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Ab Timeline for Ezra-Nehemiah

Timeline for Ezra-Nehemiah

Ezra-Nehemiah from a Jewish Perspective (Ac)

Glossary (Ad)

The Identification of Ezra’s Book of the Torah (Ae)

Ezra-Nehemiah Timeline (Af)

I. First Return in 538-515 BC – Ezra 1:1 to 6:22 (Ag)

A. Cyrus Decrees: Rebuild the Temple – Ezra 1:1-11 (Ah)

1. The Decree of Cyrus – Ezra 1:1-4 (Ai)

2. The Return to Israel Under Sheshbatzar – Ezra 1:5-11 (Aj)

B. Numbering the Exiles Who Returned Under Zerubbabel – Ezra 2:1-70 (Ak)

1.  The Clans Who Returned from Captivity in Babylon – Ezra 2:1-19 (Al)

2. The Geographical Place-Names who Returned – Ezra 2:20-35 (Am)

3. The Priests, Levites and Temple servants – Ezra 2:36-60 (An)

4. The Generosity of the People of God – Ezra 2:61-70 (Ao)

C. The Revival of the Temple – Ezra 4:1-24 (Ap)

1. Rebuilding the Bronze Altar and the Festival of Sukkot – Ezra 3:1-6 (Aq)

2. Rebuilding the Temple – Ezra 3:7-13 (Ar)

D. Opposition to Rebuilding the Temple – Ezra 4:1-24 (As)

1. Opposition During the Reigns of Cyrus and Ahasuerus – Ezra 4:1-5 (At)

2. Opposition During the Reign of Artakh’shasta – Ezra 4:6-24 (Au)

a. Letters to Ahasuerus and Artakh’shasta – Ezra 4:6-16 (Av)

b. The Rebuilding of the Temple Must Stop Immediately – Ezra 4:17-24 (Aw)

3. Preaching that Produces Repentance – Ezra 5:1-2; Haggai 1:1-2:9; Zechariah 7:1 to 8:23 (Ax)

a. Haggai: The Strait Talker – Ezra 5:1-2 and Haggai 1:1 to 2:9 (Ay)

b. Zechariah: The Visionary – Ezra 5:1-2 and Zechariah 7:1 to 8:23 (Az)

E. The Completion of the Temple – Ezra 5:1 to 6:22 (Ba)

1. The Prophets Restart the Building of the Temple – Ezra 5:1-17 (Bb)

2. King Darius Endorses Rebuilding the Temple – Ezra 6:1-12 (Bc)

3. The Completion and Dedication of the Temple – Ezra 6:13-22 (Bd)

57 year gap between Zerubbabel and Ezra

Esther Queen of Persia (Be)

II. The Second Return in 458-457 BC – Ezra 7:1-10:44 and Nehemiah 7:73b to 11:36 (Bf)

A. Ezra’s Return to Palestine – Ezra 7:1 to 8:36 (Bg)

1. Ezra Returns from Babylon – Ezra 7:1-10 (Bh)

2. King Artakh’shasta’s Letter to Ezra – Ezra 7:11-728a (Bi)

3. The List of Exiles who Returned with Ezra – Ezra 7:28b to 8:14 (Bj)

4. Ezra’s Arrival in Jerusalem – Ezra 8:15-36 (Bk)

B. Ezra’s Reforms – 9:1 to 10:44; Nehemiah 7:73b-9:37 (Bl)

1. Ezra Reads the Torah Scroll of Moses – Nehemiah 7:73b-8:1-12 (Bm)

2. The Feast of Sukkot Celebrated – Nehemiah 8:13-18 (Bn)

3. Ezra’s Prayer about Intermarriage – Ezra 9:1-15 (Bo)

4. The Israelites Confess Their Sins – Ezra 10:1-6 and Nehemiah 9:1-37 (Bp)

5. A Binding Agreement – Nehemiah 9:38 to 10:39 (Bq)

6. The Calling of a Public Assembly – Ezra 10:7-15 (Br)

7. Those Guilty of Intermarriage – Ezra 10:16-44 (Bs)

12 year gap between Ezra and Nehemiah

III. The Third Return 445-432 BC – Nehemiah 1:1 to 7:73a and 12:1 to 13:31 (Bt)

A. Nehemiah Intercedes for Jerusalem – Nehemiah 1:1-11 (Bu)

B. Favor with King Artakhshasta – Nehemiah 2:1-20 (Bv)

1. The Response of King Artakhshasta – Nehemiah 2:1-10 (Bw)

2. Nehemiah Inspects Jerusalem’s Walls – Nehemiah 2:11-20 (Bx)

C. The List of the Builders of the Wall – Nehemiah 3:1-32 (By)

1. Repairing the Northern and Western Walls – Nehemiah 3:1-15 (Bz)

2. The Construction of the Eastern Wall – Nehemiah 3:16-32 (Ca)

D. Renewed Opposition to the Rebuilding of the Walls – Nehemiah 4:1-23 (Cb)

1. Samaritan Opposition to the Building of the Walls – Nehemiah 4:1-15 (Cc)

2. The Rebuilding the Walls of Jerusalem – Nehemiah 4:16-23 (Cd)

E. Nehemiah Helps the Poor Israelites– Nehemiah 5:1-19 (Ce)

1. The Complaints of the Poor Israelites – Nehemiah 5:1-13 (Cf)

2. Nehemiah’s Unselfish Leadership – Nehemiah 5:14-19 (Cg)

F. The Completion of the Walls Despite Opposition – Nehemiah 6:1-19 (Ch)

1. Attempts to Snare Nehemiah – Nehemiah 6:1-9 (Ci)

2. The Hiring of False Prophets – Nehemiah 6:10-14 (Cj)

3. The Completion of the Walls – Nehemiah 6:15-19 (Ck)

G. The Dedication of the Walls of Jerusalem – Nehemiah 12:27-47 (Cl)

H. The Inspired List of Ezra 2 and the Human Register of Nehemiah 7 (Cm)

I. Hanani, Hananiah and the Returning Exiles – Nehemiah 7:1-73a (Cn)

J. The New Residents of Jerusalem – Nehemiah 11:1-36 (Co)

K. Identifying the Priests and Levites – Nehemiah 12:1-26 (Cp)

L. Malachi: The Pollution of the Priesthood – Malachi 1:1 to 2:17 (Cq)

M. Nehemiah’s Final Reforms – 13:1-31 (Cr)

400 Years of Silence (The Intertestamental Period)

End Notes (Cs)

Bibliography (Ct)

 

2019-09-16T17:56:31+00:00 0 Comments

Am The Geographical Place-Names Who Returned to Jerusalem from Captivity in Babylon Ezra 2: 20-35

The Geographical Place-Names
Who Returned to Jerusalem
from Captivity in Babylon
Ezra 2: 20-35

DIG: When grouping people by their points of departure, why do you think Ezra omits any reference to towns in the Negev, the large area south of Judah, which was occupied by the Edomites after Nebuchadnezzar conquered Judah in 597 BC? How do you account for some of the numbers in Nehemiah being different than the ones here?

REFLECT: Do you have any spiritual roots? If so, where did they come from? What person was influential in your spiritual growth? Was it a close relative? Father? Mother? Sister? Or grandparent? Or was it someone outside your family? A friend? Or perhaps a “random” meeting? Regardless, what are you doing to be the rich ground for the spiritual roots of those you love?

During the ministry of Zerubbabel (see Ag – The First Return).
Compiled by the Chronicler from the Ezra memoirs
(see Ac – Ezra-Nehemiah From a Jewish Perspective: The Ezra Memoirs).

The Chronicler identified two ways to validate those who had been exiled, had their roots
in the Promised Land and could be trusted as being a true member of the community
of Isra’el. Some members had records of a recognized family or clan (see Al – The Clans Who Returned from Captivity in Babylon); others, as we see here, could be verified through their traditional home town. These place-names represent the places where these people lived before the exile and are mentioned in order of proximity to Jerusalem. Most of the places-names are in Benjamite territory north of Yerushalayim. Significantly, no references are made in the Negev south of Judah. When Nebuchadnezzar overran Judah, the Edomites had occupied the area. Jeremiah had prophesied: The towns of the South will be shut up, with no one to open them (Jeremiah 13:19a). Again, the author emphasized the continuity of God’s covenant people. Thus, the identification of the families and their place of origin was important. They needed to recognize that they were the continuation of ADONAI’s redemptive plan, and that YHVH had not forsaken them.

The sons of Gibbar – 95 (Ezra 2:20): It may have been another name for Gibeon, the well-known city where the sun stood still for Joshua (Joshua 10:12). In Nehemiah 7:25 the name appears as Gibeon. It would then be the modern el-Jib, about five miles northwest of Jerusalem,

The sons of Bethlehem, 123 (Ezra 2:21); The famous village and birth place of Yeshua Messiah about five miles south of the Holy City, meaning “house of bread,”

the men of Netophah, 56 (Ezra 2:22); The birthplace of Zalmon the Ahohite and Maharai the Netophathite, two of David mighty warriors (see the commentary on The Life of David Ej – David’s Mighty Warriors). According to First Chronicles 9:16 it was a Levitical village,

the men of Anathoth, 128 (Ezra 2:23); A priestly town, best known as the home of Jeremiah (see the commentary on Jeremiah Ah – The Introduction to Jeremiah); identified with Anata, a village four miles northeast of Yerushalayim,

the sons of Azmaveth (Beth-azmaveth in Nehemiah 7:28), 42 (Ezra 2:24); So again in Nehemiah 12:29, but also in Nehemiah 7:28 it is called Beth-azmaveth. It is perhaps the modern el-Hizmeh, north of Anathoth,

the sons of Kiriath-arim (Kiriath-jearim in Nehemiah 7:29), Chephirah and Beeroth, 743 (Ezra 2:25); Nehemiah 7:29 has the more familiar name Kiriath-jearim, about nine miles northwest of Jerusalem,

the sons of Ramah; Literally “the Ramah” or “the Height.” It was Samuel’s home, the modern er-Ram, about six miles north of Jerusalem. And Geba, 621 (Ezra 2:26); A priestly town of Benjamin; the modern Jeba, about eight miles north of Jerusalem,

the men of Michmas, 122 (2:27); Spelled Michmash in the book of Samuel (First Samuel 8:23), where it is the locality of a heroic exploit by Jonathan; the modern Mukhmas. It lay on the north side of the gorge on which Geba stood,

the men of Bethel; About two and a half miles north of Beeroth and twelve miles north of Jerusalem; now called Beitin. And Ai, 223 (Ezra 2:28); About one-and-a-half miles east of Bethel. In Nehemiah 7:32 the number is 123 (see Ci – The Inspired List of Ezra 2 and the Human Register of Nehemiah 7),

the sons of Nebo, 52 (Ezra 2:29); To be distinguished from Nebo in Moab and therefore called in Nehemiah 7:33 “the other Nebo.It is identified by some with Nob (see the commentary on the Life of David Av – David at Nob), but its location is uncertain,

the sons of Magbish, 156 (Ezra 2:30); Otherwise unknown; it does not appear in the list in Nehemiah,

 the sons of the other Elam, 1,254 (Ezra 2:31); To distinguish it from the Elam in Ezra 2:7. The identity of the number necessitates this qualification,

the sons of Harim, 320 (Ezra 2:32); Not the same as in Ezra 2:39,

the sons of Lod; Built by Shemed of the tribe of Benjamin (First Chronicles 8:12). It is known as Lydda, seven miles southwest of Jaffa. Hadid; the modern el-Khadithah, known in Maccabean times as Adida, a fortified town on the east of Shephelah. And Ono, 725 (Ezra 2:33); The modern Ana, about six miles north of Lydda. In Nehemiah 7:37 the total is 721 (see Ci – The Inspired List of Ezra 2 and the Human Register of Nehemiah 7),

the sons of Jericho, 345 (Ezra 2:34); The famous “City of Palms,” near the Jordan River about eighteen miles east of Jerusalem,

the sons of Senaah, 3,630 (Ezra 2:35): Ancient authorities identified it with Magdalsenna about five miles north of Jericho. In Nehemiah 3 Hassenaah is a personal name. Nehemiah 7:38 gives the number as 3,930 (see Ci – The Inspired List of Ezra 2 and the Human Register of Nehemiah 7).

We can be glad that the righteous of the TaNaKh chose to return to Palestine and continue to be used of Ha’Shem. Through them and their descendants we have the Scriptures, and through them Yeshua Messiah came into the world. Even though they were practically unnoticed by the world at that time, they were actually the center of God’s redemptive plan.

Sometimes, as believers, we feel the same way, like we have no significance in today’s world affairs. But the B’rit Chadashah clearly teaches that the invisible, universal Church, made up of Jewish and Gentile believers (Ephesus 2:14a), is the center of God’s attention and the primary means of fulfilling His mission in the world (Matthew 16:18; Ephesians 1:22-23, 3:10 and 21; First Timothy 3:15). We need to remember our heritage from the generations of believers who have preceded us and understand the influence our decisions will have for the future.

 

2019-09-15T11:31:20+00:00 0 Comments

Al – The Clans Who Returned from Captivity in Babylon Ezra 2: 1-19

The Clans Who Returned
from Captivity in Babylon
Ezra 2: 1-19

DIG: Why was this list compiled? What religious, legal and social implications did it have? What is the connection between this chapter and the previous one? What transfer of leadership occurs?

REFLECT: What family records do you keep: (a) a diary? (b) old letters? (c) photo albums? (d) memorabilia? Why do you keep them? What would an inventory of them indicate about the kind of person you are or the kind of family you come from?

During the ministry of Zerubbabel (see Ag – The First Return).
Compiled by the Chronicler from the Ezra memoirs
(see Ac – Ezra-Nehemiah from a Jewish Perspective: The Ezra Memoirs).

It was the year 538 BC and Cyrus the Persian had just issued his decree permitting the righteous of the TaNaKh to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the Temple (see Ai – The Decree of Cyrus). The decree was a fulfillment of earlier prophecies of Scripture (see Ak – Numbering the Exiles Who Returned Under Zerubbabel). The passages from Jeremiah were especially encouraging to Dani’el in the final months of the Babylonian captivity (Dani’el 9:1-2). The head of the clan had probably died long before. Not all the members of these families returned at the time of Cyrus’ edict during the First Return. Some remained behind and only came back in the Second Return under Ezra. Others succeeded in adapting to their lives in Babylon and decided to remain there. Some, like Mordecai in the time of Esther– some sixty years into the future, some twenty years before Ezra appears in Chapter 7 – held respectable positions in Persia. Life in Babylon, from one perspective, was not so bad. But the focus now turns to those who returned. For some, the exile tested their faith in the promises of God. As various family clans gathered to discuss the decree to return to Jerusalem, among them were those whose hearts God had stirred (Ezra 1:5).

Ezra 2 is written in retrospect, that is, when the return journey was finished. We, of course, would like to know about that journey. How long did it take? How many stops along the way? Was there enough food for all those people? Did they all leave at the same time, or, as is more likely, did they travel in successive groups? How old were they? How many children and pregnant mothers? There are so many questions for which Ezra provides no answers. Just as the gospel writers spend about half their account of Yeshua’s life recording His final week, so Ezra gives his focus to the things that are particularly relevant for us. And what are these things? Names!

Judah remained a part of Persia and had no independent authority of her own. For the returning exiles, therefore, a greater motivation impelled them to return than the assertion of their national identity. There were the people of God to whom promises had been given, promises that appeared impossible of fulfillment in Babylon. The exile signaled both judgment and hope at the same time. Their return, and the orderly way in which it took place, signaled in some way that the promise that YVHV had given to Abraham – that His descendants would be as numerous as the stars in the night sky and the sand upon the seashore (Genesis 22:7) – hand not been forgotten.31

Now these are the people of the province of Judah, a small district within the great administration are known as beyond the River, or Syria and Palestine (4:10). Judah was perhaps carved out of adjacent districts and newly granted an identity of its own – for Sheshbatzar was arriving there as its ruler (5:14). They went up from the captives of the exile, whom Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon had taken captive to Babylon. They returned gradually to Jerusalem and Judah, each to his town (Ezra 2:1). The people in the First Return settled in the neighborhood of Jerusalem.

Twelve leaders are mentioned, eleven here and Sheshbatzar at the close of Chapter 1. The number can hardly be insignificant. The number twelve (tribes, apostles) is deeply significant. Those leaders were representative of Isra’el – the people of God. Already, ADONAI seems to be anticipating a time when the nation will fall into the historical past and the righteous of the TaNaKh will gather as one, called into fellowship with one another and their Messiah (see the commentary on Acts Al – The Ruach ha-Kodesh Comes at Shavu’ot).32

They came with Zerubbabel, a natural leader of such a company (Ezra 2:2a): The name in Akkadian means “seed of (born in) Babylon” and was not uncommon at that time. He was a grandson of king Jehoiachin (see the commentary on Jeremiah Du – Jehoiachin Ruled For 3 Months in 598 BC) and therefore a direct descendant of King David (see the commentary on Revelation Fi – The Government of the Messianic Kingdom). Though generally described as the son of Shealtiel (Ezra 3:2), he is also described as the son of Pedaiah (First Chronicles 3:19). He may have been the latter’s nephew and heir, or his legal son as the result of a levirate marriage. Zerubbabel was the ruler under Darius (Haggai 1:14).

Jeshua (Ezra 2:2b): A shorter form in Hebrew of Joshua. He was the first son of the High Priest Jehozadak (Haggai 1:1, 2:2 and 4). His father, Seraiah, was put to death at Riblah by Nebuchadnezzar (Second Kings 25:18ff and First Chronicles 5:40).

Nehemiah (Ezra 2:2c): He is not the Nehemiah of the book by that name.

Seraiah (Ezra 2:2d) means “YHVH is Prince.” This was the name of Ezra’s father who may be intended here. Nehemiah 7:7 has Azariah.

Reelaiah (Ezra 2:2e) is paralleled in Nehemiah 7:7 as Raamiah.

Mordechai (Ezra 2:2f): based on the name of god of Babylon, Marduk (Jeremiah 50:2). This could not have been Queen Esther’s uncle, for she would not become queen for another half century and her uncle wasn’t even born yet.

Bilshan (Ezra 2:2g) is probably the Akkadian Bel-sunu, meaning “Their Lord,”

Mispar (Ezra 2:2h) is paralleled in Nehemiah 7:7, a feminine form of Mispereth,

Bigvai (Ezra 2:2i) see Ezra 2:14 below,

Rehum (Ezra 2:2j) is a shortened form for “God has been compassionate.” Nehemiah 7:7 has Nehum, which is probably a scribal error,

and Baanah (Ezra 2:2j).

The number of men of the people of Isra’el (Ezra 2:2): Presumably the laity as distinct from the priests and Levites,

the sons of Parosh – 2,172 (Ezra 2:3): The descendants of Parosh represented the largest family of priests returning to Babylon. As a common noun the meaning is “a flea.” A branch of this clan accompanied Ezra in the Second Return (Ezra 8:3). One member is mentioned among those who assisted in rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem (Nehemiah 3:25) and some of them were guilty of intermarriage (Ezra 10:25),

the sons of Shephatiah – 372 (Ezra 2:4), Shephatiah means “YHVH has judged.” Other members of the family returned with Ezra (Ezra 8:8),

the sons of Arah – 775 (Ezra 2:5), Arah means “wild ox.” As the name appears elsewhere only in First Chronicles 7:39 and has been found in documents from Mesopotamia, it may have been adopted during the Exile,

the sons of Pahath-moab: Literally, “governor of Moab.” It is assumed that the founder of this clan had been ruler over part of that country. From Ezra 8:4 we learn that some members of the clan returned with in the Second Return with Ezra. And the sons of Jeshua and Joab – 2,812 (Ezra 2:6): The conjunction is not in the text here, but it does occur in the list in Nehemiah 7:11. Jeshua and Joab were subdivisions of the clan. There may be the descendants of the tribe of Reuben who were deported from the province of Moab by Tiglath-pileser III (First Chronicles 5:3-8),

the sons of Elam – 1,254 (Ezra 2:7): as a personal name it occurs in First Chronicles 8:24 and some think that same man is meant here. Elam was the name of the country in southwest Iran in the area of Susa (Ezra 8:7, 10:2 and 26; Nehemiah 7:12, 10:14).

the sons of Zattu – 945 (Ezra 2:8),

the sons of Zaccai – 760 (Ezra 2:9): The name recalls that of the father of the famous Rabban Jochanan. Zaccai may mean “pure” or may be a shortened form of Zechariah (YHVH has remembered),

the sons of Bani – 642 (Ezra 2:10): Bani is a shortened form of Benaiah (YHVH has built). In Nehemiah 7:15 the name is Binnui,

the sons of Bebai – 623 (Ezra 2:11), Bebai means, “pupil of the eye,”

the sons of Azgad – 1,222 (Ezra 2:12), Azgad means “Gad is strong,” and is either a reference to Gad, the god of fortune, or to the Transjordan tribe of Gad. This name occurs only here and in Nehemiah 7:17,

the sons of Adonikam – 666 (Ezra 2:13): Adonikam means “my Lord has arisen.” Of this clan a section remained behind and returned later with Ezra (Ezra 8:13),

the sons of Bigvai – 2,056 (Ezra 2:14), Bigvai is a Persian name meaning “happy,” was borne by the Persian governor of Judea addressed by the Jews of Elephantine in 407 BC,

the sons of Adin – 454 (Ezra 2:15), Adin means “voluptuous,”

the sons of Ater, Ater means “Lefty,” (Judges 3:15, 20:16), of Hezekiah – 98 (Ezra 2:16), Hezekiah means “YHVH is my strength.” Belonging to the clan of the family whose head bore that name,

the sons of Bezai – 323 (Ezra 2:17), Bezai is a shortened form of Bezaleel, meaning “in the shadow of God,”

the sons of Jorah – 112 (Ezra 2:18): Jorah means “autumn rain.” Instead of Jorah, Nehemiah 7:24 has Hariph,

the sons of Hashum – 223 (Ezra 2:19). Hashum means “broad nose.”

There are those today who might wonder why more was not made of the messianic overtones of Zerubbabel’s presence. As the lineal descendant of the royal house and heir to the throne of David (First Chronicles 3:19), questions concerning his role in the new community would surely have arisen. This was clearly the case in the prophecies of Haggai and Zechariah 1-8. Was he the shoot from the stump of Jesse (see the commentary on Isaiah Dc – A Shoot Will Come Up from the Stump of Jesse), the promised Messiah so fervently looked for by Isaiah? The text is silent on this point and hints at the growing notion by the righteous of the TaNaKh after the exile that Isra’el was no longer to look for individuals for its salvation. Hezekiah and Josiah had not succeeded in permanently stemming the tide of stubbornness, and neither would Zerubbabel nor the Maccabees. More and more, Israelites became aware that their hope was to be founded on a relationship with ADONAI alone.

Seen in this way, the list serves the practical purpose of assuring the restored community that they had not arrived back in the Promise Land for no reason, but were in fact solidly established upon their ancestral roots as emphasized by their family genealogies and the cities from which they had come – as we will see in the next file (see Am – The Geographical Place-Names Who Returned). Therefore, they were not cut off from the ancient promise of land and posterity made to Abraham (Genesis 12:1-3), but rather they were the raw material from which ADONAI would now fulfill His glorious promise.33

 

2019-09-15T11:17:25+00:00 0 Comments

Ak – Numbering the Exiles Who Returned Under Zerubbabel Ezra 2: 1-70

Numbering the Exiles
Who Returned Under Zerubbabel

Ezra 2: 1-70

536 BC During the ministry of Zerubbabel (see Ag – The First Return).
Compiled by the Chronicler from the Ezra memoirs
(see Ac – Ezra-Nehemiah from a Jewish Perspective: The Ezra Memoirs).

Several prophets had spoken fervently about the return of the exiles to the Promised Land (Jeremiah 50:17-20; Ezeki’el 20:33-44). However, the most passionate and descriptive oracles on this theme come from Isaiah. Frequently he described the return to Palestine as a Second Exodus (Isaiah 48:20-21 and 52:11-12). But we do not possess many hard facts about the character of the refugees or the character of their return journey. Why did some return while others stayed behind in Babylon? Did all the exiles of the First Return come in one group, or did they return to the Land in small groups over time? Was the Second Exodus as wonderful as that described in Isaiah Chapters 40-55?

The Chronicler had little interest in those matters. His focus was on the character of the returning righteous of the TaNaKh. But even at that, he was very selective. He tells us almost nothing of the great leaders of the First Return: Sheshbatzar, Zerubbabel, and Jeshua the high priest. It is obvious that he was not writing to satisfy our thirst for the details. His great concern was to demonstrate that ADONAI is with those who establish and preserve a pure society. A “pure society” means, positively, loyalty to YHVH through obedience to the Torah and proper Temple worship; negatively, a “pure society” means separation from the people who would pollute the congregations of God.

The people who belong: Many today have little appreciation for the genealogical lists in the Bible (Ezra Chapter 8; First Chronicles Chapters 1-9). The names are not only ancient and unfamiliar, but more importantly, they represent a different way of looking at life. Today we place great emphasis on the individual. Ancient societies, however, placed greater importance on the family and clan. In the ancient societies there were no “free-floating” individuals. Everyone is a member of some family and comes from some place. These were people who understood themselves in terms of a family, and were known and valued by others as an individual who came from a specific place. The character of every one of them was known by their background, because (it was believed) their ancestors lived on through them. Naturally, the presence of a non-Israelite family in the genealogy would raise serious questions because they would carry foreign elements into the community. Later (see Ao – The Generosity of the People of God), the issue of descent was an extremely important issue for the Jews who were establishing themselves in the Land.

Genealogy and membership in Isra’el: Genealogical information was important to ancient Isra’el because it protected the community from a disruptive person – the person would destroy the community. This screening by genealogy didn’t always work because some people didn’t live up to the character of their ancestors. For the most part, however, it was believed that those who came from established Jewish families would be good members of the community. Although exceptions were recognized, Isra’el shared the belief with other ancient societies that “the apple does not fall far from the tree.” King Solomon put it this way: Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it (Proverbs 22:6).

Synagogue and church membership: In our day many messianic synagogues and churches share the concern of the Second Exodus. These congregations don’t want to allow people to become members who are not committed to their fundamental beliefs. One purpose of membership requirements in synagogues and churches is to screen people who want to become members. The requirement may be flexible and generous, but all the same requirements are there to preserve and protect the core beliefs of the community from those who would try to change them. On the one hand, a religious community that pays no attention to the preservation of its fundamental values and beliefs will eventually lose its character – its life. But on the other hand, a community that focuses too much on its distinctiveness may also suffer loss by becoming so exclusive that it refuses to receive people who deserve to be welcomed. Not surprisingly, a community living under threat and living on the edge of existence is tempted to embrace the latter policy.

Genealogy, a reminder of God’s grace: The descendants of the people who are named in the first eight chapters of First Chronicles are reminded that they belong to a select communitythe people of Isra’el whom YHVH has chosen as His own people (Deuteronomy 7:6), the apple of His eye (Zechariah 2:12). To the Hebrew mind, this demonstrates in the clearest way the specificity of ADONAI’s love and concern that lies at the heart of the gospel. The genealogical listings in Ezra 2, Nehemiah 7, First Chronicles 1-8, Matthew 1:1-7 and Luke 3:23b-38 highlight dramatically the words spoken to Moshe by YHVH, “Now then, if you listen closely to My voice, and keep My covenant, then you will be My own treasure from among all people, for all the earth is Mine. So as for you, you will be to Me a kingdom of cohanim and a holy nation” (Exodus 19:5-6).

Who was included and who was excluded: The book of Ezra-Nehemiah describes a community that was formed around Jewish families there were in exile (see my commentary on Jeremiah Gu – Seventy Years of Imperial Rule Babylonian Rule). The leaders made a serious attempt to keep out those who did not qualify, but they also tried to include all who actually did belong. This concern can best be seen in the cases of people who said they were priests, but were unable to prove it through genealogical records. They were not immediately cast out. The final decision was made with the consultation of the Urim and Thummim (see the commentary on Exodus Gb – The Urim and Thummim). So, on the one hand, the community appears to be very strict on the matter of membership; but on the other hand, they could also quite gracious when they celebrated the Passover at the dedication of the Temple. So the children of Isra’el who had returned from the exile ate it, together with all who had separated themselves from the impurity of the [Gentile] nations to seek ADONAI the God of Isra’el (Ezra 6:19-22).

The true Isra’el, the righteous of the TaNaKh: Although we must allow for the possibility of exceptions and modifications, for the most part the community of Isra’el that formed in the Promised Land following the decree of Cyrus was limited to Jews who had been in exile. However, Ezra and Nehemiah were not the first to identify the Jewish exiles as the righteous of the TaNaKh. Earlier Jeremiah had the same belief. He considered the Jews who went into exile to be the good figs as opposed to those who remained in the Land, whom he labeled the bad figs (see the commentary on Jeremiah Ei – Two Baskets of Figs).

The names had a religious significance: This long list of names appears to have a religious and legal significance. As already stated, it served a religious purpose in that it established the identity of those who belonged to the congregation of Isra’el. The list, which is headed by twelve names (Nehemiah 7:7) indicates that the righteous of the TaNaKh thinks of itself as continuing in some manner the tradition of the twelve tribes of Isra’el.

But the names also had a legal significance: The decree of Cyrus (see Ah – Cyrus Decrees: Rebuild the Temple) assigned the responsibility for the rebuilding of the Temple to the exiles (Ezra 2:1-4). Offer of help from those who did not belong to the exiles were rejected (see At – Opposition during the Reigns of Cyrus and Ahasuerus). The refusal was probably made on religious grounds, that is, fear of foreign religious traditions infecting their faith, but it was based on legal grounds. The decree of Cyrus, specified that only the righteous of the TaNaKh were to build the House of ADONAI, the God of Isra’el (Ezra 1:3). Although the refusal created resentment and opposition, the legal basis was solid. At one point, Tattenai, the governor of Trans-Euphrates (Ezra 5:3-6), was inspecting the building project and asked: Who gave you the authority to build this House and to complete this structure? They also asked them, “What are the names of the men who are constructing this building” (Ezra 5:3-4)? The decree of Cyrus provided the answer to the first question, and the list of names in Ezra 2:1-70 covered the second.

Isaiah and Ezra: This description of the restored community appears dull beside the story of Isaiah. His colorful and energetic language excites our faith. YHVH is on the move with His people – leading them in a new Exodus (see the commentary on Isaiah Ix – How Beautiful on the Mountains are the Feet of Those Who Bring Good News). He is a God of great power (see the commentary on Isaiah Hg – How Beautiful on the Mountains are the Feet of Those Who Bring Good News), but also most tender to those worn down by the captivity (see the commentary on Isaiah Hh – But Those Who Hope in the LORD Will Renew Their Strength). Opposed to the dull list of names that confronts us in Ezra 2, stands the open and intimate relationship between ADONAI and the people in Isaiah 43:1-7 and 54:5-8 for example. It is a temptation to assume that if Isaiah had lived to guide the exiles back on the Second Exodus that the results would have been quite different from that of Zerubbabel, Ezra and Nehemiah. Maybe, but then again, maybe not.

The difference between Isaiah and the leadership of the Second Exodus was just a matter of emphasis. One the one hand, Isaiah spoke of the downfall of Babylon and the glory of the release from captivity, but says nothing specific about what was to be done when the returnees reached the Promised Land. On the other hand, the book of Ezra-Nehemiah focuses on the restored community in the Land, but don’t give us a hint of the drama of the return itself. Although we cannot say that Isaiah would have fully agreed with the policies of the later leaders of the exiles, it appears that he would have supported the establishment of a Temple community. It is also likely the prophets who ministered before the Babylon Captivity, such as Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezeki’el, would have also endorsed the building of a new Temple.29

These names were the living plants of Isra’el, roots and all, for replanting. But the fundamental motive for this careful grouping was not social, but a matter of faith. This holy nation, the righteous of the TaNaKh, had been given a new chance to live up to her calling. By returning to Palestine to establish a new Temple community, they announced their refusal to let the exile (see the commentary on Jeremiah Gu – Seventy Years of Imperial Babylonian Rule) discourage their faith in the promises of God. They believed that the past deserved a future, and they were determined to work with ADONAI to create that future.30

 

2019-09-15T10:43:01+00:00 0 Comments

Aj – The Return to Isra’el Under Sheshbatzar Ezra 1: 5-11

The Return to Isra’el
Under Sheshbatzar
Ezra 1: 5-11

DIG: Why did the Ruach ha-Kodesh only stir up a small remnant of Israelites? How did this stirring-up repeat itself in the Second and Third Returns? In what ways did this Second Exodus mirror the First Exodus? What do you make of the missing or un-counted articles in verses 7-11a (see Second Kings 25:13-15)?

REFLECT: God “stirred up” the hearts of kings and families alike to do his will. How has God “stirred up” your heart? If you must wait, as Isra’el did, for God to restore your place in His service, are you content to do so? Or do you push for change?

537 BC During the ministry of Zerubbabel (see Ag – The First Return).
Compiled by the Chronicler from the Ezra memoirs
(see Ac – Ezra-Nehemiah From a Jewish Perspective: The Ezra Memoirs).

Nearly two hundred years after the kingdom of Isra’el had conquered by Assyria, the remains of the little kingdom of Judah, which had always included members of all the twelve tribes, still had some cohesion and could rightly bear the name of Isra’el (Ezra 1:3b and 2:2b). Then the LORD, as though to emphasize that it was not by might, nor by power, but by His Ruach, ADONAI-Tzva’ot (Zechariah 4:6 spoke to that very generation) stirred up only a remnant into action. This whittling down of numbers and power, ever since the glory days of the kings, is reminiscent of the way God reduced the size of Gideon’s army when they defeated the Midianites (Judges Chapter 7).23 Thus, only a small group returned and many pious and prosperous Jews remained in Babylon.

Just as ADONAI had stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia to make a proclamation throughout his realm, which enabled the First Return to Jerusalem (1:1b), so then the patriarchal leaders of Judah and Benjamin, along with the kohanim and the Levites – everyone whose spirit God had stirred up – arose to go up to build the House of Adonai in Jerusalem (Ezra 1:5). Generally speaking the Jewish exiles were from Judah and Benjamin; however, all of the righteous of the TaNaNk from the northern Kingdom of Isra’el migrated down to the southern Kingdom of Judah and were also taken captive (First Chronicles 9:3).

It is important to recognize that in the First Return led by Zerubbabel, in the Second Return led by Ezra, and in the Third Return led by Nehemiah, it was always the gracious prompting of Ruach ha-Kodesh that led the remnant home to Jerusalem. The Second Return will begin with God’s prompting of the Persian king to act compassionately toward Isra’el by granting Ezra everything he requested because the hand of ADONAI his God was upon him (Ezra 7:6b). Similarly, in the Third Return, Nehemiah will again express the conviction that Ha’Shem was responsible for the gracious support of the Persian throne when he stated: The king granted me the request because the good hand of my God was upon me (Nehemiah 2:8b).

Continuing with the theme of the Second Exodus, one of the ways in which the Chronicler depicts the return to Yerushalayim is for those Jews who stayed behind in Babylon to strengthen the hands of the returnees with vessels of silver, gold, goods, cattle and valuable gifts, besides all that was willingly offered (Ezra 1:6). This strongly points to plunder the Egyptians (Exodus 3:21-22, 11:2 and 12:35-36; Psalm 105:37). In both the First Exodus under the leadership of Moshe, and the Second Exodus under the leadership of Sheshbatzar and Zerubbabel, the needs of the people of God were met, whether for the hazardous journey or for the reestablishment of worship.

In many ways the clearest expression of the connection between the First Exodus and the Second Exodus appears in the returning of the vessels from the Temple in Tziyon that Nebuchadnezzar had carried off was war trophies (Second Kings 24:13, 25:13-16; Second Chronicles 36:10-18; Jeremiah 52:17-19). Then King Cyrus brought out the vessels from the House of Adonai that Nebuchadnezzar had brought from Jerusalem and placed in the treasury of his god (Ezra 1:7; Dani’el 1:2). Those vessels supposedly symbolized the superiority of the Babylonian gods over YHVH, the God of Isra’el. It was this superiority that Babylon could flaunt on occasion. This is strongly suggested by Dani’el 5:1-4, which relates King Belshazzar’s toasting to the power of his gods with the very vessels that had been removed from Jerusalem after the destruction of the Temple (see the commentary on Jeremiah Gb – The Destruction of Solomon’s Temple on Tisha B’Av in 586 BC). But his prideful toast didn’t last long because on that very night King Belshazzar of the Chaldeans was slain (Dani’el 5: 30).The return of those vessels would be a powerful symbol of both the restoration of worship and continuity with the past that the budding community so desperately needed to see.24

But how could the Jews have been so filled with the conviction that Isra’el would indeed be restored, even after complete destruction, unless there were prophecies to believe in. So these exiles believed Isaiah when he said: Get out of Babylon, flee from Chaldea! With a shout of joy, proclaim this, send it out to the end of the earth, saying: ADONAI has redeemed His servant Jacob (Isaiah 48:20)! They trusted in God’s Word when the prophet wrote: Leave, Leave! Get out of there! Touch no unclean thing. Go out of [Babylon’s] midst. Purify yourselves, your who carry the vessels of ADONAI. For you will not go out in haste, nor will you go in flight, for ADONAI will go before you, and the God of Isra’el will be your rear guard, just like the First Exodus (Isaiah 52:11-12). So far as we know, no people except Isra’el has ever been restored to their homeland after such a clean break. And if there were any remaining doubt, we now have a Fourth Return in 1947. No one disputes the fact that it was a firmly held rabbinic belief in their ultimate return as a nation to Palestine that brought the Jews back to their ancient home in recent generations.25

King Cyrus of Persia had them brought out by Mithredath the treasurer, who counted them out for Sheshbatzar (see Strong’s Concordance number 8339) the prince (Hebrew: nasi) of Judah (Ezra 1:8); the uncle of Zerubbabel (First Chronicles) who had risen to an important position in the government. It was not unusual for a Jew to be given a Babylonian name, as was the case with Zerubbabel. It is clear from this statement that Cyrus worked through official channels by commanding the treasurer of Persia to release the vessels. Mithredath appears to have been charged with the task of returning Babylonian temple treasures to the various peoples who were restored by Cyrus’ decree (see Ai – The Decree of Cyrus) to their homelands.26

Sheshbatzar and Zerubbabel were the leaders of the First Return of settlers. In the eyes of the government, and in any report submitted to it, Sheshbatzar would have been responsible for the building project. He had been appointed governor of Judah by King Cyrus (Ezra 5:14), but later Zerubbabel was appointed governor by King Darius (Haggai 1:1, 14 and 2:2, 21). Therefore, it seems that Sheshbatzar stayed in Jerusalem until the vessels for worship were safely transferred back to Jerusalem, and the foundations of the Temple had been laid (Ezra 5:16). Then, as some point, we don’t know exactly when, he walked off the pages of the Bible. He might have merely gone back to Babylon, or he might have simply faded into the background as Zerubbabel became more of a dominant figure in the narrative. But either way, we never hear from him again.

When Nebuchadnezzar carried off the vessels from Jerusalem in 586 BC his scribes made a careful inventory of them. The actual figures in the Hebrew text add up to less than half the recorded total; 2,499 rather than 5,400. Perhaps the Chronicler, in using the inventory list, may have copied only part of the list but included the total of 5,400 in the last verse. There were:

gold basins were basket-shaped cups used to collect the blood of the slaughtered lambs – 30

silver basins – 1,000

silver knives used in the ritual slaughter of animals – 29

gold bowls were used by the priests to wipe the sacrificial blood from their fingers on the edge of these bowls after sprinkling. The Hebrew noun kephor is said to be connected with the Talmudic root meaning to wipe – 30

other silver bowls either in kind or shape – 410

then other smaller and less significant vessels were listed – 1,000

In all there were 5,400 vessels of gold and silver. But not every item was returned. The Ark of the Covenant wasn’t among the inventory. It contained a jar of manna, two tablets of stone upon which the ten commandments had been written, and Aaron’s rod that had budded (Hebrews 9:4). The Ark was never seen again after the Babylonian conquest of Yerushalayim. It had almost certainly been destroyed.

Sheshbatzar brought them all along when the exiles were brought up from Babylon to Jerusalem (Ezra 1:9-11). We know nothing about the details of Sheshbatzar’s journey. Judging from Ezra’s later journey (Ezra 7:8-9), the trip probably took about four months. The caravan would have proceeded from Babylon up the Euphrates River, and then down through the Orontes Valley of Syria to Palestine.27

The return of these items to Jerusalem was no small thing. The vessels represented the people’s hope of a rebuilt City and a rebuilt Temple, which, as a result of the exile, was monumental. Yet, even more significant were the people who returned with those items. For those who carried them back, most of whom had never seen Solomon’s Temple or the city of Jerusalem, the journey was one of faith. There were few guarantees about any aspect of their journey.

As the chapter closes with the words from Babylon to Jerusalem, a new era began for the people of God. Nothing could signal this more than the return of the vessels of worship. ADONAI had returned to them in favor (see the commentary on Isaiah Hd – That Her Hard Service Has Been Completed), but the journey that lay ahead of them was of greater significance than the journey to the City of David. Jerusalem had become a symbol of God’s City, just as Babylon had become the symbol of the fallen world’s city. However, there were no promises on their return. They had no homes to go to! They needed to trust the LORD’s guidance and provision. They needed to step out on a journey of faith, looking to YHVH every step of the way. It was a pilgrimage to a City in ruins, but in their hearts it brought to mind the true nature of God’s promise of the city that has foundations, whose architect and builder is God (Hebrews 11:10). With this journey every believer can identify. And uniquely, it is a journey Yeshua took for us.

After the Visigoths sacked Rome in the fifth century, many believers who had placed too much hope on the success of the empire were in a deep state of shock. In that atmosphere, the Church Father Augustine (354-430 AD) wrote one of the most important books in all of history, “The City of God.” It presented human history as one giant conflict between what Augustine called the “city of man” and the “City of God.” All of human history is ultimately a battle between Babylon (the city of man) and Jerusalem (the City of God), and only the latter would triumph. The closing pages of the Bible record Babylon’s downfall (see the commentary on Revelation Em – Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great! She Has Become a Home for Demons).

And within these words lies the great divide between the way that leads to death and the way that leads to life. As the righteous of the TaNaKh left Babylon on their journey to Jerusalem, they were indicating that a clear choice had been made (see the commentary on The Life of Christ Dw – The Narrow and Wide Gates). They had chosen the way of life, the City of God. And the question that rings in our ears as we read this chapter is clear. What city have we chosen (see the commentary on Hebrews Dc – The Earthly Sinai and the Heavenly Tziyon)?28

 

2019-09-15T10:34:22+00:00 0 Comments

Ai – The Decree of Cyrus Ezra 1: 1-4

The Decree of Cyrus
Ezra 1: 1-4

DIG: Was Cyrus a believer in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob? How does Cyrus’ decree strike you (a) Déjà vu (see Second Chronicles 36:22-23)? (b) Usual? (c) Noteworthy? (d) Legally binding? (c) Predictable (see Jeremiah 25:11-12; 29:10)? In what sense is Jeremiah’s prophecy fulfilled by Cyrus? By the “people of any place? By their neighbors? By God? Who moves whom to do what? Compare this decree with its “memo” version in 6:3-5. What is the difference?

REFLECT: Has God ever used unbelievers in your life to affect you? How so? Which factors from Cyrus’ story have also shaped who you are: (a) Building projects? (b) Mercy toward others? (c) Service offerings? (d) Family ties? Explain. What does the polytheist Cyrus believe about the locale of the Lord? What do you believe about God’s “primary address” or sphere of influence?

538 BC During the ministry of Zerubbabel (see Ag – The First Return).
Compiled by the Chronicler from the Ezra memoirs
(see Ac – Ezra-Nehemiah From a Jewish Perspective: The Ezra Memoirs).

And in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia (1:1a). The scroll begins with the Hebrew conjunction waw (and), and the rabbis teach that this fact may indicate that Ezra is a continuation of Dani’el. Born in Elam, Cyrus was a Persian by descent from his great-grandmother. Although he had by this time been king of Elam for twenty years, of Media for eleven years, of Persia for ten years, and had now conquered Babylon, he is described as king of Persia, the most important lands over which he ruled. This made the Persians a world power. Dani’el had prophesied that Babylon would fall to the Persians (Dani’el 5:25-31). Darius was Cyrus’ general in Babylon at that time. Once Cyrus conquered Babylon in 539 BC, he ended Babylonian dominance of Isra’el (see the commentary on Jeremiah Gu – Seventy Years of Imperial Rule Babylonian Rule). In order to fulfill the word of the Lord spoken by Jeremiah,”After seventy years for Babylon are complete, I will visit you – to bring you back to this [Palestine].

ADONAI stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia (Jeremiah 51:11; Haggai 1:14; First Chronicles 5:26; Second Chronicles 21:16 and 36:22) to make a proclamation throughout his realm and also to put it in writing for future reference (1:1b). The official written document was then given to the communities as proof of the proclamation. Consequently, there were actually two such documents, the first one here, and the second, a memorandum from Darius to the treasury authorizing the funds, was discovered when the new king resumed the work in 520 BC (see Bc – King Darius Endorses the Rebuilding of the Temple).14 That memorandum would play a vital part in a later crisis eighteen years later. But meanwhile, the voluntary return of the Jews to their land of promise is the climax of this present chapter.

Seen against the backdrop of ancient history, however, there is little to commend regarding the boldness of Cyrus’ claim. The motivation, at least from Cyrus’ point of view, was merely political. As the long inscription known to us as the Cyrus Cylinder (a lengthy inscription on a cylindrical tablet now in the British Museum) makes plain, the Persian throne returned all the exiled communities without distinction and covered the initial costs of the rebuilding of their sanctuaries. Whereas the Babylonians did what many other conquerors had done; they removed a large portion of the population to their own homeland in order to prevent an uprising, and brought their conquered gods back to Babylon as a trophy. The Hittites took the statue of Marduk when they conquered the city of Babylon. The Philistines took the ark of God and brought it to the temple of Dagon (First Samuel 5:2). Since the Jews did not have a statue of YHVH, Nebuchadnezzar carried off the Temple vessels instead. The Hebrew of Second Kings 24:13 indicates that he cut up the larger pieces of gold to facilitate their transportation back to Babylon (Second Kings 25:13; Jeremiah 52:17).15

The Persians, however, thought it was better to provide the conquered peoples with a measure of self-determination and religious autonomy in the hope that it would instill a feeling of loyalty. Whereas their images had been treated as trophies by his predecessors, he who restored them to their “sacred cities,” rebuilt their temples and repatriated their worshipers. So if religious motivation was mingled with political cunning it was entirely in terms of his own polytheism. From the famous Cyrus Cylinder the proud words of the proud monarch cry out, “Let all the gods, which I have brought to their cities pray daily to Bel and Nabu for my length of days.”16

In the book of Isaiah, ADONAI calls Cyrus His “anointed” (see the commentary on Isaiah Ic – This is What the LORD says to Cyrus His Anointed). If Isaiah’s hearers were shocked earlier at Cyrus’ being called “God’s shepherd” (Isaiah 44:28), they must have been even more so at his now being called “My anointed.” This title had previously been reserved only for priests, prophets, and kings of Isra’el. Could God possibly use a Gentile to accomplish His purposes? Yes! That is exactly the point that Isaiah is making. God is not the LORD of Isra’el alone; He is the God of the whole world. Isra’el’s election is not merely for herself, and thus neither is her deliverance necessarily affected by herself. It is this sense in which anointed is used here; Cyrus has been especially chosen and empowered to carry out the purposes of God. In that sense he is ADONAI’s chosen instrument through whom God’s gracious purposes will be accomplished, especially that through him YHVH will be revealed to the world. To subdue the nations before him (Cyrus) and to strip kings of their armor, to open doors before him so that gates will not be shut (Isaiah 45:1c). The true Messiah will bring spiritual deliverance to Isra’el, but Cyrus, pointing us to the true Messiah, would bring physical deliverance to Isra’el.17

This is what Cyrus king of Persia says:

The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth (1:2a). From this language, it might seem that Cyrus was a believer in YHVH. But he was not. His policy was to please the subject nations that he had conquered and appears as their liberator. To the Babylonians, he said that he conquered them at the command of their god Marduk. So it was therefore natural, that when addressing the Israelites, he would describe himself as the person chosen by their God to fulfill their long-cherished hope.

And He (very emphatic in the Hebrew) has appointed me to build a Temple for him at Jerusalem in Judah. Any of His people among you may go up to Jerusalem in Judah and build the Temple of the LORD, the God of Isra’el, the God who is in Jerusalem, and may their God be with them (1:2b-3). ADONAI had not forgotten His promise to save His people (see the commentary on Isaiah Hu – I Am the LORD, Your Holy One, Isra’el’s Creator, Your King).

But it must have been extremely difficult for those who decided to return to Jerusalem. Most had no homes or property there that they could call their own.

The majority of the [Jewish] survivors decided to stay in Babylon, especially the second and third generation, who did not wish to leave the land of their birth. In addition, there is more than a hint here that many of the enterprising Jews had taken Jeremiah’s advice (Jeremiah 29:5-7) and had become exceedingly successful in their undertakings. Hence, they were reluctant to return to the Land of the fathers.18 They were to provide the returnees to Jerusalem with silver and gold, with goods and livestock, and with freewill offerings for the Temple of God in Jerusalem (1:4). It was this kind of cooperative effort among the early Israelites that enabled the Tabernacle to be build (Exodus 35-36). But God’s stirring did not diminish their required obedience; rather, it merely drew attention to it. This showed that both the exodus back to Jerusalem for the returnees and the provision of the ones who stayed behind, ultimately proceeded from the prompting of the LORD.19

While we are impressed by the courage and devotion of those who returned, we cannot view those who stayed behind to live out their lives in Babylon as disobedient. Notice that there is no criticism in Ezra-Nehemiah of those who did not make ‘aliyah (immigrate to Isra’el). Those who do not hear God calling them do what others are doing are not necessarily wrong.20

This reminds us of the Exodus from Egypt when Ha’Shem miraculously took the nation out of bondage and had the Egyptians aid them with gifts of silver, gold and clothing. Now YHVH was affecting a new “Exodus,” again bringing His people who had been in bondage back to the Promised Land, much as He had done under Moses and Joshua. The Israelites had been in bondage to Babylon because of their failure to keep the commandments of the Torah that Moses had given them during the first Exodus.21

Once more, it was the sovereignty of ADONAI working in the life of the nation. It may have been Cyrus who had issued the decree for the Jews to return to Yerushalayim; but from another point of view – and far more important – it was the LORD’s doing. Like the old Yiddish adage, “Mann Tracht, Un Gott Lacht” or, “Man Plans, and God Laughs,” despite our most careful planning, God is in control. And in this situation, at no time did God lose control.

From the point of view of the exiles, it was reassuring that God had not forgotten them, nor were they beyond His reach. What a blessing it is to know that even in the darkest of places, ADONAI can overrule politicians and leaders to turn events around to favor the church of Yeshua Messiah! God had a plan, and not even Cyrus could impede it; in fact, he was part of it. From one point of view, these events were the result of human planning and ingenuity; from another point of view, it was the hand of YHVH.

The initiative of mankind and the sovereignty of Ha’Shem are parallel events. Without violating our free will, God ensures that His sovereign will prevail. How He does this is a mystery to us, but it is the consistent teaching of Scripture.

God keeps working out all things according to the purpose of His will (Ephesians 1:11).

Work out your salvation with fear and trembling. For the One working in you is God – both to will and to work for His good pleasure (Philippians 2:12-13).

Even if pure evil is intended by someone, Ha’Shem may override it to ensure His good purpose, as in the case of Joseph, who said to his brothers, You yourselves planned evil against me. But God planned it for good (Genesis 50:20).

Sadly, the same is true of the crucifixion of Yeshua. Peter told his Shavu’ot audience that this Yeshua, given over by God’s predetermined plan and foreknowledge, was nailed to the cross by the hand of lawless men (Acts 2:23). 

We sin and are responsible for our actions, yet Ha’Shem is not the author of sin, but it’s Judge. Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God” – for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He himself tempts no one. But each one is tempted when he is dragged away and enticed by his own desire. Then when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is full grown, it brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow (James 1:13-17). 

The cause of Isra’el’s downfall was no accident. The prophet Amos made this clear to the northern Kingdom facing the threatening might of Assyria: If there is calamity in a city, has not ADONAI caused it (Amos 2:6b)? The Babylonian exile itself was the result of Judah’s rebellion. YHVH came in judgment as He had threatened to do (see the commentary on Jeremiah Dy – Wineskins and the Threat of Captivity). God’s sovereign involvement at every point did not negate Judah’s responsibility for her failure.

Confused? Yes, to some extent! How many of us can say we understand this? Our free will and God’s sovereignty are both true. It is an antimony, meaning two things that seem to be opposite, but both are true. For example, the Trinity is an antimony, God is One (Deuteronomy 6:4-5), yet there is obviously a plurality in the Godhead. So even though our free will and God’s sovereignty is hard for us to understand, it is, nevertheless, it is a most encouraging truth. Do you really want to believe that in your darkest hour God is not in full control? No, of course not! We act according to our own will and ability, but at the same time, YHVH acts to accomplish His sovereign will and purpose. And that is a most reassuring thought. In the final analysis, His will is done. The future that God has willed is certain.22

 

2019-09-15T10:33:54+00:00 0 Comments

Ah – Cyrus Decrees: Rebuild the Temple Ezra 1: 1-11

Cyrus Decrees: Rebuild the Temple
Ezra 1: 1-11

Compiled by the Chronicler from the Ezra memoirs
(see Ac – Ezra-Nehemiah From a Jewish Perspective: The Ezra Memoirs).

It had been nearly seventy years since the first deportation of Jews by the Babylonians to Mesopotamia (see the commentary on Jeremiah Gt – In the Thirty-Seventh Year of the Exile Jehoiachin was Released from Prison). Though the initial years were surely difficult, the second and third generations of Jews born in the exile had adjusted to their surroundings. Most had become so comfortable that they refused to return to Judah when given the opportunity, others prayed for and desired to return.12 They longed to worship ADONAI together and offer sacrifices in their own Temple according to their own Torah and traditions. So the chapters of Ezra tell the story of the second exodus, one of the most important events in Jewish history, and thus in God’s redemptive plan.13

Isaiah prophesied that Jews would return and rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem two-hundred years before Cyrus was born (see the commentary on Isaiah Ia – The Deliverance by Cyrus the Great). So in 538 BC when the Babylonian empire passed from Nabonidus to Cyrus, king of Persia, the new king’s first act was to appease the Jewish population by reversing the policy of his predecessors. The kings of Babylon had been in the habit of forcibly removing conquered people and transplanting them in other desolate regions of the empire, or within the walls of Babylon. The new policy served the double purpose of removing a dangerous source of hostility from the center of the empire, and dispersing grateful subjects into every quarter of the dominion. The Jews were not the only people to benefit, but they probably appreciated it more than any other subject nation.

 

2019-09-15T10:32:59+00:00 0 Comments

Ag – The First Return Ezra 1:1 to 6:22

The First Return
Ezra 1:1 to 6:22

538 to 515

538 BC Cyrus was king of Persia (Ezra 1:1). He conquered Babylon and made Persia a world empire, confirming what Dani’el had prophesied (Dani’el 5:25-31). Darius was viceroy of Cyrus in Babylon at that time.

Leaders: Sheshbatzar and Zerubbabel

Decree of: Cyrus (538 BC) and Darius (520 BC)

Company: About 50,000

Purpose: Build the Temple

Problem: Samaritan opposition

Compiled by: The Chronicler from the Ezra memoirs
(see Ac – Ezra-Nehemiah From a Jewish Perspective: The Ezra Memoirs).

The volatile story of First and Second Kings, a matter of nearly five centuries, had ended tragically with the plunder of Jerusalem (see the commentary on Jeremiah Gb – The Destruction of Solomon’s Temple on Tisha B’Av in 586 BC), the fall of the monarchy and the exile to Babylon of all that made Judah politically viable. It was a death to make way for a rebirth. So begins the Ezra-Nehemiah narrative that records the return from exile (see the commentary on Jeremiah Gu – Seventy Years of Imperial Babylonian Rule) to the Holy City of David and the beginnings of a new birth. As the drama unfolds, above all, and through all, we see the sovereign hand of ADONAI at work.

Forty-seven years after the Babylonians destroyed Yerushalayim and deported many of the Jews to exile in Babylon, Cyrus the Great, king of Persia, who had conquered the Babylonians and ruled most of the then-known world, allowed the Jews to return to their ancient homeland. They returned in waves. Sheshbatzar (see Strong’s Concordance number 9330), the governor of Judea, led the first wave of people and laid the foundations of the House of God in Jerusalem (5:16). Not only did Cyrus permit the rebuilding, he even paid for much of it (Ezra 6:4). Then, years later, Zerubbabel, the Jewish governor (Haggai 1:1), returned with a second wave and actually rebuilt the Temple. The process took some time, some twenty-two years, continuing after Cyrus’s death. Darius confirmed the earlier monarch’s decree permitting the Temple to be rebuilt, despite Samaritan opposition (Ezra 4–6).

Sheshbatzar and Zerubbabel were the leaders of the First Return of settlers. In the eyes of the Persian government, and in any report submitted to it, Sheshbatzar, would be responsible for everything that was done. He was appointed governor by Cyrus (Ezra 5:14), but after transporting the Temple vessels back to Jerusalem, and supervising the laying of the foundations of the House of God (Ezra 5:15-16), he faded from the scene. After that, the people would have looked to Zerubbabel and Jeshua the high priest, their own fellow Jews and descendants of their kings and priests. So in Ezra 3:1-13 the rebuilding was rightly credited to Zerubbabel and Jeshua, whereas in 5:14-16, with equal justification, it is reported to the authorities as the work of Sheshbatzar, whose official responsibility it was, and whose name, rather than theirs, could be verified from the archives (5:17).

The greater part of the book of Ezra, though it bears his name, tells of the pioneers who came back from exile to Jerusalem before him. We shall not meet Ezra until Chapter 7. By then, some eighty years of settling into the Promised Land will have gone by, and he will come as a consolidator and reformer; not a Temple builder like his predecessor Zerubbabel, nor a rebuilder of walls like Nehemiah who came after him.11

 

 

2019-09-15T10:32:26+00:00 0 Comments

Af Ezra-Nehemiah Time Line

Ezra-Nehemiah Timeline

539 BC Cyrus comes to power in Babylon (Dani’el 5:30-31)

539 BC Darius was viceroy of Cyrus in Babylon

538-515 BC First Return under Zerubbabel  (Ezra 1:1 to 6:22)

538-537 BC Cyrus’ decree to begin construction of Temple (Ezra 1:1-4)

537 BC Return under Sheshbatzar (Ezra 1:11)

536 BC Zerubbabel returns with 49,897 (Ezra 2:2)

536 BC Zerubbabel began to build the altar (Ezra 3:1-3)

536 BC Zerubbabel begins building the Temple (Ezra 3:8)

536 BC Samaritan opposition during Cyrus’ reign (Ezra 4:1-5a)

521 BC Accession of Darius to the throne

521 BC Opposition in the days of Darius (Ezra 4:5b and 24)

520 BC Haggai calls the people to build God’s House (Haggai 1:1-2:9)

520 BC Work resumed on the Temple under Darius (Ezra 5:1-2)

518 BC Zechariah calls for obedience and observance ()Zechariah 7:1-8:23

515 BC The Temple is completed and dedicated (Ezra 6:15)

486 BC Darius died and was succeeded by his son Ahasuerus

486 BC Opposition in the days of Ahasuerus (Ezra 4:6)

 A 57 year gap between the First and Second Return

480 BC Ahasuerus was defeated by the Greeks at the Battle of Hellespont

478 BC Esther becomes Queen between Ezra 6 and 7

478-474 BC Esther’s deliverance and Mordecai became Prime Minister

465 BC Accession of Artakh’shasta to the throne

458-457 BC The Second Return under Ezra (Ezra 1:1 to 6:22)

458 BC Artakh’shasta issues decree for Ezra to return (Ezra 7:1-6)

458 BC Ezra departs from Babylon (Ezra 7:7)

458 BC Ezra arrives in Jerusalem (Ezra 7:8-9)

458 BC The book of the Torah is read (Nehemiah 8:1-12)

458 BC Feast of Sukkot (Nehemiah 8:13-18)

445 BC The Israelites Confess Their Sins (Nehemiah 9:1-37)

458 BC The people are assembled (Ezra 10:7-15)

458-457 BC Ezra reforms carried out (Ezra 10:16-44)

A 12 year gap between the Second and Third Return

445 BC The twentieth year of Artakh’shasta (Nehemiah 1:1)

445 BC Nehemiah approaches the king – Nehemiah 2:1

445-432 BC The Third Return under Nehemiah (Nehemiah 7 and 12-13)

445 BC Artach’shashta issues decree for Nehemiah’s return (Nehemiah 2:1)

445 BC Nehemiah arrives in Jerusalem (Nehemiah 2:11)

445 BC Nehemiah appointed governor of Judah (Nehemiah 5:14)

445 BC The wall is completed (Nehemiah 6:15)

433 BC Nehemiah returned to Persia (Nehemiah 13:6)

445-433 BC Malachi rebuked the Jews (Malachi 1:1-2:17)

432 BC Nehemiah returned to Tziyon and final reforms (Nehemiah 13:7)

400 years of silence until the coming of John the Immerser in Mark 1:4

The dates of the high priests: There are critics who object to this timeline on the basis of the identity of the high priests. Eliashib was high priest during the time of Nehemiah (Nehemiah 13:28). Yet Ezra 10:6 says that Ezra spent the night in the room of Johanan, the son of Eliashib, whom some assume to have been the high priest at that time. Johanan may even have been the grandson of Eliashib (taking the Jonathan of Nehemiah 12:11 as identical with Johanan of Nehemiah 12:22). According to the Elephantine Papyri, a Johanan was high priest in Jerusalem in 401 BC. This would place Ezra later than the period of Nehemiah.

However, this argument, based on the identity of the high priests, rests on two assumptions. First, that Johanan was high priest in the time of Ezra, and secondly, that Johanan was Eliashib’s grandson. The first is not stated but assumed because Ezra stayed in his chamber. The second requires a correction of the text in Nehemiah 12:11 and the assumption that in Ezra 10:6 and Nehemiah 12:23 we should read “grandson” instead of “son.” This is possible, but not very probable in this context. Again, we simply do not have enough information. Even those who use this argument regard it was more probable but less than proven. Nevertheless, sing 458 as the starting point, a Johanan I would have been high priest during the time of Ezra and an Eliashib II would have been the high priest during the time of Nehemiah. Both names were repeated later in the succeeding generations.10

 

2019-09-14T22:03:43+00:00 0 Comments

Ae The Theology of Ezra-Nehemiah

The Theology of Ezra-Nehemiah

The Purposes of Ezra-Nehemiah: Since the author seems to have used the Ezra Memoirs (EM) and Nehemiah (NM), the question arises about the purpose of each of these writings. The reasons may be somewhat different for the memoirs; for example, the NM may constitute, at least in part, Nehemiah’s report to the Persian king. When we try to determine the comprehensive motives for the book, however, we find that the EM and NM are quite in accord with the purposes of the final compiler and author.

The Continuity of God’s Plan and People: One of the primary objectives of Ezra-Nehemiah was to show that the Israelite community that had existed before the exile (see the commentary on Jeremiah Gu – Seventy Years of Imperial Babylonian Rule) would continue to exist after the exile. Thus, they would continue to see ADONAI’s redemptive works. This was a new exodus. As soon as the new Temple, which took the place of Solomon’s Temple, was completed (see Ba – The Completion of the Temple), they celebrated the festival of Passover (Ezra 6:19-22). Later, after reading the Torah Scroll of Moses, the people celebrated the festival of Sukkot (Nehemiah 8:13-18). These feasts remember Ha’Shem’s great saving acts in the exodus.

This new exodus proved to the exiles that they represented the continuation of Ha’Shem’s redemptive plan. Hence, God’s providential care is repeatedly emphasized. It was YHVH who was responsible for the decree of Cyrus (see the commentary on Isaiah Ia – The Deliverance by Cyrus the Great). He also secured the permission for construction to continue (Ezra 5:5, 6:14 and 6:22), and for Ezra and his group of exiles to return to Yerushalayim (Ezra 7:27). He even protected them on the way (Ezra 8:22). It was the LORD who secured Nehemiah’s appointment (Nehemiah 2:8) and guided all the details of the construction of the wall (Nehemiah 4:14 and 20). ADONAI frustrated the plans of the Jewish enemies and preserved the Jewish community (see Cc – Samaritan Opposition to the Building of the Walls of Jerusalem). Just as we find throughout the writings of the prophets, the Chronicler interpreted history in terms of God’s actions.

In fact, the author emphasized that YHVH can even use foreign rulers to fulfill His purposes for the Jewish community. This can be seen in the edict of Cyrus (Ezra 1:6), in Artaxerxes’ letter to Ezra (Ezra 7:11-27), and in the many details of Nehemiah’s mission (Nehemiah Chapters 1-6). The LORD’s sovereignty encompasses the entire world, all the nations, to ensure the continuation of His redemptive plan through the Jewish people.

This continuation of the people of God also meant the continuation of the covenant of God. The little Jewish community that returned from the exile was receiving the blessings of that covenant as described in the scroll of Deuteronomy (see Bm – Ezra Read the Torah Scroll of Moses). The prayers of Ezra 9:6-15; Nehemiah 1:5-11, and Nehemiah 9:5-37 demonstrate their deep understanding of that covenant. You are Adonai, the God who chose Abram . . . and You made the covenant with him . . . You have fulfilled Your words, for You are righteous (Nehemiah 9:7-8). Both Ezra and Nehemiah recognized and confessed that the people broke the covenant, and for that reason suffered the Babylonian exile. However, they appealed to Ha’Shem’s covenant mercy and promises for the reestablishment of the covenant community.

In fact, the new situation under foreign rule meant that the Jewish people became again more strictly a covenant community, and not a nation as they were in the monarchy. The identity of the Israelites in exile did not depend on their political institutions or identity as a nation but on their special covenant relationship with ADONAI.9 In God’s providence, this was a step in the preparation for the coming of Yeshua, the start of the Messianic Community (see the commentary on Acts Al – The Ruach ha-Kodesh Comes at Shavu’ot) where Ha’Shem will forgive their wickedness and remember their sins no more (see the commentary on Jeremiah Eo – I Will Make a New Covenant with the People of Isra’el).

 

2019-09-09T14:26:52+00:00 0 Comments

Ad Glossary

Glossary

Abba: An Aramaic word used as an affectionate term of address to someone’s father. Yeshua used it to refer to God as His Father, and believers in Jesus also use it today to address God as Father. In modern Hebrew, this common name means Dad, Daddy, or Papa (also see Mark 14:36 and Romans 8:15).

Adar: the twelfth month of the Jewish biblical calendar.

Adonai: literally, my Lord, a word the TaNaKh uses to refer to God.

ADONAI: The Tetragrammaton, meaning the four-letter name of YHVH. Since its pronunciation is not known, and also out of respect for God’s name, Jews traditionally substitute the words ADONAI and Ha’Shem. ADONAI, however, is more of an affectionate name like daddy (also see Exodus 3:15; Jeremiah 1:9; Psalm 1:2, Matthew 1:22; Mark 5:19; Luke 1:5; John 1:23).

ADONAI Elohei-Tzva’ot: the LORD God of heaven’s angelic armies.

ADONAI Elohim: This is the Hebrew word for LORD God. This title links Isra’el’s God, the God of the Covenant, with God as Creator of the universe (also see Genesis 2:4; Isaiah 48:16; Psalm 72:18; Luke 1:32; Revelation 1:8).

ADONAI Nissi: the LORD my Banner (see Exodus 17:15; Psalm 20:1).

ADONAI Shalom: the LORD of Peace.

ADONAI Tzidkenu: the LORD our Righteousness.

ADONAI-Tzva’ot: The LORD of heaven’s angelic armies (see Second Kings 19:31; Psalm 24:10; Second Corinthians 6:18).

Adversary, the: Satan, the devil, and the old dragon.

Afikomen: Literally, “That which comes after.” Piece of matzah that is hidden during the Seder, to be found and eaten after the third cup of redemption.

Amen: At the end of a prayer, this word means, “It is true,” or “Let it be so,” or “May it become true,” indicating that the readers or listeners agree with what has just been said. Although everything Yeshua said was true, “amen” adds special emphasis (also see Deuteronomy 27:25; Jeremiah 28:6; Psalm 41:14; Nehemiah 8:6; Matthew 5:26; Mark 10:15; Luke 23:43; John 10:1).

Ariel: lion of God, fireplace on God’s altar.

Aviv: the first month of the biblical year, corresponding to the modern Jewish month of Nisan.

Avraham: Abraham

Azazel: a scapegoat or goat demon sent out in the wilderness on Yom Kippur.

Ba’al: the chief male god of the Phoenicians and Canaanites. The word means lord or master.

Bar Mitzvah: Hebrew for “Son of the Commandment.” Although not specifically mentioned in the Bible, it is a Jewish coming of age ritual in which a young man, or Bat Mitzvah for a young woman, chooses to follow the commandments of their forefathers and takes responsibility for their own relationship with the God of Isra’el. This ceremony normally takes place at age 13 for boys or age 12 for girls. Afterwards, he/she is theoretically considered to be an adult, but in modern Judaism this is mostly symbolic, and a twelve-year-old is not treated like an adult.

Beit-Lechem: Bethlehem, the birthplace of David and Yeshua, meaning house of bread.

Bnei-Yisra’el: The children of Isra’el

B’rit Chadashah: Hebrew for the New Covenant. Christians commonly call it the New Testament.

Chesed: “mercy,” “lovingkindness,” and/or “covenant-loyalty.” It is a complex word that summarizes God’s complex and overwhelming love for His people, going beyond the concepts of love, mercy or kindness all together (also see Isaiah 63:7; Zechariah 7:1; Psalm 13:1; Psalm 86:1; Psalm 107:1; Psalm 118:1; Psalm 136:1).

Cohen of Ha’Elyon: Priest of the God Most High

Cohen Rosh Gadol: The Great High Priest who served as the head religious official, the only one to enter the Most Holy Place. Aaron, the brother of Moses, was the first man appointed as the cohen gadol. In later times, the cohen gadol was in charge of the Temple and its administration. The kohen gadol Caiaphas, played a key role in questioning Yeshua at His trial. The writer of Hebrews describes Messiah as our great Cohen Gadol, who gives us access to God’s throne in the heavenly sanctuary (also see Leviticus 21:10; Haggai 1:14; Nehemiah 3:1; Matthew 26:57ff; Mark 14:61ff; John 18:19ff; Hebrews 4:14ff and 10:19-22).

Cohen: A priest, a man who offered sacrifices and performed other religious rituals at the Temple in Jerusalem.

Cohanim: Priests. The cohanim were descended from Aaron, the brother of Moses. The Sadducees were from the priestly sect of Judaism.

Covenant: Theologically, it speaks of the contractual relationship between God and His people. The Hebrew term is b’rit. Also see B’rit Chadashah, Hebrew for New Covenant (see Genesis 6:18 and 17:2; Jeremiah 31:30; Nehemiah 9:32; Matthew 26:28; Mark 14:24; Luke 1:72).

Diaspora, the Dispersion: the scattering of the Jewish people in exile throughout the world. Today over 6 million Jews live in Isra’el, and over 8 million Jews live in the Diaspora (also see Isaiah 11:10; John 7:35).

Echad: The Hebrew word for “one” or “unity.” Echad is used in the Shema (Deuteronomy 6:4).

Elyon: A title for God, meaning the Most High God (see Luke 1:35 and 76; Acts 7:48). A longer form is El Elyon, God Most High (also see Deuteronomy 32:8; Isaiah 14:14; Psalm 91:1; Acts 16:17).

Elohim: God” in general terms, or as Creator. Compare with ADONAI, God’s “covenant name” used especially in His relationship to the Jewish people. Elohim is the plural form of El, also found in the Bible occasionally with the same meaning. Yeshua is sometimes called Ben-Elohim, the Son of God (also see Genesis 2:19; Isaiah 61:11; Matthew 4:3; Mark 1:1; Luke 1:35; John 11:4).

El Shaddai: God Almighty

Emissaries: Apostles

Goyim: Nations, non-Jews, Gentiles

Gehenna: The word for “hell,” the place of perpetual misery and suffering after this life. It comes from the Greek word Genna and the Hebrew word Gei-Hinnom, which means the valley of Hinnom. There was actually such a valley by that name south of the Temple in Jerusalem. It was used as a garbage dump, and fires were always burning there, making it a suitable picture of life in hell. In Jewish sources, the term is used as the opposite of Gan-Eden, or the garden of Eden or Paradise (Matthew 23:33; Mark 9:43).

Gentiles: A term for individuals or groups who are not Jewish. In Hebrew a common word for Gentile is goy or goyim is the plural form (see Isaiah 8:23; Matthew 10:18; Mark 10:33).

Go’el: Literally, a redeemer, used both for God and of people. In the book of Ruth, go’el means the kinsman-redeemer, a close relative obligated to defend and protect his kin. The go’el could buy back (redeem) land or someone who sold himself into slavery, and could marry a widow in the family in order to protect her future. The human go’el is a picture of God the greater Go’el who protects and redeems us, the members of His family (see Ruth 3:9-12).

Halacha: The way, the Oral Law (see the commentary on The Life of Christ Ei – The Oral Law), or the rules governing Jewish life.

Ha’Shem: The Tetragrammaton, meaning the four-letter name of YHVH. Since its pronunciation is not known, and also out of respect for God’s name, Jews traditionally substitute the words ADONAI and Ha’Shem. ADONAI, however, is more of an affectionate name like daddy. While ADONAI is more of an affectionate name like daddy, while Ha’Shem is a more formal name like sir (also see Exodus 3:15; Jeremiah 1:9; Psalm 1:2, Matthew 1:22; Mark 5:19; Luke 1:5; John 1:23).

Hag ha-Matzah: The Feast of Unleavened Bread

Hametz or Chametz: The Hebrew word for leaven, or yeast, which makes bread rise. God commanded Isra’el not to eat chametz during Passover, Yeshua teaches that both good and evil spread, the same way hametz leavens the whole batch of dough (Also see 16:6-12; Mark 8:15; Luke 12:1 Exodus 12:20; Leviticus 7:13; Amos 4:5; Matthew 13:33 and 13:21).

Hanukkah: Meaning dedication, the feast commemorating the victory of the Maccabees over the armies of Antiochus Epiphanes in 165 BC and the rebuilding and dedication of the Temple after its desecration by Syrian invaders.

Hellenist: In the B’rit Chadashah, it refers to Jews who lived in the Diaspora, or had moved to Isra’el from the Diaspora, spoke Greek, and were more Greek in their culture, than traditional Jewish people brought up in Isra’el (Acts 6:1, 9:29, 11:20).

Immerse: To dip the whole body under water as an act of dedication to the LORD, or as a profession of faith in Yeshua. The word is often seen in other translations as “baptize.” The ceremony of dipping is called “immersion” or “baptism.” Yeshua’s cousin was known as John the Immerser (Matthew 3:1; Mark 6:14; Luke 7:20).

Kadosh: The Hebrew word for ‘holy.” This term describes the people set apart for God. ADONAI Himself is kodosh (Leviticus 19:1-2). Many letters to Christ’s newly formed communities (churches) address Yeshua’s followers as the Kedoshim (also see Jeremiah 2:3; Nehemiah 8:10; First Corinthians 1:2; Ephesians 1:1; Philippians 1:1; Colossians 1:2).

Korban: A sacrifice or offering dedicated to God, especially to fulfill a vow. If something was to be dedicated to God, it generally could not be used for other purposes. Some Pharisees and teachers of the law wrongly used this as an excuse not to provide for their parents in their old age, even though Jewish teaching insisted that the commandment to honor one’s father and mother extended to providing for their physical needs (see Mark 7:11).

Levite: Descendants of the tribe of Levi, who served in the Tabernacle and Temple as gatekeepers, musicians, teachers, and assistants to the priests. The scribes, or Torah-teachers, originally came only from among the Levites and were the forerunners of the Pharisees. The Pharisees later expanded to include members who were from all tribes, with no affiliation with Levi required. (also see Exodus 4:14; Ezeki’el 48:12; Ezra 1:5; John 1:19).

LORD: When the translators of the King James Bible in the 1600’s came to the Hebrew word YHVH, they needed to distinguish it from the word Lord, meaning master. So, they capitalized it. Therefore, LORD is actually the Tetragrammaton, meaning the four-letter name of YHVH.

Malki-Tzedek: Melchizedek

Matzah: Unleavened bread, bread made without yeast.

Megillah (singular) or Megillot (plural): The five books in the Writing used for special readings during the holidays: Song of Songs, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes and Esther.

Menorah (singular) or Menorot (plural): The seven branched lampstand(s) designed and commanded by God for service in the Tabernacle/Temple (Exodus 25:32; First Kings 7:49; Zechariah 4:2).

Messiah (Greek): Christ, the Anointed One, often used in speaking of a Redeemer sent from God to free His people from exile and oppression (also see Matthew 1:16; Mark 8:29; Luke 2:11 and John 1:41).

Mashiach (Hebrew): Messiah, the Anointed One (Matthew 26:63; Mark 1:1; John 20:31).

Matzot: Unleavened bread, which is made without yeast, eaten especially during the feast of Passover. Also see hametz (also see Exodus 13:6; Leviticus 2:5; Ezeki’el 45:21; Matthew 26:17; Mark 14:22; Luke 22:19; John 13:26).

Midrash: allegorical interpretation or application of a text. The listener is expected to understand that the writer of the midrash is not expounding the plain meaning of the text, but introducing his own ideas.

Mikveh: a bath or pool with a flow of fresh water; used in Orthodox Judaism to this day for ritual purification or ceremonial cleansing, performed at various times in a person’s life (see Matthew 3:13 and Titus 3:5).

Mitzvah (singular) or mitzvot (plural): A commandment from God. Another, more modern, meaning is “a good deed,” more broadly, a general principle for living (Deuteronomy 11:22; Second Kings 17:37; Proverbs 6:20; Matthew 26:10; Mark 14:6).

Moshe: Moses

Olam haba, the: “The age to come,” or “the world to come.” It describes a time after the world is perfected under the rulership of Messiah. This term also refers to the afterlife, where the soul passes after death. It can be contrasted with olam ha-zeh, “this world” (Matthew 12:32; Mark 10:30; Luke 18:30 and 20:35; Ephesians 1:21; Hebrews 6:5; Revelation 20-21).

Omer: Meaning “sheaf,” the bundle of barley used in the Firstfruits offering. After the Temple period it came to be identified with Sefirat ha’Omer, or the counting of the omer, the counting of the days from Firstfruits to Shavu’ot.

Pesach: Passover. The Jewish festival commemorating deliverance from Egyptian bondage. In Biblical times Jews used to journey to the Temple, sacrifice lambs there, and eat a special meal commemorating the departure of the Jews from slavery in Egypt. It was one of the three “pilgrim festivals” that all able-bodied Jews were expected to celebrate before YHVH in Yerushalayim. Today, Passover is celebrated at home with a special meal called a seder. Yeshua celebrated Passover with His apostles (Matthew 26:18; Mark 14:12; Luke 22:7; John 13:1).

Pharisees: One of the sects of Judaism in the first century. The Pharisees had their own views of how exactly to keep Torah. They were especially concerned with ritual impurity and (unlike the Sadducees) they believed in the resurrection of the dead. While the Sadducees were more involved with the Temple, the Pharisees were concerned more with home and synagogue life.

Purim: Meaning “lots,” the holiday based on the story of Esther.

Rasheet: One of several names for the Festival of First Fruits.

Redeemed: Setting free from slavery, buying back something lost, for a price.

Righteous of the TaNaKh, the: Old Testament believers

Rosh ha-Shanah: Hebrew for “Head of the Year.” Known as the Jewish New Year, or the Feast of Trumpets.

Ruach: The Hebrew word for “spirit,” “breath,” or “wind.” Yeshua explains wind and Spirit to Nicodemus in John 3:5-8. Scripture frequently refers to the Ruach ha-Kodesh, the Holy Spirit (Exodus 35:31; Numbers 11:25; Malachi 2:15; Acts 2:2 and 10:44; Romans 8:4-17).

Ruach ha-Kodesh: The Hebrew name for the Spirit of God, or the Holy Spirit (Isaiah 63:11; Psalm 51:13; Matthew 1:20; Mark 1:8; Luke 1:16; John 14:26).

Sadducees: One of the sects of Judaism in the first century. From the Sadducees came the leading priests who managed the affairs of the Temple. In contrast to the Pharisees, they did not believe in the resurrection of the dead (Matthew 16:12; Mark 12:18; Luke 20:27).

Sanhedrin: Literally, the gathering of the seated, like being a judge seated on a bench – a legal term for an officiating judge. This was the Supreme Court of ancient Isra’el. It exercised legislative and judicial authority (Matthew 26:59; Mark 15:1; Luke 22:66; John 11:47).

Shabbat: The Sabbath Day, the seventh day of the week, when work ceases. On this day God’s people are beckoned to rest and renew our relationship with our Creator, who also rested on the seventh day. Shabbat begins on Friday evening at sundown and ends Saturday evening after three stars appear (Exodus 20:10; Nehemiah 9:14; Matthew 12:10; Mark 1:21; Luke 23:56; John 9:14).

Shaddai: A common name for God in the TaNaKh, usually translated as Almighty. The name is often used in a combination such as El Shaddai, or God Almighty (Genesis 17:1; Ezeki’el 1:24; Job 11:7).

Shalom: The Hebrew word for peace, wholeness, wellness; a greeting used when meeting or departing (Genesis 26:31; First Samuel 16:4; Second Chronicles 18:16; Matthew 10:13; Mark 9:50; Luke 1:28; John 14:27).

Sh’khinah: The visual manifestation of the glory of God.

Shavu’ot: the festival of Weeks (Hebrew) or Pentecost (Greek), since it comes seven weeks after Pesach; also called Pentecost, from the Greek word for fifty because one counts fifty days after Passover. It is one of the three “pilgrim festivals” that all able-bodied Jews were expected to celebrate before YHVH in Yerushalayim. It originally celebrated the harvest, but later commemorated the day God gave the Torah to Isra’el. After Yeshua’s resurrection, the disciples waited for God’s gift of the Ruach ha-Kodesh, which also cam on Shavu’ot (Exodus 34:22; Second Chronicles 8:13; Acts 2:1 and 20:16; First Corinthians 16:8).

Sh’ol: The Hebrew equivalent of the Greek “Hades,” the place where the dead exist.

Shofar: A ram’s horn, used in the Bible for summoning armies, calling to repentance, and in other situations. Blasts of various lengths and numbers signified different instructions Metal trumpets were also used for similar purposes, but exclusively by the cohanim. Today, the shofar is used on Rosh ha-Shanah of Yom Kippur, the Jewish High Holy Days. The shofar also ushers in the Year of Jubilee (Leviticus 25:9-10; Zechariah 9:14; Matthew 24:31; First Corinthians 15:52; First Thessalonians 4:16-17).

Sinai: the mountain in the desert between Egypt and the land of Isra’el.

Shuwb: turn, turning, and the big idea of Jeremiah.

Son of Man: A name that Yeshua commonly used to refer to Himself. It comes from Dani’el 7:13-14, in which the Son of Man is given all authority. This name sometimes emphasizes Yeshua’s humanity and sometimes His deity (Matthew 9:6; Mark 9:31; Luke 21:36; John 6:27).

Sukkot: the festival of Booths or Tabernacles, celebrating the forty years when the people of Isra’el lived in booths, tens, shacks, in the desert between Egypt and the land of Isra’el. The Hebrew word sukkah means booth and sukkot is the plural and means booths. Sukkot is one of the three “pilgrim festivals” that all able-bodied Jews were expected to celebrate before YHVH in Yerushalayim (Leviticus 23:34; Zechariah 14:16; Second Chronicles 8:13; Matthew 17:4; Mark 9:5; Luke 9:33).

Synagogue: A place of assembly for Jews for hearing the Torah, praying and worshipping God. There were many synagogues throughout Isra’el and the Greco-Roman world (Matthew 4:23; Mark 5:22; Luke 4:16; John 9:22).

Tabernacle: A temporary dwelling, such as the booths constructed during Sukkot. It is also used in the TaNaKh of the tent in which God dwelt among the Jewish people, both in the wilderness and in the land of Isra’el. When the word is used as a verb, it refers to Yeshua coming to dwell among His people (John 1:14), reminding us of the wilderness Tabernacle and also of the Feast of Tabernacles (Exodus 25:9; First Chronicles 6:17; John 1:14 and 7:2).

Talmid (singular) or Talmudin (plural): Student or students

Talmud: The codified body of Jewish Oral Law; includes literary creations, legends, scriptural interpretations, comprised of the Mishnah and the Gemara.

TaNaKh: The Hebrew word TaNaKh is an acronym, based on the letters T for “Torah“, N for “Nevi’im” (Prophets), and K for “Ketuv’im” (Sacred Writings). It is a collection of the teachings of God to human beings in document form. This term is used instead of the phrase, “the Old Testament,” which sounds “old” and outdated.

Torah: Literally, this Hebrew word means teaching or instruction (Exodus 13:9; Isaiah 2:3; Psalm 1:2; Matthew 5:17; Mark 1:22; Luke 24:44; John 7:19; Romans 7:1ff; First Corinthians 9:20-21; Galatians 3:21). It can be used for the five books of Moshe, or more generally to God’s commandments, or the whole TaNaKh (John 10:34). Uncapitalized, torah can be understood generally as a law or principle (Romans 7:21-8:2).

Torah-Teacher: A Torah scholar engaged in interpreting and transmitting the Torah. They wrote Torah scrolls, bills of divorce, and other legal documents. The Hebrew term is sofer.

Tree of Life: The tree at the center of the garden of Eden (Genesis 2:9, 3:24), the source of eternal life. Scripture points to a future in the B’rit Chadashah, with access to the Tree of Life. In the meantime, the Torah is like to the Tree of Life to those who embrace her, and blessed will be all who hold firmly to her (Proverbs 3:18 also see Revelation 2:7, 22:2 and 14).

Tzitzit: A fringe that was put on a garment in accordance with Numbers 15:37-41.

Tziyon: Zion, Mount Zion, was originally the City of David, south of the modern Old City of Yerushalayim. Later the name Tziyon came to refer metaphorically to the Temple Mount, Jerusalem, or the people of Isra’el. The hill now called Mount Tziyon was given its name in the fourth century AD (Isaiah 1:27; Psalm 65:2; Matthew 21:5; John 12:15).

Yeshua: The Hebrew name for our Messiah, known in English as Jesus, and is a masculine form, and a word play on yeshu’ah (salvation) (Matthew 1:21; Mark 6:14; Luke 2:21; John 19:19).

Yerushalayim: Jerusalem

Y’hudah: Judah

YHVH: The Tetragrammaton, meaning the Name, the four-letter name of God. Therefore, God does not have many names, He has only one name – YHVH (Yud Hay Vav Hay). All the other names in the Bible describe His characteristics and His attributes.

Yisra’el: Isra’el

Yochanan: John

Yom ha-Bikkurim: One of several names for The Feast of Firstfruits.

Yom Kippur: The Day of Atonement, the close of the High Holy Days, and considered the holiest day of the year in traditional Judaism.

 

2019-09-09T14:23:05+00:00 0 Comments

Ac Ezra-Nehemiah From a Jewish Perspective

Ezra-Nehemiah
From a Jewish Perspective

To Rabbi Ken Alpren of Kol Dodi Messianic Synagogue, Nashville, Tennessee. Faithful shepherd of his flock and great teacher of the Word. He makes the Scriptures come alive and has the true heart of a servant.

Ezra and Nehemiah were very different men, with distinct gifts, temperaments, and achievements. Both, however, were equally important in the narrative of advancing the redemptive purposes of God. One was a priest, and the other a civil servant One excelled in preaching, and the other excelled in leadership. Relating the call to work in one of the most exciting periods of history in the TaNaKh – the return from exile in Babylon – the books never fail to captivate the imagination as to what life for the children of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob was like in such challenging times.

Both Ezra and Nehemiah have much to say about Kingdom life in our time. The balancing ideas of the Word of God and prayer sum up the spiritual priorities of both men. Ezra was skilled in prayer (Ezra 9:3-15), but he was totally devoted to preaching the Word. Nehemiah put the Word of God at the center of the life of the city of Jerusalem (Nehemiah 8:1 to 9:3), but his book demonstrates how prayerful a man he was (1:4-11, 2:4, 4:4-5 and 9, 5:19, 6:9 and 14, 13:22, 29 and 31). And if the Church of our time, made up of Jews and Gentiles (Ephesians 2:14), is to recover and be renewed, commitment to prayer and the Word of God are also vital.1

The two separate books, Ezra and Nehemiah, were regarded in earlier times as one. Evidence of this can be seen in rabbinic readings (Baba Bartha 15a), where the two books were regarded as a unity with Ezra as the author. The Talmud does not know of a separate Nehemiah and only mentions Ezra (Baba Bartha 14b). The same view occurs in the writing of Josephus and in Eusebius, who attributed this position to Melito of Sardis (second century AD). Origen (third century AD) was the first to divide Ezra-Nehemiah into two books. Jerome acknowledged the division of Ezra and Nehemiah and used the same division in his Vulgate Bible. A Hebrew manuscript dating to 1448 was the division of the two books, and it was likewise taken up in the Bomberg Bible in 1525. It is also of interest that the Masoretic notes (the accent marks of the Hebrew Scriptures that aid in the precise spelling and pronunciation of words) of Ezra-Nehemiah were not placed after each book, but after Nehemiah, proof that the Masoretes regarded Ezra-Nehemiah as a one scroll. It was not until the sixteenth century that Hebrew copies of the Bible found that divided them into two separate books. Once divided, however, the Hebrew Bible places Ezra and Nehemiah before First and Second Chronicles. This may show that Ezra and Nehemiah were received in the canon of Scripture before Chronicles. The titles Ezra and Nehemiah are appropriate, because the book of Ezra is devoted largely to the activities of Ezra, and the greatest part of Nehemiah to Nehemiah’s activities.2

The Use of the Tree of Life Version

Because I am writing this commentary on Ezra-Nehemiah from a Jewish perspective, I will be using the Tree of Life Version (TLV) unless otherwise indicated.

The use of ADONAI

Long before Yeshua’s day, the word ADONAI had, out of respect, been substituted in speaking and in reading aloud for God’s personal name, the four Hebrew letters yud-heh-vav-heh, variously written in English as YHVH. The Talmud (Pesachim 50a) made it a requirement not to pronounce Tetragrammaton, meaning the four-letter name of God, and this remains the rule in most modern Jewish settings. In deference to this tradition, which is unnecessary but harmless, I will usually be using ADONAI where YHVH is meant.2 In ancient times when the scribes were translating the Hebrew Scriptures, they revered the name of YHVH so much that they would use a quill to make one stroke of the name and then throw it away. Then they would make another stroke and throw that quill away until the name was completed. His name became so sacred to them that they started to substitute the phrase the Name, instead of writing or pronouncing His Name.

Over centuries of doing this, the actual letters and pronunciation of His Name have been lost. Today, the name of G-d is treated with honor and respect. In the Jewish tradition, in order to show respect, the name of the L-rd or G-d is written without the vowel. The idea is that if a document with His Name on it is destroyed or deleted, His Name will be spared because it was not written out fully. As a result, today the closest we can come to the original is YHVH, with no vowels. The pronunciation has been totally lost. Therefore, the names Yahweh or Jehovah are only guesses of what the original name actually sounded like. Both ADONAI and Ha’Shem (The Name) are substitute names for YHVH. ADONAI is more of an affectionate name like daddy, while Ha’Shem is a more formal name like sir. Therefore, God does not have many names, He has only one name – YHVH (Yud Hay Vav Hay). All the other names in the Bible describe His characteristics and His attributes. Hear, O Isra’el! ADONAI our God, ADONAI is One (Deuteronomy 6:4). The Jewish tradition, then, forbids the pronunciation of the Divine Name, and many choose to use ADONAI in its place.

The use of TaNaKh

The Hebrew word TaNaKh is an acronym, based on the letters T (for “Torah”), N (for “Nevi’im,” or the Prophets), and K (for “Ketuv’im,” or the Sacred Writings). It is the collection of the teachings of God to human beings in document form. The term “Old Covenant” implies that it is no longer valid, or at the very least outdated. Something old, to be either ignored or discarded. But Jesus Himself said: Don’t think I have come to abolish the Torah and the Prophets, I have not come to abolish but to complete (Matthew 5:17 CJB). I will be using the Hebrew acronym TaNaKh instead of the phrase, the Old Testament throughout this devotional commentary.

The use of Aramaic

As with Dani’el, a considerable portion of this scroll is written in Aramaic (Ezra 4:8 to 6:18, and 7:12-26). This is understandable, since that language was the common language of the day, not Hebrew. By the fourth century BC, the Jews had in face become bilingual.

This commentary is based on several premises:

First, this commentary is based on the premise that Zerubbabel arrived in Jerusalem and built the Temple from 538 to 515 BC (see Ag – The First Return), and then there was a 57-year interval before Ezra lead a spiritual revival in the Holy City from 458 to 457 BC (see Bf – The Second Return). Then there was a twelve-year interval before Nehemiah arrived in the City of David from 445 to 432 BC (see Bt – The Third Return) and built the walls. Neither Zerubbabel, nor Ezra, nor Nehemiah ever ministered together at any time.

Second, this commentary is based on the premise that the Chronicler was the final author of the scroll from the memoirs of Ezra and the memoirs of Nehemiah, to form one coherent story.

Third, this commentary is based on the premise that Ezra did not wait twelve years to read the book of the Torah to the people, but he read it when he first arrived in Yerushalayim.

Fourth, this commentary is based on the premise that the phrase, “Nehemiah the governor” in Nehemiah 8:9 and 10:2 was never present in the original text. First, because the word “said,” in the sentence: Then Nehemiah the governor, Ezra the cohen-scribe, and the Levites who were teaching the people “said” to all the people (Nehemiah 8:9), is singular. Not only that, but the next verse also begins with a singular verb. In light of the chapter as a whole, there can be no doubt that Ezra is the subject, but he would not be if Nehemiah were mentioned first.3 The apocryphal book of First Esdras has not equivalent for “Nehemiah” and the LXX (The Greek Septuagint) has no equivalent for “who was the governor” Moreover, it is curious to find Nehemiah suddenly appearing at this time because he did not even petition King Artakhshasta to go to Jerusalem for another thirteen years (see Bv – Favor with King Artakhshasta). Consequently, the phrases, “Nehemiah the governor in Nehemiah 8:9 and 10:2b, and the Levities who were teaching the people” in 8:9 are considered to be additions by an overzealous scribe trying to clarify his interpretation and will be omitted from the text without the slightest consequence to the narrative.4

Ezra

His name is no doubt connected with Azariah, meaning God helps. In Greek it has come down as Esdras. He was the son of Seraiah and traced his descent from Aaron the High Priest (Ezra 7:1ff and Frist Chronicles 5:29ff). He established the important body known as “the men of the Great Sanhedrin .” Although he is acknowledged to have been an outstanding personality in the history of the Jewish peoplethe Talmud asserts of him, “When the Torah was forgotten from Isra’el, Ezra came up from Babylon and established it” (Succ. 20a) – and his work is recognized as having exercised a profound influence upon the development of Judaism, yet, very little is known about his personal life. The sages teach that he reached the age of one hundred and twenty years, when he died. Josephus states that he was buried in Jerusalem (Antiquities 61.5).

Authorship and Date: In arriving at an approximate date for Ezra-Nehemiah, which is part of the Chronicler’s work, several factors must be taken into consideration. First is the matter of authorship. Second Maccabees (50 BC) speaks of the records and memoirs of Nehemiah (2:13) and his collection of books and documents for a library. The Talmudic tradition (Baba Bathra 16a) credits Ezra with the authorship of Chronicles, which was compiled by Nehemiah (Baba Bathra 15a). Most scholars today believe that the person responsible for the Ezra Memoirs also wrote Chronicles, and that the Nehemiah Memoirs are characteristically different from the writings of the Chronicler. Whether they were utilized by the Chronicler directly or attached to and incorporated into his work by a later writer is not clear. So it appears a more and more likely that Ezra was the Chronicler, but we cannot be dogmatic about it. All signs point to a date around 400 BC for the completion of the main work of the Chronicler. There is no evidence that demands a later date.5

The First Section of the book: Ezra 1-6 contains the following sources: Ezra 1-6 contains the following sources: (1) the Edict of Cyrus (1:2-4); (2) an inventory of the articles brought for the Temple (1:9-11); (3) a list of the captives who returned, almost identical with Nehemiah 7 (2:1 to 3:1); (4) two letters of opposition summarizing in 4:6-7; (5) a letter to Artaxerxes from Rehum and others (4:8-16); (6) Artaxerxes reply (4:17-22); (7) a letter from Tattenai to Darius (5:6-17); and (8) Darius’ reply including a memorandum of the Edict of Cyrus (6:3-12).

The Ezra Memoirs: Chapters 7-10 of Ezra are usually considered to be based on the memoirs written by Ezra (EM) sometime before the final compilation of the book by the Chronicler. Many scholars consider Nehemiah Chapters 8-10 to be part of the Ezra Memoirs, as do I. The Ezra Memoirs include several sources: (1) a copy of Artaxerxes’ letter to Ezra (Ezra 7:12-26); (2) a list of the heads of families of the Jews who returned with Ezra (8:1-14); (3) an inventory of vessels and bowls (Ezra 8:26-27); (4) Ezra’s prayer (Ezra 9:6-15); and (5) the list of those who had married foreign wives (Nehemiah 10:18-44). Since Nehemiah Chapters 8-9 is part of EM, we must also include (6) the reading of the Torah (Nehemiah 7:73b to 8:18) and (7) a long prayer of confession (Nehemiah 9:6-37). Since Chapter 10 is part of EM, it also includes (8) a list of those who signed the covenant of agreement (Nehemiah 10:31-40).

The Significance of Ezra: According to Ezra 7:10, “Ezra had set his heart to seek the Torah of Adonai, to observe and to teach its statues and ordinances in Isra’el.”
However, he is not even mentioned in Second Maccabees, although Nehemiah was honored (Second Maccabees 1:18-36). Likewise, Ezra is not among the list of Isra’el’s heroes in Ecclesiasticus (Sirach), although Nehemiah was included (49:11-13). In the Talmud, however, Ezra was considered the founder of the Great Assembly (Megilla 18b). The sages considered him the founder of the scribal and rabbinic activity after the Babylonian exile. Among many talmudic references to his work, most significantly he is credited with reestablishing the Torah in Isra’el after it had been forgotten (Sukkah 20a). Another text says Ezra and the Torah were more important than the reconstruction of the Temple (Megilla 16b). According to Second Esdras, Ezra was the only prophet left after the Babylonian destruction (12:42). The rabbis teach that, like a second Moses, he rewrote the Scriptures in forty days (14:19-48), and like Elijah, he would be taken up to heaven (8:19, 14:9). Josephus also praised Ezra and said he lived to a ripe old age and died in Yerushalayim (Antiquities of the Jews, 120-58).6

The book of Ezra-Nehemiah presents Ezra as a strong personality. He did not emphasize the Torah as an end in itself; rather, he was convinced that the covenant community needed to return to ADONAI by talking seriously his revelation and applying it to every aspect of life. Ezra’s prayer of confession (see Bo – Ezra’s Prayer About Intermarriage) demonstrates his genuine concern for the spiritual life of the people. He realized as perhaps no one else had since Moses and the prophets, that mankind cannot live by bread alone, only by and through the words that proceed from the mouth of God.7

Nehemiah

The Nehemiah Memoirs: Another part of the Ezra-Nehemiah is based on a first person document written by Nehemiah himself sometime before the final compilation of the book by the Chronicler. It is called the Nehemiah Memoirs (NM) and is found in Nehemiah Chapters 1-7 and in parts of Chapters 11-13. Several lists are used therein as sources: (1) the residents of Jerusalem (Nehemiah 11:3-24), (2) villages occupied by Judah and Benjamin (Nehemiah 11:25-36), and (3) priests and Levites (Nehemiah 12:1-26).

The Significance of Nehemiah: Not only was Nehemiah a genuine leader, he was also an excellent administrator, and a man of prayer. He exhibited many principles of sound administrative practice. Nehemiah’s singlemindedness of purpose, attention to detail, willingness to delegate authority, dedication to service, and dependence on ADONAI were combined in a man who can simple be labeled as a servant of God.

Although neglected by the author of First Esdras, Nehemiah is praised in Sirach 49:13 and Second Maccabees 1:18-36. Josephus also presented a positive picture of Nehemiah (Antiquities of the Jews, 159-83). Certainly Nehemiah’s work in establishing the Jerusalem community, defending it against it neighbors and against syncretism, has left its mark on history. Because the Jewish community after the exile was preserved, the TaNaKh was completed and preserved. Because the Jewish people continued as instruments of God’s redemptive plan, the Savior came and fulfilled His great plan of salvation.8

 

2019-09-14T20:16:52+00:00 0 Comments

Aa Ezra-Nehemiah, Where Life and the Bible Meet

Ezra-Nehemiah,
Where Life and the Bible Meet

1. Look at the outline (Ab), and the Introduction (Ac) before starting on the commentary itself.

2. The DIG and REFLECT questions are in bold green and will help to give you a deeper understanding of the book and make it more personal to you. Go slowly and give yourself time to answer these questions. They really strike at the heart of the commentary. What are the DIG questions for? To dig into the Scripture “story,” to find out what’s going on, to figure out the main idea, the plot, the argument, the spiritual principle, and so on. What are the REFLECT questions for? To apply the “story” in the Scripture to your own life; to take personal inventory and to decide what you are going to do about it! Many of the DIG and REFLECT questions are taken from the Serendipity Bible.

3. I would strongly suggest that you look up the references that are given in each section. Many times this will greatly enhance the background, and hence, your understanding of the Scriptures that you are reading on a particular day. Take your time, read only as much as you can digest.

There are times when I refer you to either another file in Isaiah, or a file in another book of the Bible, to give you more detail on a particular person, topic, concept or theology. An example might be something like the Great Sanhedrin (see my commentary on The Life of Christ Lg – The Great Sanhedrin). If you feel you already know enough about the Great Sanhedrin, you can skip the reference and continue reading. But if it interests you, or if you don’t know what the Great Sanhedrin is, you can go to that file and read it first before continuing. It’s your choice. 

4. All Scripture is in bold print. The NIV is used unless indicated otherwise. However, sometimes the purpose of the bold print is merely for emphasizing a certain point. When bold maroon is used, it is for special emphasis. The words of Yeshua are bolded in red.

5. When bold teal is used, it is quoted from one of the two Jewish commentaries listed in the bibliography. This will give you the moderate Orthodox Jewish interpretation. It is useful for word studies, but it’s Christology is obviously entirely wrong. Where rabbinical interpretation is cited, I will add, “The rabbis teach. . .” in front of the passage. Although it is not a Christian interpretation, I think it is interesting to see how the rabbis interpret these passages.

6. Read the Scriptures for a particular day first, then skim the DIG or REFLECT questions, read the commentary and reflect on it; answer the DIG or REFLECT questions, then read your Bible again. Hopefully, it will have greater meaning for you the second time you read it. Then live it out.

7. You can download anything you want from this devotional commentary for bible study © 2019 but all rights are reserved by Jay David Mack, M.Div. and nothing can be sold.

 

2019-09-09T13:15:30+00:00 0 Comments

Dj – Bibliography

Bibliography

Bock, Darrell. Acts. Grand Rapids: Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament, 1981.

Boettner, Loraine. Roman Catholicism. Phillipsburg: The Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company, 1962.

Bruce, F. F. The Book of Acts. New International Commentary, 1988.

Coleman, Lyle. The Serendipity Bible. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1988.

Cruse, C. F. Eusebius’ Ecclesiastical History. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1990.

Edersheim, Alfred. Sketches of Jewish Social Life in the Days of Christ. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1984.

Erickson, Millard. Christian Theology. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1985.

Fee, Gordon and Stuart, Douglas. How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1982.

Freeman, James. Manners and Customs of the Bible. Plainfield: Logos International, 1972.

Fruchtenbaum, Arnold. Acts mp3

Fruchtenbaum, Arnold. The Dispensations of God MBS041, San Antonio, Ariel Ministries, San Antonio.

Gaebelin, Frank. The Acts of the Apostles, Grand Rapids, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary Volume 9, 1982.

Girard, Robert, and Richards, Larry. Acts: The Smart Guide to the Bible Series, Nashville, Thomas Nelson, 2007.

Guzik, David, Verse by Verse Commentary on Acts, Simi Valley, Enduring Word Commentary Series, California, 2000.

JewishEncylopedia.com

Josephus, Wars of the Jews, 2002

Kasdan, Barney. God’s Appointed Times, Lederer Messianic Publications, Baltimore, Maryland, 1993.

Ladd, George. A Commentary on the Revelation of John. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1972.

Laney, J. Carl. Answers to Tough Questions. Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, 1997.

Lanier, Greg. The Gospel Coalition, US Edition, May 3, 2017.

Liebi, Roger. The Messiah in the Temple. Dusseldorf, Christlicher Medien-Vertrieb, 2012.

Limbaugh, David. Jesus is Risen, Paul and the Early Church,

MacArthur, John. Acts 1-12 and Acts 13-28.

MacArthur, John. Charismatic Chaos.

MacArthur, John. Revelation 1-11. Chicago, Moody Press, Chicago, 1999.

Marshall, I. Howard. Acts. TNTC, 1980.

Morgan, G. Campbell. The Acts of the Apostles. Amazon reprint, 2012.

Morris, Henry. The Genesis Record. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1976.

Morris, Henry. The Bible Has the Answer. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1991.

Mounce, Robert. The Book of Revelation. Grand Rapids, Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1977.

Nadler, Sam. What is the Jewish Way to God? Word of Messiah Ministries, Charlotte, NC, 2015.

Osbeck, Kenneth W. 101 Hymns. Grand Rapids, Kregel Publishers 1982.

Paul: Ninety Days on His Personal Journey of Faith, Amazon

Polhill, John. Acts. The New American Commentary Series.

Ramsay, W. M. St. Paul the Traveler and the Roman Citizen. Reprint. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1975.

Robertson, A. T. Acts, Volume 3 of Word Pictures in the New Testament. Nashville: Broadman, 1039.

Shalum , Joseph. Acts 1-15. Jerusalem: Netivyah Bible Instruction Ministry, 2012.

Shalum , Joseph. Acts 16-28. Jerusalem: Netivyah Bible Instruction Ministry, 2012.

Stott, John. The Message of Acts. The Bible Speaks Today.

Walvoord, John and Zuck, Roy. The Bible Knowledge Commentary of the Old Testament. Wheaton: Victor Books, 1985.

Wiersbe, Warren. Acts 1-12. Colorado Springs: Published by David Cook, 1987.

Witherington, Ben. The Acts of the Apostles. 1997.

Wuest, Kenneth. Acts Through Ephesians, an Expanded Translation, Grand Rapids, Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1958.

 

2019-07-07T12:30:55+00:00 0 Comments

Di – End Notes

End Notes

The Book of Acts from a Jewish Perspective

  1. Acts 1-12, by John MacArthur, Moody Publishers, Chicago, Illinois, 1994, pages 1-2.
  2. The Book of Acts, The Smart Guide to the Bible, by Robert Girard, Thomas Nelson, Nashville, Tennessee, 2007, pages iii-iv.
  3. The Jewish Roots of Acts 1-15, by Joseph Shulam, Netivyah Bible Instruction Ministry, Jerusalem, Isra’el, 2012, page xxxi.
  4. The Jewish Roots of Acts 1-15, by Joseph Shulam, Netivyah Bible Instruction Ministry, Jerusalem, Isra’el, 2012, page xxxii-xxxxiii.
  5. Charismatic Chaos, by John MacArthur, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, MI, 1992, pages 171-172.
  6. The Jewish Roots of Acts, by Joseph Shaulam, Netivyah Bible Instruction Ministry, Jerusalem, Isra’el, 2003, pages xxxvi and xxxvii.
  7. Messianic Foundations, by Sam Nadler, Word of Messiah Ministries, Charlotte, North Carolina, 2010, pages 133-142.

Witness in Jerusalem 1:1 to 8:4

8.   The Acts of the Apostles, by Ben Witherington III, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, MI, 1998, page 199.

9.   The Jewish Roots of Acts, by Joseph Shaulam, Netivyah Bible Instruction Ministry, Jerusalem, Isra’el, 2003, pages 2-3.

10.  act 101.mp3, Arnold Fruchtenbaum.

11.   Be Dynamic, NT Commentary on Acts 1-12, by Warren Wiersbe, David Cook, Colorado Springs, Colorado, 1987, page 21.

12.   Acts 1-12, by John MacArthur, Moody Publishers, Chicago, Illinois, 1994, page 15.

13.   Ibid, page 18.

14.   act 101.mp3, Arnold Fruchtenbaum.

15.   The Jewish Roots of Acts 1-15, by Joseph Shulam, Netivyah Bible Instruction Ministry, Jerusalem, Isra’el, 2012, page 24.

16.   Be Dynamic, NT Commentary on Acts 1-12, by Warren Wiersbe, David Cook, Colorado Springs, Colorado, 1987, page 23.

17.   The Purpose Driven Life, by Rick Warren, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 2002, page 290.

18.   The Jewish New Testament Commentary, by David Stern, Jewish New Testament Publications, Clarksville, Maryland, 1992, page 217.

19.   Verse by Verse Commentary on Acts, by David Guzik, Enduring Word Commentary Series, Simi Valley, California, 2000, page 12.

20.   act 101.mp3, Arnold Fruchtenbaum.

21.   Who am I in Christ, by Neil Anderson, Regal Books, Ventura, California, 1973, pages 213-219.

22.   act 101.mp3, Arnold Fruchtenbaum.

23.   The Acts of the Apostles, by Ben Witherington III, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, MI, 1998, pgs 126-127.

24.   The Jewish New Testament Commentary, by David Stern, Jewish New Testament Publications, Clarksville, Maryland, 1992, pages 217-218.

25.   Acts 1-12, by John MacArthur, Moody Publishers, Chicago, Illinois, 1994, page 29.

26.   The Acts of the Apostles, by Ben Witherington III, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, MI, 1998, page 123.

27.   Be Dynamic, NT Commentary on Acts 1-12, by Warren Wiersbe, David Cook, Colorado Springs, Colorado, 1987, page 28.

28.   act 101.mp3, Arnold Fruchtenbaum.

29.   The Message of Acts, by John Stott, Inter-Varsity Press, Downers Grove, Illinois, 1990, page 59.

30.   The Acts of the Apostles, by Ben Witherington III, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, MI, 1998, pgs 147-150.

31.   Acts 1-12, by John MacArthur, Moody Publishers, Chicago, Illinois, 1994, page 39.

32.   The Jewish New Testament Commentary, by David Stern, Jewish New Testament Publications, Clarksville, Maryland, 1992, pages 219 and 221.

33.   The Jewish Roots of Acts 1-15, by Joseph Shulam, Netivyah Bible Instruction Ministry, Jerusalem, Isra’el, 2012, page 65.

34.   The Jewish New Testament Commentary, by David Stern, Jewish New Testament Publications, Clarksville, Maryland, 1992, page 219.

35.   God’s Appointed Times, by Barney Kasdan, Lederer Messianic Pub, Baltimore, MD, 1993, page 55.

36.   The Jewish New Testament Commentary, by David Stern, Jewish New Testament Publications, Clarksville, Maryland, 1992, page 221.

37.   Charismatic Chaos, by John MacArthur, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1992, pages 173-174 and 226.

38.   Acts 1-12, by John MacArthur, Moody Publishers, Chicago, Illinois, 1994, page 41.

39.   gotquestions.org

40.   The Jewish New Testament Commentary, by David Stern, Jewish New Testament Publications, Clarksville, Maryland, 1992, page 216.

41.   God’s Appointed Times, by Barney Kasdan, Lederer Messianic Pub, Baltimore, MD, 1993, page 55.

42.   Charismatic Chaos, by John MacArthur, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1992, page 179.

43.   Acts 1-12, by John MacArthur, Moody Publishers, Chicago, Illinois, 1994, page 46.

44.   The Jewish New Testament Commentary, by David Stern, Jewish New Testament Publications, Clarksville, Maryland, 1992, pages 217 and 220.

45.   The Acts of the Apostles, by Ben Witherington III, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, MI, 1998, page 123.

46.   Ibid, page 123.

47.   Ibid, page 123.

48.   Ibid, pages 116-118.

49.   Acts 1-12, by John MacArthur, Moody Publishers, Chicago, Illinois, 1994, page 76.

50.   act102.mp3, Arnold Fruchtenbaum.

51.   The Jewish New Testament Commentary, by David Stern, Jewish New Testament Publications, Clarksville, Maryland, 1992, page 226.

52.    act102.mp3, Arnold Fruchtenbaum.

53.   God’s Appointed Times, by Barney Kasdan, Lederer Messianic Pub, Baltimore, MD, 1993, page 56.

54.   Verse by Verse Commentary on Acts, by David Guzik, Enduring Word Commentary Series, Simi Valley, California, 2000, page 33.

55.   Acts 1-12, by John MacArthur, Moody Publishers, Chicago, Illinois, 1994, page 84.

56.   The Book of Acts, The Smart Guide to the Bible, by Robert Girard, Thomas Nelson, Nashville, Tennessee, 2007, page 35.

57.   Be Dynamic, NT Commentary on Acts 1-12, by Warren Wiersbe, David Cook, Colorado Springs, Colorado, 1987, page 43.

58.   The Jewish New Testament Commentary, by David Stern, Jewish New Testament Publications, Clarksville, Maryland, 1992, page 228.

59.   The Jewish Roots of Acts 1-15, by Joseph Shulam, Netivyah Bible Instruction Ministry, Jerusalem, Isra’el, 2012, page 158.

60.   The Jewish New Testament Commentary, by David Stern, Jewish New Testament Publications, Clarksville, Maryland, 1992, page 228.

61.   The Message of Acts, by John Stott, Inter-Varsity Press, Downers Grove, Illinois, 1990, page 87.

62.   Acts, by I. Howard Marshall, TNTC, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1996, page 86.

63.    act103.mp3, Arnold Fruchtenbaum.

64.   Acts, by John Polhill, The New American Commentary, Volume 26, Broadman Press, Nashville, Tennessee, 1992, page 126.

65.   The Messiah in the Temple, by Roger Liebi, Christlicher Medien-Vertrieb, Dusseldorf, Germany, 2012, page 335.

66.   Acts 1-12, by John MacArthur, Moody Publishers, Chicago, Illinois, 1994, page 97.

67.   Acts, by John Polhill, The New American Commentary, Volume 26, Broadman Press, Nashville, Tennessee, 1992, page 128.

68.   Acts, by I. Howard Marshall, TNTC, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1996, page 89.

69.   The Acts of the Apostles, by Ben Witherington III, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, MI, 1998, page 221.

70.   Charismatic Chaos, by John MacArthur, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1992, pages 112-115 and 214-216.

71.   Acts, by I. Howard Marshall, TNTC, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1996, page 89.

72.   Be Dynamic, NT Commentary on Acts 1-12, by Warren Wiersbe, David Cook, Colorado Springs, Colorado, 1987, page 51.

73.   The Jewish New Testament Commentary, by David Stern, Jewish New Testament Publications, Clarksville, Maryland, 1992, page 230.

74.   Be Dynamic, NT Commentary on Acts 1-12, by Warren Wiersbe, David Cook, Colorado Springs, Colorado, 1987, page 51.

75.   Verse by Verse Commentary on Acts, by David Guzik, Enduring Word Commentary Series, Simi Valley, California, 2000, page 40.

76.   Acts 1-12, by John MacArthur, Moody Publishers, Chicago, Illinois, 1994, pages 115-116.

77.   Be Dynamic, NT Commentary on Acts 1-12, by Warren Wiersbe, David Cook, Colorado Springs, Colorado, 1987, page 51.

78.   The Acts of the Apostles, by Ben Witherington III, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, MI, 1998, page 123.

79.   Ibid, page 123.

80.   act103.mp3, Arnold Fruchtenbaum.

81.   Be Dynamic, NT Commentary on Acts 1-12, by Warren Wiersbe, David Cook, Colorado Springs, Colorado, 1987, pages 55-57.

82.   Acts, by I. Howard Marshall, TNTC, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1996, page 97.

83.   The Jewish Roots of Acts 1-15, by Joseph Shulam, Netivyah Bible Instruction Ministry, Jerusalem, Isra’el, 2012, pages 225-226.

84.   Ibid, page 220.

85.   Ibid, page 241.

86.   Be Dynamic, NT Commentary on Acts 1-12, by Warren Wiersbe, David Cook, Colorado Springs, Colorado, 1987, page 49.

87.   The Purpose Driven Life, by Rick Warren, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 2002, page 282.

88.   The Jewish New Testament Commentary, by David Stern, Jewish New Testament Publications, Clarksville, Maryland, 1992, page 234.

89.   Acts 1-12, by John MacArthur, Moody Publishers, Chicago, Illinois, 1994, page 138.

90.   Answers to Tough Questions, by J. Carl Laney, WIPF & Stock, Eugene, Oregon, 1997, page 245.

91.   The Acts of the Apostles, by Ben Witherington III, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, MI, 1998, page 123.

92.   Verse by Verse Commentary on Acts, by David Guzik, Enduring Word Commentary Series, Simi Valley, California, 2000, pages 49-50.

93.   Acts 1-12, by John MacArthur, Moody Publishers, Chicago, Illinois, 1994, page 142.

94.   Verse by Verse Commentary on Acts, by David Guzik, Enduring Word Commentary Series, Simi Valley, California, 2000, page 51.

95.   Answers to Tough Questions, by J. Carl Laney, WIPF & Stock, Eugene, Oregon, 1997, page 245.

96.   Verse by Verse Commentary on Acts, by David Guzik, Enduring Word Commentary Series, Simi Valley, California, 2000, page 52.

97.   The Message of Acts, by John Stott, Inter-Varsity Press, Downers Grove, Illinois, 1990, page 108.

98.   Acts, by John Polhill, The New American Commentary, Volume 26, Broadman Press, Nashville, Tennessee, 1992, page 154.

99.   The Acts of the Apostles, by Ben Witherington III, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, MI, 1998, pages 211-213.

100.  Be Dynamic, NT Commentary on Acts 1-12, by Warren Wiersbe, David Cook, Colorado Springs, Colorado, 1987, page 75.

101.  Verse by Verse Commentary on Acts, by David Guzik, Enduring Word Commentary Series, Simi Valley, California, 2000, page 53.

102.  Ibid, page 54.

103.  Ibid, page 55.

104.  Manners and Customs of the Bible, by James Freeman, Logos International, Plainfield, New Jersey, 1972, page 441.

105.  Acts, by John Polhill, The New American Commentary, Volume 26, Broadman Press, Nashville, Tennessee, 1992, page 158.

106.  Verse by Verse Commentary on Acts, by David Guzik, Enduring Word Commentary Series, Simi Valley, California, 2000, page 56.

107.  Acts, by John Polhill, The New American Commentary, Volume 26, Broadman Press, Nashville, Tennessee, 1992, page 159.

108.  The Jewish Roots of Acts 1-15, by Joseph Shulam, Netivyah Bible Instruction Ministry, Jerusalem, Isra’el, 2012, page 266.

109.  Verse by Verse Commentary on Acts, by David Guzik, Enduring Word Commentary Series, Simi Valley, California, 2000, page 57.

110.  Acts 1-12, by John MacArthur, Moody Publishers, Chicago, Illinois, 1994, page 153.

111.  Verse by Verse Commentary on Acts, by David Guzik, Enduring Word Commentary Series, Simi Valley, California, 2000, page 55.

112.  act105.mp3, Arnold Fruchtenbaum.

113.  Acts, by I. Howard Marshall, TNTC, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1996, pages 110-111.

114.  Life of Christ tape series, by Arnold Fruchtenbaum.

115.  act105.mp3, Arnold Fruchtenbaum.

116.  Acts 1-12, by John MacArthur, Moody Publishers, Chicago, Illinois, 1994, page 166.

117.  Acts, by John Polhill, The New American Commentary, Volume 26, Broadman Press, Nashville, Tennessee, 1992, page 166.

118.  The Jewish New Testament Commentary, by David Stern, Jewish New Testament Publications, Clarksville, Maryland, 1992, page 236.

119.  Acts, by John Polhill, The New American Commentary, Volume 26, Broadman Press, Nashville, Tennessee, 1992, page 167.

120.  Acts 1-12, by John MacArthur, Moody Publishers, Chicago, Illinois, 1994, page 169.

121.  Be Dynamic, NT Commentary on Acts 1-12, by Warren Wiersbe, David Cook, Colorado Springs, Colorado, 1987, page 91.

122.  Acts, by I. Howard Marshall, TNTC, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1996, page 120.

123.  The Acts of the Apostles, by Ben Witherington III, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, MI, 1998, pg 234.

124.  Be Dynamic, NT Commentary on Acts 1-12, by Warren Wiersbe, David Cook, Colorado Springs, Colorado, 1987, page 95.

125.  The Jewish Roots of Acts 1-15, by Joseph Shulam, Netivyah Bible Instruction Ministry, Jerusalem, Isra’el, 2012, page 297.

126.  Verse by Verse Commentary on Acts, by David Guzik, Enduring Word Commentary Series, Simi Valley, California, 2000, page 65.

127.  Paul, by Beth Moore, B&H Publishing Company, Nashville, Tennessee, 2010, page 20.

128.  Verse by Verse Commentary on Acts, by David Guzik, Enduring Word Commentary Series, Simi Valley, California, 2000, page 67.

129.  The Jewish Roots of Acts 1-15, by Joseph Shulam, Netivyah Bible Instruction Ministry, Jerusalem, Isra’el, 2012, page 303.

130.  The Acts of the Apostles, by Ben Witherington III, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1998, pages 240 and 242.

131.  The Jewish Roots of Acts 1-15, by Joseph Shulam, Netivyah Bible Instruction Ministry, Jerusalem, Isra’el, 2012, page 311 and 313.

132.  Acts 1-12, by John MacArthur, Moody Publishers, Chicago, Illinois, 1994, pages 179-180.

133.  The Jewish Roots of Acts 1-15, by Joseph Shulam, Netivyah Bible Instruction Ministry, Jerusalem, Isra’el, 2012, page 316 and 319-320.

134.  The Message of Acts, by John Stott, Inter-Varsity Press, Downers Grove, IL, 1990, page 122.

135.  Verse by Verse Commentary on Acts, by David Guzik, Enduring Word Commentary Series, Simi Valley, California, 2000, page 71.

136.  The Jewish New Testament Commentary, by David Stern, Jewish New Testament Publications, Clarksville, Maryland, 1992, page 240.

137.  Acts 1-12, by John MacArthur, Moody Publishers, Chicago, Illinois, 1994, pages 187-188.

138.  Acts 1-12, by John MacArthur, Moody Publishers, Chicago, Illinois, 1994, page 201.

139.  Paul, by Beth Moore, B&H Publishing Company, Nashville, Tennessee, 2010, page 34.

140.  Acts 1-12, by John MacArthur, Moody Publishers, Chicago, Illinois, 1994, pages 195-196.

141.  act106.mp3, Arnold Fruchtenbaum.

142.  The Acts of the Apostles, by Frank Gaebelein, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary , volume 9, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1982, page 337.

143.  act107.mp3, Arnold Fruchtenbaum.

144.  Acts, by I. Howard Marshall, TNTC, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1996, page 135.

145.  The Acts of the Apostles, by Ben Witherington III, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, MI, 1998, page 123.

146.  Acts 1-12, by John MacArthur, Moody Publishers, Chicago, Illinois, 1994, page 205.

147.  Ibid, pages 203-207.

148.  Ibid, pages 209-211.

149.  The Acts of the Apostles, by Ben Witherington III, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, MI, 1998, pg 123.

150. Ibid, page 273.

151.  Ibid, page 123.

152.  The Jewish New Testament Commentary, by David Stern, Jewish New Testament Publications, Clarksville, Maryland, 1992, page 245.

153.  Acts 1-12, by John MacArthur, Moody Publishers, Chicago, Illinois, 1994, page 216.

154.  The Jewish New Testament Commentary, by David Stern, Jewish New Testament Publications, Clarksville, Maryland, 1992, page 247.

155.  Be Dynamic, NT Commentary on Acts 1-12, by Warren Wiersbe, David Cook, Colorado Springs, Colorado, 1987, page 105.

156.  Paul, by Beth Moore, B&H Publishing Company, Nashville, Tennessee, 2010, page 39.

157.  Acts 1-12, by John MacArthur, Moody Publishers, Chicago, Illinois, 1994, page 233.

158.  The Jewish New Testament Commentary, by David Stern, Jewish New Testament Publications, Clarksville, Maryland, 1992, page 247.

159.  Paul, by Beth Moore, B&H Publishing Company, Nashville, Tennessee, 2010, page 33.

160.  Acts 1-12, by John MacArthur, Moody Publishers, Chicago, Illinois, 1994, page 224.

161.  Acts, by I. Howard Marshall, TNTC, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1996, page 150.

162.  Acts 1-12, by John MacArthur, Moody Publishers, Chicago, Illinois, 1994, page 225.

163.  Paul, by Beth Moore, B&H Publishing Company, Nashville, Tennessee, 2010, page 35 and 39.

164.  Paul, by Beth Moore, B&H Publishing Company, Nashville, Tennessee, 2010, page 35 and 39.

165.  Acts, by I. Howard Marshall, TNTC, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1996, page 152.

166.  Acts 1-12, by John MacArthur, Moody Publishers, Chicago, Illinois, 1994, page 231.

167.  Paul, by Beth Moore, B&H Publishing Company, Nashville, Tennessee, 2010, page 36.

Witness in Judea and Samaria 8:5 to 11:18

168.  Acts 1-12, by John MacArthur, Moody Publishers, Chicago, Illinois, 1994, pages 227-229.

169.  Acts, by I. Howard Marshall, TNTC, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1996, page 152.

170.  Acts 1-12, by John MacArthur, Moody Publishers, Chicago, Illinois, 1994, pages 234-235.

171.  The Jewish New Testament Commentary, by David Stern, Jewish New Testament Publications, Clarksville, Maryland, 1992, page 250.

172.  Acts 1-12, by John MacArthur, Moody Publishers, Chicago, Illinois, 1994, pages 238-243.

173.  Charismatic Chaos, by John MacArthur, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1992, page 226.

174.  act108.mp3, Arnold Fruchtenbaum.

175.  Acts 1-12, by John MacArthur, Moody Publishers, Chicago, Illinois, 1994, pages 244-246.

176.  Acts, by Darrell Bock, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament, Baker Academic, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 2007, page 336.

177.  Acts, by I. Howard Marshall, TNTC, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1996, page 161.

178.  The Jewish Roots of Acts 1-15, by Joseph Shulam, Netivyah Bible Instruction Ministry, Jerusalem, Isra’el, 2012, page 414.

179.  The Acts of the Apostles, by Ben Witherington III, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, Mi, 1998, page 295.

180.  Be Dynamic, NT Commentary on Acts 1-12, by Warren Wiersbe, David Cook, Colorado Springs, Colorado, 1987, page 124.

181.  Manners and Customs of the Bible, James Freeman, page 441.

182.  The Messiah in the Temple, by Roger Liebi, Christlicher Medien-Vertrieb, Dusseldorf, Germany, 2012, page 169.

183.  act108.mp3, Arnold Fruchtenbaum.

184.  Acts, by John Polhill, The New American Commentary, Volume 26, Broadman Press, Nashville, Tennessee, 1992, page 224.

185.  Be Dynamic, NT Commentary on Acts 1-12, by Warren Wiersbe, David Cook, Colorado Springs, Colorado, 1987, page 124.

186.  Acts, by I. Howard Marshall, TNTC, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1996, page 164.

187.  Acts 1-12, by John MacArthur, Moody Publishers, Chicago, Illinois, 1994, page 260.

188.  act108.mp3, Arnold Fruchtenbaum.

189.  Be Dynamic, NT Commentary on Acts 1-12, by Warren Wiersbe, David Cook, Colorado Springs, Colorado, 1987, page 127.

190.  What is the Jewish Way to God? by Sam Nadler, Word of Messiah Ministries, Charlotte, North Carolina, 2018.

191.  101 Hymns, by Kenneth W. Osbeck, Kregel Publishers, Grand Rapids, Michigan 1982, page 28.

192.  Acts 1-12, by John MacArthur, Moody Publishers, Chicago, Illinois, 1994, page 264.

193.  The Jewish New Testament Commentary, by David Stern, Jewish New Testament Publications, Clarksville, Maryland, 1992, page 253.

194.  Acts 1-12, by John MacArthur, Moody Publishers, Chicago, Illinois, 1994, pages 269 and 271.

195.  The Jewish New Testament Commentary, by David Stern, Jewish New Testament Publications, Clarksville, Maryland, 1992, page 255.

196.  Charismatic Chaos, by John MacArthur, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1992, page 187.

197.  Acts 1-12, by John MacArthur, Moody Publishers, Chicago, Illinois, 1994, page 275.

198.  Ibid, pages 275-277.

199.  Paul, by Beth Moore, B&H Publishing Company, Nashville, Tennessee, 2010, page 44.

200.  Acts 1-12, by John MacArthur, Moody Publishers, Chicago, Illinois, 1994, page 280.

201.  act09.mp3, Arnold Fruchtenbaum.

202.  Be Dynamic, NT Commentary on Acts 1-12, by Warren Wiersbe, David Cook, Colorado Springs, Colorado, 1987, page 147.

203. Verse by Verse Commentary on Acts, by David Guzik, Enduring Word Commentary Series, Simi Valley, California, 2000, page 112.

204.  The Acts of the Apostles, by Ben Witherington III, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1998, pages 334-339.

205.  Be Dynamic, NT Commentary on Acts 1-12, by Warren Wiersbe, David Cook, Colorado Springs, Colorado, 1987, pages 148-149.

206.  The Acts of the Apostles, by Ben Witherington III, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1998, page 346.

207.  Acts, by John Polhill, The New American Commentary, Volume 26, Broadman Press, Nashville, Tennessee, 1992, page 251.

208.  The Acts of the Apostles, by Ben Witherington III, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1998, page 347.

209.  The Jewish Roots of Acts 1-15, by Joseph Shulam, Netivyah Bible Instruction Ministry, Jerusalem, Isra’el, 2012, pages 548 and 552-553.

210.  The Jewish New Testament Commentary, by David Stern, Jewish New Testament Publications, Clarksville, Maryland, 1992, page 257.

211.  Acts 1-12, by John MacArthur, Moody Publishers, Chicago, Illinois, 1994, page 294.

212.  Be Dynamic, NT Commentary on Acts 1-12, by Warren Wiersbe, David Cook, Colorado Springs, Colorado, 1987, page 150.

213.  The Jewish Roots of Acts 1-15, by Joseph Shulam, Netivyah Bible Instruction Ministry, Jerusalem, Isra’el, 2012, page 533.

214.  Verse by Verse Commentary on Acts, by David Guzik, Enduring Word Commentary Series, Simi Valley, California, 2000, page 116.

215.  Acts, by John Polhill, The New American Commentary, Volume 26, Broadman Press, Nashville, Tennessee, 1992, page 253.

216.  Ibid, page 253.

217.  The Message of Acts, by John Stott, Inter-Varsity Press, Downers Grove, Illinois, 1990, page 185.

218.  Acts, by I. Howard Marshall, TNTC, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1996, pages 180-181.

219.  The Message of Acts, by John Stott, Inter-Varsity Press, Downers Grove, Illinois, 1990, page 186.

220.  The Jewish Roots of Acts 1-15, by Joseph Shulam, Netivyah Bible Instruction Ministry, Jerusalem, Isra’el, 2012, page 558.

221.  Verse by Verse Commentary on Acts, by David Guzik, Enduring Word Commentary Series, Simi Valley, California, 2000, page 117.

222.  The Jewish New Testament Commentary, by David Stern, Jewish New Testament Publications, Clarksville, Maryland, 1992, page 257.

223. The Message of Acts, by John Stott, Inter-Varsity Press, Downers Grove, Illinois, 1990, pages 187-188.

224.  Verse by Verse Commentary on Acts, by David Guzik, Enduring Word Commentary Series, Simi Valley, California, 2000, page 120.

225. Paul, by Beth Moore, B&H Publishing Company, Nashville, Tennessee, 2010, page 64.

226.  Verse by Verse Commentary on Acts, by David Guzik, Enduring Word Commentary Series, Simi Valley, California, 2000, pages 120-121.

227.  The Jewish New Testament Commentary, by David Stern, Jewish New Testament Publications, Clarksville, Maryland, 1992, page 258.

228.  Acts 1-12, by John MacArthur, Moody Publishers, Chicago, Illinois, 1994, page 298.

229.  Ibid, page 299.

230.  The Genesis Record, by Henry Morris, Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, MI, 1976, pages 294-295.

231.  Acts 1-12, by John MacArthur, Moody Publishers, Chicago, Illinois, 1994, page 301.

232.  The Jewish New Testament Commentary, by David Stern, Jewish New Testament Publications, Clarksville, Maryland, 1992, page 260.

233.  Charismatic Chaos, by John MacArthur, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1992, page 226.

234.  Ibid, page 183.

235.  Acts 1-12, by John MacArthur, Moody Publishers, Chicago, Illinois, 1994, page 305.

236.  Acts, by I. Howard Marshall, TNTC, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1996, page 195.

237.  The Jewish New Testament Commentary, by David Stern, Jewish New Testament Publications, Clarksville, Maryland, 1992, page 261.

238.  Acts 1-12, by John MacArthur, Moody Publishers, Chicago, Illinois, 1994, page 311.

239.  The Acts of the Apostles, by Ben Witherington III, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1998, page 365.

240.  Be Dynamic, NT Commentary on Acts 1-12, by Warren Wiersbe, David Cook, Colorado Springs, Colorado, 1987, page 161.

241.  Charismatic Chaos, by John MacArthur, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1992, page 184.

242.  Acts 1-12, by John MacArthur, Moody Publishers, Chicago, Illinois, 1994, pages 311-312.

243.  The Jewish New Testament Commentary, by David Stern, Jewish New Testament Publications, Clarksville, Maryland, 1992, page 261.

244. Witness to the End of the Earth 11:19 to 28:31

245.  Be Dynamic, NT Commentary on Acts 1-12, by Warren Wiersbe, David Cook, Colorado Springs, Colorado,1987, pages 10-13.

246.  act11.mp3, Arnold Fruchtenbaum.

247.  The Jewish Roots of Acts 1-15, by Joseph Shulam, Netivyah Bible Instruction Ministry, Jerusalem, Isra’el, 2012, page 615.

248.  The Acts of the Apostles, by Ben Witherington III, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1998, page 367.

249.  Acts, by I. Howard Marshall, TNTC, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1996, page 198.

250.  The Jewish New Testament Commentary, by David Stern, Jewish New Testament Publications, Clarksville, Maryland, 1992, pages 261-262.

251.  Acts, by Darrell Bock, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament, Baker Academic, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 2007, page 419.

252.  Be Dynamic, NT Commentary on Acts 1-12, by Warren Wiersbe, David Cook, Colorado Springs, Colorado, 1987, page 164.

253.  The Acts of the Apostles, by Ben Witherington III, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1998, page 370.

254.  Paul, by Beth Moore, B&H Publishing Company, Nashville, Tennessee, 2010, page 72.

255.  The Jewish New Testament Commentary, by David Stern, Jewish New Testament Publications, Clarksville, Maryland, 1992, pages 263.

256.  The Jewish Roots of Acts 1-15, by Joseph Shulam, Netivyah Bible Instruction Ministry, Jerusalem, Isra’el, 2012, pages 628, 630 632-633.

257.  Paul, by Beth Moore, B&H Publishing Company, Nashville, Tennessee, 2010, page 74.

258.  Verse by Verse Commentary on Acts, by David Guzik, Enduring Word Commentary Series, Simi Valley, California, 2000, page 135.

259.  The Church History: Eusebius, by Paul Maier, Amazon, 2.9.2-3.

260.  Be Dynamic, NT Commentary on Acts 1-12, by Warren Wiersbe, David Cook, Colorado Springs, Colorado, 1987, page 175.

261.  act12.mp3, Arnold Fruchtenbaum.

262.  Be Dynamic, NT Commentary on Acts 1-12, by Warren Wiersbe, David Cook, Colorado Springs, Colorado, 1987, page 175.

263.  Manners and Customs of the Bible, by James Freeman, Logos International, Plainfield, New Jersey, 1972, page 442.

264.  Be Dynamic, NT Commentary on Acts 1-12, by Warren Wiersbe, David Cook, Colorado Springs, Colorado, 1987, page 178.

265.  The Acts of the Apostles, by Ben Witherington III, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1998, page 387.

266.  Acts 1-12, by John MacArthur, Moody Publishers, Chicago, Illinois, 1994, pages 325-326.

267.  Be Dynamic, NT Commentary on Acts 1-12, by Warren Wiersbe, David Cook, Colorado Springs, Colorado, 1987, page 178.

268.  Ibid, page 181.

269.  The Jewish New Testament Commentary, by David Stern, Jewish New Testament Publications, Clarksville, Maryland, 1992, pages 265-266.

270.  Be Dynamic, NT Commentary on Acts 1-12, by Warren Wiersbe, David Cook, Colorado Springs, Colorado, 1987, page 181.

271.  The Message of Acts, by John Stott, Inter-Varsity Press, Downers Grove, Illinois, 1990, page 213.

272.  The Gospel Coalition, US Edition, May 3, 2017, by Greg Lanier.

273.  Acts 13-28, by John MacArthur, Moody Publishers, Chicago, Illinois, 1996, page 3.

274.  Ibid, page 4.

275.  Ibid, page 5.

276.  act13.mp3, Arnold Fruchtenbaum.

277.  The Jewish New Testament Commentary, by David Stern, Jewish New Testament Publications, Clarksville, Maryland, 1992, page 267.

278.  Verse by Verse Commentary on Acts, by David Guzik, Enduring Word Commentary Series, Simi Valley, California, 2000, page 146.

279.  Acts, by John Polhill, The New American Commentary, Volume 26, Broadman Press, Nashville, Tennessee, 1992, page 293.

280.  Acts 13-28, by John MacArthur, Moody Publishers, Chicago, Illinois, 1996, page 9.

281.  Be Dynamic, NT Commentary on Acts 13-28, by Warren Wiersbe, David Cook, Colorado Springs, Colorado, 1988, page 15.

282.  The Book of Acts, The Smart Guide to the Bible, by Robert Girard, Thomas Nelson, Nashville, Tennessee, 2007, page 164.

283.  Acts, by I. Howard Marshall, TNTC, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1996, page 219.

284.  Acts, by Darrell Bock, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament, Baker Academic, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 2007, page 447.

285.  The Acts of the Apostles, by Ben Witherington III, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1998, page 403.

286.  Acts, by Darrell Bock, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament, Baker Academic, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 2007, pages 450-451.

287.  Answers to Tough Questions, by J. Carl Laney, WIPF & Stock, Eugene, Oregon, 1997, page 247.

288.  The Jewish Roots of Acts 1-15, by Joseph Shulam, Netivyah Bible Instruction Ministry, Jerusalem, Isra’el, 2012, pages 686 and 692-693.

289.  The Jewish New Testament Commentary, by David Stern, Jewish New Testament Publications, Clarksville, Maryland, 1992, page 268.

290.  The Purpose Driven Life, by Rick Warren, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 2002, page 190.

291.  The Return of the Kosher Pig, by Rabbi Itzhak Shapira, Lederer Books, a division of Messianic Jewish Publishers, Clarksville, Maryland, 2013, pages 149-150.

292.  Verse by Verse Commentary on Acts, by David Guzik, Enduring Word Commentary Series, Simi Valley, California, 2000, page 150.

293.  act 13.mp3, Arnold Fruchtenbaum.

294.  The Acts of the Apostles, by Ben Witherington III, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1998, page 123.

295.  The Jewish New Testament Commentary, by David Stern, Jewish New Testament Publications, Clarksville, Maryland, 1992, page 270.

296.  act 13.mp3, Arnold Fruchtenbaum.

297.  The Acts of the Apostles, by Ben Witherington III, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1998, page 123.

298.  The Jewish Roots of Acts 16-28, by Joseph Shulam, Netivyah Bible Instruction Ministry, Jerusalem, Isra’el, 2012, page 746.

299.  Acts, by John Polhill, The New American Commentary, Volume 26, Broadman Press, Nashville, Tennessee, 1992, page 307.

300.  act 13.mp3, Arnold Fruchtenbaum.

301.  The Acts of the Apostles, by Ben Witherington III, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1998, page 123

302.  Sketches of Jewish Social Life in the Days of Christ, by Alfred Edersheim, Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1984, page 15.

303.  Acts 13-28, by John MacArthur, Moody Publishers, Chicago, Illinois, 1996, page 40.

304.  Paul, by Beth Moore, B&H Publishing Company, Nashville, Tennessee, 2010, page 92.

305.  Ibid, page 95.

306.  The Jewish Roots of Acts 1-15, by Joseph Shulam, Netivyah Bible Instruction Ministry, Jerusalem, Isra’el, 2012, page 764.

307.  Acts 13-28, by John MacArthur, Moody Publishers, Chicago, Illinois, 1996, page 46.

308.  Paul, by Beth Moore, B&H Publishing Company, Nashville, Tennessee, 2010, page 95.

309.  Acts 13-28, by John MacArthur, Moody Publishers, Chicago, Illinois, 1996, page 46.

310.  The Jewish Roots of Acts 1-15, by Joseph Shulam, Netivyah Bible Instruction Ministry, Jerusalem, Isra’el, 2012, page 772.

311.  Paul, by Beth Moore, B&H Publishing Company, Nashville, Tennessee, 2010, page 101.

312.  Be Dynamic, NT Commentary on Acts 13-28, by Warren Wiersbe, David Cook, Colorado Springs, Colorado, 1988, page 20.

313.  Acts, by I. Howard Marshall, TNTC, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1996, pages 234-235.

314.  Be Dynamic, NT Commentary on Acts 13-28, by Warren Wiersbe, David Cook, Colorado Springs, Colorado, 1988, page 20.

315.  Acts, by John Polhill, The New American Commentary, Volume 26, Broadman Press, Nashville, Tennessee, 1992, page 313.

316.  The Message of Acts, by John Stott, Inter-Varsity Press, Downers Grove, Illinois, 1990, pages 230-231.

317.  The Acts of the Apostles, by Ben Witherington III, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1998, pages 421 and 424.

318.  The Message of Acts, by John Stott, Inter-Varsity Press, Downers Grove, Illinois, 1990, pages 231.

319.  Manners and Customs of the Bible, by James Freeman, Logos International, Plainfield, New Jersey, 1972, page 444.

320.  The Purpose Driven Life, by Rick Warren, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 2002, page 274.

321.  Be Dynamic, NT Commentary on Acts 13-28, by Warren Wiersbe, David Cook, Colorado Springs, Colorado, 1988, page 21.

322.  act14.mp3, Arnold Fruchtenbaum.

323.  The Book of Acts, The Smart Guide to the Bible, by Robert Girard, Thomas Nelson, Nashville, Tennessee, 2007, page 173.

324.  Acts, by John Polhill, The New American Commentary, Volume 26, Broadman Press, Nashville, Tennessee, 1992, page 318.

325.  Verse by Verse Commentary on Acts, by David Guzik, Enduring Word Commentary Series, Simi Valley, California, 2000, page 163.

326.  Paul, by Beth Moore, B&H Publishing Company, Nashville, Tennessee, 2010, page 107.

327.  Acts, by John Polhill, The New American Commentary, Volume 26, Broadman Press, Nashville, Tennessee, 1992, page 320.

328.  Be Dynamic, NT Commentary on Acts 13-28, by Warren Wiersbe, David Cook, Colorado Springs, Colorado, 1988, page 23.

329.  Paul, by Beth Moore, B&H Publishing Company, Nashville, Tennessee, 2010, page 108.

330.  The Jewish New Testament Commentary, by David Stern, Jewish New Testament Publications, Clarksville, Maryland, 1992, page 273.

331.  Acts 13-28, by John MacArthur, Moody Publishers, Chicago, Illinois, 1996, page 61.

332.  The Jewish New Testament Commentary, by David Stern, Jewish New Testament Publications, Clarksville, Maryland, 1992, pages 273-275.

333.  Acts, by I. Howard Marshall, TNTC, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1996, page 249.

334.  Acts, by Darrell Bock, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament, Baker Academic, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 2007, page 496.

335.  Roman Catholicism, by Loraine Boettner, The Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company, Phillipsburg, New Jersey, 1962, 104 to 122.

336.  Charismatic Chaos, by John MacArthur, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1992, page 213.

337.  The Acts of the Apostles, by Ben Witherington III, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1998, pages 458-459.

338.  Acts, by Darrell Bock, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament, Baker Academic, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 2007, page 503.

339.  act15.mp3, Arnold Fruchtenbaum.

340.  The Jewish New Testament Commentary, by David Stern, Jewish New Testament Publications, Clarksville, Maryland, 1992, page 277.

341.  The Return of the Kosher Pig, by Rabbi Itzhak Shapira, Lederer Books, a division of Messianic Jewish Publishers, Clarksville, Maryland, 2013, pages 10-14.

342.  Paul, by Beth Moore, B&H Publishing Company, Nashville, Tennessee, 2010, page 118.

343.  The Message of Acts, by John Stott, Inter-Varsity Press, Downers Grove, Illinois, 1990, page 250.

344.  The Jewish New Testament Commentary, by David Stern, Jewish New Testament Publications, Clarksville, Maryland, 1992, page 280.

345.  The Jewish Roots of Acts 1-15, by Joseph Shulam, Netivyah Bible Instruction Ministry, Jerusalem, Isra’el, 2012, page 847.

346.  Verse by Verse Commentary on Acts, by David Guzik, Enduring Word Commentary Series, Simi Valley, California, 2000, pages 174-175.

347.  Acts, by Darrell Bock, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament, Baker Academic, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 2007, page 514.

348.  Acts 13-28, by John MacArthur, Moody Publishers, Chicago, Illinois, 1996, page 75.

349.  Acts, by John Polhill, The New American Commentary, Volume 26, Broadman Press, Nashville, Tennessee, 1992, pages 339.

350.  The Acts of the Apostles, G. Campbell Morgan, Amazon reprint, 2012.

351.  The Message of Acts, by John Stott, Inter-Varsity Press, Downers Grove, IL, 1990, page 258.

352.  Acts, by John Polhill, The New American Commentary, Vol 26, Broadman Press, Nashville, TN, 1992, pages 340.

353.  The Book of Acts, The Smart Guide to the Bible, by Robert Girard, Thomas Nelson, Nashville, T, 2007, ps 186-187.

354.  Acts, by I. Howard Marshall, TNTC, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1996, pages 257-258.

355.  The Book of Acts, The Smart Guide to the Bible, by Robert Girard, Thomas Nelson, Nashville, TN, 2007, page 187.

356.  Verse by Verse Commentary on Acts, by David Guzik, Enduring Word Commentary Series, Simi Valley, California, 2000, page 176.

357.  The Jewish Roots of Acts 1-15, by Joseph Shulam, Netivyah Bible Instruction Ministry, Jerusalem, Isra’el, 2012, page 856.

358.  Be Dynamic, NT Commentary on Acts 13-28, by Warren Wiersbe, David Cook, Colorado Springs, Colorado, 1988, page 43.

359.  The Acts of the Apostles, by Ben Witherington III, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, MI, 1998, page 473.

360.  Be Dynamic, NT Commentary on Acts 13-28, by Warren Wiersbe, David Cook, Colorado Springs, Colorado, 1988, page 43.

361.  Paul, by Beth Moore, B&H Publishing Company, Nashville, Tennessee, 2010, pages 131-132.

362.  The Book of Acts, The Smart Guide to the Bible, by Robert Girard, Thomas Nelson, Nashville, TN, 2007, page 191.

363.  act16.mp3, Arnold Fruchtenbaum.

364.  The Jewish New Testament Commentary, by David Stern, Jewish New Testament Publications, Clarksville, Maryland, 1992, pages 281-283.

365.  Be Dynamic, NT Commentary on Acts 13-28, by Warren Wiersbe, David Cook, Colorado Springs, Colorado, 1988, page 44.

366.  The Acts of the Apostles, by Ben Witherington III, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, MI, 1998, page 477.

367.  Ibid, pages 484-485.

368.  Paul, by Beth Moore, B&H Publishing Company, Nashville, Tennessee, 2010, page 142.

369.  The Book of Acts, The Smart Guide to the Bible, by Robert Girard, Thomas Nelson, Nashville, Tennessee, 2007, page 195.

370.  The Jewish New Testament Commentary, by David Stern, Jewish New Testament Publications, Clarksville, Maryland, 1992, page 284.

371.  Acts 13-28, by John MacArthur, Moody Publishers, Chicago, Illinois, 1996, page 92.

372.  Paul, by Beth Moore, B&H Publishing Company, Nashville, Tennessee, 2010, page 145.

373.  act 16.mp3, Arnold Fruchtenbaum.

374.  Acts 13-28, by John MacArthur, Moody Publishers, Chicago, Illinois, 1996, page 93.

375.  Acts, by I. Howard Marshall, TNTC, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1996, page 267.

376.  Acts 13-28, by John MacArthur, Moody Publishers, Chicago, Illinois, 1996, pages 95-96.

377.  Be Dynamic, NT Commentary on Acts 13-28, by Warren Wiersbe, David Cook, Colorado Springs, Colorado, 1988, page 47.

378.  Acts 13-28, by John MacArthur, Moody Publishers, Chicago, Illinois, 1996, page 90.

379.  Ibid, page 96.

380.  Acts, by John Polhill, The New American Commentary, Volume 26, Broadman Press, Nashville, Tennessee, 1992, page 351.

381.  Verse by Verse Commentary on Acts, by David Guzik, Enduring Word Commentary Series, Simi Valley, California, 2000, pages 184-185.

382.  The Jewish Roots of Acts 16-28, by Joseph Shulam, Netivyah Bible Instruction Ministry, Jerusalem, Isra’el, 2012, page 903.

383.  The Acts of the Apostles, by Ben Witherington III, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, MI, 1998, page 501.

384.  act16.mp3, Arnold Fruchtenbaum.

385.  Acts 13-28, by John MacArthur, Moody Publishers, Chicago, Illinois, 1996, page 104.

386.  Ibid, page 105.

387.  Manners and Customs of the Bible, by James Freeman, Logos International, Plainfield, New Jersey, 1972, page 446.

388.  Paul, by Beth Moore, B&H Publishing Company, Nashville, Tennessee, 2010, page 153-154.

389.  Acts, by John Polhill, The New American Commentary, Volume 26, Broadman Press, Nashville, Tennessee, 1992, page 355.

390.  Acts 13-28, by John MacArthur, Moody Publishers, Chicago, Illinois, 1996, page 108-109.

391.  The Jewish Roots of Acts 16-28, by Joseph Shulam, Netivyah Bible Instruction Ministry, Jerusalem, Isra’el, 2012, page 917.

392.  Be Dynamic, NT Commentary on Acts 13-28, by Warren Wiersbe, David Cook, Colorado Springs, Colorado, 1988, page 49.

393.  Manners and Customs of the Bible, by James Freeman, Logos International, Plainfield, New Jersey, 1972, page 446.

394.  act16.mp3, Arnold Fruchtenbaum.

395.  The Message of Acts, by John Stott, Inter-Varsity Press, Downers Grove, IL, 1990, page 270.

396.  Paul, by Beth Moore, B&H Publishing Company, Nashville, Tennessee, 2010, page 156.

397.  The Acts of the Apostles, by Ben Witherington III, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1998, page 503.

398.  Ibid, page 503.

399. Ibid, page 504.

400.  The Jewish New Testament Commentary, by David Stern, Jewish New Testament Publications, Clarksville, Maryland, 1992, page 286.

  1. Acts 13-28, by John MacArthur, Moody Publishers, Chicago, Illinois, 1996, page 121.
  2. Charismatic Chaos, by John MacArthur, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1992, pages 46 and 64.
  3. The Message of Acts, by John Stott, Inter-Varsity Press, Downers Grove, Illinois, 1990, page 271.
  4. Acts, by I. Howard Marshall, TNTC, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1996, page 278.
  5. The Book of Acts, The Smart Guide to the Bible, by Robert Girard, Thomas Nelson, Nashville, Tennessee, 2007, page 210.
  6. Be Dynamic, NT Commentary on Acts 13-28, by Warren Wiersbe, David Cook, Colorado Springs, Colorado, 1988, page 55.
  7. The Book of Acts, The Smart Guide to the Bible, by Robert Girard, Thomas Nelson, Nashville, Tennessee, 2007, page 200.
  8. Be Dynamic, NT Commentary on Acts 13-28, by Warren Wiersbe, David Cook, Colorado Springs, Colorado, 1988, pages 56-57.
  9. act17.mp3, Arnold Fruchtenbaum.
  10. The Message of Acts, by John Stott, Inter-Varsity Press, Downers Grove, Illinois, 1990, page 276.
  11. Acts 13-28, by John MacArthur, Moody Publishers, Chicago, Illinois, 1996, pages 130-131.
  12. The Jewish New Testament Commentary, by David Stern, Jewish New Testament Publications, Clarksville, Maryland, 1992, page 288.
  13. act 17.mp3, Arnold Fruchtenbaum.
  14. act 17.mp3, Arnold Fruchtenbaum.
  15. Answers to Tough Questions, by J. Carl Laney, WIPF & Stock, Eugene, Oregon, 1997, page 248.
  16. Acts, by I. Howard Marshall, TNTC, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1996, pages 282-283.
  17. Acts 13-28, by John MacArthur, Moody Publishers, Chicago, Illinois, 1996, pages 132-134.
  18. The Purpose Driven Life, by Rick Warren, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 2002, pages 23-24.
  19. Be Dynamic, NT Commentary on Acts 13-28, by Warren Wiersbe, David Cook, Colorado Springs, Colorado, 1988, page 63.
  20. Paul, by Beth Moore, B&H Publishing Company, Nashville, Tennessee, 2010, page 174.
  21. The Jewish New Testament Commentary, by David Stern, Jewish New Testament Publications, Clarksville, Maryland, 1992, page 289.
  22. The Message of Acts, by John Stott, Inter-Varsity Press, Downers Grove, Illinois, 1990, page 293.
  23. The Book of Acts, The Smart Guide to the Bible, by Robert Girard, Thomas Nelson, Nashville, Tennessee, 2007, page 221-222.
  24. Acts 13-28, by John MacArthur, Moody Publishers, Chicago, Illinois, 1996, page 146.
  25. Acts, by I. Howard Marshall, TNTC, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1996, page 292.
  26. Ibid, page 293.
  27. act 18.mp3, Arnold Fruchtenbaum.
  28. The Jewish New Testament Commentary, by David Stern, Jewish New Testament Publications, Clarksville, Maryland, 1992, page 289.
  29. act 18.mp3, Arnold Fruchtenbaum.
  30. The Jewish Roots of Acts 16-28, by Joseph Shulam, Netivyah Bible Instruction Ministry, Jerusalem, Isra’el, 2012, pages 1004-1005.
  31. Acts, by I. Howard Marshall, TNTC, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1996, page 298.
  32. The Message of Acts, by John Stott, Inter-Varsity Press, Downers Grove, Illinois, 1990, page 300.
  33. Be Dynamic, NT Commentary on Acts 13-28, by Warren Wiersbe, David Cook, Colorado Springs, Colorado, 1988, page 75.
  34. Acts, by John Polhill, The New American Commentary, Volume 26, Broadman Press, Nashville, Tennessee, 1992, page 389.
  35. The Jewish Roots of Acts 16-28, by Joseph Shulam, Netivyah Bible Instruction Ministry, Jerusalem, Isra’el, 2012, page 1013.
  36. The Jewish New Testament Commentary, by David Stern, Jewish New Testament Publications, Clarksville, Maryland, 1992, pages 290-291.
  37. Acts, by John Polhill, The New American Commentary, Volume 26, Broadman Press, Nashville, Tennessee, 1992, page 390.
  38. Paul, by Beth Moore, B&H Publishing Company, Nashville, Tennessee, 2010, page 194.
  39. Acts, by John Polhill, The New American Commentary, Volume 26, Broadman Press, Nashville, Tennessee, 1992, page 394.
  40. The Acts of the Apostles, by Ben Witherington III, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1998, page 562.
  41. Acts, by Darrell Bock, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament, Baker Academic, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 2007, page 589.
  42. Acts, by John Polhill, The New American Commentary, Volume 26, Broadman Press, Nashville, Tennessee, 1992, pages 395-396.
  43. The Book of Acts, The Smart Guide to the Bible, by Robert Girard, Thomas Nelson, Nashville, Tennessee, 2007, page 235.
  44. The Letters to the Churches, by William Ramsey, Sheffield Press, Sheffield England, 1986, page 211.
  45. Acts, by John Polhill, The New American Commentary, Volume 26, Broadman Press, Nashville, Tennessee, 1992, pages 394-395.
  46. The Book of Revelation, by Robert Mounce, Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1977, page 86.
  47. Revelation 1-11, by John MacArthur, Moody Press, Chicago, Illinois, 1999, page 58.
  48. A Commentary on the Revelation of John, by George Ladd, Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1972, page 37.
  49. Revelation 1-11, by John MacArthur, Moody Press, Chicago, Illinois, 1999, page 58.
  50. Acts, by John Polhill, The New American Commentary, Volume 26, Broadman Press, Nashville, Tennessee, 1992, page 398.
  51. Paul, by Beth Moore, B&H Publishing Company, Nashville, Tennessee, 2010, page 198.
  52. Charismatic Chaos, by John MacArthur, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1992, page 226.
  53. act19.mp3, Arnold Fruchtenbaum.
  54. The Jewish New Testament Commentary, by David Stern, Jewish New Testament Publications, Clarksville, Maryland, 1992, page 292.
  55. Answers to Tough Questions, by J. Carl Laney, WIPF & Stock, Eugene, Oregon, 1997, page 249.
  56. Acts 13-28, by John MacArthur, Moody Publishers, Chicago, Illinois, 1996, page 174.
  57. The Jewish New Testament Commentary, by David Stern, Jewish New Testament Publications, Clarksville, Maryland, 1992, page 293.
  58. Charismatic Chaos, by John MacArthur, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1992, pages 202-203.
  59. Acts 13-28, by John MacArthur, Moody Publishers, Chicago, Illinois, 1996, page 174-175.
  60. Acts, by I. Howard Marshall, TNTC, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1996, pages 310-311.
  61. act19.mp3, Arnold Fruchtenbaum.
  62. Acts, by I. Howard Marshall, TNTC, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1996, pages 312.
  63. The Jewish New Testament Commentary, by David Stern, Jewish New Testament Publications, Clarksville, Maryland, 1992, page 296.
  64. Acts 13-28, by John MacArthur, Moody Publishers, Chicago, Illinois, 1996, pages 181-182.
  65. Paul, by Beth Moore, B&H Publishing Company, Nashville, Tennessee, 2010, page 212.
  66. Acts 13-28, by John MacArthur, Moody Publishers, Chicago, Illinois, 1996, pages 180-181.
  67. Acts, by John Polhill, The New American Commentary, Volume 26, Broadman Press, Nashville, Tennessee, 1992, page 409.
  68. The Book of Acts, The Smart Guide to the Bible, by Robert Girard, Thomas Nelson, Nashville, Tennessee, 2007, page 244.
  69. Verse by Verse Commentary on Acts, by David Guzik, Enduring Word Commentary Series, Simi Valley, California, 2000, page 217.
  70. The Book of Acts, The Smart Guide to the Bible, by Robert Girard, Thomas Nelson, Nashville, Tennessee, 2007, page 244.
  71. act18.mp3, Arnold Fruchtenbaum.
  72. Acts 13-28, by John MacArthur, Moody Publishers, Chicago, Illinois, 1996, page 188.
  73. Acts 13-28, by John MacArthur, Moody Publishers, Chicago, Illinois, 1996, pages 189-190.
  74. Be Dynamic, NT Commentary on Acts 13-28, by Warren Wiersbe, David Cook, Colorado Springs, Colorado, 1988, page 91.
  75. Ibid, pages 95-96.
  76. The Message of Acts, by John Stott, Inter-Varsity Press, Downers Grove, Illinois, 1990, page 317.
  77. Be Dynamic, NT Commentary on Acts 13-28, by Warren Wiersbe, David Cook, Colorado Springs, Colorado, 1988, page 97.
  78. The Jewish New Testament Commentary, by David Stern, Jewish New Testament Publications, Clarksville, Maryland, 1992, page 293.
  79. Paul, by Beth Moore, B&H Publishing Company, Nashville, Tennessee, 2010, page 228.
  80. The Jewish New Testament Commentary, by David Stern, Jewish New Testament Publications, Clarksville, Maryland, 1992, page 298.
  81. Acts, by John Polhill, The New American Commentary, Volume 26, Broadman Press, Nashville, Tennessee, 1992, page 425.
  82. The Purpose Driven Life, by Rick Warren, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 2002, page 285.
  83. Paul, by Beth Moore, B&H Publishing Company, Nashville, Tennessee, 2010, page 231.
  84. Acts, by John Polhill, The New American Commentary, Volume 26, Broadman Press, Nashville, Tennessee, 1992, page 428.
  85. Acts 13-28, by John MacArthur, Moody Publishers, Chicago, Illinois, 1996, pages 230-231.
  86. Paul, by Beth Moore, B&H Publishing Company, Nashville, Tennessee, 2010, page 231.
  87. Ibid, page 245.
  88. act21.mp3, Arnold Fruchtenbaum.
  89. Acts 13-28, by John MacArthur, Moody Publishers, Chicago, Illinois, 1996, page 239.
  90. Acts 13-28, by John MacArthur, Moody Publishers, Chicago, Illinois, 1996, page 239-240.
  91. The Message of Acts, by John Stott, Inter-Varsity Press, Downers Grove, Illinois, 1990, page 333.
  92. Ibid, page 315.
  93. Acts, by John Polhill, The New American Commentary, Volume 26, Broadman Press, Nashville, Tennessee, 1992, page 437.
  94. Paul, by Beth Moore, B&H Publishing Company, Nashville, Tennessee, 2010, page 252.
  95. Acts, by John Polhill, The New American Commentary, Volume 26, Broadman Press, Nashville, Tennessee, 1992, pages 439-440.
  96. Ibid, page 445.
  97. The Acts of the Apostles, by Ben Witherington III, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1998, page 643.
  98. Acts, by John Polhill, The New American Commentary, Volume 26, Broadman Press, Nashville, Tennessee, 1992, page 447.
  99. The Jewish New Testament Commentary, by David Stern, Jewish New Testament Publications, Clarksville, Maryland, 1992, page 302-303.
  100. Paul, by Beth Moore, B&H Publishing Company, Nashville, Tennessee, 2010, page 256.
  101. The Messiah in the Temple, by Roger Liebi, Christlicher Medien-Vertrieb, Dusseldorf, Germany, 2012, page 377.
  102. Josephus, Wars 2.15.1
  103. Acts 13-28, by John MacArthur, Moody Publishers, Chicago, Illinois, 1996, page 252.
  104. The Messiah in the Temple, by Roger Liebi, Christlicher Medien-Vertrieb, Dusseldorf, Germany, 2012, page 380.
  105. Ibid, page 377.
  106. Ibid, pages 168-170.
  107. Acts, by Darrell Bock, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament, Baker Academic, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 2007, pages 648-649.
  108. Paul, by Beth Moore, B&H Publishing Company, Nashville, Tennessee, 2010, page 258.
  109. Acts 13-28, by John MacArthur, Moody Publishers, Chicago, Illinois, 1996, page 257.
  110. act21.mp3, Arnold Fruchtenbaum.
  111. The Jewish Roots of Acts 16-28, by Joseph Shulam, Netivyah Bible Instruction Ministry, Jerusalem, Isra’el, 2012, page 1199.
  112. The Acts of the Apostles, by Ben Witherington III, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1998, page 657.
  113. Acts 13-28, by John MacArthur, Moody Publishers, Chicago, Illinois, 1996, pages 260-261.
  114. Acts, by Darrell Bock, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament, Baker Academic, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 2007, page 653.
  115. The Message of Acts, by John Stott, Inter-Varsity Press, Downers Grove, Illinois, 1990, pages 336-337.
  116. Paul, by Beth Moore, B&H Publishing Company, Nashville, Tennessee, 2010, page 261.
  117. The Jewish New Testament Commentary, by David Stern, Jewish New Testament Publications, Clarksville, Maryland, 1992, page 305.
  118. The Jewish Roots of Acts 16-28, by Joseph Shulam, Netivyah Bible Instruction Ministry, Jerusalem, Isra’el, 2012, pages 1209-1210.
  119. Manners and Customs of the Bible, by James Freeman, Logos International, Plainfield, New Jersey, 1972, page 453.
  120. The Jewish New Testament Commentary, by David Stern, Jewish New Testament Publications, Clarksville, Maryland, 1992, page 306.
  121. Answers to Tough Questions, by J. Carl Laney, WIPF & Stock, Eugene, Oregon, 1997, page 250.
  122. The Jewish Roots of Acts 16-28, by Joseph Shulam, Netivyah Bible Instruction Ministry, Jerusalem, Isra’el, 2012, page 1214.
  123. Acts 13-28, by John MacArthur, Moody Publishers, Chicago, Illinois, 1996, pages 269-270.
  124. The Jewish New Testament Commentary, by David Stern, Jewish New Testament Publications, Clarksville, Maryland, 1992, page 307.
  125. Acts, by John Polhill, The New American Commentary, Volume 26, Broadman Press, Nashville, Tennessee, 1992, page 463.
  126. Paul, by Beth Moore, B&H Publishing Company, Nashville, Tennessee, 2010, page 265-266 and 268.
  127. Paul, by Beth Moore, B&H Publishing Company, Nashville, Tennessee, 2010, page 271.
  128. The Message of Acts, by John Stott, Inter-Varsity Press, Downers Grove, Illinois, 1990, page 348.
  129. The Jewish Roots of Acts 16-28, by Joseph Shulam, Netivyah Bible Instruction Ministry, Jerusalem, Isra’el, 2012, pages 1223-1224.
  130. The Acts of the Apostles, by Ben Witherington III, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1998, pages 675 and 677.
  131. The Message of Acts, by John Stott, Inter-Varsity Press, Downers Grove, Illinois, 1990, page 349.
  132. The Jewish New Testament Commentary, by David Stern, Jewish New Testament Publications, Clarksville, Maryland, 1992, page 308.
  133. Acts, by John Polhill, The New American Commentary, Volume 26, Broadman Press, Nashville, Tennessee, 1992, page 465.
  134. The Acts of the Apostles, by Ben Witherington III, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1998, page 681.
  135. Acts, by John Polhill, The New American Commentary, Volume 26, Broadman Press, Nashville, Tennessee, 1992, page 466.
  136. Acts 13-28, by John MacArthur, Moody Publishers, Chicago, Illinois, 1996, page 273.
  137. The Acts of the Apostles, by Ben Witherington III, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1998, pages 679-684.
  138. Paul, by Beth Moore, B&H Publishing Company, Nashville, Tennessee, 2010, page 272.
  139. Acts 13-28, by John MacArthur, Moody Publishers, Chicago, Illinois, 1996, pages 276-277.
  140. Acts, by I. Howard Marshall, TNTC, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1996, page 362.
  141. act23.mp3, Arnold Fruchtenbaum.
  142. The Message of Acts, by John Stott, Inter-Varsity Press, Downers Grove, Illinois, 1990, pages 351-352.
  143. The Acts of the Apostles, by Ben Witherington III, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1998, page 123.
  144. The Jewish Roots of Acts 16-28, by Joseph Shulam, Netivyah Bible Instruction Ministry, Jerusalem, Isra’el, 2012, page 1243-1244.
  145. Acts, by John Polhill, The New American Commentary, Volume 26, Broadman Press, Nashville, Tennessee, 1992, pages 469-470.
  146. Paul, by Beth Moore, B&H Publishing Company, Nashville, Tennessee, 2010, page 282.
  147. Be Dynamic, NT Commentary on Acts 13-28, by Warren Wiersbe, David Cook, Colorado Springs, Colorado, 1988, page 129.
  148. The Jewish New Testament Commentary, by David Stern, Jewish New Testament Publications, Clarksville, Maryland, 1992, page 309.
  149. Ibid, page 310.
  150. Acts 13-28, by John MacArthur, Moody Publishers, Chicago, Illinois, 1996, page 293.
  151. Acts, by John Polhill, The New American Commentary, Volume 26, Broadman Press, Nashville, Tennessee, 1992, page 473.
  152. Acts, by I. Howard Marshall, TNTC, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1996, page 369.
  153. Be Dynamic, NT Commentary on Acts 13-28, by Warren Wiersbe, David Cook, Colorado Springs, Colorado, 1988, page 130.
  154. Acts, by Darrell Bock, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament, Baker Academic, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 2007, pages 678-679.
  155. Paul, by Beth Moore, B&H Publishing Company, Nashville, Tennessee, 2010, page 286.
  156. Acts, by John Polhill, The New American Commentary, Volume 26, Broadman Press, Nashville, Tennessee, 1992, page 477.
  157. The Jewish Roots of Acts 16-28, by Joseph Shulam, Netivyah Bible Instruction Ministry, Jerusalem, Isra’el, 2012, page 1272.
  158. Acts, by John Polhill, The New American Commentary, Volume 26, Broadman Press, Nashville, Tennessee, 1992, page 477.
  159. The Jewish Roots of Acts 16-28, by Joseph Shulam, Netivyah Bible Instruction Ministry, Jerusalem, Isra’el, 2012, pages 1273-1274.
  160. Acts 13-28, by John MacArthur, Moody Publishers, Chicago, Illinois, 1996, page 296.
  161. The Jewish New Testament Commentary, by David Stern, Jewish New Testament Publications, Clarksville, Maryland, 1992, page 310.
  162. The Jewish Roots of Acts 16-28, by Joseph Shulam, Netivyah Bible Instruction Ministry, Jerusalem, Isra’el, 2012, pages 1278.
  163. Acts, by Darrell Bock, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament, Baker Academic, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 2007, page 684.
  164. Paul, by Beth Moore, B&H Publishing Company, Nashville, Tennessee, 2010, page 290.
  165. Acts 13-28, by John MacArthur, Moody Publishers, Chicago, Illinois, 1996, page 301.
  166. Ibid, page 303.
  167. Acts, by John Polhill, The New American Commentary, Volume 26, Broadman Press, Nashville, Tennessee, 1992, page 480.
  168. The Jewish New Testament Commentary, by David Stern, Jewish New Testament Publications, Clarksville, Maryland, 1992, page 312.
  169. Acts, by John Polhill, The New American Commentary, Volume 26, Broadman Press, Nashville, Tennessee, 1992, page 483-484.
  170. act24.mp3, Arnold Fruchtenbaum.
  171. Paul, by Beth Moore, B&H Publishing Company, Nashville, Tennessee, 2010, page 293.
  172. Acts, by John Polhill, The New American Commentary, Volume 26, Broadman Press, Nashville, Tennessee, 1992, page 485.
  173. christianheritagefellowship.com
  174. Paul, by Beth Moore, B&H Publishing Company, Nashville, Tennessee, 2010, page 26.
  175. Be Dynamic, NT Commentary on Acts 13-28, by Warren Wiersbe, David Cook, Colorado Springs, Colorado, 1988, page 149.
  176. The Acts of the Apostles, by Ben Witherington III, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1998, page 718.
  177. Acts, by Darrell Bock, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament, Baker Academic, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 2007, page 701.
  178. Acts, by John Polhill, The New American Commentary, Volume 26, Broadman Press, Nashville, Tennessee, 1992, page 488-490.
  179. act25.mp3, Arnold Fruchtenbaum.
  180. The Acts of the Apostles, by Ben Witherington III, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1998, page 718.
  181. Acts, by John Polhill, The New American Commentary, Volume 26, Broadman Press, Nashville, Tennessee, 1992, page 491-492.
  182. The Acts of the Apostles, by Ben Witherington III, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1998, pages 724-725.
  183. Ibid, pages 726-727.
  184. act25.mp3, Arnold Fruchtenbaum.
  185. Acts, by John Polhill, The New American Commentary, Volume 26, Broadman Press, Nashville, Tennessee, 1992, page 494.
  186. Be Dynamic, NT Commentary on Acts 13-28, by Warren Wiersbe, David Cook, Colorado Springs, Colorado, 1988, page 152.
  187. act25.mp3, Arnold Fruchtenbaum.
  188. Acts 13-28, by John MacArthur, Moody Publishers, Chicago, Illinois, 1996, page 329.
  189. The Acts of the Apostles, by Ben Witherington III, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1998, page 731 and 734.
  190. Acts 13-28, by John MacArthur, Moody Publishers, Chicago, Illinois, 1996, page 330.
  191. The Book of Acts, The Smart Guide to the Bible, by Robert Girard, Thomas Nelson, Nashville, Tennessee, 2007, page 303.
  192. Acts, by John Polhill, The New American Commentary, Volume 26, Broadman Press, Nashville, Tennessee, 1992, page 495-496.
  193. Abid, page 498.
  194. The Jewish New Testament Commentary, by David Stern, Jewish New Testament Publications, Clarksville, Maryland, 1992, page 315.
  195. act26.mp3, Arnold Fruchtenbaum.
  196. The Jewish New Testament Commentary, by David Stern, Jewish New Testament Publications, Clarksville, Maryland, 1992, page 317.
  197. Ibid, page 318.
  198. Acts, by John Polhill, The New American Commentary, Volume 26, Broadman Press, Nashville, Tennessee, 1992, page 508.
  199. The Jewish New Testament Commentary, by David Stern, Jewish New Testament Publications, Clarksville, Maryland, 1992, page 319.
  200. Acts, by John Polhill, The New American Commentary, Volume 26, Broadman Press, Nashville, Tennessee, 1992, page 509.
  201. act26.mp3, Arnold Fruchtenbaum.
  202. Acts, by John Polhill, The New American Commentary, Volume 26, Broadman Press, Nashville, Tennessee, 1992, page 510.
  203. Paul, by Beth Moore, B&H Publishing Company, Nashville, Tennessee, 2010, pages 303-306.
  204. Acts, by John Polhill, The New American Commentary, Volume 26, Broadman Press, Nashville, Tennessee, 1992, page 511.
  205. Ibid, pages 511-512.
  206. Roman Catholicism, by Loraine Boettner, The Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company, Phillipsburg, New Jersey, 1962, 104 to 122.
  207. Acts, by John Polhill, The New American Commentary, Volume 26, Broadman Press, Nashville, Tennessee, 1992, page 514.
  208. The Jewish Roots of Acts 16-28, by Joseph Shulam, Netivyah Bible Instruction Ministry, Jerusalem, Isra’el, 2012, pages 1422-1423.
  209. Verse by Verse Commentary on Acts, by David Guzik, Enduring Word Commentary Series, Simi Valley, California, 2000, page 272.
  210. Acts, by John Polhill, The New American Commentary, Volume 26, Broadman Press, Nashville, Tennessee, 1992, page 517.
  211. The Book of Acts, The Smart Guide to the Bible, by Robert Girard, Thomas Nelson, Nashville, Tennessee, 2007, page 317.
  212. The Jewish Roots of Acts 16-28, by Joseph Shulam, Netivyah Bible Instruction Ministry, Jerusalem, Isra’el, 2012, pages 1432.
  213. Acts, by Darrell Bock, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament, Baker Academic, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 2007, page 733.
  214. The Acts of the Apostles, by Ben Witherington III, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1998, page 636 and 639.
  215. Acts 13-28, by John MacArthur, Moody Publishers, Chicago, Illinois, 1996, page 350.
  216. The Jewish Roots of Acts 16-28, by Joseph Shulam, Netivyah Bible Instruction Ministry, Jerusalem, Isra’el, 2012, page 1452.
  217. Acts, by John Polhill, The New American Commentary, Volume 26, Broadman Press, Nashville, Tennessee, 1992, page 521-522.
  218. The Message of Acts, by John Stott, Inter-Varsity Press, Downers Grove, Illinois, 1990, pages 389-390.
  219. Be Dynamic, NT Commentary on Acts 13-28, by Warren Wiersbe, David Cook, Colorado Springs, Colorado, 1988, page 167.
  220. Verse by Verse Commentary on Acts, by David Guzik, Enduring Word Commentary Series, Simi Valley, California, 2000, page 275.
  221. The Jewish Roots of Acts 16-28, by Joseph Shulam, Netivyah Bible Instruction Ministry, Jerusalem, Isra’el, 2012, page 1458.
  222. Acts, by John Polhill, The New American Commentary, Volume 26, Broadman Press, Nashville, Tennessee, 1992, pages 523-524.
  223. Paul, by Beth Moore, B&H Publishing Company, Nashville, Tennessee, 2010, pages 313-316.
  224. Acts 13-28, by John MacArthur, Moody Publishers, Chicago, Illinois, 1996, page 353.
  225. The Jewish New Testament Commentary, by David Stern, Jewish New Testament Publications, Clarksville, Maryland, 1992, page 321.
  226. Acts, by Darrell Bock, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament, Baker Academic, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 2007, page 739.
  227. Acts, by John Polhill, The New American Commentary, Volume 26, Broadman Press, Nashville, Tennessee, 1992, pages 526-527.
  228. Manners and Customs of the Bible, by James Freeman, Logos International, Plainfield, New Jersey, 1972, page 455.
  229. The Jewish New Testament Commentary, by David Stern, Jewish New Testament Publications, Clarksville, Maryland, 1992, page 455.
  230. Acts, by I. Howard Marshall, TNTC, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1996, page 415.
  231. Paul, by Beth Moore, B&H Publishing Company, Nashville, Tennessee, 2010, pages 319-321.
  232. Acts 13-28, by John MacArthur, Moody Publishers, Chicago, Illinois, 1996, page 359.
  233. The Acts of the Apostles, by Ben Witherington III, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1998, pages 775-776.
  234. Verse by Verse Commentary on Acts, by David Guzik, Enduring Word Commentary Series, Simi Valley, California, 2000, page 280.
  235. Acts, by John Polhill, The New American Commentary, Volume 26, Broadman Press, Nashville, Tennessee, 1992, page 532-533.
  236. Acts, by I. Howard Marshall, TNTC, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1996, page 417.
  237. Acts, by Darrell Bock, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament, Baker Academic, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 2007, page 744.
  238. Acts 13-28, by John MacArthur, Moody Publishers, Chicago, Illinois, 1996, page 363.
  239. Acts, by John Polhill, The New American Commentary, Volume 26, Broadman Press, Nashville, Tennessee, 1992, page 534.
  240. Paul, by Beth Moore, B&H Publishing Company, Nashville, Tennessee, 2010, pages 329-330.
  241. Acts, by John Polhill, The New American Commentary, Volume 26, Broadman Press, Nashville, Tennessee, 1992, page 535.
  242. Manners and Customs of the Bible, by James Freeman, Logos International, Plainfield, New Jersey, 1972, page 455.
  243. Acts, by John Polhill, The New American Commentary, Volume 26, Broadman Press, Nashville, Tennessee, 1992, page 536.
  244. Verse by Verse Commentary on Acts, by David Guzik, Enduring Word Commentary Series, Simi Valley, California, 2000, page 281.
  245. Ibid, page 282.
  246. Acts, by Darrell Bock, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament, Baker Academic, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 2007, page 747.
  247. Paul, by Beth Moore, B&H Publishing Company, Nashville, Tennessee, 2010, pages 337-338.
  248. The Jewish New Testament Commentary, by David Stern, Jewish New Testament Publications, Clarksville, Maryland, 1992, page 322.
  249. The Jewish Roots of Acts, by Joseph Shaulam, Netivyah Bible Instruction Ministry, Jerusalem, Isra’el, 2003, pages xxxvi and xxxvii.
  250. The Jewish New Testament Commentary, by David Stern, Jewish New Testament Publications, Clarksville, Maryland, 1992, page 322.
  251. Ibid, pages 322-323.
  252. The Acts of the Apostles, by Ben Witherington III, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1998, page 123.
  253. The Jewish New Testament Commentary, by David Stern, Jewish New Testament Publications, Clarksville, Maryland, 1992, pages 323-324.
  254. Ibid, pages 324-325.
  255. The Message of Acts, by John Stott, Inter-Varsity Press, Downers Grove, Illinois, 1990, page 405.
  256. Walvoord and Zuck, The Bible Knowledge Commentary, Victor Books, Wheaton, Illinois, 1988, page 431.

 

2019-07-19T10:11:00+00:00 0 Comments

Dh – Glossary

Glossary

Abba: An Aramaic word used as an affectionate term of address to someone’s father. Yeshua used it to refer to God as His Father, and believers in Jesus also use it today to address God as Father. In modern Hebrew, this common name means Dad, Daddy, or Papa (also see Mark 14:36 and Romans 8:15).

Adar: the twelfth month of the Jewish biblical calendar.

Adonai: literally, my Lord, a word the TaNaKh uses to refer to God.

ADONAI: The Tetragrammaton, meaning the four-letter name of YHVH. Since its pronunciation is not known, and also out of respect for God’s name, Jews traditionally substitute the words ADONAI and Ha’Shem. ADONAI, however, is more of an affectionate name like daddy (also see Exodus 3:15; Jeremiah 1:9; Psalm 1:2, Matthew 1:22; Mark 5:19; Luke 1:5; John 1:23).

ADONAI Elohei-Tzva’ot: the LORD God of heaven’s angelic armies.

ADONAI Elohim: This is the Hebrew word for LORD God. This title links Isra’el’s God, the God of the Covenant, with God as Creator of the universe (also see Genesis 2:4; Isaiah 48:16; Psalm 72:18; Luke 1:32; Revelation 1:8).

ADONAI Nissi: the LORD my Banner (see Exodus 17:15; Psalm 20:1)

ADONAI Shalom: the LORD of Peace

ADONAI Tzidkenu: the LORD our Righteousness

ADONAI-Tzva’ot: The LORD of heaven’s angelic armies (see Second Kings 19:31; Psalm 24:10; Second Corinthians 6:18)

Adversary, the: Satan, the devil, the prince of the power of the air, or the old dragon

Afikomen: Literally, “That which comes after.” Piece of matzah that is hidden during the Seder, to be found and eaten after the third cup of redemption.

Amen: At the end of a prayer, this word means, “It is true,” or “Let it be so,” or “May it become true,” indicating that the readers or listeners agree with what has just been said. Although everything Yeshua said was true, “amen” adds special emphasis (also see Deuteronomy 27:25; Jeremiah 28:6; Psalm 41:14; Nehemiah 8:6; Matthew 5:26; Mark 10:15; Luke 23:43; John 10:1).

Ariel: lion of God, fireplace on God’s altar

Aviv: the first month of the biblical year, corresponding to the modern Jewish month of Nisan.

Avraham: Abraham.

Azazel: a scapegoat or goat demon sent out in the wilderness on Yom Kippur.

Ba’al: the chief male god of the Phoenicians and Canaanites. The word means lord or master.

Bar Mitzvah: Hebrew for “Son of the Commandment.” Although not specifically mentioned in the Bible, it is a Jewish coming of age ritual in which a young man, or Bat Mitzvah for a young woman, chooses to follow the commandments of their forefathers and takes responsibility for their own relationship with the God of Isra’el. This ceremony normally takes place at age 13 for boys or age 12 for girls. Afterwards, he/she is theoretically considered to be an adult, but in modern Judaism this is mostly symbolic, and a twelve-year-old is not treated like an adult.

Beit-Lechem: Bethlehem, birthplace of David and Yeshua, meaning house of bread.

Bnei-Yisrael: The children of Isar’el

B’rit Chadashah: Hebrew for the New Covenant. Christians commonly call it the New Testament.

Chesed: “mercy,” “lovingkindness,” and/or “covenant-loyalty.” It is a complex word that summarizes God’s complex and overwhelming love for His people, going beyond the concepts of love, mercy or kindness all together (also see Isaiah 63:7; Zechariah 7:1; Psalm 13:1; Psalm 86:1; Psalm 107:1; Psalm 118:1; Psalm 136:1).

Cohen of Ha’Elyon: Priest of the God Most High

Cohen Rosh Gadol: The Great High Priest who served as the head religious official, the only one to enter the Most Holy Place. Aaron, the brother of Moses, was the first man appointed as the cohen gadol. In later times, the cohen gadol was in charge of the Temple and its administration. The kohen gadol Caiaphas, played a key role in questioning Yeshua at His trial. The writer of Hebrews describes Messiah as our great Cohen Gadol, who gives us access to God’s throne in the heavenly sanctuary (also see Leviticus 21:10; Haggai 1:14; Nehemiah 3:1; Matthew 26:57ff; Mark 14:61ff; John 18:19ff; Hebrews 4:14ff and 10:19-22).

Cohen: A priest, a man who offered sacrifices and performed other religious rituals at the Temple in Jerusalem.

Cohanim: The cohanim were descended from Aaron, the brother of Moses. The Sadducees were from the priestly sect of Judaism.

Covenant: Theologically, it speaks of the contractual relationship between God and His people. The Hebrew term is b’rit. Also see B’rit Chadashah, Hebrew for New Covenant (see Genesis 6:18 and 17:2; Jeremiah 31:30; Nehemiah 9:32; Matthew 26:28; Mark 14:24; Luke 1:72).

Diaspora, the Dispersion: the scattering of the Jewish people in exile throughout the world. Today over 6 million Jews live in Isra’el, and over 8 million Jews live in the Diaspora (also see Isaiah 11:10; John 7:35).

Echad: The Hebrew word for “one” or “unity.” Echad is used in the Shema (Deuteronomy 6:4).

Elyon: A title for God, meaning the Most High God (see Luke 1:35 and 76; Acts 7:48). A longer form is El Elyon, God Most High (also see Deuteronomy 32:8; Isaiah 14:14; Psalm 91:1; Acts 16:17).

Elohim: God” in general terms, or as Creator. Compare with ADONAI, God’s “covenant name” used especially in His relationship to the Jewish people. Elohim is the plural form of El, also found in the Bible occasionally with the same meaning. Yeshua is sometimes called Ben-Elohim, the Son of God (also see Genesis 2:19; Isaiah 61:11; Matthew 4:3; Mark 1:1; Luke 1:35; John 11:4).

El Shaddai: God Almighty

Emissaries: Apostles

Eretz Isra’el: The land of Isra’el (First Samuel 13:19)

God-fearers: There were three levels of Gentile relationship to Judaism. God-fearers was the first level. These were Gentiles who became convinced that ADONAI was the only true God, they abandoned their paganism and idolatry, but they did not choose to become a proselyte in any form, and hence there was no adoption of Jewish customs or practices (see Be – The Centurion’s Vision).

Goyim: Nations, non-Jews, Gentiles

Gehenna: The word for “hell,” the place of perpetual misery and suffering after this life. It comes from the Greek word Genna and the Hebrew word Gei-Hinnom, which means the valley of Hinnom. There was actually such a valley by that name south of the Temple in Jerusalem. It was used as a garbage dump, and fires were always burning there, making it a suitable picture of life in hell. In Jewish sources, the term is used as the opposite of Gan-Eden, or the garden of Eden or Paradise (Matthew 23:33; Mark 9:43).

Gentiles: A term for individuals or people groups who are not Jewish. In Hebrew a common word for Gentile is goy or goyim is the plural form (see Isaiah 8:23; Matthew 10:18; Mark 10:33).

Go’el: Literally, a redeemer, used both for God and of people. In the book of Ruth, go’el means the kinsman-redeemer, a close relative obligated to defend and protect his kin. The go’el could buy back (redeem) land or someone who sold himself into slavery, and could marry a widow in the family in order to protect her future. The human go’el is a picture of God the greater Go’el who protects and redeems us, the members of His family (see Ruth 3:9-12).

Halakhah: The term comes from the Hebrew root to walk and refers generally to the body of legal rulings from the Oral Law (see the commentary on The Life of Christ Ei – The Oral Law), or the rules governing Jewish life. One halakhah is a specific ruling given regarding a particular issue, “the halakhah” being the ruling accepted and observed by the entire non-messianic community.

Ha’Shem: The Tetragrammaton, meaning the four-letter name of YHVH. Since its pronunciation is not known, and also out of respect for God’s name, Jews traditionally substitute the words ADONAI and Ha’Shem. ADONAI, however, is more of an affectionate name like daddy. While ADONAI is more of an affectionate name like daddy, while Ha’Shem is a more formal name like sir (also see Exodus 3:15; Jeremiah 1:9; Psalm 1:2, Matthew 1:22; Mark 5:19; Luke 1:5; John 1:23).

Hag ha-Matzah: The Feast of Unleavened Bread

Hametz or Chametz: The Hebrew word for leaven, or yeast, which makes bread rise. God commanded Isra’el not to eat hametz during Passover, Yeshua teaches that both good and evil spread, the same way hametz leavens the whole batch of dough (Also see 16:6-12; Mark 8:15; Luke 12:1 Exodus 12:20; Leviticus 7:13; Amos 4:5; Matthew 13:33 and 13:21).

Hanukkah: Meaning dedication, the feast commemorating the victory of the Maccabees over the armies of Antiochus Epiphanes in 165 BC and the rebuilding and dedication of the Temple after its desecration by Syrian invaders.

Hellenist: In the B’rit Chadashah, it refers to Jews who lived in the Diaspora, or had moved to Isra’el from the Diaspora, spoke Greek, and were more Greek in their culture, than traditional Jewish people brought up in Isra’el (Acts 6:1, 9:29, 11:20).

Immerse: To dip the whole body under water as an act of dedication to the LORD, or as a profession of faith in Yeshua. The word is often seen in other translations as “baptize.” The ceremony of dipping is called “immersion” or “baptism.” Yeshua’s cousin was known as John the Immerser (Matthew 3:1; Mark 6:14; Luke 7:20).

Kadosh: The Hebrew word for ‘holy.” This term describes the people set apart for God. ADONAI Himself is kodosh (Leviticus 19:1-2). Many letters to Christ’s newly formed communities (churches) address Yeshua’s followers as the Kedoshim (also see Jeremiah 2:3; Nehemiah 8:10; First Corinthians 1:2; Ephesians 1:1; Philippians 1:1; Colossians 1:2).

Korban: A sacrifice or offering dedicated to God, especially to fulfill a vow. If something was to be dedicated to God, it generally could not be used for other purposes. Some Pharisees and teachers of the law wrongly used this as an excuse not to provide for their parents in their old age, even though Jewish teaching insisted that the commandment to honor one’s father and mother extended to providing for their physical needs (see Mark 7:11).

Levite: Descendants of the tribe of Levi, who served in the Tabernacle and Temple as gatekeepers, musicians, teachers, and assistants to the priests. The scribes, or Torah-teachers, originally came only from among the Levites and were the forerunners of the Pharisees. The Pharisees later expanded to include members who were from all tribes, with no affiliation with Levi required. (also see Exodus 4:14; Ezeki’el 48:12; Ezra 1:5; John 1:19).

LORD: When the translators of the King James Bible in the 1600’s came to the Hebrew word YHVH, they needed to distinguish it from the word Lord, meaning master. So, they capitalized it. Therefore, LORD is actually the Tetragrammaton, meaning the four-letter name of YHVH.

LXX (Septuagint): The “official” Greek translation of the TaNaKh, dating from the third century BC through the forth century AD. The original translation was of the Torah (the five books of Moshe), which the Letter of Aristeas records was allegedly made by seventy Jewish scholars in Alexandria (Egypt) from which it gained its name (Septuaginta). It is commonly referred to by the abbreviation, LX (70).

Malki-Tzedek: Melchizedek

Matzah: Unleavened bread, bread made without yeast.

Megillah (singular) or Megillot (plural): The five books in the Writing used for special readings during the holidays: Song of Songs, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes and Esther.

Menorah (singular) or Menorot (plural): The seven branched lampstand(s) designed and commanded by God for service in the Tabernacle/Temple (Exodus 25:32; First Kings 7:49; Zechariah 4:2).

Messiah (Greek): Christ, the Anointed One, often used in speaking of a Redeemer sent from God to free His people from exile and oppression (also see Matthew 1:16; Mark 8:29; Luke 2:11 and John 1:41).

Mashiach (Hebrew): Messiah, the Anointed One (Matthew 26:63; Mark 1:1; John 20:31).

Mashiach or plural Matzot: Unleavened bread, which is made without yeast, eaten especially during the feast of Passover. Also see hametz (also see Exodus 13:6; Leviticus 2:5; Ezeki’el 45:21; Matthew 26:17; Mark 14:22; Luke 22:19; John 13:26).

Midrash: An allegorical interpretation or application of a text. The hearer is expected to understand that the writer of the midrash is not expounding the plain meaning of the text, but introducing his own ideas. The term comes from the post-biblical root “to search out” or to “expound.”

Mikveh: a bath o pool with a flow of fresh water; used in Orthodox Judaism to this day for ritual purification or ceremonial cleansing, performed at various times in a person’s life (see Matthew 3:13 and Titus 3:5).

Mitzvah (singular) or mitzvot (plural): A commandment form God. Another, more modern, meaning is “a good deed,” more broadly, a general principle for living (Deuteronomy 11:22; Second Kings 17:37; Proverbs 6:20; Matthew 26:10; Mark 14:6).

Moshe: Moses

Nations, the: The goyim or the Gentiles

Olam haba, the: “The age to come,” or “the world to come.” It describes a time after the world is perfected under the rulership of Messiah. This term also refers to the afterlife, where the soul passes after death. It can be contrasted with olam ha-zeh, “this world” (Matthew 12:32; Mark 10:30; Luke 18:30 and 20:35; Ephesians 1:21; Hebrews 6:5; Revelation 20-21).

Omer: Meaning “sheaf,” the bundle of barley used in the Firstfruits offering. After the Temple period it came to be identified with Sefirat ha’Omer, or the counting of the omer, the counting of the days from Firstfruits to Shavu’ot.

Pesach: Passover. The Jewish festival commemorating deliverance from Egyptian bondage. In Biblical times Jews used to journey to the Temple, sacrifice lambs there, and eat a special meal commemorating the departure of the Jews from slavery in Egypt. It was one of the three “pilgrim festivals” that all able-bodied Jews were expected to celebrate before YHVH in Yerushalayim. Today, Passover is celebrated at home with a special meal called a seder. Yeshua celebrated Passover with His apostles (Matthew 26:18; Mark 14:12; Luke 22:7; John 13:1).

Pharisees: One of the sects of Judaism in the first century. The Pharisees had their own views of how exactly to keep Torah. They were especially concerned with ritual impurity and (unlike the Sadducees) they believed in the resurrection of the dead. While the Sadducees were more involved with the Temple, the Pharisees were concerned more with home and synagogue life.

Proselytes of the Gate: There were three levels of Gentile relationship to Judaism. After God-fearers, proselytes of the Gate were the second level. The Gate was the middle wall of separation (Ephesians 2:14) in the Temple compound that Gentiles were not allowed to go beyond under penalty of death (see Bb – An Ethiopian Asks about Isaiah 53). These were Gentiles who adopted many Jewish practices like celebrating Shabbat and the feast of Isra’el, but did not become a full proselyte. Most of these were men because it didn’t require circumcision. 

Proselytes of the Covenant: In the third level of Gentile relationship to Judaism (see above), there were proselytes of the Covenant. They entered into the Covenant of Sinai as a full Jew, so to speak. Most of these were women because this level required circumcision. 

Purim: Meaning “lots,” the holiday based on the story of Esther.

Rasheet: One of several names for the Festival of First Fruits.

Redeemed: Setting free from slavery, buying back something lost, for a price.

Righteous of the TaNaKh, the: Old Testament believers

Rosh ha-Shanah: Hebrew for “Head of the Year.” Known as the Jewish New Year, or the Feast of Trumpets.

Ruach: The Hebrew word for “spirit,” “breath,” or “wind.” Yeshua explains wind and Spirit to Nicodemus in John 3:5-8. Scripture frequently refers to the Ruach ha-Kodesh, the Holy Spirit (Exodus 35:31; Numbers 11:25; Malachi 2:15; Acts 2:2 and 10:44; Romans 8:4-17).

Ruach ha-Kodesh: The Hebrew name for the Spirit of God, or the Holy Spirit (Isaiah 63:11; Psalm 51:13; Matthew 1:20; Mark 1:8; Luke 1:16; John 14:26).

Sadducees: One of the sects of Judaism in the first century. From the Sadducees came the leading priests who managed the affairs of the Temple. In contrast to the Pharisees, they did not believe in the resurrection of the dead (Matthew 16:12; Mark 12:18; Luke 20:27).

Sanhedrin: Literally, the gathering of the seated, like being a judge seated on a bench – a legal term for an officiating judge. This was the Supreme Court of ancient Isra’el. It exercised legislative and judicial authority (Matthew 26:59; Mark 15:1; Luke 22:66; John 11:47).

Shabbat: The Sabbath Day, the seventh day of the week, when work ceases. On this day God’s people are beckoned to rest and renew our relationship with our Creator, who also rested on the seventh day. Shabbat begins on Friday evening at sundown and ends Saturday evening after three stars appear (Exodus 20:10; Nehemiah 9:14; Matthew 12:10; Mark 1:21; Luke 23:56; John 9:14).

Shaddai: A common name for God in the TaNaKh, usually translated as Almighty. The name is often used in a combination such as El Shaddai, or God Almighty (Genesis 17:1; Ezeki’el 1:24; Job 11:7).

Shalom: The Hebrew word for peace, wholeness, wellness; a greeting used when meeting or departing (Genesis 26:31; First Samuel 16:4; Second Chronicles 18:16; Matthew 10:13; Mark 9:50; Luke 1:28; John 14:27).

Sh’khinah: The visual manifestation of the glory of God.

Shavu’ot: the festival of Weeks (Hebrew) or Pentecost (Greek), since it comes seven weeks after Pesach; also called Pentecost, from the Greek word for fifty because one counts fifty days after Passover. It is one of the three “pilgrim festivals” that all able-bodied Jews were expected to celebrate before YHVH in Yerushalayim. It originally celebrated the harvest, but later commemorated the day God gave the Torah to Isra’el. After Yeshua’s resurrection, the disciples waited for God’s gift of the Ruach ha-Kodesh, which also cam on Shavu’ot (Exodus 34:22; Second Chronicles 8:13; Acts 2:1 and 20:16; First Corinthians 16:8).

Sh’ol: The Hebrew equivalent of the Greek “Hades,” the place where the dead exist.

Shofar: A ram’s horn, used in the Bible for summoning armies, calling to repentance, and in other situations. Blasts of various lengths and numbers signified different instructions Metal trumpets were also used for similar purposes, but exclusively by the cohanim. Today, the shofar is used on Rosh ha-Shanah of Yom Kippur, the Jewish High Holy Days. The shofar also ushers in the Year of Jubilee (Leviticus 25:9-10; Zechariah 9:14; Matthew 24:31; First Corinthians 15:52; First Thessalonians 4:16-17).

Sinai: the mountain in the desert between Egypt and the land of Isra’el.

Shuwb: turn, turning, and the big idea of Jeremiah.

Son of Man: A name that Yeshua commonly used to refer to Himself. It comes from Dani’el 7:13-14, in which the Son of Man is given all authority. This name sometimes emphasizes Yeshua’s humanity and sometimes His deity (Matthew 9:6; Mark 9:31; Luke 21:36; John 6:27).

Sukkot: the festival of Booths or Tabernacles, celebrating the forty years when the people of Isra’el lived in booths, tens, shacks, in the desert between Egypt and the land of Isra’el. The Hebrew word sukkah means booth and sukkot is the plural and means booths. Sukkot is one of the three “pilgrim festivals” that all able-bodied Jews were expected to celebrate before YHVH in Yerushalayim (Leviticus 23:34; Zechariah 14:16; Second Chronicles 8:13; Matthew 17:4; Mark 9:5; Luke 9:33).

Synagogue: A place of assembly for Jews for hearing the Torah, praying and worshipping God. There were many synagogues throughout Isra’el and the Greco-Roman world (Matthew 4:23; Mark 5:22; Luke 4:16; John 9:22).

Tabernacle: A temporary dwelling, such as the booths constructed during Sukkot. It is also used in the TaNaKh of the tent in which God dwelt among the Jewish people, both in the wilderness and in the land of Isra’el. When the word is used as a verb, it refers to Yeshua coming to dwell among His people (John 1:14), reminding us of the wilderness Tabernacle and also of the Feast of Tabernacles (Exodus 25:9; First Chronicles 6:17; John 1:14 and 7:2).

Talmid (singular) or Talmudin (plural): Student or students.

Talmud: The codified body of Jewish Oral Law; includes literary creations, legends, scriptural interpretations, comprised of the Mishnah and the Gemara. It was written in Hebrew by the Tahnahiem (see my commentary on The Life of Christ Ei – The Oral Law) and is generally held to have been edited around 200 AD.

TaNaKh: The Hebrew word TaNaKh is an acronym, based on the letters T for “Torah,” N for “Nevi’im” (Prophets), and K for “Ketuv’im” (Sacred Writings). It is the collection of the teachings of God to human beings in document form. This term is used instead of the phrase, “the Old Testament,” which sounds “old” and outdated.

Torah: Literally, this Hebrew word means teaching or instruction (Exodus 13:9; Isaiah 2:3; Psalm 1:2; Matthew 5:17; Mark 1:22; Luke 24:44; John 7:19; Romans 7:1ff; First Corinthians 9:20-21; Galatians 3:21). It can be used for the five books of Moshe, or more generally to God’s commandments, or the whole TaNaKh (John 10:34). Uncapitalized, torah can be understood generally as a law or principle (Romans 7:21-8:2).

Torah-Teacher: A Torah scholar engaged in interpreting and transmitting the Torah. They wrote Torah scrolls, bills of divorce, and other legal documents. The Hebrew term is sofer.

Tree of Life: The tree at the center of the garden of Eden (Genesis 2:9, 3:24), the source of eternal life. Scripture points to a future in the B’rit Chadashah, with access to the Tree of Life. In the meantime, the Torah is like to the Tree of Life to those who embrace her, and blessed will be all who hold firmly to her (Proverbs 3:18 also see Revelation 2:7, 22:2 and 14).

Tzitzit: A fringe that was put on a garment in accordance with Numbers 15:37-41.

Tziyon: Zion, Mount Zion, was originally the City of David, south of the modern Old City of Yerushalayim. Later the name Tziyon came to refer metaphorically to the Temple Mount, Jerusalem, or the people of Isra’el. The hill now called Mount Tziyon was given its name in the fourth century AD (Isaiah 1:27; Psalm 65:2; Matthew 21:5; John 12:15).

Yeshua: The Hebrew name for our Messiah, known in English as Jesus, and is a masculine form, and a word play on yeshu’ah (salvation) (Matthew 1:21; Mark 6:14; Luke 2:21; John 19:19).

Yerushalayim: Jerusalem

Y’hudah: Judah

YHVH: The Tetragrammaton, meaning the Name, the four-letter name of God. Therefore, God does not have many names, He has only one name – YHVH (Yud Hay Vav Hay). All the other names in the Bible describe His characteristics and His attributes.

Yisra’el: Isra’el.

Yochanan: John.

Yom ha-Bikkurim: One of several names for The Feast of Firstfruits.

Yom Kippur: The Day of Atonement, the close of the High Holy Days, and considered the holiest day of the year in traditional Judaism.

 

2019-09-10T17:46:17+00:00 0 Comments

Dg – Paul’s Fourth Missionary Journey

Paul’s Fourth Missionary Journey

62-66 AD

Paul returned to the provinces of Macedonia, Achaia, and Asia and then turned west to Spain according to his original plans (Romans 15:22-28). Then he most likely ministered once more in the Aegean area where he was once again taken prisoner and taken back to Rome one last time to be executed by Nero.656

 

Fourth Missionary Journey: Pastoral Letters

62 AD After Paul was acquitted and released, he probably went to Macedonia and wrote First Timothy (about the Church), this can be seen from Philippians 2:24 and First Timothy 1:3). Then he went on to Colosse (Philemon 22).

63 AD He may have gone to Spain (Romans 15:24 and 28).

64 AD Paul might have gone to Ephesus (First Timothy 1:3), then went over to Crete (Titus 1:5) and Corinth (Second Timothy 4:20) in Macedonia (First Timothy 1:3) where he wrote Titus (about the Church) before finally coming back to Ephesus once again (First Timothy 3:14).

65 AD After that, Paul probably traveled to Miletus (Second Timothy 4:20), and then he may have traveled to Troas (Second Timothy 4:13), finally coming to Nicopolis (Titus 3:12).

66 AD Paul was once again taken prisoner and taken back to Rome. During his trail he realized that it was going badly and wrote Second Timothy during his imprisonment.

67 AD Even though Paul was a Roman citizen he was beheaded by Emperor Nero.

 

2019-07-19T18:23:23+00:00 0 Comments

De – Paul’s Arrival at Rome 28: 11-16

Paul’s Arrival at Rome
28: 11-16

Early February 60 AD, the earliest time of the year one would resume sailing.

DIG: Given the long delay, his shipwreck at sea, and his continuing status as a prisoner, how might Paul feel upon finally arriving in Rome? What must the believers’ reunion with him have been like in verses 14 and 15? How important was this fellowship to Paul?

REFLECT: What limitations are placed beyond your control? How do you react to those limits? How can you serve the Lord even within these limitations? How important is the fellowship of other believers in your life? As you think of the fellowship you have in your life, what would you say gives you your sense of togetherness? If that is lacking, to what would you attribute it to. How much of the fault is yours to bear? What do your brothers and sisters in the faith really need from you?

God fulfilled His promise to Paul. The apostle to the Gentiles arrived in Rome. From his Damascus conversion on, Paul had been on the move. In this passage his travels finally came to an end. More specifically, from 19:21 on, his focus had been on Rome, the capital and hub of the empire. Now at last his vision was fulfilled as he reached the great city, the ends of the earth. It was the fulfilment not just of his vision, but of the Lord’s commission (1:8).641

It was impossible to travel during the winter, and so after three months (probably November, December, January), Luke said that we (see Bx – Paul’s Vision of the Man of Macedonia: A closer look at the “us” or “we” passages and sea passages) set sail in a ship from Alexandria (the same kind of large grain-ship that was shipwrecked) that had wintered at the island awaiting the favorable spring breezes, with the Twin Brothers as its figurehead (28:11). Ancient ships had its name of each side of the bow and was represented by a sculptured figure. The vessel that Paul was sailing on was the Castor and Pollux, named after twin deities, who in Greco-Roman mythology were the sons of Jupiter (Zeus). They were supposedly translated to the heavens as the constellation of Gemini in reward for their brotherly devotion and wish not to be separated (see the commentary on Genesis Lw – The Witness of the Stars). They were the gods of navigation and were regarded as the special patrons and worshiped by sailors.642

The first leg of the renewed journey took Paul to Syracuse, which was ninety miles north of Malta. Setting down at Syracuse, we stayed there three days probably unloading some of the wheat and adding other cargo. From there we got underway and reached Rhegium (the toe of Italy); and a day later a south wind came up, so it made easy sailing north, and on the second day we came to Puteoli (one hundred and eighty miles from Rhegium, and one hundred and fifty miles southeast of Rome), which had a strong colony of Jews, so it was not surprising that some of them were Messianic believers. There we found some brothers and sisters, and we were invited to stay with them for seven days, and Julius (27:1), who had come to greatly respect Paul, allowed them to stay there for seven days before moving on. This should come as no surprise. The edict of Claudius, which Luke referred to in 18:2, dealt with a dispute in the Jewish community of Rome that seemed to involve Christ and is evidence that the gospel had already reached Italy by 50-51 AD.643 And in this way we began the final leg of the journey to Rome (28:11-14).

Rome was the capital of the Roman Empire. When Paul came to Rome it had existed from almost 800 years. The city itself stretched two thousand miles north and south and three thousand miles east and west. The population was about two million – one million free, one million slaves. Society was divided into roughly three classes: A small upper class, a large class of the poor, and slaves. The famous Coliseum had not yet been built, but the prominent buildings were the temple of Jupiter, the palaces of Caesar, and a temple to Mars, the god of war.

Now a second group of brothers heard about us, probably elders from the church at Puteoli who was sent up ahead of them, and came as far as the Forum of Appius on the Appian Way (forty three miles southeast of Rome) and the Three Taverns (ten miles further down the road) to meet us. They honored Paul by greeting him as the emperors were received when they arrived at Rome. It was the custom of the people to go out and meet him and escort him back into the city.644 Three years before his arrival, Paul had written his letter to the Roman believers in which he expressed his longing to come to Rome and encourage one another (Romans 1:8-13). He was looking forward to fellowshipping with them. It must have been an emotional experience for Paul to finally meet those to whom he had written. So it was not surprising that when Paul saw them, he gave thanks to God and took courage (28:15). 

60-61 AD were two years of house arrest.

Having brought Paul to Rome, Julius’ task was fulfilled and he delivered his prisoner into Imperial hands. When we entered Rome, Paul was permitted to remain in his own quarters, with a single, ordinary, soldier guarding him probably a result of the good report given by Julius the centurion (28:16). This verse concludes the brief travelogue and the we sections of Acts; therefore, it is transitional. It brings the long travel narrative to a close, and it opens the account of Paul’s witness in Rome. He was under house arrest in Rome, but what we see is that Paul’s custody in Rome was the least restrictive of all the forms he had endured since being taken captive by the Romans in Yerushalayim (see Cq – Paul is Protected by Roman Law). He was allowed to live in his own rented house; thus, he was free to bear witness to Messiah. During the next two years he is traditionally thought to have written the Captivity Epistles, with Philippians probably being the last of these in 61 AD, shortly before the resolution of Paul’s trial. In Philippians 1:13, written from this Roman custody, Paul speaks of how his message was getting through to the palace guards of Rome. Though he was the prisoner, he truly had a captive audience!645

The most important theme of the passage is that God can be taken at His word. God told Paul that he, the messenger, would testify in Rome (23:11), and Paul did. God told Paul that no lives would be lost on the ship (27:22), and none were. And God told Paul that the ship would run aground (27:26), and it did. God told Paul he would stand before Caesar (27:24), and he did. God’s word can be trusted because God can be trusted. The only thing we cannot be sure of is when God will accomplish His will.646

Many people believe in Messiah as their Savior yet never have a sense of fellowship with other believers. In Paul’s life, however, I see three strands that formed the cord of fellowship he felt with other believers.

First: Paul believed that part of his calling was to share his gifts and faith with other believers. Over and over in his letters, Paul assured churches of his prayers. He didn’t just ask God to bless them. Paul jealously sought God’s best for them. He asked big things of God because he knew God had big things to give. Paul had experienced the riches of an intimate relationship with Christ. He wanted other believers to experience those same riches.

Second: Paul believed that part of his calling was to share his gifts and faith with other believers. He truly believed that believers have an obligation to one another as well as to the lost. In First Corinthians 12:12 he said: The body is one and has many parts, and all the parts of that body, through many, are one body. Without apology, Paul instructed believers, as parts of the body of Christ, to recognize their obligation to one another – and their need for one another. Generally speaking, my spiritual gifts were given for your edification; your spiritual gifts were given for mine.

Third: Paul desired to see all people come to Christ. He preached to anyone who would listen, and he considered any convert a brother or sister. All were equally in need of salvation, and all equally loved by God. At first consideration we may fully believe we share his attitude, but sometimes we struggle with the equality of all believers. We may desire to see all people saved regardless of their position, but we don’t necessarily want them to attend worship with us.647

 

2019-07-07T11:30:49+00:00 0 Comments

Dc – The Shipwreck at Malta 27:27-44

The Shipwreck at Malta
27: 27-44

Late 59 AD

DIG: Compare verse 31 with verse 11. What do you think the centurion feels about Paul now? About the God Paul serves? How do Paul’s words and example serve to encourage the others? How would your estimation of Paul have changed during the two-week storm? What do you imagine the scene in verses 39-44 was like? What was said? How did people look? Feel? How do Paul’s attitudes and actions compare with those of the sailors? To what would you attribute Paul’

REFLECT: What are some of the blessings you’ve experienced because of the wisdom and faithfulness of others? How would it affect your own daily battle with sin and selfishness if you knew that your obedience was as important to those around your as it is to you yourself? When have you reacted in crisis as Paul did – urgent forewarnings, maintaining hope, counseling, common sense, giving thanks, remaining calm, persevering to the end? What is the greatest pressure situation you’re facing now? How can Paul’s example and the principles you’ve learned from this story help you in your situation? What is your part and what is God’s part in the resolution of your storm? When have you been tempted to bail out of a stormy situation, to sneak away in a lifeboat? What happened? What did you learn? What weaknesses of Jonah can you most relate to? What strengths of Paul do you most wish to obtain?

The tempest had driven the drifting ship for two weeks. Now when the fourteenth night had come, as we (see Bx – Paul’s Vision of the Man of Macedonia: A closer look at the “us” or “we” passages and sea passages) were drifting about 476 miles off course across the Adriatic Sea. The Adriatic Sea mentioned here is not to be confused with the modern Adriatic Sea, located between Italy and Croatia. In Paul’s day, that body of water was known as the Gulf of Adria, referring to the central Mediterranean.624 It is bordered on the north by Italy, on the west by Sicily, on the south by Cyrene, and on the east by the island of Crete. Approaching the bay the breakers were especially violent and noisy.

About midnight the sailors began to hear breakers and sense that they were nearing some land. The crew was afraid of running onto the rocks in the dark, so they took soundings and found the water was twenty fathoms deep. Standard practice as the ship approached land was to check the depth of the water at half-hour intervals. One fathom is six feet, so at that point they were 120 feet above the floor of the ocean. A bit farther along, they took another sounding and found it was fifteen fathoms deep, or 90 feetYes, they were getting closer to the land. But fearing that they might run aground on the rocks, they threw out four anchors from the stern to stop the ship (27:27-29). Paul, Luke and Aristarchus (27:2) had been praying (Greek: euchomai) to ADONAI for day to come, and the other men on board were probably praying to their various pagan gods as well.

Now some of the sailors were trying to escape from the ship and save themselves and get to land at the expense of the others on board. Evidently they didn’t trust their gods to deliver them and decided to take matters into their own hands. They had lowered the dinghy into the sea, pretending they were going to put out anchors from the bow. This would have seemed to be a perfectly natural operation. Anchors from the bow, or the back of the ship, would have given the ship even greater stability, and it would have been necessary to set them out some distance from the ship, which could only have been accomplished by using the dinghy. Paul, however, realized their true motive and said to the centurion, “Unless these men remain on the ship, you cannot be saved” (27:30-31).

But hadn’t God already promised that would be no loss of life (27:22)? Think of it this way; the prophecy includes God’s foresight concerning decisions that are nevertheless made by free will. If the sailors had left the boat, would the centurion and his soldiers’ lives have been saved? This is a hypothetical question that need not be answered, since that is not what happened, and we have no framework for dealing with such questions. Once again we are reminded of Rabbi Akiva’s summary of the paradox, “All is known, yet free will is given” (Avot 3:15).

Moreover, in the Bible, even what appears to be an absolute prediction (X will happen) may be implicitly conditional (If you disobey, X will happen). Jonah’s apparently unconditional prediction of Nineveh’s destruction is a good example (see the commentary on Jonah Ax – The Ninevites Believed God). The prophet was wrong (and angry about it) because the people of Nineveh repented (which, rather than the city’s ruin, is what God actually wanted). Why did the sailors need to remain on board? It was a practical matter. Had they left, there would not have been enough skilled personnel left to beach the ship when the time came. Learning to respect Paul’s direction, the soldiers cut away the ropes of the dinghy and let it drift away empty (27:32).625

With the thwarted attempt of the sailors, a ship badly battered by the storm, and no assurance they could get safely to shore, Paul once again rose to encourage the shaky voyagers. As day was about to dawn, Paul continually urged them all to take some food, saying: Today is the fourteenth day that you have kept waiting and going without food, having taken nothing. Luke’s point in this hyperbole is that it had been a long time since they had had much to eat.626 Paul need them to strengthen themselves for the last hurtle, getting from the ship to the shore. Therefore, I urge you to take some food – literally, for this is for your salvation (Greek: soteria, meaning salvation). There may be a veiled symbolism in the use of this word, a reminder to the believing reader that the same God who delivered the storm-tossed voyagers from physical harm is the God who in Messiah brings ultimate salvation and true eternal life. The theme is not developed Luke’s narrative, however, and remains implicit at most. There is in fact no explicit reference to Paul’s witnessing in the entire voyage narrative from 27:1 to 28:16, though one cannot imagine Paul bypassing the opportunity. The emphasis at this point is the physical rescue. Since not one of you will lose a hair from his head (27:33-34). This was a proverbial expression for physical salvation seen in First Samuel 14:45; Second Samuel 14:11 and First Kings 1:52, also in the B’rit Chadashah in Matthew 10:30; Luke 12:7 and 21:18. God had provided their physical salvation by means of eating.627

And when he had said these things, like a good Jewish father beginning a family meal, he set the example, took bread, and said the b’rakhah that Jews normally make over bread: Barukh Attah, Adonai Eloheynu, Melekh-ha’olam, hamotzi lechem min ha’aretz (Praise be you, Adonai our God, King of the universe, who brings forth bread from the earth, see Matthew 14:19). Then, he broke it and began to eat. Then all were encouraged. And because their appetite had returned, they took some food themselves. In all we were 276 persons on the ship. When they had eaten enough – being revived both physically and emotionally – they began to lighten the ship, throwing the rest of the wheat into the sea (27:35-38). That way the ship would sit higher in the water and allow it to slide as far up the beach as possible before being beached.

Then when daylight came, they did not recognize the land because it was not on the normal sea route; but despite the stormy conditions, they noticed a bay with a beach, where they planned to run the ship aground on the sand, and avoid the rocks if they could. The rudder of the ancient ships consisted of four large paddles, one on each quarter. In a storm these would be lifted from the water and tied down. Now, to guide the ship for the beaching, they were untied and let back down into the water.628

They also cut off the anchors and left them in the sea. Then, hoisting the forward sail to the wind to pick up speed, they made for the beach. But, despite their best efforts, the ship struck a sandbar between the seas and ran the ship aground before it reached the beech. The bow stuck fast and remained immovable, and the stern began to break up by the pounding of the waves (27:39-41). When a swell reaches an island, its waves split to pass it, and they may meet head on at the far end of the island. At this place, the sand carried along by the currents from both directions are deposited as a sandbar, on which the waves break from two nearly opposite directions, sometimes even running straight into each other. Such a spot is very treacherous for ships.629 The ship was stuck in the sandbar perhaps fifty yards from the shore, giving even those unable to swim a good chance of survival. At that point there was nothing else to do but abandon ship.

Roman military discipline made soldiers personally responsible for their prisoners, and those who allowed their captives to escape could pay with their own lives. Acting without orders, the plan of the soldiers was to kill the prisoners so that none of them would escape by swimming away. But again, it was Paul who provided for the safety of his fellow prisoners. Julius, wanting to save Paul, risked his own life by keeping them from carrying out their plan. Whatever the centurion’s attitude to the other prisoners might have been, he was unwilling to put Paul’s life in danger, especially in view of his leadership during the voyage.630 So he ordered those able to swim to throw themselves overboard first and get to land – and the rest to get there on boards and pieces of the ship. And in this way all 276 were brought safely to land (27:42-44). Thus, Paul’s prophecies of 27:22-24 and 34 were fulfilled.

Let’s allow God to open our eyes to the importance of faithfulness and obedience through a study in contrasts, by seeing the umbrella of protection or destruction in one person’s hand can often cover many heads. The kind of cover these figurative umbrellas provide is not only determined by belief in God versus unbelief, but also by faithfulness verses unfaithfulness.

In Acts 27, God gave Paul an umbrella of protection because of his obedience in ministry. Whether or not the others on board his sinking ship realized it, many were gathering under his umbrella and found safety. But let’s take a look at another kind of umbrella in the storm, on display in the familiar account of the prophet Jonah. You’ll recall that God called him to go preach to the people of Nineveh (see the commentary on Jonah Aj – The Word of the LORD came to Jonah: Go to Nineveh), but Jonah ran the other way (see the commentary on Jonah Ak – Jonah Flees From the LORD), booked a passage to Tarshish and wound up in a whale of a mess (see the commentary on Jonah Ar – The LORD Prepared a Great Whale to Swallow Jonah). Consider the similarities between Paul and Jonah.

  • Both were Hebrews, had Jewish backgrounds, and believed in the one true God.
  • Both were preachers.
  • Both were called to preach unpopular messages in pagan cities.
  • Both boarded a ship.
  • Both experienced a terrible, life-threatening storm.
  • Both greatly impacted the rest of the crew.
  • Both knew the key to the crew’s survival.

Paul and Jonah hand many similarities, didn’t they? But let’s consider a few contrasts between the two. They differed in the following ways.

  • Paul was compelled to go to Rome; while Jonah was repelled by his calling to Nineveh.
  • Paul faced many obstacles on his way to Rome, including imprisonment, injustices, inclement weather, and other difficulties; while Jonah’s only obstacle was himself.
  • Paul had to sit and wait for the Lord; while Jonah stood and ran from Him.
  • Paul felt responsibility for the crew, although the calamity was not his fault; while Jonah slept while the others worked to survive the calamity he had brought upon them.

Paul and Jonah are great characters to compare and contrast because we can relate to both of them! Sometimes we respond with obedience like Paul. Other times we run from God like Jonah.

Let’s ask a fair question based upon their examples: Does prompt obedience really make a difference? When all was said and done, didn’t Paul suffer through a terrible storm although he had been entirely obedient? Didn’t Jonah get another chance to obey, and an entire city was spared? So . . . what difference does prompt obedience or faithfulness make anyway?

God loves us whether or not we are obedient, but the quality of our lives as believers is dramatically affected by our response. There is a big difference between an obedient believer and a disobedient one, between obedient and disobedient times. Yeshua said: If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and your joy may be full (John 15:10-11). Although Jonah was ultimately obedient and surprisingly successful, you will search in vain for a single hint of joy in his life. Although Paul seemed to suffer at every turn, he had more to say about joy than any other mouthpiece in the Word of God.

An attitude of obedience makes a difference both to the servant and to those close by. Servants of God can dramatically affect the lives of others positively or negatively. Under Jonah’s umbrella in the storm, many experience calamity; under Paul’s umbrella, however, many found safety.

Is the sky rumbling? Are clouds darkening? Is a storm rising in the horizon? Child of God, you will hold an umbrella in the storm. You will not be under the umbrella alone. Neither will I. Our spouses and children will be under the umbrella with us. Our friends, relatives, neighbors and coworkers will be there also. The flocks that God has entrusted to us will be there. Even the lost are often drawn to people of faith when the hurricane winds begin to blow. Child of God, all eyes are on us on the bow of the ship when the storms come and the waves crash. May the rest of the crew find an umbrella of blessing in our midst.631

 

2019-07-07T10:47:13+00:00 0 Comments

Db – The Storm along the Shore of Crete 27: 12-26

The Storm along the Shore of Crete
27: 12-26

Late 59 AD

DIG: What things in verses 13-20 show how severe this storm was? Verse 27 indicates this situation lasted two weeks. How would you be feeling be the end of the first week? After being in Caesarea for at least two years, why might Paul need to hear the promise of 23:11 again repeated in verse 24?

REFLECT: What would a page from your ship’s diary sound like? As a sailor on board, how would you feel about Paul’s message in verses 21-26? When have you felt caught in a “Nor’easter,” driven along by the wind? What happened? What did you learn from the situation? In terms of a weather report, how would you describe your life at present? Your life five years ago? The crew in charge of Paul’s ship eventually started throwing some things overboard to lighten their load. Are you carrying an extra baggage you should probably be without? Think or someone you know who’s enduring their own blinding storm right now. How could you encourage them with these insights from Paul life?

Now begins the dramatic story of the storm and shipwreck that vindicated Paul’s evaluation of the situation (see Da – Paul Sails to Rome). The anticipated journey was quite short, a day’s journey, a “three-hour-tour” if you will – and a gentle southerly breeze which arose deceived them into thinking that they could manage another forty nautical miles. As the ship left Fair Havens, Julius, the captain, and the navigator surely felt quite confident of their decision, but it wouldn’t take long for them to see they had made a critical mistake.

The sailing of the ship: And because the open harbor at Fair Havens was unsuitable for wintering, the majority reached a decision to set out to sea from there – if somehow they might reach Phoenix, a closed, protected harbor of Crete facing northeast and southeast, and spend the winter there. When the south wind blew gently, supposing their decision to sail to Phoenix was a wise one, so they raised the anchor and started coasting along the shoreline by Crete (27:12-13). Six miles to the west of Fair Havens, a peninsula known as Cape Matala jutted out. Around the cape, the shoreline then ran sharply northward as one sailed the thirty or so miles remaining to Phoenix. Since they were traveling close to shore, the trip should have not taken Paul’s ship more than a few hours with the favorable south wind. But such was not to be.

The Northeaster: Crete is dotted with mountains, some of them towering 8,000 above sea level. Things started well, but as they rounded Cape Matala, a violent wind rushed down from the mountains, striking the ship. But before long, a hurricane-force wind called “the Northeaster” swept down from the island. Paul and the crew were immediately in danger because once they were blown away from Crete into the open sea, the larger waves were impossible to deal with. When the ship was caught and could not face into the wind enough to sail toward Phoenix, we gave way to it and were driven along (27:14-15; and see Bx – Paul’s Vision of the Man of Macedonia: A closer look at the “us” or “we” passages and sea passages). Ancient ships were not built to head into such a violent wind, so there was no way the Alexandrian ship could hold its course to Phoenix.

Helpless against the wind, the ship was carried some twenty-five nautical miles to a small island called Cauda, which offered some protection from the storm. For the first time the sailors were able to take measures to secure the ship. The first thing they did was to haul in the lifeboat, or dinghy. Luke noted that we were barely able to get control of the dinghy, probably because it had filled with water. Next, when the crew had hoisted it up, they made use of ropes, which passed under the ship to undergird the ship and prevent it from breaking up against the pounding of the wind and the waves. Then, fearing they might run aground on the Greater Syrtis, they also let down the anchor, which they hoped would act as a drag and help prevent the ship from drifting that far south. Nevertheless, we were driven along (27:16-17). The Syrtis were shallow sandbars off the North African coast, the dreaded graveyard of ships in the ancient world. Although the Syrtis were some 400 nautical miles to the south of Cauda, the sailors didn’t know how far the storm might blow the ship.615

There was really little that the ancient ship could do to fight the violent storm, and they were probably taking on water. Surely, they had the mainsail down and allowed the ship to be driven along as it may. Having already taken all the available precautions above, they
then undertook the more serious measure of jettisoning the cargo. But as we were violently battered by the storm, the next day they began throwing cargo overboard. Luke didn’t specify what was thrown from the ship. It was probably most of the wheat, though it later became clear later (27:38) that not all of it at that time (27:18).

Carrying grain raised serious safety hazards on board wooden ships, requiring dry storage in order to prevent infestation, rotting, or fermentation. When wet, grain can swell to double its normal size, and a full load is capable of splitting the plates even of a modern ship. Likewise, because grain “breathes” – taking in oxygen and giving off heat, carbon monoxide, and moisture – it acts as something “alive” and mobile. If not stored in sacks or bins, it not only “flows” in rough seas but also exerts a vertical pressure – nearly 240 pounds when piled up to a height of six feet, for example. In rough seas, its movement can produce a sudden lateral pressure up to 160 pounds per square foot on the hull, creating a real threat of breaking through the wood, or even capsizing the ship.616

On the third day, they threw out the ship’s gear (miscellaneous equipment not crucial to sailing the ship) with their own hands. With the ship now lightened, there was nothing left but to roll with the punches of the wind and the waves. The storm raged on. Luke noted: Neither sun nor stars appeared for many days, and no small storm pressing on us. Without the stars and sun, they had no way of knowing where they were – no gear, no sun, no stars, no hope. Humanly speaking, there appeared to be no chance of survival. They were clearly lost at sea. Despair set in. All hope of being saved was vanishing (27:19-20).617

So far in Acts, Luke had depicted Paul as the apostle to the Gentiles, the pioneer of the Three Missionary Journeys, the prisoner, and the defendant. Now, however, he portrays him in a different light. He is no longer an honored apostle, but an ordinary man among men, a lonely believer (apart from Luke himself and Aristarchus) among 273 (27:37) unbelievers, who were either soldiers, prisoners, merchants or crew members. Surely, Paul was the most experienced traveler on board that ship. All total, Paul sailed eleven voyages and at least 3,500 nautical miles on the Mediterranean before he set sail for Rome. However, it was more than his experience at sea that made Paul stand out as a leader on board ship. It was his unshakable faith and character.618

Paul’s message of hope: The storm was at its height. All sense of direction was lost. Morale was at its lowest ebb. It was at this dark moment that Paul’s leadership skills shone most brightly. No one had the stomach for food, as the ship lurched in the waves. As they had long been without food (they had wheat on board, but they were probably too busy trying to keep the ship together to eat). At this dramatic point, Paul came and stood up in their midst to offer a reassuring word, saying: Men, you should have listened to me and not sailed from Crete, to avoid this disaster and loss. He had been right then, so his words now should be taken with more confidence. Yet now I urge you to take heart, for there will be no loss of life among you – but only of the ship (27:21-22). 

Paul began the voyage as a prisoner, but he ended up as the captain. Paul took over the situation when it was obvious that nobody knew what to do. A crisis does not make a person; a crisis shows what a person is made of, and it tends to bring true leadership to light. Paul gently rebuking the centurion, the navigator and the captain for ignoring his warning. Soon they would discover that ADONAI had spared all of them only because of Paul.619

At this point Paul’s prediction changed radically from his former warning. Then he spoke of loss both of ship and life (27:10). Now he spoke only of salvation (Greek: sozo). Since their failure to hear his words of warning led to their current catastrophe, they should not fail to listen to his message of salvation; they must keep up their courage and not give in to despair: For this very night, there came to me an angel of the God (in contrast to their pagan gods) to whom I belong and whom I serve (Greek: latreuo), said: Do not fear, Paul. You must stand before Caesar; and indeed, God has granted (Greek: charizomai, meaning to exercise grace) you all who are sailing with you. So take heart, men, for I believe (Greek: pisteuo, meaning to believe or have faith in) God that it will be exactly as I have been told (27:23-25). Paul didn’t lose any time communicating the gospel.

Take note of what Paul said: I believe God. He didn’t say: I believe in God. Every demon in hell agrees with the existence of God. Paul declared his total confidence in God’s promise. Paul believed God when there was nothing else to believe. He couldn’t believe the sailors, the ship, the sails, the wind, the centurion, human ingenuity or anything else – only God and God alone. This was not a fair-weather faith; he believed God in the midst of the storm, when circumstances were at their worst. His terrible situation was real, but God was more real to Paul than the dreadful circumstances.620

The salvation from the storm was due to the providence of God and His preservation of the apostle for the witness before Caesar. Paul, in effect, served as the salvation of the other 273 men on board. His service (Greek: latreuo) of God indicates his own faithfulness to the Protector, and on that basis of he called upon his listeners for courage to put their own belief and faith in his God.621 This also marks a dramatic turning point in the account of the storm; it had reached its fullest fury. Despair had turned to hope. The focus was no longer on sinking but salvation. Still, their rescue was in the future. Paul encouraged them to take heart, but warned them, “We must run aground on some unknown island before final deliverance (27:26). This prophecy by Paul was fulfilled in 27:41.622

The sailors on board with Paul took steps to deal with the storm that enveloped their ship. In their actions I see practical behaviors we can also apply in our lives for surviving our personal storms. Although the points I am about to make might not apply to a literal ship on an angry sea, they will be helpful in the storms we encounter when someone close to us exercises poor judgment.

First: Don’t pull up the anchor (27:13). The ship’s masters were ill advised to attempt to sail, but they decided to do so anyway. Jesus Christ is our anchor behind the veil, where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf (see the commentary on Hebrews Bc – We Have This Hope as an Anchor for the Soul). When gentle breezes blow in our lives and all seems calm and peaceful, we often become less attentive to Him. We’re not as aware of our need for the One who secures our lives and holds us steady . . . until the storms begin to rage. Don’t let a few calm breezes give you a false sense of security in yourself or your surroundings. Stay anchored to Yeshua Messiah in gentile times also.

Second: Don’t give way to the storm (17:15). Peril caused by another person’s poor judgment can often cause feelings of immense helplessness. Don’t give way to the storm. Give way to the Master of the seas.

Third: Do throw some cargo overboard (27:18). As the storm worsened, the crew began to jettison cargo to keep the ship afloat. Raging storms have ways of identifying some old stuff we’re still hanging on to. When we’re upset over someone’s poor judgment, we have a tendency to drag up memories of other times we’ve been wronged as well. Storms complicate life enough. Ask God to simplify and clarify a few things in your life by helping you throw some old cargo overboard.

Fourth: Do throw the ship’s gear overboard (27:19). After jettisoning the cargo, the crew still needed to further lighten the ship. The gear on board included ropes, pulleys, spars, masts, and planks. They were man-made provisions needed to master the storm. Storms are seldom pleasant, but they can serve an important purpose. They help us to see the man-made solutions we’re substituting in place of depending on and getting to know God.

Fifth: Never give up the ship (27:20). Luke uses the word we when identifying those who gave up hope. This is a man who wrote one of the gospels! How could he lose hope? The text reminds us that anyone can lose hope when a storm rages. But the psalmist offers us a lifesaver in our raging storms,Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from Him” (Psalm 62:5 NIV). The word hope in this psalm is the Hebrew word tikvah, which literally means a cord, as an attachment. The psalmist contrasted the disappointment he often experienced in mankind with the security he found in his faithful God. We’re all holding on to a rope of some kind for security, but if anyone but God is on the other end, we’re hanging on by a thread! Hang on to Christ for dear life when the waves break harshly against you. He will be your security no matter what the storm may destroy. Only He can keep you from becoming bitter. Only He can rebuild what gale-force winds tear apart. He is our blessed hope, our great God and Savior, Messiah Yeshua (Titus 2:13).

Sixth: Listen for God to speak (27:24). Listen to the Master of the seas when storms rage. He will not be silent. Just when the passengers and crew had lost hope, Paul stood to testify. He told them, “For this very night, there came to me an angel of God to whom I belong and whom I serve. He said: Do not fear, Paul. You must stand before Caesar; and indeed, God has granted [grace] you all who are sailing with you. God won’t send an angel from heaven to speak audibly to you, but He may send a fellow believer, a neighbor, a messianic rabbi, a pastor, relative, spouse, or a friend. You can also hear Him speak through His Word anytime you are willing to open the Bible and receive.

Job also suffered for reasons outside of his control, in ways we will never experience. His faith (Greek: pisteuo, meaning belief or trust) in God never wavered, but Job had questions. The place in which God spoke to Job is very applicable to us today. Job 40:6 tells us that ADONAI answered Job from the whirlwind. God will speak to you also – straight to your heart. Sometimes others can make decisions that are devastating to our lives. I cannot promise you everything will be OK. It may be, it may not be. But I promise you based on the faithfulness of God that you can be OK. Just don’t pull up the anchor. And never let go of the rope.623

Lord, there are times when terrors seem to overtake me like a flood, when the storm winds seem ready to sweep me away at night (Job 27:20). But I know that You have made darkness Your hiding place, Your sukkah is all around You – dark waters, thick clouds. You reach down from on high and took hold of me; You drew me out of mighty waters (Psalm 18:12 and 17).

 

2019-07-07T10:31:31+00:00 0 Comments