THE SPRING FEASTS

SEFIRAT HaOMER

COUNTING THE OMER TO SHAVUOT

PART 1

 Wayyiqra (Lv) 23: 9 And יהוה spoke to Mosheh, saying, 10 “Speak to the children of Yisra’ĕl, and you shall say to them, ‘When you come into the land which I give you, and shall reap its harvest, then you shall bring a sheaf of the first-fruits of your harvest to the priest. [Deut 26:2]; 11 ‘And he shall wave the sheaf before יהוה, for your acceptance. On the morrow after the Sabbath the priest waves it. 12 ‘And on that day when you wave the sheaf, you shall prepare a male lamb a year old, a perfect one, as an ascending offering to יהוה, 13 and its grain offering: two-tenths of an ĕphah of fine flour mixed with oil, an offering made by fire to יהוה, a sweet fragrance, and its drink offering: one-fourth of a hin of wine. 14 ‘And you do not eat bread or roasted grain or fresh grain until the same day that you have brought an offering to your Elohim – a law forever throughout your generations in all your dwellings. 15 ‘And from the morrow after the Sabbath, from the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering, you shall count for yourselves: seven completed Sabbaths. Deut 16:9; [Acts 2:1]; 16 ‘Until the morrow after the seventh Sabbath you count fifty days, then you shall bring a new grain offering to יהוה. 17 ‘Bring from your dwellings for a wave offering two loaves of bread, of two-tenths of an ĕphah of fine flour they are, baked with leaven, first-fruits to יהוה. [Neh 10:37]; 18 ‘And besides the bread, you shall bring seven lambs a year old, perfect ones, and one young bull and two rams. They are an ascending offering to יהוה, with their grain offering and their drink offerings, an offering made by fire for a sweet fragrance to יהוה. 19 ‘And you shall offer one male goat as a sin offering, and two male lambs a year old, as a slaughter of peace offerings. 20 ‘And the priest shall wave them, besides the bread of the first-fruits, as a wave offering before יהוה, besides the two lambs. They are set-apart to יהוה for the priest. 21 ‘And on this same day you shall proclaim a set-apart gathering for yourselves, you do no servile work on it – a law forever in all your dwellings throughout your generations. 22 ‘And when you reap the harvest of your land do not completely reap the corners of your field when you reap, and do not gather any gleaning from your harvest. Leave them for the poor and for the stranger. I am יהוה your Elohim.’            (TS2009)

WHEN DOES THE COUNT BEGIN?

INTRODUCTION:

Following along in our ongoing study of the Mo’edim (appointed times) of יהוה (B’H), we come to another somewhat controversial date that is described in the Torah as “the day after the Sabbath”, and that is the day that the first fruits of the barley harvest are presented as a ‘wave’ offering in the Temple at Y’rushalayim which in turn begins the count of the omer to Shavuot.
The controversy that began in ancient Yisra’el, and continues to this day is wrapped up into the following question; “do we begin the count to Shavuot on the day after the weekly 7th day Shabbat during the week of Unleavened Bread, or do we begin the day after the first day of Unleavened Bread (U.B.), which is of itself a ‘no work’ Shabbat, on whatever day of the week it falls on? This question and it’s surrounding debate was a hot issue during the first century C.E. between the Tzaddukim (Sadducees) and the P’rushim (Pharisees), and by extension, to the “…the sect of the Natsarenes.” (Acts 24:5).
We will use the Biblical and historical record, along with the example left for us through the life and death of Y’shua, to make our determination as to when the Natsarene observed the wave sheaf.

THE TIMING OF THE WAVE SHEAF AS UNDERSTOOD BY THE TZADDUKIM

The Sadducees, who controlled the Temple but did not accept the ‘Mosaic Oral Law’ or the teaching of the ‘resurrection’, interpreted this phrase to mean ‘the day after the regular weekly Sabbath’ during Chag HaMotzi. In other words, the annual wave offering (the beginning of the count of the Omer), was made on the first day of the week (Sunday) following the weekly Shabbat during the Feast of U.B. Thus it did not matter to them on which day Pesach fell, the wave sheaf would always be on a Sunday. That’s why they were so sad, you see! This teaching as adopted by the pagan church, played right into their scenario of a counterfeit ‘sun’ day resurrection.
If we were to chose to follow the pattern set by the Tzedukim, this year (2019) would place the Wave Sheaf on April 28, ALMOST A WEEK AFTER THE FIRST DAY OF U.B.! In their misguided attempt to keep the day of the wave sheaf as always being the day after the weekly 7th day Shabbat, instead of the day after the Shabbat of the 1st day U.B.; their count of the Omer, and the resultant day of Shavuot, will never be correct. That would rob the prophetic significance of Y’shuas resurrection on Abib 16 (April 23, 2009), and remove one very important piece of His identification. How can we prove Y’shuas authentic claim by using the Mo’edim, if we move the Appointed Time so that it does not coincide with the event?  The Wave Sheaf would then always be the day after the weekly 7th day Shabbat and may or may not be the day of His Resurrection!. So much for following the path of the Sadducees!

THE TIMING OF THE WAVE SHEAF AS UNDERSTOOD BY THE P’RUSHIM

If there is any particular group or sect of Judaism that deserves criticism for adding to or taking from HaTorah, it is the P’rushim! Changing times and laws has been synonymous with them since the earliest of days, and the days of Pesach and 1st-day U.B. are a good example of this. However, the day of the Wave Sheaf offering was always understood and taught by them to be the day after the Sabbath of the first day of Unleavened Bread.
Remember that Rabbi Sha’ul was a ‘P’rush of P’rushim’, taught the resurrection, and was labeled a ‘ringleader’ of the sect of the Natsarene. Contrary to what is taught throughout Christianity today, accepting Y’shua as Mashiyach had no effect upon His observance of Torah and the traditions of his fathers, as they conformed to the life and teachings of Y’shua (2 Thes. 2:15;3:6). This, of course, is contrary to what is taught throughout Christianity today. It follows then that just as the P’rushim followed the day after the Shabbat of 1st day U.B. with the Wave Sheaf, so the Natsarene of the first century c.e., and consequently the modern-day restoration of that faith would also do in our time and understanding of Torah.

THE BIBLICAL PATTERN AS ESTABLISHED FOR THE WAVE OFFERING, AND ITS’ FULFILMENT BY Y’SHUA

Was the chronology and pattern set by the Mo’edim of יהוה (B’H’), established through chance or happenstance? Of course, the answer to that question is a resounding ‘no’! Every letter, word, number, ‘jot and tittle’ of Scripture carries with it the mind, person, and plan of our Creator and Redeemer. They present the perfect explanation of our current condition and the exact plan of our rescue from it. When any of this is tampered with by imperfect man, it becomes a lie, a misrepresentation, an inaccuracy, a conflict, a deception, a stumbling block. The pattern of events as spoken of in our introductory text from Vayikra (Lv.) 23,9-14, is a pattern that would be used in conjunction with other Torah texts to prove out exactly, and without error, who the Anointed One of Yisra’el was, is, and will be. It is a pattern that will be seen over again throughout the Mo’edim of יהוה (B’H’).
From ancient times, the Sages of Judaism have repeatedly testified that the Mashiyach of Yisra’el must live a life of perfect obedience in fulfillment of HaTorah, the ‘pattern’ and ‘proof’ for all things. And, as any unbiased student of scripture with an inquiring mind will clearly see, this requirement was, is, and is being met by Y’shua who is Emmanu’el, El who is with us.
So looking at the pattern of the Holy Days immediately surrounding Pesach as described in Lv. 23 we see Chag HaPesach (The Feast of Passover) on Abib 14, followed by the first day of Chag HaMatzot (The Feast of Unleavened Bread, a Shabbat) on Abib 15, followed immediately by First Fruits, and on Abib 16, the day of the Wave Sheaf Offering (whatever days of the week they would fall on would make absolutely no difference). There were no additional days provided for anyone or for any other reason within the pattern set by these three Torah witnesses. Change this pattern in any way, and Y’shua looses His claim to the title “HaMashiyach”!
On the eternal heavenly clock of Elohim, the three- day cycle of Pesach, 1st Day Chag HaMotzi, followed immediately by the 3rd day of the Wave Sheaf would be maintained, and fulfilled exactly by Y’shua (the sign of Yonah), as another sign of His true identity. That He would resurrect as our wave sheaf offering, being the first of the harvest to come, was a lesson sadly lost on those who followed the teachings of the Sadducees (who by the way, did not believe in, or teach the resurrection). Does this mean that Y’shua really did resurrect on a 1st day (Sunday)? It certainly did in the year 30 C.E., exactly 40 years to the day that the Temple would be destroyed by the Roman Army.  

 DO WE AS NATSARENE CELEBRATE THE RESURRECTION?

  But now Messiah has been raised from the dead, and has become the first-fruit of those having fallen asleep. 1Cor 15:20 TS2009 P.P. Col 1:18; 1Pet 1:3; Rev 1:5;
We are not given the mitzvah (commandment) to observe the Wave Sheaf as resurrection day, but yes, while observing this day as commanded we recognize its Messianic fulfillment by YHWH Y’shuati (B’H).  His ‘unspeakable gift’ to all those who had, and would repent and return to our Father while living by the laws of His House, was realized as He fulfilled the promise of the Wave Sheaf.
We celebrate it’s fulfillment through His victory over she’ol and the penalty of sin, by celebrating THE FIRST OF THE SPRING HARVEST, as the day our Messiah presented Himself as the firstfruits of those who would follow. The day of our celebration will always immediately follow Abib 15; the Shabbat of Unleavened Bread, meaning that it might land on the first day of the week, or any other day for that matter, but it will always be on Abib 16, the day of the Wave Sheaf Offering AND the day of His Resurrection!

Biblical vs. Pharasitical Calendars

BEIT ECHAD

A NATSARENE YAHUDIM CHAVURAH

הדרך

THE PATH

A COMMENTARY on CURRENT SPIRITUAL THOUGHT FROM THE ANCIENT SECT OF JUDAISM CALLED ‘HaNATSARENE’ (Acts 24:5)

3/27/2019

Biblical vs. Pharasitical Calendars

Millinia ago, after the destruction of the Beit HaMikdash in 70 C.E., and during the early years of the change from the Pharasitical to Rabbinical system, the Biblical Calendar was replaced with that of Hillel 2. This Rabbinical system was based on Babylonian mathematical calculations, rather than the empirical evidence of agricultural and astronomical sightings as per the Torah. This evidence had previously been collected and confirmed by the Sanhedrin, then transmitted manually throughout Yisra’el by the now extinct Levitical Priesthood; through the use of signal fire, trumpet (shofar), and word of mouth.

When tens of thousands of Yisra’elites were forcefully deported from Yisra’el to other lands, the diaspora came into being. Occurring prior to the common era and the ‘first rebellion’ against Rome, countless more fled before the death and destruction of the Roman armies during the Second Rebellion, thus adding to the already existing numbers of those previously displaced.

This diaspora, and the need to communicate the new Rabbinical calendar dates with a widely scattered audience was the impetus to the creation of the Orthodox Rabbinical Calendar sys.

Fast forward to our time with the availability of advanced cyber communication, we can now see the Biblical evidence once again, instantly, in real time, wherever we might be on the face of planet earth.

In the effort to restore our walk to the ancient paths laid out for us by Elohim, we may now return to that Biblical calendar of long ago. We can now celebrate the Mo’edim on exactly the correct days as originated by our Creator, so that we may be in perfect ‘sync.’ with The Masters’ clock.

In actuality, it turns out that the Biblical and Rabbinical Calendars are usually very close, sometimes coinciding perfectly. But then there are other problems with the Rabbinical Calendar such as Changes made to the actual Feast Days themselves by the P’rushim during the Babylonian captivity, and the adaptation of Babylonian names and titles for days, months, etc. The Rabbinical Calendar is a man-made calendar, not authorized by Elohim.

In our mind, being back in ‘sync’ with Elohim will always take priority over mans’ reasoning, no matter how close to being correct it may be.

From Michael Roods “The Astronomically and Agriculturally Corrected Biblical Hebrew Calendar” (Spring 2017-Spring 2018), under the section titled “The Pharisee Calendar”, I offer the following for your consideration when deciding which calendar you will follow;

In 359 C.E., Just before disbanding themselves, the exiled Sanhedrin devised a new calendar system. After the Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed, the Pharisees replaced the Temple service and the Creator’s appointed times with a “new and improved” religious system – a code of righteousness defined by thousands of man-made commandments and regulated by a new calendar. As head of the fourth-century Sanhedrin, Hillel II borrowed Babylonian mathematical calculations to determine the precise moment that the moon was in “conjunction” with the earth and the sun. This unobservable mathematical moment in time was used to determine the beginning of each month on the new Pharisee calendar. The Pharisees invented additional “postponements” so that they could celebrate their adaptation of the Feasts at their own convenience. They could now plan their religious activities months, years, and even centuries in advance. They completely disregarded the only criterion stipulated by the Almighty for determining the first month of the year – the aviv barley in the land of Israel. The commandment concerning the barley was unmistakably defined so that we would offer the firstfruits of the barley harvest in a prophetically timely fashion and accurately count the omer to arrive at the first day after seven Sabbaths – the 50th day (Pentecost) – the Feast of Shavuot. However, instead of following the Torah’s instructions concerning the barley harvest, the Pharisees arbitrarily added a 13th month seven times every nineteen years, and then altered the method of counting the omer in order to camouflage its Messianic significance and fulfillment by Yeshua.

The Pharisees calculated their new calendar 2/000 years into the future and then admittedly hid the “Book of Genealogies” so that anyone outside their circle would have no way to calculate the correct elapsed time from creation. They changed the “head of the year” (Rosh Hashanah) from the first day of the month of the aviv to the first day of the seventh month (Tishri) and removed 240-1/2 years from the total elapsed time calendar. Only a chosen few would know when the seventh millennium would actually arrive to herald the “Time of Jacob’s Trouble.” The last official act of Hillel ll, the head of the exiled Pharisee Sanhedrin, was to accomplish the very thing about which the prophet Daniel warned: “He shall proclaim commandments opposing the Almighty and continually harass the saints of the most High, and calculate to change (appointed) times and (Torah) Laws” (Daniel 7:25). Through the institution of the new Pharisee calendar, the appointed times of YeHoVah were officially nullified and systematically replaced by the appointed times of men.”

We have been duped and lied to for centuries by both Jewish and Christian leaders and it is an absolute miracle that through this grand campaign of misinformation and false teaching foisted on us by satan and his minions, through mortal men, His Truth continues to shine through for those who seek it! Thank you, Father, for your unchanging and eternal truth that no man can ever change!

         

 

What Constitutes ‘Work’ on Shabbat?

SHABBAT AFTERNOON FIRESIDE DRASH

 

“Remember the Sabbath day, to set it apart. “Six days you labor, and shall do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of YHVH your Elohim. You do not do any work – you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. “For in six days YHVH made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore YHVH blessed the Sabbath day and set it apart.

Shemoth (Ex) 20:8-11 (TS 2009)

This, the Fourth Mitzvah of ‘The Ten’, seems to be quite straightforward in what it has to say, doesn’t it?

And yet the word ‘work’ as used here, the Hebrew word מְלָאכָה mĕla’kah, has fueled endless hours of debate over centuries of time and caused page after written page of instruction on how to avoid it in order to observe the Fourth Commandment correctly.

Should or shouldn’t one start the car on Shabbat? And what about the light switch? We could avoid flipping the switch (work) if we just left the lights on at sundown on Erev Shabbat, or just light a twenty-four-hour candle, or some such thing couldn’t we? And what about preparing food to eat on Shabbat (that is if it’s OK to perform the act of chewing and swallowing)? And we could go on and on with getting dressed on Shabbat, carrying a Bible or creating a written page on Shabbat. No telling where the lunacy would go if we were to pursue it further. And yet there are those who concern themselves with these things while watching others in their level of observance. No wonder people equate Torah observance, and particularly that of the Shabbat with legalism!

We can trace this line of thought back through Orthodox Rabbinical Judaism to early Pharisaical Judaism, and the perceived need to build a ‘hedge’, or ‘wall’, around the Mitzvot of Torah. This is especially so when it comes to the Shabbat. In order to protect its holy hours from being profaned by those who don’t understand how to observe it correctly, centuries of technical arguments as recorded in the Talmud (based on the ‘Oral Tradition’) if followed correctly; will bring its adherents to become ‘Shomer’ Shabbat. That is, able to observe the Shabbat perfectly and without error (according to the Pharisees).

Of course, in today’s Orthodox Judaism, all one has to do is to rely upon the local Rabbi if questions arise concerning what is, and what is not permitted under the heading of correct observance, I.E.; suppose I wanted to prepare a Shabbat table for unexpected guests, when nothing had been prepared on Erev Shabbat for such an occasion and they brought nothing with them? Should they fast? Would it be OK for me to eat my prepared food without feeding them, or should we all fast? And then we find out one of them needs food to take their medication, it’s a dark day, can we turn on the lights to prepare something for them (then there is that light in the fridge, didn’t we take that bulb out a while back?)! You can see the level this craziness can go too! But then, never fear, your questions have most likely already been answered by Rabbi Snoozer of Snoozer in Talmud Tractate 52b. You do have the complete set of Talmud available for such occasions right!

Now all of us who follow Rabbi Y’shua, Ben Elohim, Sar Shalom, our very Jewish Mashiyach, Natsarene or not, aren’t involved in this nonsense are we? We have come to know Shabbat as a blessing of Shalom, and Simcha (Peace and Joy) haven’t we? We do not engage in work for hire or buy and sell on Shabbat, nor do we travel with exception of what might be necessary to help those in dire need or to attend services. We take time to meditate, write about, talk about, live out His Torah, especially on this holiest and most blessed day, don’t we?

As Natsarenes we follow the example of our Rabbi, HaAdon Y’shua, The Master Y’shua on Shabbat. Attend service (as was His custom) or hold our own, eat just what is needed (lavish spreads not required, simple basics are best), serve Elohim through teaching, ministering, healing, caring for the widow, the orphan, the less fortunate, the stranger within our gates, the prisoner, and those who are simply downtrodden or in need of encouragement, (which, by the way, is all work). We welcome Shabbat with great joy and thanksgiving, and we leave it’s special hours with a heavy heart while counting the days and hours to its welcome return!

Don’t be afraid to work for the King and the Kingdom on Shabbat, you can do so and still be perfectly ‘Shomer’ while turning those lights on or off!

WHAT IS ‘TRUTH’?

THE PATH הנתיב

A COMMENTARY on CURRENT SPIRITUAL THOUGHT FROM THE ANCIENT SECT OF JUDAISM CALLED HaNETZARIM


WHAT IS TRUTH?

Then Pilate said to Him, “You are a sovereign, then?” יהושע answered, “You say it, because I am a sovereign. For this I was born, and for this I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” Pilate said to Him, “What is truth?” And when he had said this, he went out again to the Yehuim, and said to them, “I find no guilt in Him.                                                                                                                                                     (John 18:37-38 [TS2009])

 

Pontius Pilate, Roman that he was, wanted to apply human logic and reasoning toward understanding the Creator and Savior of the world. How powerful the presence of Ben Elohim must have been! How difficult it was for Pilate to resist the pull on his heartstrings, to resist the urge to fall to the floor, to submit himself entirely to the penetrating eyes and mystical aura emanating from Him who knew every thought and deed. As he stood in front of The King of All Creation, King of a Spiritual Realm that he had little to no understanding of, his only recourse was to retreat to the imagined safety of his logic.

Roman leaders of the time had great pride in their ability to exercise their use of logic and reasoning; their own, and that of the Greeks. It was that pagan, humanistic background that brought forth the empty philosophical question, “What is truth?”. I can almost imagine the haughty spirit of Pilate as he thought to ‘stump’ Y’shua, before going out to relinquish his responsibility to the mob.

On the other hand, Judaism had given the accusors of Y’shua all the tools and means necessary to determine whether His claim to be HaMashiyach and Melech (King) of Yisra’el was in fact true. The corrupt self-proclaimed leaders of Yisra’el, knowing these things, intentionally failed to apply those principals to fairly, and justly, make the determination that would ultimately prove Y’shua to be exactly who He said He was! HaMashiyach.

Our Jewish brothers of Pharisaical descent, teach that Judaism has produced many Messiahs throughout history. Fortunately, the voice of truth has come through loud and clear, and incredible as it may seem, it comes directly from our Sages of Judaism themselves; that the only way to identify the True Mashiyach of Yisra’el is by the test of Torah. Throughout the many different Targumim[1] available since the Babylonian captivity, we see the bar set for the claimant to the Throne, along with His Identity clearly drawn for us in the Lingua Franca, the language of the common man, Aramaic.

That test which has existed as long as the Torah itself requires that the candidate for the title of Mashiyach of Yisra’el be fully and completely Torah observant, fulfilling all of its requirements exactly and without the slightest error or variance. That includes fulfillment of all the Mo’edim (Appointed times), in this realm, and the eternal spiritual realm of His Heavenly Kingdom. There has, and continues to be only One who has met this requirement.

So far, since the creation of all things, there have been a few contenders for the title of Messiah, but they have fallen very short of passing this test. Historically, Biblicaly, prophetically, genetically, and spiritually; Y’shua HaNetzarim, Ben Yoseph, Ben Do’vid, Ben Elohim has done so! To suggest otherwise admits to a willing ignorance of the facts as presented in a one-dimensional world, and the proofs existing, as seen through a realization of the multidimensional spiritual kingdom we exist in every day!

As Netzarim Yahudim, we face constant misrepresentation of the truth. That is why it is so vital for us to study Torah. Torah is the litmus test for anyone searching for truth in all things secular, and spiritual. We know Y’shua, our Mashiyach, as The Living Torah; the embodiment of Truth. He is YHVH in the flesh, two that are echad (one) as Elohim (Mighty Ones). He is Emmanu’el, “El who is with us” in all things. No human, No angel, no matter how perfect, can approach the perfection of The One who sits at the Right Hand of The Ancient of Days!

That was the claim of a heavenly being who thought to incite the Heavenly Host against Him who is The Living Truth, to the point of causing war in heaven; but was ultimately cast out and down for his lies and deceit. This spirit of the evil one is the same spirit that prevails over those who argue against the living truths presented to each of us every moment of our mortal lives. It existed in the arrogance of Pilate, as it existed over almost every one of the Sanhedrin, the Scribes, and the P’rushim who rejected Him, as they had rejected their Prophets.

As Netzarim, we know who the Messiah is because we have asked the questions, made the inquiries, and studied the facts as presented in an unbiased way. We have tested the Spirit of Truth in the only way that questions concerning spiritual matters are tested, and resolved, and that is by The ‘Word’ of the Living Torah. We have found that men are an unreliable source of spiritual truth and that there is only one way to know, without doubt, the answer to a question once asked by an infamous Roman, “what is truth?”

Your righteousness is righteousness forever, And Your Torah is truth. (Ps 119:142 [TS2009])

You are near, O יהוה, And all Your commands are truth. (Ps 119:151 [TS2009])

 So יהושע said to those Yehuim who believed Him, “If you stay in My Word, you are truly My taught ones, and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”           (John 8:31-32 [TS2009])

 He who is the Living Truth, is the Living Torah. He stands at the door of the heart and knocks, asking your permission to come in. He desires only that you would allow Him to reason with you, to share with you the answers to questions that continue to plague mankind. He wants to explain to you how he can set you free from the cares of this world, and bring you lasting peace. My friends, To know Him, Y’shua HaMashiyach, is to know ‘Truth’ and by knowing Truth, you will indeed be set free!

 

Baruch HaShem YHVH Y’shuati!

Sha’ul

 

[1] Targumin, plural for Targum. Aramaic Paraphrase and commentary on the Hebrew Torah.

A TORAH COMMENTARY FROM THE ANCIENT JEWISH SECT of HaNATSARIM

Torah:                          b’Har (on the Mountain)

                                             Va’Yikra (Lev.) 25:1 – 26:2

Haftarah:                           Yirmeyahu (Jer.) 32:6 – 27

Ketuvim Natsarim:         Romans 6:22


 

Vayikra 25:1-2

1  וַיְדַבֵּר יְהוָה אֶל־מֹשֶׁה בְּהַר סִינַי לֵאמֹֽר׃

2 דַּבֵּר אֶל־בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וְאָמַרְתָּ אֲלֵהֶם כִּי תָבֹאוּ אֶל־הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר אֲנִי נֹתֵן לָכֶם וְשָׁבְתָה הָאָרֶץ שַׁבָּת לַיהוָֽה׃

25:1) va’yedaber YHWH el-Mosheh be’han Sinai lemor (2) daber el-benei Yisra’el ve’amarta alehem Ki tavo’u el-ha’arets asher ani noten lachem ve’shavetah ha’arets Shabbat la’YHWH         

25:1) And YHWH spoke to Mosheh on Mount Sinai, saying, (2) Speak to the children of Israel and say to them, ‘When you come into the land which I give you, then the land shall observe a Sabbath to YHWH


 

A SHABBAT REST FOR THE LAND

The Shemittah Year (year of release or sabbatical year):

Traveling our path in Torah thus far we have seen the holiness and sanctity of the seventh day Shabbat, the High Holy Days of the seventh month; and now we will look at the laws of the seventh year, the ‘Shemittah,’ the year of release. Shemittah celebrates Elohim’s ownership of the land, which belongs to Him alone (25:3). The land is not to be worked during the Shemittah but allowed to go fallow. Orchards and vineyards were left un-harvested, un-pruned, and un-worked, but the produce that came forth on its own was available to any and all, stranger or native born, man and beast alike. Crops of the six year produced a triple harvest (25:21), and a guarantee of safety, as part of YHVHs’ blessing upon those observing this Chukim. “Such a guarantee flies in the face of human logic! For this reason, Torah classifies agricultural requirements as Chukim (Statutes), not as Mitzvot (commands) or Mishpatim (ordinances) which are based on rationality or logic. Clearly, dwelling securely in the Land demands radical faith![1]

Debtors went free in the Shemittah. All loans were forgiven, and no money lender could demand repayment from a debtor (Dt. 15:1-4). Torah requires next of kin buy back (redeem) property once belonging to an impoverished relative (Lv. 25:25). If a kinsman redeemer did not come forward, the property would revert to its original clan on the Yovel (see below).

Remembering the guarantee of safety that accompanied observance of the laws of Shemittah? It was the lack of obedience to them, that lead to the 70-year captivity in Babylon, one year of for every 7th year that B’ney Yisra’el neglected the Shemittah, or, for the 490 years prior (2 Ch. 36:20-21).

How to determine the Shemittah year:

To determine the Shemittah year, divide the current Jewish year by seven. If there is no remainder, it is a year of Shemittah. If there is a remainder, it will tell you how long since the last Shemittah. For example, this year on the Rabbinical calendar is 5777, divided by seven = 825.3, not a Shemittah year since there is a remainder in our calculation. However, the amount left tells us that the last Shemittah occurred in 5774, three years ago this last Abib. And of course, Abib is determined by the conjunction of the ripened (abib) ear of barley in the land, and the first sighting of a new moon; which was as observed before the Babylonian captivity and prior to the Rabbinical Calendar. Praise be to YHVH that today we see a return to His astronomical and agriculturally corrected Biblical Calendar while departing from names of days and months brought out of pagan Babylon.

Yovel (Jubilee, home bringing):

After the Shemittah of the forty-ninth year, the Yovel was declared on Yom Kippur of the fiftieth year by the blast of the shofar, a ram’s horn (called a ‘Yovel’ in Hebrew) from one of the Biblically Clean animals of Vayikra 11. Liberty for all inhabitants was proclaimed (Lev. 25:10), and all Hebrew slaves were set free; clans received back their original territories. Property that had been sold during the Shemittah year, if not bought back by a kinsman, would be returned to its original owners or their clan.

Shemittah and Torah: a product of divine inspiration or man’s invention?

In light of continuing attacks on the Divine authorship of Scripture, I offer the following short article from Rabbi Boruch Leff of ‘Aish.com’ for your consideration and use:

The Sabbatical year and the Divine authorship of the Torah.

(Changes made to the Sacred Name and titles of Elohim are made by me.)

“The laws of Shemitta seem to be irrational and are indicative of their Divine origin. Would any human being write laws that seem impossible to accept and observe? The laws of Shemitta command the Jewish people to desist from all agricultural work every seventh year (see Va’Yikra 25: 1-24) every 50th year, there is an additional year called Yovel, Jubilee, in which they cannot engage in working the land either. This means that both the 49th and 50th years are off limits to any and all farming.”

“Why would a human being write such a ridiculous law? It is akin to commanding the people to starve to death every 7th year.”

“Yet, the author of the Torah goes further. The people will be bothered and worried when they hear of these laws. They will ask, ‘How will we survive in the 7th year?’ (See 25:20). The author, consequently, makes a guarantee. He promises that every 6th year they will receive a special blessing of a double crop (25:21) which would suffice for both the 6th and 7th years”

“Could a human being guarantee such an occurrence? The very first time the 6th year comes without yielding a double crop, the people will see that it was a lie! They will see that El could not have written the Torah and it was made up by a human being. If a human being did invent the Torah, why would he devise a law that risks destroying his concocted religion? Is there a law such as this in any other religion that exposes itself to falsehood and absurdity? Only El could have authored the laws of Shemitta.”

Rabbi Leff goes on to write about the three pilgrimage festivals as additional evidence of divine inspiration behind the writing of the Torah, citing the fact that all males in Yisra’el were required to come up to Y’rushalyim three times a year for the commanded feasts. With the Ammonites, Philistines, and Amalekites looking for their chance to invade, this would have been a perfect time. However, the author of the Torah tells the people not to worry, while they are in Y’rushalyim, nothing will happen to their homes, their crops, their animals and all their possessions (Shemot 34:24), and as long as this mitzvah (commandment) was observed, they were kept safe.

How can we apply the laws of Shemittah today?

Ask any farmer, or gardener if there is life in the soil, and they will all tell you that if there isn’t, you’re not going to grow anything. For those of us who live in a desert environment, we know this all too well.

To support life the soil must be alive, having a certain chemical and organic balance that will allow a seed to germinate and grow. If the soil is required to produce the same crop continuously year after year, or even different crops in rotation, it must eventually be rested and fed to renew this organic chemical balance.

Once the natural order of Sabbatical rest has been interrupted, the land must receive some type of artificial stimulation so that it will continue to produce. We (man), have taken this to the extreme where agri-business must generate the highest volume possible per acre, at the lowest cost, for the highest possible profit. This demand upon the land has spun-off into the agricultural chemical industry, and an absolute necessity to meet the requirements of today’s market.

Many believers having enough suitable ground to produce a sustainable food source for their families have done so while including a return to Elohim’s plan for rest and rejuvenation of the land every Shemittah. If you live in the city, a small garden may be possible. No matter how small it may be, follow the law of the Shemittah, letting your garden plot rest every seventh year of observance, and YHWH’s blessing will be yours.

In the Shemittah there is a Shabbat rest for the earth, from which comes all life. In observance of Shemittah Yisra’el was blessed with an overabundance of produce and livestock, and on the Yovel, freedom was proclaimed to all. Even though the accuracy of the Rabbinical calendar remains in question, (possibly by at least 100 but no more than 200 years), we now have reestablished the corrected astronomical and agriculturally based Biblical Calendar. With this knowledge, coupled with a prophetic understanding of the Feasts of YHWH and the picture they paint for us concerning the times and seasons, we could be expecting the sounding of the ram’s horn of the last Yovel on the 10th day of the 7th biblical month very soon! The exact year of the Anointed Time is and will be unknown to us until …it shall be said in that day, “See, this is our Elohim. We have waited for Him, and He saves us. This is YHVH, we have waited for Him, let us be glad and rejoice in His deliverance.” HalleluYAH! Amen and Amen!

Sha’ul

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HAFTAROT

Yirmeyahu 32:6-27

THE KINSMAN REDEEMER

Our portion from the Prophets unfolds before us in the tumult and destruction of Y’rushalyim by the armies of Nebuchadnezzar, where we find assurance and a promise of a kinsman redeemer to come.

Yirmeyahu, who lies imprisoned during the conquest of the capital, receives a message from El that instructs him to redeem the property of his next of kinsman, Chanam’el (Favor of El).  What’s left of Yisra’el (The House of Yahuda) is about to go into captivity for seventy years (Jer. 29:10; 2 Chr. 36:21) for failure to obey YHWH concerning the Shemittah. To most, it would seem strange to be conducting such a business transaction in light of current and future events.

But there is a hidden promise in this seemingly fruitless purchase, and it lies in the understanding of the Shemittah/Yovel and the kinsman redeemer. The promise has already been made in 29:10 that the captivity would be for seventy years and that “I will deliver you and perform my good word toward you in bringing you back to this country.” The promise made through Yirmeyahu’s transaction with Chanam’el, is that the sons of Yisra’el will be redeemed to return, to resume their lives in the land, at the completion of ten Shemittot in Yirmeyahu’s time.  But as we read on through to vs. 14, we see the hidden promise partially revealed in a prophecy of redemption and restoration from the Diaspora in our time. When the House of Yahudah is gathered from all the lands where they had been scattered “…and I will bring you back to the place from which I have caused you to be carried away from.”

We as believers in Y’shua Mashiyach can look forward to the time when this promise is fully revealed, come the tenth day of the seventh month of a Yovel when the shofar will sound, and freedom is proclaimed to the captives! Baruch HaShem!

As a side note, if we were to calculate the number of Shemittot to reach the 7th millennium, the result would be 1,000. The number of Yovelim required to arrive at the 7th Millennium would be 140, a multiple of 7, 10, and 70. Interesting how these figures play out, each one being very significant in Hebraic thought and understanding. Is there a hidden message for us laying behind these numbers?

Sha’ul

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KETUVIM NETSARIM (K.N./Writings of the Netsarim)

Romans 6 (TS2009)

16) Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves servants for obedience, you are servants of the one whom you obey, whether of sin to death, or of obedience to righteousness? 17) But thanks to Elohim that you were servants of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of teaching to which you were entrusted. 18) And having been set free from sin, you became servants of righteousness.

Would you think of yourself as a servant? Certainly not some would say, but I have a few on my staff! Chaverim, there are servants, and then there are Servants! El declares out of our Torah Portion that “For they are my servants whom I brought forth out of the land of Mitsrayim; they shall not be sold as bondmen” (Lev. 25:42).

Servants of Elohim were not to be held as bondsmen in perpetuity but were to be released from bondage on the year of the Yovel so that they could return to the life of freedom intended for them. That freedom was to be a servant to the El of our salvation. It was El who ransomed them and as their Kinsman Redeemer brought them out of bondage in Mitzrayim into His marvelous light, where they could serve Him as a nation of Kings and Priests.

He has done this for us again, through His manifestation as Y’shua Ben Yoseph. Y’shua, as our Kinsman Redeemer, has brought us out of our personal Egypt (sin); and through the precious Blood of The Lamb, He has paid the ransom price so that we may be Free! While we are learning how to serve Him through the Teachings of HaTorah, our price has been paid and the Covenant renewed. The Kingdom of YHVH begins with the acceptance of His Free Gift. That Gift covers us as we learn obedience to Him, as we walk up to Y’rushalyim, up to the House of YHVH!

 Rabbi Shaul rejoices with us in the freedom we have gained as “servants of righteousness” after our “emancipation from sin.”[2] It is now, in the year of our release, in the “Yovel” that our Kinsman Redeemer has paid our ransom. We read in Luke Ch. 4 (TS2009):

(16) And he came to Natsareth where He had been brought up. And according to His practice, He went into the congregation on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read. 17) And the scroll of the prophet Yeshayahu was handed to Him. And having unrolled the scroll, He found the place where it was written: 18) ”The Spirit of YHVH is upon me, because He has anointed Me to bring the Good News to the poor. He has sent Me to heal the broken-hearted, to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to send away crushed one with a release, 19) to proclaim the acceptable year of YHVH.”

Praise Him for His unending love and faithfulness! Rejoice in your emancipation for “This Scripture in your ears is fulfilled today”!

Shaul


[1] “Walk Leviticus!” Jeffrey Enoch Feinberg, Ph.D. Messianic Jewish Publishers ISBN 1-880226-92-8

[2] Notice that the emancipation is from sin, not the Torah (law). It is HaTorah that identifies sin, as the transgression of it!

Pesach 5777 / 2017

Pesach, as we all know, will be arriving sooner than we think. Now is the time (if you have not already done so), to begin your preparations. As for the timing of Pesach, Beit Echad subscribes to the “Astronomically & Agriculturally Corrected Biblical Hebrew Calendar” as found at http://www.ARoodAwakening.tv Simply put, all the Feast dates spin off the establishment of the 1st day of the Biblical Year, which can only occur when the first stalks of the Spring barley harvest in Yisra’el are declared ‘Abib’ (ripe for the harvest/pronounced Aviv) followed by the sighted new moon over Y’rushalyim. That evening will bring with it the month of the Abib; and 10 days later, the selection of the Pesach Lamb. Four days later, Abib 14 is Pesach (not a Shabbat/unleavened bread to be consumed on Pesach), followed by 1st day Unleavened Bread (U.B.) on Abib 15 (a no work at all Shabbat), which is a 7 day Feast ending on Abib 21 (also a no work at all Shabbat). Also, the 1st day after the weekly 7th day Shabbat during Chag HaMotzi (Feast of U.B.), is a one day Feast called Chag HaBikkurim, or, Feast of First Fruits. It is from this day that the count of 50 days or 7 Shabbats begins that lead to Chag HaShavuot or Pentecost.

PESACH 2017 DATES OF OBSERVANCE (mark your calendar):

If the barley is Abib, followed by the Crescent moon when it is expected this year, Abib 1 will be sundown March 30. Pesach will begin sundown of Apr. 11 and will continue to sundown of April 12, at which time Chag HaMotzi begins and is a no work at all Shabbat until sundown of April 13. The last day of U.B., concluding the 7 days of U.B. (another no work at all Shabbat) begins the evening of April 12th, and concludes sundown April 13.

These dates may or may not conform to the Orthodox Rabbinical Calendar as seen noted on our current Gregorian Calendar. The method of calculating the month of Abib existed long before the Babylonian captivity, and the establishment of Rabbinical Judaism; which occurred after the destruction of the Beit HaMikdash by Rome in 70 C.E. Due to the diaspora, and the inability to communicate with scattered Yisra’el, the Rabbinical Civil, and Religious Calendars were established. As part of the restoration of all things, we are now able to communicate instantly, around the world; so that we are able to return to the ‘Ancient Paths’, and the restored Biblical Calendar!

Leaven:

We have until the first day of unleavened bread to remove the leaven from our homes and dwelling places, and traditional sources call for noon on Pesach to ensure all the leaven is out before the onset of 1st day U.B..

More To Come:
Understanding the Prophetic Symbols and Hidden Meanings of the Abib and Pesach, holding the Lamb of the Sacrifice for four days, The Sacrifice, The offering of First Fruits and the Resurrection, Leaven in the home, 3 days and 3 nights in the tomb; these topics and more coming, as we prepare to partake of the Lamb of Sacrifice.