Principles of Effective Bible Study

How do we know that we are properly understanding Yahweh’s Word? How do we make correct interpretations by rightly dividing the Word?

Basic principles of Bible study will help guide us in getting the truth from each verse, while solving most problems presented by the more difficult passages. Bible study should be systematic, which takes time and discipline.

Before beginning you should have at hand good study Bibles like the Companion and Restoration Study Bible (RSB). Your understanding will increase exponentially by looking up words in the source languages, which these two Bibles help you to do.

When you compare parallel or contrasting verses, as typically provided in a good study Bible like the RSB, you get a more accurate understanding.

The New Testament was written in Hebrew. That’s a fact for several reasons, not the least of which is that the Hebrew writers would write in their native language, which was Hebrew.

They were not speaking Greek in the Galilee region in the first century. The Galileans were considered country folk. Peter, James, and John were not Greek scholars or even Greek speakers. Neither was Matthew, or Mark.

But to date only Greek manuscripts of the New Testament survive, of which there are some 5,400, not to mention thousands of Latin versions and other languages like Syriac, Coptic and Armenian. Most of the manuscripts derive from the Middle Ages, from the 7th century onward.

Of all the thousands of Greek manuscripts, no two are exactly alike. Some scholars put the differences at 200,000, others at 300,000, meaning there are more differences in manuscripts than there are words in the entire New Testament. Realize also that the manuscripts were all hand written (which is the meaning of “manu-script”).

That is why we must go back to the Old Testament foundation for course corrections when needed.

Sometimes scribes left out words, lines or even entire pages, especially when two lines ended with the same words. It didn’t help that they didn’t use paragraph divisions, lower case letters, punctuation, or even spaces between words. This is true of both Hebrew and Greek script.

Sometimes a word was inserted centuries later and at times whole sentences were added. You can see this from the Greek Codex Sinaiticus, the oldest New Testament manuscript.

And sometimes scribes would introduce mistakes, as in Act 15:24: “Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, Ye must be circumcised, and keep the law: to whom we gave no such commandment.” The bold-face words are not in the manuscripts, and are omitted in most translations.

Old Testament the Anchor

Some changes are not as significant as others. For instance, the oldest and best manuscripts of John don’t have the story of the woman taken in adultery, where Yahshua says he that is without sin cast the first stone. (Think about that—if only righteous, sinless people could inflict punishment, then the Old Testament law of stoning is moot.) This passage does not appear in the Greek manuscripts until the 12th century.

The passage of 1John 5:7-8 is the only passage in the entire Bible appearing to teach a trinity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The passage is missing in the text of all Greek manuscripts, and doesn’t occur until the invention of the printing press in the 15th century.

Ironically the more difficult a passage reads the more true it probably is to the original, where scribes didn’t try to gloss and explain the text. The very loosely translated Living Bible comes to mind.

All of this is to say that trying to understand Yahweh’s Word can at times be like trying to hit a moving target in the dead of night.

This is just one more case for the importance of the Old Testament as an anchor for New Testament teachings. Sometimes it is the only authority we have to ascertain the truth of a passage.We read in 2Tim. 3:16: “All scripture is given by inspiration of Elohim, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.”

First and foremost, this applies to the Old Testament. Referring to various incidents recorded in the Old Testament, Paul tells us in 1Corinthians 10:11 that “all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.” Let’s now consider five principles that make good Bible study.

First Principle: Take It at Face Value

Take the passage just as it reads. Look first for the literal meaning. A symbolic or deeper sense of the passage will often be evident, especially in combination with other related passages and verses elsewhere.

When Yahweh commands, “Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy,” Exodus 20:8, and adds that we are to work six days and rest the seventh, He means to keep the Sabbath literally by resting from work. He does not mean or even imply to honor the Sabbath by just thinking nice thoughts about the Sabbath while continuing to work on the seventh day.

The passage is better rendered, “Remember to observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.” The Amplified Bible says that it means to withdraw from common employment and dedicate the day to Yahweh, which verse 10 plainly says.

The command clearly is not intended for just a SPIRITUAL application, as some teach, but for literally ceasing from labor, a proper rendering made clear by consulting other translations. When reading other versions you may find divergent renderings, which is a tip-off to begin digging deeper, which means going back to the source languages. Principle two in proper study is:

Read the Passage in Context

When faced with a difficult verse, read all the verses surrounding it. Read what comes immediately before and after the passage. Read the entire chapter, if necessary. Often this will reveal the true meaning.

Remember that chapters, verse numbers, sentences, paragraphs, and punctuation did not exist in the ancient autographs. Therefore, sometimes thoughts get wrongly separated, which can cause misunderstandings.

For instance, the last two verses of Romans 2 should be numbered as the first two verses of Romans 3. They fit with those verses that follow, but the chapter numbering got in the way. Colossians 2:14 must be read with vv. 20-22.

As obvious as it should be to take everything in context, even many “experts” fail to apply it and end up twisting a passage or missing its meaning entirely.

An example is Romans 14:5, which has been used to support Sunday worship. “One man esteems one day above another: another esteems every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.”

If you read the whole chapter it is plain that Paul is addressing fasting and vegetarianism, not the day of rest. The third principle is:

Let Scripture Explain Itself

The Bible never contradicts itself. Hebrews 6:18 tells us it is impossible for Yahweh to lie. Therefore, we can’t say Paul under inspiration of Yahweh’s Spirit did away with the law in Galatians 3:13 only to have him by the same Spirit upholding the law in Romans 7:1, 12.

In the same way we cannot read Yahshua’s plain instruction to the young man, “If you will enter into life, keep the Commandments,” Matthew 19:17, and then turn around and teach that He abolished the law at His death, completely undoing and contradicting what He told the young man and hundreds of others. How would they trust Him again if He did that?

When a particular view of a passage does not seem to hold up in light of other Scriptures that say the exact opposite, then something is wrong with our understanding of the passage. The fourth principle is:

See Why and to Whom It Was Written

You often need to know the reason a passage was written to understand it properly; it may also be very helpful to know to whom the passage was written and why.

For example, 1Corinthians 16:2 has been grossly misinterpreted to support worship on the first day of the week. “Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as Yahweh has prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.”

“Lay by him in store” does not mean passing an offering plate at Sunday morning church. Besides, how much preparation does it take to put a coin in your purse or pocket to give as an offering?

Rather, Paul is seeking aid in the form of foodstuffs and other things for the drought-stricken and starving brethren at Jerusalem. He asks that the brethren in Corinth have their donations ready to give to him when he drops by to pick them up on the first of the week.

“Day” was not in the Greek but was added by translators who were pushing Sunday worship. They added the word “day” in all 8 New Testament references to the first (day) of the week.

No reference to a Sunday worship service is intended or implied. A careful reading of the first 4 verses of chapter 16 reveals the clear truth of the circumstance and will dispel any erroneous conclusions about Sunday worship.

Some believe that Paul taught against observing Sabbaths and Feasts in Galatians 4:8-11: “Howbeit then, when you knew not Elohirn, you did service unto them which by nature are no g-ds. But now, after that you have known Elohim, or rather are known of Elohim, how turn you again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto you desire again to be in bondage? You observe days, and months, and times, and years. I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labor in vain.”

If we understand that the Galatians were converts from a pagan place called Gaul (an area of France from which they derived their name), then it is clear that he is telling them to stop going BACK to their old Celtic ways.

The “days, and months, and times, and years” he is speaking about are not the Sabbath and Feasts commanded at Sinai, but their old pagan worship that they had just left, which is defined as “weak and beggarly,” being without substance and truth.

What’s more, their name comes from the Romans who called them Galli, meaning barbarians. This is not about believers keeping Yahweh’s calendar.

Yahweh’s days are never referred to as weak and beggarly, but are a big part of His laws that are defined as “holy … and just, and good,” Romans 7:12.

The biggest mistake in study is a failure to harmonize all the relevant Scriptures, a violation that has led to a myriad of contradictory teachings. A verse will never disagree with any other verse or part of the Word.

In John 10:35 Yahshua said the Scriptures cannot be broken (“broken” is the Greek luo, meaning to loosen or dissolve). Paul in 2Timothy 3:16 tells us that ALL Scripture is inspired, meaning it is “Yahweh breathed.” The fifth principle is next.

Language and Grammar

Anyone who has studied a foreign language knows that nuances of meaning are often lost in translation. By returning to the source languages as much as possible, we can come much closer to understanding the passage.

The common interpretation of Romans 10:4 is that Yahshua did away with the law. “For Messiah is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone that believes.” The Greek word “end” is telos and means “goal.” Far from being the termination of the law, Yahshua is the very purpose for the law! The law aims at Him.

The law transforms us to be like Him when we adhere to it. He said in Matthew 12:50, “For whosoever shall do the will of my father Which is in heaven, the same is My brother, and sister, and mother.”

Now we can employ principles three and five together and show it does not mean end or cessation. The same word telos is found in James 5:11, “ … you have heard the patience of Job, and have seen the end [telos] of Yahweh…”

Telos is used in both passages. If telos means “end,” as in the end of the law, then Yahweh has also come to an end! In truth, telos means “goal” in both verses, not end.

Another example of the importance of knowing the original meaning of words is in Matthew 25:46, which has been popularly interpreted to say that the wicked go to an ever-burning hell fire to roast in agony for eternity. “And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.”

The word “punishment” is from the Greek kolasis, and signifies a “lopping off.” It derives from No. 2849 in Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance Greek Dictionary and means to curtail. Properly interpreted, the verse tells us that the wicked will forever be “cut off,” their lives “curtailed.” It is a condition, not an ongoing action.

This agrees with 2Thessalonians 1:9, which reads that the wicked “shall be punished with an everlasting destruction from the presence of Yahweh and from the glory of his power.” “Destruction” in this verse is the Greek olethros and means to destroy, not sizzle forever in agony in sulfurous flames. Anyway, how does a “soul,” a spirit essence, suffer in physical flames? The prophet wrote, “The soul that sinneth, it shall die,” Ezekiel 18:20.

The New Testament English translation is at the center of most misinterpretation. The Old Testament translation isn’t plagued with as many difficulties. Nevertheless, no other literary work has been preserved better through the ages than the Bible.

Now get out there and Bible Study!

e-News 1/17/2020

Control Room Focus of Improvements

For the past month we have been making improvements and advancements in the video ministry. These will help the workflow and allow us to produce videos faster and add more content for the online ministry while enhancing the YRM Network. We are training local volunteers to help in production as well. We will soon be making more videos and short promotions to advance the Truth. A major upgrade was the purchase of a router that ties all the many functions of the control room into one master brain for ease of switching.

 

Donation Receipts in the Mail

Annual donation receipts were mailed this week, and we thank all who help YRM get the Truth out to a world in desperate need.

 

A Busy Past 12 Months

As we reported in the donation letter, 2019 was very busy at YRM. A list of those accomplishments follows. All of these were done by the local staff and volunteer brethren, saving many thousands of dollars.

*Live-stream became more streamlined

*The weekly e-news resumed publishing

*An amphitheater was built for Feasts and storage

*The control room at the offices was given a complete rehab

*Our mobile app was launched

*Our Roku channel was revamped

*Second floor conversion of the meeting hall completed.

*Renovation of the main kitchen continued, with a commercial dishwasher added

*Restoration Times in all four-color throughout

*A drone was acquired to enhance interest in the videos

*Street lights were installed in the parking lot

*Publication of a new outreach booklet was completed

We are humbled by what Yahweh has helped us accomplish so far, and look forward to greater things in the year ahead.

 

e-News 1/10/2019

Annual Donation Reports Coming
We are busy preparing the reports of total donations we received in 2019. If you contributed anything in 2019 you will have a report coming in your postal mail. We are grateful for your dedicated support this past year that enables our outreach efforts. The year 2019 was a very busy year for YRM, and we review all that Yahweh has done by our hand in ministry and expansion of the facilities for daily work and Feasts.

Interest in YRM Grows by Leaps and Bounds
Our website, yrm.org, experienced a phenomenal jump in visitors last month. Google analytics reported 19,200 visitors in December with a total 26,600 sessions. Sixty-one percent of those who visited learned of us organically — without the help of advertisements. Our videos continue uncommon viewership numbers, while our live streaming grows daily. Praise Yahweh!

TEST YOUR TUTELAGE
The Jewish calendar is the most accurate biblical calendar.

A. True
B. False

The present Jewish calendar is not the same calendar the Jews used during the time of the Messiah. Up to the time of the destruction of the second Temple in Jerusalem, the Sadducees were in charge of Temple worship. The growing influence of the Pharisees led to their dominating Jewish worship after 70 C.E., when the Jews were driven out of Jerusalem. Modern rabbinical worship is an extension of that Pharisee worship.

In Temple times visible sightings of the new moon in the environs of Jerusalem were carried out each month. Those sighting the thin crescent were questioned by the Sanhedrin, which was charged with sanctifying the beginning of the month. Once the new moon was seen and verified, a calculated calendar was obviously in use to corroborate the beginning of the 29- or 30-day month.

Certain changes and postponements are incorporated into the present Jewish calendar, established in the year 369 C.E. by Hillel II, which are nowhere found in the Bible. Instead of beginning the annual calendar with Abib, the first Biblical month of the year determined by green ears of barley (“Abib” means “green ears”), the Jewish calendar works backward from the Feast of Trumpets and Day of Atonement to set the year.

The Bible knows nothing of postponing a Feast day. Yet the present Jewish Calendar has four dehioth (postponements), listed here:

1) When the Molad [conjunction] Tishri occurs on a Sunday, Wednesday or Friday, Rosh Hahshanah is postponed to the following day.

2) When the Molad Tishri occurs at noon (18h) or later, Rosh Hashanah is postponed to the next day. Or if this day is a Sunday, Wednesday or Friday, to Monday, Thursday or Sabbath because of Dehiah

3) When the Molad Tishri of a common year falls on Tuesday, 204 parts after 3 a.m., i.e., 3d 9h 204 p or later, Rosh Hashanah is postponed to Wednesday, and because of Dehiah a., further postponed to Thursday.

4) When, in a common year succeeding a leap year, the Molad Tishri occurs on Monday morning 589 parts after 9 a.m., 2d 15h 589 p or later, Rosh Hashanah is postponed to the next day.
There is no authorization in the Bible allowing man to transfer or delay Feast days. Yet, one of the “religious requirements” is that Yom Kippur (Tishri 101) shall not occur on the day before or after the Sabbath and Hoshana Rabba (Tishri 21) shall not occur on a Sabbath.

Nowhere can we find that Atonement cannot occur on a Friday or Sunday. It may be more convenient when it comes to fasting on Atonement, but there is no Biblical justification for it. Neither is there any proscription against having Hoshana Rabba occur on the Sabbath.

Man-made exceptions override the rules of the calendar 60 percent of the time. Thus, exceptions dominate the modern Jewish calendar. Nowhere does the Bible teach such a thing.
The Jews themselves recognize that the calendar they presently use is of a more recent date and is not the calendar Yahshua followed when He walked this earth. The Israelites and Jews of old watched for the appearance of the new moon just as we at YRM do today. Observing the new moons has been the practice of Yahweh’s people down through history in obedience to Yahweh’s established heavenly calendar (Gen. 1:14; Ps. 104:19).

Answer: B

e-News 1/3/2020

Our Outreach Growth Continues
Yahweh is blessing our outreach as YRM videos are furthering interest in truth in a big way. For example, in just a few days a sermon last year by Elder Alan Mansager on the pagan origins of New Year’s has earned 600 subscribers and 50,000 views, representing over 7,000 hours of watch time. In the next 12 months we will be adding more captivating video programs for Yahweh’s glory. Watch Here>>

Annual Donation Report Coming
We will soon be sending your annual donation summary for 2019, along with a report on all that has been accomplished this past secular year. This was one of the busiest years for YRM, with many advances both in outreach and building and facility improvements. Of course, none of it would have been possible without our faithful supporters, for which we thank Almighty Yahweh.  With your help we look forward to greater progress in 2020.

Parking Lot Lighting Completed
YRM offices got a facelift this week with three street lights added to the parking lot. Ten volunteers, led by Bros. Ryan Mansager and Chris Fouts, installed the lighting in an eight-hour marathon. The 25-foot poles were raised and set on concrete pillars by muscle power with ropes and backhoe assisting. We thank Bro. Chris and son Andrew who traveled from Virginia to help install and connect the lighting, along with Bro. Mel Braun and son David from Michigan.

TEST YOUR TUTELAGE
The sacred Name Yahweh should be pronounced Yahuweh.

A.True
B. False

Rules of Hebrew grammar conflict with the Yah-u-weh (and Yehovah) pronunciation. If the Name were “Yah-u-w-eh” it would have 5 vowel-consonants, thus making it not a four-letter Tetragrammaton but a five-letter Pentagrammaton. We also never see a dagesh forte (letter doubling) in the Hebrew Tetragrammaton. The grammar would dictate two waws to make the “u” and the “w” sounds respectively. Breaking it down it would look like this: YHWWH (Y = Yod H = Hey U = Waw W = Waw H = Hey). From the oldest texts on down there is no case of the Name ever written with five Hebrew letters. This same rule must be applied to Jehovah/Yehovah. You cannot simply attach extra letters and syllables to a word without the necessary grammatical and lexical support. The Tetragrammaton vowel marks were purposely combined with Adonai or Elohim to hide the name. In Hebrew in the preponderance of cases the last syllable is where the accent was placed, not the middle one. To over-emphasize a middle syllable (YahUweh) would be a total guess unsupported by standard Hebrew grammar.

Answer: B

Faith and Action

Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Heb. 11:1)

What is faith? It is not physical; so how do we know that faith exists? To have faith, one
starts with hope which will lead to belief. I have hope that I will overcome my educational
obstacles and retain the knowledge I am seeking to excel in my career path. When I build upon
this hope by telling myself that I can overcome, it will eventually become something tangible
and real. Constant repetition of the belief will force the mind to accept that the idea or concept
once “hoped” for can, in actuality, be realized. It then becomes a substance that feels physical
and real. Our mind is shaped and formed by what we tell ourselves. If we inwardly say that we
cannot be a successful business owner or become the doctor that we have always dreamed of
becoming, our mind will follow in this line of thinking and make this a reality.

This is such a valuable thought – to remember that we are not subject to the whims and
ways of this world. Our life can be changed by how much our minds have been bent to accept
that anything is possible. In the past, I have restricted my existence to what I can see and feel
and not on what is possible to achieve. However, we do not have to accept that if only we are
in the right place at the right time then what we truly want can be obtained. My generation has
been taught that, as long as you live in the right neighborhood and go to the right schools, you
are automatically primed for the most rewards in this life. Further, if you do not have these
things, then you will never succeed to your full potential.

This world would be so dismal without faith to give us the hope we need for better days.

It is the thought that as long as I keep having faith in the things that I cannot see or feel, one
day it will become physical. What I am doing in the unseen world can and will be revealed in
this world. I can also change the outcome of my life by having faith, hope, and then belief that
anything is possible. Faith can also bring about other positive changes.

Do unto others as you would have done unto you.” (Luke 6:31)

In my life, there have been many times that circumstances required change. When I had
been faced with accusations or insults and anger had begun to rise, I began to learn that what
you feel in the moment is usually not the truth. There are times where negative emotions like
rage, jealousy, bitterness, selfishness, and depression can be upon us so strongly that to be free
of their grasp seems impossible. However, when I truly reflect on those feelings and why I am
choosing to accept them, the root is usually pride. I am believing that those emotions are
impossible to shake, yet there are many verses that deny this:

All is permitted me, but not all do profit. All is permitted me, but I shall not be under
authority of any.” (1Cor. 6:12)

And I say: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not accomplish the lust of the flesh.” (Gal. 5:16)

I sought יהוה, and He answered me, and delivered me from all my fears.” (Ps. 34:4)

When I tell myself I can choose joy, or that I can choose faith, or that I choose to believe
I can do all things, I am choosing faith. As I am in this faith, I choose to make steps that will
direct the course of my belief. If I want to be joyful, I smile more; if I am afraid, I tell myself that
I am not alone and He watches over me; if I want to succeed, I prepare, study, and work.

Another area of life that requires faith is relationships, as they are valuable to our
existence. It is important to cultivate this partnership between two or more people. The
existence of our physical bodies in this world can be bleak if we isolate ourselves because we
have treated those in our closest circle in a harsh, unloving way.

When I feel valued and loved, it brings a warm, serene feeling to my soul. It makes me
want to reach out to others and share this aura with them as well. The result of this makes me
want to surround many cities and states with this beautiful “thing” called happiness.
The feelings of bitterness and anger also operate along the same lines of transportation.
When the feeling of annoyance, which turns to anger, starts to rise up in our body, everyone
around us will have some participation in this sad turn of events. The harsh, snarling tones
erupt like flames of fire and can destroy a group of people in just a matter of seconds.

It takes perseverance and courage to push past the conflict we have with others,
whether we are to blame or not. I cherish the idea that we are to love, serve, honor, protect,
care for, and value others as we would want the same from those around us. This idea is so
precious to me because it is what I do not accomplish on my own. It is something that I am
consistently striving to achieve every day in my personal relationships.

Each day is a new beginning toward building our personal relationships with those
around us. If we remember to act in a way that we would want to be treated, then some of our
relationships might be spared estrangement and loneliness. If we want kindness and love, then
we must be the ones who give it. This is true faith with action, to be in the moment but to
believe in a better future and consciously make sure steps toward it.

By: Luann Avalos

e-News 12/27/2019

Installation of Parking Lot Lights
Several years after we purchased light poles for the YRM parking lot, installation is finally underway. Bros. Chris Fouts, Ryan Mansager, James Duenow, Lucas Cecil, and Mel Braun worked for a couple of days on erecting the three poles, which will make the parking lot safer at night and the building more secure. This work had been put off because of more pressing requirements of the ministry. It is becoming clear that our parking lot requires expansion as well, especially during the Feasts.

Final Call for 2019 Donations
Only a few days remain for those who want their tithes and offerings credited for the year 2019. Be sure to have them sent or postmarked before January 1. Our sincerest “thank you” to all who respond to the needs of this ministry and who help us reach the many who are searching for Truth in a world of confusion. A complete report of your 2019 donations will be mailed in January 2020.

TEST YOUR TUTELAGE
Throughout Scripture, Yahweh is alternately called Shepherd, Elohim, Father, Husband, Redeemer and Sovereign. How can these all be true at the same time?

  1. It depends on the mood of the writer.
  2. This variety is traceable to misunderstandings in The Hebrew.
  3. The New Testament concludes the matter: He is Father, and that is sufficient.
  4. These various titles are fulfillments of the Holy Name.

The Most Holy Name, Yahweh, has two (2) basic meanings. Either “He is” or else “He will be.” Observant Bible students will tell you that when Yahweh works effectively, He will be whatever He has to be in order to bring about His will. Without question, the Psalms instruct us to call upon HIs Name in prayer and worship. These titles, however, allow us to frame our devotions in a way that speaks to matters at hand. In no way do these titles eliminate HIs Name.

Answer: D

Is Holly Holy?

What do a tinsel-laden pine tree, a jolly ol’ elf, and gift exchanging have in common with the Messiah Yahshua’s birth? Clearly, nothing.

Today’s Christmas customs do not exist in Scripture but derive from man-made traditions thousands of years old. Come take a journey with me through history and Scripture to understand the truth about this extravaganza of holidays.

 

Xmas Built on a False Premise

First, we consider the premise of Christmas. Do we have evidence that December 25th is the Messiah’s birthday? According to history and scholarship, there’s no evidence that Yahshua was born on this day or anywhere close to it.

The New Catholic Encyclopedia states: “Inexplicable though it seems, the date of Christ’s birth is not known. The Gospels indicate neither the day nor the month” (1967. Christmas).

The Roman Catholic Church chose December 25 as the date of the Messiah’s birth. No other evidence exists establishing that date. So we find here that the very source responsible for the establishment of December 25 as the birth date for the Savior admits that the actual date is unknown.

Many other sources confirm its absence. For instance, the Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature says. “The fathers of the first three centuries do not speak of any special observance of the nativity. No corresponding festival was presented by the Old Testament…the day and month of the birth of Christ are nowhere stated in the Gospel history, and cannot be certainly determined…” (1981, Christmas).

This admission is staggering. The church fathers of the first three centuries spoke nothing about the celebration of the Nativity. Clearly, the observance of the Messiah’s birth was unknown to the men who governed the church for the first 300 years.

Any reasonable person would think that such an important, historic event would have been understood by these stewards. The fact that the church fathers were oblivious to this observance shows that it has no early ties to Christianity. So if the day of the Messiah’s birth is not known even in the earliest years of the church, why then did the church later select December 25? What was so special about this day?

 

Worship of Saturn

This day has another past more sinister than many realize. December 25th was chosen because of its connection with pagan worship, specifically with sun worship, a religion going all the way back to ancient Babylon.

In Roman culture there were three observances that contributed to the timing and customs of Christmas. Possibly the greatest and most popular celebration was in honor of the Roman god of agriculture Saturn, hence Saturnalia, at the winter solstice. According to most historians, this festival resembled Mardi Gras and New Year’s: it was a time of decadence and confusion.

The Standard American Encyclopedia explains, “…the feast in honor of Saturn, celebrated by the Romans in December and regarded as a time of unrestrained license and merriment for all classes, even for the slaves” (1940, Saturnalia).

According to the Encyclopedia Americana, “It [Saturnalia] probably originated as a harvest celebration. Under the Caesars it was celebrated from the 17th to the 23rd of December, during which period public business was closed, masters and slaves changed places, and feasting, giving of gifts, and general license prevailed” (1956, Saturnalia).

It is no coincidence that the dates of Saturnalia closely correspond to Christmas.

This Roman festival was one of the happiest times of the pagan year. It included the giving of gifts, the suspension of work, and easements in cultural norms and ethics. Slaves were given temporary freedom and certain cases of immorality were overlooked.

 

The Counterfeit Messiah

Another belief influencing Christmas was Mithraism. This was a cult in the Roman culture that was reserved for men only and was especially popular among soldiers.

Again the Catholic Encyclopedia says, “The origin of the cult of Mithra dates from the time that the Hindus and Persians still formed one people, for the god Mithra occurs in the religion and the sacred books of both races, i.e. in the Vedas and in the Avesta. In Vedic hymns he is frequently mentioned and is nearly always coupled with Varuna, but beyond the bare occurrence of his name, little is known of him (Rigveda, III, 59). It is conjectured (Oldenberg, Die Religion des Veda, Berlin, 1894) that Mithra was the rising sun, Varuna the setting sun; or, Mithra, the sky at daytime, Varuna, the sky at night; or, the one the sun, the other the moon. In any case Mithra is a light or solar deity of some sort; but in vedic times the vague and general mention of him seems to indicate that his name was little more than a memory….Mithraism was emphatically a soldier religion: Mithra, its hero, was especially a divinity of fidelity, manliness, and bravery; the stress it laid on good fellowship and brotherliness, its exclusion of women, and the secret bond amongst its members have suggested the idea that Mithraism was Masonry amongst the Roman soldiery” (see newadvent.org, Mithraism).

As we learn from this reference, not much is known about this cult. It goes back to when the Hindus and Persians were one people, but how and in what form this deity was worshiped is unknown. As this deity evolved over time and cultures, it found a home in Rome; it especially gained popularity among the Roman military. At this point, Mithra had been reinterpreted as a deity of war and as a result, Mithraism again took root within the Roman culture.

The connection between Mithraism and Christmas is described in the book, Mystery Religions in the Ancient World. “Mithra was the creator and orderer of the universe, hence a manifestation of the creative Logos or Word. Seeing mankind afflicted by Ahriman, the cosmic power of darkness, he incarnated on earth. His birth on 25 December was witnessed by shepherds. After many deeds he held a last supper with his disciples and returned to heaven. At the end of the world he will come again to judge resurrected mankind and after the last battle, victorious over evil, he will lead the chosen ones through a river of fire to a blessed immortality,” p. 99.

The resemblance of Mithra and the Messiah is striking. Scripture states that the Messiah is the creative Word or Logos, John 1:1-3. We also know that His birth was witnessed by shepherds and that He shared a last supper with His disciples and was afterward murdered and resurrected to heaven. The Bible also prophesies of His return, when He will remove evil and conquer all those who oppose Him. Because of these similarities, some scholars believe that Mithraism was a major force in Christianity and a serious threat to the Church. According to Ernest Renan, a French historian and expert in ancient cultures, “…if the growth of Christianity had been arrested by some mortal malady, the world would have been Mithraic…”

Mithra was born on December 25. There’s little doubt that the date of Mithra worship played a role in the establishment of December 25th as the Messiah’s birth.

 

Unconquered Sun Worship

In addition to Saturnalia and Mithraism, there was another celebration called the Feast of Sol Invictus that helped solidify December 25 as the date for the Nativity. The Encyclopaedia Britannica openly states that the Church adopted this day for Christmas:

“During the later periods of Roman history, sun worship gained in importance and ultimately led to what has been called a ‘solar monotheism.’ Nearly all the gods of the period were possessed of Solar qualities, and both Christ and Mithra acquired the traits of solar deities. The feast of Sol Invictus (unconquered Sun) on December 25th was celebrated with great joy, and eventually this date was taken over by the Christians as Christmas, the birthday of Christ” (2000, vol. 11, p. 390).

There should be no doubt that Christmas is an amalgamation of ancient pagan practices later adopted by the Roman church.

This ancient celebration was nothing more than sun worship or “solar monotheism.” The term “solar” refers to the sun, while “monotheism” refers to the worship of one deity. Most ancient religions were polytheistic, meaning they worshiped many gods. To find a point in history where sun worship was a monotheistic religion is noteworthy.

On a side note, vestiges of sun worship can be seen in other areas of the Church. For example, the day that nominal worship has chosen as a day of worship comes from the Latin dies solis, meaning, “day of the sun.” According to historians it was Emperor Constantine who officially changed Sabbath worship to Sunday; prior to his conversion this man was a sun worshiper.

Authors Anthony F. Buzzard and Charles F. Hunting in their book, The Doctrine of the Trinity, state, “Constantine appears to have been a sun-worshiper, one of a number of late pagan cults which had observances in common with Christians. Worship of such gods was not a novel idea. Every Greek or Roman expected that political success followed from religious piety.

“Christianity was the religion of Constantine’s father. Although Constantine claimed that he was the thirteenth Apostle, his was no sudden Damascus conversion. Indeed it is highly doubtful that he ever truly abandoned sun-worship. After his professed acceptance of Christianity, he built a triumphal arch to the sun god and in Constantinople set up a statue of the same sun god bearing his own features. He was finally deified after his death by official edict in the Empire, as were many Roman rulers.”

We also find evidence for the role that sun worship played in Christmas from the New International Dictionary of the Christian Church. “December 25 was the date of the Roman pagan festival inaugurated in 274 as the birthday of the unconquered sun which at the winter solstice begins again to show an increase in light. Sometime before 336 the Church in Rome, unable to stamp out this pagan festival, spiritualized it as the Feast of the Nativity of the Sun of Righteousness,” p. 223.

According to this source, December 25th was marked as the birthday of the sun in 274 CE and about 60 years later the Church adopted this day as the birthday of the Messiah because of its inability to stamp out this pagan observance. By doing so, the Church changed the faith forever!

 

A Holiday Outlawed by Puritans

Because of its paganism and the fact that Christmas resembled more of a Mardi Gras during the time of early America, many Christians rejected Christmas and its customs.

Robert J. Myers in his book Celebrations says, “In England, for example, the Puritans could not tolerate this celebrating for which there was no biblical sanction. Consequently, the Roundhead Parliament of 1643 outlawed the feasts of Christmas, Easter, Whitsuntide, along with the saint’s days,” p. 312.

As noted on the History Channel, this refusal was shared by the pilgrims and other early Americans:  “In the early 17th century, a wave of religious reform changed the way Christmas was celebrated in Europe. When Oliver Cromwell and his Puritan forces took over England in 1645, they vowed to rid England of decadence and as part of their effort cancelled Christmas. By popular demand, Charles II was restored to the throne and with him came the return of the popular holiday.

“The pilgrims, English separatists that came to America in 1620, were even more orthodox in their Puritan beliefs than Cromwell. As a result, Christmas was not a holiday in early America. From 1659 to 1681, the celebration of Christmas was actually outlawed in Boston. Anyone exhibiting the Christmas spirit was fined five shillings” (history.com, Christmas).

What would happen if believers took such a stand today? Much of today’s error and subsequent problems would be removed and a time of unparalleled truth would result. We need only to ask, is it sanctioned by Almighty Yahweh and His Word?

Tree Worship and Santa Claus

Christmas is riddled with non-biblical traditions. The evergreen tree has been an object of worship for millennia.

Scripture provides many examples of tree worship, but none clearer than Jeremiah 10. “Hear ye the word which Yahweh speaketh unto you. O house of Israel: Thus saith Yahweh. Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven: for the heathen are dismayed at them. For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe. They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not. They are upright as the palm tree, but speak not: they must needs be borne, because they cannot go. Be not afraid of them: for they cannot do evil, neither also is it in them to do good,” vv. 1-5.

Does this description sound famil-iar? Take a closer look; 1) one cuts a tree out of the forest; 2) they deck it with silver and gold; 3) they fasten it with nails and with hammers; and 4) they stand it upright. You’re probably thinking, Christmas tree. Truth be told, this is not referring specifically to a Christmas tree, which is nonetheless a form of tree worship.

Read what Jeremiah said in verse 2: “Learn not the way of the heathen.” Does this warning also apply to Christmas? We can answer that by simply asking: Is Christmas found in the Bible or in traditions of pagans? We can safely say this warning includes Christmas. When Yahweh said through Jeremiah, learn not the way of the heathen, He meant any pagan worship, including Christmas and Easter.

In addition to the biblical record, scholarship also confirms that tree worship was common. For example, The Golden Bough states. “…Tree worship is well attested for all the great European families of the Aryan stock. Amongst the Celts the oak-worship of the Druids is familiar to everyone. Sacred groves were common among the ancient Germans, and tree-worship is hardly extinct among their descendants at the present day,” p. 58.

We have the tradition of Saint Nick. According to the book, Santa Claus, Last of the Wild Men, the traditional Santa Claus may have roots to Odin, a major deity in Norse mythology: “… children would place their boots filled with sugar, carrots or straw, near the chimney for Odin’s flying horse, Sleipnir, to eat. Odin would then reward those children for their kindness by replacing Sleipnir’s food with gifts or candy. This practice survived in Germany, Belgium, and the Netherlands after the adoption of Christianity and became associated with Saint Nicholas as a result of the process of Christianization and can be still seen in the modern practice of the hanging of stockings at the chimney in some homes” (pp. 171-173).

While many state that Santa Claus traces back to Saint Nicholas, bishop of Myra, who existed during the 4th century, the truth is very different. The etymological roots of this figure trace back to German and Dutch folklore, but not to Scripture.

 

The True Birthday of Yahshua

Let’s now transition from the historical roots of Christmas to the scriptural facts about our Savior’s birth. From Scripture we find that He was likely born in the fall.

We find evidence in Luke 1:5, “There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judaea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abia: and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elisabeth.”

Zacharias, John the Baptist’s father, served at the temple and his course of duty was of the course of Abia. What’s the significance of this? Before we answer that, we need to understand these courses a bit better. In the Old Testament there were 24 courses or service schedules in the temple. The cycle of courses began at Abib (the first biblical month) in the springtime and was from Sabbath to Sabbath. Each priest was required to serve twice a year. Abia was the eighth course.

The course of Abia would have fallen around the beginning of June. Based on this, we can pinpoint that John the Baptist was conceived around early June. Scripture states that Mary conceived Yahshua six months after Elisabeth conceived John the Baptist, Luke 1:26. From this we can determine the approximate date of the Messiah’s conception and birth. If John the Baptist was conceived in early June and if Yahshua was conceived six months later, then He was likely conceived in early December, placing His birth nine months away, sometime in September, possibly during the Feast of Tabernacles.

 

Snowmen and … Frosty Shepherds?

What about the shepherds? The traditional Christmas story goes that shepherds received a miraculous message about the infant Yahshua while in the fields on December 25th. The traditional story is based on Luke 2:13-18,

“And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising Elohim, and saying, Glory to Elohim in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass which Yahweh hath made known unto us. And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.”

The question is, were shepherds out tending flocks the end of December? This is highly unlikely. According to Adam Clarke’s Commentary, “It was a custom among the Jews to send out their sheep to the deserts, about the passover, and bring them home at the commencement of the first rain: during the time they were out, the shepherds watched them night and day. As the passover occurred in the spring, and the first rain began early in the month of Marchesvan, which answers to part of our October and November, we find that the sheep were kept out in the open country during the whole of the summer. And as these shepherds had not yet brought home their flocks, it is a presumptive argument that October had not yet commenced, and that, consequently, our [Master] was not born on the 25th of December, when no flocks were out in the fields; nor could he have been born later than September, as the flocks were still in the fields by night. On this very ground the nativity in December should be given up. The feeding of the flocks by night in the fields is a chronological fact, which casts considerable light upon this disputed point.”

The Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary confirms. “From this most critics, since Lightfoot conclude that the time which, since the fourth century, has been ecclesiastically fixed upon for the celebration of Christ’s birth – the 25th of December, or the midst of the rain season – cannot be the true time, as the shepherds drove their flocks about the spring or Passover time out to the fields, and remained out with them all summer, under cover of huts or tents, returning with them late in the autumn. …The nature of the seasons in Palestine could hardly have been unknown to those who fixed upon the present Christmas-period: the difficulty, therefore, is perhaps more imaginary than real.”

Three Men and a Birthday?

Let’s consider one more piece of the puzzle – the wise men. This story is based on the second chapter of Matthew. It reads, “Now when Yahshua was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him…

When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Miriam his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense and myrrh,” vv 1-2, 10-11.

Tradition says that three wise men visited the infant Yahshua in a manger to honor His birth. Do we find evidence of that here?

First, Scripture says nothing about three wise men, only that three gifts were given. Second, they did not visit the infant Messiah at the manger, but the boy Messiah at His house, verse 11. And third, the wise men were not there to celebrate the birth of the Messiah, but to worship the King of the Jews, verse 2.

Other than the wise men visiting the Messiah, the traditional account is almost completely lacking in Scripture. Again, there is no mention of the number of wise men, there is no mention of a manger, and there is no mention of the Messiah’s birth.

We find from verse 16 that Yahshua was around the age of two. It reads, “Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently enquired of the wise men.”

Scripture verifies here that Herod murdered all male children two years and under. Why did he start with the age of two? It’s likely that Yahshua was near this age when the wise men came to visit.

Again we find that the traditional story of the Messiah’s birth has little basis in Scripture. The story of Christmas is not in the Bible but it was through pagan Roman tradition that the Church adopted the rituals of Christmas.

 

Come Out, Be Separate, Don’t Touch

What does our Father Yahweh say about such compromise? We are commanded in Jeremiah 10 to abstain from learning the ways of the heathen.

Paul in 2Corinthians 6:14 also warns about compromise and accepting false worship. “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellow ship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Messiah with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of Elohim with idols? for ye are the temple of the living Elohim; as Elohim hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their Elohim, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith Yahweh. and touch not the unclean thing: and I will receive you. And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith Yahweh Almighty.”

Here in each question Paul shows the distinction between right and wrong: and between worship that is honoring and worship that is not. Based on the facts that Christmas contains no scriptural foundation and was borrowed from pagan worship, it is clearly to be avoided by anyone who wants to honor the true Messiah.

What Do I Do Now?  (Facing the Challenges of Life)

Life throws curve balls. Sometimes it plays tricks and, needless to say, we face many trials in this life. With all the “zigging” and “zagging” it is sometimes hard to know which way to go, who to depend on and where to look for guidance.  Following are some truths that each of us should consider as we navigate the rough waters and rocky roads:

LOOK TO YAHWEH AND TRUST HIS GUIDANCE.

  1. He created you and knows you intimately.

Isa 43:1 But now thus saith YHWH that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel,

Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine.

  1. He promises you wisdom and guidance.

Jas 1:5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of Elohim, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.

Joh 16:13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself;  but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak:

and he will shew you things to come.

  1. He is pleased with your faith in Him and will answer your prayers.

Heb 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to Elohim must believe that he is,  and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

Mat 17:20 And Yahshua said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.

Mat 21:21 Yahshua answered and said unto them,  Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done.

1Pe 1:7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire,  might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Yahshua the Messiah:

DO CHECK TO SEE IF YOU ARE IN THE WILL OF YAHWEH.

  1. Does it line up with Torah and the rest of the scriptures?

2Ti 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of Elohim, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

  1. Seek wise human counsel.

Pro 15:22 Without counsel purposes are disappointed: but in the multitude of counsellors they are established.

Jas 3:13 Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom.

  1. Allow the Holy Spirit to speak to you and confirm or deny your plans.

1Ki 19:12 And after the earthquake a fire; but YHWH was not in the fire:  and after the fire a still small voice.

Psa 25:9 The meek will he guide in judgment: and the meek will he teach his way.

Psa 32:8 I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye.

Joh 16:13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.

 

  1. Be honest with yourself. Is it wise, is it scriptural, is it in your best interest and the best interest of others? Do you have righteous motives?

Pro 16:2 All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes; but YHWH weigheth the spirits.

Jas 3:17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits,  without partiality, and without hypocrisy.

Psa 26:2 Examine me, O YHWH, and prove me; try my reins and my heart.

1Co 11:28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.

2Co 13:5 Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Yahshua the Messiah is in you,  except ye be reprobates?

Jas 3:15 This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish.

Jas 3:17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated,  full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.

DON’T GIVE UP ON YOUR GOALS, DREAMS AND PASSIONS.

  1. Pray, Listen, Believe.

1Th 5:17 Pray without ceasing.

Deu 4:1 Now therefore hearken, O Israel, unto the statutes  and unto the judgments, which I teach you, for to do them, that ye may live,  and go in and possess the land  which YHWH Elohim of your fathers giveth you.

Deu_7:12 Wherefore it shall come to pass,  if ye hearken to these judgments, and keep, and do them,  that YHWH thy Elohim shall keep  unto thee the covenant and the mercy which he sware unto thy fathers:

Mar 9:23 Yahshua said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.

  1. Plan and Prepare.

Pro 21:5 The thoughts of the diligent tend only to plenteousness; but of every one that is hasty only to want.

Pro 16:1 The preparations of the heart in man, and the answer of the tongue, is from YHWH.

Pro 16:3 Commit thy works unto YHWH, and thy thoughts shall be established.

  1. Wait for Confirmation.

Ecc 7:8 Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof: and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.

Rom 12:12 Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;

  1. Fly with Confidence.

Num 23:19 Elohim is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it?  or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?

1Sa 15:29 And also the Strength of Israel will not lie nor repent: for he is not a man, that he should repent.

2Ti 1:7 For Elohim hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

Isa 58:11 And YHWH shall guide thee continually,  and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water,  whose waters fail not.

Psalm 13:1-6

To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David. How long wilt thou forget me, O YHWH? forever? how long wilt thou hide thy face from me?  How long shall I take counsel in my soul, having sorrow in my heart daily?  how long shall mine enemy be exalted over me?  Consider and hear me, O YHWH my EL: lighten mine eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death;  Lest mine enemy say, I have prevailed against him; and those that trouble me rejoice when I am moved.  But I have trusted in thy mercy; my heart shall rejoice in thy salvation.  I will sing unto YHWH, because he hath dealt bountifully with me.

By: Gayle Bonato

e-News 12/20/19

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November-December RT Published
The latest Restoration Times magazine is in the mail and online. This issue includes articles on Christmas, Hanukkah, the angelic realm and the Name Yahweh. Read Here>>
What About Cremation?
Occasionally we get questions asking what the Bible says about cremation. We take a biblical look at the practice Here>>
TEST YOUR TUTELAGE
What Feasts are mentioned by name in the New Testament?
A. Feast of Unleavened Bread, Feast of Weeks (Pentecost), Feast of Tabernacles
B. Day of Atonement, Feast of Weeks (Pentecost), Feast of Tabernacles
C. Feast of Unleavened Bread, Day of Atonement, Feast of Trumpets
D. Passover, Feast of Weeks (Pentecost), Feast of Trumpets
The following Feasts are mentioned by name in the New Testament: Feast of Unleavened Bread (Matt. 26:17; Mark 14:1; Luke 22:1; Acts 12:3; 20:6), Feast of Weeks (Pentecost) (Acts 2:1; 20:16; 1Cor. 16:8) and Feast of Tabernacles (John 7:2). These are pilgrim Feasts, intended to be kept where Yahweh places His Name. While the Passover is mentioned, it’s technically not a Feast but a memorial. Moses was told to keep the Feast in the wilderness; he kept Passover at Goshen before Israel left. We find a reference to the Day Atonement in Acts 27:9, where it mentions the “fast.” While the Feast of Trumpets is not indicated by formal name, it is likely found prophetically at Yahshua’s Second Coming (1Thess. 4:16-18).

Answer: A

Worship — It’s not about you, it’s about Him.

What is Your Stance on Cremation?

Q  I’m 65 years old now and planning for my funeral arrangements. And because my finances are small & cremation it’s less expensive; but I’m struggling in my spirit about cremation. if you can please enlighten me on the subject of cremation. I really appreciate you’re insight on the subject. May Yahweh continue to bless you, your family and your ministry.

A  Cremation in Scripture was employed in cases of serious offenses. Yahweh revealed that the punishment of Satan will be his total destruction by fire, resulting in ashes (Ezekiel 28:18, Revelation 20:10). The destruction of the wicked of the world is described as ashes under Yahshua’s feet, Malachi 4:3.

The righteous patriarchs were buried and their bones were later taken and buried in bone boxes or ossuaries. See Abraham (Gen. 23:8); Joseph (Ex. 13:19); Jonathan (2Samuel 21:13-14)

The wicked, the accursed, were burned (Joshua 7:15; Lev. 20:14; 21:9); also Achan (Joshua 7:25).  Josiah deliberately burned the bones of the wayward high priests on the altar at Bethel to pollute it because of their false worship. But the bones of the prophet he let alone and would not burn them.

The pagans employed cremation regularly. The Hindus in India cremated and spread the ashes over the sacred Ganges River. They believed the flames facilitated the soul’s release to paradise. The pagan Greeks also customarily cremated, as did the American Indians.