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 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

Exploration 89 – Easter, Good Friday and the Passover Seder

Thou shalt have none other gods before me.

Deuteronomy 5:7 King James Version

This is a long post. It is more a set of notes to myself. You might want to skip it. If not, let’s go down the rabbit hole.

This is how I currently see the chronology of events represented by the traditions of Good Friday and Easter Sunday. You are welcome to set me straight in the comment section.

  • Yeshua (Jesus) fulfilled the sign of Jonah. He was in the tomb three days and three nights. (Matthew 12:38-41) That was the length of time Jonah was in the great fish. (Jonah 1:17) Hence we have a length of 72 hours, no more, no less.
    Clearly one cannot fit three days and three nights between Friday afternoon and Sunday morning. What we have are two full nights, one full day and two partial days.
  • Yeshua died on an afternoon and He was in the tomb before sunset on the Day of Preparation before the first day of Unleavened Bread, a special Sabbath. (Matthew 27:45-65, Mark 15:33-44, Luke: 23:50-56)
  • The women went to the tomb on the first day of the week, Sunday, and an angel rolled back the stone showing them that the tomb was empty. (Matthew 28:1-8)
    I used to think Yeshua rose with the rising sun on Easter Sunday. What I understand now is Yeshua rose on the late Sabbath before sunset, 72 hours after His burial, prior to the morning of the first day of the week when the women looked for him but found the tomb empty.
  • In summary, Yeshua could not have been crucified on a Friday. He was crucified on the fourth day of the week (Wednesday) in the afternoon as the Passover lambs were being sacrificed. His Resurrection occurred three days and three nights later on the Shabbat (Saturday) afternoon before sunset. Celebrations of Resurrection Day should focus on the setting sun, not the morning sunrise.

The Church of God, one Christian group that seems willing to give the Bible priority over Church tradition, produced a detailed Timeline from Passover (the 14th of Abib (Nisan)) to the Wave Sheaf Offering on the first day after the weekly Shabbat. The chart shows the parallel between what happened in Exodus with what happened in the Gospels. The only part of their timeline I suspect may not be correct is the year of the Crucifixion and Resurrection. They claimed it occurred in 31 AD. I am more convinced by Navah’s view that it occurred in 28 AD.

Why does this matter?

  • The neglect of biblical feasts and the rejection of the Shabbat suggests a cultural anti-Judaism that goes back before the time of Constantine when it became institutionalized Church tradition justified by attacking Judaizers.
  • However, the use of an alternate pagan calendar also suggests a drift into idolatry through compromise. People attacking this compromise sometimes point out that there is no need to rename Yeshua to something that sounds like JeZeus except to indirectly focus on the Greek deity Zeus.

To see the idolatry connection, Michael Rood gave an account of where Easter came from in his teaching on the Book of Esther (“Easter”, as he called her) (about 34:00 to 38:00). He talked about the tale of Nimrod who became the sun god upon death and Semiramis, his wife, who was impregnated by that sun god to give birth to Tammuz on December 25th where the Julian calendar put the winter solstice. He included the reincarnation of Semiramis as Easter from an egg landing in the Euphrates along with rabbits and a reference to Playboy since this is all about pagan fertility worship.

For more details on this, mostly in agreement with Rood but from a Church of God perspective, see Christopher Eames’ article, Easter – In the Hebrew Bible?

When I wonder how the Israelites could have fallen into idolatry, I think about the deviation of the Christian liturgical calendar from the agricultural calendar presented in the Torah. I am equally puzzled how that could have happened. The Israelites had to obey their judges or kings, but when prophets came to correct them, I suspect many figured what they were doing was close enough in their own eyes to be acceptable to YeHoVaH (God). That’s probably what I would have thought were I one of them.

Today I ask myself something similar: Are Easter and Good Friday close enough to the Passover, the sign of Jonah and the Wave Sheaf Offering to be acceptable to Yeshua even though we lose the significance of the events evident to early Messianic believers and risk participating witlessly in pagan ritual practices?

Not everyone agrees with the above. For example, Jonathan Sarfati of Creation Ministries International presented a detailed opposing view. He asserted that Easter is not of pagan origin and tried to fit three days and three nights between Friday afternoon and Sunday morning by counting partial days as full days.

Some want to promote an even further compromise of Christianity with paganism. For example, Rudolf Steiner, an Austrian occultist, presented a description of Good Friday and Easter from a pagan perspective. Here Christianity is just another religion in a cyclic calendar going from springtime rebirth at Easter to autumn anticipation of death on All Saints Day (after Halloween). This sentiment seems typical of what C.S. Lewis called Pantheism in the “Christianity and ‘Religion’” chapter of Miracles.

The reason to present the occult views of Steiner is to see how the pagan cyclic calendar contrasts with the biblical calendar of Leviticus 23 that reveals a direction to history. The biblical calendar identifies the appointed times of YeHoVaH (מוֹעֲדֵ֣י יְהוָ֔ה). These appointed times are more than annual holidays. YeHoVaH gave them to us to remember what He had already done to move history according to His will. For example, on Passover we remember the Exodus and now also Yeshua’s redemptive sacrifice in the Crucifixion. YeHoVaH also gave them to us to prepare for future events such as the Second Coming and the Messianic Kingdom with the Feast of Trumpets, Yom Kippur and Succoth.

Having an annual calendar with a divinely revealed direction through the years and not just a birth-death-rebirth annual cycle of nature makes the Messianic story unique and something far beyond the imagination of pagan religions.


What about the Passover Seder?

I am grateful to Geri Ungurean, a Jewish Christian, for mentioning the video below on her blog. The Last Supper as recorded in the Gospels and reenacted by the early Messianic believers may be the origin for the Passover Seder. Such a ritual would be needed after the destruction of the temple. Those at the table in the video were discussing such a view from Israel Jacob Yuval in his paper, “The Haggadah of Passover and Easter“. For those who want to know more about Haggadah see chabad.org, a Jewish site.

As I see it the Last Supper occurred at the beginning of the 14th of Abib, the day of Passover after sunset. After the meal they went to the garden where Yeshua was arrested. Before the end of the day with the coming sunset, Yeshua died and was buried. Yeshua fulfilled the Passover by becoming the sacrificial lamb.

At the moment I am concerned with reconciling Matthew 26:17 with John 13:1. Did the Last Supper occur after Passover on the first day of Unleavened Bread (Matthew) or at the beginning of Passover (John), the day before that? Justin J. van Rensburg translates Matthew 26:17 as And a former day of Pesach [Passover], the talmidim came and said to him, “In what place do you want that we prepare the Pesach?” which would resolve my concern if the Hebrew manuscript he was using from the Vatican Library is an authentic copy of the original Hebrew autograph.


Weekly Parashah Readings
Parashah: Passover Day 8, 22 Nissan, 5782 – April 23, 2022
Torah: Exodus 12:21-51; Numbers 28:16-25
Haftarah: Joshua 3:5-7; Joshua 5:2 – 6:1; Joshua 6:27
Brit Chadashah: Luke 22:7-20; John 1:29-31; 1 Cor 15:20-28
Resources: Chabad, Hebrew4Christians, Weekly Torah Readings, Calendar

Old Golf Course
Old Golf Course

Exploration 84 – Yehováh, Not Yahweh

Some people pronounce the divine name in the Bible represented by the four Hebrew letters, yud-hey-vav-hey, YHVH, יְהוָ֤ה, as “Yahweh”, but is that correct?

The following are some arguments in favor of Yehováh (accent marked on the last syllable to distinguish it from “Jehovah”) as the divine name.

  • Benjamin Andreessen in a recent post to his Hebrew Shalom MeWe group noted that Nehemia Gordon found manuscripts with full vowel pointings and cantillation marks for the divine name Yehováh. He also gives a brief history starting with the Samaritans and leading to Gesenius for why Yahweh might even be considered today as a possible ancient pronunciation suggesting there is not enough evidence to support it.
  • Navah provides an explanation favoring the Yehováh pronunciation and an explanation why the Hebrew letter vav would have been pronounced in ancient times with a “v” rather than a “w” sound as it is done by many Hebrew speakers today. He takes a different view of Gesenius than Gordon does.
  • The following video summarizes Al Garza’s argument for Yehováh.
Jewish Sources for Pronouncing YHVH, Dr. Al Garza

Here are arguments favoring “Yahweh”.

  • Justin J. Van Rensburg created fifteen video responses to Gordon (see the Hebrew Gospels). His arguments are based on “ketiv qere perpetuum” explained in video 3, that some readings of the vowel pointings are gibberish explained in video 5 and a claim that the vav had a “w” pronunciation in ancient times in video 15.
  • Brown-Driver-Briggs constructed vowel pointings for the Yahweh sound, but that assumes the vav had a “w” sound in ancient times and the visible vowel pointings in the Masoretic text were faulty. They also used the JEDP documentary hypothesis to classify the evidence. Since I maintain that Moses wrote most of the Torah, I find what they have to say suspicious.

If anyone has more information, or a strong opinion one way or the other, you are welcome to comment.

There is a third position presented by the International Alliance of Messianic Congregations and Synagogues Steering Committee (One Law, Two Sticks, 1-15-2014, page 10) : The problem with praying to God by His so-called “sacred name,” was that nobody was really quite sure what it was. Some said it was “Jehovah,” while others decided it was “Yahweh,” and there were other forms as well. This position would prefer a title such as Lord or Adonai than a specific name.

Until recently this third position was the one I followed saying “May the Lord bless you” rather than may Yahweh or Yehováh bless you. However, it raises the question: Should I be invoking a title when the Hebrew text offers an explicit name?

This issue concerns me because I have unwittingly believed things that I later wished I had not. Until I read Andreessen discuss the “Yahweh heresy” and its suspected origins in “liberal Theology” I had no problem with the ancient Yahweh pronunciation although I didn’t use it. Now I wonder whether the introduction of Yahweh a couple of centuries ago had been part of a larger deception. I don’t want to be fooled any more.

In the video below Nehemia Gordon provided evidence for the divine name being Yehováh citing 16 rabbis who explicitly stated that the correct vowels were sheva, cholam, and kamatz. He did not find anywhere in the database of historical Jewish documents the name Yahweh (about 29:00 in the video). This is the view I now favor.


Weekly Parashah Readings
Parashah: Tzav 16 Adar II, 5782 – March 19, 2022
Torah: Leviticus 6:1 – 8:36
Haftarah: Jeremiah 7:21-28; Jeremiah 9:22-23
Brit Chadashah: Hebrews 7:24 – 8:6
Resources: Chabad, Hebrew4Christians, Weekly Torah Readings, Calendar

Fallen Palm Branch

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