Come to Understanding

They also that erred in spirit shall come to understanding,

and they that murmured shall learn doctrine. — Isaiah 29:24

So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense,

and caused them to understand the reading. — Nehemiah 8:8

June 1, 2010

Volume 9 Number 11

And It Was Winter

When Yahshua (Jesus) was in the temple on the Sabbath day saying that He had existed before Abraham, an angry mob chased Him out of the temple:

58 Yahshua said to them, Truly, truly, I say to you, Before Abraham was, I am.

59 Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Yahshua hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by. -John 8

After Yahshua left the temple, he healed a blind man, opening his spiritual eyes to see and believe that He was the Son of God. The blind man then worshipped Him as one would only worship God:

35 Yahshua heard that they had cast him out; and when he had found him, he said to him, Do you believe on the Son of God?

36 He answered and said, Who is he, Lord, that I might believe on him?

37 And Yahshua said to him, You have both seen him, and it is he that talks with you.

38 And he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshipped him. -John 9

Yahshua told the unbelieving Pharisees in Jerusalem that He is the "door" through which His sheep enter into the pasture. He said that anyone who tries to enter in any other way, except by the door, is a thief and a robber:

7 Then said Yahshua to them again, Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep.

8 All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them.

9 I am the door: by me if any man enters in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. -John 10

While He came to give His life for the lives of His sheep, He said the thieves have come to steal, kill, and destroy:

10 The thief comes not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I have come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

11 I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd gives his life for the sheep. -John 10

He continued, saying:

15 As the Father knows me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. -John 10

His words created division among the Jews. Some of them even said that He had a "devil" (demon):

20 And many of them said, He has a devil, and is mad; why hear you him?

21 Others said, These are not the words of him that has a devil. Can a devil open the eyes of the blind? -John 10

Ironically, it was winter, during the time when the Jews celebrated the "Feast of the Dedication:"

22 And it was at Jerusalem the feast of the dedication, and it was winter. -John 10

This traditional eight-day feast was not ordained by Yahweh, as were the three Great Feasts, the Feast of Unleavened Bread (beginning on the 15th day of the first biblical month), the Feast of Weeks (beginning on the 50th day after the wave offering following the Passover), and the Feast of Tabernacles (beginning on the 15th day of the seventh biblical month (see Leviticus 23; Deuteronomy 16:16)).

This feast began on the 25th Day of Chesleu (the ninth biblical month, often corresponding to December), which was the anniversary of the desecration of the temple by Antiochus Epiphanes, who sacrificed swine on that day honoring the birth of the sun god. After three years, the temple was cleansed and was rededicated, also on the 25th of Chesleu. Judas Maccabees proclaimed a feast on that day, which was to be celebrated every year, much like Yahweh’s Feast of Tabernacles. The day of the temple cleansing was known to the Jews as the "Feast of Dedication," which is called by modern Jews, the "Festival of Lights," and is known as "Hanukkah." [see B. W. Bacon, "The Festival of Lives Given for the Nation in Jewish and Christian Faith," In The Hibbert Journal, A Quarterly Review of Religion, Theology, and Philosophy, L. P. Jacks, et. al., eds. Boston: Sherman, French, & Co., Vol. 15, 1916-1917, pp. 265-270; Josephus, The Works of Josephus, bk. 12, chs. 5-7, William Whiston, trans., Peabody, Massachusetts: Hendrickson Publishers, 1985, pp. 387-394; Apocrypha, 1 Maccabees 4]

The temple of Yahweh had great significance to the people of Israel. Yahweh had shown the first temple to David as a pattern, which Solomon began building four hundred and eighty years after Israel left their bondage in Egypt (see 1 Kings 6:1). It was built on the land in mount Moriah that David had purchased from a Jebusite and where the angel of Yahweh had told David to build an altar unto Yahweh (see 1 Chronicles 21:18):

1 Then Solomon began to build the house of Yahweh at Jerusalem in mount Moriah, where Yahweh appeared to David his father, in the place that David had prepared in the threshingfloor of Ornan the Jebusite. -2 Chronicles 3

It was a place of rich history, where Abraham had demonstrated his total faith in Yahweh. Abraham was willing to obey the commandment of Yahweh to sacrifice his son, Isaac, as a burnt offering:

2 And he said, Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and get you into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell you of. -Genesis 22

Through her faith in the promise of Yahweh, Abraham’s wife, Sarah, conceived a child named Isaac:

11 Through faith also Sarah herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised. -Hebrews 11

Totally trusting that Yahweh would keep His promise through Isaac, Abraham never had to make that sacrifice. Yahweh provided a ram to offer in Isaac’s place (see Genesis 22). Yahweh then confirmed His promise:

16 And said, By myself have I sworn, says Yahweh, for because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son:

17 That in blessing I will bless you, and in multiplying I will multiply your seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and your seed shall possess the gate of his enemies;

18 And in your seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because you have obeyed my voice. -Genesis 22

The promise that Yahweh made to Abraham was fulfilled through Yahshua the Messiah:

16 Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He said not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to your seed, which is the Messiah. -Galatians 3

The seed of the promise, which is Yahshua the Messiah, is not received by our genealogy, but by faith in the Word of God:

8 That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted as the seed.

9 For this is the word of promise, At this time will I come, and Sarah shall have a son. -Romans 9

The magnificent house of Yahweh and the altar for burnt offerings built on mount Moriah, were reminders of the faithfulness of Yahweh to keep His promise:

1 Then David said, This is the house of Yahweh God, and this is the altar of the burnt offering for Israel. -1 Chronicles 22

Although worship in ancient Israel centered around the temple of Yahweh, other customs and traditions were soon introduced that were contrary to His Word. Even Solomon, the builder of the first temple, worshipped other gods besides Yahweh:

6 And Solomon did evil in the sight of Yahweh, and went not fully after Yahweh, as did David his father. -1 Kings 11

For this reason, Yahweh divided Israel into two kingdoms, called Israel and Judah. The temple remained in Judah. Soon, however, the people started trusting in the temple instead of in Yahweh. He told Jeremiah to stand at the gate of the temple and proclaim to the people who entered in:

4 Trust you not in lying words, saying, The temple of Yahweh, The temple of Yahweh, The temple of Yahweh, are these. -Jeremiah 7

Ezekiel saw the abominations of the temple, as twenty five men stood at the door of the temple to worship the sun:

16 And he brought me into the inner court of Yahweh’s house, and, behold, at the door of the temple of Yahweh, between the porch and the altar, were about five and twenty men, with their backs toward the temple of Yahweh, and their faces toward the east; and they worshipped the sun toward the east. -Ezekiel 8

At the Feast of Dedication, Yahshua, God in the flesh, was no longer welcome inside the temple, walking only in that part of it known as "Solomon’s porch:"

23 And Yahshua walked in the temple in Solomon’s porch. -John 10

The true temple of Yahweh is where He lives. When the Spirit of God lives in us, we are His temple:

16 Know you not that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? -1 Corinthians 3

Pray that we dedicate ourselves as a temple to be led by the Spirit of God before it is winter. That is when we can still enter in through the door of Yahshua the Messiah to find green pastures, as He leads us beside the still waters. He lives in us as His temple to restore our souls in righteousness, not for our name’s sake, but for His. David wrote:

1 Yahweh is my shepherd; I shall not want.

2 He makes me to lie down in green pastures: he leads me beside the still waters.

3 He restores my soul: he leads me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. -Psalms 23





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