Category Archives: Misunderstood Verses

Do we go to Heaven when we die? What is The Kingdom of Heaven?

We often hear the phrase “He’s in a better place” at funerals. Many Christians believe that they go to heaven when they die. But what does the Bible teach us about this subject? Do we ascend into heaven when we die to be with God?

In a previous study we discovered the meanings of “The Grave” (Sheol/Hades), Lake of Fire (Gehenna) & Tartaroo (Bottomless Pit). While the Lake of fire is the place of torment and destruction(Rev 20:10), the Grave(She’ol/Hades) merely stands for the abode of the dead. The Abyss(Pit) is different from both other places as the Angels who sinned are the ones held here. Hell as we see depicted in popular media and mainline Christianity merely does not exist, and it is quite beneficial for us to understand that the word “Hell” in our English versions can be quite misleading, as all 3 of these 3 distinct places have been called Hell, even though they are vastly different from each other. Now let’s see what the Bible says about Life after Death.

  1. The Dead are asleep and are unconscious of the world of the Living

Psa 6:5 For in death there is no remembrance of thee: in the grave who shall give thee thanks?
Psa 115:17 The dead praise not the LORD, neither any that go down into silence.
Isa 38:18,19 For the grave cannot praise thee, death can not celebrate thee: they that go down into the pit cannot hope for thy truth. The living, the living, he shall praise thee, as I do this day: the father to the children shall make known thy truth.
Ecc 9:5,6 For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten. Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished; neither have they any more a portion for ever in any thing that is done under the sun.
Ecc 9:10 Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.
Job 14:10-15 But man dieth, and wasteth away: yea, man giveth up the ghost, and where is he? As the waters fail from the sea, and the flood decayeth and drieth up: So man lieth down, and riseth not: till the heavens be no more, they shall not awake, nor be raised out of their sleep. O that thou wouldest hide me in the grave, that thou wouldest keep me secret, until thy wrath be past, that thou wouldest appoint me a set time, and remember me! If a man die, shall he live again? all the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come. Thou shalt call, and I will answer thee: thou wilt have a desire to the work of thine hands.
Deu 31:16 And the LORD said unto Moses, Behold, thou shalt sleep with thy fathers; and this people will rise up, and go a whoring after the gods of the strangers of the land, whither they go to be among them, and will forsake me, and break my covenant which I have made with them.
Mat 9:24 He said unto them, Give place: for the maid is not dead, but sleepeth. And they laughed him to scorn.
Joh 11:11 These things said he: and after that he saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep.
Act 7:60 And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.
1Th 5:10 Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.

2. The Dead are mentioned of having a physical Resurrection

Psa 17:15 As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness.
Psa 49:15 But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave: for he shall receive me. Selah.
Job 19:25,26 For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God:
Isa 25:8 He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the LORD hath spoken it.
Isa 26:19 Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead.
Eze 37:12,13 Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. And ye shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves,
Hos 6:2 After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight.
Hos 13:14 I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction: repentance shall be hid from mine eyes.
Dan 12:2 And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.
Joh 5:28 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.
Act 24:15 And have hope toward God, which they themselves also allow, that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust.

3. Resurrection – When and Where?
So it is thus clear that the dead are merely sleeping but will arise with new bodies. But do they arise at different times or at once? Do they arise in Heaven or in His Kingdom? The Gospels, Paul’s Writings and the Book of Revelation give us most of the final clues for this question.

Job 19:25,26 For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God:
Dan 7:27 And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him.
Jer 23:5 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth.
Mat 19:28 And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
Mat 22:31,32 But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.
Joh 11:23-26 Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again. Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day. Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?
Heb 11:39,40 And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.
1Th 4:14-17 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
1Co 15:51,52 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
Rev 5:10 And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.
Rev 20:4,5 And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.
Rev 20:13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.

4. No man has entered Heaven
It is clear looking at the above that all who are dead and asleep will rise at the coming of Messiah. No one receives the promise of Everlasting Life before anyone else. All who rise will enter His Kingdom. It is abundantly clear that no one has ascended into Heaven other than the one who was raised from the Dead – Our Messiah Yeshua! As Peter proclaims at the Day of Pentecost – Not even David has ascended into Heaven. All who are dead await the Trumpet Sound of His Coming.

Joh 3:13 And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.
Joh 1:18 No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.
Pro 30:4 Who hath ascended up into heaven, or descended? who hath gathered the wind in his fists? who hath bound the waters in a garment? who hath established all the ends of the earth? what is his name, and what is his son’s name, if thou canst tell?
Act 2:29,34 Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day…. For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand,

5. Are The Kingdom of God & The Kingdom of Heaven two Different Kingdoms?
The Kingdom of Heaven (Malkuth Shamayim) mentioned exclusively in The Gospel of Matthew is identical to the Kingdom of God mentioned in the other 3 Gospels. A few examples are given below for comparison.

Ex A. Mat 26:29 But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.
Ex A. Mar 14:25 Verily I say unto you, I will drink no more of the fruit of the vine, until that day that I drink it new in the kingdom of God.
Ex A. Luk 22:16 For I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God.
Ex B. Mat 18:3 And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.
Ex B. Mar 10:15 Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein.
Ex B. Luk 18:17 Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein.
Ex B. Joh 3:3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
Ex C. Mat 13:11 He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.
Ex C. Mar 4:11 And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables:
Ex C. Luk 8:10 And he said, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand.
Ex D. Mat 13:31 Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field:
Ex D. Mar 4:30 And he said, Whereunto shall we liken the kingdom of God? or with what comparison shall we compare it?
Ex D. Luk 13:18 Then said he, Unto what is the kingdom of God like? and whereunto shall I resemble it?

This coming Kingdom is said to be established on Earth and not Heaven. The Reason for it to be called “Kingdom of Heaven” is that it is “OF” Heaven, and in its likeness. Daniel speaks of this Kingdom, interpreting the dream of Nebuchadnezzar where the Image made of Kingdoms is broken in pieces by a “Stone” which becomes a Mountain and fills the whole Earth (Dan 2:35).

Dan 2:44 And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.
Dan 7:27 And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him.

This Kingdom “OF” Heaven is Established “ON” Earth, in the Chosen Place that God placed His Holy Name, which is Jerusalem.

Mic 4:1,2 But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it. And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
Jer 3:17 At that time they shall call Jerusalem the throne of the LORD; and all the nations shall be gathered unto it, to the name of the LORD, to Jerusalem: neither shall they walk any more after the imagination of their evil heart.
Jer 23:5 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth.
Mat 6:10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
Act 1:6,7 When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.
Act 3:20,21 And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.
Rev 5:10 And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.
Rev 11:15 And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.

Yeshua is said to have resurrected from Jerusalem and to be returning to the same place.

Act 1:9-12 And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven. Then returned they unto Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is from Jerusalem a sabbath day’s journey.
Zec 14:4-9 And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south. And ye shall flee to the valley of the mountains; for the valley of the mountains shall reach unto Azal: yea, ye shall flee, like as ye fled from before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah: and the LORD my God shall come, and all the saints with thee. And it shall come to pass in that day, that the light shall not be clear, nor dark: But it shall be one day which shall be known to the LORD, not day, nor night: but it shall come to pass, that at evening time it shall be light. And it shall be in that day, that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem; half of them toward the former sea, and half of them toward the hinder sea: in summer and in winter shall it be. And the LORD shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and his name one.

6. Objections and Misunderstood verses
Comparing the overwhelming evidence throughout the Bible, we can see that the Idea of immediately going to Heaven or Hell at death, comes from a few verses that are misunderstood. These verses are addressed below.

A. 2Co 5:8 We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.
This verse is often quoted to show that death will cause us to be immediately present with God. But as we saw above death is a state of sleep. A person who goes to sleep has no knowledge of time. From the moment one sleeps to the moment he/she wakes up, it can be a few minutes, a few hours or a few thousand years – it will all seem the same. One moment you close your eyes. Next moment you are at Yeshua’s Second Coming and the beginning of His Kingdom.
B. 2Co 12:3,4 And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.
Paradise mentioned here and Luke 23:43, as well as Rev 2:7 is the Equivalent of the Garden of Eden mentioned again in Rev 22:2 & 14. This is a Time in the future. So being caught up into paradise is a vision, as Paul himself says it may not be in the body. A similar instance can be seen in Rev 1:10 where John is transported to the Lord’s Day, which is also a time in the future.
C. Luk 23:43 And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.
It is important to note that the Original Greek Manuscripts of the New Testament do not contain any punctuation. Please see how the meaning changes of this verse when the punctuation is placed a little differently. “And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee today, Shalt thou be with me in paradise.”. And even if Yeshua was saying that the thief would be in paradise “today”, it would not be a contradiction if we take the argument in point A into consideration.
D. Joh 14:2,3 In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
The word “mansions” used here gives us the idea of different places in Heaven, and Yeshua preparing a separate mansion for us. But the Greek word used here “Monay” is only seen in 1 more place in the whole of the New testament in John 14:23 where it is translated as “abode”. This is Bridal language of having Communion with one’s Bride. Yeshua as the Bridegroom(John 3:29) is going to prepare all of the necessities before He comes to marry the Bride as we see happening in Rev 19:7. Yeshua is speaking of a future time set in God’s Creation, when He speaks of an abode for His Bride.
E. Luk 16:23-26 And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.
“Abraham’s Bosom” is another phrase used for being collected to the fathers. In other words, Lazarus was deemed worthy of being with his forefathers going back to Abraham. The Rich man was deemed unworthy. The story is told to explain a far greater story and is not a literal retelling of true events.
F. 1Pe 3:18-20 For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison; Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.
One of the most confusing passages in the New Testament, Peter is saying here that the same Spirit that caused Yeshua to rise from the dead was working in Noah, when he(Noah) preached to those who were disobedient and now lie in “prison” as even though they are dead, they will not arise to life. Peter talks of this again in 2Peter 2:5
G. 1Pe 4:6 For this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.
This does not mean that Yeshua preached the Gospel to the dead. Peter explains that the Gospel has been preached to those who were living even before Christ. People such as Abraham who are currently asleep also received the Gospel as we see Paul mentioning in Gal 3:8
H. 2Ki 2:11 And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.
Elijah being transported to heaven is also frequently used to show that people have ascended to heaven. The issue here is that the word used as Heaven here (Shamayim in Hebrew) is frequently translated “sky” as well. In 2Kings 2:16&17, the sons of the prophets say that the Spirit of God may have transported Elijah to some other place and even go looking for him. It is most probable that Elijah was transported to a different place as Elijah sends a letter to King Jehoram afterwards mentioned in 2Chr 21:12. The same sort of transportation of a person is mentioned in Acts 8:39,40 where Philip was ransported from Jerusalem to Ashdod.
I. 1Sa 28:15 And Samuel said to Saul, Why hast thou disquieted me, to bring me up? And Saul answered, I am sore distressed; for the Philistines make war against me, and God is departed from me, and answereth me no more, neither by prophets, nor by dreams: therefore I have called thee, that thou mayest make known unto me what I shall do.
In the last days of Saul, he visits a woman with a “familiar spirit” (Obe in Hebrew) which has the meaning of a whisperer/mutterer/mumbler(Isa 8:19). It is unclear whether Samuel is speaking here or whether it is the woman who is acting as the medium. It is important to note the details of the story. Saul did not see Samuel – The woman explained what he looked like(v14). The prophecy that Saul would die the next day(v19) also does not come to pass, as we see a few days pass between the supposed prophecy (which could have been an instance such as in 1Kin 22:20-22) and his death. It is more likely that Samuel was not brought up from the Grave, but that a lying Spirit spoke through the woman.

7. Conclusion
The Bible is clear that the Kingdom of God and Kingdom of Heaven is one, and that it will happen in the future at the Coming of the Messiah. Everyone who dies in this world simply falls asleep to be resurrected to Eternal Life or Destruction in the Lake of fire. All of us sleep at different times, but we will all wake at the same time at the call of the Trumpet, as followers in Messiah’s footsteps. May it be speedily in our days!

Blaspheming the Spirit and the Sin without forgiveness

What is the unpardonable Sin? Many views and teachings have been proposed to explain what exactly Yeshua (Jesus’ true name) means when He speaks of “Blaspheming the Spirit”. Let’s try to do a quick study on what He would have meant using the Bible as our foundation.

Before we learn about “Blaspheming the Spirit”, it is important for us to understand what “Blasphemy” is.

βλάσφημος – blasphēmos – From a derivative of G984 and G5345; scurrilous, that is, calumnious (against man), or (specifically) impious (against God): – blasphemer (-mous), railing. ( G984 – βλάπτω – blaptō – A primary verb; properly to hinder, that is, (by implication) to injure: – hurt. ) ( G5345 – φήμη – phēmē – From G5346; a saying, that is, rumor (“fame”): – fame. )

Blasphemy could be seen as “Hurting(Blapto) the Fame(Pheme)” of a person, a document such as the Law, a faith or a place such as the Temple, but has been generally associated with God throughout the New Testament. We see some instance of the word below being translated as blasphemy against Moses(God’s Law also called Torah), God, God’s Temple, Heavenly beings, Name of God, His Doctrine, The Word of God, Paul and his teaching. It is also translated as “speaking evil of” as well as “defamed” which maybe the closest translation.

Act 6:11 Then they suborned men, which said, We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses, and against God.
Act 6:13 And set up false witnesses, which said, This man ceaseth not to speak blasphemous words against this holy place, and the law:
Rev 13:6 And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven.
1Ti 6:1 Let as many servants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honour, that the name of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed.
Tit 2:5 To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.
Act 13:45 But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy, and spake against those things which were spoken by Paul, contradicting and blaspheming.
1Co 4:13 Being defamed, we intreat: we are made as the filth of the world, and are the offscouring of all things unto this day.
Rom 14:16 Let not then your good be evil spoken of:
2Pe 2:2 And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.
Tit 3:2 To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men.

In 1Tim6:1 and Tit 2:5 we also see instances above where Paul exhorts people to behave in such a way that God’s name, His Word and His Doctrine not be defamed by their actions. While the Greek word “Blasphemos” is used commonly in the New Testament writings, there is one Hebrew Word in particular that is of interest, which connects both the verses concerned, in the New Testament with the Tanakh – specifically the Torah.

Blaspheming the Spirit
Let’s check the instances where Yeshua uses this phrase and compare the words in our Greek Manuscripts with The Hebrew version of Matthew and the Tanak(Old Testament) Scriptures to see whether we can see what Messiah meant.


Mat 12:31,32 Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.
Mar 3:28,29 Verily I say unto you, All sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme: But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation:
Luk 12:8-12 Also I say unto you, Whosoever shall confess me before men, him shall the Son of man also confess before the angels of God: But he that denieth me before men shall be denied before the angels of God. And whosoever shall speak a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but unto him that blasphemeth against the Holy Ghost it shall not be forgiven. And when they bring you unto the synagogues, and unto magistrates, and powers, take ye no thought how or what thing ye shall answer, or what ye shall say: For the Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour what ye ought to say.

I believe we can get a better perspective on what Yeshua is saying here in these Gospel accounts by looking at the text – specifically the word He uses here. The Greek Manuscripts contain “Blasphemos” 3 times in the text at Mat 12:31, 15:19 & 26:65 but the Hebrew version carries “Gadaph” only in relation to “Blaspheming the Spirit” in Mat 12:31.

Hebrew Gospel of Matthew – Shem Tov’s Hebrew Matthew – translation by Prof. George Howard

In the Hebrew Text of Matthew’s Gospel, we see the word “Gadaph” (Highlighted in Yellow in the above image) used in place of the Greek “Blasphemos”.

H1442 – גּדף – gâdaph – A primitive root; to hack (with words), that is, revile: – blaspheme, reproach.

This word appears only once in the Torah(5 books of Moses) and only 7 times collectively in the Tanakh(Old Testament).

Num 15:29-31 Ye shall have one law for him that sinneth through ignorance, both for him that is born among the children of Israel, and for the stranger that sojourneth among them. But the soul that doeth ought presumptuously, whether he be born in the land, or a stranger, the same reproacheth(Gadaph) the LORD; and that soul shall be cut off from among his people. Because he hath despised the word of the LORD, and hath broken his commandment, that soul shall utterly be cut off; his iniquity shall be upon him.

The other 6 instances are 2Kin 19:6,22, Psa 44:16, Isa_37:6,23, Eze 20:27

Looking at Numbers 15:29-31, we see the only place where Blasphemy/Reproach is mentioned in the Torah/Law/Moses mentions the reason why God is reviled. A person who brazenly disregards God and acts arrogantly in front of Him defames/blasphemes/reproaches God in front of others and is seen as a soul which is cut-off by God Himself. The reasons are his/her actions that despised the Word of YHVH. There is no more sacrifice or redemption for such a person. The Author of Hebrews explain the same fact further.

Heb 6:4-8 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame. For the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God: But that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned.
Heb 10:26-29 For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?

Whoever commits sin is acting against God, as “Sin is Transgressing the Law” as per 1John 3:4. If someone sins willfully, that means he/she is blatantly disregarding and acting against God, reproaching/blaspheming/defaming Him who has provided Salvation to all. Salvation, we see comes through the Spirit of Grace, whom we all partake in, when we received the promise of Eternal Life. The Spirit was sent as the seal and a deposit for what we are to receive in the future.

Eph 1:13,14 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.

As we see above, The Holy Spirit is the “earnest” of our inheritance, until we redeem the purchased possession which is life everlasting. John in his 1st Epistle speaks of the same point and explains a little further on the same sin, as we see below.

1Jn 5:16-18 If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it. All unrighteousness is sin: and there is a sin not unto death. We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not.

As per John, we know that Sin is transgressing the Law(1Jn 3:4). but then he speaks of 2 varieties of sin. One which leads to death and one which does not. But we also know that all sin leads to death according to Rom 6:16,23 & James 1:15. So what does John mean when he writes about a “sin that is unto death” and a “sin that is not unto death”? First of all, we see that the context is of petitions and intermediatory prayer. John asks the recipients to pray for people who do “sin that is not unto death” so that God will give them Life. And he explains that one should not pray for people who “sin unto death” as surely he means to say that such prayers will not be answered by God. “Sin that is unto death” must be that which Yeshua speaks about in Mat 12:31 and what The Word of God speaks of in Num 15:30. For such sin, there is no forgiveness or sacrifice.

Gathering Sticks on the Sabbath
Exactly after the “Unpardonable Sin” is spoken of in the Scriptures in Num 15:29-31, a story is presented to us which is often misunderstood today. The event is juxtaposed with the defamation of God’s name by willful disobedience, obviously for a reason.

Num 15:32-35 And while the children of Israel were in the wilderness, they found a man that gathered sticks upon the sabbath day. And they that found him gathering sticks brought him unto Moses and Aaron, and unto all the congregation. And they put him in ward, because it was not declared what should be done to him. And the LORD said unto Moses, The man shall be surely put to death: all the congregation shall stone him with stones without the camp.

Only God could see into the heart of the person who had worked on the Sabbath, going against the command to rest as God had proclaimed. The “Gathering” could also be translated “foraging” obviously done for the express purpose for working. Moses and Aaron leave the decision upto God, as He is the only one who could try the person’s heart to see whether he had acted deliberately with a “high hand”. The man had “blasphemed the Spirit” of Grace and Promise and could not receive further forgiveness or sacrifice for his life. The event is both a lesson and warning even to all who take hold of God today. As the author of Hebrews explains “it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the Living God”.

Conclusion
The phrase “Blasphemy against the Spirit” which is called the Unpardonable Sin, is taught to be vastly different in different Sects/Denominations of Christianity. Delving into the Hebrew and Greek texts make it clear that Yeshua the Messiah, is speaking of a particular Sin and a particular portion of the Law of God. Sin done with blatant disregard towards God, while fully knowing His wishes can and will defame Him. Such acts belittle the Salvation He has freely offered, thus working against the Spirit of Promise/Grace. Thus, “Blaspheming the Spirit” is an act that is spiteful and is done with contempt towards God, our Creator & Redeemer.

The Rapture – Will we be taken away, while others are left behind? Misunderstandings regarding Mat 24:37-42

Estimated Reading time – 10 to 15 Minutes

If you have been taught about the rapture, you are familiar about the idea of Believers being taken away to Heaven (away from the time of Tribulation) while the wicked are left behind to endure through this period. The doctrine of the Rapture which was introduced in the 18th Century AD, and was popularized first by John Nelson Darby in the 1830s, uses the verse in question Mat 24:37-42 also as a proof text. Let’s see whether the doctrine of Rapture is supported by this verse.

Mat 24:37-42 But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.

Mainline Christianity takes the above verse and teaches us that we will be taken away (raptured) while the wicked would be left behind. But look at the verse a little closer and you will see that Christ speaks of the wicked being “taken away” by the flood. If the 2nd coming mirrors Noah’s time, as per Christ – who is taken away, and who is left behind?

In Noah’s time, the flood took away the wicked while Noah and his family settled the earth as the only humans left behind. Yeshua‘s words even say that the flood “took them all away”. Next He explains that one will be taken and the other left Behind. So is it not the wicked that is taken away according to the analogy Messiah makes in this verse? Is it not the righteous that is left behind, contrary to what we have been taught?

Mat 13:24 Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares? He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.

Reading the above parable, gives you more clues for the same reasoning. The tares (wicked) were gathered first by the Angles and burnt (put to death), and only then were the wheat (Righteous) gathered into His Barn (Kingdom). It is abundantly clear when you read a few verses before Mat 24:37-42 that Messiah Yeshua is speaking of a time after the Tribulation, and that He comes after the time of Tribulation to gather His elect.

Mat 24:29-31 Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

Conclusion
If the “Rapture” is an event that saves the believers from the period of Tribulation, the verse in question (Mat 24:37-42) does not make any sense, as Yeshua says the events happen after the Tribulation. Not only that, the verse in question that has led to Movies and Books such as “Left Behind”, is taken completely out of context, as the proper interpretation clearly shows the ones who are taken away to be wicked, while the people who are left behind are the righteous who enter His Kingdom on Earth for a Thousand Years.

Where two or three are gathered… About Prayer or Judgement? Misunderstanding regarding Matthew 18:20

Mat 18:20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

Quoted by people in congregations around the world this particular verse is taken to mean that God is present in the midst of two or three people who are engaged in Prayer. But the context of the passage provides a different picture. At the onset I wish to say that I do not disagree that God hears the prayer of two or three people gathered in His name. But we would also agree that He also hears us when we are alone. So what then is the meaning of Yeshua‘s words in Matthew 18:20? Let’s look at the context of the passage.

Mat 18:1-4 At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

Our journey starts with a question that the Disciples ask. “Who is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven?”. To which Messiah says that all must convert (Turn Around – Strepho – G4762) meaning repent and turn back to God as humble little children to be called great in the Kingdom of God.

Mat 18:5-7 And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me. But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea. Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!

Now Christ regards a believer who has turned to God as a “little child” and speaks of not “offending” (cause to stumble / lead to sin – Scandalizo – 4624) them, meaning leading them away from God. Yeshua bemoans such people who make others stumble. So far this passage sounds eerily familiar to what He said in Matthew 5:19 “Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” Here He explained who would be great in the Kingdom of God. In both places warnings are set towards those who lead His Children away from His word.

Mat 18:8-10 Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire. And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire. Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.

Yeshua’s words continue in the same line of thinking. If a hand or foot meaning a fellow believer makes others stumble it is better to cut those limbs off, as otherwise the whole body could be in danger of missing everlasting life. He further explains that even if it is an eye meaning a person in leadership who is causing the body to stumble, it is better for the eye to be removed rather than the whole congregation being led away from His Kingdom. Yeshua expressly speaks to the disciples not to belittle/disesteem the new believers, calling them “little ones” as they are of great worth to God. This is an instruction from Christ to His Disciples to be vigilant of the body, so that no part or individual becomes a threat to the whole; especially those who could stumble easily. He would reconfirm this thought in verses 15-17.

Mat 18:11-14 For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost. How think ye? if a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray? And if so be that he find it, verily I say unto you, he rejoiceth more of that sheep, than of the ninety and nine which went not astray. Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.

Yeshua brings the parable of the Shepherd to show how much He cares for the lone soul. He is still advising the Disciples how much they should care for even the newest of the believers – the “little ones”.

Mat 18:15-17 Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.

In the same thought as removing the limb or the eye, Messiah explains of how this task should be carried out. First the issue should be brought to light one on one. If the person refuses the counsel, then two or three witnesses should confirm it to the individual. If the person still refuses to change his/her ways, then it is brought forward to the whole congregation/assembly after which the person is cut off from the assembly if corrective measures are not taken. It is important to note that Paul gives the same advice to the Corinthians in two instances (1Cor 5:1-5, 2Cor 2:5-11).

Mat 18:18 Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

Matthew 18:18 speaks of “Binding” and “Loosing” which were the terms used in First Century Judaism for “Prohibiting” and “Permitting”. The power to prohibit and permit was in the hands of the Pharisees in the first century as per the writings of  Josephus:

War of the Jews Book I, Chapter 5, Section 2  …and became themselves[the pharisees] the real administrators of the public affairs: they banished and reduced whom they pleased; they bound and loosed at their pleasure….

There is further proof to say that the belief of God agreeing with earthly rulings were also prevalent in First Century Judaism as seen in the Talmud below:

Talmud Makkot 23b …There are three matters that the earthly court implemented and the heavenly court agreed with them, and these are they: Reading the Scroll of Esther on Purim, and greeting another with the name of God, and bringing the first tithe to the Temple treasury in Jerusalem…

In the case of the passage in question, Yeshua is giving this authority to His Disciples over His Congregation. They could prohibit or permit anything in the assembly according to God’s Word and it would be seen as valid before God. The greatest example for this would be Acts 15. The same teaching is seen again in the second epistle of Clement to James where it mentions that Peter had named Clement of Rome (35 – 100AD) as his successor giving him the power of binding and loosing, as seen below.

Clementine Homilies – Introduction – Epistle of Peter to James, Chapter 2 Wherefore I communicate to him the power of binding and loosing, so that with respect to everything which he shall ordain in the earth, it shall be decreed in the heavens. For he shall bind what ought to be bound, and loose what ought to be loosed, as knowing the role of the Church.

Upto this point we have seen the teaching revolving around the congregation, taking care of the new believers and how to manage believers who disrupt the assembly. Yeshua gives the authority of such decisions to the Disciples here, and moves on to say…

Mat 18:18-20 Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

As we come to the verse in question, we see that Yeshua gives authority of communal life to His Disciples and says even if two of them agree on earth regarding such issues, the Lord Himself stands amongst their midst. Such requests/decisions will be agreed upon by the Father in Heaven, as they are made from the standpoint of God’s Word. The same idea can be seen again in Jewish sources:

Mishnah, Pirkei Avot 3:2 But two who are sitting together and there are words of Torah [spoken] between them, the Divine Presence rests with them, as it is said (Malachi 3:16): “Then those who feared the Lord spoke one with another, and the Lord hearkened and heard, and a book of remembrance was written before Him, for those who feared the Lord and for those who thought upon His Name.”

Talmud, B’rakhot 6a From where is it derived that three who sit in judgment, the Divine Presence is with them? It is derived from this same verse, as it is stated: “In the midst of the judges He judges,” and the minimum number of judges that comprises a court is three. From where is it derived that two who sit and engage in Torah study, the Divine Presence is with them? As it is stated: “Then they that feared the Lord spoke one with the other, and the Lord listened, and heard, and a book of remembrance was written before Him, for them that fear the Lord, and that think upon His name” (Malachi 3:16). The Divine Presence listens to any two God-fearing individuals who speak with each other.

It is for the “Binding and Loosing” (Prohibiting or Permitting) powers that Yeshua bestowed upon His Disciples that He says He will be in agreement in their presence for such matters whether two or three are gathered. Prayer or other sorts of fellowship is not part of the context of this passage.

Conclusion
So we see that the phrase “For wherever two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them” is speaking regarding judgement and making Godly decisions. In this sort of situation, God stands in agreement with the Disciples. The decision taken by James and agreed upon by the council of Jerusalem in Acts 15 is a perfect example of this. There is no doubt that God listens to our prayers whether we are alone or with one or more in fellowship. But according to context, the passage in question is not about prayer but judgements made before God.

Is making Oaths prohibited? Misunderstandings regarding the Sermon on the Mount

It is a common teaching that as Christians, we should not make oaths or swear in the name of God, and that Messiah taught explicitly against swearing in His Sermon on the Mount. At face value it seems that Christ said making oaths/swearing which was a precept from the Law of God was evil. Have we misunderstood Christ’s words in Matthew 5:33-37 ? further study maybe needed to check the validity of this claim.

Oaths in the Law of God
While Oaths and vows seem to be the same, a vow is a “solemn promise” made between two entities, while an oath is a commitment one makes towards telling the truth or any other matter usually by calling towards something greater than him/herself.

The law is clear that words of an oath cannot be broken and that false Oaths should not be made in God’s name. The amalgamation of these two laws are what Yeshua mentioned in Matthew 5:33.

Lev 19:12 And ye shall not swear by my name falsely, neither shalt thou profane the name of thy God: I am the LORD.
Num 30:2 If a man vow a vow unto the LORD, or swear an oath to bind his soul with a bond; he shall not break his word, he shall do according to all that proceedeth out of his mouth.

In the Law of God, it was expressly stated that if one makes an Oath, it should be made in the name of no other entity or pagan god, but YHVH‘s name.

Deu 10:20 Thou shalt fear the LORD thy God; him shalt thou serve, and to him shalt thou cleave, and swear by his name.
Deu 6:13 Thou shalt fear the LORD thy God, and serve him, and shalt swear by his name.

There was also other laws which governed breaking of oaths and being a witness of such acts.

Lev 5:1 And if a soul sin, and hear the voice of swearing, and is a witness, whether he hath seen or known of it; if he do not utter it, then he shall bear his iniquity.
Lev 5:4 Or if a soul swear, pronouncing with his lips to do evil, or to do good, whatsoever it be that a man shall pronounce with an oath, and it be hid from him; when he knoweth of it, then he shall be guilty in one of these.

There are many cases in the Old Testament where an oath is made. It was strictly adhered to (Jos 2:12-14; 6:25) even if it was later revealed to be disadvantageous (Josh chap 9).

Missing the point of Matthew 5:34
When Christ says “Do not swear at all”, it is juxtaposed against the precept from the Mosaic Law “Do not swear falsely in God’s name, but complete any oaths you make”(Lev 19:12, Num 30:2). The Law was against swearing falsely in God’s Name. So here Messiah is simply saying do not swear falsely in any other matter or in any other entity whether it be Heaven, Earth, Jerusalem or your own head. The highlight remains on “falsehood”, not swearing itself.

Mat 5:33 Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths: But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God’s throne: Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King. Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black. But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.

Verse 37 where the phrase “Let your yes be yes and no be no” is often the reason why many misunderstand this teaching. To state it simply, so far Christ has essentially only said that “you have heard it being said don’t swear falsely in God’s Name and that you should keep your oaths, but I say to you don’t swear by anything else falsely either”. He then adds the fact that swearing is not needed at all if you are a person who keeps his/her word. If you say yes and do it or no and don’t,(If you are a man/woman of his/her word) essentially there is no reason for swearing in God’s name or any entity.

Further proof that Messiah’s reasoning was only about swearing falsely in any matter
There is other evidence which can shed light on this passage, of which the Hebrew Matthew stands out. The Hebrew version of Matthew’s Gospel perfectly preserves the fact about falsehood as you can see below:

Mat 5:33 (Shem Tob – Hebrew Gospel of Matthew translated by George Howard) Again you have heard what was said to those of long ago: You shall not swear by my name falsely, but you shall return to the Lord your oath. But I say to you not to swear in vain in any matter, neither by heaven because it is the throne of God, nor by earth because it is the footstool of His feet, nor by (Jerusalem) because it is the city of God, nor by your head for you are not able to make one hair white or black. But let your words be yes yes or no no. Everything in addition to this is evil.

The Biblical Apocrypha book Sirach (200-175BCE) also carries the same theme of making oaths very conservatively, and keeping oneself altogether from making oaths which once you break, amount to sin and unrighteousness.

Ecclesiasticus (Sirach) 23:9-11 Don’t let your mouth get used to making solemn pledges,and don’t get accustomed to saying the name of the holy one. Just as a household slave who is constantly examined won’t be lacking bruises, so also the person who always swears and speaks the Lord’s name will never be cleansed from sin. People who make many solemn pledges will be full of lawlessness, and a scourge won’t depart from their house. If they break their solemn pledges, their sin is on them, and if they disregard it, they sin doubly, and if they swear falsely, they won’t be justified, but their houses will be full of misery.

Philo of Alexandria (20BCE – 50CE) who’s works influenced many church fathers had the same to say about oaths.

Philo: The Decalogue 84 That being which is the most beautiful, and the most beneficial to human life, and suitable to rational nature, swears not itself, because truth on every point is so innate within him that his bare word is accounted an oath. Next to not swearing at all, the second best thing is to keep one’s oath; for by the mere fact of swearing at all, the swearer shows that there is some suspicion of his not being trustworthy.

Matthew 5:37 is oddly similar to a passage in the central text of Rabbinical Judaism which also carries the same theme of keeping ones word and not making commitments which one does not intend on fulfilling.

Talmud, Bava Metzia 49a The Gemara raises an objection: Rabbi Yosei, son of Rabbi Yehuda, says: What is the meaning when the verse states: “A just ephah, and a just hin, shall you have” (Leviticus 19:36)? But wasn’t a hin included in an ephah? Why is it necessary to state both? Rather, this is an allusion that serves to say to you that your yes [hen] should be just, and your no should be just. Apparently, it is a mitzva for one to fulfill his promises. Abaye says: That verse means that one should not say one matter with his mouth and think one other matter in his heart. It is prohibited for one to make a commitment that he has no intention of fulfilling.

Conclusion
Words are connected to actions, and the power of words can be seen in the Laws of Oaths among others. When we say yes or no, we should all adhere to keep our word and as Philo explained; aim to be a person who is trustworthy enough to not need an oath from. As our Messiah showed us, we should not falsely swear in any name or entity although we are still able to make an oath if we need to, as long as we stay committed to fulfilling it by all and any means. It is better for us to be Christians who keep their word and be considered trustworthy enough to never have to or need to make an oath. Let us all keep away from evil by being true to our words.

Gift of Tongues – Earthly languages or Heavenly?

In the Pentecostal Movement which has spread throughout the world, Preachers teach that the evidence of the baptism of the Holy Spirit to be the ability to speak in tongues. But what are tongues? Are they earthly languages spoken by a person alien to that language or an unrecognizable language which is not of this earth? Most of the “Tongues” spoken in the Pentecostal Churches are thought to be a Heavenly language which cannot be understood by anyone but people who have the gift of interpretation. But what does the Bible have to say about the matter? Do we have sufficient evidence to conclude that the Gift of Tongues is a Heavenly Language? This will be our task today.

This study is broken in to the following sections:
Section I – The History of the Pentecostal Movement
Section II – “Tongues” in the New Testament Writings
Section III – Gift of Tongues in Acts 2 – Earthly Language or Heavenly?
Section IV – Gift of Tongues in 1Cor Chapter 12 – Earthly Language or Heavenly?
Section V – Kinds/Diversities(G1085-Genos) of Tongues(G1100-Glossa)
Section VI – Gift of Tongues in 1Cor Chapter 13 – Earthly Language or Heavenly?
Section VII – Gift of Tongues in 1Cor Chapter 14 – Earthly Language or Heavenly?

Section I – The History of the Pentecostal Movement
A main part of modern Christianity can be identified as the “Charismatic Movement” which puts special emphasis on “Gifts” (Charisma in Greek) and was a off-shoot of the “Pentecostal Movement” which began in the early 1900s with the Azusa Street Revival in Los Angeles, helmed by William J Seymour. Seymour was a student of Charles F Parham, the American preacher regarded as the first to associate “Glossolalia” (Speaking in Tongues) as the evidence of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. Even though many other sects in Christianity had previously approved “Speaking in Tongues”, the Azusa Street Revival would be the start of modern Pentecostalism as we know it.

Section II – “Tongues” in the New Testament Writings
There are four Greek Words used in connection with our study. The first “Dialektos” stands for a language, while “Glossa” stands for the tongue. The third “Heteroglossos” is a variation of the second and means other tongue, while the fourth “Apophtheggomai” stands for “Speaking clearly”.

A. G1258 – διάλεκτος – dialektos – From G1256; a (mode of) discourse, that is, “dialect”: – language, tongue. [Thayer Definition: 1) conversation, speech, discourse, language 2) the tongue or language peculiar to any people] – Only seen in 6 verses

Act 1:19 And it was known unto all the dwellers at Jerusalem; insomuch as that field is called in their proper tongue(Dialektos-G1258), Aceldama, that is to say, The field of blood.
Act 2:6 Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language(Dialektos-G1258).
Act 2:8 And how hear we every man in our own tongue(Dialektos-G1258), wherein we were born?
Act 21:40 And when he had given him licence, Paul stood on the stairs, and beckoned with the hand unto the people. And when there was made a great silence, he spake unto them in the Hebrew tongue(Dialektos-G1258), saying,
Act 22:2 (And when they heard that he spake in the Hebrew tongue(Dialektos-G1258) to them, they kept the more silence: and he saith,)
Act 26:14 And when we were all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking unto me, and saying in the Hebrew tongue(Dialektos-G1258), Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.

B. G1100 – γλῶσσα – glōssa – Of uncertain affinity; the tongue; by implication a language (specifically one naturally unacquired): – tongue. [ Thayer Definition: 1) the tongue, a member of the body, an organ of speech 2) a tongue 1a) the language or dialect used by a particular people distinct from that of other nations] – Seen in 47 verses

Act 2:3 And there appeared unto them cloven tongues(Glossa-G1100) like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.
Act 2:4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues(Glossa-G1100), as the Spirit gave them utterance.
Act 2:11 Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues(Glossa-G1100) the wonderful works of God.
Act 10:46 For they heard them speak with tongues(Glossa-G1100), and magnify God. Then answered Peter,
Act 19:6 And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues(Glossa-G1100), and prophesied.
Jas 1:26 If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue(Glossa-G1100), but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain.
Jas 3:5 Even so the tongue(Glossa-G1100) is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth!
Jas 3:6 And the tongue(Glossa-G1100) is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.
Jas 3:8 But the tongue(Glossa-G1100) can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.
1Pe 3:10 For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue(Glossa-G1100) from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile:
Rev 5:9 And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue(Glossa-G1100), and people, and nation;
Rev 7:9 After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues(Glossa-G1100), stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;
Rev 10:11 And he said unto me, Thou must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues(Glossa-G1100), and kings.
Rev 11:9 And they of the people and kindreds and tongues(Glossa-G1100) and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and an half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves.
Rev 13:7 And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues(Glossa-G1100), and nations.
Rev 14:6 And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue(Glossa-G1100), and people,

C. G2084 – ἑτερόγλωσσος – heteroglōssos – From G2087 and G1100; other tongued, that is, a foreigner: – man of other tongue. [Thayer Definition: 1) one who speaks a foreign language] – Only seen in 1 verse

1Co 14:21 In the law it is written, With men of other tongues(Heteroglossos – G2084) and other lips will I speak unto this people; and yet for all that will they not hear me, saith the Lord.

D. G669 – ἀποφθέγγομαι – apophtheggomai – From G575 and G5350; to enunciate plainly, that is, declare: – say, speak forth, utterance. [Thayer Definition: 1) to speak out, speak forth, pronounce 1a) not a word of everyday speech but one “belonging to dignified and elevated discourse”] – Only seen in 3 verses

Act 2:4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance(Apophtheggomai – G669).
Act 2:14 But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said(Apophtheggomai – G669) unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words:
Act 26:25 But he said, I am not mad, most noble Festus; but speak forth(Apophtheggomai – G669) the words of truth and soberness.

Section III – Gift of Tongues in Acts 2 – Earthly Language or Heavenly?
With the above definitions we can put together a clear picture of the “Pentecost” event in Acts 2 and the “tongues” spoken on that particular day.

Act 2:3 And there appeared unto them cloven tongues(Glossa-G1100) like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.
Act 2:4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other(Heteros-G20187) tongues(Glossa-G1100), as the Spirit gave them utterance(Apophtheggomai – G669).
Act 2:6 Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language(Dialektos-G1258).
Act 2:8 And how hear we every man in our own tongue(Dialektos-G1258), wherein we were born?
Act 2:11 Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues(Glossa-G1100) the wonderful works of God.

Looking at the above we can clearly see that the “Other Tongues” mentioned in Acts 2:4 are the “different languages” which the variety of people spoke mentioned in Acts 2:6,8&11. The tongues mentioned in the Pentecost event are none other than recognizable languages of different nations. In fact all of the other verses we have seen above are recognizable earthly languages and do not seem to be any unintelligible language.

The two other instances where we see “the gift of tongues” (Acts 10:46 & 19:6) are also intelligible languages as the listeners could understand that the speakers were “magnifying God” in Acts 10:46 which was clear evidence that these gentiles were touched by the Holy Spirit, just as we see in Acts 19:6. The “Gift of Tongues” was evidence that God was using the gifted in a supernatural way. The gifted speaks to God and magnifies Him in intelligible languages in these instances, so that the audience that hears it, is convinced that God is doing something supernatural through these believers.

Section IV – Gift of Tongues in 1Cor Chapter 12 – Earthly Language or Heavenly?
Chapters 12 through 14 of the first letter to the Corinthians make much of the basis of the Spiritual Gifts including the subject of this study – The Gift of Tongues. Even though there may very well be many more, Paul lists 9 manifestations or gifts of the Spirit of God in 1Cor 12:7-10
1. Word of wisdom
2. Word of knowledge
3. Faith
4. Gifts of healing
5. Working of miracles
6. Prophecy
7. Discerning of spirits
8. Kinds of tongues
9. Interpretation of tongues

Then in 1Cor 12:28-30 Paul once again speaks of the ministries inside the congregation through manifestations of the Spirit
1. Apostles
2. Prophets
3. Teachers
4. Workers of Miracles
5. Believers with gifts of healing
6. Helpers
7. Leaders
8. Diversities of tongues
9. Interpreters of tongues

Taking a closer look at the Greek wording behind the Manifestation and Ministry Paul explains as “Kinds/Diversities of Tongues” in 1Cor 12:10&28, will help us to get a better idea of what exactly The Gift of Tongues is.

Section V – Kinds/Diversities(G1085-Genos) of Tongues(G1100-Glossa)
The word “Glossa” used in 1Cor 12:10 & 28 stand for the Tongue which is the physical member of the body as we have seen in Section II of this study. The Word “Genos” means “race/nation/ethnic group” as we see this word being a component of “Genocide”, which means “killing of a race/nation/ethnic group”. We also see the Greek Word Genos also translated in the same manner in the New Testament Writings, so that it means a “race, nation or ethnic group”.

G1085 – γένος – genos – From G1096; “kin” (abstractly or concretely, literally or figuratively, individually or collectively): – born, country (-man), diversity, generation, kind (-red), nation, offspring, stock. [Thayer Definition: 1) kindred 1a) offspring 1b) family 1c) stock, tribe, nation
1c1) i.e. nationality or descent from a particular people 1d) the aggregate of many individuals of the same nature, kind, sort]

Mar 7:26 The woman was a Greek, a Syrophenician by nation(Genos – G1085); and she besought him that he would cast forth the devil out of her daughter.
Act 4:36 And Joses, who by the apostles was surnamed Barnabas, (which is, being interpreted, The son of consolation,) a Levite, and of the country(Genos – G1085) of Cyprus,
Act 7:19 The same dealt subtilly with our kindred(Genos – G1085), and evil entreated our fathers, so that they cast out their young children, to the end they might not live.
Act 18:2 And found a certain Jew named Aquila, born(Genos – G1085) in Pontus, lately come from Italy, with his wife Priscilla; (because that Claudius had commanded all Jews to depart from Rome:) and came unto them.
Act 18:24 And a certain Jew named Apollos, born(Genos – G1085) at Alexandria, an eloquent man, and mighty in the scriptures, came to Ephesus.
2Co 11:26 In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen(Genos – G1085), in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren;
Gal 1:14 And profited in the Jews’ religion above many my equals in mine own nation(Genos – G1085), being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers.
Php 3:5 Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock(Genos – G1085) of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee;

With the evidence above we can clearly see that The “Kinds/Diversities of Tongues” pertains to physical languages of races, nations or ethnic groups, and could be better explained to be “Tongues of Diverse nations, races and ethnic groups”. This in turn will make “Interpretation of Tongues” in to the Interpretation of Languages of diverse nations.

Section VI – Gift of Tongues in 1Cor Chapter 13 – Earthly Language or Heavenly?
In Chapter 13 of the first letter to the Corinthians, Paul shows the virtue of “Love” above all other Spiritual Gifts. Specifically in verse 1 of chapter 13, Paul makes an interesting argument which is used to say that the “Gift of Tongues” pertain to Heavenly Languages. But is this a viable explanation of the text? Let us review:

1Co 13:1-3 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.

The above statement that Paul makes in favour of “Love” is an exaggerated claim which is not to be taken literally. In other words, Paul is not saying that he speaks in the tongues of Angels, or that he understands all mysteries and has all knowledge, or that he removes mountains with his faith, or that he gave all his belongings to the poor, or that he gave his body to be burned. This is clearly “hyperbole” so that he can make the point of “Love” superseding all. We see a similar instance of writing in Gal 1:8 when Paul writes “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you…” ; this does not mean that an angel from heaven has or will preach another gospel… but is a rhetorical way of helping explain the underlying theme. Therefore, this verse cannot be used as evidence of the “gift of Tongues” being a Heavenly/Angelic Language.

Section VII – Gift of Tongues in 1Cor Chapter 14 – Earthly Language or Heavenly?
It is important to note that Paul is speaking in the 14th chapter of gifts used inside the Corinthian Congregation. As we have seen in section III, the whole purpose of the Gift of Tongues was the spread of the Gospel, as unbelievers from foreign nations would come to see people who do not know their tongue glorifying God in those foreign languages. Inside the congregation, there was no need for the usage of the Gift of Tongues, as no one needed to be convinced to believe in God’s power. With this in mind, let’s read the chapter;

1Co 14:1-6 Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy. For he that speaketh in an tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth him; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries. But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort. He that speaketh in an tongue edifieth himself; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church. I would that ye all spake with tongues, but rather that ye prophesied: for greater is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues, except he interpret, that the church may receive edifying. Now, brethren, if I come unto you speaking with tongues, what shall I profit you, except I shall speak to you either by revelation, or by knowledge, or by prophesying, or by doctrine?

In the first portion of the 14th Chapter, Paul starts by comparing the Spiritual Gifts of Prophecy and Tongues. While 1Cor 14:2 is one of the main passages to promote the idea that “Tongues” are a heavenly language, further study using context helps us understand what Paul is trying to explain to the Corinthians. In this verse, Paul says that “Tongues” are used to speak to God and not man. This has already been substantiated in this study, as we have seen in Acts where people endowed with the gift using it to magnify God. Furthermore, Paul says that “Tongues” are used to speak mysteries and that no one can understand them. We must remember that Paul is speaking of the Corinthian congregation here. If the members of the congregation speaks in foreign tongues inside the congregation, no man would understand them, inclusive of the speaker. They would be speaking to God, but speaking mysteries when it comes to the congregation who cannot understand the language and thereby only edifying themselves. In comparison, the gift of Prophecy helps edify the church/congregation. As Paul explains further, “Tongues” would edify the church only if someone interprets what was said in the foreign language to begin with.

1Co 14:7-12 And even things without life giving sound, whether pipe or harp, except they give a distinction in the sounds, how shall it be known what is piped or harped? For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle? So likewise ye, except ye utter by the tongue words easy to be understood, how shall it be known what is spoken? for ye shall speak into the air. There are, it may be, so many kinds of voices in the world, and none of them is without signification. Therefore if I know not the meaning of the voice, I shall be unto him that speaketh a barbarian, and he that speaketh shall be a barbarian unto me. Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church.

Paul writes that the people who speak with “Tongues” inside the congregation are speaking to the air, as no one understands them. He further explains that out of the many languages in the world none are without meaning. In other words every language can be interpreted, and if the language is not interpreted, the person speaking the foreign language will be counted as a “Barbarian” by the congregation. The word Barbarian (G915-Barbaros) means a foreigner and a non-Greek (Acts 28:2,4, Rom 1:14). So what Paul meant was that the person who speaks in the foreign tongue would be a foreigner to the rest of the congregation, and vice versa if the language is not interpreted. According to Paul, if someone is speaking in “Tongues” inside the Corinthian congregation they should aim to use it for the edification of the church.

1Co 14:13-19 Wherefore let him that speaketh in an tongue pray that he may interpret. For if I pray in an tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful. What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also. Else when thou shalt bless with the spirit, how shall he that occupieth the room of the unlearned say Amen at thy giving of thanks, seeing he understandeth not what thou sayest? For thou verily givest thanks well, but the other is not edified. I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all: Yet in the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an tongue.

Because the speaker of “Tongues” should aim to edify the church with what he/she speaks, Paul advises the Corinthian congregation with the gift of tongues to pray that they can interpret what they say, as others should be able understand the uttered words and the gift should promote growth inside the congregation. Paul, who himself was endowed with the Gift of Tongues explains that “inside the congregation” he would prefer to say 5 intelligible words that teach others rather than speak a thousand which are unintelligible. Again, as we saw in chapter 13 verse 1, this is an exaggeration Paul uses to show what Corinthians should strive for.

1Co 14:20-25 Brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men. In the law it is written, With men of other tongues and other lips will I speak unto this people; and yet for all that will they not hear me, saith the Lord. Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not: but prophesying serveth not for them that believe not, but for them which believe. If therefore the whole church be come together into one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those that are unlearned, or unbelievers, will they not say that ye are mad? But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all: And thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth.

Paul explains that according to the words written by the Prophet Isaiah, The Gift of Tongues is a sign for unbelievers as we have already seen proven through the Book of Acts. It was not a sign for believers inside the congregation, which is not the purpose of the Gift. He writes that if the whole congregation speaks in foreign tongues, and a fellow Corinthian unbeliever comes into the congregation, they will think the whole church to be mad. And again he compares Prophecy as a more coveted gift which in such a case can bring the fellow Corinthian unbeliever towards God.

1Co 14:26-33 How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying. If any man speak in an tongue, let it be by two, or at the most by three, and that by course; and let one interpret. But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God. Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge. If any thing be revealed to another that sitteth by, let the first hold his peace. For ye may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted. And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets. For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.

Paul’s final advise to the congregation is that anything including “Tongues” should be done for the edification of the church. He lays out a system which is orderly by asking two or three to speak with interpretation provided or to keep quiet if no interpretation can be given. He explains that there should be no confusion inside the congregation, when delivering messages of Tongues or Prophecy.

1Co 14:34-40 Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church. What? came the word of God out from you? or came it unto you only? If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord. But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant. Wherefore, brethren, covet to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues. Let all things be done decently and in order.

In verse 34, Paul tackles another problem in the Corinthian Congregation which was some “Wives” superseding and ruling over their “Husbands” inside the congregation, leading to more confusion and derision. He ends his advise on the subject by asking the leaders not to forbid anyone from speaking in “Tongues” but for it to be done in an orderly manner and for the purpose of edification in the congregation.

Conclusion
The Gift of Tongues which has become one of the highlighted gifts in modern Christianity, especially in the Pentecostal & Charismatic movements, is thought of to be a Heavenly language through which the speaker speaks to God. The above study shows us that “The Gift of Tongues” was given as a sign for foreigners to see the power of God. The Greek wording used in regard with this Gift, all point towards intelligible languages and even the Pentecost event in Acts 2 show us that the Gift the disciples received was also the ability to speak intelligible foreign languages. 1Corinthians 12-14 which makes much of the basis of the doctrine of Tongues, also point us towards “Tongues of Diverse nations, races and ethnic groups”. 1Cor 13:1 is a use of hyperbole by Paul to show that Love supersedes such Gifts. 1Cor 14:2 is Paul’s attempt to show that there is no use of a foreign tongue spoken inside the congregation especially without an interpretation, as the point of this gift is to bring foreign believers towards God. People inside the congregation who believe in God are not edified through such a gift especially if they do not hear an interpretation. In this way the speaker utters a mystery that he himself does not understand, nor does the congregation; being spoken to God through the Spirit. Paul further explains in the rest of the chapter that there are no languages in the world which are unintelligible, and that a person speaking in a foreign tongue would become like a foreigner to the others who listen in the congregation. He advises the Corinthians not to forbid anyone from speaking in Tongues, but to use the gift for edification through interpreting what is uttered, and to use the gift in an orderly manner.

Christ – The Atonement Sacrifice – Allusions in Luke 4

It is a little known fact that Luke’s record of our Messiah’s ministry starts with an allusion to the Atonement Sacrifice. Luke alone gives an account of the timing of this event, and also shows how the people themselves unwittingly declared how Yeshua would take the sin of the nation upon Himself.

Knowing about the Day of Atonement is paramount to understand the story behind the story that Luke gives witness to. Considered the most important of the Appointed Days in God’s Calendar, The Day of Atonement is the only day of the year with a command for Fasting. In fact, since the Day of Atonement is intricately connected to Judgement, most Jews engage in a partial fast for a full 40 days before the Day of Atonement. The 40 Days start with the 6th month of God’s Calendar (known as Elul) and end with the Day of Atonement, which is the 10th day of the 7th Month, equalling to a full 40 days of Repentance. It is a time for Repentance and preparation of one’s life to stand before God. While it is not clear whether this tradition of Fasting existed back in 1st Century times, is it not wonderous that Yeshua(Jesus’ true name) fasted 40 days in the same season of Elul and The Day of Atonement?

How do we know that His Ministry started in the time of the Day of Atonement? There are several hints given to us by Luke. Let us review his account in Chapters 3 & 4.

1.John preaches repentance –
Not only does John preach Repentance, a key aspect of meditation as it dawns toward The Day of Atonement, he also speaks of the coming Judgement as seen below.

Luk 3:3 And he came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins;
Luk 3:7 Then said he to the multitude that came forth to be baptized of him, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?
Luk 3:9 And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: every tree therefore which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
Luk 3:17 Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and will gather the wheat into his garner; but the chaff he will burn with fire unquenchable.

2.Yeshua’s 40 day Fast –
Yeshua is baptized by John(Luk 3:22,23) and proceeds directly into the Wilderness of Judea(Luk 4:1) and remains there fasting for forty days(Luk 4:2). After being tempted of the Devil, He teaches in Galilee, and then comes to Nazareth – His hometown and steps into the Synagogue.

3.The Reading in the Synagogue –
Traditionally on the Sabbath, people meet in the Synagogue and read a Portion of the Torah (5 Books of Moses) & the Prophets which is done in a planned manner. Isaiah is read in close proximity to The Day of Atonement, and it just so happened that Yeshua was delivered the scroll of Isaiah on this particular Sabbath Day.

Luk 4:17 And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written,

4. Isaiah 61, Judgement & the Jubilee
Yeshua reads the following passage, stopping abruptly without reading everything proceeding “The Day of Vengeance”. “Proclamation of Liberty” is intricately connected to the “Year of Jubilee” which is announced on The Day of Atonement. The Day of Vengeance or His Second Coming, was yet to come. So it makes sense that He stopped before this part, but reading the full verse, we see that He consoles everyone who repents and is in Ashes, mourning & heaviness – which are central themes of The Day of Atonement.

Isa 61:1-3 The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.

Lev 25:9,10 Then shalt thou cause the trumpet of the jubile to sound on the tenth day of the seventh month, in the day of atonement shall ye make the trumpet sound throughout all your land. And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubile unto you; and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family.

5. The Sacrificial Goat which took all the Sin of the Nation upon itself –
On The Day of Atonement, the High Priest enacted a sacrifice to atone the sins of the nation. This twin sacrifice had two goats, one of which was taken before the High Priest, who then proclaimed all of the Sins of the nation on its head, and was then led away to the wilderness.

Lev 16:8-10  And Aaron shall cast lots upon the two goats; one lot for the LORD, and the other lot for the scapegoat. And Aaron shall bring the goat upon which the LORD’S lot fell, and offer him for a sin offering. But the goat, on which the lot fell to be the scapegoat, shall be presented alive before the LORD, to make an atonement with him, and to let him go for a scapegoat into the wilderness.

Lev 16:21,22  And Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them upon the head of the goat, and shall send him away by the hand of a fit man into the wilderness: And the goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities unto a land not inhabited: and he shall let go the goat in the wilderness.

It is traditionally known that this goat was pushed off a cliff by the person who led it away signifying the complete erasure of the sins of the people.

The Rabbis, interpreting “Azazel” as “Azaz” (rugged), and “el” (strong), refer it to the rugged and rough mountain cliff from which the goat was cast down (Yoma 67b; Sifra, Aḥare, ii. 2; Targ. Yer. Lev. xiv. 10, and most medieval commentators)  Jewish Encyclopedia

The Sages taught: The word Azazel indicates that the cliff the goat is pushed from should be rough and hard. I might have thought that it may be located in a settled area. Therefore, the verse states: “In the wilderness.” And from where does one derive that the goat is pushed from a cliff? The verse states “gezeira,” indicating an area that is sharp, like a cliff. Yoma 67b – Talmud

Now read what happens after Yeshua reads the Scripture in Isaiah and has a dispute with the people in the Synagogue. The crowd unwittingly proclaims that Yeshua will be the sacrifice which takes away the sin of the nation, by trying to take Him to a hill and thrusting Him down from it.

Luk 4:28,29 And all they in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath, And rose up, and thrust him out of the city, and led him unto the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might cast him down headlong.

6. The High Priest & the Atonement Sacrifice –
As the author of Hebrews make mention, the High Priest would enter the Holy of Holies only once a year – on the Day of Atonement(Exo 30:10), and he would also take the blood of the second goat which was applied inside. Hebrews clearly connects the Blood of the Atonement Sacrifice to Yeshua’s blood. He would be the High Priest of the Nation and the Sacrifice for the Sins of the Nation.

Heb 9:6,7  Now when these things were thus ordained, the priests went always into the first tabernacle, accomplishing the service of God. But into the second went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people:

Heb 9:11,12 But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.

Conclusion
It is very likely that Luke knew of the Atonement Sacrifice and the connection of Messiah to the redemption of the Nation as seen in the Scriptures. When Luke heard this account from witnesses before he wrote his gospel(Luk 1:2), he would have immediately connected the dots of the Goat which was led to the cliff with Yeshua who was almost thrust down in the same way, in the days of Repentance – The Day of Atonement. I am in no way saying that Christ was almost thrust down the cliff exactly on the Day of Atonement, but it was definitely close in proximity to this all important day, and the event itself definitely alluded to Him being the Atonement Sacrifice for all of us. As we repent for our own sins through fasting, let us remember the sacrifice that was made for our iniquities, transgressions and sins – our Saviour and Lord – Yeshua Ha Maschiach (Jesus the Messiah).

Does Peter’s Vision prove we can eat anything? The difference between “common” & “unclean”

Peter’s Vision is often cited as proof to say we are free to eat anything we please. Many believe that God showed Peter that the previous Food Laws were no more as he was able to eat anything from thereon. There seems to be many issues with this theory, which we previously looked at in detail in this study.

The vision was clearly about “calling Gentiles Common or Unclean” as Peter himself proclaims:

Acts 10:28 And he said unto them, Ye know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation; but God hath shewed me that I should not call any man common or unclean.”

So how is it that “Peter’s Vision” is used to teach God changed unclean food to clean? The problem is in the poor understanding of what is considered “common”(some translations say impure). The word “common”(Koinos-Common/Defiled) is vastly different from “unclean”(Akarthatos-Impure/Unclean).  The word Common is not from God’s Law but the Law of the Pharisees – also known as the Traditions of the Elders or the Oral Law. We see this clearly in the following verse:

Mark 7:2 And when they saw some of his disciples eat bread with defiled(Koinos), that is to say, with unwashen, hands, they found fault.

The Pharisees were finding fault with the disciples for eating with defiled/common hands. In God’s Law He had specified the state of purity/Cleanness and impurity/uncleanness. There was nothing in between. The state which is called common/defiled was a Pharisaic manufacturing which said a clean thing which is next to an unclean thing becomes defiled where it is not clean nor unclean but in between. This was what is known as “common”. This was why it was deemed unlawful(as per the religious authority in the 1st Century) for a Jew to keep company with a Gentile. The understanding and doctrine of the day was that a Jew who is in a state of cleanliness would fall to a common state even if he/she ate with a gentile who were deemed unclean.

Coming back to the vision, let’s read it again to see what exactly God told Peter:

Acts 10:15 And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common.

In the great sheet of Peter’s Vision, all the clean and unclean animals were mixed and together in one place. The clean were now in a state of being “Common” as per Peter’s understanding. There were only two categories of animals in the sheet according to God – “Clean” and “Unclean”. The Clean could be eaten.

When God told Peter to “Kill and Eat”. His response was “Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean“. According to Peter the two categories were “Common” and “Unclean”. And both categories could not be eaten.

God says not to call things that He has cleansed “Common”. Which means He deems what man calls “common”, as “Clean”. God does not say anything to Peter about Unclean animals. God speaks to Peter about the clean animals who Peter thought were Common because of the Unclean animals in the same great sheet in his vision. Those who were deemed common (in Peter’s mind), God considered as Clean. Not that the unclean animals suddenly became clean animals.

The vision, if carefully dissected is very clear. God considers “Clean” what Peter calls “Common”. NOT that the “Unclean” were made “Clean”

So even if on argues that the Vision was about Food, God did not change His Word, but taught Peter what he had been taught was a fallacy. There was nothing called “Common”. Peter clearly understood the vision when he came to Cornelius’ house, as God had shown the man-made Pharisaic Law of “A Jew should not keep company with a Gentile” was removed from his mind.

Conclusion
In Peter’s Vision, God called what Peter considered “common” as “clean”. The voice never said that I have made the unclean, clean to you. God said “What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common.” So if you believe God told Peter that the Food Laws He had instituted were no more, I implore you to study the text a bit more in-depth, before you make your decision. If God deems it Clean we can eat it. If He deems it unclean, we cannot. Simple as that.

What is the Lord’s Day? Sunday, Sabbath or something else?

Many believe that the Lord’s Day is the day which is known by us as “Sunday”. But is this view accurate? Does it align with God’s Word? Can we see any proof in the New Testament writings to verify this notion? Let’s search the Bible for answers.

The phrase “Lord’s Day” is mentioned only once in our Bibles as written down in Revelations by John.

Rev 1:10  I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet,

Is Sunday “The Lord’s Day”?
Mainline Christianity believe that the current Sunday in our calendars, is the “Lord’s Day”. Reason being that the Resurrection happened on the 1st Day of the Week. And they presume the current Sunday is the “Sabbath” that was mentioned in the Ten Commandments. Most Protestants do not know that the Catholic Church admits that they are the ones who changed worship on the Sabbath Day to Sunday. The Biblical Sabbath is “Saturday” as per our calendars and there is textual proof as well as historical proof to back this up. There is not a single place in the Bible that tells believers that the Sabbath was replaced by Sunday – as a set apart day. Some may turn to Col 2:16 as a proof verse for such an understanding. But further study would bring down that argument as seen in the above link.

Then some would say, but didn’t Christ break the Sabbath? If He broke the Sabbath or any of God’s Commandments, He wouldn’t have been a sinless sacrifice as Sin is the Transgression of the Law(1Jn3:4). What Christ did break was the man-made laws which said “you can’t heal on the sabbath(Mar 3)”, “you can’t carry your bed on the sabbath(Joh 5)”, “you can’t pluck and rub ears of corn and eat on the sabbath(Luk6)”, etc. These were all man-made laws which were called “The Oral Law” or “Traditions of the Fathers/Elders“.

Sunday doesn’t seem to have enough evidence to clearly support it as “The Lord’s Day”. Christ did Resurrect on the 1st Day of the Week which is know as Sunday, but this was a significant day in God’s Calendar – which is called the Day of Firstfruits“. Calling every Sunday the Lord’s Day does not make sense; at least not according to the Bible.

My Holy Day
The only day which is called “My Holy Day”, according to Scripture is the Sabbath. It is a day which is intimately connected to God, but even this does not make a strong enough case for the Sabbath to be the “The Lord’s Day” mentioned in Revelations 1:10.

Isa 58:13  If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the LORD, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words:

Exo 20:10  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, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates:

Lev 23:3  Six days shall work be done: but the seventh day is the sabbath of rest, an holy convocation; ye shall do no work therein: it is the sabbath of the LORD in all your dwellings.

Deu 5:14  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.

The Day of the LORD
Both the Old Testament Scriptures as well as the New Testament writings mention “A Great and Notable Day” known as “The Day of the Lord”. With many instances spanning the major and minor prophets to the words of Peter and Paul, this day refers to the end, when Yeshua(The true name of Jesus) our Lord, returns to judge the world.

Isa 34:8  For it is the day of the LORD’S vengeance, and the year of recompences for the controversy of Zion.

Eze 30:3  For the day is near, even the day of the LORD is near, a cloudy day; it shall be the time of the heathen.

Joe 2:31  The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come.

Amo 5:18  Woe unto you that desire the day of the LORD! to what end is it for you? the day of the LORD is darkness, and not light.

Oba 1:15  For the day of the LORD is near upon all the heathen: as thou hast done, it shall be done unto thee: thy reward shall return upon thine own head.

Zep 1:14The great day of the LORD is near, it is near, and hasteth greatly, even the voice of the day of the LORD: the mighty man shall cry there bitterly.

Zec 14:1  Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee.

Mal 4:5  Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD:

Act 2:20  The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come:

1Co 1:8  Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.

1Co 5:5  To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.

1Th 5:2  For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.

2Pe 3:10  But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.

Conclusion
“The Lord’s Day” which is mentioned only in Rev 1:10, is most likely referring to the “Day of the Lord” which is mentioned multiple times in the Bible. This was the title used for the End times by all the Prophets and even Peter & Paul. So it makes sense that John is also speaking of the same, as he says that he was “in the spirit” on “The Lord’s Day”. It is most likely that God took John out of his own time and made him travel through to the end times in the spirit. And from this point John starts to explain the revelation that he received of the End times. There is no evidence to substantiate that the Lord’s Day referred to Sunday as many presume, or even the Sabbath – even though God calls it “My Holy Day”. Let us all await “The Lord’s Day” with joy and reverence. Amen!

 

Was the Law changed? Misunderstandings regarding Hebrews 7:12

change-lawMany Christians turn to Hebrews 7:12 to point out that God’s Law has changed. After all, that is what our English Translations say. But is this an accurate translation? It certainly fits in with the dominant Theology of mainline Christianity which assumes that God’s Law has been changed, abolished or done away. In this study, we will investigate whether the Greek Originals offer evidence to challenge this translation, and whether we can conclusively prove if this verse speaks of God’s Law being changed or not.

A. The Greek word for “Change”
B. The Greek words translated as “change” in Hebrews 7:12
C. Other words that are connected to “change” in our English translations
D. Conclusion – Was there a necessity to “change” the Law or to “transfer” it?

A. The Greek word for “Change”

Change is defined as “make or become different” and “take or use another instead of”. The Greek word used in the New Testament for such an act is “allasso” (Strong’s Greek Concordance number 236). This word is used 6 times in the New Testament writings as showcased below.

G236 – ἀλλάσσω – allassō – change
Act 6:14  For we have heard him say, that this Jesus of Nazareth shall destroy this place, and shall change(G236-allasso) the customs which Moses delivered us.
Rom 1:23  And changed(G236-allasso) the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.
1Co 15:51,52  Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed(G236-allasso), In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed(G236-allasso).
Gal 4:20 I desire to be present with you now, and to change(G236-allasso) my voice; for I stand in doubt of you.
Heb 1:12  And as a vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed(G236-allasso): but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail.

B. The Greek words translated as “change” in Hebrews 7:12
The Greek words that stands in place of “change/changed” in Hebrews 7:12 are “Metathesis/Metatithemi”. Metathesis which is also used in English Vocabulary (Originating from the Greek) is defined as ‘transpose, change the position of’. We could say that it means “changing places” or “transferring”, but it surely is different from “allasso”.

Heb 7:12  For the priesthood being changed(μετατίθημι-metatithemi-G3346), there is made of necessity a change(μετάθεσις-metathesis-G3331) also of the law.

The usage of these words in the whole of the New Testament, are given below for your reference. Comparing how the same word is translated to English in different verses, surely provides us a clearer picture of what these words really mean.

G3346 – μετατίθημι – metatithemi – transfer
Act 7:16  And were carried over(G3346) into Sychem, and laid in the sepulchre that Abraham bought for a sum of money of the sons of Emmor the father of Sychem.
Gal 1:6  I marvel that ye are so soon removed(G3346) from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:
Heb 7:12  For the priesthood being changed(G3346), there is made of necessity a change also of the law. 
Heb 11:5  By faith Enoch was translated(G3346) that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated(G3346) him: for before his translation(G3331) he had this testimony, that he pleased God.
Jud 1:4  For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning(G3346) the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.

G3331 – μετάθεσις – metathesis – transference
Heb 7:12  For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change(G3331) also of the law. 
Heb 11:5  By faith Enoch was translated(G3346) that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated(G3346) him: for before his translation(G3331) he had this testimony, that he pleased God.
Heb 12:27  And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing(G3331) of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain.

In Hebrews 11:5, we see Enoch is “translated” from earth to heaven. He is transferred. His position is changed. The same word “metatithemi” is seen in Gen 5:24 in the Septuagint (LXX) as well. Using the same meaning in place of the words “change” in Heb 7:12, provides a much different meaning to what it is usually understood to be. It is not that the priesthood “changed” as in, it was “replaced”. It is that the Priesthood has been “transferred”/”changed places” from earth to heaven. From an earthly Aaronic High Priest to Yeshua(Jesus’ true name), the High Priest of the Heavenly Temple. The necessity of a “change” in the Law, does not mean that God’s Law was replaced here on Earth. Rather that there is a transference also of the Law. This transference is speaking of the priesthood – of an Aaronic Priest on earth to a Priest in the line of Melchizadek in heaven. Not that the Aaronic priesthood is expunged, but that the Melchizadek Priest would receive preeminence standing before God with a far superior offering.

C. Other words that are connected to “change” in our English translations
There is also a need to see that our English Translations carry “change/changed” in place of other Greek Words from the Original Manuscripts which have diverse meanings to “allasso”.

G3337 – μεταλλάσσω – metallasso – exchange
Rom 1:25  Who changed(G3337-metallasso) the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.
Rom 1:26  For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change(G3337-metallasso) the natural use into that which is against nature:

G3339 – μεταμορφόω – metamorphoo – transform
Mat 17:2  And was transfigured(G3339-metamorphoo) before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light.
Mar 9:2  And after six days Jesus taketh with him Peter, and James, and John, and leadeth them up into an high mountain apart by themselves: and he was transfigured(G3339-metamorphoo) before them.
Rom 12:2  And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed(G3339-metamorphoo) by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
2Co 3:18  But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed(G3339-metamorphoo) into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.

G3345 – μετασχηματίζω – metaschēmatizo – transfigure/disguise
1Co 4:6  And these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred(G3345-metaschematizo) to myself and to Apollos for your sakes; that ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written, that no one of you be puffed up for one against another.
2Co 11:13-15  For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves(G3345-metaschematizo) into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed(G3345-metaschematizo) into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed(G3345-metaschematizo) as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.
Php 3:21  Who shall change(G3345-metaschematizo) our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.

D. Conclusion – Was there a necessity to change the Law or to transfer it?
Looking at the Original Greek wording, we can see that the “change” spoken of in Hebrews 7:12 is not the same “change” spoken of in Acts 6:14. Different words with different meanings have been used in the Original Greek Manuscripts, in these instances for a reason. Even though our English Translations use the same word “change” in place of these different Greek Words, the meaning is far different to what most Christians think it is. “Change” in Heb 7:12 cannot mean “replaced”, “make different” or “use another instead of”. The “Change” here denotes movement from one place to another. The necessity is to transpose or transfer to another place, which fits in line with the transference of the Priesthood from an Earthly one to a Heavenly one. This is the theme of the Book of Hebrews as the Author rightly sums up in Hebrews 8:1. The verse in question, Hebrews 7:12 in its Original Greek version does not speak of a “change” but a “transference” – hence it cannot be used as a proof text to say that God’s Law has changed.

Further Reading :
Old Covenant abolished by New Covenant? Part II – Does the Book of Hebrews prove that the Old Covenant is no more