• Eddie Rogers, Minister

True News 4 U — Truth-Religion — 01/23/2021


We will now pick up where we left off last week on our study of The Fourth Commandment. This is part 4 of 6.


YAHWEH’S HOLY SABBATH


Does Almighty Yahweh Require Sabbath Observance?


We need to stop and ask ourselves these questions:


  1. Does Yahweh require Christians to keep the Sabbath?

  2. Or has the Sabbath been abolished under the terms of the New Covenant?

  3. Does it really matter which day one chooses to keep holy?

  4. Can you play golf, go to the movies, go grocery shopping, mall shopping on the Sabbath or go to the office for just a few hours without violating the Sabbath Law which is Yahweh’s Teachings and Instructions?

  5. Are people who keep the Sabbath considered legalists?

  6. How important is the Sabbath to Yahweh?


So, Who’s Opinion Matters?


Muslims observe Friday, religious Jews observe Saturday and most professing Christians observe Sunday. Some people keep whatever day THEY choose as their Sabbath. Is it acceptable in Yahweh’s eyes for people to take to one’s self the authority to make a day, any day, holy? Truth more often flies out the window when it is overcome by mans’ reasoning. Yahweh’s Truth IS Absolute Truth and His Truth about the Sabbath may surprise you! His Truth is, Yeshua/Jesus and the entire First Century Assembly kept the seventh-day Sabbath…they did not keep Sunday…they kept the Saturday Sabbath! Nowhere in all the New Testament will we find one single verse where anyone kept Sunday as the Sabbath. In fact, Yeshua/Jesus and His true Apostles never taught anyone to observe Sunday as the Sabbath of Almighty Yahweh!


The fact that early New Testament Believers in Yeshua/Jesus were seventh day Sabbath keepers is a biblical and historical fact. This “fact” is not even disputed by the Roman Catholic Church which is the largest Church in the World. Still, people tirelessly argue about the Sabbath observance. Is the New Testament Sabbath Saturday or Sunday? Can you work on the Sabbath? Can you play at sports and watch TV on the Sabbath? Can you go shopping on the Sabbath? Can you go to the movies on the Sabbath? Can you keep any day you choose “holy” so long as you observe one day in seven as a Sabbath?


The “only” source that can be considered authoritative enough to settle these questions is Yahweh’s Absolute Written Word — the Set-Apart/HOLY Bible. We will take an honest look at the Word of Yahweh to see what His thinking is on the subject of Sabbath observance. Yahweh’s Word will tell us what He thinks about it and we will keep our human reasoning in check as we seek to understand this vital subject. So now, let’s take an unbiased look at what the Bible says concerning the question of Sabbath observance.


Yeshua/Jesus Kept the Sabbath


If you believe Yeshua/Jesus is your Savior, then all that really matters to you is what He believes and says about Sabbath observance. After all are, we not supposed to be walking/doing those things He did when He was here? Mans’ “opinion” on this matter carries “no weight” whatsoever. What will be foremost in your mind is the example Yeshua/Jesus set for us and not the example of others; unless, of course, their example follows after Yeshua/Jesus.


So now we must as ourselves this question, “What day did Yeshua keep as the Sabbath and did He ever teach that the Sabbath was done away?” After all, He IS our example. Our action, what we do, reveals what we actually believe. This was true of Yeshua. We can see from His actions what day He sanctified for Sabbath observance when we look at Luke Chapter 4:


So He [Yeshua/Jesus] came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up; and as was His custom, He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath [day], and stood up to read.

(Luke 4:16, Amplified Bible (AMP), emphasis and comments added)


The Bible clearly shows us that Yeshua’s custom was to observe the Sabbath, attending services in the synagogue. He did this on the seventh day of the week…on Saturday…while in a synagogue, rising up to read a passage from the book of Isaiah (Isaiah 61:1-2a – Yeshua stopped reading in the middle of Isaiah 61:2 since His first coming He preached only the “acceptable year of the LORD” [vs. 19]. The “day of vengeance of our God” [Isaiah 61:2b] was and is reserved for His second coming. Long-suffering and the stake/cross are associated with His first coming; judgment and a crown are associated with His second coming.). It was a message about setting people at liberty from bondage and the consequences of sin. If Yeshua’s desire had been to do away with the Sabbath, this would have been an opportune time to do so. Now let’s see if He told the people they no longer needed to keep the Sabbath:


18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me (the Messiah), Because He [Yahweh, His Father] has anointed Me [Yeshua] to preach the good news to the poor. He has sent Me to announce release (pardon, forgiveness) to the captives, And recovery of sight to the blind, To set free those who are oppressed (downtrodden, bruised, crushed by tragedy),


19 to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord [the day when salvation and the favor of God abound greatly].

(Luke 4:18-19, Amplified Bible (AMP), emphasis and comments added)


After reading this passage, Yeshua returned the scroll to the rabbi and He sat down. He did not mention anything about changing the Sabbath or annulling the Sabbath command.


If Yeshua had determined to do away with the Fourth Commandment (Keeping the Sabbath) there would have been an identifying sign given by the Jewish people. There would have been something written in the Scriptures somewhere. The plain truth is that you can search all the gospel accounts and you will NEVER find where Yeshua said: “You do not have to keep the Sabbath anymore;” or “The Sabbath commandment will be nailed to the cross when I die;” or “After My death you may change the Sabbath from the seventh day of the week to the first day of the week or to any day YOU choose.” It never happened.


Is Yeshua Our Sabbath Rest?


Many self-proclaiming Christians believe Yeshua is somehow a replacement for the Sabbath, that He is our “Sabbath rest.” But nowhere can it be found in Scripture that says Yeshua replaced the Sabbath with anything…especially Himself. This doctrine/teaching that Yeshua is our Sabbath Rest is a man-made teaching and it does not come from His Absolute Written Word. This teaching falls under the category as “false teachings – traditions of men.”


For sure Yeshua had MANY opportunities to teach that the seventh-day Sabbath had been done away. Instead, He emphatically stated that He was “Lord of the Sabbath” (Luke 6:5). His statement confirms that the Sabbath was and still is in force. A good question to ask is “How could He be the Lord of the Sabbath, if He was doing away with the Sabbath?” This is all the more reason why we should be diligent to study His Word and follow His Teachings and Instructions rather than man-made teachings.


Did Yeshua Change His Father’s Law?


Many see Yahweh the Father as a harsh, unforgiving, nit-picking God. Yet His Son, Yeshua, is seen as being gentle, forgiving and tolerant. The Bible tells us that Yeshua and the Father are the same in character and behavior. One is not harsh and the other gentle. Both the Father and the Son are perfectly balanced in their character. They manifest high standards like forgiveness, love and firmness. They are consistent in character and purpose.


In the book of Malachi Yahweh says, “For I am the Lord, I do not change” (Malachi 3:6). Would Yahweh proclaim His Commandments in Exodus Chapter 20 only to do away with them later? Is Yahweh fickle like a human? Absolutely not! With Yahweh there is no double-mindedness, no “shadow of turning” (James 1:17). Yahweh is our perfect example of consistency: His character does not change. The Ten Commandments, including the Sabbath, are immutable! Yeshua said to Philip:


9 Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you for so long a time, and you do not know Me yet, Philip, nor recognize clearly who I am? Anyone who has seen Me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father?’ 10Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words I say to you I do not say on My own initiative or authority, but the Father, abiding continually in Me, does His works [His attesting miracles and acts of power].”

(John 14:9-10, Amplified Bible (AMP), emphasis and comment added)


Yeshua and the Father are one (Hebrew: echad) in character and purpose. Yeshua did not come to do away with His Father’s Commandments! He came to MAGNIFY the Law (Yahweh’s Teachings and Instructions) of His Father. He taught the True intent of the Law. He taught that we should keep the Law physically and SPIRITUALLY. This teaching applied to the Sabbath Day. Yeshua said, …as My Father taught Me, I speak these things” (John 8:28). He did not teach a different set of laws that opposed the teachings of His Father. When a rich young ruler came to Yeshua, he asked:


16 And someone came to Him [Yeshua] and said, “Teacher, what [essentially] good thing shall I do to obtain eternal life [that is, eternal salvation in the Messiah’s kingdom]?17Jesus answered, “Why are you asking Me about what is [essentially] good? There is only One who is [essentially] good; but if you wish to enter into eternal life, keep the commandments.”

(Matthew 19:16-17, Amplified Bible (AMP), emphasis and comments added)


Yeshua “plainly” stated that those who will be given eternal life must strive to keep the commandments of His Father, all of them. It doesn’t mean that we keep them perfectly but rather that we are striving to keep them to the best of our understanding as we seek Him for His Guidance in all things. Also, we need to keep in mind here that the New Testament was not written when He was here. So, what Bible was He using? None other than the Old Testament. If it had been done away with, then He would have not quoted it.


Who is our Savior – Yeshua or the Law?


None of the Laws of Yahweh can save you. Only Yeshua fulfills the role of Savior. Does that mean we are now free to break the Law/Torah, including the Sabbath Law? Yahweh forbid! Yeshua said, “one jot or one tittle will BY NO MEANS pass from the law (Matthew 5:18). It is true that we are under grace if we have repented of our sins and accepted Yeshua/Jesus as our personal Savior but grace does not give us permission/license to break Yahweh’s Law’s/Torah. Paul asserts that faith does not abolish the Law/Torah:


Do we then nullify the Law by this faith [making the Law of no effect, overthrowing it]? Certainly not! On the contrary, we confirm and establish and uphold the Law [since it convicts us all of sin, pointing to the need for salvation].

(Romans 3:31, Amplified Bible (AMP), emphasis and comments added)


Some 50 years after Yeshua ascended into heaven, the Apostle John upheld the Law/Torah of Yahweh as a standard of right conduct. He said,


For the [true] love of God is this: that we habitually keep His commandments and remain focused on His precepts. And His commandments and His precepts are not difficult [to obey].”

(1 John 5:3, Amplified Bible (AMP), emphasis and comments added)


So, why would Yahweh, Who IS perfect, give us a Law/Instruction that men have generally come to believe is burdensome? It is also said by some Christians that those who keep the “Law” are in bondage. What they fail to understand is when Yeshua comes back, He will require people to keep/obey His Teachings and Instructions also known as the “Torah” or suffer the consequences while He is on earth Ruling and Reigning from Jerusalem during the Millennium. So, for those who have this mindset of keeping the “Law” is bondage, they will be in bondage for 1,000 years while Yeshua is here on earth. It is better to be divided by Truth than united with error. To keep/obey Yahweh’s Laws is not a burden but freedom from bondage.


Is the Sabbath a Yoke of Bondage?


Yahweh loves mankind – His Creation! He gave us the seventh-day Sabbath for a much-needed day of rest from our labors. To rest is not a burden; rest is pleasurable and restorative. This has been scientifically proven. There is another and even more important purpose of the Sabbath; it gives true believers in Yeshua/Jesus, the opportunity to worship Yahweh as a family/assembly. The Sabbath is intended to be a delight. In Isaiah Chapter 58, we are told:


If you turn back your foot from [unnecessary {The ancient rabbis established strict limits for travel on the Sabbath, excepting unintentional violations and religious errands. This verse became a rabbinic proof text to rule on whether a person who had put one foot beyond the Sabbath limit for his city could reenter the city. But the Hebrew text may not refer to travel at all; turn back your foot from the Sabbath can be interpreted as an idiom referring to keeping oneself from violating the Sabbath in other ways.} travel on] the Sabbath, From doing your own pleasure on My holy day, And call the Sabbath a [spiritual] delight, and the holy day of the Lord [Strong’s Concordance #H3068 YHWH in the Hebrew text] honorable, And honor it, not going your own way Or engaging [Literally, finding.] in your own pleasure Or speaking your own [idle] words,

(Isaiah 58:13, Amplified Bible (AMP), emphasis and comments added)


Many students of the Bible do not realize that it was Sabbath breaking, along with committing idolatry, which caused Yahweh to punish Israel and Judah with war, pestilence, famine and captivity. Yahweh took Sabbath breaking very seriously; so should all of us! The lessons of ancient Israel are not just antiquated stories that have no meaning for us today. What happened to them was written down as a warning for New Testament Christians. Paul makes this very clear in 1 Corinthians:


Now these things happened to them as an example and warning [to us]; they were written for our instruction [to admonish and equip us], upon whom the ends of the ages have come.

(1 Corinthians 10:11, Amplified Bible (AMP), emphasis and comments added)


We are wise to “heed” the lessons of why ancient Israel and Judah were punished by Yahweh.


The Scribes and Pharisees Distort Sabbath Observance


In Yeshua’s day the scribes and Pharisees made the Sabbath a burden by imposing their MAN-MADE rules on the people. They rebuked Him and His disciples for walking through a field of grain, plucking grain to eat on the Sabbath. Yeshua pointed out to His accusers that David and his men, when fleeing from Saul, ate bread that was only given to the priests to eat. Yeshua said David and his men were blameless in their actions (Matthew 12:1-8). Why were they blameless? It was because, in such unusual situations, Yahweh’s mercy trumps the ceremonial Law. That is why Yeshua said:


7 And if you had only known what this statement means, ‘I desire compassion [for those in distress], and [I.e., more than.] not[animal] sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the innocent.

Lord of the Sabbath


8 For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.

(Matthew 12:7-8, Amplified Bible (AMP), emphasis and comments added)


The legalistic approach to keeping the Sabbath that was promulgated by the Pharisees made the Sabbath oppressive, something Yahweh never intended then nor today.


Yeshua rebuked them for teaching the doctrines/dogmas and commandments of men, and for their distorting the True intention of the Law/Torah:


They worship Me in vain [their worship is meaningless and worthless, a pretense], Teaching the precepts of men as doctrines [giving their traditions equal weight with the Scriptures].

(Mark 7:7, Amplified Bible (AMP), emphasis and comments added)


The traditions of the elders had clashed with the very Laws given to them by their Creator, their Mighty One/God. Yeshua confronted the Pharisees regarding their perverting of the Sabbath Law; then, He restored the True meaning of the Sabbath. He made it clear how the Sabbath was to be kept: He did NOT do away with the Sabbath.


Yahweh’s Sabbath remains permanent; just as the heavens and the earth remain permanent. Yeshua said,


17 Do not think that I came to do away with or undo the Law [of Moses which is the Torah] or the [writings of the] Prophets; I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. 18 For I assure you and most solemnly say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke [of the pen] will pass from the Law until all things [which it foreshadows] are accomplished. 19So whoever breaks one of the least [important] of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, will be called least [important] in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever practices (keeps/obeys) and teaches them, he will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

(Matthew 5:17-19, Amplified Bible (AMP), emphasis and comments added)


There is a definite reward for those who continue to obey/keep and teach the observance of the seventh-day Sabbath!


Who Changed the Sabbath to Sunday?


If Yeshua never changed the Sabbath, who did? Did Yahweh give someone the authority to change the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday? Many would say the Sabbath is still in effect but that it was changed from the seventh day of the week to the first day of the week -- Sunday. The vast majority of Christian churches teach the observance of a Sunday Sabbath. How did this happen? History plainly reveals to us that it happened many years after the death of the Apostles when a newly emerging, politically motivated, apostate religious system attacked the seventh-day Sabbath, changing the Sabbath to Sunday. We know from all the New Testament Scriptures that Yeshua kept the seventh-day Sabbath; the Apostles kept the seventh-day Sabbath and the New Testament Assembly kept the seventh-day Sabbath. It was not until the third century after the death of Yeshua that Emperor Constantine convened the Council of Nicaea in order to work toward abolishing the Saturday Sabbath. The Catholic AND her Protestant-daughter churches recognize that the New Testament Church kept the seventh-day Sabbath.


Notice what mainstream churches teach concerning changing the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday.


Why Do Protestants Keep the Sabbath [Sunday]?


So why do Protestants keep the Sabbath [Sunday]? They do so because their mother church -- the Roman Catholic Church -- changed the Sabbath Saturday to Sunday. The change from the seventh-day Sabbath to the Sunday Sabbath occurred long after the writing of the New Testament. There is no clear reference to Sunday observance occurring in writing until 135 C.E.!


The New Testament Church Kept the Sabbath


If Yeshua/Jesus wanted the Sabbath to be changed from Saturday to Sunday, then He surely would have provided evidence of such a change in the New Testament Scriptures. Abolishing or changing one of Yahweh’s Commandments is a very serious matter! Such a change would clearly appear in a multitude of passages in the New Testament and such radical changes in Yahweh’s Word would be made crystal clear. If the Apostles had abolished the Sabbath Law, they would have supported their decision with an abundance of Scriptures that demonstrated their authority to make such changes. But there are no such Scriptures that speak of altering Yahweh’s Law. Instead, the Bible affirms the Sabbath doctrine and it teaches people how to keep the spirit of the Law as well as the letter of the Law.


Paul’s Custom


Some will argue that the Apostle Paul taught that the Sabbath had been done away. But once again, there is no Scriptural proof Paul released the Church from keeping Yahweh’s Holy Sabbath. Yahweh has never given any man, woman or religious organization the authority to make changes to His Absolute Written Word. To the contrary, Scripture tells us plainly that the Apostle Paul was a Sabbath keeper:


And Paul entered the synagogue, as was his custom [Paul had earlier announced that he was turning to the Gentiles (13:46), but he nevertheless kept to his practice of speaking to Jews first while focusing primarily on Gentiles.], and for three Sabbaths he engaged in discussion and friendly debate with them from the Scriptures,

(Acts 17:2, Amplified Bible (AMP), emphasis and comment added)


Now they went on from Perga and arrived at Antioch in Pisidia, and on the Sabbath day they went into the synagogue and sat down.

(Acts 13:14, Amplified Bible (AMP), emphasis added)


and on the Sabbath day we went outside the city gate to the bank of the [Gangites] river, where we thought there would be a place [Apparently there were not enough Jews living in Philippi to establish a synagogue.] of prayer, and we sat down and began speaking to the women who had come there.

(Acts 16:13, Amplified Bible (AMP), emphasis and comments added)


And he [Paul] went into the synagogue and for three months spoke boldly, reasoning and arguing and persuading them about the kingdom of God.

(Acts 19:8, Amplified Bible (AMP), emphasis and comments added)


The meeting places most often mentioned in the book of Acts for Christian gatherings are the Temple (Acts 2:46), the synagogue (Acts 9:20), and private homes (Acts 5:42). Yahweh’s church frequently met in these places on the Sabbath day. But still, many today will ask: “But didn’t the Resurrection of Yeshua/Jesus validate Sunday observance?


Was the Resurrection on Sunday?


It is commonly “assumed” that Yeshua/Jesus died on Friday and that He was resurrected on Sunday morning. The reasoning used today follows that we should now keep the Sabbath on Sunday in honor of His resurrection. It may be shocking for many Christians to learn that this conclusion is not supported in the New Testament record! In fact, none of the Apostles, including the Apostle Paul, taught that the celebration of the Sabbath was to take place on the first day of the week because of a Sunday resurrection. This reasoning, however sincere it may be, is unscriptural.


To better understand this, it is important to realize that Yeshua said the only sign (supernatural proof if you will) He would give to confirm that He was the Messiah was that He would be three days and three nights in the grave. Yeshua said,


39 But He [Yeshua] replied and said to them, “An evil and adulterous generation [that is morally unfaithful to God] craves and demands a [miraculous] sign; but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah; 40 for just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the sea monster, so will the Son of Man be THREE DAYS AND THREE NIGHTS in the heart of the earth.

(Matthew 12:39-40, Amplified Bible (AMP), emphasis and comments added)


Can we know for certain, or must we speculate/assume how many hours make up a day and how many hours make up a night? Does the Bible leave this definition open to debate? Yeshua said He would be in the heart of the earth for a specific period of time. Did He fulfill that time period? Jonah 1:17 plainly states: “And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.” The Old Testament was written in Hebrew. Scholars acknowledge the phrase three days and three nightstranslated from the Hebrew language means a period of seventy-two hours. The Hebrew language does not allow you to waffle, declaring three days and three nights to be a shorter period of time. A day had twelve hours, and a night had twelve hours. For Yeshua to be in the tomb three days and three nights, He had, according to the Hebrew, to be in the tomb a full seventy-two hours. Yeshua, Himself, was quoted as saying:


9 Jesus answered, “Are there not TWELVE HOURS [of light] in the day? Anyone who walks in the daytime does not stumble, because he sees [by] the light of this world. 10 But if anyone walks in the night, he stumbles, because there is no light in him.

(John 11:9-10, Amplified Bible (AMP), emphasis and comments added)


There is a Hebrew idiom where if someone says “three days” that it can mean a partial day is included in the three days rather than a full three days. However, when the term “three days and three nights” is used, the Hebrew idiom does not apply. It is clearly understood that they are talking about a full seventy-two hours.


72 Hours in the Tomb


As it has already been mentioned, it is commonly supposed that Yeshua/Jesus was crucified on a Friday and His resurrection from the dead occurred at sunrise on “Easter” Sunday. We need to stop here for a moment! There is something wrong with this picture. It is impossible to squeeze three days and three nights into the timeframe from a Friday afternoon death to a Sunday morning resurrection. Let’s look at what the Apostle Mark as to say:


And He [Yeshua] began to teach them that the Son of Man must [of necessity] suffer many things and be rejected [as the Messiah] by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes, and must be put to death, and AFTER THREE DAYS rise [from death to life].

(Mark 8:31, Amplified Bible (AMP), emphasis and comments added)


If Yeshua was not in the grave for three full days and three full nights, He would have contradicted the only sign He gave His followers that He was the Messiah. So, we have to ask the question: “Do you believe what Yeshua said?” or “Do you believe what your church has taught you?


If Yeshua had been killed on a Friday afternoon before sunset and counting three full days and three full nights, He would have risen from the grave on a Monday in the late afternoon. I encourage everyone to read their Bible! Using the process of counting, there is absolutely no way you can squeeze three days and three nights between Friday afternoon and Sunday morning. As stated above, Yeshua said, “Are there not TWELVE HOURS [of light] in the day? But if anyone walks in the night, he stumbles (John 11:9-10). Three days (3 x 12 hours) is 36 hours. Three nights (3 x 12 hours) is 36 hours. When you add up three days and three nights you get 72 hours or three complete twenty-four-hour days. One more bit of evidence that Yeshua was in the grave the full length of time (72 hours -- three days and three nights) is found in 1 Corinthians Chapter 15:


3 For I passed on to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to [that which] the Scriptures [foretold], 4 and that He [Yeshua] was buried, and that He was [bodily] raised on the third day according to [that which] the Scriptures [foretold],

(1 Corinthians 15:3-4, Amplified Bible (AMP), emphasis and comments added)


A late Wednesday afternoon crucifixion and a late day Saturday resurrection fit the biblical narrative, perfectly. The chart below will visually assist you in understanding the timing of His death, burial and resurrection.



Crucified in the Middle of the Week


The Bible teaches us plainly that the crucifixion occurred on the preparation day before the Sabbath (Matthew 27:62; Mark 15:42). This is where so many people become confused.


The Sabbath spoken of in this context was NOT a weekly Saturday Sabbath. It was an annual festival Sabbath [a High Day, (see John 19:31)]. Jews will tell you that there are special days (Sabbaths), to be observed on an annual basis (see Leviticus Chapter 23). These annual days were also called Sabbaths (Leviticus 16:31; Leviticus 23:24, 26-32, 39). The preparation day for this High Sabbath fell on a Wednesday -- the middle of the week -- that year. Yeshua’s body was taken down from the stake by Joseph of Arimathea and placed in a tomb…BEFORE Thursday…the High Sabbath Day…began. Please look at the chart below to understand what a Biblical day starts and ends looks like. This is “key” to understanding the timing of Yeshua’s death, burial and resurrection.



For most of the next three days, Yeshua was in the grave all day Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Then, late in the day of the weekly Sabbath, just before sunset (the time when days end and begin in the Bible) on the regular weekly Sabbath (Saturday), Yeshua came out of His grave. His mission was accomplished. He spent three full days and three full nights in the “heart of the earth” (Matthew 12:40), just as He had foretold (Mark 9:31 and John 2:19-21). The Easter myth of a Sunday resurrection collapses in light of these “facts.” As further proof of this, it is worthwhile to take a look at the actions of those who were close to Yeshua and wanted to make sure of His proper burial.


According to Mark 15:47, Mary Magdalene and another woman named Mary observed where Joseph of Arimathea laid the body of Yeshua. It was Wednesday and Joseph had gone to Pontius Pilate and asked for the body of Yeshua; then he purchased fine linen, wrapped Yeshua’s body in the linen and placed the body in the tomb, closing it over with a very large stone. All this had to be done before the start of the annual Festival Sabbath – not the weekly Sabbath. The women observed where the body was laid, then left. It was close to sunset and the annual Festival Sabbath was about to begin. In Mark 16:1, we learn that Mary Magdalene did not buy spices to anoint Yeshua’s body until after the High Day (annual Festival Sabbath) had passed. The annual Festival Sabbath mentioned above is the first day of Unleavened Bread. This is a High Sabbath and no work is to be done on this day. Also the last day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread is also a High Sabbath. The Feast of Unleavened Bread is seven days long. You can learn more about the Feast of Yahweh in Leviticus chapter 23. As a side note here, these Feasts are not the Feast of the Jews as is sometimes taught in Christianity. These Feast (Hebrew: Mo’edim) are Yahweh’s Feast (See Leviticus 23:2.)


After the annual Sabbath had ended (which had lasted from Wednesday sunset until Thursday sunset), Mary bought and prepared the spices. She did this on Friday, the preparation day for the regular weekly Sabbath. Then she rested on the weekly Sabbath, Saturday, according to the commandment.


Not a Sunday Morning Resurrection!


If you take a careful look at the events of Mark Chapter 16, you will find that Mary Magdalene, along with some other women, arrived at Yeshua’s tomb “AS the sun was rising, (see Mark 16:2, KJV)” “When it was yet dark” (see John 20:1) on Sunday morning, only to find Yeshua’s Body was not there. He had ALREADY risen, and an angel, sitting in the tomb, told them He was not there. The very large stone that covered the entrance to the tomb had already been rolled away! The body of Yeshua was gone (Mark 16:6; Matthew 28:5-6). His resurrection from the dead had taken place, as explained earlier, as the seventh-day Sabbath was coming to its close.


A change from Sabbath to Sunday worship cannot be justified by these events. Unfortunately, most Christians do not understand the sequence of events leading up to and following the resurrection because they forget that Yeshua and the disciples kept the annual Sabbaths (Leviticus Chapter 23) as well as the weekly Sabbath (Luke 4:16). A comparison of Luke 23:56 with John 19:31 shows us that there were two Sabbaths that week -- an annual Sabbath [The High Day (Leviticus 23:6-7)] which fell on a Thursday and a weekly Saturday Sabbath. There is nothing in any of these accounts to warrant a change of Sabbath keeping from Saturday to Sunday.


Did Paul Keep the Law/Torah?


Many ministers in this world persist in their argument, saying Paul taught the Sabbath was part of the ceremonial law that was nailed to the cross. Such a conclusion is a distortion of the Truth! Two decades after the death of Yeshua, Paul said:


For it is not those who merely hear the Law [as it is read aloud] who are just or righteous before God, but it is those who [actually] obey the Law who will be justified [pronounced free of the guilt of sin and declared acceptable to Him. Because of one’s personal faith in Jesus Christ as Savior, God graciously credits His righteousness to the believer. Justification denotes a legal standing with God as designated only by God. God declares a believer to be acquitted or innocent, then designates the believer to be brought into right standing before Him.].

(Romans 2:13, Amplified Bible (AMP), emphasis and comments added)


The Apostle Paul taught Gentile Christians it was their duty to keep the commandments of Yahweh. We read in 1 Corinthians 7:19 where Paul tells the members at Corinth (remember Corinth was a predominately Gentile church) Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but what matters is keeping the commandments of God.


Paul upheld the Law/Torah as a standard of right conduct, saying: So then, the Law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good. (Romans 7:12). In verse 22 of the same chapter Paul says, For I joyfully delight in the law of God in my inner self [with my new nature],


Those who rush to the conclusion that faith in Yeshua annuls the Law are making a grave mistake. Faith in the sacrifice of Yeshua is of the utmost importance but that faith does not abolish the Law of Yahweh. Paul is very clear about the need to keep the Law/Torah, as we continue to live by faith:


Do we then nullify the Law by this faith [making the Law of no effect, overthrowing it]? Certainly not! On the contrary, we confirm and establish and uphold the Law [since it convicts us all of sin, pointing to the need for salvation].

(Romans 3:31, Amplified Bible (AMP), emphasis and comments added)


In Acts Chapter 21, Paul was greeted by James and the other elders as he came to visit the Jerusalem church. He was accused by non-Christian Jews of teaching against circumcision and the customs of the Jews, James and the elders at Jerusalem encouraged Paul to pay for four men who were just completing the term of their vow. This was done so that the Jews outside the Church would see that Paul walked orderly, and that he kept the Law. James and the elders would not have asked Paul to do something that was hypocritical. Paul did not pretend to keep the Law just to please the Jews. Paul actually kept Yahweh’s Law/Torah in the letter and in the spirit.


Notice this fact as it is revealed in Acts Chapter 21:


21 Now they have been told about you [Paul], that you are teaching all the Jews who are living among the Gentiles to turn away from [the Law of] Moses, advising them not to circumcise their children or to live according to the [Mosaic] customs.22 What then should be done? They will certainly hear that you have arrived. 23 Therefore do just what we tell you. We have four men who have taken a vow; 24 take these men and purify yourself along with them, and pay their expenses [for the temple offerings] so that they may shave their heads. Then everyone will know that there is nothing to the things they have been told about you, but that you yourself also follow and KEEP THE LAW.

(Acts 21:21-24, Amplified Bible (AMP), emphasis and comments added)


The Jews Never Accused Paul of Breaking the Sabbath


In Acts Chapter 24, we find Paul defending himself before the Roman governor Felix. Many Jews were angry about Paul teaching that Gentiles did not need to be circumcised to receive salvation but they NEVER accused Paul of breaking the Sabbath. Take notice of this important point, it is CRUCIAL!


When defending himself before Felix, Paul stated:


But I confess this to you, that according to the Way, which they call a [divisive and heretical] sect, I do worship and serve the God of our fathers, [confidently] believing everything that is in accordance with the Law [of Moses] and that is written in the Prophets;

(Acts 24:14, Amplified Bible (AMP), emphasis and comments added)


The Law and the Prophets taught seventh-day Sabbath observance. Paul believed that the seventh-day Sabbath was binding on all Christians, Jews and Gentiles alike.


Is the Sabbath for the Jews Only?


Now we come to a common misconception. Many believe the Sabbath and the annual Sabbaths (or High Holy Days) are Jewish, to be kept by the Jews only. This reasoning concludes with the notion that since many Christians are Gentiles, they do not need to keep the Sabbath. This type of thinking and teaching in the Christian churches is in error!


Yeshua/Jesus claimed He was…


27 Jesus said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. 28 So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath [and He has authority over it].”

(Mark 2:27-28, Amplified Bible (AMP), emphasis and comments added)


Notice what Yeshua did NOT say. He did not say,

  1. “The Sabbath was made only for the Jews.”

  2. “The Sabbath will be voided after I die.”

  3. “The Sabbath can be kept on any day a person chooses.”

Instead, He said: “The Sabbath was made FOR MAN.”


In Leviticus Chapter 23, Yahweh inspired Moses to write about the Feasts of Yahweh. Notice, He does not call them the Feasts of the Jews or the Feasts of the Israelites but rather the Feasts of Yahweh:


Speak to the children of Israel and say to them, ‘The appointed times (established feasts) of the Lord [Strong’s Concordance #H3068YHWH in the Hebrew text] which you shall proclaim as holy convocations—My appointed times are these:

(Leviticus 23:2, Amplified Bible (AMP), emphasis and comments added)


Yahweh calls them, MY Feasts. They belong to Him! They were made for man but they belong to Him. They do not belong only to the Jews. In verse 3 of Leviticus Chapter 23, the first Feast that Yahweh mentions is the weekly Sabbath. Yes, the Sabbath is a Feast day. It should be a time of rejoicing! It is Yahweh’s day. He owns that day, and He has designated it as HOLY/DEDICATED. On that day, we do not do our own pleasure. It is a Divinely Appointed Time when we are to honor Yahweh (see Isaiah 58:13). By keeping the weekly Sabbath, we are honoring and acknowledging Yahweh as The Creator of all things.


Jews and Gentiles will keep the Sabbath


Still, some will say that Gentiles do not need to observe the Sabbath. However, when Yeshua returns and He sets up His Father’s Kingdom here on earth, we are told that ALL flesh will worship Yahweh on the Sabbath:


And it shall be that from New Moon to New Moon And from Sabbath to Sabbath, All mankind will come to bow down and worship before Me,” says the Lord [Strong’s Concordance #H3068 YHWH in the Hebrew text].

(Isaiah 66:23, Amplified Bible (AMP), emphasis and comments added)


All” means everybody, both Jews and Gentiles – No Exceptions. What your church teaches or what your friends believe will be of no consequence to Him as you stand before Him to give account of your life:


11 For it is written [in Scripture],

As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me,

And every tongue shall give praise to God.”


12 So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God.

(Romans 14:11-12, Amplified Bible (AMP), emphasis and comments added)


So, where will this take place? It will take place in the Millennial Temple where Yeshua will be seated on the Throne of David. The Temple doors will be opened on the weekly Sabbath and on the Annual Feast days of Yahweh.


The Sabbath and the New Covenant


Some Christian Theologians argue that the weekly Sabbath has been abolished under the terms of what is called the New Covenant. This is a contradiction of what the Bible clearly says. The weekly Sabbath is one of the core commandments of Yahweh. And under the terms of the New Covenant, Yahweh actually writes His Commandments, including the Sabbath command, in our minds and on our hearts. Let’s take a look at what the Bible says regarding the New Covenant:


For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel

After those days, says the Lord:


I will imprint My laws upon their minds [even upon their innermost thoughts and understanding],


And engrave them upon their hearts [effecting their regeneration].

And I will be their God,


And they shall be My people.

(Hebrews 8:10, Amplified Bible (AMP), emphasis and comments added)


This means that Yahweh’s people will be given both a will and a desire to keep Yahweh’s Laws/Torah. Under the New Covenant, the Ten Commandments do not change. There is, however, a change from the Old Covenant to the New Covenant concerning the Law. During the time of the Old Covenant, the Law/Torah of Yahweh was written on two tablets of stone and it was taught to the people (Deuteronomy 6:13). Under the terms of the New Covenant, the Laws are put in the minds and written on the hearts of Yahweh’s people:


31 Behold, the days are coming,” says the Lord [Strong’s Concordance #H3068YHWH in the Hebrew text], “when I will make a new covenant with the house [The kingdom was united under David and his successor, Solomon, but split after Solomon’s son, Rehoboam became king.] of Israel (the Northern Kingdom) and with the house of Judah (the Southern Kingdom),”


33 But this is the covenant which I [Yahweh] will make with the house of Israel after those days,” says the Lord [Strong’s Concordance #H3068 YHWH in the Hebrew text], “I will put My law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they will be My people.

(Jeremiah 31:31 and 33, Amplified Bible (AMP), emphasis and comments added)


With these scriptures in mind, it is clear that the New Covenant includes the weekly Sabbath observance.


Stay tuned for Part 5 next week.

THROUGH & Through & through....

(as seed fertilizing an egg?)

November 9, 2020

Psalm 119:105-112 Second Peter (all 3 short chapters)

Psalm 119:105 NUN.

Nun

By Jeff A. Benner

Early Hebrew Middle Hebrew

Late Hebrew Modern Hebrew

Ancient Name: Nun

Pictograph: Sprouting Seed

Meanings: Continue, Heir, Son

Sound: N

https://www.ancient-hebrew.org/ancient-alphabet/nun.htm

Is this how WE, Children of the Most HIGH, sprout?

WHAT is the process THROUGH??

The Psalmist tells us:

Psalm 119:105 NUN. Thy WORD is a Lamp unto my feet, and a Light unto my path.

Psalm 119:106 I have sworn, and I will perform it,

that I will keep Thy Righteous Judgments.

Psalm 119:107 I am afflicted very much: quicken me,

O YHVH, according unto Thy WORD.

[what, pray tell, does “quicken” mean? Strong’s definition is:

H2421 to revive (back to LIFE) recover, repair, restore...”

be begotten AGAIN! (BACK into our ETERNAL LIFE!!!

from which we went astray

and our REVIVAL never happens unless our FATHER’s non-corrupted SEED

the same yesterday, today, and forever,

penetrates our body, mind and spirit

and, in gratitude, we plead with HIM:]

Psalm 119:108 Accept, I beseech Thee, the freewill offerings of my mouth, O YHVH, and teach me Thy Judgments.

Psalm 119:109 My soul is continually in my hand:

yet do I not forget Thy Law [H8451 TORAH = our Instructions for LIFE!].

Psalm 119:110 The wicked have laid a snare for me:

yet I erred not from Thy Precepts.

Psalm 119:111 Thy Testimonies have I taken as an heritage for ever:

[in just a moment, Apostle Peter will be reminding us of THESE

Thy Testimonies” our “heritage for ever:]

for they are the rejoicing of my heart.

Psalm 119:112 I have inclined mine heart to perform Thy Statutes alway,

even unto the end [which is nigh at hand! as we speak].

Let’s review:

Psalm 119:111 Thy Testimonies have I taken as an heritage for ever:

[in just a moment, Apostle Peter will be reminding us of THESE

Thy Testimonies” our “heritage for ever:]

for they are the rejoicing of my heart.

Let's listen to our Apostle Peter, near the back-o’-the-book:

2 Peter 1:1 Simon Peter, a servant and an Apostle of Yeshua Mashiyach,

to them that have obtained like precious faith with us

through [that’s once!] The Righteousness

of ELohim and our Saviour Yeshua Mashiyach:

2 Peter 1:2 Grace and peace be multiplied unto you

through [that’s twice!!] The Knowledge

of ELohim, and of Yeshua our Aw-done' [H113],


2 Peter 1:3 According as HIS divine power hath given unto us

all things that pertain unto life and godliness,

through [that’s thrice!!!] The Knowledge

of HIM that hath called us to glory and virtue:

2 Peter 1:4 Whereby are given unto us

exceeding great and precious promises:

that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature,

having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

[as “The GREATER EXODUS? the next chapter suggests so:]

2 Peter 2:4 For if ELohim spared not the angels that sinned,

but cast them down to hell,

and delivered them into chains of darkness,

to be reserved unto judgment;

2 Peter 2:5 And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person,

a preacher of righteousness,

bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly;

2 Peter 2:6 And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes

[as these ashes remain & may be seen to this day, as a WITNESS!]

condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample

unto those that after [even to THIS very day!] should live ungodly;

2 Peter 2:7 And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked:

2 Peter 2:8 (For that righteous man [Lot] dwelling among them,

in seeing and hearing [their filth],

vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;)

[they were already saying that the TORAH was “nailed-to-the-cross! And yet:]

2 Peter 2:9 Aw-done' knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations,

and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished:

2 Peter 2:10 But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness,

and despise government.

Presumptuous are they, selfwilled, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities.

As my mother used to say, “A WORD to the wise should be sufficient.

And, with regard to these last days:

2 Peter 3:3 Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts,

2 Peter 3:4 And saying, Where is the promise of HIS coming?

for since the fathers fell asleep,

all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.

[not “millions & billions of years” but yes,

sin abounds to this 6,000th year later!

and our only SALVATION = YESH-OO’-AW is to RETURN

to HIS WAY, HIS TRUTH, and HIS LIFE

per John 14:6!]

John 14:6 YESH-OO’-AW saith unto him,

I am The WAY, The TRUTH, and The LIFE:

no man cometh unto the Father, but by ME [The WORD made flesh, per John 1:14].

Our Apostle Peter mentions the difficulties of understanding our Apostle Paul, when Peter says:

2 Peter 3:14 Wherefore, Beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent

that ye may be found of HIM in peace, without spot, and blameless.

2 Peter 3:15 And account that the longsuffering of our Messiah is

Salvation [H3444 YESH-OO’-AW];

even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him

hath written unto you;

2 Peter 3:16 As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things;

[What things? The TRUTH about our SALVATION!]

in which are some things hard to be understood,

[because “wolves in sheep’s clothing” are currently pooh-poohing

The TRUTH = (H8451 “the Law” is) The TORAH per Psalm 119:142!]

which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest,

as they do also the other Scriptures,

unto their own destruction.

HENCE, we are admonished:

2 Timothy 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto ELohim,

a workman that needeth not to be ashamed,

rightly dividing The WORD of TRUTH.

YeHoVaH IS adding HIS blessing to the reading of HIS entire Holy Bible. Amen.

Rog


Shema (Hear & Obey) YeHoVaH's instructions for Yeshua is coming soon. Read ALL YeHoVaH'S BOOK!

Bible Teachings

  1. The Same Mind, Judgment, and Speech (Part One)

RULING AND REIGNING WITH GOD

Part 6


It had been my intention to continue today with the theme we took up a few weeks back, and look at the life of either David or the apostle Paul. Those are not complete yet, and the subject of the Throne of God is one that is fresh in my spirit. It seemed appropriate to go there today, and perhaps for the next few weeks.

We will come back to the life of David, and the life of Paul in the weeks to come, so bear with me. Let’s go back to the Garden of Eden for a bit.

First of all, we should each be aware by this time that creation began by the spoken word of "The Word," the Lord Jesus Christ, in a place of absolute agreement with the Father and the Holy Spirit. There is a phrase which occurs repeatedly during the Genesis account of creation, "And God said…" This phrase, inclusive with its adjoining words, has a numerical value of 8-8-8, the triad of eights which represents Jesus Christ. Each time we read, "And God said," it was Jesus causing an act of creation by speaking the word out of that creative power within His being.

When He created Adam and Eve, we are told that He created them "in His image,"and He emphasizes this point twice in the same verse. (see Genesis 1:27) "...in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them."

Being "created in His image" does not just mean that we were created with His physical form or attributes. It means that we were also created spirit beings with power over the physical and natural realm. Jesus always was, and is, a Spirit. We were first created as spirit. Life did not come into our physical form until the spirit entered. In Genesis 2:7, we are told, "And the Lord God.......breathed into his nostrils the breath of life."

In this application, the Hebrew text uses the word, neshamah, a word which Gesenius (in his Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon) defines as: the Spirit of God imparting (His) life and wisdom; that, therefore, which becomes the spirit of man. I don't want to belabor this point. I just want you to see clearly the single most important aspect of rulership -- the realm in which the throne functions.

Spirit is the preeminent and eternal realm of our existence. It has precedence over the mind and soul of man. It has precedence over the emotions. It supersedes the flesh. If we rule in any aspect at all, it is because we first take dominion in the realm of the spirit. If we assert authority over principalities or powers, or "world rulers of darkness," it is because we have first done so by agreeing in totality with the preeminence of the Lord Jesus Christ, in and through us, by the Spirit.

Conversely, if we are ruled, it is because we are first ruled over in the realm of the spirit by a spirit being. If we are taken advantage of by evil spirits, it is because we first submit our spirits to the influence or control of those spirits. If we are tormented in any area of our flesh, it is because we have first provided legal ground for that torment in the realm of the spirit. (I will comment further on this in just a moment.) Our flesh was specifically designed by the Lord as a habitation for the spirit.

A question which I hear often posed is, "How can Christians submit to evil spirits and still call themselves Christians? How can a person redeemed by Christ Jesus be subject to evil spirits?"

It is imperative that we understand our makeup and nature. We are first and foremost spirit beings. Everything -- no matter how great or small in our lives -- first begins in the realm of the spirit.

Satan has been referred to as the prince of this world. Under his command are kosmokrator: world rulers of darkness. When an angelic messenger came to deliver the word of the Lord to Daniel, he mentioned that he had just been with Michael (the Archangel) doing battle with the Prince of Persia, and that when he left Daniel he would be warring against the Prince of Greece. (see Daniel 10) These are not earthly princes, but ruling demonic spirits whose assignment is national or regional in scope. Beyond them are spirits who are assigned as "principalities and powers," and those who are given the task of invading the character and makeup of mankind, deceiving them into accepting lies, or distortions, or perversion as a part of their personal makeup.

Redemption is not the same as deliverance. Redemption merely provides the legal basis for deliverance. Redemption is a legal act by Jesus Christ on the cross to nullify the Serpent's enslavement of the human race through Adam. It provides us with the legal means to be free, and to regain the place of the Crown and the Throne originally delivered to Adam and Eve.

The guarantee of that Throne is not a blanket guarantee to the human race: it is an opportunity to "whosoever will;" and "whosoever" must first will to agree with Jesus Christ-- not in name, not in form, not in ritual, not in putting one's name to a piece of paper, but in Truth -- in Spirit -- in reality!


Read More...

God's Kingdom in the Parables (Part Two)


Part One explained that the phrase “kingdom of heaven” has a variety of usages. While most understand it to refer to the coming Kingdom of God, a lesser-known usage applies to the physical Kingdom of Israel, founded by God in heaven and ruled over by the same.


The previous article also stressed the necessity of recognizing to whom Jesus was speaking while giving the parables in Matthew 13. The audience, made up of the remnant of Judah, helps us comprehend the scope of His instructions. Even though the people of Judah and Galilee did not have “ears to hear” in a spiritual sense, they still received some true instruction from their unacknowledged King, just as the leadership perceived that Jesus was speaking about them in the Parable of the Two Sons and the Parable of the Wicked Vinedressers (Matthew 21:23-44).


The Parable of the Wheat and the Tares


The second parable of Matthew 13 concerns wheat and tares sown together in the same field by different actors:

Another parable He put forth to them, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field; but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way. But when the grain had sprouted and produced a crop, then the tares also appeared. So the servants of the owner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’ He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The servants said to him, ‘Do you want us then to go and gather them up?’ But he said, ‘No, lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn.”’” (Matthew 13:24-30)

As with the Parable of the Sower, Jesus later defines His symbols to His disciples (Matthew 13:38). The field, He says, is “the world.” While there can still be an application of this parable to the church, Jesus’ immediate audience was “great multitudes” (Matthew 13:2, 34, 36), and the scope was “the world,” rather than the limited assembly of called-out ones.


The good seeds are “the sons of the kingdom.” This phrase appears just one other time, in an earlier teaching in which the “sons of the kingdom” are cast into outer darkness (Matthew 8:11-12). Jesus used this phrase after encountering more faith in a Gentile centurion than in Israel (Matthew 8:10). In that instance, the “sons of the kingdom” are Israelites without faith. In the Parable of the Wheat and Tares, though, the Son of Man plants the “sons of the kingdom,” and they are revealed as righteous and glorified at the end of the age. Then, all who “offend, and those who practice lawlessness” (Matthew 13:41) will be gathered out of His Kingdom—at that time, the whole world (see Revelation 11:15).


Jesus defines the tares as “the sons of the wicked one.” While it is common to interpret this parable and its players strictly in terms of the church, consider that both God and Satan have had “sons” from the very beginning, long before the founding of the church in Acts 2. Abel lived by faith, but Cain, the first murderer, bore the spiritual image of his father, Satan (see John 8:44). Seth likewise was of the “good seed,” as were Enoch, Noah, and others. God planted in the world all these righteous men, who had to contend with the sons of the Adversary.


Recall that these parables come after a verbal altercation with the Pharisees in which Jesus calls them a “brood of vipers” (Matthew 12:34), indicating they were offspring of the serpent—sons of Satan—because they bore his spiritual image. John the Baptist also dubs the Pharisees and Sadducees a “brood of vipers,” implying they will be burned like the tares (Matthew 3:7-12). In John 8:44, Jesus tells the Pharisees that they were of their father the Devil, just another way of saying “sons of the wicked one.” He uses parallel imagery in Matthew 15:13, again regarding the Pharisees: “Every plant which My heavenly Father has not planted will be uprooted.”


Jesus says that “while men slept,” the “enemy came and sowed tares” (Matthew 13:25). The Bible often uses sleep as a symbol of obliviousness, non-awareness, or inattention. As such, it is frequently a negative symbol, often coinciding with lethargy, apathy, and letting down in one’s duties (see Proverbs 6:4-10; 24:30-34).


Within Israel, God appointed watchmen who were not merely to keep an eye out for approaching armies but were also to monitor the nation’s moral condition. In Isaiah 56:10, though, God vents His displeasure with these servants: “His watchmen are blind, they are all ignorant; they are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark; sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber” (emphasis ours throughout). Instead of staying focused for the sake of the nation, “they are greedy dogs which never have enough. And they are shepherds who cannot understand; they all look to their own way, every one for his own gain, from his own territory” (verse 11).


Those who should have sounded the alarm about the problems creeping into the nation before the captivity were—as we would say—asleep at the switch! Focused on their own concerns, they allowed ungodly elements to take root, leading to the nation’s spiritual downfall. We will see more of this later.


Jesus ends the parable’s explanation with, “Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!” (Matthew 13:43). Similarly, Daniel 12:3 says the “wise shall shine like the brightness of the firmament, and those who turn many to righteousness like the stars forever and ever.” This glorification is also linked with the “harvest” in John 5:28-30. This end-time harvest is not limited to righteous individuals who lived from AD 31 onward—that is, the church—but includes all who have lived and died by faith, beginning with righteous Abel. As Hebrews 11:40 explains, all the true sons of the Kingdom, planted throughout history, will be made perfect at the same time.


Certainly, this parable can apply within the assembly of believers, for the New Testament is replete with warnings about false teachers and false brethren. Yet the principle is not limited to the church. The Pharisees were “sons of the wicked one”—and thus tares—even before Christ founded His church. The parable warns that not everyone who appears to be under the dominion of God is actually of God. The Pharisees and other leaders defied God’s sovereign authority, but He commands His servants to leave Satan’s offspring in place until the conclusion of His purpose.


Read More...

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