Blog Scripture Readings for 4-5 Through 4-11-20

Aside

Parashat — (No reading for this week)
Haftarah — (No reading for this week)
Prophets — Isaiah 27:1 – 35:10
Writings — Proverbs 29:1 – 31:31; Job 1:1 – 4:21
Testimony — Acts 3:1 – 7:16

Our new annual Scripture Reading Schedule for 2019-2020 with daily readings is available to download and print. If you are still working through 2018-2019’s Scripture Reading Schedule, the link will still be available on the right sidebar under “Helpful Links”. If you are using a mobile device or tablet, the link may be below, meaning you’ll need to scroll down instead.

Most of this week’s blog discussion points will be on these passages. If you have general comments or questions on the weekly Scripture readings not addressed in a blog post, here’s a place for you to post those. Just use the “leave a reply” link or the “share your thoughts” box below.

The full “Read Through The Scriptures In A Year” schedule, broken down by each day, can be found on the right sidebar under “Helpful Links.” There are 4 sections of scripture to read each day: one each from the Torah, the Prophets, the Writings, and from the Testimony of Yeshua. Each week, the Torah and haftarah readings will follow the traditional one-year reading cycle.

Weekly Blog Scripture Readings for 4/5 through 4/11/2020.

 

When Does a Biblical Day Start?

Recently, I’ve had several inquiries as to when a biblical day starts, with those asking the question asserting that a biblical day begins in the morning, not in the evening as most Hebraic-minded people believe, and as the rabbinic Jews teach. I have answered this question before on this blog, but my previous response didn’t fully address all the main issue, so I have just written this present article to more properly address the issue. — Natan

The Hebrew Yom (Day) Defined

To help us to understand when the biblical day begins, let’s first define the Hebrew word for day which is yom. This will give us a clearer, contextual understanding of how the biblical writers use this word and what its many meanings are and how, and if, it relates to the 24-hour period we normally think of as a day.

According to the The Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament (or The TWOT), the primary meaning of yom is “day, time, year.” Yom can represent a point of time and a sphere of time. It can represent (a) a period of light in contrast to a period of darkness, (c) a period of 24 hours, (c) a general vague time (e.g. time in general, a long time, a season of time, “the day of the Lord,” or years of time), (d) a point of time, (e) a year or years. Reflecting these various meanings, we find yom translated in Scripture (the KJV) using the following English expression:

  • today
  • when
  • in the time of
  • as long as
  • day
  • continually

The TWOT goes on to note that other Hebrew words sometimes translated in Scripture as day include the Hebrew word ohr meaning “light” as well as boqer (or boker) meaning “morning.” Conversely, antonyms of yom include layila meaning “night,” and erev meaning “evening.” The TWOT also notes that the Bible reveals that the day can start in the evening (Est 4:16; Dan 8:14) as well as in the morning (Deut 28:66). This fact adds confusion to the question as to when a biblical day actually begins. We will discuss this below. So, what does this all have to do with the biblical definition of a day? It is important to know this, for how else are we to know when to observe the biblical Sabbath and feast days? 

Does a Biblical Day Begin at Sunset or Sunrise?

The Creation Model

At the creation, Elohim defined a day as beginning in the evening (Gen 1:5, 8, 13, 19, 23, 31). Each of the six days of creation follow this model. Although the phrase “And the evening and the morning were the [first, second, etc.] day” is not found in reference to the seventh day Sabbath (Gen 2:1ff), the parallel linguistic construction of the first six days beginning at evening strongly suggests or hints (a remez) that the same pattern for delineating the beginning point of the seventh day would continue over into the Sabbath. Some argue that daylight or morning begins the day since light was the first thing that Elohim created. While spiritual light (not physical light [i.e. the sun, moon and stars] were created on day four) is what was created on the first day, this in no way nullifies how Scripture defines a physical day in the same creation account. All attempts to say that because spiritual light was created first as proof that the day begins in the morning overlook the plain (or pashat) meaning of the text, which says that “the evening and the morning were the [first, second, etc.] day.” We will discuss this point further below.

The Model of the Biblical Feasts

The fact that evening begins the day in Scripture—a pattern that is clearly laid out in the Genesis chapter one account—is transmitted into the starting times of several of the biblical feasts as well.  

Exodus 12:6—Passover

In this verse we find the command to keep the Passover. We read,

On the fourteenth day of the first month in the evening  [Heb. beyn ha-er’va’im literally meaning “between the evening] is YHVH’s Passover. (adapted from KJV)

We see this same grammatical construction elsewhere (Lev 23:5 and Num 9:3, 5,1. ) plainly showing that the day of Passover is to be kept “between/beyn the evenings/ha-er’va’im,”  that is, between the setting of the sun of one day and the setting of the sun of the next day. This correlates with the Genesis one account that shows that the Bible reckons a day beginning at sunset and continuing until the sunset of the next day.

It must here be noted that confusion often occurs if the reader doesn’t understand that Scripture uses the word Passover to mean two different things. First, the word Passover can refer to the actually day of Passover, that is, the fourteenth day of the first month of the biblical year (Lev 23:5). But the word Passover can also refer the actual lamb that was slaughtered on Passover day (Exod 12:21). While it was slaughtered and roasted on the day of Passover (Exod 12:5–6), the Passover lamb was eaten after Passover day had passed and the next day (the fifteenth day of the first month) had begun the following evening after the daylight portion of the fourteenth day had ended (Exod 12:8). The point of this brief discussion is that just because the Israelites ate the Passover lamb in the evening, this was not the evening of Passover day, which occurred 24 hours earlier when that day begin. By the time they were eating the Passover lamb, Passover day had already ended and they were now eating the lamb at the beginning of the next day (the fifteenth day of the first month), which was the first high holy day (a Sabbath) of the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

Leviticus 23:32—The Day of Atonement

Continue reading
 

Are the King of Babylon, Lucifer and Satan connected?

.

Isaiah 14:12–21, Lucifer. Linking the king of Babylon to Satan can present a hermeneutical problem unless one interprets this passage metaphorically. If so, is there biblical precedence for doing so? Yes, for elsewhere in the Scriptures, Babylon is a metaphor for this world’s anti-Elohim system of which the ultimate spiritual head of that system is Satan himself (Rev 13:2,4 cp. Rev 17:5; 18:1–24; 20:1–3) who is the god of this world (2 Cor 4:4).

The name Lucifer means “morning star,” which is also a name for Yeshua the Messiah (Rev 22:16). This emphasized the fact that Satan as the great counterfeiter and imitator has as his basic strategy the impersonation of Yeshua. After all, in this Isaiah passage, he says, “I will be like the Most High….” To this point, elsewhere we read that Satan comes as an angel of light in attempts to deceive even the saints of Elohim (2 Cor 11:13–15). 

The parallels between Lucifer, the king of Babylon and the end times Man of Sin and Antichrist figure who plays a prominent role in the end times Babylon the Great worldwide system are striking. Moreover, like the king of Babylon, Satan will fall from glory in defeat and will be cast into a pit and into the lake of fire (Luke 10:18; Rev 12:9; 20:1–3, 10).

Isaiah’s taunt of the king of Babylon in this passage goes to the heart of both the king’s and Satan’s rebellion against YHVH,which is pride. Both were attempting to deify themselves as the king of the earth, even as will the case with the end times Man of Sin, Antichrist figure along with the beast and whore systems with which he is aligned as revealed in Revelation chapters 13, 17 and 18.

 

Are we people of unclean lips…like Isaiah?

Isaiah 6:5, Man of unclean [Heb. tamay] lips.Profanity, cursing and swearing—foul and unclean words from the lips of ungodly people—surrounds and overwhelms us like a tidal wave of barnyard manure! Nowadays it’s the norm, not the exception—even for women. This can have an adverse influence on the saint too. 

Like barnacles attaching themselves to a ship or a whale, the bad habit of unclean words can attach themselves to the otherwise righteous saint. The downward, magnetic pull of Baalism is ever with us and is powerful. The upward pull toward Elohim and righteousness…well, that’s another thing—is not always so strong! 

Was this the case in Isaiah’s day as he found himself surrounded by apostate, backslid Israel? Did he struggle with profanity and impure words? Is this why he had to ask YHVH to cleanse his unclean [Heb. tamay] lips? 

Tamay means “polluted, impure or defiled both ethically and religiously.” We must cry out to YHVH to deliver us from the often involuntary habit of profanity and polluted words. By his Spirit, he can and will. 

But, again again, like barnacles on a ship’s hull, this habit often tries to reattach itself to our lips. From time to time, a ship has to have its hull scraped of these pesky and unclean crustaceans, or seek the cleansing waters of a fresh water port. Barnacles can’t survive in fresh water and fall off. Likewise, may the cleansing waters of YHVH’s Word wash our minds and mouths of foul, unclean words that leaven our souls and contaminate our spirit man. 

Here’s yet another example of the struggle against barnacles. Barnacle encrusted whales catapult themselves out of the water not merely to show off, but to knock the barnacles off of them through the slapping action of the water against their bodies. Similarly, sometimes we have to take determined action and cry out to Elohim for his strength to break the curse of the bad habits of unclean words coming from our lips. 

This is part of the deleavening process that we will spend a lifetime engaged in! May YHVH give us help and strength to overcome this tidal wave of evil!

 

Has a coal from Elohim’s altar touched your life?

Isaiah 6:4–7, Coal …from the altar. Which altar in the temple did this coal come from and what did it represent spiritually and prophetically? What deeper truth was YHVH trying to teach Isaiah here? There were two altars in the Tabernacle of Moses: the altar where animals were sacrifice—a symbolic and prophetic picture of Yeshua’s atoning death on the cross, and the incense altar in the holy place. 

The Hebrew word for altar here is mizbeach and can refer to both the altar of sacrifice in the tabernacle’s outer courtyard, and to the altar of incense in the holy place just in front of the veil leading into the holy of holies picturing the throne room of Elohim. If the coal came from the altar of sacrifice, it pictures cleansing from sin by Yeshua’s death on the cross. If the coal came from altar of incense, this coal still came from the altar of sacrifice, which still points to Yeshua’s atoning death. It just adds to the picture the further truth that not only can we not come before our Almighty Father in heaven except through the atoning sacrifice of Messiah, but we must do so with a heart of prayer, praise and worship, since that is what the altar of incense scripturally represents (Rev 5:8; 8:3). 

Through this one event as recorded in Isaiah 6:4–7, we have illustrated a beautiful and encouraging spiritual truth. It is this: Even though Isaiah was a righteous and saintly man, he still fell short of being accepted at the throne of Elohim. Man’s best righteousness is still as filthy rags as Isaiah would write later on (Isa 64:6). But through Yeshua’s atoning work at the cross, and through our acknowledgement of our spiritual lack and through humility, confession of sin coupled with praise and worship, we can still be cleansed by Yeshua’s blood, and made acceptable by the imputed righteousness of Yeshua, which cloth in the robes of his righteousness. HalleluYah!

 

Divine Judgment Upon a Backslid Nation

Isaiah 3:1–5, 12, YHVH…takes away…children…insolent…women rule over them. When YHVH’s judgment comes on a sinful nation, godly leadership and his protection is removed from that nation leaving a moral and spiritual vacuum. When the fear of Elohim is gone, so goes wisdom. With the absence of the wise, foolish people rise up and take over a nation. 

Into this godless vacuum will move ungodly, silly and rebellious youth and feminized male leaders and masculinized female leaders—spiritual Ahabs and Jezebels! Children who are insolent against their parents and elders are proof of the spiritual declension of a nation and YHVH’s hand being taken off that nation and his resulting judgment against it are the result. Isaiah clearly lays out this process in this passage. The cause and effect results were as true then with ancient Judah as they are today with modern America.

Since my youth (growing up in the 1960s and 70s), I have seen children go from acting respectfully to their parents and adults in general (“Yes sir,” “No Sir,” “Mr.” and Mrs.”) to total foul-mouthed disrespect and mocking scorn for older people. Correction and discipline of these rebellious brats has gone out the window, been tossed in the trash can of political correctness. When was the last time you saw a paddle in the school principal’s office? It was the norm in my day. Now such a school leader would be fired and convicted of “child abuse.” Moreover, gender roles, in many cases, have been reversed. The term “house husband” now has common currency. Many women have become masculine and many men have become feminized. As an example of this, names that have been traditionally reserved for the male gender or now popular for girls along with woman smoking cigars, sporting tatoos, men wearing hair buns, earrings, painting their toenails, and the list goes on. Now there’s even gender identity confusion and “gender reassignment” operations. Is it any wonder? 

This process has been horrendously sad and deeply painful for those of us in the older generation to watch, but it is merely symptomatic of a nation that has turned its back on Elohim. We know what things used to be like when families still went to church, there was prayer in schools, patriotism was taught in our institutions of education, mothers raised their children at home, divorce was rare, godly masculinity was a virtue and the fear of Elohim and adherence to biblical values still, to one degree or another, was the norm societally. 

This is much more than looking back and waxing eloquent for the good old days. It’s about mourning for a nation that has lost its moral and spiritual compass and has gone from a God-fearing nation to one that loathes to keep Elohim in its collective, societal conscious, and is too blind by its own pride and self-absorption to recognize that two plus two still equals four.

May YHVH Elohim help us to be children of his light in these times of gross darkness. Do not become weary in well-doing!

 

Israel Is a Sinful Nation Then and Now

Isaiah 1:1–27

Based on this passage in Isaiah, can we see any spiritual parallels between Judah and America (and most other nations, for that matter)? Some might ask what a prophecy given by a Hebrew prophet to the Jewish nation some 2600 years ago has to do with us today? To answer that question we would pose several questions: Have YHVH’s standards of righteousness and law and order ever changed? Is sin still sin today as it was then? Is there a day coming when YHVH will hold humans accountable for their sinful action? Is there a heavenly judgment seat before which all must eventually appear? Is there a day coming at the end of the age when Elohim will pour out his wrath and man will be punished for his sins against his Creator? With these things in mind, let’s see if the sinful activities of humans have changed much in 2600 years since Isaiah’s time.

Isaiah 1:2, They have rebelled against me.What is the scriptural definition of rebellion? Rebellion against what? For the concept of rebellion to be relevant and applicable there has to be a standard or rule of law the violation of which constitutes rebellion. What is YHVH’s standard of righteousness by which he will judge nations and individuals? Has that standard ever changed? Make no mistake, YHVH’s standard of righteousness is his immutable Word, and by it he will judge all humans. There is no escaping this fact. (Read John 12:48 and Deuteronomy 18:19.)

Isaiah 1:3, The ox knows its owner. The “Beasts of the Field Explained.” Apostasy and spiritual degradation leads to one place: a complete loss of one’s spiritual identity. When one forgets one’s spiritual heritage and relationship with their Creator, they becomes, in a sense, like an animal, maybe even worse. (See 2 Pet 2:12 and Jude 1:10.) 

As an interesting side note, Scripture prophesied that Israel would become animalistic in its apostate condition as it sought to imitate the heathen nations around it. As a result and in judgment, YHVH would allow Israel to be taken over and swallowed up by the same nations, which Scripture refers to by the Hebraism or Hebrew poetic metaphor “the beasts of the field.” In Deuteronomy 7:22, we see that this same Hebraism represent the nations of the earth from which Israel was to stay separate. (See also Jer 12:9; 27:6; Dan 7:3.) The children of Israel were scattered or exiled and became “meat” or prey for all the beasts of the field (Isa 56:9; Ezek 34:5; Hos 2:12). Scripture likens exiled Ephraim (the Northern Kingdom), who fell into idolatry and mixed with the beast (Gentile) nations, to beasts of the field themselves (Hos 2:16–19 cp. Acts 10:12). In the future, YHVH will make a covenant (a marriage betrothal agreement or ketubah) with Israel who had themselves become “beasts of the field” (Hos 2:18; see also Jer 31:31–33 cp. Rom 1:23,18–25).

Can you see America and the formerly Christian West in this? These nations were once a predominately Christian, but now have rejected and scorn their spiritual heritage. What has been the result of this spiritual and moral declension? What is the current state of Christianity in these formerly Western Christian nations? Can we not see how YHVH has been lifting his hand of blessing off of them, and how with their spiritual and moral decline they have been declining economically, goepolitically and culturally?

Isaiah 1:4, A sinful nation.The Word Goy Explained. The word nation is the Hebrew word goy (Strong’s H1471) meaning “gentile”or, in a spiritual sense, “heathen”This is one of a number of passages in Scripture where Israel is referred to as a gentile nation

In the KJV, Goy is translated in the Tanakh as nation 374 times, as heathen 143 times, as Gentiles 30 times, and people 11 times. Whenever the word gentile is used in the KJV it is the word goy. According to Strong’s Concordance, the meaning of goy is “a foreign nation; hence a Gentile; also (fig.) a troop of animals, or a flight of locusts.”According to Gesenius Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon,the word goy means “a people, a confluence of men,” and “contextually in holy Scripture it is used to refer to the other nations besides Israel, the foes of Israel, and strangers to the true religion of Israel.” 

There are times when this word refers specifically to Israel: 

  • The descendants of Joseph in general (Gen 48:19) 
  • The Southern Kingdom of Judah when it forsook Elohim and its covenant with him and became like the surrounding heathen nations (Isa 1:4) 
  • The Northern Kingdom of Israel or Ephraim or Samaria (Isa 9:1) 
  • Israel in general (Isa 26:2; 49:7; Ps 33:12; Gen 12:2; 35:11). 

There are numerous other instances in Scripture where the words goy or goyim (plural) are applied to the descendants of Abraham. Scripture’s use of the term is unbiased and lacks any of the pejorative implications that have been applied to the term subsequently (e.g. Gen 17:4, 5, 6, 16; 18:18; 25:23; 46:3; Exod 19:6; 33:13; Deut 4:6, 7, 8, 34; Ezek 37:22). 

As already noted, goy simply means “people group.” The Greek word ethnos (Strong’s G1484) as found in the Testimony of Yeshua is equivalent in meaning to the Hebrew word goy.

Isaiah 1:4,They have forsaken YHVH.As a society, the West has forsaken its biblical heritage, and has turned its backs on YHVH. Not long ago, a popular bumper sticker read, “God Bless America.” Many want YHVH’s blessing, but how can he bless us when we have become an irreligious, amoral, irreverent, rebellious and hedonistic people? He will not bless wickedness! That bumper sticker instead should read, “Bless God America!” or perhaps even humbly beg, “Please God, bless America.” It is only when we begin blessing him through worshipping him and obeying him that he can then bless us. We will then show him by our righteous actions that we are not forsaking him. The Torah and the Prophets sections of Scripture all reveal that YHVH’s were conditional upon Israel’s obedience to Elohim. Curses were the result of disobedience. This is stated no more clearly than in Deuteronomy 28.

Continue reading