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.


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.


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)


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.


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

Exploration 96 – Shavuot – Pentecost

And thou shalt keep the feast of weeks unto the Lord thy God with a tribute of a freewill offering of thine hand, which thou shalt give unto the Lord thy God, according as the Lord thy God hath blessed thee:

Deuteronomy 16:10 King James Version

Last year I paid no attention to Shavuot. It didn’t even dawn on me that shavuot is the plural of shavua (week). This year I hope the roots have gone deeper.

After signing up for Michael Rood’s newsletter I began observing the crescent moon after sunset which marked the beginning of a lunar month. It is amazing how different these crescent moons look. The one last Tuesday evening marking the beginning of the third month was very slender and close to the horizon. I almost missed it before it set behind the trees.

Shavuot is 50 days after the First Fruits offering. Pentecost is 50 days after the first appearance of Yeshua (Jesus) to his disciples after His resurrection. After 50 days seven Shabbats would have passed and we would again be on the same day of the week. On Pentecost we remember the baptism of the Holy Spirit in Jerusalem mentioned in Acts 2. Shavuot recalls the giving and receiving of the Torah and making the covenant at Mount Sinai (Exodus 19 – 24:11).

Nehemia Gordon reports that during the first century there were three different calculations for when the First Fruits offering was to be made relative to the seven days of Unleavened Bread. The Pharisees said it was to occur on the second day of Unleavened Bread, or 16 Aviv, every year. The Essenes said it was to occur on the first day of the week after those seven days. The Sadducees said it was to occur on the day after the weekly Shabbat within the seven days of Unleavened Bread. After the fall of Jerusalem, the view of the Pharisees prevailed. Their calendar is what one sees on sites such as Chabad.org.

By next Shavuot, God willing, more of this story will make sense to me.


Weekly Parashah Readings
Parashah: Naso, 12 Sivan, 5782 – June 11, 2022
Torah: Numbers 4:21-7:89
Haftarah: Judges 13:2-13:25
Brit Chadashah: Acts 21:17-26
Resources: Chabad, Hebrew4Christians, Weekly Torah Readings, Calendar

Flowering Tree
Flowering Tree

Exploration 95 – Humanistic Righteousness

In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes.

Judges 21:25 King James Version

In the comments to my post last week on demons, Oneta Hayes reminded me that I missed a whole class of demonic activity. The demons I missed were those that appeared “beautiful and compelling”. I pointed out the obviously ugly ones, but I missed the attractively strong delusions of unbelief that could be described as humanistic righteousness.

That is sometimes called self-righteousness, because one’s righteousness is based on following what is good in one’s own eyes. Self-righteousness justifies the ethics of humanism because humanism acknowledges no other ground than man: our reasonings, our wants, what we experience with our senses or our emotions. It is what grounds the ethics of ideas like effective altruism where one optimizes the amount of “good” one can do on a monetary basis. See Peter Singer’s The Most Good You Can Do: How Effective Altruism Is Changing Ideas About Living Ethically.

No matter how good this appears to be if it is not what Yeshua (Jesus) wants us to do, it is not good. It can’t be, because there is nothing good outside of His will.

O give thanks unto the Lord, for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.

Psalm 107:1 King James Version


Weekly Parashah Readings
Parashah: Bamidbar, 5 Sivan, 5782 – June 4, 2022
Torah: Numbers 1:1 – 4:20
Haftarah: Hosea 2:1 – 2:23
Brit Chadashah: Romans 9:22-33; 1 Corinthians 12:12-30
Resources: Chabad, Hebrew4Christians, Weekly Torah Readings, Calendar

Rain Clouds
Rain Clouds

Exploration 94 – Demons

To paraphrase Andrew Wommack: If our lives aren’t supernatural, they’re superficial.

Through much of my life I didn’t believe that demons really existed. They made interesting characters in spooky stories, but from a superficial perspective psychology seemed to explain them away as personality disorders. That unbelief in them undermined, but it did not crash, my belief in the rest of the supernatural.

To counter that unbelief in demons and reaffirm a belief in the supernatural I remember reading M. Scott Peck’s People of the Lie on evil and Raymond Moody’s Life After Life on near death experiences. However, my grounding view of demons came more from movies like The Exorcist than the Gospels.

Sentimental New Age influences also crept in. The movie Labyrinth offered a view of the demonic that seemed simpler to cast out if only I could remember the magic spell. I began to realize it was easier to tell a demon he had no power over me than to actually stay free from demonic addiction. However much New Age spirituality invitingly plays with the demonic, it brings no authority with it to boss demons around.

Too often I forgot that it is only through exercising the authority of Yeshua (Jesus) that I had any hope of being victorious when facing a demon. Eventually I saw them manifest through their effects like addiction, anger, illness or sin on my life and the life of those around me.

As disciples of Yeshua we are sent to heal the sick and cast out demons among other things (Matthew 10:8). If we don’t know how to go about that, we could prayerfully start with ourselves. If Peter’s shadow is any indication of what is possible (Acts 5:15-16) we may not have to say a word before the demons scatter.

Weekly Parashah Readings
Parashah: Bechukotai, 27 Iyar, 5782 – May 28, 2022
Torah: Leviticus 26:3-27:34
Haftarah: Jeremiah 16:19-17:14
Brit Chadashah: Matthew 21:33-46; 2 Corinthians 6:14-18
Resources: Chabad, Hebrew4Christians, Weekly Torah Readings, Calendar

Pond and Forest
Pond and Forest

Exploration 93 – Not To Swear or Not To Swear Falsely (Matthew 5:33-35)

33 Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths:
34 But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God’s throne:
35 Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King.

Matthew 5:33-35 King James Version

Matthew 5:33-35 is the kind of passage that I’d likely skip over, because I didn’t understand it. Is Yeshua replacing the law of not swearing falsely in YeHoVaH’s name with not swearing at all?

Nehemia Gordon translated the problematic portion of verse 34, rendered by the KJV as “Swear not at all”, from the Hebrew manuscripts in The Hebrew Yeshua vs. the Greek Jesus, page 65, as “you must not swear by anything falsely”. George Howard translated this portion of the manuscript as “But I say to you not to swear in vain in any matter” (page 21).

The difference is between not swearing at all and not swearing falsely (or in vain) by anything, let alone by YeHoVaH’s name. The Hebrew text does not prohibit swearing, but swearing falsely. Now that I understand. It makes sense.

According to Gordon, Yeshua countered a Pharisaic teaching that permitted one to swear falsely as long as it was not in the name of YeHoVaH. Gordon writes, “This strange doctrine was based on an over-literalization of Leviticus 19:12, “you shall not swear falsely by My name.”” (page 65-66). According to Howard, this raised a striking contrast between the Greek and Hebrew texts: “In the Greek, Jesus appears to revoke the law; In the Hebrew, he internalizes and radicalizes the law, but does not revoke it.” (Hebrew Gospel of Matthew, page 213)

What this tells me is that we need these Hebrew manuscripts to better approximate what the original autographs actually said. It also increases my suspicions that the Greek manuscripts were translations from a Hebrew source since this Hebrew manuscript still makes sense.

Weekly Parashah Readings
Parashah: Behar, 20 Iyar, 5782 – May 21, 2022
Torah: Leviticus 25:1-26:2
Haftarah: Jeremiah 32:6-44
Brit Chadashah: Luke 4:16-21
Resources: Chabad, Hebrew4Christians, Weekly Torah Readings, Calendar

Rest Area
Rest Area

Exploration 92 – The Creator’s Reckoning of Time

After adding Jewish and Messianic Jewish parashah readings, I began studying the ancient biblical calendar assuming such a calendar even existed. This calendar would be different from the Christian calendars (Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox) with holidays like Christmas, Ash Wednesday, Good Friday and Easter (Pascha). It would also be different from the rabbinical calendar at Chabad.org with a time since Creation of only 5782 years that follows a mathematical 19-year (Metonic) cycle for leap years.

The appointed times of YeHoVaH are Passover, Unleavened Bread, First Fruits, Shavuot, Trumpets, Yom Kippur and Succoth from Leviticus 23 along with the weekly Shabbat. The biblical calendar needs to determine when to observe them so we can rehearse them as prophecies while remembering their fulfillments. There are also historical events which need to be dated, a year assigned to the Creation (or some other starting point), and an estimate when to expect the Messianic Kingdom.

I thought this would be an easy study, but I am still trying to make sense out of it. Here are three attempts to describe that biblical calendar that differ from both the modern Christian and Jewish calendars.

  • Navah’s The Reckoning of Time. He presents the evidence so clearly and in such great detail that I use this account as my baseline when reading others, keeping in mind that he might be in error.
  • World’s Last Chance: Yah’s Calendar. This calendar maintains that the biblical day extends from sunrise to sunrise, not sunset to sunset, that the Sabbath always occurs on the 8th, 15th, 22nd, and 29th day of the month, and that the first of the month is a special day of rest.
  • Michael Rood’s Astr0nomically and Agriculturally Corrected Biblical Hebrew Calendar along with The Chronological Gospels: The Life and Seventy Week Ministry of the Messiah.
    His calendar differs from the rabbinical calendar since it is based on crescent moon sightings and the observed ripeness of barley. For example, today, May 8th in the Gregorian calendar, on his calendar is the sixth day of the second month, day 15 of the Omer, year 6022 from Creation. The rabbinical calendar would call it 7 Iyar, day 22 of the Omer, year 5782 from Creation.

Below is the first of a series of videos on the Creator’s Calendar presenting Rood’s perspective created over a decade ago.

Weekly Parashah Readings
Parashah: Emor, 13 Iyar, 5782 – May 14, 2022
Torah: Leviticus 21:1 – 24:23
Haftarah: Ezekiel 44:15-31
Brit Chadashah: Luke 14:12-24; 1 Peter 2:4-10
Resources: Chabad, Hebrew4Christians, Weekly Torah Readings, Calendar

Exploration 91 – Mutation, Evolution and Natural Selection

Sometimes we use words that subtly undermine what we value without our realizing it. I am trying to identify these words so I can avoid using them.

For example, when we say parents are we undermining the differences between fathers and mothers by lumping them under one term? Is the word gender similarly undermining the differences between the sexes, men and women? According to Owen Strachan they do.

In this post I want to focus on (1) mutation, (2) evolution and (3) natural selection. With a biblical creationist worldview, should I be using or avoiding these words? If I choose to avoid them, what alternative words should I use to reinforce rather than undermine my values?


Mutations in DNA is the only one of the three that has usefulness from an operational scientific perspective because it represents something that can be measured which could falsify an hypothesis. Random mutational changes in DNA allow us to look back into our past. Measured rates of mutations allow us to anticipate future mutational meltdown through genetic entropy.

Random mutations do not support evolutionary change from something simple to something more complicated. Like other mechanisms found to operate in the natural world it is a measure of decay or entropy. It can only reduce what is complicated to something simpler. Since this does not go against my values I have no need to look for an alternative.


However, when I use the word evolution indiscriminately for any kind of observable change I reinforce the idea that alleged unobserved Darwinian evolution is possible when I would claim it is not. A safe alternative for observable changes is simply to say change.

There are no random mechanisms in the natural world that could account for the kinds of unobserved changes needed to go from non-life to life or from slime mold to mankind over any time period. We would not be here today without an act of creation if we relied only on random, natural processes.

Natural Selection

Is it safe to use natural selection to describe the changes that occur within kinds of creatures through random mutations? Charles Darwin created the term natural selection to try to project agency onto nature where no agency exists. The goal was to replace the Creator from Genesis with a mindless nature that somehow could make selections.

In the video below Lauren Pennington interviews Dr. Randy Guliuzza to first show the problem with the term natural selection and then to propose an alternate way of describing change in living creatures.

If you know of other words that we should think twice about using, let me know in the comments.

Weekly Parashah Readings
Parashah: Kedoshim, 6 Iyar, 5782 – May 7, 2022
Torah: Leviticus 19:1 – 20:27
Haftarah: Amos 9:7 – 9:15
Brit Chadashah: 1 Corinthians 6:9-20; 1 Peter 1:13-16
Resources: Chabad, Hebrew4Christians, Weekly Torah Readings, Calendar

Blue Ridge Mountains
Blue Ridge Mountains
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