holding doctorates in theology have wasted precious hours of their lives trying to reconcile the nonsense that they cling to. When Jews, Muslims, and atheists (to name a few) look into our belief system, they see us scrambling to make the prophecies fit into our doctrine. We have made a mockery of this thing we call Christianity.

Why does modern Christianity cling to this idea? Because it doesn’t understand the simplest commandments in the Torah. Because of incomplete knowledge of sabbath days and how they work. We know Jesus Christ was crucified on preparation day, and I guess most Christian theologians believe that every single preparation day is a Friday because that’s the day that precedes the weekly sabbath. Luke 23:45: “And that day was the preparation, and the sabbath drew on.” And our Friday night-Sunday morning doctrine was born.

How did the Bible scholars fail to read this verse? “The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day, (for that sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.” John 19:31

Do you see? NOT your regular weekly sabbath. In fact, every single Passover since the giving of the Law has been a preparation day for the high sabbath that follows it – the first day of unleavened bread. And Passover always falls on Nisan 14, a specific day of the month, which follows the lunar calendar, not a specific day of the week. So in reality, hardly any Passovers fall on Fridays. “In the fourteenth day of the first month at even is the Lord‘s passover. And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the feast of unleavened bread unto the Lord: seven days ye must eat unleavened bread.” Leviticus 23:5-6

Seven days shall ye eat unleavened bread; even the first day ye shall put away leaven out of your houses: for whosoever eateth leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that soul shall be cut off from Israel. And in the first day there shall be an holy convocation, and in the seventh day there shall be an holy convocation to you; no manner of work shall be done in them, save that which every man must eat, that only may be done of you. And ye shall observe the feast of unleavened bread; for in this selfsame day have I brought your armies out of the land of Egypt: therefore shall ye observe this day in your generations by an ordinance for ever.” Exodus 12:15-17 (…an ordinance for ever – one of many reasons why Torah-observant Christians still keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread.)

So modern doctrine has called Him a liar. They have said, well, He wasn’t REALLY in the ground three days and three nights. (Does this tactic look familiar? “And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:” Genesis 3:4) If you will read the Pentateuch and the Gospels, you will have a perfect understanding of the timeline of His crucifixion, and you won’t have to jump through hoops to achieve it. (The day-night issue is not even the only issue with the Christian belief. Look into how the ladies rested according to the sabbath, then bought and prepared spices, then rested according to the sabbath again before going to the grave. Jesus was in the ground for a high sabbath, a regular day, and a weekly sabbath and most likely rose right after the sun went down as the sabbath was drawing to a close – Saturday night – in the beginning moments of the Feast of Firstfruits.) If you look more closely, it will be easy to see that yes, He did fulfill His own prophecy about Himself.

easter-fraudWhen Jews look at us and see us scrambling and stretching to make sense of the scriptures, no wonder we look like fools to them. If any of them would take the time to do the math – knowing what they already do about the High Sabbath days – they would see proof that Jesus is who He says He is. And they would know that Jesus is not an invention of the Gentiles, because Gentiles still do not understand everything He said and everything that went on. It can ONLY be fullyunderstood in the light of the Old Testament – the Jews’ own religious prophecies concerning the Messiah.

The Jewish word ga’al and the City of Refuge

city-of-refugeYesterday, I published my first point regarding why I study Jewish belief. Here is point two:

The Scriptures were written by the Hebrew people for the Hebrew people, in the Hebrew language. Anyone who has studied a second language will know that there will necessarily be some expressions, ideas, words, etc that Hebrew-speaking people will just understand better. For instance, the Passover, found in Exodus 12: Jews keep the Passover feast every single year according to the instructions given in Leviticus 23, commemorating the night that the death angel passed over everyone who was under the blood. It was commanded by God that they keep it forever. (Exodus 12:14, and one of many reasons why Torah-observant Christians keep it today.) It was a dress rehearsal for the redemptive act of Jesus Christ on the cross. When we see the Passover through their eyes, we understand better: We had an appointment with death, but because the innocent lamb died, He became the substitute for us, and now we no longer have to die. (Romans 6:23, Genesis 2:17, Proverbs 11:19, Ezekiel 18:4, James 1:15, Romans 5)

Another of my favorite passages is Joshua 20. The word for “avenger” in this passage is the same exact word translated “redeemer,” which is also the same word translated “kinsman,” both from the book of Ruth. There is no distinction. These words mean each other. They are each other. Your next of kin has the ability to redeem you or to avenge your death. If you read the book of Ruth again (also Leviticus 25:24-25), you will discover that Jesus Christ had to be our next of kin in order to qualify as redeemer, but Yahweh constantly refers to Himself as our redeemer. He also says in Exodus 6:6 that He will redeem us with an outstretched arm. If you read yesterday’s post, that will mean something more to you. The answer? Yeshua the Messiah is Yahweh in the flesh, the arm of the LORD. The Jews would have understood this before they hardened their hearts. Ah, for fun, read Numbers 11:23 and Isaiah 59:1!

Okay, back to Joshua 20.

“The Lord also spake unto Joshua, saying, Speak to the children of Israel, saying, Appoint out for you cities of refuge, whereof I spake unto you by the hand of Moses: That the slayer that killeth any person unawares and unwittingly may flee thither: and they shall be your refuge from the avenger of blood. And when he that doth flee unto one of those cities shall stand at the entering of the gate of the city, and shall declare his cause in the ears of the elders of that city, they shall take him into the city unto them, and give him a place, that he may dwell among them. And if the avenger of blood pursue after him, then they shall not deliver the slayer up into his hand; because he smote his neighbour unwittingly, and hated him not beforetime. And he shall dwell in that city, until he stand before the congregation for judgment, and until the death of the high priest that shall be in those days: then shall the slayer return, and come unto his own city, and unto his own house, unto the city from whence he fled. And they appointed Kedesh in Galilee in mount Naphtali, and Shechem in mount Ephraim, and Kirjatharba, which is Hebron, in the mountain of Judah. And on the other side Jordan by Jericho eastward, they assigned Bezer in the wilderness upon the plain out of the tribe of Reuben, and Ramoth in Gilead out of the tribe of Gad, and Golan in Bashan out of the tribe of Manasseh. These were the cities appointed for all the children of Israel, and for the stranger that sojourneth among them, that whosoever killeth any person at unawares might flee thither, and not die by the hand of the avenger of blood, until he stood before the congregation.”

So what does this mean? What would you see here if you were Hebrew and heard the good news of the Gospel? I hope I can explain this clearly, the way I see it.

The Father is the Son’s avenger of blood (nearest of kin). The Son was slain, unwittingly, by those who are responsible for His death: sinners. When a sinner learns of Christ, He runs to the city of refuge (which is also Christ). The City protects the man-slayer from the avenger of blood until the death of the high priest, at which point he may return home. The amazing thing about this passage is that Christ is also our high priest. It is his death that pardons us! This is the amazing love of God. This is how cool He is. “…yet doth he devise means, that his banished be not expelled from him.” 2 Samuel 14:14 – Basically meaning that He is acting out His plan to keep us from being separated from Him forever.

Okay, amazing, right? But there’s more to this passage. First, there is eternal security. I have so much to say on this topic; maybe someday I will make an entire post out of it, but for now, suffice it to say that once the high priest is dead, the avenger of blood can no longer seek to destroy us. That’s it. Eternal life.

Secondly, there are those who, after hearing the gospel and learning what Christ accomplished on the cross, turn away and become haters of God. These are those who have made themselves murderers by becoming willingly responsible for the death of Christ. These will be delivered up from the city of refuge, directly into the hands of the avenger of blood.

The writer of Hebrews is expounding on Joshua 20 right here:

“For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people.” Hebrews 10:26-30. 

Actually, you will find more concerning Joshua 20 if you read the entire book of Hebrews. Here is another passage:

For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.” Hebrews 6:4-6

Interesting, right? Suddenly, after learning the meaning of ga’al (meaning to redeem, to act as kinsman, to avenge), and after having read Joshua 20, I understood these passages while also understanding eternal security. There’s a first time for everything, right?

Let me sum up: Studying the New Testament in light of the Old and vice versa provides amazing clarity.