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Is there a connection between the Historical Judges and Prime Ministers of Modern Israel?

Ever stopped to think whether Scriptural accounts in the past could be repeating themselves and giving us clues to the coming of Messiah? This study will delve into the parallels of the Judges in Israel written in the Book of Judges, with the Prime Ministers of Israel who have been serving in the Land of Israel since 1948. While the study will reveal parallels you may not have seen before, I leave it upto you to make your own conclusions.

Before we start, I need to make a note of Special thanks to sister Valerie Csepe who first shared this parallel with me and led me to study it for myself.

It is a well known fact that there is a cyclical nature to time, in the Scriptures. Things that happened in the past often parallel what happens in the future. The Feast Days/Appointments of God are a good example of this. Also in an earlier study, we went through the whole timeline from creation to the Exile of Judah, we also saw that there maybe a correlation between the 7 days of Creation and the 7000 years from creation to the end of the Millennial Kingdom.

The repetition of events is mentioned by King Solomon as follows:

Ecc 1:9-11 The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun. Is there any thing whereof it may be said, See, this is new? it hath been already of old time, which was before us. There is no remembrance of former things; neither shall there be any remembrance of things that are to come with those that shall come after.

So let’s turn to the study in hand and see whether there is any connections between the Judges and Prime Ministers of Israel.

Historical Judges of Israel

Click for enlarged view

Click for enlarged view

The Judges who led the Children of Israel after entering the Land, span from Joshua to Samuel. Followed by King Saul and King David. The Period of Judges are mentioned in the Scriptures even though there seems to be a little vagueness to the exact number of years. The cause for this is because there were also periods of foreign oppression which could have overlapped with the terms of office of some of the judges. Generally the period of Judges is known to be 450 years(Act 13:20) excluding Joshua and Samuel. The duration of rule can be found for each of the judges other than Joshua and Samuel, for whom we will turn to the writings of Josephus Flavius. The 450 year rule of the Judges can be exactly calculated using the Book of Judges as seen in this Image (Click to Enlarge) where Scripture references are given for each of the terms of the Judges as well as the years of oppression under foreign rule.

1st Judge. Joshua – 25Years
Flavius Josephus – Antiquities of the Jews – Book V Chapter 1:29 So Joshua, when he had thus discoursed to them, died, having lived a hundred and ten years; forty of which he lived with Moses, in order to learn what might be for his advantage afterwards. He also became their commander after his death for twenty-five years

Oppressed under Chushanrishathaim – 8years
Jdg 3:8 Therefore the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel, and he sold them into the hand of Chushanrishathaim king of Mesopotamia: and the children of Israel served Chushanrishathaim eight years.

2nd Judge. Othniel – 40Years
Jdg 3:11 And the land had rest forty years. And Othniel the son of Kenaz died.

Oppressed under Eglon – 18Years
Jdg 3:14 So the children of Israel served Eglon the king of Moab eighteen years.

3rd Judge. Ehud – 80Years
Jdg 3:30 So Moab was subdued that day under the hand of Israel. And the land had rest fourscore years.

Oppressed under Jabin – 20Years
Jdg 4:3 And the children of Israel cried unto the LORD: for he had nine hundred chariots of iron; and twenty years he mightily oppressed the children of Israel.

4th Judge. Deborah – 40Years
Jdg 5:31 So let all thine enemies perish, O LORD: but let them that love him be as the sun when he goeth forth in his might. And the land had rest forty years.

Oppressed under Midian – 7Years
Jdg 6:1 And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD: and the LORD delivered them into the hand of Midian seven years.

5th Judge. Gideon – 40Years
Jdg 8:28 Thus was Midian subdued before the children of Israel, so that they lifted up their heads no more. And the country was in quietness forty years in the days of Gideon.

6th Judge. Abimelech – 3Years
Jdg 9:22 When Abimelech had reigned three years over Israel,

7th Judge. Tola – 23Years
Jdg 10:1,2 And after Abimelech there arose to defend Israel Tola the son of Puah, the son of Dodo, a man of Issachar; and he dwelt in Shamir in mount Ephraim. And he judged Israel twenty and three years, and died, and was buried in Shamir.

8th Judge. Jair – 22Years
Jdg 10:3 And after him arose Jair, a Gileadite, and judged Israel twenty and two years.

Oppressed under Amorites – 18Years
Jdg 10:8 And that year they vexed and oppressed the children of Israel: eighteen years, all the children of Israel that were on the other side Jordan in the land of the Amorites, which is in Gilead.

9th Judge. Jephthah – 6Years
Jdg 12:7 And Jephthah judged Israel six years. Then died Jephthah the Gileadite, and was buried in one of the cities of Gilead.

10th Judge. Ibzan – 7Years
Jdg 12:8,9 And after him Ibzan of Bethlehem judged Israel. And he had thirty sons, and thirty daughters, whom he sent abroad, and took in thirty daughters from abroad for his sons. And he judged Israel seven years.

11th Judge. Elon – 10Years
Jdg 12:11 And after him Elon, a Zebulonite, judged Israel; and he judged Israel ten years.

12th Judge. Abdon – 8Years
Jdg 12:13,14 And after him Abdon the son of Hillel, a Pirathonite, judged Israel. And he had forty sons and thirty nephews, that rode on threescore and ten ass colts: and he judged Israel eight years.

Oppressed under Philistines – 40Years
Jdg 13:1 And the children of Israel did evil again in the sight of the LORD; and the LORD delivered them into the hand of the Philistines forty years.

13th Judge. Samson – 20Years
Jdg 16:31 Then his brethren and all the house of his father came down, and took him, and brought him up, and buried him between Zorah and Eshtaol in the buryingplace of Manoah his father. And he judged Israel twenty years.

14th Judge. Eli – 40Years
1Sa 4:18 And it came to pass, when he made mention of the ark of God, that he fell from off the seat backward by the side of the gate, and his neck brake, and he died: for he was an old man, and heavy. And he had judged Israel forty years.

15th Judge. Samuel – 12Years (without 18 Years he judged with Saul)
Flavius Josephus – Antiquities of the Jews – Book VI Chapter13:5. About this time Samuel the prophet died. He was a man whom the Hebrews honored in an extraordinary degree: for that lamentation which the people made for him, and this during a long time, manifested his virtue, and the affection which the people bore for him; as also did the solemnity and concern that appeared about his funeral, and about the complete observation of all his funeral rites. They buried him in his own city of Ramah; and wept for him a very great number of days, not looking on it as a sorrow for the death of another man, but as that in which they were every one themselves concerned. He was a righteous man, and gentle in his nature; and on that account he was very dear to God. Now he governed and presided over the people alone, after the death of Eli the high priest, twelve years, and eighteen years together with Saul the king. And thus we have finished the history of Samuel.

The combined time of the Judges was known to be 450Years
Act 13:20 And after that he gave unto them judges about the space of four hundred and fifty years, until Samuel the prophet.

Saul a Benjaminite became the first King of Israel – 40Years
Act 13:21 And afterward they desired a king: and God gave unto them Saul the son of Cis, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, by the space of forty years.

David a Jew became the second King of Israel. Every King of Israel after David, would be from his lineage as per the Promise God had given him including Messiah.
Act 13:22,23 And when he had removed him, he raised up unto them David to be their king; to whom also he gave testimony, and said, I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfil all my will. Of this man’s seed hath God according to his promise raised unto Israel a Saviour, Jesus:

Prime Ministers of Modern Israel
After the official recognition of the state of Israel in 1949, the modern state of Israel has been governed by Prime Ministers as listed below:

  • 1st Prime Minister – David Ben-Gurion (first time, 1948–53 / second time, 1955–63)
    Revered as the “Father of the Nation” he formally proclaimed the establishment of the State of Israel and led Israel during the 1948 Arab–Israeli War, and united the various Jewish militias into the Israel Defense Forces. During the Suez Crisis, when Egypt closed the Canal and the Straits of Tiran to Israeli ships, and blockaded the Gulf of Aqaba, in contravention of the Constantinople Convention of 1888, Israel invaded Egypt along with British and French forces under his leadership.
  • 2nd Prime Minister – Moshe Sharett (1953–55)
    The first foreign minister of Israel, Moshe was named David Ben-Gurion’s successor, when he temporarily retired from office. His attempts to stabilize relations with the Arab world were often criticized as some felt that he was too lenient in his response to border incursions and attacks on civilians.
  • 3rd Prime Minister – Levi Eshkol (1963–69)
    Eshkol governed Israel through and after the Six-Day War in 1967 against Egypt, Jordan, and Syria. He was the first Israeli leader to be formally invited to the White House greatly improving relations between Israel and the United States.
  • 4th Prime Minister – Golda Meir (1969–74)
    An Israeli teacher, stateswoman and politician, Golda was Israel’s first and only woman to hold office, and has been described as the “Iron Lady” of Israeli politics. She successfully led Israel through the Yom-Kippur War in 1973.
  • 5th Prime Minister – Yitzhak Rabin (first time, 1974–77 / second time, 1992–95)
    A Nobel Peace Prize winner for his efforts on solving the Israel-Palestinian conflict, he was Chief of the General Staff in the Israel Military overseeing Israel’s victory in the 1967 Six-Day War. In his first term, Rabin signed the Sinai Interim Agreement with Egypt and gave the go ahead for Operation Entebbe. In his second term, he signed the Oslo Accords with the Palestinian leadership as well as a peace treaty with Jordan. He was later assassinated by an extremist who opposed the terms of the Oslo Accords.
  • 6th Prime Minister – Menachem Begin (1977–83)
    He signed the peace treaty with Egypt’s Anwar Sadat and was later awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for Peace. Under his supervision the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) withdrew from the Sinai Peninsula, which was captured from Egypt in the Six-Day War. His government promoted the construction of Israeli settlements in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Begin also authorized the invasion of Lebanon in 1982 to fight PLO strongholds there, igniting the 1982 Lebanon War.
  • 7th Prime Minister – Yitzḥak Shamir (first time, 1983–84 / second time, 1986–92)
    Serving in the Mossad Secret Service, Yitzhak was later a Knesset Member, a Knesset Speaker and a Foreign Affairs Minister.
  • 8th Prime Minister – Shimon Peres (first time, 1984–86 / second time, 1995–96)
    He prioritised disengagement from Lebanon, and deepened the 1979 peace treaty with Egypt while seeking resolution of the Arab-Israel conflict. Strengthening ties with the United States Peres became known for his efforts to work out a peaceful solution to the Palestinian problem on the West Bank.
  • 9th Prime Minister – Benjamin Netanyahu (first time, 1996–99 / second time, 2009–present)
    Becoming Israel’s youngest ever Prime Minister, Netanyahu engaged in a major reform of the Israeli economy. The current Prime Minister of Israel, he is set to become the longest-serving Prime Minister in the history of Israel.
  • 10th Prime Minister – Ehud Barak (1999–2001)
    A former Israeli special forces commando, IDF Chief of Staff and Israeli government minister, Ehud is a graduate in physics, mathematics, and economics. The Barak government resumed peace negotiations with the PLO, and also took part in the Camp David 2000 Summit which was meant finally to resolve the Israeli–Palestinian conflict but failed.
  • 11th Prime Minister – Ariel Sharon (2001–06)
    Sharon was a commander in the Israeli Army from its creation in 1948, and was considered the greatest field commander in Israel’s history. As Prime Minister, Sharon orchestrated Israel’s unilateral disengagement from the Gaza Strip where a total of 8,000 Jewish settlers from all 21 settlements in the Gaza Strip were evicted and dismantled.
  • 12th Prime Minister – Ehud Olmert (2006–09)
    A former mayor of Jerusalem, Olmert was given acting prime ministerial duties to after Sharon suffered a massive stroke. Following elections Olmert became Prime Minister and would later launch the second Lebanon War in response to infiltrations by Hezbollah. At the Annapolis peace conference he declared Israel’s intention to continue negotiations with the Palestinians, including the repatriation of Palestinian refugees although little headway was tangibly made for peace.

Even though it is hard to match up the judges of Israel with the Prime Ministers of Modern Israel, the 4th judge was Deborah – a lady as well as the 4th Prime Minister, Golda Meir who was a lady. The years of office seems a lot shorter in many cases, but if the parallels hold true; we may have only a few more Prime Ministers to be appointed to office till the 2nd Coming of Christ!

Connections between King Saul & David to the Antichrist and the returning Christ
There have been 15 Judges in Ancient Israel and 12 Prime Ministers (some who have been appointed multiple times) in Modern Israel. After the 15th Judge who was Samuel, there was an interim period where Samuel acted as Judge alongside King Saul roughly for about 18 years after which King Saul reigned supreme for 22 years. It must be mentioned that King Saul was from the tribe of Benjamin, while Rulership was prophesied to go to Judah.

Gen 49:10 The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.

In the above verse Jacob prophesies over his sons, where he specifically says that the Sceptre will not depart from Judah until Shiloh(Messiah) comes, who Himself is prophesied to be from the lineage of Judah and the House of David.

So why did God choose Saul before David? Could there be some connection to the future with these events? In the future we know that an AntiChrist figure will rise who will deceive many, before the appearance of Christ.

Christ is synonymous with King David known as the Son of David in many instances
Mat 12:23
And all the people were amazed, and said, Is not this the son of David?
Mat 21:9 And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest.
Luk 1:32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:
Act 2:30 Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne;
Rev 5:5 And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.

Could Saul be an archetype for the AntiChrist Figure who would rise up in the future?
1.The people asked for a human king similar to other nations, thereby rejecting God who was King over them. God gives them Saul as King – a king that they deserve.
1Sa 8:7 And the LORD said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them.
1Sa 8:19-22 Nevertheless the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel; and they said, Nay; but we will have a king over us; That we also may be like all the nations; and that our king may judge us, and go out before us, and fight our battles. And Samuel heard all the words of the people, and he rehearsed them in the ears of the LORD. And the LORD said to Samuel, Hearken unto their voice, and make them a king. And Samuel said unto the men of Israel, Go ye every man unto his city.

2.Saul was from the Tribe of Benjamin which was never destined to be the Tribe of Kingship
1Sa 9:21 And Saul answered and said, Am not I a Benjamite, of the smallest of the tribes of Israel? and my family the least of all the families of the tribe of Benjamin? wherefore then speakest thou so to me?

3.Saul disobeyed God’s direct Command and acted in rebellion
1Sa 15:23 For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king.

4.Saul was influenced by an Evil Spirit
1Sa 16:15 And Saul’s servants said unto him, Behold now, an evil spirit from God troubleth thee.
1Sa 18:10 And it came to pass on the morrow, that the evil spirit from God came upon Saul, and he prophesied in the midst of the house: and David played with his hand, as at other times: and there was a javelin in Saul’s hand.
1Sa 19:9 And the evil spirit from the LORD was upon Saul, as he sat in his house with his javelin in his hand: and David played with his hand.

5.Saul murdered the 85 Priests of God showing know respect to God
1Sa 22:21 And Abiathar shewed David that Saul had slain the LORD’S priests.

6.Saul enquires after Spirits
1Sa 28:8 And Saul disguised himself, and put on other raiment, and he went, and two men with him, and they came to the woman by night: and he said, I pray thee, divine unto me by the familiar spirit, and bring me him up, whom I shall name unto thee.

7.Saul committed suicide
1Sa 31:4 Then said Saul unto his armourbearer, Draw thy sword, and thrust me through therewith; lest these uncircumcised come and thrust me through, and abuse me. But his armourbearer would not; for he was sore afraid. Therefore Saul took a sword, and fell upon it.

Saul was in no way a good king and a type of king that God wanted over His people. The word Christ/Messiah which means annointed (Christos in Greek and Mashiach in Hebrew) is the opposite of AntiChrist. In this way Saul seems to be the perfect opposite of David – the true King.

Could it be that these events are parallels of each other?
________________________________________________________________________________________________
Historical Judges of Israel  = Prime Ministers of Modern State of Israel
King Saul  =  AntiChrist figure
King David  =  Christ at His 2nd Coming
________________________________________________________________________________________________
Judges
followed by King Saul followed by King David
=
Prime Ministers
followed by Antichrist followed by Christ as King
—————————————————————————————————————————

As I said in the start of this study, this is by no means presented as obvious fact, but is laid before you so you can draw your own conclusions. Could it be all a coincidence? I leave it upto you to study further into these parallels if you choose to do so. Let me know what you think. What you learn. As always, Be a blessing to everyone around you! Shalom!

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The Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus

The Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus is one that is often evoked in sermons, and like most other parables, does not have an explanation alongside it. Some presume that it could even be a real story which Christ shares. As we all know, the text often unravels new meaning each time we read it, and thus I would like to give you my understanding of this Parable.

First of all, I believe this is a Parable as Yeshua(Jesus’ Hebrew Name) never relates real stories other than Parables, unless it is from the Scriptures. The other reason to presume that this is a Parable, in fact comes from the text itself, as Christ relates several Parables to the Pharisees and Scribes in Chapter 15 and 16 before relating the parable in question to the same audience. It is most likely a Parable also because of the clues riddled in the story.

Let me know your thoughts and whether you agree, disagree or you have had a better interpretation or revelation.

Luk 16:19 There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day:
The Rich Man is adorned in attire that symbolises kingship/authority and he was blessed in everything living a rich life, just like the religious leaders of “the Kingdom/House of Judah” who was always blessed by God, living under His care.
Luk 16:20 And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores,
The poor beggar named Lazarus (Greek transliteration of Eliezer) was full of sores and was laid at the gate signifying “the Kingdom/House of Israel” who was exiled only to live outside the promised land in uncleanness without the blessing of God. Also note that the dispersed/scattered Israelites were regarded unclean by the Pharisaic authority of the day (Joh 7:35).
Luk 16:21 And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.
The scattered people of the Kingdom/House of Israel desired to be part of God’s people but was barred and separated by the religious authority. We see many a time that Gentiles came to worship in Jerusalem (Joh 12:20, Act 8:27). If the House of Israel stood for the beggar, the Gentile nations who longed to be part of God’s People were signified by the Dogs. Christ had previously equated Gentile nations to dogs(Mar 7:26,27). So far the Parable speaks of the Blessed House of Judah with the House of Israel at its feet taking any blessings that they can possibly get. The gentile nations who longed to be blessed by God were trying to be as close to the House of Israel as they possibly could, and get anything that came their way.
Luk 16:22 And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried;
Judgement comes to both the House of Israel and the House of Judah
Luk 16:23 And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.
The House of Israel ends up in Abraham’s Bosom* which means to be collected to their forefather Abraham(Mat 8:11), while the House of Judah is not collected back to their forefather.
Luk 16:24,25 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.
The House of Judah will long to be with their forefather but it will be too late when they are in the grave, to change their fate.
Luk 16:27 Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father’s house: For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment.
The House of Judah longs to save their brethren who are alive and who will receive the same fate.
Luk 16:29,30 Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent.
Christ references himself as a person who goes into the world of the living from the dead, as the House of Judah thinks his brethren will change from evil by the word of such a person.
Luk 16:31 And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.
The change from evil/sin can be attained by the Word of God – His Law and the words of the Prophets, but people who don’t listen to the “Old Testament Scriptures” (as we know them) would not change even if a person comes alive from the dead.

Conclusion
The Parable which is directed at the Pharisees and Scribes were the ones who had Authority of the House of Judah. They were the Rich man of the day. The House of Israel scattered among the nations after the Assyrian Exile, were at the feet of the religious authority and were only getting crumbs because of their disgust of them. The gentile nations were far worse off. This religious authority may think that anything will change with these religious figures, if a person comes back from the dead and preaches repentance and coming back to God’s Word. But a person who does not adhere to Moses (The Five books of Moses known as Torah or the Law of Moses) and the Books of the Prophets would not change their minds because of anything. The Pharisees and Scribes were not keeping God’s Law at the time because of additions that they had made to Gods’ Word (also known as the Traditions of the Fathers/Elders or the Oral Law).

This was a clear rebuke against the religious authority of Yeshua’s day, to go back to God’s Word. How could they believe Yeshua, even when He comes back from the dead; as they don’t even adhere to God’s Law and the words of His Prophets?

*What is Abraham’s Bosom?
It is clear that Abraham’s Lap or Bosom was a generic term used in the 1st century and beyond to explain the dead being collected back to their forefathers, specifically Abraham. In Jewish writings it speaks of a Rabbi named Ada bar Ahava as following: “he was dwelling in the lap of our Patriach Avraham” (Talmud Kiddushin 72b). It was a place that righteous people go to.

Further Reading
The Parable of the prodigal son and the 2 Houses of Israel
Defining the Term “Hell”
The Betrothal, Divorce and Re-Betrothal of God’s people through Messiah
Has the church replaced israel

Good Friday or Passover?

As some celebrate Passover, millions of people are preparing to celebrate Good Friday. What is Passover and what is Good Friday? Is Passover for the Jews and Good Friday for the Christians? Where does these days originate from? Did Yeshua(Hebrew name of Jesus) die on Good Friday? or did He die on Passover? are both these days the same? Does it even matter which day we celebrate it on, as long as we remember it? We will delve in to the subject of Yeshua’s death today, and try to answer some of these questions. Keep an open mind, and let God’s Word show you the truth as some of the things you read here might probably shock you.

What is Passover?
Passover in one sentence, was the “Act of God”that brought Israel out of the bondage of Egypt bringing them salvation from slavery to Pharaoh, through the sign of the Blood of a Lamb. From Exodus 7-10, God brings 9 plagues on Egypt and Pharaoh, through Moses. After enduring much destruction and pain, Pharaoh would still not let “Israel – God’s People” go. Finally, God tells Moses that He will bring one more Plague on Egypt(Ex 11:1-6). In Ex 12:21-30, Moses explains that Israel had to kill a Lamb, and apply it’s blood as a sign so that death would not come into their houses. God also said that this is His Passover(Ex 12:11), not Israel’s passover. And that it was an Ordinance/Appointment Forever(Ex 12:14).

A few Biblical Facts before we proceed
1) A Biblical day consists of 12 Hours of Day and 12 Hours of Night (John 11:9)
2) The Biblical day is from one Sundown to the next Sundown (Lev 23:32, Neh 13:19, Judge 14:12,18, Luk 23:54, Joh 19:31) Calculating the start of the day from midnight was a later adaptation from the Roman time system
3) We know that Yeshua for a fact died on the Evening of the Passover. (John 18:28, 19:14)
4) Yeshua died around the 9th Hour of the Passover day (3pm in Modern day time)
(Mat 27:46-50, Mar 15:33-37, Luk 23:44-46)
5) Yeshua said that He will be in the Tomb for 3 days & 3 nights (Mat 12:40, 17:23, 20:19, 26:61, 27:40,63,64, Mar 8:31, 9:31, 10:34, 14:58, 15:29, Luke 9:22, 18:33, 24:7,21,46, Joh 2:19)

Good Friday
Even though it is never mentioned as such in the Scriptures, almost all Christians have been taught that Yeshua died on a Friday. Is this belief Scriptural? What is the reason for this belief? Let us see.

Death before the Sabbath
In John 19:31, we see that the Jews asking Pilate to bring the bodies down from the crosses before the Sabbath.
In Mark 15:42,43, we see that evening had come, and it was close to the Sabbath when Joseph of Arimathaea went to see Pilate.
In Luk 23:52-54, we see that Joseph laid Yeshua’s body in the Tomb and the Sabbath was about to start (Remember, that according to the Biblical day, the Sabbath would be from Sundown to Sundown. So at Friday Sundown, it is the start of the Sabbath).

So according to these 3 verses, we understand that Yeshua died before the Sabbath. There is no argument between any Historians or Biblical Scholars, that the day which is called “Saturday” in modern times, is the day which was called “Sabbath” in Yeshua’s time. (Check any Biblical Encyclopedia). So accordingly, it made perfect sense to proclaim that “Friday” as the day Yeshua died. Let us also check the other facts concerning His death before we conclude that it is, in fact Friday.

Yeshua rose after the Sabbath According to Mt 28:1-6, Mar 16:2-4, Luke 24:1-3, Joh 20:1,2
The women came to the tomb on the day after the Sabbath, to see it empty.

So According to these verses, we see that Yeshua had risen when the women went to the Tomb on Sunday. So accordingly, we celebrate His “Rising from Death” on Sunday.

He said He would be in the tomb for 3 Days & 3 Nights according to Mat 12:40
If He died on a Friday around 3pm, and was buried before Sundown, before the Sabbath started, and He rose before Sunday Morning, Where are the 3 Days? Friday eve to Sunday Morning is only 1½ Days. Even if we took the whole day of Sunday, it would still be 2 Days. According to a Friday Evening Death and a Resurrection before Sunday Morning, Yeshua seems to have not accomplished what He said He would. And I believe, that He never said anything contrary to what He did. Some say that it doesn’t matter. If it matters to you that you know the Truth, read on. And you will see why it is important to understands the Feasts/Appointments God gave to Israel. (We will do a separate study on the Feasts of God in the near future, where I will cover all of the feasts mentioned in Lev 23, including Passover.)

A very brief look at the Feast/Appointment of Passover which God gave Israel
1)
God told Israel to Kill the Passover Lamb on the Evening of the 14th day of the 1st Month (Ex 12:2,6, Lev 23:5, Num 9:3)
2) God told Israel to eat the Lamb with Unleavened Bread and Bitter Herbs
(Ex 12:8, 13:3, Num 9:11)
3) God told Israel to eat bread that is Unleavened for 7 days after the Passover
(Ex 12:15, 13:7, Deut 16:3)
4) God told Israel that the 1st day and 7th day of this week of Unleavened Bread were days where you rest from your regular work (Ex 12:16, Lev 23:6,7,8, Num 28:18,25) Special Sabbath*

Every year on the 1st Month according to God’s Calendar:
14th Day – Passover (Lamb was killed and meal was taken in the evening)
15th Day – 1st Day of Unleavened Bread – Special Sabbath*
16th Day – 2nd Day of Unleavened Bread
17th Day – 3rd Day of Unleavened Bread
18th Day – 4th Day of Unleavened Bread
19th Day – 5th Day of Unleavened Bread
20th Day – 6th Day of Unleavened Bread
21st Day – 7th Day of Unleavened Bread – Special Sabbath*

What day would Passover fall on? Was it Friday?
God’s Calendar has no connection to the Roman Gregorian Calendar of today. (We will delve into the nitty gritties of God’s Calendar when we study the Feasts of God). God’s Calendar works from new moon to new moon. The word that is translated in the Old Testament as “Month” actually means “New Moon” in Hebrew. (H2320 – חדשׁ – chôdesh – kho’-desh – From H2318; the new moon; by implication a month: – month (-ly), new moon) What this would mean is that when God said “First Month”, He meant “First New Moon”. And as the New moon does not appear on a fixed day, the 1st day of the 1st Month of God’s Calendar could fall on any day, meaning it could fall on a Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday or Saturday. Because of this, the 14th day could be any day of the week. Effectively, Passover could fall on anyday. For Example, Sunday this year, Wednesday next year and Friday the next. It would not fall on a fixed day of the 7 day week.

*What is this Special Sabbath
Because the 14th Day, which is Passover would fall on any day of the week, the 15th Day which could be any day of the week as well, would be a Sabbath which could fall on any day rather than the fixed Sabbath which always falls on Saturday. For this Reason, These days were called Special Sabbaths.

Another look at the death of Yeshua
So with all of this information, which I know is a bit too much to take in one go, (But remember, that if we grew up knowing these things, it would be simple for us) let us try to take another look at Yeshua’s Death. We know a few new facts about Yeshua’s Death.
Yeshua died on a Passover (14th Day) which can be any day of the week, and the next day (15th Day) would be a Special Sabbath Day. (Eg. If Passover fell on a Wednesday, the next day which is Thursday, is a Sabbath).

The key to it all
In John19:31, The Jews asked for Yeshua’s body to be removed before the start of the Sabbath. And it highlights an important fact here. John writes, “for that sabbath day was an high day”. The word “high” used here, is translated from Strong’s Greek Concordance – G3173 – μέγας – megas – meg’-as – meaning big, exceedingly, great (-est), high, large, loud, mighty, strong. This Greek word is translated as “Great” in almost all instances of the New Testament. This would effectively make this a “Great” or “Big” Sabbath, different from the 7th day Sabbath.

So what does all of this mean?
It means that according to the Old Testament Feast we checked, The day after Yeshua’s death would have been a Sabbath that did not have to fall on a fixed day like the regular Saturday Sabbath. The week which the Passover was held, would always contain 2 Sabbaths. One would be the Regular Fixed Sabbath. The other would be the 15th day which could fall on any day from Sunday to Saturday. This way, He would die on the Passover(which could fall on any day), before the High Sabbath(which is not a fixed Sabbath, and would always fall on the day after Passover) and He could rise after 3 Days & 3 Nights after the Fixed Saturday Sabbath.

How Yeshua died before the High Sabbath. How His body was in the Tomb for 3 Days and 3 Nights. And how He rose after the Fixed Saturday Sabbath.
Since Passover could fall on different days of the week each year, in that Particular year in which Yeshua died, for all the Scriptures to not have any inconsistencies, Passover would have fallen on a Wednesday.

Wednesday – 14th of 1st Month – Passover (Yeshua dies and is buried before eve)
Thursday – 15th of 1st Month – 1st day of Unleavened Bread – High/Special Sabbath
Friday – 16th of 1st Month – 2nd day of Unleavened Bread
Saturday – 17th of 1st Month – 3rd day of Unleavened Bread – Fixed /Regular Sabbath
Sunday – 18th of 1st Month – By the time the women came, Yeshua had risen

Wednesday Sundown to Thursday Sundown – 1st Day (1Day + 1Night)
Thursday Sundown to Friday Sundown – 2nd Day (1Day + 1Night)
Friday Sundown to Saturday Sundown – 3rd Day (1Day + 1Night)

Click on the image to enlarge

Click on the image to enlarge

Good Wednesday instead of Good Friday?
Am I saying that we should start commemorating Yeshua’s death on Wednesday instead of Friday. Not at all. I am merely showing how all the Scriptures are working together to reveal the truth. He could not have died on a Friday. But is Wednesday better than Friday? No. The better question to ask would be, whether we should Celebrate Passover instead of Good Friday. It is better to remember His death on the day He died, which was the Passover, than on Friday. (Passover does not fall on Wednesday every year)

But Isn’t it a Jewish Feast?
No one can own the Passover, but God Himself, as He said “it is my Passover”(Ex 12:11, Lev 23:2). It was given to “God’s people -Israel”, not only to the Jews. It is generally called “The Jewish Passover” only because the Jews are the only people commemorating it.

Greatest reason to Commemorate Passover: Yeshua, our Passover Lamb
When God commanded Israel to commemorate Passover, it was partly about the salvation that they got from Pharaoh and slavery in Egypt as well as, a future Redemption that He had planned. Yeshua would become a Passover Lamb, so that whoever was covered with His blood was “Passed over” by Death. Is this a making of my imagination? A forced connection? I will showcase the facts for you, that you can make up your own mind.

1) The Lamb had to be without spot or blemish (Ex 12:5)
Yeshua was a Lamb without Spot or Blemish (1Pet 1:19)
2) The Lamb was to be killed in the evening of Passover (Ex 12:6)
Yeshua died on the evening of Passover (Mat 27:46-50, Mar 15:33-37, Luk 23:44-46)
3) According to the size of the Lamb any number of households could get together to share one Lamb (Ex 12:3,4)
Yeshua would be the Lamb which could die for the Sin of the whole world(John 1:29)
4) The Blood of the Lamb was a token for Israel to be saved from Death (Ex 12:13,23)
Yeshua saved us from death through His Blood (Rom 5:9)
5) The Lamb’s bones were not to be broken(Ex 12:46)
Yeshua’s bones were not broken, and John specifically mentions this, saying this is the fulfillment of this scripture (John 19:33,36)

Just as Israel was redeemed of Slavery from Egypt and Pharaoh through the Blood of the Passover Lamb, we are also redeemed through the Blood of the “Passover Lamb – Yeshua” from the slavery to Sin and Satan. God did not give the Feasts/Appointed times in Lev 23 for no reason. Each of these appointments are Prophetic Shadows of Yeshua. (We will do a separate study on the Feasts of God in the near future, where I will cover all of the feasts mentioned in Lev 23, including Passover and How Yeshua fulfilled each of these Appointed times to the T.)

Some say that Passover was only a Commandment given to Israel. That as Christians, we do not need to keep a Jewish Passover. First of all, I would ask such people to understand the definitions of Israel, Jews & Christians. Then they should notice what God said in Ex 12:11 and repeated in Lev 23:2, That the Passover is HIS. Not Israel’s or of the Jew’s.

Finally, I would also like to leave a question with you? Was the Ten Commandments given to Christians? or Israel? Who told us that we could choose what to Accept out of His Commandments & what to Reject? Remember that Passover was also a Commandment of God(Lev 23). And no, Paul did not say it was alright to discard God’s Passover. (We will study on this at a later date as well).

Jews who do not accept Yeshua as Messiah keep the Passover in commemoration of the redemption from slavery of Egypt. The Jews who believe in Yeshua (Messianic Jews) commemorate the Passover in remembrance of Yeshua, the Passover Lamb who redeemed all from Sin. Shouldn’t we, as Christians who believe in Yeshua keep the Passover instead of Good Friday in remembrance of Yeshua in the same way? Yeshua did not celebrate Good Friday. But He did commemorate Passover.

In conclusion, I hope that you have understood the Fact that Yeshua could not have died on a Friday. He died on the Passover day, as the Passover Lamb. The Passover does not belong to the Jews, but to God Himself. Passover and Good Friday is not the same, as one is instituted by God and the other by man. On the question whether it matters to God or not, I would say, if it does not matter, why would He have instituted these specific days? Start reading and searching. May He show you the Truth. And hopefully, this study has helped you to see through the common misconceptions we are surrounded with.

RELATED ARTICLES
A biblically accurate graphical timeline of Christ’s Death, Burial & Resurrection
What is the Biblical Day, Week, Month, Year? and does it really matter?

Did Christ die on a Friday? The fulfillment of the Sign of Jonah
Was the “Last Supper” a “Passover Meal”?
Easter Sunday and the Resurrection of Christ
The Betrothal, Divorce and Re-betrothal of God’s people, through Messiah
Examination of the term “First day of the Week” in the New Testament

Lost in Translation – Are our English Bibles accurate?

While the Old Testament Scriptures and the New Testament Writings are most definitely inspired by God, the Translations we carry are not. Translation is an extremely hard task with so many variables, since it is done by human beings with their own thoughts, ideas, doctrines & biases. The mere fact that there are so many different English Translations should show us that there are issues with our translations that lead to erroneous doctrines and twisting of God’s Word. These additions, subtractions and changes whether done in purpose or not, effect how we read and perceive the Bible. It is of utter importance to look into these changes and be informed so that we get to know the unadulterated truth.

Foxe's_Book_of_Martyrs_-_Tyndale

We must all be thankful for the people who have spent their precious time, resources and sometimes done it under duress – so that we have a translation which we can read. In this sense, the following inspection is in no way an attempt to undermine the work of Translators but an undertaking, so that we are all informed of the less than perfect translations we are left with to learn from.

While this post will not provide an exhaustive list of all additions, subtractions and changes seen in our English Translations, I hope to provide some key flaws I have noted in my own personal study. You are most welcome to provide your findings – so that I can add them into this post!

Deu 4:2  Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.
Deu 12:32  What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it.
Pro 30:6 Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.
Mat 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.
Rev 22:18,19 For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.

With dire warnings against Adding to and Subtracting from God’s Word, we should shudder about the fact that such additions, subtractions and changes still exist in our translations. These could be categorized under the below list:
1) God’s Name & Christ’s Name
2) Parenthesis
3) Additions & Changes
3) Mistranslation & Bias

1) God’s Name & Christ’s Name
The word “LORD” in capital letters can be seen in our English Translations over 6500 times, and each of those times the root Hebrew word is “יהוה” (Yod-Hay-Vav-Hay) or YHVH commonly known as the Tetragrammaton. While there is a Hebrew Word for the title “Lord” which is “אדני” Adonai, wherever our Bible Translations have “LORD” in CAPITALS, it is signifying God’s Divine name. In a few rare instances in the King James Version, God’s Divine Name is seen in it’s original form as “JEHOVAH” – a very close transliteration to the original Yehovah (Exo 6:3,Psa 83:18,Isa 12:2,Isa 26:4). Can God’s name, known as His Memorial Name(Hos 12:5), My Holy Name(Eze 39:7) & My Name(Isa 42:8, Jer 16:21) be substituted with a mere title such as Lord? One of the biggest changes seen in our translations is that all of them mask God’s one true name. (Read this article for further study)

But it does not stop there. It comes as a shock to many people to know that “Jesus” was not the name that Christ was addressed by, by any of His disciples or any contemporaries of His day. Even though the name Jesus is seen close to 1000 times in the New Testament translation, The Hebrew Name He was known by was “ישׁוּע” “Yeshua” the same name given to Moses’ aid commonly known as Joshua.  In two instances in the King James Version, Joshua is even referred to as Jesus (Acts 7:45, Heb 4:8) proving that the two names Jesus and Joshua are derived from the same name. But how did the name “Yeshua” end up being turned to “Jesus”? This is the cause of transliterations done from Hebrew to Greek to Latin to German to English. (Read this article for further study)

Almost all of the names we read in our English Translations are anglicized versions of the originals. Even though there are too many to point out, a few key names are mentioned below. Mary’s true name is “Miriam”(the same name as Moses’ Sister), John is “Yochanan”, Jude, Judas and Judah is “Yehudah”, James and Jacob is “Yaakov”, Matthew is “Mathityahu”, Simon is “Shi-mon”, Thomas is “Taome”, Saul is “Sha-ul”, Eve is “Chavah”, Isaac is “Yitzach”, Isaiah is “Yeshiyahu”, Solomon is “Sh-lomo” and so on. This begs the question – can we change or Anglicize names? If we can’t do it to our own names… how come we change Biblical names?

2) Parenthesis
Translators use words or phrases in certain instances to help readers understand verses. But many of these additions marked by bracket marks or italicized letters are thought by readers to be part of the original text. Thus the translators make certain decisions in the interpretation of Scripture which has a profound impact on readers perception and understanding which may not be accurate at certain times.
A) Mark 7:19 –  (Thus he declared all foods clean.)
One of the biggest cases against God’s Food Laws, is based on Mark 7:19 in which Christ is making a statement about the question in context – “Does one become unclean by eating with unwashed hands?”. The translators add “(Thus he declared all foods clean.)”, thereby making Christ an advocate of breaking God’s Food Laws. This insertion seen in translations such as ESV, NIV, NLT, NASB, NET, etc., gives a wrong understanding to the lay reader. (Read this article for further study)
B) Heb 8:7, Heb 8:13, Heb 9:1 – Covenant
The Word “Covenant” appears in the Letter to the Hebrews a number of times. But the translators have inserted this all important word in 3 places thereby changing the whole context of the Letter. The main question addressed in this Letter is the “Priesthood”(8:1), and not the Covenant. By inserting the word to where it does not exist, the translators thereby change the context of the priesthood towards the covenant, which has led to “Hebrews” being used as a proof text to say that “Old Covenant” is done away. There is no argument that when a certain line speaks about the first (as in priesthood), inserting the word “covenant”, changes the context to a completely different path. (Read this article for further study)

3) Additions & Changes
In some instances two sets of Manuscripts may have vast differences, which are carried to different English translations, making different versions of translations carry completely different verses. While some of these are rectified in newer editions, some ideas which were not communicated by the writers may end up and remain in our translations to this day.
A) Rev 22:14 – “Blessed are those doing His Commands” or “Blessed are those who wash their robes”

H.B. Swete's The Apocalypse of St. John... (3rd edn; Macmillan, 1911), p. 307.

Difference between Rev 22:14 – “Blessed are those doing His Commands” or “Blessed are those who wash their robes “H.B. Swete’s The Apocalypse of St. John… (3rd edn; Macmillan, 1911), p. 307.

In the conclusion of Revelation written by John, some of our translations (NIV, NLT, ESV, NASB, ISV, NET, ASV) say “Blessed are those who wash their robes”  while other translations (KJV, YLT) carry “Blessed are those doing His Commands”. The change comes from two different sets of Manuscripts. While the Greek text of the two versions (as seen above) have minor differences, the messages that the two different versions give out are vastly contrasting. Long before the books were compiled to form “The New Testament,” Rev. 22:14 was quoted, as “Blessed are those doing His Commands”, by Tertullian (CE 208) and by Cyprian (CE 251).

B) 1John 5:7 – “For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.” or “For there are three that testify”
In some of our translations (NIV, NLT, ESV, NASB, ISV, NET, ASV) this verse says “For there are three that testify” while other translations (KJV, YLT) carry “For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.” The longer form that is central to Trinitarian Doctrine, is thought to have been added by Desiderius Erasmus in 1522, while they were absent from the first modern Greek critical text published by him in 1516.

C) Mark 16:9-20 – Missing from the oldest Greek Manuscripts
Even though the vast majority of later Greek Manuscripts carry verses 9-20 in the Gospel of Mark, two of the oldest and most respected manuscripts, the Codex Sinaiticus and Codex Vaticanus, end at verse 8. While there is scholarly consensus on this addition, the question remains why it is still part of our translations. At the least there should be a note accompanied in our translations on this fact.

D) Mattew 28:19 – Missing from the Hebrew Manuscripts of Matthew
It is a known fact that Matthew wrote the Gospel in Hebrew as mentioned by Irenaeus of Lyons in “Against Heresies 3:1:1” written in 180AD. These Hebrew Manuscripts have survived to this day, which was translated by George Howard – Professor of Religion, University of Georgia in 1995. These manuscripts do not contain the words “teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:” which is found in verse 19 of our Bible Translations. Instead the Hebrew Manuscripts merely go on from verse 18 to 20 saying “Go, Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” The command to baptize using a trinitarian creed seems to be missing in the Hebrew Manuscripts. This agrees with the Book of Acts where everyone is baptized in the name of Christ, whilst the trinitarian baptism creed is not mentioned anywhere(Acts 2:38, 8:16, 10:48, 19:5, 22:16). (Read this article for further study)

4) Mistranslation & Bias
There are many occurrences where a translator or set of translators have translated the same word in the Original Greek/Hebrew to different English Words. While this maybe helpful at times, it can also cause quite a lot of confusion, especially when the translation is changing the text to fit a certain idea/doctrine. While there certainly are hundreds if not thousands of such instances, I will point out the main ones I have noticed which makes a vast difference in understanding what we read. I invite you to add any other instances which you have found, so that this article gets improved.

A. H4150 – mô‛êd – Appointed time/place
Gen 1:14  And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:
Lev 23:2 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, Concerning the feasts of the LORD, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations, even these are my feasts.
The Words highlighted in Red above are the same in the Original Hebrew Manuscripts. The fact is that Gen 1:14 should have been translated as “appointed time/Feast” and not “seasons”, which gives the idea of Spring, Summer, Autumn & Winter. God’s Appointed Times or Feasts depend on the Sun & Moon, and it is fitting for this reason that God created the lights for the calculating of His appointments. (Read this article for further study)

B. H8577 – tannı̂ym – Sea Creatures, Whales, Dragons or Serpants
Gen 1:21  And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
Exo 7:9  When Pharaoh shall speak unto you, saying, Shew a miracle for you: then thou shalt say unto Aaron, Take thy rod, and cast it before Pharaoh, and it shall become a serpent.
Deu 32:33  Their wine is the poison of dragons, and the cruel venom of asps.
The Words highlighted in Red above are the same in the Original Hebrew Manuscripts. Gen 1:21 should not be translated as Whales in any case, as the same word is translated Serpent and as Dragon. Vastly different to the idea which is given in our English translations pertaining the Creation account.

C. Lucifer or Heylel
We are all familiar with the name Lucifer, by which Satan is known in popular culture. But oddly enough the name “Lucifer” does not originate from the Hebrew Text, but from Latin. The Hebrew Haylel (meaning “Shining One”) seen in the Hebrew Manuscripts can only be seen in Isa 14:12. The using of Lucifer here in our translations makes a false claim that this is the name of the Adversary, when there is no mention of such in the Original Manuscripts.  (Read this article for further study)

D. H7585 – she’ôl – Hell or Grave
In some instances “she’ôl” is translated as Hell instead of Grave, when it is very clear that the correct translation should be Grave as in the Ground in burial, rather than a fiery place as communicated in popular media. (Read this article for further study)

E. Luke 23:43 and the placing of the Comma
We are all familiar with the famous words Christ spoke to the thief who believed on the cross. These words are also a central part of the theology that people go to heaven immediately when they die. Most Christians would not know that there are no punctuation marks in the Greek Manuscripts. So the placing of the Comma (marked in red) makes a vast difference to the meaning of the verse. If you place it in between “I say to you” and “today you will be with me”, it could lead us to believe that the thief will be in paradise the same day. Alternatively, if you place the comma in between “I say to you today” and “you will be with me”, it could lead us to believe that Christ is merely proclaiming that the thief will be in paradise. The placement of the comma in our English translations make a vast difference to the message derived from it. See both version below. Whichever version is right, it certainly shows the power of a simple punctuation mark.
• Luk 23:43 And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”
• Luk 23:43 And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you today, you will be with me in Paradise.”

F. Acts 12:4 – Passover or Easter
In the King James Version the word “pascha-G3957” is translated as “Easter” in Acts 12:4 – a word which is translated “Passover” everywhere else. The word “Easter” is a clear insertion which is foreign to the Greek text, and is not present in any other translation or passage of the Bible.

G. G4864 – sunagōgē – Synagogue
Jas 2:2 (KJV, NET, ESV, ISV) For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment;
Jas 2:2 (NIV) Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in filthy old clothes also comes in.
Jas 2:2 (YLT, ASV) For if there come into your synagogue a man with a gold ring, in fine clothing, and there come in also a poor man in vile clothing;
The Words highlighted in Red above are the same in the Original Greek Manuscripts. The fact that the believers that James is writing to are attending Synagogue is skewed by some of the translations by replacing the word with “assembly”/”meeting”. While this particular verse is changed, the 50 odd other times “sunagōgē” is seen in the Greek text it has been left translated as “Synagogue”. It begs the question why the translators left the same word in Rev 2:9 & 3:9 as “Synagoge” when it was speaking of a “Synagogue of Satan”. Should it not have been translated as Assembly of Satan or Meeting of Satan to keep it consistent?

H. G5515 – chlōros – Pale Horse or Green Horse
The Famous verse in Revelations where Death comes riding a Pale Horse(6:8) might be not a Pale Horse, but a Green Horse – as the word used there is “chloros” seen translated as Green in Mar 6:39, Rev 8:7, 9:4. You may think what does it matter whether it is “Pale” or “Green”… but could it mean that Death comes through the Green Trees, Fruit, etc food that are eaten? This is why accurate translation is of such importance.

Conclusion
Don’t agree with any of the above? Found out something that you would like to share? Please do let us know, so that we may also learn. There are many things wrong with our translations, but let us also be happy that we are fortunate enough to have a copy of the Bible in our own languages, so that we can read it for ourselves. Let us be thankful to God and ask Him to show us His Truth that we may seek Him alone!

Why Christians need to plead forgiveness from our Jewish brethren

From even before the time of the early (so called) Church Father, John Chrysostom who coined the term “Christ-Killer” in 386 AD, referring to the Jews – the time of Passover and Good Friday have been occasion to both verbal and physical attack against the Jewish people by so called Christians. These thoughts and ideas seem to bubble up in some form or manner in Christian congregations even today. It is important therefore to do an internal observation into Christianity, to rectify ourselves rather than point fingers at others.

Imagine a world where Christ preceded Moses, and the Christian preceded the Jew. Now Imagine Jews saying that Moses brought Christ’s teachings to an end, and that we must all follow Moses instead. In this imaginary reality, Christians who did not agree with the Jews were marginalized, falsely accused for various ills, humiliated, abused, tortured, persecuted, their books burned, property confiscated, burdened with extra taxes, forced to wear badges of shame, places of worship burnt, belief outlawed, enslaved, converted forcefully, arrested, imprisoned, expelled, attacked by mobs, burnt at the stake, hung, massacred and even exterminated by Jews, in the name of Moses. Would you as a Christian, want to be associated, much less believe in such a person – in whose name, such grievous acts were done?

Known as the Blood Libel - The accusation of ritual murder by the Jews began in medieval England when a Christian boy disappeared. The local population, already predisposed to blaming Jews for all the ills of the world, was quick to blame the Jews of kidnapping the boy to extract his blood to make Passover bread. An insane accusation as Jewish Law strictly prohibits the consumption of blood

Image of a medieval etching, depicting Jews committing a purported ritual murder, known as the Blood Libel – US Holocaust Memorial Museum

The sad reality is that Christians have done all of the above and much worse to our Jewish brothers and sisters for close to 2000 years, and all in the name of Christ. Most Christians would refuse to believe such, but the annals of history record the persecution Jews have undergone in the hands of Christianity. From before the time of the crusades, the Jews have been looked at as “Christ-Killers” with contempt and disgust. They have been subject to all sorts of physical and psychological trauma because of their beliefs and simply because they are “Jews”. They have been accused of everything from ritual murder of Christian children to the poisoning of water. Antisemitism has been part and parcel of mainline Christianity from the early 1st century Church of Rome to Catholicism right down to Protestantism. When you read Paul’s words of concern and caution to the congregation in Rome, saying “boast not” and “be not highminded” in Romans Chapter 11, you see these roots of antisemitism which snowballed into a tragedy such as the Holocaust.

In my opinion, an even more grievous act has been done to our Jewish brethren by Christians. And that is the stealing of the Jewish Messiah-Yeshua(the real Hebrew name of Jesus) and disfiguring Him and His teachings, so that no Jew would even want to know about Him. Christians are quick to forget that Yeshua, His disciples, Paul, James and thousands of believers in the 1st Century were all Jews. Christians are quick to forget that Paul spoke many a time in his letters about the coming together of Jew and Gentile as one people in Christ. Christianity has made Christ to be the inventor of a new Religion. An abolisher of God’s Law given through Moses. Christians have made themselves the chosen people, while the Jews have been discarded in their minds and sidelined by their actions.

On top of all this, some Christians have the audacity to say that “Jews reject Jesus”. If I was a Jew, and my people were marginalized, falsely accused for various ills, humiliated, abused, tortured, persecuted, our books burned, property confiscated, burdened with extra taxes, forced to wear badges of shame, places of worship burnt, belief outlawed, enslaved, converted forcefully, arrested, imprisoned, expelled, attacked by mobs, burnt at the stake, hung, massacred and even exterminated – in some form by those who profess to be Christians – I would not want any part in such a “Messiah” either. It is time for Christians to wake up and own up, that we have hurt our brothers and sisters for whom Christ died – deeply, and to the extent to which they cannot bare. No matter whether we were not there at the time of such persecution, no matter whether it was not our denomination which did such grievous acts, no matter whether the propagators of such massacres were not real Christians – these acts have been done under the banner of Christianity, by people who profess to be Christians. And it is no wonder that a Jew would teach their child to have nothing to do with Jesus. Christianity has pushed our Jewish brothers and sisters to this place.

Now am I saying this is the only reason the Jews reject Yeshua as Messiah? No. There are several reasons such as the debate on fulfillment of prophecy. But the persecution they have endured at the hand of Christianity is one of the biggest reasons for their current standing of who Yeshua is. It is a scar that is permanently ingrained in their minds. They have endured not only physical persecution but theological, where Christianity believes that it has replaced the Jews as the chosen people. Antisemitic sentiment is rampant in Christian minds, where most regard themselves superior to Jews, when in fact we should embrace them as our brothers and sisters who are the chosen people to whom we are grafted in.

So what can we do, as Christians? We should own up to this faults first. We should not only apologize, but plead for forgiveness from them. And not only them, but from God – for carrying out such heinous acts in the name of Christ, against His chosen people. The people He handed His Word to. The people He made His Covenants with. Not only has Christianity walked away from its roots, it has chopped off its own roots and become a separate tree. Christians need to get in touch with its roots once again. We need to recognize that there was no new religion in the 1st century, but a difference of understanding of Yeshua as Messiah.

So here is my open apology and prayer to my dear Jewish brothers and sisters around the world. “May you have the heart to forgive us for what we have done to you throughout the past centuries. May God – the Creator of Heaven and Earth, to whom both of us pray to – give you the ability and strength to put this scarred past behind you and look at us as your brothers and sisters. We love you. and we pray for your safety and goodwill. May you be blessed abundantly by our Father in Heaven! Amen”

To my Christian brothers and sisters around the world, my prayer is that you study the word more thoroughly, and find in your heart to root out any antisemitic notions in your minds, so that we can truly become one people with our Jewish brethren. Be humble enough to admit the wrongs of our Christian forefathers which we have inherited, and plead for forgiveness for the hurt that which we have caused. May we be able to have a healthy interfaith dialogue with each other through love and patience. And may we have the strength to rise up to the aid of our Jewish brethren whenever they need us.

As Ruth, a Moabite woman by birth, but the Great Grand Mother of King David – the Jewish heir to the throne, said “thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God:” – even though our beliefs differ about Messiah, we do believe in the same Creator God. May we also have the ability to accept each other as one people – sons and daughters of God our Father. May you be a blessing to everyone around you.

What did Christ, His Disciples & Paul consider as “Scripture”?

Sounds like a silly question, doesn’t it? What was considered as Scripture in the 1st century AD? One would say “Obviously the Bible”. But hang on! Did anyone inclusive of Paul, carry our Bible? Did they carry a Bible at all? Did Paul consider his own writings as Scripture? Did he read or ever hold his letters which were written to specific assemblies in different cities, as Scripture? Let’s check what our Bibles say about the matter.

The Bible – A Brief History
Our current Bibles are composed of 2 sections divided as The Old Testament and the New Testament. The Old Testament in our English Translation consist of 39 books, while the new contains 27.

The New Testament containing 27 books/letters which were first put together in 367, by Athanasius, Bishop of Alexandria, and is said to have been accepted by the Synod of Hippo Regius in North Africa in 393AD and again accepted by the Councils of Carthage in 397 and 419. The oldest Manuscripts of the New Testament are preserved in Greek – the main language of the 1st Century, while the original works such as Matthew’s Gospel is said to have been written in Hebrew according to Papias.

While there is no scholarly consensus as to when the Old Testament Canon was fixed, some scholars argue that it was done in the time of the Hasmonean dynasty (140BC – 116BC). The Old Testament” as we call it, was completely written in Hebrew and consisted of three divisions – The Torah (5 Books of Moses i.e. Genesis to Deuteronomy), The Nevi’im (Prophets) & The Ketuvim (Writings/Psalms).

The Old Testament divisions can be seen mentioned in the verses below

Luk 24:27  And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.
Luk 24:44  And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me.
Joh 1:45  Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.
Act 26:22,23  Having therefore obtained help of God, I continue unto this day, witnessing both to small and great, saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come: That Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first that should rise from the dead, and should shew light unto the people, and to the Gentiles.
Act 28:23  And when they had appointed him a day, there came many to him into his lodging; to whom he expounded and testified the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses, and out of the prophets, from morning till evening.

yeshua_scrollThe phrases “Moses”, “Law” or “Law of Moses” in the New Testament, denotes the first 5 Books of the Old Testament which were written by Moses. “Prophets” denotes all the books written by the Prophets such as Jeremiah, Isaiah, Obadiah, Daniel, etc. The Psalms and the rest of the writings together with “Moses” and “Prophets” put together, made up the Old Testament in the 1st Century AD.

1) Law (also known as Moses, Law of Moses or Law) wherever you see these terms referred in the New Testament writing, it means the first 5 Books of the Bible which were written by Moses – Mat 5:17, 7:12, 22:40, Mar 12:26, Luk 2:22, Luk 16:29,31, 24:27,44, Joh 1:45, 5:45, 7:23, Act 6:11, 13:15,39, 15:5, 21:21, 24:14, 26:22, 28:23, 1Cor 9:9, 2Cor 3:15, Heb 10:28, Rom 3:21
2) Prophets which contains all the Major and Minor Prophets – Mat 5:17, 7:12, 22:40, Luk 16:29,31, 24:27,44, Joh 1:45, Act 7:42, 13:15,40, 24:14, 26:22, 28:23, Rom 3:21
3) Psalms (also known as the Writings) which contains the Book of Psalms and the rest of the writings – Luk 20:42, 24:44, Act 1:20

The Format of the Scriptures that were read by Christ, the Disciples & Paul
In our minds whenever we read the New Testament writings, we see everyone opening books and reading from bound books that we are familiar with. But the truth is that there were no bound books at the time. Printing would be introduced 1500 years later. So what was the format of the Scriptures they had? All of the writings were copied on Scrolls made of parchment/Animal skin and rolled and kept. We can see an instance of this in Luke 4:17.

Luk 4:17 And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened(g380) the book(g975), he found the place where it was written,

scribe1In the above verse “opened” should be translated as “unrolled” according to the Greek word used there (G380 – ἀναπτύσσω – anaptussō – Thayer’s Greek Definition: to unroll). Furthermore, the word used for “book” can mean a scroll as the same word (G975 – βιβλίον – biblion)  is seen again in Rev 6:14 translated as Scroll. These scrolls were copied by hand, with the utmost care and it is said that it would take a scribe a whole year and the skins of a whole herd of sheep to create one copy of the 5 books of Moses.

The Availability of the Scriptures that were read by Christ, the Disciples & Paul
Just as most of us imagine Christ, the disciples and even Paul reading a bound Bible, when in fact they were reading rolled up Scrolls – some imagine that the early Christians carried their own copy of the Scriptures. It is very unlikely that the early believers even owned a copy of the Scriptures, as it was quite costly. Only the Synagogues in each of the cities would have a copy that could be read on the Sabbath day when the people assembled together.  

Christ considered what we call the Old Testament as Scripture
Yeshua(Jesus’ true name) speaks of no other writing other than the books of Moses, Prophets & Writings/Psalms as “Scripture” (Mat 21:42, Mat 22:29, Mat 26:54,56,  Mar 12:10,24, Mar 14:49, Luk 4:21, Joh 5:39, Joh 7:38, Joh 10:35, Joh 13:18, Joh 17:12)

The Gospel writers and the disciples considered what we call the Old Testament as Scripture
Gospel writers Mark, Luke, John, other disciples, James and even Peter refers to the Old Testament as “Scripture” (Mar 15:28, Luk 24:27, Luk 24:32, Luk 24:45, Joh 2:22, Joh 19:24, Joh 19:28, Joh 19:36,37, Joh 20:9, Act 1:16, Act 8:32,35, Act 17:2,11, Act 18:24,28, Jas 2:8, Jas 2:23, Jas 4:5, 1Pet 2:6, 2Pet 1:20, 2Pet 3:16)

Paul considered what we call the Old Testament as Scripture
In so many instances Paul refers to the Old Testament calling it “The Scriptures”. (Rom 1:2, Rom 4:3, Rom 9:17, Rom 10:11, Rom 11:2, Rom 16:26, 1Cor 15:3,4, Gal 3:8,22, Gal 4:30, 1Tim 5:18, 2Tim 3:16). Out of this list, of special concern is a beloved verse which almost every Christian knows by heart.

2Ti 3:15-17 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

Paul tells his beloved son Timothy that he has known the Holy Scriptures from the time he was a child. The Holy Scripture mentioned here could only be what we refer as the Old Testament. Paul adds to his words explaining that all of the Scriptures are given by the inspiration of God for teaching, as proof, to correct and to train in righteousness. While most of us read 2Tim 3:16 believing it is speaking of our Bibles when it says “Scripture”, it is clear that Paul is referring to the Scriptures that they had. The Scripture which Timothy was familiar with from the time he was a child. What we refer to as the Old Testament.

Today’s view of the Old Testament and the New Testament
OT NTMany Christians see the Old Testament to have been given only for the Jews/Israel while the New Testament to be given to the Gentile/Christian. While there was no New Testament in the hands of Christ, His disciples or Paul – they would have never imagined of a congregation that believes in Messiah while giving the least bit of attention to the Old Testament – the “Holy Scriptures” in their eyes. The man-made division of “Old Testament” & “New Testament”, has brought only division to the Christian body as a whole. Many denominations have made the True Scripture, an enemy of the Christian. They have turned its oulook into a curse. Something which is “Old” and done away. Only if more Christians would pay attention to what the writers of the New Testament say, in their original context. Today’s Christian is not being built on the foundation of the True Scripture – as most new believers are told to even skip the Old Testament and start with the New. We forget that the Bereans who were called noble, turned to Scripture when it came to checking Paul’s words. If only all of us Christians today, turned to the Scriptures to check whether all of the doctrines taught to us by our pastors, teachers and denominations agreed with Scripture!

Conclusion
While all the proof in the New Testament writings point towards the “Old Testament” being referred to exclusively as Scripture, many Christians today give the “Scriptures” of our Messiah, His Disciples and even Paul, step-motherly treatment. Some are engrossed so much in the New Testament, that they see no reason to read the “Holy Scriptures” as Paul mentioned them. The New Testament is looked upon to provide teaching, proof, correction and training, while the Old Testament is seen as an abolished book today. Paul could not have been referring to His own writings as “Scripture”, as these letters were written to specific individuals and congregations, tackling specific issues distinct to those individuals/congregations. For example, Paul’s letter to the Roman Congregation, was sent to Rome and not Corinth, Colosse, Ephesus, Thessalonica, etc. His letter to Timothy was written specifically to Timothy and no one else.

Furthermore, these individual letters that constitute the New Testament were put together and agreed upon as canonical only in the late 4th Century. The New Testament writings are a necessary part of a Christians life, as it reveals to us about Christ, His disciples and their teachings. But we should not forget that what they considered as “Scripture” was nothing else other than what we call the Old Testament books of Moses, the Prophets & the Psalms. It is time that Christians wake up and give the proper place that “God’s Word” the “Holy Scriptures” deserve!

Was God’s Law blotted out and nailed to the cross? Misunderstandings regarding Col 2:11-17

Paul’s letter to the Colossians contain one, if not the most famous of verses used to prove that God’s Law is done away with Christ’s death. While many Christians quote this passage, not many of us pay proper attention to the words used by Paul – which ultimately leads us to read our own doctrines into the text. Peter was right to warn believers to be careful when reading Paul’s Letters, as many were distorting his words in their day(2 Pet 3:15,16). Nothing much has changed, as the letters and words of this Misunderstood Apostle are still unwittingly distorted by many. Let’s try to put our preconceived ideas and beliefs away so that we can approach the text afresh, and see the true meaning of Paul’s words to the Colossians.

This study is broken down to the following areas
1. Introduction (Col 1:1-2:9)
2. The meaning of Principalities and Powers (Col 1:16, 2:10,15)
3. Circumcision made without hands (Col 2:11)
4. Buried with Him in Baptism (Col 2:12)
5. The meaning of Handwriting of Ordinances (Col 2:14)
6. Let no one judge you (Col 2:16)
7. A shadow of things to come (Col 2:17)
8. Being subject to Ordinances – the commandments and doctrines of men (Col 2:18-23)
9. Conclusion

Abraxas. Egyptian-Roman amulet, 100-400

Abraxas.
Egyptian-Roman amulet, 100-400

1. Introduction
The congregation at Colosse was most probably established and had not even seen Paul face to face(Col 2:1). Paul greets them and thanks God for their faith, telling the Colossians that his prayer is for them to increase in the knowledge and understanding of God. He then thanks God for making them part of His kingdom through Christ. Paul explains that everything in Heaven and on Earth were created through Him, whether it be thrones, dominions, principalities or powers. (This proclamation of authority whether it be in heaven or earth, being under Messiah will be an important thought to consider when we come to the verses in question, as the letter deals with who has authority over the Colossian believers) He goes onto explain that Christ is above all things, being made the head of the body of believers. His blood made peace, reconciling everything to God. Even though the Colossians were aliens before God, when they were doing things contrary to God, Messiah had reconciled them to God through His blood. Paul then explains his ministry to the gentiles of revealing Christ in each and everyone who believes, which was a mystery revealed in their day.

Gnostic Gem Showing the Lion-Faced Deity Laldabaoth (Sophia’s Son). From L’antiquité Expliquée et Représentée en Figures, by Bernard de Montfaucon (Paris: F. Delaulne, 1719)

Gnostic Gem Showing the Lion-Faced Deity Laldabaoth (Sophia’s Son). From L’antiquité Expliquée et Représentée en Figures, by Bernard de Montfaucon (Paris: F. Delaulne, 1719)

In the second chapter Paul once again speaks of the mystery of God, and how wisdom and knowledge is hidden in Him. He asks them to beware of being deceived by persuasive language – in context of Knowledge and wisdom. It is apparent reading the letter thus far, that the Colossians were being persuaded by some party or parties in the realm of wisdom and knowledge. There is a strong probability that these were Gnostics who believed in “Hidden Knowledge” (Gnostikos in Greek meant “Having Knowledge”) – they were known to shun the physical/material world and wanted to embrace the spiritual world. Gnosticism could also be likened unto the “traditions of the elders” which practiced justification through certain works. Gnostics believed that gnosis (knowledge, enlightenment or ‘oneness with God’) may be reached by practicing philanthropy to the point of personal poverty, sexual abstinence and diligently searching for knowledge/wisdom by helping others. Outwardly, it looked like a good way of life, but inwardly it did nothing to help believers, being just man-made ideas. This will be apparent when we reach the end of Chapter 2.

Paul advises them to be rooted and built up in Christ, and be steadfast & established in the faith they had received. In Col 2:8, Paul once again tells them to beware of philosophy, empty delusions which are according to human traditions and principle of the world. And then proclaims once again that all “principality and power” is under him, as the fullness of divinity resides in Him. In other words, their is no higher authority than the savior and lord of our lives, Yeshua the Messiah.

2. Principalities and Powers
At this juncture, before proceeding to verse 11, we must identify the true meaning of “Principalities and Powers”. The usual explanation is that these are spiritual entities which had authority over humans, before Christ’s atoning sacrifice. Let’s test this against the writings. Paul uses this phrasing 3 times in the letter to the Colossians, denoting a certain importance of said phrase to the point he is trying to make.

Col 1:16  For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:
Col 2:10  And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:
Col 2:15  And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.

Principalities – Strong’s Dictionary – G746 – ar-khay’ – From G756; (properly abstract) a commencement, or (concrete) chief (in various applications of order, time, place or rank): – beginning, corner, (at the, the) first (estate), magistrate, power, principality, principle, rule.

Powers – Strong’s Dictionary – G1849 – ex-oo-see’-ah – From G1832 (in the sense of ability); privilege, that is, (subjectively) force, capacity, competency, freedom, or (objectively) mastery (concretely magistrate, superhuman, potentate, token of control), delegated influence: – authority, jurisdiction, liberty, power, right, strength.

The use of the phrase “Principalities and Powers” in the New Testament 
Luk 12:11  And when they bring you unto the synagogues, and unto magistrates(G746), and powers(G1489), take ye no thought how or what thing ye shall answer, or what ye shall say:
Luk 20:20  And they watched him, and sent forth spies, which should feign themselves just men, that they might take hold of his words, that so they might deliver him unto the power(G746) and authority(G1489) of the governor.
1Co 15:24  Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule(G746) and all authority(G1489) and power.
Eph 1:21  Far above all principality(G746), and power(G1489), and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come:
Eph 3:10  To the intent that now unto the principalities(G746), and powers(G1489)in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God,
Eph 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities(G746), against powers(G1489), against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
Tit 3:1  Put them in mind to be subject to principalities(G746), and powers(G1489), to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work,

These two Greek words “Arkhay” & “Exooseeah” are mostly used for rule/authority/governance in an earthly sense, as in magistrates, governors, rulers, etc. In the letter to the Ephesians Paul uses the same words to speak of spiritual rule and authority, but he clearly mentions “high places” or “heavenly places” to explain that he is not speaking of it in an earthly sense. Luk 12 and Titus 3 are clearly speaking of earthly rulers and authorities using the same Greek words. Looking at the above evidence, it is most likely that Paul was speaking of an earthly “Arkhay” & “Exooseeah” in the letter to the Colossians. Colossians 1:16 further explains the fact that he was speaking of earthly rulers and authorities as well as the heavenly.

3. Circumcision made without hands
Returning to the Letter to the Colossians, we see Paul suddenly addressing the topic of circumcision. One of the main concerns in the 1st century was whether gentile believers in the faith should be circumcised or not before they were accepted as believers – in other words, some were saying that Gentile believers needed to be circumcised to be saved. The 15th Chapter of Acts shows the conflict and the resolution created by the Jerusalem Council. Many of Paul’s letters directly tackle this idea of “justification by Works” – in other words “being saved because of becoming circumcised”. And it is the same argument that Paul brings to the Colossians. Just after explaining that Christ is above all so called rulers and authorities, he explains that the Colossians have been circumcised with the circumcision made without hands – The circumcision of the heart – both spoken by Paul(Rom 2:29) and God Himslef(Deut 10:16, 30:6, Jer 4:4) in the Old Testament Scriptures. Circumcision of the heart was repentance and turning from your iniquities towards God.

4. Buried with Him in Baptism
After explaining that they have received “salvation” (putting off the body of sins of the flesh) without physical circumcision, Paul then turns to baptism. Explaining that they have died to the old life in baptism (burial in water) and being resurrected through the faith in God, Paul writes that they were dead in sin and uncircumcision – but have now been forgiven their sins.

It is important to note that the Jewish Rabbinic authorities believe a proselyte(convert to Judaism) must engage in Circumcision and Baptism before they are regarded part of the congregation ([A] Refer discussion by Maimonides on Yevamot 47a-b). This is still considered mandatory and is in practice even today. It is proven through archaeology that there were ritual baths (special places for baptism) even before the time of Christ, so it is safe to say Jewish Proselytes were circumcised and baptized before they were accepted into the community, even in the 1st Century. It should now be apparent to you why Paul discusses Circumcision and Baptism in his letter to the Colossians. These were new converts into the faith, and most definitely, the rulers/authorities wanted them to adhere to the customs/traditions of their day. In the eyes of these “principalities” and “powers” a proselyte was to be physically circumcised and then baptized before they were part of the faith. The Jerusalem Council had announced this was not necessary to become part of the congregation as one is saved only by faith and the grace of God. Circumcision was never a requirement to approach God. In fact it was a commandment for parents, as they are the one who circumcised a child on the 8th day.

Paul explained that the Colossians had been circumcised with a circumcision done without hands, and with baptism to Christ – so that they did not need any further acts to be done in accordance to the principalities and powers of their day.

5. The meaning of Handwriting of Ordinances
As we step into the main verses in question, the context leading to this verse becomes all the more important. Christians are quick to say that the phrase “Handwriting of Ordinances” refers to the “Law of God” or “Law of Moses” or “The Old Testament Scriptures”. Nothing can be further than the truth.

Handwriting – G5498 – khi-rog’-raf-on – Neuter of a compound of G5495 and G1125; something hand written (“chirograph”), that is, a manuscript (specifically a legal document or bond (figuratively)): – handwriting. This word can only be found in Col 2:14

Ordinances – G1378 – dog’-mah – From the base of G1380; a law (civil, ceremonial or ecclesiastical): – decree, ordinance.
Luk 2:1  And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree(G1378) from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed.
Act 16:4  And as they went through the cities, they delivered them the decrees(G1378) for to keep, that were ordained of the apostles and elders which were at Jerusalem.
Act 17:7  Whom Jason hath received: and these all do contrary to the decrees(G1378) of Caesar, saying that there is another king, one Jesus.
Eph 2:15  Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances(G1378); for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;

The phrase “handwriting of Ordinances” is only seen in the letter to the Colossians. The word “Ordinances” (Dogmah) is seen 5 times in the New Testament and 3 of those occasions clearly refer to “man-made Decrees”.

Eph 2:15 stands out amongst them, as Paul connected it to the “middle wall of partition” (also known as the soreg). While God had given Commandments and His Law, the word Dogmah stood for man-made Decrees/laws/ordinances. If Paul was indeed speaking of God’s Law & Commandments, he would not have needed to use the word “ordinance”/”decree”(dogmah) in his letter. These “ordinances” which were prescribed by the principalities and powers, were hostile to the worship of God, as they restrained anyone other than “Jews” (as per their definition) from worshiping God. These ordinances made a clear separation between Jew and Gentile, by elevating one above the other, to the extent where gentiles were looked down upon and disassociated, by Jews everywhere (Joh 4:9,27, 7:35, Act 10:28, 11:2,3, Gal 2:12).

Coming back to Col 2:14, we see that which is blotted out and nailed to the cross is “Dogmah” or man-made decrees, and not any parts of the Scriptures. Just as Paul explains in Eph 2:15, these were hostile towards us. He repeats those words to the Colossians by saying that those decrees were against and opposed to believers of God. In the same breadth Paul explains these rulers and people of authority(principalities and powers) who create and subject others to these man-made decrees had been made powerless by Christ, as He alone held authority over all.

6. Let no one judge you
One of the most misunderstood and misused verses in the New Testament, this verse is commonly used as a proof text to say that the Sabbath and feast days that God called “His Feasts” are now discarded after Christ. Let’s look at the verse a little closer.

Col 2:16  Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:

Paul writes that “therefore”, hinting at the so called rulers & authorities (principalities and powers) who are powerless because of the true person who has authority over all of God’s children; For this reason the Colossians should not let anyone judge/condemn them. They were under a higher authority. But what were these Principalities and powers condemning the Colossians for? This verse can be read in the following ways:

A) Let no man therefore judge you FOR NOT ADHERING TO Food Laws, Holydays, New Moon days and Sabbath days.
B) Let no man therefore judge you FOR ADHERING TO Food Laws, Holydays, New Moon days and Sabbath days.

The majority of Christians understand this verse to be read according to “reading A” in which Paul is asking the Colossians to let no one judge them for not keeping God’s Law. The inverse maybe true as well. As per “reading B”, Paul could also be asking them to not let anyone judge them for adhering to God’s Law.

According to the context, it is clear that these gentile believers were being influenced by the Jewish authorities of their day in the realm of adherence to their man-made laws and authority. Paul had already explained that these “dogmah” ordinances/man-made laws were done away in Christ. It is likely that these “principalities and powers” were judging these new Gentile believers for keeping Food Laws, Holy days, New Moons and Sabbath days without proper adherence to their laws which were made for proselytes. In their eyes, these proselytes were keeping the ways of God before being officially accepted into the fold. They were acting outside their authority, and that was not acceptable.

7. A shadow of things to come
Paul concludes the advice about not letting anyone judge them by saying that the Food Laws, Holy days, New Moons & Sabbaths “are” a shadow of things to come. Note that Paul did not say “were” but “are” indicating they are still a shadow of things to come. The next part of the verse is written “But the body is of Christ”, which can also be translated as “and the body is of Christ”. However it is translated, it is apparent that Paul is saying that the Shadow is cast by a body which is Christ. Meaning that these Laws “are” a shadow of the coming Christ and His Kingdom.

8. Being subject to Ordinances – the commandments and doctrines of men
Paul completes his advise on coming under authority/rule of men and obeying their man made laws/doctrines/commandments by speaking of the Gnostic influence on the Colossians once again. We saw that he had mentioned the pursuit of wisdom at the start of the second chapter possibly indicating influence by Gnostics. Now paul speaks of asceticism (a lifestyle characterized by abstinence from worldly pleasures, often for the purpose of pursuing spiritual goals), worship/religion of angels, pride in wisdom and intrusion into the unknown. These were all Gnostic ideas/teachings, making it obvious that one of the main parties trying to influence the Colossian believers were indeed the Gnostics.

Paul reminds them to be firmly connected to Christ, the head of authority, who nourishes all believers in faith. And also to not be in subjection to principles of the world or doctrines/commands of men that say do not touch, taste, handle – which appear to be wise, but is self-made religion and asceticism which neglect the body, but do nothing to stop the indulgences of the flesh. In other words, they seem to be spiritual commands but are man-made ideas which does nothing to bring you closer to God. Some see these verses to be speaking of God’s Law, such as the food laws… but Paul is very clear in saying that these are “commandments and doctrines of men”.

9. Conclusion
The Colossians were a group of new believers who were being influenced and criticized by certain authorities. These “principalities and powers” as Paul put them, were in places of power but had no authority over the Children of God, as Christ was the head of the body. Through His sacrifice, He had put those man-made ordinances/doctrines to shame by triumphing over them. There was no more barrier for Gentiles to approach God in repentance. These proselytes need not be subject to the ways of man anymore. The second influencing factor were the Gnostic thoughts in their day. These ideas rejected the earthly life altogether for Spiritual knowledge and wisdom, in worshiping angels and in asceticism.

The Colossians who were most likely being pushed, bullied and rejected by both Jews who held onto the “Traditions of the elders” and the Gentiles who were peddling Gnostic thought, were being influenced in the middle – to which Paul writes to strengthen them in the Gospel they have heard and to advice them to separate God’s Word from the Word of man. Separate God’s eternal Law from the temporary man-made commands and doctrines. Separate Christ who has full authority over them to the powerless “principalities and powers” of their day.

It is important to dissect Paul’s words carefully, and to always remember that we do not fully know the backgrounds of the assemblies he wrote to, nor the troubles and conflicts they faced. We must understand that Paul adhered and walked according to God’s Law, and that his common rebuke was against justification/salvation through the doing of the Law. When taken in context there is no doubt that Paul was speaking of man-made doctrines being nailed to the cross and being blotted out, and not God’s eternal Law.

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[A]”By three things did Israel enter into the Covenant: by circumcision, and baptism and sacrifice. Circumcision was in Egypt, as it is written: ‘No uncircumcised person shall eat thereof’ (Exodus 12:48). Baptism was in the wilderness, just before giving of the Law, as it is written: ‘Sanctify them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their clothes’ (Exodus 19:10). And sacrifice, as it is said: ‘And he sent young men of the children of Israel which offered burnt offerings’ (Exodus 24:5)…When a gentile is willing to enter the covenant…He must be circumcised and be baptized and bring a sacrifice…And at this time when there is no sacrifice, they must be circumcised and be baptized; and when the Temple shall be built, they are to bring a sacrifice…The gentile that is made a proselyte and the slave that is made free, behold he is like a child new born.”