In this issue of the Restoration Times we discuss:
• The Spirit of Pentecost
• It’s Just a Name – Oh REALLY?
• Sabbaticals and Jubilees
Why do you use the barley to determine the start of the year? To begin the month, do you use the crescent or full moon? Also, what about the lunar Sabbath belief?
Support for the barley can be found in the meaning of the word Abib, the name of the first biblical month, and in biblical scholarship.
A reference to the first biblical month is in Deuteronomy 16:1. “Observe the month of Abib….” The word “Abib” refers to young ears of grain: “…from an unused root (meaning to be tender); green, i.e. a young ear of grain; hence, the name of the month Abib or Nisan,” Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance.
“Month of ear-forming, of greening of crop, of growing green Abib, the month of the Exodus and the Passover (March or April),” Brown Driver Briggs Hebrew Lexicon.
“…barley that is already ripe, but still soft, the grains of which are eaten either rubbed or roasted,” The Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament.
“The name of the month, so called because corn [grain] was then forming in the ear, a few weeks before harvest; falling somewhere about March or April; afterwards called Nisan, the first month of the Hebrew year,” Wilson’s Old Testament Word Studies.
Strictly speaking, the first month, Abib, describes the stage of barley that is in the dough stage or later. The minimum allowance for Abib was a wave sheaf used in bundling or about two dry quarts. Also, since the Bible confirms that the barley precedes the new moon crescent (Exodus 9:31 and 12:2), you must have barley that meets the minimum stage of Abib by the time of the new moon crescent. We reject the idea of projecting the barley in anticipation of the wave sheaf offering.
Because Israel observed the barley from the Holy Land and there is a need for a unified year throughout the globe, we observe the barley in Israel.
Scholarship also supports the use of barley to commence the first biblical month: “…Abib is not properly a name of a month, but part of a descriptive phrase, ‘the month of young ears of grain.’ This may indicate the Israelitish way of determining the new year (Ex 12:2), the year beginning with the new moon nearest or next preceding this stage of the growth of the barley,” International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia. See also New Unger’s Bible Dictionary.
Scripture and scholarship confirm the new moon for the start of the month. The word month, as seen in Exodus 12:2 and Deuteronomy 16:1, comes from the Hebrew chodesh and is defined as “…from OT:2318; the new moon; by implication, a month: -month (-ly), new moon.” OT:2318, chadash, is “a primitive root; to be new; causatively, to rebuild.” Strong’s Hebrew Dictionary used in both definitions.
“The Hebrew or Jewish calendar had three stages of development: the preexilic, or Biblical; the postexilic, or Talmudic; and the post-Talmudic. The first rested solely on observation, the second on observation coupled with calculation, and the third on calculation only. In the first period the priests determined the beginning of each month by the appearance of the new moon,” International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia.
“Originally, the New Moon was not fixed by astronomical calculation, but was solemnly proclaimed after witnesses had testified to the reappearance of the crescent of the moon… By the middle of the fourth century, the sages had established a permanent calendar and the public proclamation of the New Moon was discontinued,” Encyclopaedia Judaica, Vol. 12, p. 1039.
Reckoning the start of the week and Sabbath by the moon is nowhere in the Bible, The week was already in its fourth day of creation before the moon was established to divide day and night, Genesis 1:14-18. Starting a week by the moon results in a partial week at the end of the month. Lunar Sabbaths don’t work in counting out the Feast days. For additional information see our booklet: The Lunar Sabbath Illusion. We show that this belief is nowhere found in the Word and is totally untenable.
Yahweh’s Restoration Ministry invites you to the 2022 Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot) celebration in Holts Summit, Missouri, from the evening of October 11th – 18th. This Feast offers incredible insight into our Father’s plan of salvation for mankind. It represents not only Israel’s 40 years in the wilderness, but prophetically points to the coming Kingdom, when Yahshua the Messiah will govern this earth with His saints, Revelation 20:6.
Worship and Activities
Above all, the Feast is a time to worship Almighty Yahweh (Lev. 23:1). There is no greater purpose! To follow this command, we will have daily worship services along with several Bible studies throughout the Feast. We will also have a baptismal service for those seeking immersion into Yahshua’s Name. We will have our traditional Night of Special Music and all are invited to participate. To honor our Father in heaven, we ask that all Feastgoers make an effort to attend each day as this is a commanded, eight-day observance. In addition to the inspiring and informative messages and Bible workshops, we have several activities planned, including field trips, campfires and much more! SEE SCHEDULE HERE>>
Lodging (Prices are for the ENTIRE FEAST)
YRM dorm room $150. (YRM does not reserve specific rooms; they will be assigned as we try to fit as many people in the dorms as possible.)
YRM RV sites with full hookups $125 .
YRM tenting spots on the grounds many of which have access to electric for a donation of $50 for the entire Feast.
Since there is a limited number of dorm rooms and RV spaces, they are only available to those who stay for the entire eight days of the Feast. Whether you stay on or off YRM facilities, we also ask for a minimum donation of $50 per registration, in addition to the above lodging fees. This donation will be used for food and supplies throughout the Feast. Registrations are final only after receiving both the registration form and lodging/registration donations.
(Please note that smoking is not permitted on assembly grounds, including the campground. If you smoke on YRM’s property, you may be asked to leave)
If you are wanting to visit for the Feast but there are no vacancies, one of these options might suit you well! There are several hotels and parks nearby. Below are a few options with the distance to YRM and associated website attached.
Hotels Near YRM:
Capitol Plaza Hotel – 8.8 Miles Website
Courtyard By Marriott – 9.4 Miles Website
Double Tree By Hilton – 9.9 Miles Website
RV Camping Spots Near YRM:
Binder City Campground – 15.5 Miles Website
Osage Campground Retreat – 20.4 Miles Website
Mari Osa Delta Campground – 22.1 Miles Website
While some meals will be provided by YRM, most meals will be the responsibility of individual feast goers. There are two kitchens available, one in YRM’s main building and a second in the gymnasium. Both kitchens contain several stoves with limited refrigerator and freezer space. Those who use YRM’s kitchens must clean up after themselves, including any pots and pans used to prepare their meals and any messes they create in the fellowship (dining) hall. If they do not, they may forfeit their rights to kitchens. There are also several BBQ grills throughout the camp.
Airport and Bus Connections
Due to the distance from the assembly, visitors flying into Kansas City and St. Louis airports will need to provide their own transportation or schedule a pickup and drop-off by Mo-X shuttle service from the Kansas City and St. Louis airports to the pickup location in Kingdom City. You can reserve a ride online at moexpress.com or by calling (877) 669-4826. If advance notice is given to YRM, the Ministry will provide a shuttle from Kingdom City to Holts Summit. For those taking Greyhound or Amtrak, the closest depot/station is in Jefferson City, MO.
For the safety of the assembly, especially our children, the Ministry will be conducting background checks from SMART for all those 18 years and older. The Ministry reserves the right to request official identification upon arrival.
To ensure proper respect during worship times, and modesty throughout the Feast, we request that the following guidelines be honored: during worship times, men and boys should wear dress shirts and pants. Women and young ladies should wear dresses, skirts that cover the knee or dress pants. If you do not have adequate attire for worship, please come in your best, as we are coming before the King of the Universe. At all times, please avoid immodest shorts, sleeveless, tight or low-cut clothing. Also, women and young ladies should cover their heads during worship and men are to leave their heads uncovered (1Cor. 11:6-7).
Yahweh’s Restoration Ministry asks all who attend to respect our doctrines, not purposely spread discord, and to follow our Code of Conduct. Our teachings and worship are in the Names Yahweh and Yahshua only. The Feast is a time to worship and to enjoy the company of like-minded believers, not to engage in doctrinal disputes. If you have a different belief from our Statement of Beliefs, we ask that you discuss it with only YRM’s ministers.
We pray that you will make plans NOW to join us for these special times. The time of reflection and spiritual growth during the Feast of Tabernacles will be a blessing for all in attendance! May Yahweh bless you in your desire to serve Him! To make your reservation, please complete and submit a reservation form with your donation.
We will be broadcasting all services during the Feast of Tabernacles.
In a time when many men shun the responsibilities of fatherhood, the question is, how necessary is the father in today’s family? One researcher was very surprised to find out. Fathers, front and center!
A university professor set out to write a book showing that single-parent families, meaning those headed
by the mother only, do just as well as two- parent families in rearing children.
She was surprised to find that girls living without fathers at home were twice as likely to drop out of school, were doubly prone to emotional problems, and twice as likely to become pregnant as those families with fathers in the home.
Boys with absentee fathers had a two times greater chance of getting into trouble, especially with the law. In fact, statistics reveal that seven out of ten men in prison today grew up without the regular guidance of their fathers.
‘Father Forgive Them’
Beginning in the 1970s when the feminist movement gained popularity, the male in the family and society was increasingly attacked, belittled, and deprecated. Situation comedies would portray the typical father as
a passive, dimwitted dolt who was always being manipulated and outsmarted by his far more clever wife and children. And if he showed some assertiveness, he came across as Archie Bunker-like in his bias and bigotry.
Traditionally the father has been the one to bear the burden of providing stability and corrective training to his children. Yet in recent years fatherhood has been undermined, along with other institutions that for centuries have given moral steadiness to our culture.
In the last 50 years certain forces have tried every conceivable way to dispense with principled and ethical guidelines and Bible-based absolutes. The rallying cry of the 1960s was, “question authority.”
Today we are reaping the results of this relentless attack on traditional beliefs, and particularly on fatherhood as the primary authority in the family.
Increasing numbers of citizens carry weapons for protection because they fear being assaulted by young males who grew up without responsible fathers. We can’t build prisons fast or large enough. Child crime is a growing problem for law enforcement today, along with illegal drugs.
Life is becoming less valued today, and the natural fear of taking another life is waning. How much worse can it get
when seven-year-olds are murdering their playmates? Yahshua prophesied in Matthew 24:12 that because iniquity (sin) would abound the love of many would grow cold.
Roots of the Problem
We human beings cannot exist without firm standards of righteousness to guide us. Absolutes are critical, as given by Yahweh in His laws. That in a nutshell is the antidote to the sins and ills of society.
Back at creation in Genesis 2:16-17, Yahweh gave to Adam mankind’s first moral instructions. “And Yahweh Elohim commanded the man, saying, of every tree of the garden you may freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you shall not eat of it: for in the day that you eat thereof you shall surely die.”
In a subsequent conversation with Eve, notice how the Adversary responded: “And the serpent said unto the woman, You shall not surely die: For Elohim knows that in the day you eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and you shall be as mighty ones, knowing good and evil.” In other words Eve, you must question His authority! Who is He to tell you about right and wrong? It’s a ploy to keep you from becoming wise and powerful like Himself.
The Evil One knew the principle clearly:
take away authority and respect for it and you initiate the destruction of the human race. Yahweh knew it too, and had to deal with their sin quickly and forcefully by shutting them out of the garden and rendering swift punishment.
A deliberate defying of Yahweh and His established limits of behavior was what caused the first man and woman such misery. And it’s the same curse that is destroying us today. Biblical law is ignored by the masses. Morality has suffered as the milk of human kindness has been spoiled. The destructive results are all around us.
As the Bible and laws of morality lose their impact on a culture, the evils and the tribulations of mankind increase proportionately. It is a truth demonstrated repeatedly in declining civilizations throughout history.
But the greater problems of our society are just an extension of serious distresses that have developed in deteriorating families. After all, nations are but a collection of individual families. As families go, so goes the country.
Seat of Authority
From the time of Eve’s sin, Yahweh spelled out how headship would function in the family relationship. Notice:
“Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; in sorrow you shall bring forth children; and your desire shall be to your husband, and he shall rule over you,” Genesis 3:16.
Paul confirmed this sacred order in his first letter to the Corinthians:
“But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Messiah; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Messiah is Elohim,” 1Corinthians 11:3.
The significance of the father in the family reaches beyond the fleshly into the spiritual realm. Before the advent of the Levitical priesthood, the father represented the family in worship. He acted as its priest (see Gen. 12:8 and Job 1:5).
Being head of the household, the father had full control over his unmarried children. His word was law. He was the judge. He arranged for their marriages. He could even sell his daughters into slavery if he was in dire financial straits.
Yahweh intended that the last word in the family rests with the husband and father.
Makings of a Good Dad
For whatever the reason, many children today are struggling without fathers and the guidance that a righteous father brings to a family. Good fathers are instrumental in instilling in their children clear limits, discipline, and respect for authority in their lives. These are basic to a successful life. Paul writes, “And, you fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of Yahweh,” Ephesians 6:4.
A lack of a moral foundation typically leads a youth into run-ins with the law and other serious behavior problems such as are plaguing us today.
From the beginning of their lives, children need to know their boundaries – and they will constantly test a parent to see just where those limits are.
Parenting is not a part-time job. With only one parent active in the family, the task is doubly difficult.
It is crucial for parents to be well-versed in biblical principles and to practice the principles themselves. In so doing they will not only train their children for success in this world, but more importantly will also prepare them to be worthy of the coming Kingdom.
Children learn best by observing. The hand is a much more effective teacher than the mouth. How often have you heard a misbehaving youngster justify himself with, “But my dad does it!” Never mind that dad has TOLD him differently.
A principle every father and mother must grasp, therefore, is that to teach a child properly they must first set a good example in their own lives. Parents can give their children the best lectures in the world but without practicing what they preach, they are
just working against the teaching. A child may know what is right, but he’ll likely DO just what he sees his parents do. As one saying goes, “The believer must teach the scriptures every day, and sometimes even use words.”
Good, Constant Rapport
The evils of this world present some of the most difficult challenges ever faced in the successful upbringing of young people. With the entertainment industry obsessed with glorifying all the sinful and vile sides of life, it’s no wonder that society suffers so many evils.
The internet is today’s teacher and the secular world is the classroom where wayward youths learn to lie, steal, cheat, and solve their problems by pulling a trigger.
For True Believers, the knee-jerk reaction is to remove ourselves from the sources of corruption. But that is only a stop-gap solution. The only way to be totally free of permanent, harmful influences is to live on another planet. Barring that, what can a father do to help ensure that his children mature in the ways and love of Yahweh?
The Biblical Solution
Yahweh gave Israel the formula for successful child-rearing:
“And these words [His laws], which I command you this day, shall be in your heart: And you shall teach them diligently unto your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise up” (Deut. 6:6-7).
The most effective approach to neutralizing the harmful influences of society on a son or daughter is to be proactive. Anticipate what reactions might be. Counter damaging behavior before it can take hold. Explain good and bad, right and wrong before, not after the deed is done. This is accomplished best in Bible studies and discussions.
As Yahweh directs, a father must take a personal, loving interest in what is happening in the lives of his children. Be genuine. Children can readily sense the difference between sincerity and phoniness.
Talk with your children constantly. Learn what their issues are and give proper solutions. Especially at the dinner table. Explain why certain behavior is wrong.
Rearing a child is a day-in, day-out effort.
It takes unrelenting work and sacrifice. It is not a job for the weak, or the teenage mother who hasn’t grown up herself. Neither is it a once-in-a-while stint whenever the mood hits or a few moments allow. Sacrifice some of your own wants for the sake of your children. Look how Yahshua sacrificed for us.
Absentee parenting will never do the job.
Be Positive and Nurturing
Many fathers think discipline entails just a lot of don’ts. Don’t do this. Don’t say that. Don’t go there. Stop that. Don’t give me that attitude.
Positive training, however, provides the opportunity for real spiritual growth. Paul wrote in 1Thessalonians 2:11, “As you know how we exhorted and comforted and a husband and wife, the wife scripturally will defer to her husband.
Our Father in Heaven
Many children for various reasons are being raised in mother-only families. In the absence of a father, the Bible serves well. A loving and morally authoritative Father in heaven can be an effective substitute for an absentee father. In fact, nothing is better than to look to Yahweh as the Heavenly Father over all humanity, and who guides our lives each day as we walk with Him.
Mothers and fathers who use the Bible as the instruction book for life will find that their prospects for successful child rearing will be greatly enhanced. Furthermore, they have the unique opportunity to implant a love of Yahweh that won’t be forgotten. They can give no greater gift.
Consider. We have our children for only about 18 years and then they are gone. That gives us a relatively short time to inspire in them a love for Yahweh. Once past, that opportunity may never come again. How many parents in the faith have wished that they had instilled a love for Yahweh in their children before it became too late! Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old he will not depart from it.”
A father and mother with a love for Yahweh will do everything possible to pass on their faith to their offspring. The sooner they get started, the more effective and long-lasting will be the results.
No Moon vs. New Moon – the Conjunction vs. the Visible Crescent
Does Yahweh set His months and Feasts by the total blackness of the moon? Is that what “lights in the heavens” means?
There is a belief that the biblical month should be set by what is called the conjunction rather than by observation of the lunar crescent. The conjunction is a term that describes the exact alignment of the sun, the moon, and the earth. This alignment creates complete darkness before the moon starts to be visible or waxing. It is called Syzygy in astronomy, from the ancient Greek meaning “yoked together.”
In modern astronomy the term “new moon” entered popular usage to describe this time of total darkness, but this term was never associated with darkness in history. The Oxford English Dictionary defines the new moon as “the first visible crescent of the Moon, after conjunction with the sun.”
This conjunction or darkness is not synonymous with or related in any way to the new moon in Scripture. In fact, how can it even designate a new “moon” if the moon is completely hidden by darkness? To be accurate you would call it a “no moon.” In the Hebrew this darkness (void of any celestial light) is called: chashak חָשַׁךְ and means darkness or obscurity in relation to celestial lights. Notice how Ecclesiastes 12:2 uses it: “…before the sun and the light and the moon and the stars grow dark [chashak], and the clouds return after the rain.”
In stark contrast the Torah confirms the exact opposite of darkness as it relates to setting Yahweh’s Holy Days, which is expected, being that “Elohim is light and in Him there is no darkness,” 1John 1:5.
Lights in the Sky
Genesis 1:14 uses “lights” to set the appointed times of Yahweh. “And Elohim said, ‘Let there be lights in the vault of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark sacred days and years.” Some translations, like the KJV, use the word “seasons.” This is imprecise according to the Hebrew. The Hebrew word here is moed מוֹעֵד and means an appointed time, place or meeting. This means Yahweh’s Sabbath and yearly festivals. The light here in Genesis 1 is maor מָאוֹר and Brown Driver Briggs defines it as: “light, light-bearer, luminary, lamp, of sun and moon.”
Genesis 1:14 provides the purpose of these lights:
1) to separate the day from the night
2) to set the appointed times
3) to set the year
Continuing “…and let them be lights in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth. And it was so. Elohim made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day [sun] and the lesser light to govern the night [moon].”
The year is set at the new moon of the Aviv harvest. Notice: “Observe the month [chodesh חֹדֶשׁ new moon] of Aviv and celebrate the Passover of Yahweh your Elohim, because in the month of Aviv he brought you out of Egypt by night,” Deuteronomy 16:1. As Genesis 1:14 clearly says this maor מָאוֹר “light” sets the year.
Exodus 12:1 asserts the Aviv new moon is the first of the year, shanah: “Yahweh said to Moses and Aaron in Egypt, ‘This month is to be for you the first month, the first month of your year.’ So if we must use light to set Yahweh’s Festivals and years, how then can the darkness of the conjunction work in any way in Yahweh’s calendar?
In fact, this time of dark conjunction can last up to 3.5 days depending on its ecliptic latitude. Modern science calls this an astronomical dark moon. To calculate this “middle darkness” in relation to your position on planet earth without the aid of a telescope would take the mathematic genius of Albert Einstein. To compute this “dark moon” you would need to know the pole orientation in relation to the moon and earth’s orbit based on your geographical location. This is called in astronomy “The apparent place” or the position in space as seen by an observer. Because of physical and geometrical complexities it may differ from the “true” or “geometric” position. This would present an insurmountable technical challenge for the ancient Israelite like David out herding his sheep.
Not Rocket Science
So ask yourself, is this how Yahweh would establish his months? Does it need to be so hard that only the U.S. Naval Observatory can figure it out? Ezekiel 46:6 instructs: “On the day of the new moon he is to offer a young bull, six lambs and a ram, all without defect.” Which day would you choose for the new moon if depending on your geographic location you had a choice of up to three and a half nights of darkness to select from?
Yahweh is an Elohim of light not darkness. Unbelievers, wickedness, and darkness are synonymous. “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?” 2Corinthians 6:14.
The Apostle Paul journeyed as far as Macedonia for over two years. How would he have calculated this dark moon for the Festival of Yom Teruah or Trumpets? Yahweh makes it easy when all Paul needed to do was witness the first thin crescent of the new moon.
Notice what Yahweh said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites: ‘On the first day of the seventh month you are to have a day of sabbath rest, a sacred assembly commemorated with trumpet blasts. Do no regular work, but present a food offering to Yahweh.’” Leviticus 23:24. The moon sets the month and on this Feast day we are commanded to keep it on the first day of the seventh month.
Simply See It or Not See It
Did Yahweh intend for us to be astronomers using complex mathematic formulas to be able to know when this exact middle-darkness occurs in relation to our geographical location? Of course not. This is a man-made idea that complicates, perverts and adds to the Word. Yahweh’s visible crescent is beautiful in its simplicity requiring uncomplicated sight confirmation.
The new moon is to be “observed” every month. Deuteronomy 16:1: “Observe the month (new moon) of Aviv and celebrate the Passover of Yahweh your Elohim, because in the month of Aviv he brought you out of Egypt by night.” The Hebrew word for observe is shamar שָׁמַר a verb which denotes an action and has the synonymous meaning of keeping, watching and preserving.
This word is a proper noun for “watchmen,” according to Brown Driver Briggs Gesenius. The Holladay Concise Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon defines shamar as “watching in the sense of looking.” Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words includes the definitions “mark, watchman, wait, watch, look narrowly.” The command is to look for, wait for, watch and mark the new moon. It could be translated, “Look carefully for the new moon of Aviv and perform the Pesach in this month…”
Those who hold to dark moon idea try to remove any semblance of “watching,” which is one of the fundamental meanings of this Hebrew word shamar. If we are commanded to “watch for” rather than calculate, then this doctrine falls apart at the seams. Watching for something that isn’t there is senseless.
The argument is that this Hebrew word simply has the meaning of “do.” If this is the case then why is the Hebrew word asah עָשָׂה (do), which is also translated as observe in scripture, not used here in Deuteronomy16?
Shamar has a much more encompassing meaning of observation along with keeping and doing. Exodus 31:16 shows both these words in context in relation to the Sabbath “Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep (shamar) the sabbath, to observe (asah, do) the sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant.” The Sabbath is kept by watching and observing the sunset and sunrise (the greater light, Genesis 1:14). The true faith is an active faith based on observation on the lights Yahweh made for us.
Ancient Jewish Philosopher Philo Attests to Crescent After Conjunction
Many historic sources back up how ancient Israel observed the new moon. A Jewish philosopher named Philo of Alexandria (20BCE-50CE) lived during the time of the Messiah. He was Greek-speaking and documented this interesting observation of how the festivals were kept. Amazingly, he even makes a distinction between the conjunction (dark moon) and the new moon!
(The Special Laws) XI. (41) “The first matter to be considered is that of the Festivals. Now there are ten festivals in number, as the law sets them down. The first is that which any one will perhaps be astonished to hear called a festival. This festival is every day. The second festival is the seventh day, which the Hebrews in their native language call the sabbath. The third is that which comes after the conjunction, which happens on the day of the new moon in each month. The fourth is that of the passover which is called the passover.
“The fifth is the first fruits of the corn—the sacred sheaf. The sixth is the feast of unleavened bread, after which that festival is celebrated, which is really the seventh day of seventh days. The eighth is the festival of the sacred moon, or the feast of trumpets. The ninth is the fast.
“The tenth is the feast of tabernacles, which is the last of all the annual festivals, ending so as to make the perfect number of ten…..XXVI. (140) Following the order which we have adopted, we proceed to speak of the third festival, that of the new moon. First of all, because it is the beginning of the month, and the beginning, whether of number or of time, is honourable. Secondly, because at this time there is nothing in the whole of heaven destitute of light. Thirdly, because at that period the more powerful and important body gives a portion of necessary assistance to the less important and weaker body; for, at the time of the new moon, the sun begins to illuminate the moon with a light which is visible to the outward senses, and then she displays her own beauty to the beholders. And this is, as it seems, an evident lesson of kindness and humanity to men, to teach them that they should never grudge to impart their own good things to others, but, imitating the heavenly bodies, should drive envy away and banish it from the Soul.”
Ancient New Moon Validations
The Mishnah is a collection of Jewish oral traditions written between 20 BCE and 220 CE. It details how the new moon was judged by eye witness observation and how their testimony was scrutinized by the Beth Din בית דין or “house of judgment.” Gamaliel, who was the Apostle Paul’s mentor, and mentioned in scripture notice “But a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law, who was honored by all the people, stood up in the Sanhedrin and ordered that the men be put outside for a little while” Acts 5:34. The Mishnah gives this detailed explanation regarding Gamaliel:
“There was a large court in Jerusalem called Beth Ya’azeq, where all the witnesses met, and where they were examined by the Beth Din. Great feasts were made there for (the witnesses) in order to induce them to come frequently. At first they did not stir from there all day (on the Sabbath), 1 till R. Gamaliel, the elder, ordained that they might go two thousand ells on every side; and not only these (witnesses) but also a midwife, going to perform her professional duties, and those who go to assist others in case of conflagration, or against an attack of robbers, or in case of flood, or (of rescuing people) from the ruins (of a fallen building) are considered (for the time being) as inhabitants of that place, and may go (thence on the Sabbath) two thousand ells on every side. How were the witnesses examined? The first pair were examined first. The elder was introduced first, and they said to him: Tell us in what form thou sawest the moon; was it before or behind the sun? Was it to the north or the south (of the sun)? What was its elevation on the horizon? Towards which side was its inclination? What was the width of its disk? If he answered before the sun, his evidence was worthless. After this they introduced the younger (witness) and he was examined; if their testimony was found to agree, it was accepted as valid; the remaining pairs (of witnesses) were asked leading questions, not because their testimony was necessary, but only to prevent them departing, disappointed, and to induce them to come again often,”
In the Talmud, the Gemara (350-400CE) then references this part of the Mishnah:
Gemara: “Do not the questions (asked by the Mishna), ‘was it before or behind the sun?’ and ‘was it to the north or to the south?’ mean the same thing? Answered Abayi: (the Mishna asks) whether the concave of the crescent was before or behind the sun, and if (the witness said) it was before the sun, his evidence was worthless, for R. Johanan says: What is the meaning of the passage [Job, xxv. 2]: ‘Dominion and fear are with him; he maketh peace in his high places?’ It means that the sun never faces the concave of the crescent or the concave of a rainbow.
“What was its elevation on the horizon? Towards which side was its inclination? In one Boraitha we have learned: If (the witness) said ‘towards the north,’ his evidence was valid, but if he said, ‘towards the south,’ it was worthless; in another Boraitha we have learned the reverse. It presents no difficulty; in the latter case it speaks of the summer, while in the former it refers to the winter.
“The rabbis taught: If one (witness) said its elevation appeared about as high as two ox-goads and another said about as high as three, their testimony was invalid, but either might be taken in conjunction with a subsequent witness (who offered similar testimony). The rabbis taught (If the witnesses say): ‘We have seen the reflection (of the moon) in the water, or through a metal mirror, or in the clouds,’ their testimony is not to be accepted; or (if they say we have seen) ‘half of it in the water, and half of it in the heavens, or half of it in the clouds,’ their evidence carries no weight. Must they then see the new moon again (before their testimony can be accepted)? Said Abayi: ‘By this is meant that if the witnesses testify that they saw the moon accidentally, and they then returned purposely and looked for it, but they saw it not, their evidence is worthless.’ Why so? Because one might say they saw a patch of white clouds (and they thought it was the moon).”
Gamaliel’s Moon Chart
Even Gamaliel had a chart on his wall showing the various moon stages used in questioning would be new moon observers:
Mishna: “R. Gamaliel had on a tablet, and on a wall of his upper room, illustrations of the various phases of the moon, which he used to show to the common people, saying: ‘Did you see the moon like this figure or like this?’” See https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/tractate-rosh-hashana-chapter-2
From the Midrash we read, “On the first of Nissan, the moon begins to illuminate. As the days continue, her luminosity increases, until the 15th day, when her disk is full… Likewise is Israel. Fifteen generations from Abraham until Solomon; Abraham began illuminating… with Solomon, the moon’s disk was filled.”
The Jewish Encyclopedia explains how the Samaritans tried to confuse the Jews by lighting false signal fires during the sighting and consecration of the new moon.
“Under the patriarchate of Rabbi Judah I., surnamed ‘the Holy’ (163-193), the Samaritans, in order to confuse the Jews, set up fire-signals at improper times, and thus caused the Jews to fall into error with regard to the day of the new moon. Rabbi Judah accordingly abolished the fire-signals and employed messengers. The inhabitants of countries who could not be reached by messengers before the feast were accordingly in doubt, and used to celebrate two days of the holidays. By this time the fixing of the new moon according to the testimony of witnesses seems to have lost its importance, and astronomical calculations were in the main relied upon.”
Calculated to Break with Judaism
One of the important figures in the history of the calendar was Samuel (born about 165, died about 250), surnamed “Yarḥinai” because of his familiarity with the moon. He was an astronomer, and it was said that he knew the courses of the heavens as well as the streets of his city (Ber. 58b). He was director of a school in Nehardea (Babylonia), and while there arranged a calendar of the feasts in order that his fellow-countrymen might be independent of Judea. He also calculated the calendar for sixty years. His calculations greatly influenced the subsequent calendar of Hillel. According to Bartolocci his tables are preserved in the Vatican. A contemporary of his, R. Adda (born 183), also left a work on the calendar.”
By 300 CE the original spotting of the new moon by the Sanhedrin was replaced by calculation.
“Under the patriarchate of Rabbi Judah III. (300-330) the testimony of the witnesses with regard to the appearance of the new moon was received as a mere formality, the settlement of the day depending entirely on calculation. This innovation seems to have been viewed with disfavor by some members of the Sanhedrin, particularly Rabbi Jose, who wrote to both the Babylonian and the Alexandrian communities, advising them to follow the customs of their fathers and continue to celebrate two days, an advice which was followed, and is still followed, by the majority of Jews living outside of Palestine.
It is evident that during the time of the second Temple period and before, visual observation of the new moon was taken very seriously. Man’s adding to the Word and using calculations for the calendar starting with the dark moon came into vogue later with Hillel II, 300 years after the death of the Messiah.
If you desire to return to the scriptural paths of True Worship (Jer. 6:16), then join us every month as we commemorate the new moon crescent. yrm.org/new-moon-network
1 Corinthians 3:17: If anyone destroys Elohim’s temple, Elohim will destroy that person; for Elohim’s temple is sacred, and you together are that temple.
This is reiterated again…
1 Corinthians 6:19-20:Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from Elohim, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify Elohim in your body and in your spirit, which are Elohim’s.
If our body is now the temple of the Holy Spirit, how was the temple treated when it stood?
Haggai 2:9: ‘The latter glory of this house will be greater than the former,’ says Yahweh of hosts, ‘and in this place I will give peace,’ declares Yahweh of hosts.
Our bodies, ie. The Temple of the Holy Spirit is of even greater value to the Father than the physical temple that was adorned in all it’s glory.
1 Kings 6:7: The house, while it was being built, was built of stone prepared at the quarry, and there was neither hammer nor axe nor any iron tool heard in the house while it was being built.
The original Temple was built without man made tools, our bodies being the temple now, are to be maintained in much the same way. Obviously there are certain “Ox in the ditch” situations” where medical intervention is required to save ones life. But in the case of vaccines like the mRNA Covid vaccine, the survival rate of a healthy person who is taking proper care of his or her temple is over 99%. Not exactly an “Ox in the ditch situation”.
Besides that, the long term ramifications are completely unknown for the Covid “Vaccine”.
On Oct 27th 2021 in a 17-0 vote the FDA approved Covid vaccines for children ages 5-11. What did they say about the safety of these vaccines on children? (Children have been practically UNAFFECTED by the Covid virus since it’s onset in early 2020).
“We’re never gonna learn about how safe the vaccine is until we start giving it. That’s just the way it goes. This is how we found out about rare complications of other vaccines.”
Far too many in the medical establishment have no idea how this will affect children. They are gambling with the lives of our most precious gift. Our children.
If our temples were bought with a price, and our children are a gift from the Father Yahweh (Psalm 127:3) then we have no business giving an untested, experimental drug to our children.
We have a duty to protect out children, we have a duty to protect our temple.
On top of the listed concerns there is the elephant in the room, “What if the Vaccine is the mark of the beast?” This question being asked with increased frequency, why? Well, it continues to check the required boxes for what the mark would be. Also, we see a growing animosity towards those who choose NOT to get vaccinated. Calls for exile, removal from commerce, even death of those who refuse to get the vaccine.
While we cannot say 100% that this vaccine is indeed the mark, it certainly is not a slouch in trying to be.
One of the largest concerns is the long term effects of this injection. The average vaccine typically contains a small amount of the dead virus you are trying to build immunity against. These vaccines are different, these mRNA vaccines have never been used before. Those who do get it are not only still susceptible to the virus, but can also spread it even more potently. These mRNA vaccines are also known to alter the DNA that is in our bodies.
We look at the DNA in our bodies as the building blocks for our temple. We are all made in the image of Yahweh, so we have a major concern if there is a vaccine that alters the very building blocks of our temple.
Biblical reasons aside, legally, your employer does NOT have the legal right to demand you get vaccinated, no matter what they claim.
The law states that a person’s activities – what activities they participate in, and what activities they refrain from, are a part of one’s religious expression.
“Religious creed,” “religion,” “religious observance,” “religious belief,” and “creed” include all aspects of religious belief, observance, and practice that are part of an individual observing a religious creed.
Taking a Covid test or a vaccine, or wearing any sort of face covering or shield is an affront to a believer’s sincerely held religious beliefs.
It doesn’t matter whether or not the vaccines are under an emergency use authorization or gain complete FDA approval.
Title VII defines “religion” to include “all aspects of religious observance and practice as well as belief,” not just practices that are mandated or prohibited by a tenet of the individual’s faith. Religion includes not only traditional, organized religions such as Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Sikhism, and Buddhism, but also religious beliefs that are new, uncommon, not part of a formal church or sect, only subscribed to by a small number of people, or that seem illogical or unreasonable to others. Further, a person’s religious beliefs “need not be confined in either source or content to traditional or parochial concepts of religion.” A belief is “religious” for Title VII purposes if it is “religious” in the person’s “own scheme of things,” i.e., it is a “sincere and meaningful” belief that “occupies a place in the life of its possessor parallel to that filled by . . . Elohim.” The Supreme Court has made it clear that it is not a court’s role to determine the reasonableness of an individual’s religious beliefs, and that “religious beliefs need not be acceptable, logical, consistent, or comprehensible to others in order to merit First Amendment protection.” An employee’s belief, observance, or practice can be “religious” under Title VII even if the employee is affiliated with a religious group that does not espouse or recognize that individual’s belief, observance, or practice, or if few – or no – other people adhere to it.
Some people may not have been aware that many of these vaccines have been cultured in aborted fetal tissue and carry the DNA of a male aborted baby. This is appalling to any believer.
The idea that a believer must partake of this vaccines has major implications not only biblically but legally as well. We each have a responsibility to our temple and to our Father in heaven to fight these things will all our strength.
Is it possible that with every breath you take you are breathing the name Yahweh? It has been said the Jewish sages associated the name with breath. The uniqueness of this two syllable form YaH-WeH can indeed be breathed, try it. Inhale “Yah” and exhale “weh,” or you can exhale Yah and inhale weh. The yod, heh, and waw (which make up the Tetragrammaton) are semivowel letters in Hebrew, commonly called matres lectionis, from the Latin “mothers of reading” and are consonants that are used as vowels. In Biblical Hebrew they are used for the unchangeable vowel combinations in Masoretic vowel pointing.
Ancient Jewish historian Flavius Josephus backs this up in his description of the inscription on the miter of the high priest: “A mitre also of fine linen encompassed his head, which was tied by a blue ribbon, about which there was another golden crown, in which was engraven the sacred name: it consists of four vowels,” The Wars of the Jews, 5.235. Could Josephus be indicating the name is an onomatopoeia (formation of a word from the sound associated with it)? I’m pretty convinced he is. I am also convinced they considered yod, heh, and waw as matres lectionis and I believe the Hebrew tells the story.
Vowels are spoken with the open mouth and to inhale and exhale air you must open your mouth. It is no accident that the Tetragrammaton is made up of semi-vowel letters.
Yahweh told Moses in response to his question, what shall I call You, in Exodus 3:14 said: “I Am that I Am.” I Am is from the verb of existence HaYah in Hebrew, which means to become, come to pass, as well as sustain. His name is attributed to life. Our very sustenance is the air we breathe. Maybe this is why David wrote: “I will bless Yahweh at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.” Psalms 34:1. To breathe is the very essence of life. Yahweh’s Holy Spirit is called the Ruach HaKodesh in Hebrew. Ruach literally means breath, wind or spirit.
Yahweh’s very breath filled life into the lungs of man, Genesis 2:7; 7:22.
In Psalm 150:6 Scripture says: “Let every thing that hath breath praise Yah. HalleluYah.” Psalm 150:6 retains the short form Yah in the Masoretic text. It is vowel pointed to “Yah” (yod, qamets, heh) twice in the text. The final heh in Yah contains a mappiq dot indicating the heh is to be pronounced as a full aspirated consonant “YaH,” rather than just the qamets vowel “Ya,” adding the breathy “h” sound to Yahh.
Many rabbis know the importance of the Tetragrammaton YHWH in relation to breath. The Jewish prayer book, the Siddur, teaches, “Nishmat kol chai tivarekh et-shimcha, YHWH elohenu” — “The breathing of all life, praises your Name, YHWH our Elohim.”
This is yet another proof of why the simplicity of the two-syllable name Yah-weh is authentic and why so many of the complex three-syllable variations cannot be breathed. In Genesis 2:7 Yahweh breathed into Adam the breath of life and made him live. “Nishmat khayyim (breath of life).” Khayyim is represented in the popular Chai symbol of the two Hebrew letters Het-yod, popular among Jews in the land of Israel and worn as necklaces symbolizing life.
Recall the phrase in the movie Fiddler on the Roof: “to life to life l’chaim.” In Jeremiah 23:36 we see the Hebrew phrase “Elohim khayyim Yahweh sebaowth Elohenu” or “Elohim of the living, Yahweh of Hosts our Elohim.”
Pronounce the tetragrammaton the way it is written: YHWH. Notice you can actually pronounce the name with just the four letters. It really is quite amazing! You really don’t even need the vowels to say the name. This is the beauty of these aspirate consonants that make up the name and how fascinating Yahweh’s name really is. From the first man Adam till now, no matter your religion, if you believe in the Bible, or an Atheist, the name of Yahweh will be on every ones lips until your last breath.
Nehemiah Gordon claims that the Hebrew word “gav” holds the key that unlocks the true pronunciation of the sixth letter waw, which almost all Hebrew linguists (including those at the Hebrew University, Jerusalem) believe anciently had a “w” sound. If he can prove that the sixth letter, also known as the vav was pronounced anciently as a “v,” then his claim that Yehovah, (Jehovah) holds more weight over the traditional scholarly consensus of the pronunciation Yahweh. His claim is that these two Hebrew words, one spelled with the soft bet “gav,” and the other spelled with waw “gaw,” clearly prove that this sixth letter had the original sound of “v.” He believes these two words are interchangeable, so according to him this is a major discovery that should rock the scholarly word to its core. Gordon has a history of speaking in hyperbole but in this case does he have validity?
According to Gordon: “The word for back in Hebrew is gav and gav can be written with a soft bet or with a vav, and the only way that can happen is if the soft bet and the vav have the same pronunciation.” So Gordon believes that this is proof of two variant spellings of the same word, back, and not two variant spellings of two different words.
The word Gav גַּב 1354 spelled with the soft bet (without the dagesh) occurs 13 times in the Hebrew Bible and only translates to mean “back” one time, in Ezekiel 10:12. The 12 other various translations of gav are mound, rim of a wheel, embossed shield, arch of eye, dome roof, and various meanings of something “rounded.” It would make sense that this word could be used used for back as well, since the human back can curve and be round.
The other Hebrew word Gaw גַּו 1458 spelled with the “waw” or commonly called “vav” in modern Hebrew, occurs three times, 1 Kings 14:9, Nehemiah 9:26, and Ezekiel 23:35. In every occurrence of this word it means just “back.” It seems pretty clear from the translations and the word root that gav and gaw are two distinct words with two distinct meanings.
We reached out to the Hebrew University language department regarding Gordon’s claims regarding the Gav-Gaw connection since he claims this is such an amazing and earth shaking discovery. Professor Adina Moshavi commented:
“I completely agree that the גב/גו alternation is not an adequate proof to the contrary. I have not looked into this issue, but I see that the lexicons derive the two words from different roots, implying that the phonetic identity of the two words in Tiberian Hebrew is not significant,” Adina Moshavi, PhD, Hebrew Language Department, Hebrew University, Jerusalem. More about Professor Moshavi
We also reached out to Steven Fassberg, PhD, professor at the Hebrew University and one of the world’s foremost experts in the Hebrew language and the study of the Dead Sea Scrolls in Israel. Regarding the gav-gaw question he replied: “gb (gav) is from the root gbb and gw (gaw) is from the root gww. Both are well attested roots in Semitic.” He continues…“There is no doubt whatsoever that vav was pronounced w in the Hebrew of the First Temple period and in Semitic languages.”
We also asked Professor Elitzur Bar-Asher Siegal of the Hebrew University the same question and here was his response:
“Thank you for your question. There is no doubt that the original pronunciation was w There is some evidence that in some early Hebrew dialects there was a sound shift of w>v. There are two different prepositions go – inside and gab > on top.” Elitzur Bar-Asher Siegal, PhD, Department of Hebrew Language, Hebrew University, Jerusalem
So if both of these words are from different roots according to the lexicon and to some of the best Hebrew experts in the world, then how can Gordon claim that they are a variation of the same word? Is Gordon ignorant of these Hebrew word roots? Is he willingly misleading people? To make these outlandish claims one can only assume one or the other.
We could also use such flawed reasoning, let me give you an example. Lets look at the Hebrew words שָׂחַק sachaq “to laugh” 7832 and צְחַק 6711 tzchaq “to Laugh.” Both have different roots but similar sounds. So with the same logic used by Gordon, does this mean that the letters Sin (s) and the Tzade (ts) have the same pronunciation just because the sounds of these letters are similar? Is this some cutting-edge find that should implode Biblical Hebrew as we know it? Of course not, that would be ridiculous.
Gordon had made a challenge to prove the waw sound has a “w” sound. He said: “Can you please show me your manuscripts with the “w” pronunciation?” This is not hard to do. If you understand how the language works and how contractions work, we can easily prove the waw sound as a “w” literally hundreds of times in the Hebrew Bible through contraction. When a word contracts, as happens with many words, it gets easier to say as fewer letters and sounds are typically used.
Let’s look at the Hebrew word, Avihu אָבִ֖יהוּ which means “his father” in Judges 14:10. It contracts to Aviw אָבִ֣יו “his father,” as found in in Judges 14:3. Notice in the contracted form the heh (h sound) has been dropped and the Shureq vowel letter וּ (which has the sound of “u” as in ruler) contracts to a consonantal waw ו and loses the niqqud dot. Now pronounce Avihu in it’s contracted form without the “h” Aviu. The softer sound of w is now vocalized. You could phonetically spell it Aviw with the double u. This occurs 220 times from Genesis to Chronicles and clearly proves the sound of the “waw” anciently is tied to the “w” or “double u” sound of the וּ Shureq. The use of the letter waw in connection with the “o” vowel sound as in Shalom שָׁלוֹם is no accident. When pronounced fast you can hear that “w” sound in the word—try it, say Shalom several times rapidly (shalom, shalom, shalom, shalom)…hear that “w” sound? The lips are in the same position when making an “O” (וֹ) “U” (וּ) or “W” (ו) sound but not with the “v” fricative sound which needs the upper teeth and lower lip engaged. The v in Hebrew is not tied to the waw letter ו at all in biblical Hebrew but to the letter bet in Hebrew. The Bet has the sound of B with the dagesh dot בּ and V sound ב without the dagesh. The sounds B and V are very similar.
We can also see this with the word for brother, Akihu אָחִ֖יהוּ found in Jeremiah 34:9, contracted down to Akhiyw אָחִ֨יו where the heh is removed contracting the “hu” sound to the simple double U “w” sound in Jeremiah 34:14. This contraction also is seen hundreds of times in the Masoretic text. Now try saying Akihu several times really fast and you will hear the W sound in Akhiyw.
In our correspondence Professor Moshavi goes into greater detail regarding the connection to the “U” sound and why the waw could only be a semivowel, not a consonant like the v. She says: “I believe there are many ways to demonstrate that the waw was not originally pronounced as a bilabial ‘v’ as it is in Tiberian Hebrew. The fact that the waw is frequently used as a mater lectionis for a long u sound would be impossible to explain if it was pronounced v, like the bet rafeh, rather as the semivowel w. Furthermore, there are many Hebrew words where a historical dipthong aw, as evidenced from Semitic cognates, has been reduced to a long vowel, e.g., in hiphil perfect of w-initial verbs hawrid > horid ‘he brought down,’ or in the word yawm > yom ‘day.’ and alternations between a dipthong and a long vowel, e.g.,absolute , awwet vs. construct mot ‘death.’ Such correspondences are only understandable if the phonetic value of the waw was a semivowel,” Adina Moshavi, PhD.
With so much evidence at our fingertips it is hard to comprehend how so many can believe Gordon’s false claims regarding the Waw vs. Vav debate. The information discussed is just another proof that the name Yahweh is not just ancient, but it also fits the rules of Hebrew grammar and cutting-edge linguistics.
In this article we will examine the meaning of leavening. For the last 20 years, this ministry has viewed leavening as an item that simply contained a leavening agent, e.g., yeast or baking soda. However, after a recent in-depth study, we have discovered that the concept of leavening is more complex.
The catalyst that motivated this study was Leviticus 23:13. “And the meat offering thereof shall be two tenth deals of fine flour mingled with oil, an offering made by fire unto Yahweh for a sweet savour: and the drink offering thereof shall be of wine, the fourth part of an hin.”
We see here a reference to the firstfruits offerings during the Feast of Unleavened Bread. One item that is prohibited during this Feast is leavening.
Historically we’ve defined leavening as an item that simply contained a leavening agent. From this passage, though, we find a problem with this definition: the mention of wine. As most may know, wine is produced with yeast, a leavening agent. And for this reason it’s also been our position that wine and other alcohol must be removed during Unleavened Bread. But as we see in this passage, wine was used in an offering during the Feast of Unleavened Bread.
Some may wonder, is the wine mentioned here really alcohol? Maybe it’s something closer to grape juice. The word wine comes from the Hebrew yayin, which Strong’s defines as, “wine (as fermented); by implication, intoxication.” The Brown Driver Briggs Hebrew Lexicon also defines this word as, “wine.” Based on Strong’s and BDB, we know that this word refers to fermented wine.
So how do we reconcile what we’ve always believed with what we find here? The answer is we can’t. We can’t reconcile our previous definition of leavening with the fact that wine was the drink offering commanded during the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which is why we took the time to re-evaluate this belief.
Going back to the Hebrew, we reviewed every instance of where leavening is used in Scripture. This involved every instance of the Hebrew words seor and chamets, the words used for leavening in the Tanakh or the Old Testament. To understand leavening, we MUST understand the meaning of these Hebrew words.
We find our first example in Exodus 12:15: “Seven days shall ye eat unleavened bread; even the first day ye shall put away leaven out of your houses: for whosoever eateth leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that soul shall be cut off from Israel.”
This passage refers to the Feast of Unleavened Bread during which time we’re to put away the leaven or seor from our homes and abstain from eating leavened bread or chamets. I want to point out that it explicitly mentions eating; nothing is said about drinking. As we’ll see from other instances, chamets is always connected to eating. Interestingly, this time is called the Feast of Unleavened Bread, not the Feast of Unleavened Drink.
Meaning of Seor
Let’s focus now on the meaning of seor. According to Strong’s, seor is defined as, “barm or yeast-cake (as swelling by fermentation).” According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, barm is defined as “yeast formed on fermenting malt liquors.” The yeast cake mentioned here is a reference to a sourdough starter, which is how Israel would leaven their dough to make leavened bread or chamets.
Continuing to look at the meaning of seor, we discover that the Fausset’s Bible Dictionary defines this word as, “A lump of old dough in high fermentation. Because making it, and leavening bread with it, took time, unleavened bread was used in sudden emergencies (Gen 18:6; 19:3). It was forbidden in all offerings to [Yahweh] by fire (Lev 2:11; 7:12).”
We see here that seor refers to an old piece of dough that is highly fermented, which is what we call a sourdough or a starter dough. It’s a piece of dough that is allowed to ferment to the point of becoming sour or acidic and then used to leaven another piece of dough. This dough contains both grain and a leavening agent. For Israel, the leavening agent would have been wild yeast. Therefore, seor must include grain plus a leavening agent and not a leavening agent alone.
When speaking of yeast and starter dough, a few facts to consider are:
1) wild yeast is all around us and even within us; 2) a starter is formed when the yeast breaks down the starch in the flour into sugar, producing carbon dioxide; and, 3) it’s the carbon dioxide that causes the bread to puff up or to rise. The rising was the focus of seor and chamets.
In fact, the word “leaven” comes from the Latin verb levare, meaning, “to raise.” Again, what allows for this to happen is the starter dough, i.e., the dough that is in high fermentation or that contains a high concentration of yeast. Therefore, when we speak about seor, especially from a biblical standpoint, we are speaking about a sourdough starter, which is how Israel leavened their dough.
The New Unger’s Bible Dictionary refers to seor as a small portion of dough that is highly fermented and turning acidic or sour. This was used to leaven and produce leavened bread or chamets. “The Heb. term se’or occurs only five times in Scripture, in four of which (Ex 12:15, 19; 13:7; Lev 2:1-11) it is translated ‘leaven’ and in the fifth (Deut 16:3) ‘leavened bread.’
The NIV translates ‘yeast’ in each of these references. This probably denotes the small portion of dough left from the preceding baking that had fermented and turned acidic. Its distinctive meaning is fermented or leavened mass.”
Another source, Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary, gives the following definition: “A substance used to produce fermentation in dough and make it rise (Ex 12:15, 19-20). In Bible times leaven was usually a piece of fermented dough retained from a previous baking that was placed in the new dough to cause it to rise.”
From here we see that seor refers to a piece of old dough in high fermentation that would then be used to leaven new dough, which is what we would call a sourdough starter.
A similar explanation is found in the International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia: “In bread baking.-The form of leaven used in bread-making and the method of using it were simple and definite. The ‘leaven’ consisted always, so far as the evidence goes, of a piece of fermented dough kept over from a former baking. There is no trace of the use of other sorts of leaven, such as the lees of wine or those mentioned by Pliny (NH, wviii.26). The lump of dough thus preserved was either dissolved in water in the kneading-trough before the flour was added, or was ‘hid’ in the flour (the King James Version ‘meal’) and kneaded along with it, as was the case mentioned in the parable (Matt 13:33). The bread thus made was known as ‘leavened,’ as distinguished from ‘unleavened’ bread (Ex 12:15, etc.)”
Again we see that leavening or seor refers to a piece of leavened dough from a previous baking, which would then be used to leaven a new loaf.
According to this source, this could have been done in two different ways. The first process would be to dissolve the starter within the kneading-trough before the flour was added. The other method was simply to take the starter and place or hide it within a new dough. Either of these two methods would leaven a new piece of dough, causing it to rise. This was done using the starter or this highly fermented, acidic piece of dough.
For good measure, let’s consider one more reference, from the Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature. “‘Seir’ occurs only five times in the Scriptures, in four of which (Ex 12:15, 19; Ex 13:7; Le 2:11) it is rendered ‘leaven,’ and in the fifth (De 16:4) ‘leavened bread.’ It seems to have denoted originally the remnant of dough left on the preceding baking which had fermented and turned acid.”
This source once more confirms the meaning of seor, a portion of leavened dough from a previous baking that has turned acidic or sour.
In summation, we learn that seor is a piece of dough that contains flour and yeast, is highly acidic, and is used as a sourdough starter. Also, by the existence of wine during the Feast of Unleavened Bread, we see that a leavening agent alone, e.g., yeast or baking soda, would NOT be considered seor.
What is Chamets?
Let’s now review the meaning of chamets. Strong’s states, “ferment, (figuratively) extortion: -leaven, leavened (bread).” The Brown Driver & Briggs Hebrew Lexicon explains it as: “…that which is leavened…forbidden at Passover Exodus…in all sacrifices…exceptions are of peace-offering and the wave loaves.
Biblically, we see that chamets refers to leavened bread. We also know that it’s forbidden during the Passover or the Feast of Unleavened Bread, along with all sacrifices, except for the peace offering and the wave loaves offered during the Feast of Weeks or Shavuot.
Here’s how the Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature defines leavening: “‘chamets’ ought not to be rendered ‘leaven,’ but leavened bread… In Ex 13:7, both seor’ and chamets’ occur together, and are evidently distinct: ‘Unleavened bread (matstsah’) shall be eaten during the seven days, and there shall not be seen with thee the fermented bread (chamets’), and there shall not be seen with thee leavened bread (seor’) in all thy borders.”
We see that chamets is not simply leavening but is leavened bread. In other words, it is the leavened product produced from the seor. Again, the primary example of chamets from the Bible is leavened bread. There are no other examples for chamets, but for leavened bread, whether eaten or used in sacrifice. When we think of seor, we should think of a sourdough starter, and when we think of chamets, we should think of a leavened product produced by a sourdough starter or an alternative leavening agent.
The Jewish Perspective
Let’s consider now how the Jews understand leavening.
According to oukosher.org, “If one of the five grains – wheat, barley, rye, oats and spelt – sits in water for more than 18 minutes it becomes chametz, and one may not eat, derive benefit from or own it on Pesach.”
Kashrut Division of the London Beth Din, kosher.org.uk, states, “Chametz is formed when dough made from wheat, barley, rye, oats or spelt is allowed to ferment (or rise). The time in which fermentation takes place is deemed to be 18 minutes.”
As the last example, chabad.org verifies that “chametz (also spelled ‘hametz’ or ‘chometz’) is any food product made from wheat, barley, rye, oats or spelt that has come into contact with water and been allowed to ferment and ‘rise.’”
We see that chamets is any food product that is produced from grain that has come in contact with water and allowed to ferment or rise. So based on the Jewish understanding of leavening, we find that four things are needed for something to be considered chamets:
1) It needs to contain grain, e.g., wheat, barley, rye, oats or spelt;
2) It needs water;
3) It needs access to a leavening agent, which is around us in the form of wild yeast; and,
4) It needs time to leaven or to rise.
According to many Jews, the time it takes for a piece of dough to become leavened is 18 minutes. With this in mind, if we took flour, added water, and then allowed that dough to ferment with the natural yeast within the air for 18 minutes. According to many Jews, we would have chamets.
Because chamets requires all these items, a leavening agent alone is not considered chamets or seor. For those who were part of the initial study, this was the bombshell that changed the trajectory of what we would come to understand about leavening. Again, it was always our belief that a leavening agent alone was considered seor or chamets, but when we understand these words from a biblical standpoint, there’s more to it. In this case, we know that yeast or a chemical leavening agent alone is not considered chamets.
Wikipedia concurs: “Chametz is a product that is both made from one of five types of grain and has been combined with water and left to stand raw for longer than eighteen minutes (according to most opinions) and becomes leavened … Leavening agents, such as yeast or baking soda, are not themselves chametz. Rather, it is the fermented grains. Thus yeast may be used in making wine.”
From this source, we again see that chamets is when grain is combined with water and allowed to become leavened. Remember, from a biblical standpoint, seor is a sourdough starter, and chamets is a leavening product made from seor.
Examples of Seor and Chamets
Let’s now review where soer and chamets are used within Scripture. From the Torah we find the following passages containing the word seor.
Exodus 12:19 – “Seven days shall there be no leaven found in your houses: for whosoever eateth that which is leavened, even that soul shall be cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether he be a stranger, or born in the land.” All seor must be removed from our homes during the seven days of Unleavened Bread.
Exodus 13:7 – “Unleavened bread shall be eaten seven days; and there shall no leavened bread be seen with thee, neither shall there be leaven seen with thee in all thy quarters.” All seor must be removed from our quarters, Heb. gebul, referring to a person’s boundary or territory.
Leviticus 2:11 – “No meat offering, which ye shall bring unto Yahweh, shall be made with leaven: for ye shall burn no leaven, nor any honey, in any offering of Yahweh made by fire.” No meat or grain offering was to be made with seor or a sourdough starter. THIS IS IMPORTANT – it shows that seor was the initial starter that was used to leaven chamets.
Deuteronomy 16:4 – “And there shall be no leavened bread seen with thee in all thy coast seven days; neither shall there any thing of the flesh, which thou sacrificedst the first day at even, remain all night until the morning.” No seor was to be seen within a person’s coast, Heb. gebul, referring to a person’s boundary or territory.
Let’s now look at the examples for chamets, which is found 13 times in the Old Testament, 12 within the Torah and once within the Nevi’im, e.g., prophets.
Exodus 12:19 – “Seven days shall there be no leaven found in your houses: for whosoever eateth that which is leavened, even that soul shall be cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether he be a stranger, or born in the land.” The command is not to eat chamets during the seven days of Unleavened Bread. The penalty for ignoring this command was to be cut off from the congregation. It’s crucial that we do our very best to abstain from eating leavened products or chamets during the Feast of Unleavened Bread.
Before moving on, I want to emphasize that the command here is eating and not drinking. And the reason for this is simple – chamets is leavened bread, not leavened drink.
Exodus 12:20 – “Ye shall eat nothing leavened; in all your habitations shall ye eat unleavened bread.” As we saw in verse 19 we see here, that we’re to abstain from eating chamets or anything leavened during this Feast. And again, I point out that the command is of eating, nothing is said about drinking. For those wondering, there is a Hebrew word for drinking, it is shathah, but we don’t find that word in relation to seor or chamets.
Exodus 13:3 – “And Moses said unto the people, remember this day, in which ye came out from Egypt, out of the house of bondage; for by strength of hand Yahweh brought you out from this place: there shall no leavened bread be eaten.” As we’ve seen previously, Yahweh commands us here not to eat chamets or leavened bread during this Feast.
Exodus 13:7 – “Unleavened bread shall be eaten seven days; and there shall no leavened bread be seen with thee, neither shall there be leaven seen with thee in all thy quarters.” There are several items to consider here: we’re to eat unleavened bread, i.e., matstsah’, for all seven days of this Feast. So, in contrast of removing and abstaining from leavening, we find that we’re to eat unleavened bread for all seven days of this Feast.
As we know from the New Testament, unleavened bread symbolizes sincerity and truth. Understand that there’s a spiritual lesson to be learned throughout this Feast. This passage also relates that no chamets or seor should be seen within our quarters or boundaries.
Exodus 23:18 – “Thou shalt not offer the blood of my sacrifice with leavened bread; neither shall the fat of my sacrifice remain until the morning.” As we saw from the BDB, we also find here that no leavened bread or chamets was to be included within the offerings. The only exception was the peace, or fellowship offering along with the two loaves offered during the Feast of Weeks.
Exodus 23:25 – “And ye shall serve Yahweh your Elohim, and he shall bless thy bread, and thy water; and I will take sickness away from the midst of thee.”
Leviticus 2:11 – “No meat offering, which ye shall bring unto Yahweh, shall be made with leaven: for ye shall burn no leaven, nor any honey, in any offering of Yahweh made by fire.” A better name for the meat offerings is a grain offering and as before, leavening, whether chamets or seor, was not allowed within this offering. We also see the mention of honey and because of this, some ask if we should be removing honey during the Feast of Unleavened Bread. While honey can be used to speed up the leavening process, honey of its own is NOT considered seor or chamets. For this reason, there’s no need to remove honey during this Feast.
Leviticus 6:17 – “It shall not be baken with leaven. I have given it unto them for their portion of my offerings made by fire; it is most holy, as is the sin offering, and as the trespass offering.” Two specific offerings are mentioned here – the sin offering for unintentional sins and the trespass offering, which was for intentional sins. Notice that if a person brought a cake or grain offering, it had to be without leavening or chamets. This offering was a food product that was baked.
Leviticus 7:13 – “Besides the cakes, he shall offer for his offering leavened bread with the sacrifice of thanksgiving of his peace offerings.” Unlike the sin and trespass offerings, we find that leavening was to be used during the fellowship or peace offering. The peace offering was a show of desire to fellowship with Yahweh and for this reason, it was treated differently.
Leviticus 23:17 – “Ye shall bring out of your habitations two wave loaves of two tenth deals: they shall be of fine flour; they shall be baken with leaven; they are the firstfruits unto Yahweh.” Again, we see that leavening or chamets was to be used within the wave loaves offered during the Feast of Weeks or Shavuot. As was seen here and in the previous example, leavening or chamets is not always negative. We know this because it was commanded to be used in the peace offering and the wave loaves offering to Yahweh.
Deuteronomy 16:3 – “Thou shalt eat no leavened bread with it; seven days shalt thou eat unleavened bread therewith, even the bread of affliction; for thou camest forth out of the land of Egypt in haste: that thou mayest remember the day when thou camest forth out of the land of Egypt all the days of thy life.” This passage is referring to the Feast of Unleavened Bread. As we’ve already seen from many other examples, during these seven days we’re to abstain from eating leavened bread or chamets.
Amos 4:5 – “And offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving with leaven, and proclaim and publish the free offerings: for this liketh you, O ye children of Israel, saith my Sovereign Yahweh.” We find here another reference to the fellowship or peace offering in which leavening or chamets was to be used.
Let’s review what we’ve learned thus far about seor and chamets:
Defining Seor and Chamets
What do you suppose ancient Israelites would show us if we asked for examples of seor and chamets? More than likely they would bring us a sourdough starter for seor and a loaf of leavened bread for chamets.
Based on this, we offer the following definitions for seor and chamets:
Seor: A piece of highly fermented or acidic dough or any other grain-derived leavening product that might be used to leaven dough, much like our own sourdough starter.
Chemets: Any grain derived food product that has been leavened by seor, i.e., a leavening agent, whether that be natural or chemical. The primary example would be leavened bread, but it would also include items that may not resemble bread but contain both grain and a leavening agent.
So again, any food product containing grain, wheat, barley, spelt, rye or oats, along with a leavening agent, would be considered chamets. This is why we must take stock of the food items we have within our homes before the Feast of Unleavened Bread and remove anything that would be considered seor or chamets.
We have only referenced leavening agents until now, but have not provided a list of such agents. Below is a list of leavening agents we have identified over the years.
Remember that these leavening agents alone are NOT considered seor or chamets. For this reason, there’s no need to remove these leavening agents from our homes during the Feast of Unleavened Bread.
However, there is one caveat. Based on our research, some yeast packets would be considered seor due to the way they are manufactured. Some companies will produce a yeast cake with grain and then disaggregate that yeast cake into the yeast we find within many yeast packets.
This seems to be especially common with organic yeast packets. Because of this, we encourage you to remove your yeast packets during the Feast of Unleavened Bread.
But for the other items in the above list, there’s no need to remove them unless you are convicted of doing so, which is certainly acceptable.
What May Remain?
Beyond defining leavening, we must address those items that may remain during the Feast of Unleavened Bread that we previously disallowed. Since leavening agents alone are not considered seor or chamets, there is no need to remove leavening agents that cannot be used as a starter in their current form, e.g., baking soda and baking powder.
In addition to leavening agents, there is also no need to remove alcohol unless there’s evidence that it can be used as a starter. The following alcohols contain no yeast in their final form and therefore would not be considered seor: vodka, gin, tequila, Irish whiskey, bourbon, schnapps, most wine, and many commercial beers.
Even though many alcoholic beverages contain grain and a leavening agent, e.g., yeast, in their original form, the leavening agent is purged or made inert in its final form. For this reason, they are unable to be used as seor or a starter.
In our research we contacted several brewers and verified that most commercial beers either remove or kill any excess yeast; some exceptions, though, include Pale Ale, Porter, and Stout. Therefore, if you choose to keep commercial beers, we suggest that you confirm with the manufacturer that the yeast has been removed or made inert.
In our investigation, we sent the following question to several breweries: “Can you verify if any of your beers contain live or active yeast that could be used as a starter to make bread without the assistance of any additional leavening agents?”
We received the following replies:
“I can tell you that almost all beer, except for draught beer, is pasteurized. This process enables the brewer to kill traces of live yeast or other organisms which helps the beer stay fresh longer,” Anheuser-Busch.
“Almost all of the yeast used in the brewing process is filtered out of the beer prior to packaging,”
Molson Coors Beverage Company.
“The yeast used to make our beers is filtered out before bottling. If you would like yeast for bread or other means, we recommend buying yeast itself,” Samuel Adams.
“Our bottle-conditioned beers will have live yeast sitting at the bottom of the bottle. Bottle-conditioned beers include: Pale Ale, Porter, Stout, Celebration, and Bigfoot. There are about a couple thousand cells at the bottom of a can or bottle and will need to be propagated to be used for making bread. Yeast for bread and our ale yeast are a little different. You may have to use a bit more ale yeast than the recipe calls for or use additional leavening agents,” Sierra Nevada Brewing Company.
Also, as we see from Scripture, chamets is a food item. Therefore, by definition, alcohol would not be considered chamets and since most beer cannot be used as a starter, it would not be considered seor.
In addition to alcohol, since the Feast of Unleavened Bread focuses on food items we consume, there is no reason to remove non-food items with a leavening agent, e.g., baking soda toothpaste.
What About Grain Substitutes?
The last issue to address is grain substitutes. Examples of this includes quinoa, rice, almonds (and other nuts), coconut, tapioca, or sorghum. Many Jews use grain substitutes with a leavening agent to make cakes and other items during the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Even though grain substitutes are technically not grain, we believe that using such products combined with a leavening agent to make bread or pastries violates the command of abstaining from leavened bread during the Feast of Unleavened Bread. The main point of this Feast is to remove and abstain from leavened bread or that which puffs up.
Let’s now summarize what we have learned:
I hope that this information has helped you better understand the biblical definition of leavening. We encourage you to prove all things from Yahweh’s Word as we are all obligated to do