HOW THE LAW TRANSLATES TO THE NEW TESTAMENT

When the Bible speaks of the law, it is referring to either: (1) the ceremonial laws within the law, or (2) the civil laws within the law, or (3) the Ten Commandments, or (4) all these  collectively.

Also, the New testament sometimes refers to the Law as the whole of the Old testament, and sometimes the words of the prophets. We must determined which is under discussion based on the context. 

Nowhere in scripture, from Genesis to Revelation, were Gentiles ever required to keep the civil or ceremonial laws given to Israel. In fact, Gentiles were forbidden from many things contained in the law because they were outside the covenant.

For example, the law forbade uncircumcised Gentiles from observing the Passover. Gentiles were outside the covenant and were therefore, forbidden, from eating the Passover. If a Gentiles desired to eat the Passover, he had to be circumcised and come under the law of Moses.

This is why Paul tells the Ephesians the following:

Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; that at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world… ~ Ephesians 2:11-12

Paul then tells the Gentiles that they had been brought near to God through the blood of Christ, for God had made Jews and Gentiles one in Christ. Consequently the dividing wall which stood between the Jews and Gentiles, which was the law, had been removed.

The the ceremonial and civil commands within the law were for citizens of the nation of Israel only, and served the purpose of governing their civil life and the order of their worship.

This has been abolished by the death of Christ.

This the ceremonial and civil laws have been taken away by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. The laws regarding pots, pans, different kinds of washings, animal sacrifices, stoning offenders, etc,. has been abolished.

The civil and ceremonial laws were given to facilitate the the moral laws given in the Ten Commandments, and governed Israel’s daily lives and worship.

Even though Jesus died and gave us a new covenant, the things which the Ten Commandments reveal as sin, such as idolatry, adultery, and covetousness are still sins, and the New Testament reveals that God is going to judge the ungodly by this standard.

The New Testament also teaches us that the godly fulfilled the law from their hearts because of the love of God in them.

The only Command not carried over into the New Covenant is the third commandment, which is the Sabbath.

The Sabbath, played a large role in Israel’s ceremonial law, and civil laws.  The New Testament teaches that the Sabbath was a foreshadowing of the rest we have in God, through Jesus Christ.

Many people who make the Sabbath an issue have never actually studied the Sabbath in scripture, and would likely miserably fail a pop quiz regarding the Sabbath.

John tells us that Jesus broke the Sabbath – that will mess with your theology if you dared to believe it. Even though Jesus broke the Sabbath, he fulfilled it – that will really mess with your theology.

For this reason the Jews tried all the more to kill him, because he not only broke the sabbath but he also called God his own father, making himself equal to God. ~ John 5:18

Jesus wasn’t a servant to the Sabbath. The Sabbath was his servant. When the Sabbath becomes about legalistic rules, we become it’s servant, and this was never God’s intent.

God gave the Sabbath to Israel for multiple reasons, and all these are in the Old Testament.

1. The Sabbath was a sign of God’s covenant with Israel.
2. The Sabbath was a gift of rest because they had been slaves in Egypt, under hard labor.
3. The Sabbath was a reminder that their God is the creator, the only true God.

God rested from all his works of creation on the 7th day, and he therefore commanded Israel to keep the Sabbath, because he alone is the one true God the creator of Heaven and Earth.

Israel’s Sabbath was a memorial to God’s finished work of creation.

Though Israel observed the Sabbath, as a day, they never entered the true rest that God had prepared for them: a rest that had been predestined before the foundation of the world. 

The true rest for God’s people is not found in a day of the week.  It’s found in a person, Jesus Christ, who is the one to whom the Sabbath command pointed. A person can keep the Sabbath day, but if he isn’t free from sin, and if his heart is cut off from God, he has no true rest.

The rest that God desires for his people is not found in a day, but in a person, and that is why Paul tells the Colossians to let no man judge them regarding the Sabbath. It was only a shadow, and the fulfillment of it is found in Christ!

That is how the law translates to the New Testament.

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GOOD PRACTICES FOR BIBLICAL INTERPRETATION

You cannot extract a Biblical verse, link it with another verse in another part of scripture, and use those texts to project your belief, and be right.

Every text belongs to a context.

For example, I could say, “I’ve done nothing wrong. I wasn’t even there when the the money was stolen. I was on vacation.”

Imagine is this statement was broken down into verses, and verse one said, I’ve done nothing wrong.

If you were to extract those words to make the claim that I am referring to my whole life, you would be quoting my words out of context. I wasn’t talking about my entire life. I would have been referring to a single incident where money would have been stolen.

Yet this is exactly how so many have been conditioned to approach scripture. It is for this reason that people don’t know scripture, and many get entrapped by foolish and harmful teachings of men.

If you want to get the most out of scripture, study the context. Here are 3 helpful tips for you:

1. Seek to understand what the verse means within the flow of thought the writer is communicating. This is the immediate context.

2. Seek to understand what the rest of scripture has to say about the same topic.

3. Seek to understand how the truth communicated in the text fits with the whole counsel of scripture.

Now here is an example: If I am studying the wrath of God, I want to know why the wrath of God is mentioned in the text (why God is wrathful in the text) and to whom God’s wrath is directed in the text, etc.

Secondly, my understanding of the wrath of God in this text must harmonize with what other texts have to say about the wrath of God. If it doesn’t I am misunderstanding the text.

Thirdly, how does my understanding of God’s wrath harmonize with the other attributes of God reveled in scripture.

If I follow this practice, I will have good theology about the wrath of God.

I will know the following:

(1) The whole counsel of scripture doesn’t teach me that God is an angry wrathful being. God is loving, merciful, and kind, and he expects me to be loving, merciful, and kind. Vengeance belongs to him. God alone can be wrathful and righteous at the same time. The wrath of man does not demonstrate the righteousness of God. Therefore. I cannot use any text regarding God’s wrath as a crutch to display my personal hate. This is what the Westboro Baptist Church has done, and why their actions are ungodly, and do not represent the gospel of Christ.

If you don’t know who they are, google their name.

(2) Though God is loving, some things do make him angry.

(3) The things that incur God’s wrath are things that are wicked and evil in his sight, such as idolatry, rape, etc. Yet, all these things are forgivable by God if a person repents. Though people provoke God’s wrath with evil things such as violating other people, God is very merciful and often gives them space to repent before judging them.

God is the righteous judge and knows exactly what he is doing in his dealing with all people.

Remember these three principles of interpretation, mentioned below, and you will be on your way to go healthy, Bible study habits.

(1) Context – What is the author talking about?
(2) Topic – What does the balance of scripture teach about the same topic?
(3) The whole counsel of scripture – How does it harmonize with all other truths revealed in scripture?

THE BLOOD OF THE PASSOVER LAMB

The word Passover comes from the Hebrew word pesach. According to Wilson’s Old Testament Word Studies, one of its meanings is to ward off a blow.

On the night that God delivered Israel from Egyptian bondage, the blood of the passover was their token of God’s mercy and grace.

And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt. ~ Exodus 12:13

God’s promised was to pass over the people when he saw the blood.

For the Lord will pass through to smite the Egyptians; and when he seeth the blood upon the lintel, and on the two side posts, the Lord will pass over the door, and will not suffer the destroyer to come in unto your houses to smite you. ~ Exodus 12:23

Notice that the context of God passing over the door is not passing by but passing over. In other words, God was promising to overshadow or guard the entryway where the blood was applied, to ward off the blow of the death angel.

The blood of the Passover lamb was to be applied on the lintel (over the top of the door,) and on to the two sides of the door. The Israelites were instructed to stay inside where the blood had been applied. God’s promise was: “when I see the blood, I will passover you.”

The blood applied to the lintel (the top of the door) speaks to our vertical relationship with God above. Christ died to reconcile us to God.

The blood applied to the two side posts speaks to our horizontal relationship with our fellow man. 1 John tells us, “if we walk in the light, as he is in the light we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of his Son, Jesus Christ, cleanses us from all sin.” ~ 1 John 5:7

The door represents the place of entry. When we stay under the blood of Christ, the Lord’s presence will keep the door of our heart and life..

Each family’s house was responsible to have the blood applied, and no one was allowed to go out from his house. Likewise, each of us is responsible for appropriating and staying under the blood of Jesus Christ.

1. No one was too good.
2. No one was too bad.
3. The blood delivered all who applied it.

GOD’S GENERALS?

There is a belief within the Charismatic sect of Christianity that claims that certain ministers (usually those with large followings) are God’s generals.

I recently heard a minister tell about a “supposed supernatural experience” he had in which he was introduced to the archangel Michael. Supposedly this man was introduced to the archangel, by Jesus, as “General So and so.”

I chose not to mention the minister’s name.

Supposedly the minister was given a “warfare strategy” which he demonstrated. He seriously looked into the camera and gave a quite interesting “shout.”

The older I get, the more I laugh.

The truly sad part of this is that so many will fall prey to things like this. Many have been conditioned to exalt men, and in their exaltation of men, they seek out those who have had “supernatural experiences.”

Someone else made the following observation regarding the minister’s experience:

“Paul of the New Covenant didn’t get a new doctrine or military strategy from Michael the Archangel when they were slaughtering new believers. Beware of visitations from Angels that provide new doctrine. New Movements and new religions are built (and were built in the past) on these kind of visitations.

This is well said, and this is why we need to follow the scriptures for our doctrine regarding those who lead in ministry.

In his Pastoral epistles, (the letters to Timothy and Titus) Paul gives the qualifications for those who should be leaders in ministry. Never once does Paul mention visions, or supernatural experiences as a qualification for ministry.

Paul’s lists of qualifications are those who are established in godly character, with integrity, and who are well respected among unbelievers so as not to bring a reproach on the gospel.

Referring to ministers as “generals” because they have garnered large followings with their claims of “divine revelation” and “supernatural experiences” is not a Biblical practice, and it is doctrinally unsound.

If anyone in the history of the church were deserving of such a title, it would have been the apostles who walked with Jesus, along with men like Paul. Yet these men did not view themselves as generals, but as servants of God, because this is what they had been taught by Jesus.

Consider the following from the gospel of Matthew:

25 But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them.

26 But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister;

27 And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant… ~ Matthew 20:25-27

Ironically, many of the “great general ministers” have people serve them, and Jesus plainly says, “this shall not be so among you.”

Those who are great in the kingdom of God see themselves as servants, and not as generals, and the true servants of God are recognized by their character rather than their supernatural experiences.

CONTEXT IS EVERYTHING

Did you know that citing part of a text isn’t necessarily citing the Word of God? Only when you cite the scriptures in the proper context are you speaking the Word of God from scripture.

For example, there is a verse in Isaiah 45 which says the following:

Thus saith the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, and his Maker, Ask me of things to come concerning my sons, and concerning the work of my hands command ye me. ~ Isaiah 45:11

When I ran with the Word of Faith camp, I heard this verse preached as proof that we could give God commands. I am almost certain I may have parroted that a time or two in the the distant past.

Yet this verse isn’t at all telling people to give out orders to the Most High. Contextually, God is basically saying to the people, “who are you to command me?”

Here is verses 10-12 from the NLT which has done a good job translating this:

How terrible it would be if a newborn baby said to its father,
‘Why was I born?’
or if it said to its mother,
‘Why did you make me this way?’”

11 This is what the Lord says—
the Holy One of Israel and your Creator:
“Do you question what I do for my children?
Do you give me orders about the work of my hands?

12 I am the one who made the earth
and created people to live on it.
With my hands I stretched out the heavens.
All the stars are at my command. ! ~ Isaiah 45:10-12

The Word of God is not telling us to command God by the words “command ye me.” The word of God saying the exact opposite. God is telling us (Israel at the time) that He is God, and though we can inquire (ask questions), we are not to “question” him. He is the Living God, the creator of all. He can do what he wants to do.

There is a vast difference in scripture being used in a way that is not the Word of God, and scripture being used in a way that is the word of God.

Giving out orders to God doesn’t jive with the whole counsel of scripture. No one in the scriptures dished out orders to God. God is to be honored and revered.

Context is everything when desiring to properly understanding the scriptures. 

JESUS, THE SABBATH, AND THE REST OF GOD

PART ONE

If we are to observe the Sabbath, shouldn’t we also do the works which Christ did on the Sabbath? Shouldn’t we follow Christ’s example and do what he did on the Sabbath?

When the New Testament is surveyed we find the following:

• Jesus was condemned by the religious leaders as a Sabbath breaker.
• Jesus never condemned anyone concerning the Sabbath.
• Jesus was actively working on the Sabbath meeting the needs of people.

Christ is the true rest that the Sabbath in the Old Testament foreshadowed. The scriptures testify of Jesus, and in him alone the true rest of the Sabbath.

Some may object to this, claiming that the New Testament doesn’t teach that Jesus is our Sabbath. Ahh, but it does. You may ask, how? Well, each of the feasts given to Israel was in and of itself a Sabbath in addition to the weekly Sabbath.

Consider the following:

And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, In the seventh month, in the first day of the month, shall ye have a Sabbath, a memorial of blowing of trumpets (the festival of trumpets), an holy convocation. Ye shall do no servile work therein: but ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the Lord. ~ Leviticus 23:23-25

Notice that the festival of Trumpets is called a Sabbath, and the Sabbath is repeatedly described as a time in which Ye shall do no servile work therein.”

Also, Leviticus 23 refers to an eight day Sabbath following the feast of Tabernacles:

Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the feast of tabernacles for seven days unto the Lord. On the first day shall be an holy convocation: Ye shall do no servile work therein. Seven days ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the Lord: on the eight day shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the Lord: it is a solemn assembly; and Ye shall do no servile work therein. ~ Leviticus 23:34-36

The feasts which were ceremonial Sabbaths, we just as much  a command to observe under the Law as the seventh day or weekly Sabbaths.

If either is still binding, so is the other.

Yet in the New Testament, the apostle Paul says, Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us.” Passover was a festival Sabbath under the Law, but Paul tells us that Christ himself is our Passover under grace.

In Christ, and in him alone, we have the rest foreshadowed in the Sabbaths, both in the weekly and ceremonial Sabbaths.

PART TWO

In Matthew 12, Jesus and his disciples were walking through some grain fields on the Sabbath day. His disciples were hungry, so they began breaking off some heads of grain and eating them. But some Pharisees saw this and objected. They accused Jesus and his disciples of breaking the Law by harvesting grain on the Sabbath.

The response given by Jesus is very intriguing to me. Jesus does not protest he and his disciple’s innocence in typical fashion. He actually cites two accounts from the scriptures where the breaking of the Sabbath occurred, and He cites these to defend his actions.

In verses 3-4 Jesus says, Have ye not read what David did, when he was an hungered, and they that were with him; How he entered into the house of God, and did eat the shewbread, which was not lawful for him to eat, neither for them which were with him, but only for the priests?

Then in verse 5 He says, Or have ye not read in the law, how that on the Sabbath days the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath, and are blameless?

Profaning the Sabbath (KJV), is a reference to the priests who carried on the service of the Temple on the Sabbath. In other words they were working.

Jesus goes on to say, But I say unto you, that in this place is one greater than the temple. But if ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless. For the Son of man is LORD even of the Sabbath day. ~ Matthew 12:6-8 

Jesus is greater than the Temple because He is the Son of God, and by definition he is greater than those who are blameless for working in the Temple on the Sabbath. He is Lord of the Sabbath.

There is a hint here that we do not need to overlook. Jesus’ Lordship trumps the mere rules and regulations. The Sabbath is not Lord. Jesus is Lord, and the Sabbath serves him and his purposes not the other way around.

Suffice to say, Jesus’s theology really irritated the religious leaders because his understanding of the purpose of the Sabbath wasn’t conducive to their religious bondage.

Now, in John 5 we have another interesting set of events. During one of the Jewish feasts Jesus went to the pool of Bethesda and healed a man who had been sick or infirmed for 38 years. This healing by Jesus happened on the Sabbath and this infuriated the religious Jews.

And therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus, and sought to slay him, because he had done these things on the Sabbath day. But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work. Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the Sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God. ~ John 5:16-18 

First, Jesus actually claims that his Father, God, was working on the Sabbath as the defense of why he healed the man on the Sabbath. Jesus says, “My Father worketh  hitherto, and I work.” 

Secondly, John (the Gospel writer) doesn’t say Jesus was falsely accused of breaking the Sabbath, John says he broke the Sabbath and claimed that God was His Father.This is a real problem for those who point the finger at others as lawless for not keeping all the rules according to their standards.

In Luke 13, as Jesus was teaching in a synagogue on the Sabbath day, he saw a woman who had been crippled by an evil spirit. She had been bent double for eighteen years and was unable to stand up straight. The KJV says she had a spirit of infirmity. When Jesus saw her, he called her to him, and said unto her, “Woman, thou art loosed from thine infirmity.” Then Jesus laid his hands on her and immediately she could stand straight, and she glorified God.

The ruler of the synagogue became indignant because Jesus had healed this woman on the Sabbath day. He said to the crowd in the presence of Jesus, “there are six days of the week for working, come on those days to be healed, not on the Sabbath.”

Jesus then replied, “You hypocrites! Each of you works on the Sabbath day! Don’t you untie your ox or your donkey from its stall on the Sabbath and lead it out for water? This dear woman, a daughter of Abraham, has been held in bondage by Satan for eighteen years. Isn’t it right that she be released, even on the Sabbath?”

They had no understanding of the purpose for the Sabbath. It’s wasn’t about a legalistic observance to please a Law-driven God. Instead it should have been observed as a gift, for a day, of ret in remembrance of the goodness of the God Israel who is gracious and full of tender mercies and loving kindness. If they had sought God by faith, rather than by the works of the Law  they would understood this.

On another Sabbath the Scribes and Pharisees watched Jesus to see if he would heal on the Sabbath day. They did this because they were looking for the opportunity to find an accusation against him. Luke 6 records this as follows:

On another Sabbath day, a man with a deformed right hand was in the synagogue while Jesus was teaching. The teachers of religious law and the Pharisees watched Jesus closely. If he healed the man’s hand, they planned to accuse him of working on the Sabbath. But Jesus knew their thoughts. He said to the man with the deformed hand, “Come and stand in front of everyone.” So the man came forward. Then Jesus said to his critics, “I have a question for you. Does the law permit good deeds on the Sabbath, or is it a day for doing evil? Is this a day to save life or to destroy it?” He looked around at them one by one and then said to the man, “Hold out your hand.” So the man held out his hand, and it was restored! At this, the enemies of Jesus were wild with rage and began to discuss what to do with him. ~ Luke 6:6-11

The teachers of religious law, and the Pharisees, had no desire to celebrate the man’s healing because their hearts were hardened to the purpose for which the Sabbath was given. They were bound in their legalistic traditions and completely blind to the goodness of God.

Throughout the gospels we have Jesus’ interpretation of the true meaning and purpose of the Sabbath. He taught, healed, worked miracles, and cast out demons, all on the Sabbath day.

According to Jesus, the Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath (Mark 2:27). One translation of Mark 2:27 says, The Sabbath was made to meet the needs of people, and not people to meet the requirements of the Sabbath.

The Sabbath ought to be about finding rest in Jesus and abiding in Him. He is the true rest that we are all looking for and in Him alone there is the true Sabbath rest.

Jesus met the needs of the people on the Sabbath and in meeting their need they experienced their true Sabbath rest and that is the rest that is found in him alone.

All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, except the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him. Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. ~ Matthew 11:27-30

PART THREE

In Isaiah 1:13 God referred to backslidden Israel’s observance of the Sabbath and feasts as worthless assemblies because they were full of iniquity in their hearts towards God and in how they treated others. It is how we treat one another that really matters to God.

We love him, because he first loved us. If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also. ~ 1 John 4:19-21

Backslidden Israel was in rebellion against God and doing those things which were detestable to him. In their rebellion they had forsaken those who were the most feeble and vulnerable among them. They were far from being a nation that demonstrated mercy and true justice, therefore God sent them into exile. They became so rebellious towards God and repulsive in his sight that God said to Jeremiah “Even if Moses and Samuel were to stand before me, my heart would not go out to this people.” And through Isaiah the prophet God refers to them as “you rulers of Sodom and people of Gomorrah.”

Hear the word of the LORD, you rulers of Sodom; listen to the instruction of our God, you people of Gomorrah! “The multitude of your sacrifices— what are they to me?” says the LORD. “I have more than enough of burnt offerings, of rams and the fat of fattened animals; I have no pleasure in the blood of bulls and lambs and goats. When you come to appear before me, who has asked this of you, this trampling of my courts? Stop bringing meaningless offerings! Your incense is detestable to me. New Moons, Sabbaths and convocations— I cannot bear your worthless assemblies. Your New Moon feasts and your appointed festivals I hate with all my being. They have become a burden to me; I am weary of bearing them. When you spread out your hands in prayer, I hide my eyes from you; even when you offer many prayers, I am not listening. Your hands are full of blood! Wash and make yourselves clean. Take your evil deeds out of my sight; stop doing wrong. Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow. “Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool. If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the good things of the land; but if you resist and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword.” For the mouth of the LORD has spoken. ~ Isaiah 1:10-20

The Sabbath never was about the day of the week. It is about the ways of God which is mercy, justice, and faith, which Jesus referred to as the weightier matters of the Law.

God gave the Sabbath to Israel to remind them that they were at one time slaves to the Egyptians and he had delivered them from oppression so that he could to bring them into their promised rest. He also commanded them to treat their servants with the same kindness that they had received from the Lord.

Keep the sabbath day to sanctify it, as the Lord thy God hath commanded thee. Six days thou shalt labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, nor thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thine ox, nor thine ass, nor any of thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates; that thy manservant and thy maidservant may rest as well as thou. And remember that thou wast a servant in the land of Egypt, and that the Lord thy God brought thee out thence through a mighty hand and by a stretched out arm: therefore the Lord thy God commanded thee to keep the sabbath day. ~ Deuteronomy 5:12-15

The Sabbath command was not about the day only, instead it is about people whom God loves and wants to bring out of oppression as Jesus said of the woman in Luke 13, “ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan hath bound, lo, these eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath day?”

The Pharisees of Jesus’ day were more concerned about the letter of the Law, than God’s intent of setting people free from oppression. The letter of the Law in the hard hearted does not reveal God’s heart.

It is Jesus who reveals the Father. Jesus brought the true revelation of the Father that those who were in bondage to the letter of the Law did not know. When people attempt to enforce the letter of the law without mercy and grace, they only promote bondage and death.

The religious leaders of Jesus’s day put all kinds of restrictions on people with the letter of the law because they did not know the Father. And since they did not know the Father, they did not understand the heart or intent of the giving of the Sabbath. 

The Sabbaths and the feasts which God gave to Israel were intended to reveal HIM and his glorious, and redeeming power. All the feasts point to him and his love for his people, but the religious leaders of Israel were blind, and did not even recognize him when he walked among them in the flesh.

PART FOUR

I have heard the stories of men who have lost their jobs because they refuse to work on the Sabbath and others who can’t find a job because they refuse to work on the Sabbath. This has caused much grief to their families and put some of them in real financial straits.

Is this really what God intends?

Is this God’s intended result for those who keep the Sabbath? Is it right in the eyes of God for a man to neglect his family in order to keep the Sabbath?

If those who claim to be Torah Observant would actually and prayerfully read the dialogue between Jesus and the religious leaders of his day, they would discover that Jesus does not support their interpretation of the Sabbath.

It is right and godly to do that which is good on the Sabbath, and providing for your family qualifies as doing right and good.

On the other hand, it is wrong to attack the Sabbath itself by attempting to refute it simply because some have abused it. You cannot refute the Sabbath because there is absolutely no scriptural grounds for refuting the Sabbath.

Now, read carefully, and don’t misunderstand what I just said. You may refute the legalistic interpretation of the Sabbath as Jesus did, but you can’t refute the Sabbath with scripture. The Sabbath was ordained by God in Genesis 2:2-3 and it is a part of the Biblical narrative. It’s how the Sabbath is understood, or misunderstood, that needs to be addressed.

When the Sabbath becomes about pleasing a rules driven God rather than about a beautiful and personal relationship with God in Christ, then people go into error.

The first ever Sabbath in scripture is recorded in Genesis 2:2-3. God rested on the seventh day and sanctified it. This was God’s Sabbath and it was a day which God sanctified.

Exodus 20:10-11 and Exodus 31:16-17 tells us that God later commanded Israel to keep the Sabbath because he had rested on the Seventh day.

From Adam until Moses, there is no recorded Sabbath command for man. The only Sabbath is the one mentioned in Genesis 2:2-3, the seventh day in which God rested from his work.

As stated earlier, Deuteronomy 5:14-15 reveals one of the reasons God commanded Israel to observe the Sabbath. God gave this command because the children of Israel had been slaves to the Egyptians. Israel was not only to have a day of rest, but their servants were to rest also. We ought to see the heart of God in this. God delivered Israel and gave them a day of rest, something they did not have as slaves in Egypt.

God’s intended purpose was rest and that is the concept that we need to latch on to. If we’ll hear the scriptures with our hearts we will understand that God is in favor of our rest, we’ll understand the heart of God, in Christ, with regards to the giving of the Sabbath. Instead of being bound by the letter of the Law we need to hear what Spirit is saying in view of the person of Jesus Christ.

The Psalmist said, “Sacrifice and offering you did not desire— but my ears you have opened — burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not require. Then I said, “Here I am, I have come— it is written about me in the scroll. I desire to do your will, my God; Your law  is within my heart.”

Sacrifices and offerings were an actual requirement according to the letter of the law. Yet the Psalmist says “sacrifice and offering you did not desire” because the Lord had opened his ears, and consequently he understood that this is not what God truly wanted. The writer of Hebrews quotes these verses in reference to Jesus.

In like manner, God’s desired purpose concerning the Sabbath is not a legalistic observance of a holy day. Instead, it’s intended purpose is rest for our souls, and that rest can only be found in the Lord Jesus Christ.

If a person, technically, keeps the Sabbath after the letter of the Law, yet his soul finds no rest because of worries and cares, has he really kept the Sabbath?

Again, you cannot refute the truth of the Sabbath with Scripture because scripture never refutes it. You can refute interpretations of the Sabbath observance and what it means within the context of New Testament doctrine but scripture does not turn us against it.

There is a beautiful truth within the Sabbath and that truth is discovered in the person of Jesus Christ. When understood in view of the rest which we have in Jesus Christ the purpose for the Sabbath within the Biblical narrative becomes a very liberating. In addition, we ought to learn from the scriptures that observing the technical Sabbath, according to the letter of the law, has never been able to bring God’s people into the rest that God has for them.

The writer of Hebrews addresses this issue telling us that God rested on the seventh day form all his works, and God commanded Israel to keep the Sabbath, because he had rested on the Sabbath day.

The command which God gave to Israel to keep the Sabbath is uniquely tied to the promised inheritance of the land of Israel. Inheritance and rest go hand in hand and both are to be obtained through faith. In Hebrews 3 and 4 the writer of Hebrews speaks of the first generation of Israelites who failed to enter the Promised Land as failing to enter into God’s rest.

Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, To day if ye will hear his voice, Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness: When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years. Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do alway err in their heart; and they have not known my ways. So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into MY REST). ~ Hebrews 3:7-11 

Notice that the writer of Hebrews refers to the first generation of Israelites not entering the promised land as falling short of God’s rest.

When Hebrews 3 – 4 is read in its entirety, we see that the first generation of Israelites did not enter in the Promised Land (God’s rest) because of their unbelief. The writer of Hebrews says this as an exhortation to us with regards to faith. In chapter 4 he speaks of God resting from all of His works on the Sabbath day within the context of exhorting us to labor to enter into that rest.

We are to labor to enter into GOD’S REST for us and THAT REST is in the finished work of God, in Christ Jesus.

For us who are under the new and better Covenant, keeping the Sabbath is all about finding true rest for our souls, by completely trusting in Jesus Christ!

Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it. For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into My rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. For he spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all his works. And in this place again, If they shall enter into My rest. Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief: Again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David, To day, after so long a time; as it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts. For if Joshua had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day. There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief. 

As previously stated, There is a beautiful truth within the Sabbath throughout the narrative of scripture, and that truth is discovered in the person of Jesus Christ. When understood in view of the rest which we have in Jesus Christ the purpose for the Sabbath within the Biblical narrative becomes a very liberating truth.

 

 

DOES ACTS 2 TEACH THAT JESUS SUFFERED IN HELL?

In Acts 2 we find the words, “thou wilt not leave my soul in hell” (v.27) and the words, “his soul was not left in hell” (v.31).

Peter’s sermon in Acts 2:14-36 to his fellow Israelites is the context in which these words were spoken. The question I would like to present here is this: Was Peter communicating to his fellow Israelites that Jesus had suffered in Hell? If so, the surrounding context ought to support this conclusion.

The context to which these words belong is the death, burial, resurrection, & exaltation of Jesus Christ.

First, consider that Peter is citing Psalm 16:8-11 to convince his Jewish brethren that Jesus is indeed the Messiah.

I have set the Lord always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope. For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore. ~ Psalm 16:8-11

The words “thou wilt not leave my soul in hell” are found in verse 10, where the Hebrew word “sheol” is translated as hell.

Throughout the Old Testament, sheol is translated in three ways: 1. the grave, 2. hell, and 3. pit. Both the wicked and the righteous go to sheol (the grave) when they die. Jacob said, “For I will go down into sheol (the grave) unto my son in mourning.” ~ Genesis 37:35

In the New Testament hell is translated from three Greek words.

1. Tartaroo, (translated once) the place of the wicked dead, the place of outer darkness.

2. Gehenna, (translated 12 times) the place of future torment, the lake of fire, i.e. hell fire.

3. Hades, (translated 10 times) the grave, or the abode of the dead, the place of departed souls.

In his first epistle to the Corinthians, the apostle Paul uses the word “hades” in reference to the grave: “O death, where is thy sting? O grave (hades) where is thy victory?” ~ 1 Corinthians 15:22

In Acts 2:27 & 31 the same Greek word, hades, is used as a reference to the grave and not a reference to suffering torment in the regions of the damned.

Consider the following:

1. There is no mention of suffering in hell (i.e., in the place of torment) in Psalm 16 or Acts 2.

2. The sentence structure infers hope and victory:

  • Therefore did My heart rejoice ~ Acts 2:26
  • My tongue was glad ~ Acts 2:26
  • Moreover also My flesh shall rest in hope ~ Acts 2:26
  • Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, ~ Acts 2:27
  • Neither wilt thou suffer (allow) thine holy one to see corruption ~ Acts 2:27
  • Thou hast made known to me The ways of life ~ Acts 2:28
  • Thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance ~ Acts 2:28

The sentence structure infers victory over death by means of the resurrection. Jesus was dead and his soul was not left in the abode of the dead, because God raised him up again. Literally, the scripture is saying, “My flesh shall rest in hope, because you will not leave (abandon) my soul in hell (to the power of the grave).”

In Peter’s sermon, his emphasis is that the body of Jesus did not decay because God raised him from the dead. This is why Peter makes it clear that when David said these words he wasn’t referring to himself but to Jesus.

Notice the following carefully:

Men and brethren let me speak freely unto you of the patriarch David that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulcher is with us unto this day. Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption… For David is not ascended into the heavens, but he saith himself, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, Until I make thy foes thy footstool. Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made this same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ. ~ Acts 2:29-36

Notice that Peter interprets the words regarding the soul of Christ not being left in hell as victory over the grave, rather than torture in the regions of the damned.

Peter tells the people that these words were not referring to David, but to Jesus instead. Now think about it: Do you think that those who were acquainted with this prophecy of scripture and thought it referred to David viewed David as suffering in the torments of Hell? Certainly not!

Why then, should we think this of Christ?

Peter interprets the phrase “thou wilt not leave my soul in hell” as the fulfillment of God’s promise to David that from among his descendants, according to the flesh, God would raise up Christ (the Messiah) to set on his throne forever.

In Paul’s sermon in Acts 13, we find similar language.

And as concerning that he raised him up from the dead, now no more to return to corruption, he said on this wise, I will give you the sure mercies of David. Wherefore he saith also in another psalm, Thou shalt not suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell on sleep, and was laid unto his fathers, and saw corruption: But he, whom God raised again, saw no corruption . ~ Acts 13:34-36

The phrase “Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell” belongs to the promise that the Messiah’s body would not decay in the grave. This is the sure mercies which God promised to David concerning Christ, whom he raised from the dead. It was not God’s promise that Jesus would need to suffer the torments of eternal damnation to redeem us.

Those who teach that Jesus suffered in hell will sometimes teach that Jesus died two deaths; a physical death and a spiritual death. Yet the Bible teaches no such doctrine.

If Jesus would have died in his spirit and suffered in hell, as some teach, the New Testament writers would have laid it out in plain view for all to see, and there would be no need piecemeal a couple of random scriptures together to prove such theories.

The New Testament gives indisputable evidence of the physical sufferings of Christ on the cross and the redemption by his blood.

The physical sufferings of Christ on the Cross, and the purpose for his shed blood are clearly stated throughout the New Testament.

His Body was broken for us:

1 Peter 2:24; John 6:51-57; Ephesians 2:13-18; Colossians 1:20-22; Luke 24:36-40; Romans 8:3; Hebrews 2:9-17; Hebrews 10:5-10, 18-22; 1 Peter 3:18; 1 Peter 4:1; Matthew 26:7-13; 14:8; Luke 22:19-20; John 2:19-22; 1 Corinthians 10:16, 11:23-27.

His Blood was shed for us:

Eph 1:7; Col 1:14; 1 Pet 1:19; Col 1:20; Hebrews 9:22; 10:18-22; Romans 5:9.

Jesus died on the cross for our sins! He did not suffer the torments of hell for our sins.

PREACHING THE GOSPEL FREELY

Did Paul mandate any of the churches under his ministry to give a certain amount? No.

Would Paul have charged for conferences if he were physically living today? No.

Would Paul have merchandised his ministry to generate income so he didn’t have to work? No.

Would Paul have used 45 minutes of a church service to get money out of people? No.

Would Paul have spent the time T.V. preachers spend soliciting funds if he were on television? No.

Would Paul have purchased an 8 million dollar jet so that he did not have to be around common people on a public airline? No.

In his own words, Paul says the following:

I have coveted no man’s silver, or gold, or apparel. Yea, ye yourselves know, that these hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me. I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said It is more blessed to give than to receive. ~ Acts 20:33-35

Paul applied the words of Jesus, “it is more blessed to give than to receive,” to his physical labor from his occupation. He did not to apply it to coaxing people to give till it hurts in the offering plate.

Regarding the preaching of the gospel, Paul says:

What then is my reward? [Just this:] that, when I preach the gospel, I may offer the gospel without charge [to everyone], so as not to take advantage of my rights [as a preacher and apostle] in [preaching] the gospel. ~ 1 Corinthians 9:18 (AMP)

Paul declares that his reward was that of preaching the gospel without charging the people.

In 2 Corinthians Paul says, Have I committed an offence in abasing myself that ye might be exalted, because I have preached to you the gospel of God freely?

Paul was upset with how the Corinthians were allowing false apostles to take advantage of them and take from them financially. Since Paul did not charge for his ministry, the Corinthians neglected to minister to his needs by free will offerings and allowed false apostles to take advantage of them.

Paul then says “I robbed other churches, taking wages of them, to do you service.”

Paul did not mean this literally, but figuratively, to get a point across because other churches had helped where the Corinthians were negligent.

Paul continues:

And when I was present with you, and wanted, I was chargeable to no man: for that which was lacking to me the brethren which came from Macedonia supplied: and in all things I have kept myself from being burdensome unto you, and so will I keep myself. As the truth of Christ is in me, no man shall stop me of this boasting in the regions of Achaia. ~ 2 Corinthians 11:9-10

Notice that Paul says, he was “chargeable to no man” and that he would not be a burden to them. This is a reference to not being a financial burden. Paul then says, “no man shall stop me of this boasting in the regions of Achaia.”

Paul graciously received the help of those who ministered to his needs, but Paul did not burden people with his ministry. He did not demand a certain percentage. He did not use gimmicks. He did not make vain promises, or twist the scriptures to provoke people to give.

He preached the gospel freely and God took care of him. Sometimes by his occupation as a tentmaker, and sometimes by the generosity of those who gave freely from the heart to minister to his needs.

REDEEMED FROM THE CURSE OF THE LAW

THE CURSE OF THE LAW 

The Book of Numbers covers the 40 years of Israel’s miserable existence in the wilderness after the exodus from Egypt. God dealt with them harshly at times because they worshipped other gods from their heart and would not trust him to bring them into the land he swore to their fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

Numbers is a book that is almost entirely void of any blessing from God. For forty years God endured the first generation of Israelites in the wilderness so that he could fulfill his promise to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob by bringing the second generation of Israelites  into the Land of promise.

After God swore in his wrath that they would not enter his rest, they wandered in the wilderness for 40 years until that first generation of Israelites had passed.

The book of Deuteronomy covers the last week, or so, of the life of Moses before the second generation of Israelites entered into the Promised Land. Deuteronomy literally means the second giving of the Law, and covers Moses’ instructions for them concerning how they were to live in the land after they took possession of it.

The instructions given by Moses were written in a book that contained the full terms of the Covenant with the blessings and the curses. This book is called the Law of Moses and it was placed in a side compartment of the Ark of the Covenant.

This book of the Law is not to be confused with the Ten Commandments which had been given at Mount Sinai 40 years prior, and kept inside of the Ark, directly under the Mercy Seat.

The book of the Law, aka the Torah, is referred to as the Law of Moses some 23 times throughout the scriptures by the following witnesses:

  • Joshua (Joshua 8:31, 32 and 23:6).
  • Daniel (Daniel 9:11, 13).
  • Luke (Luke 2:22 and 24:44).
  • Paul (Acts 13:39 and 28:23; 1 Corinthians 9:9).
  • The Pharisees (Acts 15:5).
  • The author of the book of Hebrews (Hebrews 10:28).
  • The author of the book of 1 Kings (1 Kings 2:3).
  • The author of the book of 2 Kings (2 Kings 14:6 23:25).
  • The author of the book of 2 Chronicles (2 Chronicles 23:18 and 30:16).
  • The author of the book of Ezra (Ezra 3:2 and 7:6).
  • The author of the book of Nehemiah (Nehemiah 8:1).
  • Jesus and God, I saved the best for last (John 7:23, Malachi 4:4).

The Torah, or Law of Moses, served as a witness against the people of Israel because God knew they were stiff necked and would eventually forsake him and seek after other gods.

And it came to pass, when Moses had made an end of writing the words of this law in a book, until they were finished, That Moses commanded the Levites, which bare the ark of the covenant of the Lord, saying, Take this book of the law, and put it in the side of the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God, that it may be there for a witness against thee. For I know thy rebellion, and thy stiff neck: behold, while I am yet alive with you this day, ye have been rebellious against the Lord; and how much more after my death? Gather unto me all the elders of your tribes, and your officers, that I may speak these words in their ears, and call heaven and earth to record against  them. ~ Deuteronomy 31:24-28

This was Israel’s covenant, and it was ratified by the declarations of both the blessings and the curses after the Israelites entered the Promised Land.

Scripturally speaking, there is no such thing as being under the law without being under its curse as well. That is why Paul warned the Galatians that if they attempted to seek right relationship with God through the Law, they would consequently be under the curse of the law.

In the language of scripture, Christ redeeming us from the curse of the Law, is the equivalent of being delivered from the law, entirely.

The actual terms of the covenant are given in Deuteronomy 27-30, and it is impossible to separate the Law Covenant given to Israel from the curse contained therein.

God promised the descendants of Abraham that he would bless them if they would keep his covenant and obey his voice. Yet God warned the children of Israel that if they did not keep his covenant and obey his voice, he would judge them and send the curse upon them. The curse would result in the Israelites being exiled from their inheritance in the land, and they would become servants to other nations.

Israel replied with “Amen” to the curses (Deuteronomy 27:15-26). Eventually Israel inherited the curse and was judged. This resulted in their becoming servants to other nations.

After the reign of King David and King Solomon, during the reign of Solomon’s son King Rehoboam, Israel was divided into two Kingdoms. The 10 northern tribes became known as Israel, and the southern tribes of Judah and Benjamin were known as Judah or the Jews.

The northern tribes were ruled by a series of wicked Kings and eventually they were taken captive by the Assyrians in fulfillment of the curse. Later Judah was carried away by the Babylonians in fulfillment of the same curse.

God had plead with the leaders of Israel and Judah through the prophets but they refused to return to him fully and to do that which is right in his sight. They continued to resist and would not obey His voice. As promised, God’s judgment came and all Israel was exiled into captivity.

During the exile of Judah (the Babylonian captivity) the prophet Daniel began seeking the Lord for understanding regarding the prophecies given to Jeremiah regarding the captivity.

In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of the seed of the Medes, which was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans; In the first year of his reign I Daniel understood by books the number of the years, whereof the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah the prophet, that he would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of JerusalemAnd I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes… ~ Daniel 9:1-3

As Daniel sought God, he repented for the sins of his people, and acknowledged that the curse spoken of in the law of Moses had been poured out on the nation. 

Yea, all Israel have transgressed thy law, even by departing, that they might not obey thy voice; therefore the curse is poured upon us, and the oath that is written in the law of Moses the servant of God, because we have sinned against him. And he hath confirmed  his words, which he spoke against us, and against our judges that judged us, by bringing upon us a great evil: for under the whole heaven hath not been done as hath been done upon Jerusalem. As it is written in the law of Moses, all this evil is come upon us: yet made we not our prayer before the LORD our God, that we might turn from our iniquities, and understand thy truth. Therefore hath the LORD watched upon the evil, and brought it upon us: for the LORD our God is righteous in all his works which he doeth: for we obeyed not his voice. ~ Daniel 9:11-14

During this time of prayer and fasting, Daniel discovered by relevelation from the angel Gabriel that the  70 years of exile, had a two-fold meaning.

First, the Jews would serve the full 70 years in Babylon, then the exile would be over and the people could return to their home land. Secondly, there was a decree, not of 70 years but 70 weeks of years which were determined upon the people, and then the true exile would be over.

The first was natural, the second was spiritual, and God told Daniel exactly when it would all occur.

Before the exile of Judah into Babylon, the prophets had prophesied of a return to the promised land. These prophecies came true when many of the Jewish exiles returned after the 70 years of Babylonian captivity. When the Jews did return from captivity, they bound themselves with a curse.

“The rest of the people—priests, Levites, gatekeepers, musicians, temple servants and all who separated themselves from the neighboring peoples FOR THE SAKE OF THE LAW OF GOD. together with their wives and all their sons and daughters who are able to understand— all these now join their fellow Israelites the nobles, and bind themselves with a curse and an oath to follow the law of God given through Moses the servant of God and to obey carefully all the commands, regulations, and decrees of the Lord our Lord.” ~ Nehemiah 10:28-29 

The Israelites, who returned from the Babylonian captivity bound themselves with a curse because they were dedicating themselves again to God and to the covenant God made with their fathers through Moses.

The curse of the Law was the exile, and under the Old Testament, the land of Israel and especially Jerusalem and the Temple represented the presence of God. Being sent into exile or expelled from the land was a physical parallel to a much greater spiritual truth which is banishment from the presence of God because of our sins.

Though there was a return to the land and eventually a rebuilt temple, the presence of God never dwelt in it again, as he had dwelt in the previous ones (the tabernacle of Moses and the Temple of Solomon), for there was no Ark of the Covenant, which was called the Ark of his presence.

Consequently, the kingdom was never the same again.

God had revealed to Daniel that the 70 literal years of exile had a spiritual parallel of 70 “weeks of year” which would bring an end, not to the physical exile, but the spiritual exile. And through the Messiah, God would bring an end to sin (the domination of sin over God’s people).

24 Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.

25 Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.

26 And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.

27 And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate. ~ Daniel 9: 24-27

According to this prophecy there were 70 weeks of years which were determined for the Jewish people: Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city… ~ 9:24

  • weeks, (Hebrew – Shaw-boo-ah, literally sevened)
  • In prophecy, one day equals a year ~ Ezekiel 4:6; Numbers 14:34
  • Thus 7 days or 1 week equals 7 years.
  • Seventy weeks equal (7 x 70) 490 years.
  • determined, (cut off or separated). 
  • thy people – the Jews, Israel, God’s covenant nation under the law, the captives.
  • The holy city – ancient Jerusalem, in Israel.

The seventy weeks would began at the time of the the command was given to rebuild Jerusalem:

(1). Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city…

The edict of King Cyrus ~ Ezra 1:1-3; Isaiah 44:28

Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying, Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, The Lord God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and he hath charged me to build him an house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Who is there among you of all his people? His God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and build the house of the Lord God of Israel, (he is the God,) which is in Jerusalem. ~ Ezra 1:1-3

Thus saith the Lord, thy redeemer, and he that formed thee from the womb, I am the Lord that maketh all things; that stretcheth forth the heavens alone; that spreadeth abroad the earth by myself; That frustrateth the tokens of the liars, and maketh diviners mad; that turneth wise men backward, and maketh their knowledge foolish; That confirmeth the word of his servant, and performeth the counsel of his messengers; that saith to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be inhabited; and to the cities of Judah, Ye shall be built, and I will raise up the decayed places thereof: That saith to the deep, Be dry, and I will dry up thy rivers: That saith of Cyrus, He is my shepherd, and shall perform all my pleasure: even saying to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be built; and to the temple, Thy foundation shall be laid. ~ Isaiah 44:24-28 df

The edict of Cyrus was reinforced by the decree of Artaxerxes.

Artaxerxes, king of kings, unto Ezra the priest, a scribe of the law of the God of heaven, perfect peace, and at such a time. I make a decree, that all they of the people of Israel, and of his priests and Levites, in my realm, which are minded of their own freewill to go up to Jerusalem, go with thee… And I, even I Artaxerxes the king, do make a decree to all the treasurers which are beyond the river, that whatsoever Ezra the priest, the scribe of the law of the God of heaven, shall require of you, it be done speedily,~ Ezra 7:12-13, 21

Ironically, the Jewish Talmud, which is a very blasphemous against Christ, espouses hate against the words of Daniel 9:24-27. In the Jewish Talmud, there is a Rabbinic curse pronounced against those who seek to learn the meaning of this text: “May the bones of the hands of the fingers decay and decompose, of him who turns the pages of the book of Daniel, to find the time of Daniel 9:24-27, and may his memory rot from off the face of the earth forever.” (Talmudic Law, pg 978, Section 2, Line 28)

(2). Daniel’s prophecy gives the exact time frame of the coming of the Messiah.

Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar. ~ Luke 3:1, 21. Tiberius reigned from 14 A.D. until 37 A.D. This places the baptism of Jesus around 27-29 A.D. This is consistent with the time frame of commands of the rebuilding of the temple after the captivity.

(3) He shall confirm the covenant for one week (7 years – which is the 70th week).

Some have attempted to insert the anti-Christ into Daniel’s prophecy as the one who confirms the covenant (a supposed 7 year peace treaty between the anti-Christ and modern day Israel). Those who do so have created a “gap theory” between the 69th week and the 70th week.

This is nothing but a theory from men who are insistent in promoting a particular end time theology.

The first 69 weeks were consecutive, and if we believe the testimony of the New Testament, we will believe that the 70th week is fulfilled in the four Gospels and the book of Acts. Jesus is the Messiah. He is the one who confirms the covenant for one week.

The covenant mentioned in Daniel which is confirmed, is the covenant by which the transgression is finished, and an end of sins is made, and reconciliation for iniquity is accomplished, and everlasting righteousness is established, and the vision and prophecy regarding Israel and redemption is complete, and the Most Holy ONE, Jesus, is anointed as King!

Jesus is the one who confirms the covenant with Israel in Daniel 9. Not the anti- Christ.  Jesus was sent exclusively to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

During the 3 and half years before his death on the cross, and the three and a half years after his resurrection, the gospel was preached exclusively to the Jews, though some Gentiles did seek to follow him. After the Gospel had been fully preached to the people of Israel, it was sent to the Gentiles.

Daniel declares “He shall confirm the covenant with many for one week.” Paul says the following in Romans: Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers… ~ Romans 15:8

The writer of Hebrews declares: For if the word spoken by angels was steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense of reward; How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him; God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will? ~ Hebrews 2:2-4

The miraculous works of Jesus before his death, and the signs and wonders done by the apostles after his resurrection, was the confirmation to the Jewish people of the New Covenant the Messiah was establishing. 

It is this same Jesus, who also brought an end to the defunct temple service by bringing judgment on the Temple in Jerusalem. Just as Nebuchadnezzar had been God’s agent to punished the Jews during the time of the Babylonian captivity, so the Romans carried out God’s judgment on the then standing temple in 67-70 A.D.

Christ had both redeemed his people, and brought and end to the overspreading of abominations in the temple!

“…and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.”

During the time of Jesus’s earthly ministry, the Jewish people were still a people looking for the full restoration from the captivity. They were looking in hopes for the coming of the Messiah. Yet many were looking for the Messiah to bring a visible kingdom and thought of redemption and deliverance in this way (Luke 19:11). For them, the anticipation of the coming of the Messiah meant freedom from Roman domination.

However, the Gospel came with a jolting shock as the people were called to repentance and warned of the coming judgment upon that which they trusted. God was doing exactly what he had always promised he would do, but in a way many never thought he would do it.

God wasn’t interested in establishing a physical nation, he wanted a spiritual nation: a holy people who would serve him in righteousness and truth, and this cannot be accomplished in the flesh. It must be accomplished by the power of God in the hearts of men, who have been born again and have circumcised hearts.

In Deuteronomy 30, God had told Israel that when they were in exile, he would turn their captivity if they would humble themselves and circumcise their hearts. On the surface this had only a natural application. Yet it had a much deeper spiritual meaning which Paul speaks of in Romans 10.

Paul takes the language of the Torah with regards to the return from exile and applies it to Jesus.

But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above:) Or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.) But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. ~ Romans 10:6-9

Paul, drawing on Deuteronomy 30:11-14, translates it from the natural to the spiritual, from the Law, to Christ.

Being exiled from the land and then gathered again into the land was only a foreshadowing of the true redemption which the Messiah would bring. During the time of Jesus’ earthly ministry, the anticipation of the coming of the Messiah was understood by many of the Jews to be a “national deliverance” and restoration. Yet, God had much more lofty and wonderful plans for His people.

When Jesus came, his mission was nothing like many were expecting. The fulfillment of the promises spoken by the prophets would not be a “national restoration” of a physical kingdom but a “spiritual restoration” and the creation of a “holy nation” in the Kingdom of God – in Christ.

The Son of God came in the flesh to bring an end to the REAL exile for we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. He died for our sins and was raised again and exalted at the right hand of God. This is the fulfilling of God’s promise that the Messiah would be a descendant of David and would sit upon his throne forever. ~ See Luke 1:32; Acts 2:29:36

Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of David (Matthew 21:9), seated on the throne of David (Acts 2:29-36), having the sure mercies of David (Acts 13:34), and He holds the Key of David (Revelation 3:7). He is the root and offspring of David (Revelation 5:5; 22; 16) and in him all the Messianic promises of deliverance and redemption are fulfilled.

Peter preached to the people of Israel concerning Jesus and said, “Yea, and all the prophets from Samuel and those that follow after, as many as have spoken, have likewise foretold of these days.” ~ Acts 3:24

The fulfillment of the words of the prophets, even those prophecies concerning the return from exile comes to fruition in and through Jesus Christ.

Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is everyone that hangeth on a tree: That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. ~ Galatians 3:13-14

ANCIENT ISRAEL’S COVENANT WITH GOD

In scripture, the Israelites had no covenant with God because of their DNA. Israel’s covenant with God was based on physical circumcision and the Law of Moses.

When God established his covenant with Abraham, which was to be passed on to his descendants, God said the following to Abraham:

This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised. And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant betwixt me and you. And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you, every man child in your generations, he that is born in the house, or bought with money of any stranger, which is not of thy seed. He that is born in thy house, and he that is bought with thy money, must needs be circumcised: and my covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant. And the uncircumcised man child whose flesh of his foreskin is not circumcised, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he hath broken my covenant. ~ Genesis 17:10-14

Notice the following points:

1. Circumcision was the token of the covenant.

2. Circumcision was in the male’s flesh. This is why women did not have the same status as men under the first covenant, and why Paul specifically says, there is no male or female in Christ.

3. Not only were Abraham’s physical descendants circumcised, but those who were not of Abraham’s seed were also to be circumcised because the SEAL of the covenant was not DNA, but circumcision.

The nation of Israel, under the Law, did not consist of physical descendants of Abraham ONLY. This is why the modern day Zionist movement is so scripturally out of line. It promotes the ideology that the nation of Israel in scripture was exclusively the physical descendants of Abraham, thus the covenant predicated on physical DNA continues. This is incorrect and the breeding ground for dual covenant theology.

A Jew is a Jew because of the covenant of circumcision and obedience to the law of God.

Now that Christ has come, it is no longer circumcision in the flesh which is the token of the covenant, but circumcision of the heart. It is no longer the letter of the law given to ancient Israel, but the law of God inscribed on our hearts by the Holy Spirit, who sanctifies us and leads us into a godly and holy life, lived from a new heart in Christ.

God’s covenant with ancient Israel in the flesh was never predicated on their DNA. It was always predicated on circumcision and the Law given through Moses: every single time!

4. The uncircumcised was cut off from the people of God.

After the first generation of Israelites exited Egypt, God made a covenant with them at Sinai, where he gave them the 10 Commandments. After this generation of Israelites provoked God’s wrath by choosing not to trust him, God swore in his anger that they would not enter the promised land, with the exception of Joshua and Caleb.

God caused them to wonder in the wilderness for 40 years until they died off and their children become adults.

After the 40 years had expired, the second generation of Israelites were given the same Law by Moses, which the first generation had despised.

The book of Deuteronomy records this second giving of the Law in the final days of Moses, at which time Joshua became the successor to Moses.

The context in Deuteronomy most likely occurred over about a week or so period of time, and happened just prior to Israel’s entrance into the promised land under the leadership of Joshua.

Before this new generation of Israelites could go in and possess the land, they had to be circumcised. We read the following in the book of Joshua:

At that time the Lord said unto Joshua, make thee sharp knives, and circumcise again the children of Israel the second time. And Joshua made him sharp knives, and circumcised the children of Israel at the hill of the foreskins. And this is the cause why Joshua did circumcise: All the people that came out of Egypt, that were males, even all the men of war, died in the wilderness by the way, after they came out of Egypt. Now all the people that came out were circumcised: but all the people that were born in the wilderness by the way as they came forth out of Egypt, them they had not circumcised. For the children of Israel walked forty years in the wilderness, till all the people that were men of war, which came out of Egypt, were consumed, because they obeyed not the voice of the Lord: unto whom the Lord sware that he would not shew them the land, which the Lord sware unto their fathers that he would give us, a land that floweth with milk and honey. And their children, whom he raised up in their stead, them Joshua circumcised: for they were uncircumcised, because they had not circumcised them by the way ~ Joshua 5:2-7

The physical circumcision given to Israel was a foreshadowing of that which would come through Christ, namely, circumcision of the heart.

And just as the ancient Israelites could not enter and possess the promised land without first being circumcised, so we too must undergo a spiritual circumcision (a changed heart) so that we may obey God completely and enter the rest he has for us.