“Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?” 2 Corinthians 6:14
by Cathy Helms January 9, 2023
Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, famous for his great faith in standing against a vast army and seeing God slay them all, made several serious mistakes. The most grave, perhaps, was to marry his son, Jehoram, to Athaliah, daughter of Ahab, the most wicked king of Israel. [1 Kings 8, 22 Chron 22] Athaliah’s mother, Jezebel, was the embodiment of Ishtar; she ruled over her husband and provoked him to wickedness.
Like Mother, Like Daughter
Jehoshaphat died, Athaliah’s husband murdered his six brothers so that he could be king, and it is suspected this was Athaliah’s idea. Athaliah and her husband had a son, God killed Athaliah’s husband, her son rises to the throne at age 22, and God kills him after one year.
The spirit of Ishtar is the spirit of the usurper.
Athaliah murdered all of her grandsons and every possible heir to the throne, or at least she thought she did. We’ll come back to that.
Athaliah usurped the throne and for the next seven years she used her power to establish the worship of Baal in Judah, exactly as her mother Jezebel had done in Israel. However, God preserved an heir, Joash, who was raised by the High Priest Jehoiada. When he reached the age of eight, Jehoiada presented him to all Judah, crowned him as king, and executed Athaliah.
But the damage had been done. In only seven years the enemy had gained a stronghold of Ba’al worship in Judah that was never broken. When all was said and done, God said of Judah before He sent them into the Babylonian exile that Judah was more wicked [Jer. 3:8-10] than the northern kingdom that had previously been scattered to the four winds because of Ba’al and Ashtoreth worship including child sacrifice.
The sad legacy of righteous King Jehoshaphat is that he yoked the line of King David with the line of apostate Jeroboam whose legacy had infected [1 Kings 12:25-33] his successors and prevailed until the nation was carried away by the King of Assyria [2 Kings 17:18-23].
“Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?” 2 Corinthians 6:14
Psalm 85:4-9 Restore us again, O God of our salvation, and put away your indignation toward us! Will you be angry with us forever? Will you prolong your anger to all generations? Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you? Show us your steadfast love, O LORD, and grant us your salvation. Let me hear what God the LORD will speak, for he will speak peace to his people, to his saints; but let them not turn back to folly. Surely his salvation is near to those who fear him, that glory may dwell in our land.
The American Law Institute increasingly seeks to advance a politically correct agenda. By JOHN FUND posted May 13, 2018 7:50 PM
Next week, one of the most powerful private legal groups you’ve never heard of will hold its annual meeting in Washington, D.C. For nearly 100 years, the 3,000- member American Law Institute has exercised enormous influence through what it calls “Restatements” of the common law. Many judges, lawyers, and scholars rely on it for an objective, readable description of what the law is.
As I noted at NRO in 2016:The ALI’s Restatements are an effort to clarify and codify the common law. In many areas, actual statutes do not govern us, but “case law,” or judicial precedent, does. The ALI tells courts what the case law is, and courts routinely rely on the ALI Restatements as authority for what the law is. The ALI’s work serves as something between Cliff’s Notes and an authoritative encyclopedia of law for many judges.
The Supreme Court cites the ALI every few weeks, on average, in its decisions.
But there must be a clear line between describing what the law is and seeking to establish new law and policy. More and more lawyers think that the ALI has departed from its core mission and is becoming an engine driving novel legal rules. At its annual convention two years ago, ALI leaders proposed adopting a model penal code that would make “affirmative consent,” regarding sexual relations, its official policy. The move was stymied when influential members noted that such a definition would shift the burden of proof on to the accused, something not currently part of our judicial system. As Ashe Schow wrote in the Washington Examiner in 2016:
The accused would have to prove they had received “communicated willingness.” This would mean that any time someone engages in sexual activity, they not only have to make sure they obtain this specific form of consent, but also proof of this consent.
Undaunted, the ALI has spread its legal wings to copyright law, consumer contracts, intentional torts, and insurance. At next week’s ALI annual meeting, a battle royal is expected over a draft Restatement on the law of liability insurance. A group of ALI members say the draft seeks to reshape the law in such a way that will further clog court dockets and raise costs for business and consumers.
Last month, a group of six governors — from Texas, Maine, South Carolina, Nebraska, Utah, and Iowa — sent the ALI a letter warning that the proposed draft is a usurpation of the law-making authority of their state legislatures. The Restatement could also retard economic development, they note, by “creating uncertainty and instability in the liability insurance market.” The governors urged urge ALI members to revise or rescind the draft Restatement.
Leading lawyers agree that the ALI’s draft should return to the drawing board. Victor Schwartz, the chair of the public-policy group for the Washington firm of Shook, Hardy, and Bacon, participated in a recent conference call held by the National Council of Insurance Legislators. On the call, Schwarz noted that the draft uses “weasel words” that will become “litigation fuel.” It will make an insurer liable whenever its defense counsel lacks “adequate” malpractice insurance. “Who in the heck knows it is, or if it isn’t [adequate]?” he asked. No court has ever adopted such a liability theory.
A letter from a group of corporate attorneys notes that the draft “recommends that an insurer that loses a dispute with a policyholder would have to pay that policyholder’s legal fees, but if the insurer prevailed, it would have to pay its own attorney fees.” This is in complete variance with the “American rule” that each party in a legal dispute normally pays its own attorney fees.
Such under-the-radar shifts in reinterpreting the law have bothered legal scholars for several years. “The ALI has more and more become politically correct,” Ronald Rotunda, a law professor at Chapman University and a member of the ALI since 1977, told me before he died earlier this year. “It’s now driving an agenda rather than providing clarity and objective standards to the law.”
Justice Antonin Scalia also issued his own warning about the ALI in 2015, the year before his death. In Kansas v. Nebraska, he wrote:
Modern Restatements . . . are of questionable value, and must be used with caution. . . . Over time, the Restatements’ authors have abandoned the mission of describing the law, and have chosen instead to set forth their aspirations for what the law ought to be.
Scalia argued that such novel views of the law should have “no more weight regarding what the law ought to be than the recommendations of any respected lawyer or scholar.” No longer can one assume that “a Restatement provision describes rather than revises current law.”
You’d think the general ALI membership would realize that the last thing it needs is more public skepticism about the group’s small subgroup of legal experts who draft ALI Restatements. Right now, the growing perception is that the ALI’s legal experts are increasingly ideological trial lawyers and anti-business law professors who are on a crusade and taking the rest of the ALI membership along for the ride.
The American Law Institute (ALI) proposes a model penal code for state abortion laws. The code advocates legalizing abortion for reasons including the mental or physical health of the mother, pregnancy due to rape and incest, and fetal deformity. [Cathy’s note: This organization is behind the current attempt to legalize or lower penalties for pedophilia.]
Apr. 25: Colorado Gov. John A. Love signs the first “liberalized” ALI-model abortion law in the United States, allowing abortion in cases of permanent mental or physical disability of either the child or mother or in cases of rape or incest. Similar laws are passed in California, Oregon, and North Carolina.
The Virginia Society for Human Life is founded becoming the first statewide right-to-life organization in the country.
National Right to Life is formed in the summer of 1968 and publishes its first newsletter in October 1968. The board of directors grows to include representatives with a diverse range of backgrounds including doctors, lawyers, nurses, homemakers, and educators.
Apr. 11: New York allows abortion on demand up to the 24th week of pregnancy Similar laws are passed in Alaska, Hawaii, and Washington state.
Apr. 21: The U.S. Supreme Court rules on its first case involving abortion upholding a District of Columbia law permitting abortion only to preserve a woman’s life or “health.” However, the Court makes it clear that by “health” it means “psychological and physical well-being,” effectively allowing abortion for any reason.
June: National Right to Life holds its first annual convention
By year’s end a total of 13 states have an ALI-type law. Four states allow abortion on demand. New York repeals its 1970 abortion law but Gov. Rockefeller vetoes the repeal.
Jan. 22: The U.S. Supreme Court issues its ruling in Roe v. Wade, finding that a “right of privacy” it had earlier discovered was “broad enough to encompass” a right to abortion… Issued on the same day, Doe v. Bolton defines “health” to mean “all factors” that affect the woman, including “physical, emotional, psychological, familial, and the woman’s age.
The floodgates were opened in1973 and 744,610 babies were slaughtered in the year of this ruling by SCOTUS. But even more horrific, by 1978, just five years later, that figure had nearly doubled to 1,410,000. By 1990 babies murdered by abortion in the US reached the height of nearly 1,609,000 babies and the US was exporting this legislation throughout the world as a condition of receiving other help. Thankfully, the USA dipped to under a million abortions in 2013 and have remained there ever since. abortion-statistics-by-year-1973-current/
According to Wikipedia: The American Law Institute (ALI) is a research and advocacy group of judges, lawyers, and legal scholars established in 1923 to promote the clarification and simplification of United Statescommon law and its adaptation to changing social needs. Members of ALI include law professors, practicing attorneys, judges and other professionals in the legal industry. ALI writes documents known as “treatises“, which are summaries of state common law (legal principles that come out of state court decisions). Many courts and legislatures look to ALI’s treatises as authoritative reference material concerning many legal issues. However, some legal experts and the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, along with some conservative commentators, have voiced concern about ALI rewriting the law as they want it to be instead of as it is.
At any time, ALI is engaged in up to 20 projects examining the law. Some current projects have been watched closely by the media, particularly the revision of the Model Penal Code Sexual Assault provisions.*
*Cathy’s note: This is legislation that proposes, among other things, legalization and lower penalties for pedophilia.
For more information on ALI check out this article:
TWO SCHOOLS OF PREVAILING THOUGHTAMONG JEWS OF THE FIRST CENTURY
To the ears of most modern followers of Jesus, the mere mention of the term Pharisee invokes echoes of John the Baptizer and Jesus of Nazareth shouting caustically, “You brood of vipers!” One could surmise the cousins painted all Pharisees and scribes with a broad brush; but in actuality, they castigated a small group of the religious elite of their day, whose practice was in opposition to Moses and the prophets. The importance of this cannot be overstated, for without it, we completely misunderstand Jesus’ controversy with them.
First century rabbis were essentially divided between two camps: the House of Shammai and the House of Hillel. American Christians might perhaps best relate this difference to two viewpoints of the Christian faith, let’s say Protestant and Catholic. Just as Protestants and Catholics have the same foundational beliefs, but vastly different practices of walking it out, so it was with the House of Shammai and the House of Hillel.
Followers of Shammai, generally, were known for legalistic viewpoints. In other words, they adhered mostly to the letter of the law and/or the rulings of the rabbis. More about that as we go. In contrast, followers of Hillel were more lenient, seeking to express the spirit of the law.
Hillel’s position was far more merciful. A story is told in rabbinical literature that a non-Jewish man approached Rabbi Shammai and asked him to teach him the five books of Moses, Genesis-Exodus-Leviticus-Numbers-Deuteronomy, while standing on one foot. After being dismissed by Rabbi Shammai with disgust, he appealed to Rabbi Hillel, who, by the way, refused the title “rabbi.” The kind teacher stood on one foot and said gently to the non-Jew, “What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor. This is the whole Torah; all the rest is commentary. Go and learn it.” Yeshua put it in a similar fashion: “Whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” (Mat. 7:12)
The legalistic House of Shammai may well be the “synagogue of Satan” (Rev. 2:9, 3:9) to which John the Revelator refers. The House of Shammai is most certainly the primary object of Yeshua’s stern warnings found in the 23rd chapter of Matthew. Please click to read Yeshua’s charges. Note, in particular, his accusation, “you shut up the kingdom of Heaven” (vs. 13). Count the number of times Yeshua says, “woe to you”! He did not hesitate to blast rulings and traditions that contradicted Moses and/or piled unnecessary burdens on the people.
At first glance, the chapter seems to open with Yeshua contradicting himself:
“The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat, so do and observe whatever they tell you, but not the works they do. For they preach, but do not practice.” (Mat 23:2-3)
Yeshua instructs His audience to “do and observe” what the scribes and Pharisees say, then rails at the religious leaders for their ludicrous and heinous rulings! This could confuse a 21st century reader who doesn’t understand the purpose of Moses’ “seat.”
The synagogues featured a raised platform, called a bimah, from which the weekly Torah portion (parsha) and the haftarah are read. In antiquity the bimah was made of stone, but in modern times it is usually a rectangular wooden platform approached by steps.
The bimah was not unlike pulpits today. But, unlike most pulpits today, the books of Moses and selections from the prophets were to be read every Sabbath. This practice can clearly be seen in the New Testament.
Acts 15:21 For from ancient generations Moses has had in every city those who proclaim him, for he is read every Sabbath in the synagogues.”
Acts13:27 For those who live in Jerusalem and their rulers, because they did not recognize him nor understand the utterances of the prophets, which are read every Sabbath, fulfilled them by condemning him.[note: Moses was a prophet]
Luke 4:16 And [Jesus] came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. And as was his custom, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day,and he stood up to read.
Yeshua did not contradict Himself when He instructed the people to “do and observe” what the scribes and Pharisees said—what they SAID from the bimah is what they READ to the people, the words of Moses and the prophets! God’s instruction through Moses was to be read every Sabbath to the people.
What is really interesting is that the exact portion of scripture was read each Sabbath in every synagogue in the First Century. This valuable tradition of being on the same page remains in place today in the majority of Jewish, Messianic, and Hebrew Roots congregations worldwide. Ezra and the men of the Great Assembly who returned to Jerusalem from 70 years of Babylonian captivity, divided the books of Moses into 54 segments and assigned them positions in a yearly cycle that commences each year on the Sabbath following the close of Sukkot [Feast of Tabernacles]. On October 22, 2022, the torah portion B’Resheet [In the Beginning] will be proclaimed in assemblies around the world. [If you would like to follow me, we will not only progress through the annual torah portion cycle, we will also read through the entire bible in a year, starting with Genesis 1:1 on October 19. I think you are going to be amazed what will be revealed as we traverse the bible together in this year of Jubilee, 5783 on the Hebrew calendar.
The men of the Great Assembly devised the annual reading cycle to prevent the remnant that had returned from the Babylonian exile, and their offspring, from ever being exiled again. Judah didn’t learned from their brothers, the northern kingdom, the so-called House of Israel, who was first to go into exile around 722BCE due to gross idolatry, including child sacrifice. This northern kingdom is still today in exile, having been scattered by the king of Assyria throughout the whole earth, they remain today, assimilated among the nations and mostly unaware of their identity. Judah, on the other hand, who had taken up the idolatrous ways of the northern kingdom, returned after 70 years in Babylon by the hand of a merciful God.
For the reading cycle to remain in place all these years, it must have been God-breathed. While some “tradition” is suspect, not all needs to be thrown out. Some of God’s instructions for the Feast Days are so sparce they beg to be fleshed out with liturgy, food, decor, song, and dance. Thus, rich and meaningful customs have grown up in Jewish communities throughout history and the world that enhances the beauty of God’s appointed times, solidifies communities, and acts a teaching aids that are particularly effective to ground children and youths in God’s cycles of righteousness.
An excellent example is Jewish tradition for the Passover seder [order of service]. We will highlight one, the afikomen. During the service, three pieces of matzah (unleavened bread) are placed inside a bag with three compartments [which, to Christians, can be seen as emblematic of Father, Son, and Holy Spirt]. Early in the Seder, the middle piece of matzah is removed, broken in half, and one half is hidden. This hidden matzah is called the afikomen. At the end of the meal, the children are sent out, with the promise of reward, to locate the hidden afikomen, which is then broken into small pieces for everyone to eat as dessert. Christians can readily see, although most Jews are still blind, that the afikomen pictures Yeshua’s broken body going into the grave and then being resurrected, and his body, the “bread of life,” being taught to the nations. There are many other such pictures of Yeshua in a traditional Passover event; but that is a story for another day.
Yeshua’s use of symbolism spawned church tradition. At the last meal, the Passover, with his disciples, he broke the bread and declared it, “my body.” He took up the cup and declared it “the blood of the covenant, poured out for many.” (Mark 14:22,24). Thus, eating the Passover meal has been reenacted in the form of communion services in congregations throughout the earth. The liberty afforded believers includes the freedom to develop traditions, so long as they are neither burdensome nor legislated, or, most important of all, do not violate the word of God–which was Yeshua’s chief controversy with the religious elite.
Yeshua declared, “…for the sake of your tradition you have made void the word of God.” (Mat. 15:6) This is at the core of every “woe to you!” in Matthew chapter 23. According to Yeshua, the elite who added to or took away from God’s word are in grave peril. Instead of welcoming converts, the very purpose of God’s family, the proud religious elite wanted to exclude them. [That, by the way, is what is at the root of the hatred between Jews and Samaritans.] And when they made a convert, they required him to obey regulations that God never imposed, rules that were cumbersome to their own people as well. Peter said, “Now, therefore, why are you putting God to the test by placing a yoke on the neck of the disciples that neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear?” (Acts 15:10)
It wasn’t God’s law Peter was talking about, it was man-rules and regulations. God’s instructions were never intended to be a burden. Before his death Moses reminded the children of Israel that God’s law “is not too hard for you.” (Deut. 30:11) Yeshua echoed by stating, “My yoke is easy; my burden is light.” (Mat. 11:30)
The LORD your God will make you abundantly prosperous in all the work of your hand, in the fruit of your womb and in the fruit of your cattle and in the fruit of your ground. For the LORD will again take delight in prospering you, as he took delight in your fathers, 10) when you obey the voice of the LORD your God, to keep his commandments and his statutes that are written in this Book of the Law, when you turn to the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. 11) “For this commandment that I command you today is not too hard for you, neither is it far off. 12) It is not in heaven, that you should say, ‘Who will ascend to heaven for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’ 13) Neither is it beyond the sea, that you should say, ‘Who will go over the sea for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’ 14) But the word is very near you. It is in your mouth and in your heart, so that you can do it. (Deut. 30:9-14)
How is it “in your mouth” and “in your heart”? It is to be in the mouths of the leaders of every assembly on Shabbat. The leaders of God’s people should be those on whose hearts are written His law. As they walk it out, they become examples of holiness, a light in a dark world, imitated by their children and congregations. It takes time for the uninitiated. We have to learn new habits and routines. It takes an effort but, oh, it is SOOO worth it!
While rabbinical rules surely began as helpful instructions, ultimately they became cumbersome. The Mishnah, a collection of Jewish traditions, known also as the Oral Torah, contains thousands of additions to God’s instructions. What most people do not understand is that in the New Testament, both are called “law.” To understand the controversies between Yeshua and his followers and the religious elite, one must be able to distinguish between God’s law given to Moses and the laws instituted by the rabbis, not a simple task for the uninitiated.
To give a few examples, when Yeshua’s disciples were charged with breaking the Sabbath by walking through a field of grain and eating the kernels, it was a rabbinical rule they were accused of breaking, just as it was when the man whom Yeshua instructed to pick up his mat and get up and walk was rebuked by the Pharisees. There are no rules in the books of Moses forbidding harvesting grain to eat as a snack or for lunch or picking up a mat on the Sabbath.
Another very important example is the law Peter mentions when defending his trip to the house of Cornelius. “You yourselves know how unlawful it is for a Jew to associate with or to visit anyone of another nation, but God has shown me that I should not call any person common or unclean. (Acts 10:28)
Again, this was a man-made prohibition and, further, it was the polar opposite of God’s intent to bring the nations of the earth into relationship with Him, teach them His principles that they might enjoy the blessings of peace, safety, health, financial well-being, and sound relationships and to teach these things to their children.
It’s easy to see that one of the chief reasons Yeshua had to come to earth as a man was to blast open the doors that had been cemented by well meaning, but mistaken and overly zealous rabbis. They weren’t by the way, the only religious leaders who made wrong interpretations and caused God’s people to err. The church fathers made some pretty serious mistakes, as well.
 The student will likely encounter numerous and varied spellings of the first torah portion, including B’resheet, B’raishiyt, Bereshit, etc. Transliteration is the process of forming words by sounding out the original, which can be accomplished with varying combination of English letters.
In the book of Leviticus and elsewhere are seven celebrations which the God of Israel firmly calls “My feasts” (Leviticus 23). Our Father is undertaking in our day to restore these Feasts to His entire body, including those of us who have been grafted in by grace through faith. Two other annual traditional celebrations commemorate God’s intervention to deliver His people from evil and wicked governmental strongholds, much like what we have been experiencing the last two years. Purim [pooREEM] memorializes the deliverance of the Jewish people from Haman in the Book of Esther. Hanukkah, which we will focus on in this document, venerates a David-and-Goliah military triumph in 164BCE.
As we look into this annual celebration, let us also note the parallels to our day and take comfort that God is sovereign and Yeshua is the same yesterday, today, and forever. The edicts that have been handed down to us in the last two years and the outrageous attempts to get us to go along with the diabolical agenda of the World Economic Forum are right out of the playbook of Antiochus! Let’s also ask ourselves why Yeshua would have walked 70 or more miles in the cold and rain to be at the Temple at this particular time, to observe a feast which is not biblically prescribed. Let’s also ask if there is reason for us to participate in it, and if so, how Abba might have us do so.
“Now it was the Feast of Dedication in Jerusalem, and it was winter. And Yeshua walked in the temple, in Solomon’s porch. Then the [religious leaders] surrounded Him and said to Him, ‘How long will You keep us in doubt? If You are the Messiah, tell us plainly.’” (John 10:22-24)
Modern translations can sometimes obscure plain meaning. A translation for a Jewish readership states very clearly, “Now it was the Feast of Hanukkah…” The word (חֲנֻכָּה) means “dedication” or “consecration.” To answer the question of why Yeshua was at the Temple for the Feast of Dedication, we have to look into the circumstances that led to this annual celebration.
The History Behind Hanukkah
In between Malachi’s prophecy and Matthew’s Gospel were four hundred so-called “silent years,” when the prophets’ voices were stilled. The number four is a hint to Messianic significance; Yeshua lived in the 4th millennium. The number four also means “seal” and “covenant.” What does our Heavenly Father want to tell us about this supposedly “silent” period? Listen! The voice of history is speaking!
The books of First and Second Maccabees, preserved in the Apocrypha, which is part of the Catholic Bible, provide the historical record. Antiochus IV ruled over Mesopotamia and the Middle East, including Judea, the southern kingdom, long after the norther kingdom of Israel was exiled and scattered. In other words, Judea was the only visible remnant of the whole house of Israel. Antiochus was a successor to one of the generals who received a part of the domain of Alexander the Great after his death. These rival kingdoms constantly waged war against another, subjecting their subjects to shifting control and fortunes. During this same time period, Rome was conquering vast areas and was well on its way to becoming the chief empire of the world.
Antiochus, a foreshadow of anti-Christ, went so far as to claim to be God. He even added “Epiphanes” (“God manifest”) to his name. Coins minted at the time proclaimed “King Antiochus…God made visible.” The Greeks sought to Hellenize conquered nations by forcing them to abandon their language, customs, and faith, many times at the threat of death, to the supposedly superior Hellenistic culture. Many Jews capitulated; but a stubborn remnant, with the help of God, as Antiochus would find, proved undefeatable, to the glory of God.
Before Antiochus came to power, a devout and highly respected Levite, Onias, was High Priest. Second Maccabees reports that because of his love for God and his total dedication to obeying the LORD’s commandments, Jerusalem enjoyed a time of great peace in his day. Even foreign kings honored the Temple and donated precious gifts of tribute.
However, Onias had a wealthy brother, Jason, who was convinced that the Jews were hopelessly stuck in time and wanted to see them adopt the liberal, progressive ways of the supposedly enlightened Greeks. Coveting the role of High Priest, Jason aligned himself with Antiochus and offered to finance the king’s campaign against Egypt, Antiochus’ next target in view, provided the king would grant him that honored role. Antiochus soon replaced Onias, who was murdered, with Jason. As a result, Jason also became head of the Sanhedrin, a group of 70 rabbis with power equivalent to the United States Supreme Court today.
Jason proceeded full steam ahead to “reform” Israel with outrageous practices. He built a Greek gymnasium in the holy city of Jerusalem and hosted nude athletic games opened by ceremonies in which sacrifices were made to Greek gods. Under his leadership, many Jews even went so far as to undergo painful reverse circumcision. [Think what surgeries of reversal are being undertaken today.] Yet, in spite of mounting cultural pressure, the remnant clung to the commandments, statutes, and ordinances given by God to Moses.
It wasn’t long before the king would look for an even higher bidder for the position of High Priest. Enter Menelaus, who was not a Levite, and who believed that even Jason’s evil reforms were lacking for the prosperity of the nation. When Menelaus was named High Priest, a man outside the sons of Aaron, it sent shock waves throughout Judea. [Let me remind the reader that making priests of the common people was one of the cardinal sins of Jeroboam, first ruler of the Northern Kingdom (1 Kings 13:33). It was for the reason that the northern kingdom insisted in maintaining the “ways of Jeroboam” that God whistled for the king of Assyria to remove it from His presence (1 Kings 15:29).]
To fund Antiochus’ war chest and usurp Jason, Menelaus raided the Temple treasury, adding insult to injury. [Is the US treasury being raided today?] Initially, Menelaus’ idea of progress was not to abolish Jewish Law, but rather to liberalize it. Eventually, what the Torah called profane, he called acceptable; what the torah called good, he called evil. When Menelaus convinced Antiochus to forbid circumcision, as well as the keeping of the Feasts of the LORD, the practice of eating “clean” foods, and the designation of sacred places, the remnant tore their clothes and cried out to God with ashes on their heads.
In the month of Kislev (our November/December) in the year 167 BCE, the Sanhedrin codified Menelaus’ ideas into law and even the study of Torah became illegal. To add further insult, the Temple was dedicated to the Greek god Zeus and his image; “the abomination that makes desolate” (Dan 11:31), was installed on the altar. On the 25th day of Kislev the sacrificial offering of pigs was begun and the blood of these unclean animals was sprinkled in the Holy of Holies. It is believed this outrageous idea also originated with Menelaus.
But when cult prostitutes were introduced on the Temple Mount, it was the last straw. [Think of drag queens being introduced to our chidren!] Mattathias, a true priest, of the tribe of Levi, fled Jerusalem to his hometown of Modi’in. Mattathias had five sons, one of whom was called Maccabee, or “The Hammer.” We read of his deep grief in 1 Maccabees chapter 2.
“Why was I born to see the ruin of my people and the ruin of the holy city and the holy place taken over by foreigners? Jerusalem’s temple has become like a woman raped! Her treasures stolen! Our infants have been killed in the streets! Our young people have been killed in battle! Jerusalem’s beauty has been spoiled. Our freedom has been taken away. We have become slaves. Look around! Our beautiful holy place, which we honor, has been destroyed. We have nothing left to live for!” (1 Maccabees 2:1-14)
The king’s officials, ordered to force the Israelites to abandon their covenant with God, soon arrived in Modi’in in an attempt to persuade the people to sacrifice to false gods. Many of the Jews went along with them, but Mattathias and his sons refused. At first, the officials tried flattery and bribery. But though the officials promised wealth and honor, the remnant stood firm:
“You’re a highly respected leader in this city, and you have the support of your sons and relatives. If you will be the first to come forward and obey the king as ordered, then you and your sons will receive the title ‘Friend of the King.’ You will be honored with silver, gold, and many other gifts.” Mattathias refused and shouted vehemently, “Though all the nations in the king’s empire obey the king and abandon the religion of their ancestors, my sons and I will keep the terms of the promise God made to our ancestors. It’s unthinkable for us to desert the teaching and instruction of God. We won’t obey the king’s orders, and we won’t worship in any other way!” (1 Macc. 2:19-22)
At this, one man boldly rushed forward in front of everyone to be the first to show allegiance to the Greek gods. Enraged, the aged Mattathias rose up and slew both that man and the officer who offered the bribe. Then, smashing the altar with supernatural strength, he ran throughout the city, shouting, “Everyone who is devoted to God and willing to stand up for God’s law, follow me!” He and his sons fled to the mountains, leaving their possessions behind.
Another group of resistors had hidden themselves in caves in the desert where they found themselves discovered and surrounded by the king’s troops on a Sabbath day. After refusing to exchange obedience for their lives, they were slaughtered. This event proved only to strengthen the resolve of Mattathias and his sons who swore to fight to the death to defend their faith, even on the Sabbath. Joined by others who had also fled the persecution, a small army emerged. Reminiscent of the Levites after the golden calf incident, they attacked and killed Jews who had compromised. They tore down altars dedicated to false gods and forced circumcision upon those who had rebelled against the practice. Righteous anger ignited and fueled a guerrilla war that would see thousands of enemy troops taken down over the next three grueling years.
Before Mattathias died of natural causes in 166 BCE, he charged his sons,
“We’re living in disastrous and violent times. Offer your lives for the sake of the promise God made to our ancestors. Remember our ancestors. If you do what they did, you will be also be highly honored by God….Everyone who stays in covenant will have the strength they need to do whatever God has called them to do.” 1 Maccabees 2:51-64
After his father’s death, Judah “The Hammer,” with his brothers’ wholehearted approval, rose up to lead the remnant. And just as the God of Israel enabled David to defeat Goliath, so did He strengthen the tiny, ill equipped army of God to defeat the mammoth forces of Antiochus. Maccabees 1:3-8 reports:
“Judas brought his people widespread honor. He wore his breastplate like a hero… He was like a lion in everything he did, like a young lion when it roars at its prey….He made life bitter for many kings, but he made Jacob’s descendants happy with everything he did… He turned God’s anger away from Israel. His name became known throughout the world. He united those who were about to be destroyed.”
Against all odds, within three years the Maccabees had emptied Judea of enemy troops and restored sovereignty to the nation. Outnumbered and outclassed, the Maccabees defeated the Goliath of their day. The lesson for us, as we approach 2023 is clearly that the remnant can overthrow the oppressor. If God be for us, who can be against us? Our God is undefeated and He always leads us to triumph (2 Cor. 2:14). As it was in the days of Pharaoh, Sennacherib, Haman, and Antiochus, our victory is sure, “Not by might, not by power, but by My spirit,” says the LORD of hosts.” (Zech 4:6)
Sadly, over time, whether due to ignorance or rebellion, the victory of the Maccabees gave way to the subjugation of Rome. We will not take time to go into the details; but we can say that a parallel exists to King David when he first attempted to bring the ark of the covenant to Jerusalem. Just as the tragic result of Uzzah’s death was due to David’s lack of understanding of the privileges and responsibilities of the Levites, so it would be with the Maccabees. Except that as Levites, they should have known better. This family, who would become later known as the Hasmoneans, to their great shame, chose a king from among themselves instead of rightfully handing the monarchy back to the tribe of Judah after their supernatural victory. This grave error made way for Herod, of the Hasmonean dynasty, to be on the throne and to issue the decree for all male children two years old and younger to be put to death at the time of Yeshua’s birth.
Faith Unto Death
As remarkable as was the victory of the Maccabees, even more remarkable was the grace given to those who would be martyred for their faith. Antiochus went so far as to try to force the Jews to eat pork, an abomination according to God (Lev. 11, Deut. 14). Dispatching soldiers to arrest a devoted mother and her seven sons, he determined to make an example of them. One by one, the mother watched her sons courageously die unspeakably horrible deaths (2 Maccabees, chapter 7). When only the youngest remained, the king tried in every way to bribe him. When that failed, the king implored the mother to persuade her son. In Hebrew, she urged him to stay strong and die willingly. When the young man refused to compromise, the enraged king ordered torture even more heinous than that of his brothers. Nonetheless, entrusting his soul to God, the youth died with dignity and, afterward, his mother was put to death and joined her sons in peace. In the end, Antiochus admitted that the God of Israel fought against him.
Re-Dedication of the Temple
With joy unspeakable, the Maccabees reclaimed the Temple, cleansed it, removed the Greek idols, and rededicated it on the 25th day of the month of Kislev in 164 BCE, exactly three years to the day after its desolation. A feast of eight days ensued, actually the delayed keeping of Sukkot [Feast of Tabernacles], because the faithful had been unable to do so for three years.
Recall that the number 400 represents “seal,” and “covenant.” The stories that emerge from those four hundred “silent” years reveal that those who kept the covenant were sealed for God’s purposes—whether grace to live victoriously or grace to die with honor, it was all for the glory of God.
Yeshua at the Temple
So, why did Yeshua walk 70 or more miles to appear at the Temple at the time of the Feast of Dedication? In chapter 7 of John, we are told that previously, in the fall, at the Feast of Tabernacles, he delayed His coming because the religious leaders “sought to kill him” (John 7:1). In other words, he intentionally chose to avoid them by arriving late at Sukkot, at a time when they did not expect him. Why, then, would He risk their ire to appear at the time of Hanukkah?
So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.” Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name bear witness about me, but you do not believe because you are not among my sheep. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.” The Jews picked up stones again to stone him. (John 10:24-31)
Based on the chronology that presented in the Gospel of John, this could well have been the winter prior to Yeshua’s crucifixion. Yeshua was well aware of His crucifixion appointment, which had been heralded for thousands of years since the night that Israel was delivered from Pharaoh, when Israel and the mixed-multitude painted the blood of the lamb on their doorposts. The Maccabees’ war was long over, but Yeshua’s greatest battle was before Him. As he walked that long cold road to Jerusalem, did he see in his mind’s eye the events leading to the crucifixion? The stripping of his clothes, the beatings, the betrayal, the mocking? Did he see Himself sweating those great drops of blood, crying out in agony to His Father in Gethsemane, “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me!” (Luke 22:42)
The Son of God was flesh and blood as we are. He suffered the same pain of a smashed thumb that we do. Did He wrestle with His own will as the time of His suffering drew near? Did He come to rededicate Himself at the Temple Mount at the very place where Isaac had carried the wood—and allowed himself to be bound and placed on the altar? Did he go to strengthen Himself by tracing Abraham’s steps to Mount Moriah with Isaac, the fire, and the wood? It’s something to think about.
But, notice, Yeshua plainly tells the religious leaders, “you are not among my sheep. My sheep hear my voice… and they follow me.”
Yeshua had said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul? For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done.” (Mat. 16:24-27)
The Takeaway for 2022 and beyond
This year, Hanukkah begins at sundown on the 18th of December and ends at sundown on December 26th. Hanukkah is an eight-day opportunity for us to revisit the miracles of God’s deliverance, not just at the time of the Maccabees, but throughout Israel’s history. It is a time to compare the world in the day when God allowed His holy place to be desecrated, with where we stand in history, particularly in the United States of America, which no one can deny is being desecrated. Let’s ask: Who is currently playing the role of the evil Antiochus, Jason, and Menelaus? Who is playing the role of Onias, the devout and revered High Priest? Who is playing the role of Mattathias, the aged but strong, bold, and courageous father of the Levites? And, who is taking center stage as Judah Maccabee, “the Hammer”?
Hanukkah is a time to celebrate our Champion, Savior, and Deliverer, and to take comfort that He who fought for the children of Israel in the day of Moses, Joshua, Gideon, David, Jehoshaphat, and Hezekiah, and the Maccabees is fighting for us today. May our prayer these eight days be that the light of the truth that burned so fiercely in their hearts would burn also in the United States of America in our day. And when the King appears, may we have no reason to be ashamed. Amen. To the glory of God and Yeshua ha Moshiach, our Savior and King!
By Julia Johnson – Bney Yosef North America [reprinted with permission]
Recently, while pondering the upcoming 40 Days of Repentance, I was reminded of II Chronicles 7:14, “If My people, who are called by My Name, shall humble themselves, pray, and seek My face, and turn from their evil ways, then I shall hear from the heavens and forgive their sins and heal their land.”
As I walk out this new journey of discovery, I know now more than ever that I have been called by Yahweh to be among His set apart people, His congregation of priests. As I have come into this truth, I must admit that a spirit of pride overtook me. “I” have been chosen, “I” have been set apart. Yahweh, has chosen to open “my” eyes to His truth in these last days. As I look back on those days of early discovery and how I must have come across to family and friends as I tried to explain this new walk, I know that I appeared arrogant. Oh, God, forgive me!
It would appear that the first step in repentance is to humble ourselves. What does that mean for me today? The dictionary defines humble as “being in submission, subdued, prostrate, bowed down, reduced in importance.” So, how does my life reflect humbleness? For me, the phrase “not my will, but Yours be done” comes to mind. This is no longer MY life. Well, yes, it is, but I no longer live my life for my desires, my wishes, my dreams. Now, I live my life for the Kingdom. It is my desire and hope that this is reflected in the choices I make … choices that others see.
The next step is to pray. Can one pray without being humble? I am reminded of the Pharisee who stood on the street corner, head held high, praying in a loud voice so all could hear and see and the woman who went into her closet where no one could see or hear to cry out to Yahweh. I am also reminded that prayer is a conversation. And a conversation is two-way. Do I approach the King of Kings in humbleness, giving thanks for all He has done for me or do I only come with my list of “requests”? Do I take the time to sit before Him in quietness and wait for Him to speak to me? Do I seek His face and not the works of His hands? As He reveals the evilness in my heart, do I quickly ask for forgiveness and turn from those things or do I defend my rights, my freedom to “follow my heart”? Oh, Abba, forgive me when I have done that, for I can see now that my heart is deceitful and wicked. Oh that He would give me a new heart, His heart. That, I believe is now a “work in progress” for me.
Yahweh has promised that IF we will do these things, He will hear, forgive our sin and heal our land. As His chosen people, we are called to “stand in the gap” for the world that surrounds us. Will you join me during this time to cry out to our gracious Father in humility? To spend time at His feet listening for His voice? To cry out in deep sorrow for the way each of us has “followed our own heart” doing what is good in our own eyes? To cry out for the people around us that walk in such flagrant sin? To acknowledge that only Yahweh can heal us and our land.
40 Days of Repentance. The courts are in session. Will you accept the challenge?
From Bney Yosef North America (I copied and pasted from email, as their website was down for maintenance.)
40 Days of Repentance —The Season of Teshuvah
This season of repentance begins on the first day of the Hebrew month of Elul, the sixth month of the Hebrew calendar. This is a time to blow the shofar (ram’s horn) and seek YHVH in sincere repentance. “Thus says the LORD of hosts: Consider your ways.” (Haggai 1:7)
Tradition says the name Elul spelled in Hebrew Alef-Lamed-Vav-Lamed is an acronym for “Ani L’dodi V’dodi Li” – “I am my Beloved’s and my Beloved is mine” from Shir HaShirim (Song of Songs) 6:3. The word Elul can be traced back to the Akkadian word for harvest. A root of this word Elul could be “search” in Aramaic. Thus we have this month of searching our souls.
In Vayikra (Leviticus) 16:29 we find the 10th of Tishri (the seventh month on the Hebrew calendar) is the Day of Atonement. This is 40 days from the first of Elul. There is an ancient tradition that the King would take off His Royal garments and come out to the people in the field to meet with them during this month of Elul. Then, with the month ending, He would return to His courts as the 10 Days of Awe lead us to the Day day of Atonement. During Elul, there are 30 days of the King coming to your home, your place of work, your business, and where you hang out. This can be a time when we recognize that we have fallen short in our love for our brothers and , or lack in Good deeds. As we examine ourselves, we may find we are living two lives: one spiritual, and one carnal.
“For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you,” (Matthew 6:14)
“And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.” (Mark 11:25)
“Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven.” (Luke 6:37)
The pattern of repentance, or “teshuvah” in Hebrew, as we lead up to the Day of Atonement is more than simply a tradition of “New Year Resolutions.” Repenting is the act of stopping, turning around, and moving in the other direction toward Elohim our King. This Season of Teshuva in the month of Tishri is the new year in Hebrew thought. Leviticus 25 explains it as the time of release that happens each year on the Day of Atonement. Every seventh year begins the Shmitah, or Sabbatical Year, which is a sabbath rest for the land. Every fiftieth year is the Yovel, or Jubilee, the release of all debt and the return to ancestral inheritance are in this month. But resolutions do not bring the heart change that we need. King David gives us a look at this in the pattern revealed in Tehillim (Psalms) 51.
1) We need His Mercy
2) Identify our sin
3) Recognize who we sinned against
4) Know who we are
5) Ask for cleansing
6) Rejoice in His work
7) Ask for renewal
8) Let Joy and a willing spirit return to you.
“And when all these things come upon you, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before you, and you call them to mind among all the nations where the LORD your God has driven you, and return to the LORD your God, you and your children, and obey his voice in all that I command you today, with all your heart and with all your soul, then the LORD your God will restore your fortunes and have mercy on you, and he will gather you again from all the peoples where the LORD your God has scattered you.” (Deuteronomy 30:1-3)
This season is the time for us to take stock and actively seek forgiveness.
Deuteronomy 11:26-16:17, Isaiah 49:14-51:3, Luke 13:34-35
In last week’s torah portion, Moses reminded the generation who was about to cross the Jordan that YHWH chose Israel, not because of their size or devotion; but because He loved their fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. This week, not less than fourteen times, Moses stresses that YHWH will choose a PLACE where the tribes will converge to worship Him, a choice that would not become evident for a few hundred years, until the reign of King David. Yet, as we will see, a clue to its location is provided in the book of Genesis.
Deut. 12:5-7, 10-14, 26-27 (MKJV) But you shall seek to the place which Jehovah your God shall choose out of all your tribes to put His name there, even to His dwelling place you shall seek, and there you shall come. 6) And there you shall bring your burnt offerings, and your sacrifices, and your tithes, and heave offering of your hand, and your vows, and your free-will offerings, and the first-born of your herds and of your flocks. 7) And there you shall eat before Jehovah your God, and you shall rejoice in all that you put your hand to, you and your households in which Jehovah your God has blessed you. 10) But when you go over Jordan and live in the land which Jehovah your God gives you to inherit, and He gives you rest from all your enemies all around, so that you live in safety… 11) then there shall be a place which Jehovah your God shall choose to cause His name to dwell there. There you shall bring all that I command you, your burnt offerings, and your sacrifices, your tithes, and the heave offering of your hand, and all your choice vows which you vow to Jehovah. 12) And you shall rejoice before Jehovah your God; you, your sons, your daughters, your menservants, your female servants, and the Levite that is within your gates (because he has no part nor inheritance with you). 13) Take heed to yourself that you do not offer your burnt offerings in every place that you see. 14) But in the place which Jehovah shall choose in one of your tribes, there you shall offer your burnt offerings, andthere you shall do all that I command you. … 26) Only your holy things which you have, and your vows, you shall take andgo to the place which Jehovah shall choose. 27) And you shall offer your burnt offerings, the flesh and the blood, on the altar of Jehovah your God. And the blood of your sacrifices shall be poured out on the altar of Jehovah your God, and you shall eat the flesh.
Deu 14:22 You shall truly tithe all the increase of your seed that the field brings forth year by year. 23) And you shall eat before Jehovah your God in the place which He shall choose to place His name there, the tithe of your grain, of your wine, and of your oil, and the first-born of your herds and of your flocks, so that you may learn to fear Jehovah your God always. 24) And if the way is too long for you, so that you are not able to carry it, or if the place is too far from you, which Jehovah your God shall choose to set His name there, when Jehovah your God has blessed you, 25) then you shall turn it into silver and bind up the silver in your hand, and shall go to the place which Jehovah your God shall choose. 26) And you shall pay that silver for whatever your soul desires, for oxen, or for sheep, or for wine, or for strong drink, or for whatever your soul desires. And you shall eat there before Jehovah your God, and you shall rejoice, you and your household.
Deu 15:20 You shall eat before Jehovah your God year by year in the place which Jehovah shall choose, you and your household.
Deu 16:2 And you shall therefore sacrifice the Passover to Jehovah your God, of the flock and the herd, in the place which Jehovah shall choose to place His name there… 6) but at the place which Jehovah your God shall choose to place His name in, there you shall sacrifice the Passover at evening, at the going of the sun, at the time that you came out of Egypt. 7) And you shall roast and eat in the place which Jehovah your God shall choose. And in the morning you shall turn and go to your tents…15) Seven days you shall keep a solemn feast to Jehovah your God in the place which Jehovah shall choose. Because Jehovah your God shall bless you in all your increase, and in all the works of your hands, therefore you shall surely rejoice… 16) Three times in a year shall all your males appear before Jehovah your God in the place which He shall choose: in the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and in the Feast of Weeks, and in the Feast of Tabernacles. And they shall not appear before Jehovah empty, 17) but each with his gift in his hand, according to the blessing of Jehovah your God, which He has given you.
“Ha maqom,” Hebrew for “the place,” is hinted at in the story of the sacrifice of Isaac. Note also the presence of the word “re’eh” in this account.
Gen 22:1-4 (MKVJ) And it happened after these things that God tested Abraham, and said to him, Abraham! And he said, Behold [re’eh] me. And He said, Take now your son, your only one, Isaac, whom you love. And go into the land of Moriah, and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will name to you. And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son. And he split the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up and went to the place of which God had told him. Then on the third day, Abraham lifted up his eyes and saw the place afar off.
“Ha maqom,” is the real estate David purchased from Araunah the Jebusite after he sinned by numbering Israel (1 Chronicles chapter 21). Because David had shed much blood as a man of war, YHWH gently refused David’s request to build the Temple (1 Chron. 28:3) and, instead instructed David to prepare for Solomon, meaning “peaceful” to be the builder.
(1 Kings 6:1) And it happened in the four hundred and eightieth year after the sons of Israel had come out of the land of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon’s reign over Israel… he began to build the house of Jehovah.
(2 Chron. 3:1) Then Solomon began to build the house of the LORD at Jerusalem in mount Moriah, where the LORD appeared unto David his father, in the place that David had prepared in the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite.
(1Kings 6:38) … So he (Solomon) was seven years in building it.
At the inauguration of the Temple built upon the threshing floor, YHWH said,
(1 Kings 9:3) And Jehovah said to (Solomon), I have heard your prayer and your cry which you have made before Me. I have made this house which you have built holy, to put My name there forever. And My eyes and My heart shall be there perpetually.
(1Kings 11:32) … and for Jerusalem’s sake, the citywhich I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel.
( 2 Chron. 6:6) “… I have chosen Jerusalem, so that My name might be there.”
(2 Chron. 7:12) “I …have chosen this place to Myself for a house of sacrifice.”
Facts about Jerusalem:
Jerusalem is mentioned more than 800 times in the King James Bible, with 670 occurrences in the Tanach (Old Testament) and 144 in the New Testament. (Interestingly, the name is not found in the Quran.)
According to Wikipedia, Jerusalem has been attacked 52 times, captured and recaptured 44 times, besieged 23 times, and destroyed twice. The oldest part of the city was settled in the 4th millennium BCE, making Jerusalem one of the oldest cities in the world.
The bible refers to Jerusalem variously as the “holy city,” “the city of David,” “the city of God,” “the city of Judah,” “the city of truth,” “the city of the great king,” and “the city of our holy meetings.”
Previous to David’s capture, the city was known as Jebus (Judges 19:10).
Jerusalem was the capitol of the united kingdom under David and Solomon.
The Temple was built in Jerusalem by Solomon in the mid 10th century BCE.
Solomon petitions God several times to answer those who pray in or toward the Temple in Jerusalem (2 Chron. chapter 6).
After Solomon’s death, the kingdom was divided. Jerusalem remained the capitol of Judah, the southern kingdom.
King Manasseh desecrated the Temple by setting up an idol in it (2 Chron. 33:7)
The city was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar in 586 BCE. The inhabitants and the temple furnishings were carried into Babylon.
In 536 BCE King Cyrus issued a decree that the captives should return (Ezra 1:1-4) According to the books of Ezra and Nehemiah, some 42,000 did so. Nehemiah inspired and oversaw the rebuilding of Jerusalem’s wall. Zerubbabel eventually rebuilt the temple (Haggai 1:1-15 & 2:1-23).
The prophet Isaiah issues numerous promises and warnings to Jerusalem, 47 verses in all. Jeremiah, the weeping prophet penned 98 verses, many focused on the coming destruction and eventual restoration; Ezekiel contains 26 references with the same focus.
The writer of Lamentations likens Jerusalem to a forsaken widow. “How alone sits the city that was full of people! She has become like a widow, once great among the nations, a noblewoman among the nations, but now has become a tribute-payer. 2) She bitterly weeps in the night, and her tears are on her cheeks; among all her lovers, she has none to comfort her. All her friends have dealt deceitfully with her; they became her enemies. (Lam. 1:1-2)
Following the star, the wise men came to Jerusalem to seek He who was born king of the Jews. (Mat. 2:1)
Yeshua/Jesus was tempted by satan in Jerusalem. “And he brought Him to Jerusalem and sat Him on a pinnacle of the temple and said to Him, If you are the Son of God, cast yourself down from here.” (Luke 4:9)
Great multitudes of people from Jerusalem followed Yeshua/Jesus (Mat. 4:25).
Yeshua/Jesus, the disciples, apostles, including Paul, are seen throughout the New Testament going up to Jerusalem for the feasts of Passover/Pesach, Pentecost/Shavuot, and Tabernacles/Sukkot.
Yeshua/Jesus went to Jerusalem for the Feast of Dedication [Hebrew: Hanakah] (John 10:22)
Weeping over the city, Yeshua/Jesus said, “Jerusalem! Jerusalem! the one killing the prophets, and stoning those having been sent to her; how often I desired to gather your children in the way a hen gathers her brood under the wings, and you did not desire it. Behold, your house is left to you desolate. And truly I say to you, You will not see Me until it come when you say, Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord. (Luke 13:34-35)
Yeshua/Jesus was crucified in Jerusalem, on Mount Moriah, “the place” where Abraham took Isaac.
Yeshua/Jesus told the disciples to tarry in Jerusalem for the promise of the Father” (Luke 24:49). The Holy Spirit was poured out on the Feast of Pentecost/Shavuot in Acts chapter 2, initiating a group who became known as followers of the Way (Acts 9:2) and the Sect of the Nazarenes (Acts 24:5), both persecuted by the Jewish religious leaders.
Note: Someone might want to inform UNESCO of these events. In October 2016 it issued a statement, still not retracted, that Israel has no connection with Jerusalem. I agree with one journalist who retorted, “UNESCO has no connection with TRUTH!”
Deuteronomy 7:12-11:25, Isaiah 49:14 to 51:3, Luke chapter 15
We have previously pointed out that Yeshua quotes the book of Devarim [Hebrew: Words], or Deuteronomy more than any other book of the Torah. In Rabbi Jonathan Sack’s short commentary from a few years ago, “The Morality of Love,” the reason becomes evident.
The book of Deuteronomy is saturated with the language of love. The root a-h-v appears in Shemot [Exodus]twice, in Vayikra [Leviticus] twice (Lev. 19), in Badmibar [Numbers] not at all, but [23 times in the book of Deuteronomy]. Devarim is a book about societal beatitude and the transformative power of love.- Rabbi Jonathan Sacks
Among Yeshua final words to His disciples is the powerful exhortation: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. (John 13:34)
But I say unto you, love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despise you, and persecute you. Mat 5:44/Luke 6:27
Honor thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shall love thy neighbor as thyself. (Mat. 19:9)
And thou shall love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. (Mat 22:36, Mark 12:30, Luke 10:27)
Rabbi Sacks points to a profound statement contained in philosopher Simon May’s splendid book, Love: A History:
“The widespread belief that the Hebrew Bible is all about vengeance and ‘an eye for an eye,’ while the Gospels supposedly invent love as an unconditional and universal value, must therefore count as one of the most extraordinary misunderstandings in all of Western history. For the Hebrew Bible is the source not just of the two love commandments but of a larger moral vision inspired by wonder for love’s power.” -Simon May – philosopher
I hope you will take time to read all of Rabbi Sack’s short commentary. Let us consider and repent of this gross misunderstanding and the resulting long and painful separation from our Jewish brethren, which ultimately gave birth to the Holocaust. May Abba help us to reach out in love as never before.
If we put it in context of this week’s parsha, Yeshua was saying, “Eikev [because or consequently] you love one another, all men shall know that you are my disciples. (see John 13:35)