Exploration 106 – Remembering the Goodness of God

Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name.
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits:

Psalm 103:1-2 KJV

How can we be thankful if we don’t remember what to be thankful for? How can we give praise if we have forgotten the goodness of God?

Andrew Wommack begins a discussion of remembrance at about 5:30 in the following video. He says (at 6:55), “The reason it’s a command to remember is because it’s our tendency to forget.” I didn’t realize it was a command before.

Having eyes, see ye not? and having ears, hear ye not? and do ye not remember?

Mark 8:18 KJV

Exploration 105 – The Historicity of the Bible

I am reading Douglas Petrovich’s Origins of the Hebrews to better understand Moses and the Exodus. I now see the Israelites entering Egypt in 1876 BC in the 12th dynasty where Joseph provided shelter for them during the seven year famine. I see Moses leading the Israelites out of Egypt 430 years later in 1446 BC when Amenhotep II of the 18th dynasty was Pharaoh.

What this confirms is the historicity of the Bible. That confirmation is made possible by examining evidence from two sources:

  • Archeological Research
    The rate of radioactive decay may have varied over time. As a clock Petrovich trusts Carbon-14 tests back only toward 1400 BC. Test results beyond that require an offset.
  • Biblical Research
    Biblical manuscript traditions give different accounts of the age of the world based on genealogies in Genesis. Putting the date of the flood at an earlier age provides time for known historical events to have occurred.

In the brief interview below Dr. Petrovich discusses both of these sources of evidence which together support the historicity of the Bible.

Exploration 104 – Behold the Hand, Behold the Nail

Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:
10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Philippians 2:9-11 King James Version

In Hebrew the letters Yod-Hey-Vav-Hey (YHVH) are often translated as Lord, but Lord is a title, not a name. Rock Island Books in the video below attempts to answer the question: Who is YHVH?

The original paleo-Hebrew script was pictographic so we can find clues in each letter that is used. The Yod (Y) is the symbol for a hand. The Hey (H) is the symbol of a man with two hands raised in praise as if saying Behold! The Vav (V) is the symbol for a nail. Translating the word YHVH pictographically they come up with Behold the hand, behold the nail.

These letters can also be used as numbers. The Yod (Y) is the 10th letter representing ordinal perfection. The Hey (H) is the 5th letter representing grace and favor. The Vav (V) is the 6th letter representing man. They offer the following number translation: As a result of God’s anointed and appointed plan man will find himself surrounded on both sides by divine grace and favor.

They ultimately come to the conclusion that YHVH is Yeshua (Jesus). That surprised me, because I am used to thinking of YHVH being more the Father than the Son, but then after thinking of the Trinity perhaps Jesus is a better and more personal answer to the question especially considering that God has given Him a name above every name.

For more on the early Hebrew script and other such topics see Jeff A. Benner’s article, The Ancient Pictographic Alphabet, and the frontmatter to Douglas N. Petrovich’s The World’s Oldest Alphabet: Hebrew as the Language of the Proto-Consonantal Script.

Exploration 103 – The Day Begins At Sunset

I suspect most people are aware that the biblical day begins at sunset or early evening sometime if one can’t see the sun actually set. However, there are people who would disagree with this biblical interpretation promoting sunrise rather than sunset as the starting point. Others, such as myself, are more than willing to set them straight since fixing the other guy is more entertaining than fixing oneself.

Some don’t care when the day starts so long as they can get to work on time. Today we can mechanically compromise and let some calculation or satellite pick out a dividing point between yesterday and today such as the stroke of midnight when the Cinderellas of the world best make sure they’re back home.

However, the fourth commandment expects us to keep the Sabbath (aka Sunday) holy. How are we going to do that if we don’t know when He wants the Sabbath to start and end? It is after all His commandment, not ours, to get some rest. Others think their acceptance of Yeshua (Jesus) allows them do what they want. They might be right. It might not be a salvation issue, but we may still be making a mess of our lives by not doing what He wants while we have the opportunity.

Psychologically, the reason we are tempted to think the day starts at sunrise is that is about the time we get out of bed. That is when we start doing stuff. If what we do is all that matters perhaps only the time from sunrise, or earlier dawn, to sunset, or later dusk, is all that matters. Forget about the night or turn on the light.

In Genesis 1 the first day starts in darkness. Elohim creates the heavens and the earth, but the earth is formless and void and darkness is over the deep and the Spirit of Elohim moves over the surface of the waters. There is a lot that Elohim is doing before He says, “Let there be light.”

By analogy with that first day our days need God’s handiwork on us after we stop working at sunset and before we get our turn to hopefully not make a mess of things at sunrise. That might be one reason to see why the day should start at sunset. We stop working (eventually) and let God offer dreams, insight, calls to repentance, and warnings with suggestions that we really do owe Him praise and thanks.

The sunset-start day puts what God does first. It makes sure what we do later during daylight hours is subordinate to what He wants, not what we want, not even what we think is possible for us to do. That’s the main reason I favor having the day begin at sunset, the time we stop working and acknowledge He is in control to begin the new day as the old one ends.

Light at the End of the Tunnel
Light at the End of the Tunnel

Exploration 102 – The Genealogy of Jesus in Matthew and Luke

The Messiah is prophesied to have a virgin birth. Given that, his ancestry would come through his mother’s father or indirectly through his adoptive father. We are given two genealogies, one in Matthew 1 and one in Luke 3. Both of these genealogies appear to come through Joseph, His adoptive father. However, in Luke 3:23 Joseph’s father is Heli, but in Matthew 1:16 Joseph’s father is Jacob. They can’t both be right without some explanation for this variation.

One explanation would be that the Joseph in Matthew 1:16 is not the same Joseph mentioned in Luke 3:23. The best explanation I see at the moment is the Joseph in Matthew is Mary’s father. Mary’s father and her betrothed have the same name.

However, that explanation implies that there is something wrong with the Greek text of Matthew 1:16 from which our translations were made. If the Bible is inerrant it means the word ἄνδρα (husband) is a copying error from some earlier manuscript that could be translated as father. Is there evidence for such an earlier manuscript?

As Nehemia Gordon points out in the video below there are Hebrew manuscripts of the genealogy of Matthew with Joseph being the father, not husband, of Mary.

There are other explanations that could account for this such as Danny Zacharias’ explanation that all names were not included, but his explanation brings up another puzzle that there are only 13 generations between the Babylonian captivity and Mary when 14 were claimed to be there. This count would be resolved if the Joseph mentioned in Matthew were Mary’s father.

Mulberries
Mulberries

Exploration 101 – Who Is King Right Now?

Justin J van Rensburg used the Hebrew manuscript of Revelation he recently translated to resolve a question about who is king right now, God or Satan.

From the Old Testament there is no doubt who is King right now. It is God. (Psalm 145:13, Jeremiah 10:10, Exodus 19:5, Deuteronomy 10:14)

In the New Testament, we read how Satan tempted Jesus: “And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it.” (Luke 4:6) Did Satan really have something to give Jesus? Don’t forget, Satan is a liar (John 8:44) and Luke is merely reporting what Satan said, not claiming what Satan said was true.

As a test, ask yourself whether you think Satan was lying or whether he had something he could offer Jesus. Next consider Revelation 11:15.

15 And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.

Revelation 11:15 King James Version

Do the words “are become” suggest that the Lord was not King prior to this event? Van Rensburg compared his translation of this verse from the Hebrew manuscript:

Then the seventh messenger blew, and there were many voices in the heavens, which said, “The rich ones of the world, all of them came after our lord Yeshua, and he will reign from everlasting unto everlasting!”

Revelation 11:15, van Rensburg translation of the Hebrew manuscript

Note the difference. In the Hebrew manuscript the rich ones of the world now come after Yeshua (Jesus). His rulership has not changed. He has not become King. He has always been King, but He is now acknowledged as King by everyone.

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Weekly Parashah Readings
Parashah: Balak, 17 Tammuz, 5782 – July 16, 2022
Torah: Numbers 22:2-25:9
Haftarah: Micah 5:6-6:8
Brit Chadashah: Romans 11:25-32
Resources: Chabad, Hebrew4Christians, Weekly Torah Readings, Calendar

Lily of the Valley
Lily of the Valley

Exploration 100 – Masoretic or Septuagint Old Testament?

The Lord hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.

Psalm 110:4 King James Version

It amazed me recently to see how much of Hebrews is about Melchizedek, his priesthood and covenant. The Old Testament contains only two references to him:

  • Melchizedek offered bread and wine to Abram after his victory and Abram gave a tithe of the spoils to Melchizedek in Genesis 14:17-20.
  • David referenced Melchizedek in Psalm 110:4.

Since Hebrews 7:3 makes much of him as “Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually.” (KJV), one way to discredit Christianity would be to make sure Melchizedek was someone with a father, a mother and a limited lifespan. One popular candidate has been Noah’s son Shem, but didn’t Shem die long before Abram was born?

In Genesis 11:10-32 there is a genealogy from Shem to Abraham with the ages of the fathers when their heirs were born. Oddly those ages in the Hebrew Masoretic text (MT) differ by exactly 100 years from the Greek Septuagint (LXX). The MT offers the possibility that Melchizedek in Genesis 14 could have been Shem while the LXX does not. Did someone change the MT to discredit Hebrews? These differing manuscript traditions can’t both be right.

The shorter MT dates also provide problems for creationists. The MT compresses the time between the global flood and the tower of Babel to about 100 years. This might not be enough time for a large enough population to come from the eight survivors on the Ark for them to consider building a tower. It also makes it difficult for the Egyptian pyramids to have been constructed after the global flood.

Nathan Hoffman has an informative video promoting the ages found in the LXX and showing the problems that arise by accepting the ages in the MT. The creationists Lita Sanders and Robert Carter, however, criticized Hoffman’s position siding with the MT. Others such as Douglas Petrovich, Steve Rudd and Henry B. Smith sided with the LXX.

I think Hoffman is right. That means the time since creation is perhaps 6650 years rather than about 6000 years. Admittedly some think the world is much older. I no longer share those evolutionist views. The upper bound I now use when thinking about the age of the world is 7700 years.

This concern over the textual variations between the MT and the LXX also means that it is helpful knowing both Greek and Hebrew to better understand what the original autographs actually contained.

Although the MT lost (in my view) to the LXX on this variation, there are other questions such as how long were the Israelites in Egypt – 215 or 430 years or some other amount of time? On that question Douglas Petrovich sided with the MT, but that is another story.

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Weekly Parashah Readings
Parashah: Chukat, 10 Tammuz, 5782 – July 9, 2022
Torah: Numbers 19:1-22:1
Haftarah: Judges 11:1-11:33
Brit Chadashah: Hebrews 9:11-28; John 3:10-21
Resources: Chabad, Hebrew4Christians, Weekly Torah Readings, Calendar

Two Fish
Two Fish

Exploration 99 – The Tears God Wipes Away

And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

Revelation 21:4 King James Version

At the end when God makes everything new He will wipe away all tears as the former things pass away. At this point where might those tears come from?

Perhaps they will come from realizing our missed opportunities to praise and give thanks. Perhaps they will come from finally seeing how our wicked ways wasted our brief time here. Perhaps they will come from knowing how we failed to see our brothers and sisters filtered through loving hearts.

In Chapter 11 of Living in the Balance of Grace & Faith, Andrew Wommack offers another possibility. If we are born again he states that in our spirit, not in our body nor emotional nor mental states, we are “full of the glory of God” (page 102). We will weep when we stand before God because we will finally see what we had all along.

23 Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts:
24 And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

Psalm 139:23-24 King James Version

While we still have time may we ask the Lord to know our hearts, test our thoughts and show us those wicked ways that will bring tears to our eyes when He comes again. While we still have time may we ask Him to lead us on the way everlasting.

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Weekly Parashah Readings
Parashah: Korach, 3 Tammuz, 5782 – July 2, 2022
Torah: Numbers 16:1-18:32
Haftarah: 1 Samuel 11:14-12:22
Brit Chadashah: Romans 13:1-7
Resources: Chabad, Hebrew4Christians, Weekly Torah Readings, Calendar

Exploration 98 – Michael Rood’s Chronological Gospels

To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;

Isaiah 61:2 King James Version

Michael Rood created video presentations featuring his book The Chronological Gospels. He made a claim that the ministry of Yeshua (Jesus) lasted only 70 weeks which is a little over a year rather than the three and a half years often quoted. The motivation behind both of these time periods is for Yeshua to fulfill Daniel’s 70 week prophecy (Daniel 9:24-27) in one way or another. When Yeshua read Isaiah 61:2 he stopped at “To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord” (Luke 4:17-19) rather than read the whole verse.

In Season 1 Yeshua comes as the Suffering Servant and fulfills the Spring festivals of Passover, Unleavened Bread and Shavuot. This series presents the four gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

Season 2 is on the “fifth gospel”, Revelation. Here Yeshua comes to fulfill the Fall feasts of Trumpets, Yom Kippur and Succoth. I like how Rood paraphrases Yeshua’s overall message to the seven assemblies:

“We either do it my way or we do it my way, but it will be done my way.” This was the message for the churches in Asia Minor and this is the message for the church today.

Michael Rood, Purging the Doctrine, Season 2 of the Chronological Gospels (about 1:00)

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Weekly Parashah Readings
Parashah: Shlach, 26 Sivan, 5782 – June 25, 2022
Torah: Numbers 13:1-15:41
Haftarah: Joshua 2:1-2:24
Brit Chadashah: Hebrews 3:7-4:1
Resources: Chabad, Hebrew4Christians, Weekly Torah Readings, Calendar

Leaves Dark and Light
Leaves Dark and Light

Exploration 97 – The Hebrew Revelation

For those celebrating Shavuot this Sunday rather than last Sunday, Chag Shavuot Sameach!

There is evidence that Revelation was originally written in Hebrew. However, the original is unavailable and the manuscripts one has are rare and suffer from corruption. That means the surviving Greek texts, also not original, are still valuable as sources, but it raises interest in these surviving Hebrew manuscripts.

The following three videos by Justin J. van Rensburg provide some of this evidence and some of the insights one can learn from considering these sources. See Hebrew Gospels for more information.

In the first video he shows how to obtain photos of the manuscript of Revelation, a transcription and a translation. Then he provides an argument that this manuscript is an authentic copy of a chain of copies leading back to the original manuscript that was written in Hebrew. Finally, he uses this manuscript to resolve a puzzle in Revelation 22:2 that mentions that the Tree of Life was on both sides of the river having twelve different fruits.

He continues in the second video to resolve another puzzle: Is Yeshua or Satan the “morning star” referred to in Isaiah 14:12-14 especially considering that translations from the Greek of Revelation 22:16 also refer to Yeshua as the “morning star”. Given evidence from the Hebrew manuscript, Satan is the “morning star”, but Yeshua is the “morning light”.

Justin van Rensburg brings out the significance of this confusion (starting about 12:00) by referring back to Isaiah 14:12-14 where Satan (the “morning star”) claims he will make himself like the Most High. One of the ways Satan did this was by giving Yeshua the same title in the Greek version of Revelation that he himself had from Isaiah.

The third video provides evidence through Hebrew puns and direct quotes from the Old Testament that the original autograph was written in Hebrew.

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Weekly Parashah Readings
Parashah: Behaalotecha, 19 Sivan, 5782 – June 18, 2022
Torah: Numbers 8:1-12:16
Haftarah: Zechariah 2:14-4:7
Brit Chadashah: 1 Corinthians 10:6-13; Revelation 11:1-19
Resources: Chabad, Hebrew4Christians, Weekly Torah Readings, Calendar

Tree In Bloom
Tree In Bloom
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