The Apple Of God's Eye

May 9, 2011

Shocking Proof: Why The Jews Rejected Christ

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Ever since the time of Adam man has rebelled against the government of God. As the Supreme Ruler of the universe, God has decreed that 6000 years be allotted to man to decide for himself whether he will voluntarily submit to the Government of God and keep holy the time He made holy.

Man universally has rejected God’s rule, His authority, His holy days. But God has not been idle in human affairs.

What GOD is doing these 6000 years very few recognize.

Now is not the time God is trying to save the world. He is rather calling out of the world a select few whom He chooses. To us He reveals Himself, His Will and His Purpose. But we must voluntarily choose to obey Him — and to keep holy the days He set apart.

In the days of Moses God first organized His Church and revealed to them His Plan. To keep that Church in the knowledge of that Plan, the Eternal ordained seven annual festivals. These festivals pictured the seven steps in carrying out God’s Plan.

When the Old Testament Church departed from celebrating these festivals, they lost the knowledge of the plan. This is exactly what had happened to the Jews in New Testament times! The Jews did not understand the prophecies of the first coming of Christ because they were not keeping the one festival (Passover) which pictured that Christ was coming first as the paschal lamb. They knew He would come later — at the close of 6000 years of history (pictured by the Feast of Trumpets) — as the conquering King!

The Jews knew five out of the seven steps in God’s Plan because they still observed five out of the seven festivals. But the two festivals on which they had become confused and divided pictured the very part of God’s Plan which they had lost! The Passover pictured the coming of the Messiah as the Passover lamb — to bear our sins (I Corinthians 5:7). Having changed the day of the true Passover the Jews cut themselves off from their God.

To change the day, to neglect it, is sin. And sin cuts one off from God. Hence they were unable to recognize the true gospel when it came to them through Jesus Christ. They were not expecting Christ, the Messiah, to come as a man to bear the sins of the world. They were expecting only a conquering king. Had they been celebrating the true Passover on its right day, instead of confusing it with the Feast night of the days of Unleavened Bread, they would have known that their Messiah would first come as a man to bear the sins of the world!

No wonder the Jews crucified the Saviour! They had forgotten the true Passover! (more…)

April 10, 2011

What Is Leaving Out Leaven About?

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Leaven is a substance that puffs things up. During the Days of Unleavened Bread, God uses it to represent sin, because sin has the same effect (I Cor. 5:1-8). This festival shows that we are to become unleavened spiritually by commanding the physical labor of deleavening our homes.

Leavening agents are substances used to puff up or produce fermentation, causing dough to rise, such as yeast, bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) and baking powder. Sourdough was the most popular leaven in ancient Israel, as it caused baked goods to rise and become light in texture. These leavening agents led to food becoming leavened (Exod. 12:8).

Leavening agents are those ingredients that leaven and cause baked goods, such as bread, cake, certain crackers and cookies, cereals and pies to rise. Even some candies and other foods are leavened, so careful label reading is a must. If you are still in doubt about any leaven, ask someone with more expertise in this area.

God also gives us a positive command that whenever bread is eaten during the spring holy days, it must be unleavened bread. Eating the “bread of affliction” (Deut. 16:3) reminds us that we were in bondage to sin before being delivered from such abject slavery. It is also permissible to eat unleavened pies and cereals, etc., in addition to our regular diet.

There are many homemade unleavened recipes; but there are also products available on the market such as matzos, Rye Krisp, some types of Wheat Thins, Triscuits, etc. Again, a careful check of the label is recommended because different brands or flavors of the products mentioned above may have leaven in them. If you have any doubts about a particular food and cannot determine if it’s safe to eat, it is best to avoid it, for “whatsoever is not of faith is sin” (Rom. 14:23).

To picture our deliverance from sin, earnest effort should be made to put leavening out of our homes—just as we must exert effort to put sin out of our lives. Despite our best attempts, some leavened products may be discovered in our home or accidentally enter our premises during this festival. This is not surprising, as it types the hidden sins that were not immediately revealed upon our conversion. We should get rid of them immediately, to represent the desire we should have to not become comfortable with our sins. Putting out the leaven (sin) is not a one-time event but something we must keep doing until the process is complete. This explains why there are seven Days of Unleavened Bread—seven signifying the number of completeness.

Inevitably, questions come up about whether or not other items are leavening agents. Egg whites, for example, shouldn’t be used as a leaven substitute to purposely skirt the spirit of the law; yet they may be used in meringue for pies and in other desserts when their use is not as a leavening agent—that is, to puff up any baked product, composed of flour or meal.

Products with yeast extracts are acceptable if they do not contain any actual leavening agent. Brewer’s yeast is totally inactive or dead and not to be considered leaven. Cream of tartar, by itself, is not a leavening agent.

Questions come up about beer, wine and other fermented beverages, but there is nothing in the Bible that restricts the kind of drinks allowed during these Days of Unleavened Bread. Leaven in the Israelites’ dough is always mentioned (Exod. 12:39, for example), but never the invisible yeast or its effect in either beer, wine or other libation. Wine, naturally fermented, was a customary staple at God’s ancient festivals. If God would have banned wine and other fermented beverages, the Bible would certainly have recorded this admonition for us.

Other non-food products contain leavening, such as antacids, some medicines, bath powders, toothpastes, cat and dog foods and even fire extinguishers, but none of these needs to be discarded.

We must remember that God planned the Days of Unleavened Bread to remind us to deleaven ourselves spiritually. This is typed physically, but our prime concern should be the complete putting out of the spiritual leaven of sin, replacing it with spiritual unleavened righteousness, not just for seven days, as explicitly commanded, but every day of our lives.

September 7, 2009

Why The Jews Keep The Wrong Passover!

Today, the jews observe the Passover one day later than did Moses, Nehemiah and Jesus Christ and His disciples. Most of the Jews in Palestine in Christ’s day were also keeping the wrong day – beginning the Passover on the 15th of Abib, which is the 1st Day of Unleavened Bread. Why? When did the Jews lose track of the correct day?

At the time of ezra and Nehemiah, the Jews were still keeping the Passover on the 14th of Abib (Ezra 6:19). In Ezra 6:22, the Days of Unleavened Bread are mentioned as a separate event. So at this time (around 519 B.C.), the Jews were still keeping these days properly.

The confusion occurred when the Jews in Palestine were under control of the Egyptians from about 301 to 198 B.C. – after Ezra’s time, but prior to the time of Christ. The Egyptians allowed the Jews to retain their calendar, but the Egyptians began days at sunrise.

Over time, instead of begining days at sunset as God does, the Jews adopted the Egyptian custom. This change in the start of the day caused the Jews to begin keeping Passover (which is to be observed at sunset) on what the Egyptians referred to as Abib 14 – while on God’s calendar, it was actually the beginning of Abib 15.

Even later on, when the Jews finally got back to an evening-to-evening reckoning for the day, they refused to abandon what had become the traditional way of observing Passover.

April 1, 2009

Is The Bible True?

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DID the children of Israel REALLY cross the Red Sea? We are told in the Bible that Israel fled Egypt during the Days of Unleavened Bread. That they were driven out because the Egyptians had been SUPERNATURALLY PUNISHED by God. But at the last minute, Pharaoh changed his mind! It took yet another miracle to deliver the children of Israel out of Egypt, says the Bible — the “miracle of the Red Sea.” DID THIS MIRACLE REALLY HAPPEN? 

Do Miracles Happen Today? 

It is time we asked ourselves if it takes a miracle TODAY for Christians to separate from this world, to come out of this world’s society, and to live as God has ordained? Those who say that the miracle of the Red Sea did not happen are, the same people who today say we do not have to rely on any supernatural power to overcome this world. 

The supreme lesson we must learn from the Days of Unleavened Bread is that, after Christ has PASSED OVER our mistakes and overlooks our past, we have to go through a period of separating from this world — and in this process we cannot extricate ourselves from this world WITHOUT A DIVINE MIRACLE. This miracle is something that God, not man, has to perform — just as God performed, according to the Scripture, THE MIRACLE OF THE RED SEA! God told the children of Israel, “Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord.” 

Now let’s look through the story of what really took place during the seven days of Unleavened Bread — from the time the children of Israel left the land where they observed the Passover to the time they crossed the Red Sea. 

Modern critics have all kinds of theories as to the directions the children of Israel took when they journeyed in Egypt from the city of Rameses, where they met at the night of the Festival, to the Red Sea. One sometimes wonders where the children of Israel would have been taken had all the modern critics instead of Moses led them from Pharaoh! 

What portion of the land of Egypt did Israel journey through upon leaving? What is the route of the Exodus? Did the crossing of the Red Sea really occur? 

The Background of the Story 

Let’s turn, for the background of the story, to Genesis 15:18, “In the same day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, FROM THE RIVER OF EGYPT unto the great river, the river Euphrates.” 

Is this “river of Egypt” the Nile? 

Some modern critics tell us “no.” They claim it is, instead, a dry river bed, which flows only in the winter, in midst of the Sinai peninsula. 

But the Bible plainly declares it is the River OF EGYPT, not the river of THE SINAI PENINSULA. It is not the river of the Philistines. It is the river of EGYPT! There is only one river of Egypt — the Nile. 

If God had not given Abraham’s descendants dominion to the river of Egypt, but had given them only a dry river bed in the middle of the Sinai desert, then what right have his descendants — the British and other Western Europeans — had to build the Suez Canal? Why was it wrong for Nasser to have taken over the Suez Canal unless it belonged to Israel in the first place? 

The very fact that God used Israel to build the Suez Canal is in itself proof that the children of Israel should possess the land of Egypt to the Nile! 

Certainly from fulfilled prophecy the river of Egypt is the Nile. 

We have this confirmed in Joshua 15:4. This Scripture tells us that the border of the land in the south passed toward Azmon, and went out unto the river of Egypt; and the goings out of that coast were at the sea: this shall be your south coast.” 

Also in verse 47, “Ashdod with her towns and her villages, Gaza with her towns and her villages, unto the river of Egypt, and the great sea, and the border thereof.” 

When we come to I Kings 8:65, we find the same border: “And at that time Solomon held a feast, and all Israel with him, a great congregation, from the entering in of Hamath [near the Euphrates] unto the river of Egypt” celebrated a festival. 

Now we want to find out if God ever caused the children of Israel to possess the territory east of the Nile. Was the land east of the Nile ever possessed by the children of Israel? 

Where Is Goshen? 

Notice what the Egyptians themselves promised for the children of Israel because of what Joseph did for them. Here is what we find in Genesis 45:10, “And thou shalt dwell in the land of Goshen,” says Joseph to his father at Pharaoh’s command, “and thou shalt be near unto me, thou, and thy children, and thy children’s children, and thy flocks, and thy herds, and all that thou hast.” 

Jacob and all of the family of Israel could dwell in the land of Goshen. But — where is the land of Goshen? 

Modern scholars tell us that it is a small, semi-desolate area east of the Nile halfway between the Nile and the Suez Canal today. This is supposed to be the land with which God blessed Jacob in the land of Egypt. 

Because critics have assumed this is the land of Goshen, they cannot believe that there were 600,000 Israelite men, beside women and children, at the time exodus occurred. 

Of course in this area which the scholars tell us is the land of Goshen, there couldn’t have even been 6,000 men, beside women and children, with all of their cattle. The fact is, scholars haven’t understood where the land of Goshen is. 

Genesis 46:28 tells us more of the story. “And he [Jacob] sent Judah before him unto Joseph, to direct his face unto Goshen.” Jacob was coming down from Beersheba in Palestine into Egypt. “And they came into the land of Goshen. And Joseph made ready his chariot, and went up [northward] to meet Israel his father, to Goshen, and presented himself unto him.” 

Did you notice that Joseph was not in the land of Goshen? Joseph dwelt where Pharaoh was. And Pharaoh was at Memphis, the capital of lower Egypt. “Joseph made ready his chariot, AND WENT UP TO MEET Israel his father.” He went up to Goshen. He was going NORTH. Therefore, the land of Goshen was NORTH of the capital of Egypt at this time. 

Now verses 33 and 34 of Genesis 46: “And it shall come to pass, when Pharaoh shall call you, and shall say, What is your occupation?” — Joseph instructs his father to say this — “That ye shall say, Thy servants’ trade hath been about cattle from our youth even until now, both we, and also our fathers; that ye may dwell in the land of Goshen; for every shepherd is an abomination unto the Egyptians.” Egyptians often hired foreigners to tend to their cattle. So the purpose was to have the children of Israel dwell in the land of Goshen to tend cattle there. 

Chapter 47, verse 5 picks up the story. “And Pharaoh spake unto Joseph, saying, Thy father and thy brethren are come unto thee: The land of Egypt is before thee; IN THE BEST OF THE LAND make thy father and brethren to dwell; IN THE LAND OF GOSHEN let them dwell: and if thou knowest any men of activity among them, then make them rulers over my cattle.” 

Did you notice that Pharaoh said to the children of Israel, “The land of Egypt is before you, the best of the land, the land of Goshen.” This is the portion of Egypt that Pharaoh is actually turning over to the children of Israel because of what Joseph did! Remember, God told Abraham that his descendants were going to control land to the river of Egypt — the Nile. This is how God began to fulfill that promise! 

Now to verse 10: “And Jacob blessed Pharaoh, and went out from before Pharaoh. And Joseph placed his father and his brethren, and gave them a possession in the land of Egypt, IN THE BEST OF THE LAND, IN THE LAND OF RAMESES, AS PHARAOH HAD COMMANDED.” 

The best of the land, in verse 6, is called “the land of Goshen,” while in verse 11, it is called “the land of Rameses.” Obviously, then, the land of Goshen and the land of Rameses are the same! It is the best of all the land of Egypt. 

The Land of Rameses 

One of the titles belonging to rulers of Egypt was “Rameses.” This title, one of several applied to the rulers of Egypt, existed from the beginning of Egyptian history — long before the “Pharaoh Rameses the Great” of history, who actually began to reign about 790 B.C. 

Ancient Egypt was a feudalistic world. In feudalism the king claims theoretically to own everything. He leased the land out to his princelings and lords (who lease parts of their land to others of still lower rank), but the king reserves a certain portion for himself. 

Pharaoh naturally reserved the best land for himself — the land of Goshen. It belonged personally to Pharaoh. So Pharaoh was not taking land leased to his lords. He is granting this territory to Joseph, who was next highest in the kingdom, for his service. The fee for receiving the land of Goshen or Rameses is stated in verse 6: “And if thou knowest any men of activity among them, then make them rulers over MY cattle.” 

Where were Pharaoh’s cattle? In the land of Goshen, the land of Rameses. Pharaoh knew that if Joseph could bless all Egypt as he had done, his family would also be bound to bless his own stock. But in so doing, the Egyptians granted the right of the children of Israel to this territory. And by command of their ruler all the land of Goshen, the land of Rameses, is given to the children of Israel — as partial fulfillment of God’s promise that Abraham’s seed should extend to the river of Egypt, to the Nile. 

Goshen During the Plagues 

Continuing the story with Exodus 8:22. Another dynasty has risen up; Moses is dealing with a new Pharaoh. One of the plagues is about to occur: “I will sever in that day,” God says, “the land of Goshen, in which my people dwell, that no swarms of flies shall be there; to the end thou [Pharaoh] mayest know that I am the Lord in the midst of the earth. And I will put a division between my people: and thy people: tomorrow shall this sign be.” 

And this sign did occur, “… the Lord did so” (verse 24). These flies contaminated and plagued all the land of Egypt where the Egyptians were, but the flies did not plague the land where the children of Israel dwelt. 

The land of Goshen is a particular territory where the children of Israel were dwelling. This was the land that had once belonged to the royal house. God makes a separation between that land and the rest of the land of Egypt. 

Verse 26, chapter 9 tells us almost the same thing: “Only in the land of Goshen, WHERE THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL WERE, was there no hail.” 

Now to Exodus 12:19, the night of the Passover. “And it came to pass, that at midnight the Lord smote all the first-born in the land of Egypt” — this was midnight on the 14th day — “from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sat on his throne unto the firstborn of the captive that was in the dungeon [or the prison-house] and all the firstborn of cattle. And Pharaoh rose up in the night, he, and all his servants, and there was a great cry in Egypt; for there was not a house where there was not one dead. And HE CALLED FOR MOSES AND AARON BY NIGHT, AND SAID, RISE UP, AND GET YOU FORTH from among my people, both ye and the children of Israel; and go, serve the Lord, as ye have said. Also take your flocks and your herds, as ye have said, and be gone; and bless me also. And the Egyptians were urgent upon the people, that they might send them out of the land in haste; for they said [if they were to stay there any longer], We be all dead men.” 

In verses 34 and 35 the story continues. “The children of Israel … borrowed of the Egyptians” among whom they had been living. The next night — the 15th of Abib — having “spoiled the Egyptians” and driven their cattle, the Israelites came to the city of Rameses. 

Stop for the moment and consider these facts. God told Moses, “Go not out of your houses until the morning.” 

Moses and Aaron naturally would have remained in their house this night — all of the night of the 14th. But Pharaoh, who was not a firstborn son, came out of his house by night to find Moses and urge him and all Israel to leave. 

Modern critics tell us that Pharaoh at this time lived in the city of Thebes in upper Egypt, the land of ancient Sheba. But they are wrong! Pharaoh’s headquarters was at the city of Memphis. The ruling dynasty in Moses’ day came from Xois in the Delta, but the capital of all lower Egypt was at Memphis. This is where the government administration originated. It was at Memphis that Pharaoh that night rose up and went to Moses, and said, “Get out of the land and all your people, and he was urgent on them.” 

Pharaoh could not have been far from where Moses was. That very night, he saddled his camel and went to Moses and Aaron! Wherever the children of Israel observed the Passover was a place very NEAR THE CITY OF MEMPHIS! 

Remember, Israel dwelt in all the land of Goshen, but they had assembled in one particular area to keep the Passover. From this area they journeyed on the daylight part of the 14th of Abib to the city of Rameses, and met there the next night, the night of the 15th! 

The Night of the Exodus 

“The children of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand on foot that were men, beside children. And a mixed multitude went up also with them; and flocks, and herds, even very much cattle” (Ex. 12:37-38). 

From here the children of Israel left on the night of the 15th! (Deut. 16:1). 

Numbers 33:3 makes it even plainer. The children of Israel “departed from Rameses in the first month, on the fifteenth day of the first month; on the morrow after the Passover the children of Israel went out with an high hand IN THE SIGHT OF ALL THE EGYPTIANS. 

Between the morning after the Passover and the next night, “the children of Israel did according to the word of Moses; and they borrowed of the Egyptians jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment: And the Lord gave the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians, so they lent unto them,” that is, PAID them, “such things as they required. And they spoiled the Egyptians,” that is, they took their wages that the Egyptians withheld from them for nearly two centuries. 

Then they gathered at RAMESES. Where was this city? 

Let me read what Josephus plainly tells us. Josephus, “Antiquities Of The Jews,” Book II, Chapter XV. “So the Hebrews went out of Egypt, while the Egyptians wept, and repented that they had treated them so hardly … Now they took their journey by LETOPOLIS, a place at that time deserted, but where BABYLON was built afterwards, when Cambyses laid Egypt waste.” So Rameses was the city of Letopolis, which later under Persian rule, was called the city of Babylon. Did you know there was also a Babylon in Egypt as well as in Mesopotamia where Nimrod started his kingdom? 

What city is this today? Josephus, writing in Greek, calls this the city of Letopolis — a Greek name for Rameses. POLIS means city in Greek. A METROPOLIS is a “mother city.” So Letopolis was the city of Letona — one of the names of Semiramis or Easter, the Queen of Heaven. It is the same from which LATIN has come. So this was one of the cities dedicated anciently to the Queen of Heaven. No wonder it was also called BABYLON later! 

Smith’s Classical Dictionary Of Greek And Roman Biography” says of the city of Babylon in Egypt that it “is in later-times called Fostat OR OLD CAIRO, a fortress in lower Egypt on the right bank of the Nile exactly opposite to the pyramids of Giza, and at the beginning of the canal which connected the Nile with the Red Sea. 

The city of Rameses, built by the children of Israel in honor of the Pharaoh, was Letopolis, the very city which today the Mohammedans call Old Cairo! 

Notice the accompanying map. God gave the children of Israel the land all the way to the Nile River. The land east of the Nile toward Palestine was the land of Goshen. That’s where the cattle of Israel were grazing. 

The capital city of lower Egypt was Memphis. That is where Pharaoh had his court. 

The children of Israel, when they assembled in Kameses, were assembling at Old Cairo. Since they reached Rameses or Old Cairo on the night after the Passover, they must have assembled for the Passover a little to the south of Old Cairo — near Memphis, Pharaoh’s capital. Memphis is on the west side of the Nile. Old Cairo is a little farther north on the east of the Nile River. Old Cairo is but a suburb of modern Cairo today. It is just an old section of town. Most visitors are not even permitted today to see Old Cairo because it is such a ramshackle place — though it is not as deserted today as the children of Israel found it then. That is why they met there — because there weren’t Egyptians living in that area. 

Many Bible maps cannot be relied upon. They disagree with each other and with the Bible. The producers of these maps do not use the Bible as evidence, but their human theories instead! 

Josephus at least should know as much as the scholars today. And when you put his evidence with the Bible, it’s very clear that it had to be near the city of Memphis where they kept the Passover! As the congregation of Israel were leaving northward they gathered at the city of Rameses, which Josephus calls Letopolis — Babylon or Old Cairo in Egypt. 

Israel Builds Pyramids 

Israel naturally had their headquarters near Memphis because at Memphis, the Egyptian orders were issued. That is the region where the pyramids were built. Interestingly enough, as we go through the account of Josephus we find the following surprising facts. Josephus tells us in his “Antiquities Of The Jews” (Book II, chapter IX) that the children of Israel were forced to channel [make channels for the river], to build walls for the Egyptians and make cities and ramparts … they set them also to build pyramids after the pattern of the Great Pyramid, and by all this wore them out …” 

The majority of the pyramids start from Old Cairo and go SOUTH, not north. The children of Israel must have labored in the area centered at the region of Old Cairo and on south throughout the heart-land of Egypt. 

Notice a plain statement in the “Imperial Bible Dictionary” (published in England, Volume 5, subject, Rameses”): “Immediately south of this region of Old Cairo there is an area where there were ancient quarries in a rocky mountain, from which much of the material for the pyramids was procured, AND IN WHICH THE POOR JEWS ARE SAID BY MANETHO [an Egyptian historian] to have worked.” 

This confirms what Josephus tells us in his work entitled “Apion,” Book I, chapter 26. Near these quarries on the east of the Nile opposite Memphis is an area called “Mera-vad-Musa, or the ‘Habitation [or dwelling] of Moses.'” Moses was the leader and as he communicated back and forth with Pharaoh it is logical that opposite Memphis, where many of the lesser pyramids were build, Moses should have his headquarters — to this day bearing the name, “the Habitation of Moses.” 

Now continuing with the “Imperial Bible Dictionary:” “From thence [that is, MERA-VAD-MUSA or the Habitation of Moses”] they moved northward, passing, as Josephus says, by ancient Babylon or Old Cairo, and then by or over the site of modern Cairo, proceeding along the direct route to the land of Canaan, as far as Succoth, or BERKET EL HADJ, the ‘Pool of the Pilgrims,’ …” “Succoth” merely means booths — or an encampment. It was where Moslem pilgrims, to this day, can go from Egypt over to Mecca, the holy city of the Mohammedan religion. It is on the way that led out of Egypt to the wilderness of the Red Sea. 

But let us go on to Numbers 33 and read the rest of the account. “And they departed from Rameses [Old Cairo] in the first month, on the fifteenth day of the first month … and went out with a high hand in the sight of all the Egyptians. For the Egyptians buried all their firstborn, which the Lord had smitten among them: upon their gods also the Lord executed judgments. And the children of Israel removed from Rameses, and pitched in Succoth. 

“And they departed from Succoth, and pitched in Etham, which is in the edge of the wilderness. And they removed from Etham, and turned again [literally turned back] unto Pihahiroth, which is before Baalzephon: and they pitched before Migdol. And they departed from before Pihahiroth, and PASSED THROUGH THE MIDST OF THE SEA into the wilderness, and went three days journey in the wilderness of Etham, and pitched in Marah.” 

The miracle of the Red Sea! Did it really happen? 

What Road Did Israel Take? 

Now let us pick up the story with Exodus 13:17: “And it came to pass, when Pharaoh had let the people go, that God led them not through THE WAY OF THE LAND OF THE PHILISTINES.” Here we have the first of several highways named. 

In ancient Egypt there were major roads which went out of Egypt. One was “the way of the Red Sea” which was southeast from the Delta. Another was “the way of Etham,” or “the wilderness of Shur” which went from Egypt through Beersheba. It was the road by which Jacob came down into Egypt. The third is “the way of the land of the Philistines” which went up from the coast through Gaza by the Mediterranean. See the accompanying map. 

As Israel was proceeding north through Old Cairo, they could have easily taken the way, or the highway of the Philistines — the Philistine highway. Many assume that this road must have been by the Mediterranean. They are wrong! The way of the land of the Philistines extended far into Egypt. 

While the Israelites were still in Egypt, they could have traveled by the road that led northward to the land of the Philistines. But, instead of taking that, near as it was, God said, “Lest peradventure the people repent when they see war, and return to Egypt,” GOD LED THE PEOPLE ABOUT THROUGH THE WAY OF THE WILDERNESS OF THE RED SEA. 

This is another road. This is the most southerly of the three major roads in Egypt. Instead of taking the northerly route which would have taken them through the land of the Philistines, or the middle route in an easterly direction through Beersheba, they took the road leading southeast into Sinai and Arabia. God led them, not straight north, but through the way of the Red Sea. 

This is the common road that even to this day the Moslem pilgrims take to the holy city of Mecca in Arabia. It is a road that has been used from the very beginning of time when human beings have dwelt in the land of Egypt. 

Continuing: “And the children of Israel went up harnessed [or, in ranks of five] out of the land of Egypt” marching up the road. “And Moses took the bones of Joseph [perhaps from the Great Pyramid just west of Old Cairo?] with him: for he had straightly sworn the children of Israel, saying, God will surely visit you; and ye shall carry up my bones away hence with you. And they took their journey from Succoth,” the first stopping point on this road which went toward the Red Sea. And from there, they took their journey “and encamped in Etham, in the edge of the wilderness [of Sinai].” 

At this point, they could have gone straight out of Egypt into Sinai, and Pharaoh never could have caught them! All they had to do was to follow the road just as the Arabs do today — out of Egypt through the Sinai peninsula down through Arabia to Mecca. 

Here they were at the border of Egypt, just north of the Red Sea, not by the Mediterranean. What happened next? 

Now “the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night” (Ex. 13:21). It took them the seven days of Unleavened Bread to leave Egypt altogether. 

God “took not away the pillar of the cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people” (verse 22). “And the Lord spake unto Moses (Exodus 14:1-2), saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, that they TURN [don’t continue, but turn sharply to the right] and encamp before Pihahiroth, between Migdol and the sea, over against Baalzephon: before it shall ye encamp by the sea.” They now camp by the seashore. 

Where Are These Places? 

The “Imperial Bible Dictionary” tells us again. “Pihahiroth, therefore, must have been the name of some natural locality, such as a mountain, or a range of mountains, a cliff, precipice, cape or promontory. It is said of the children of Israel, when [they were] overtaken by Pharaoh at the Red Sea, that they were entangled in the land, being shut in by the ‘wilderness’ or mountains (Ex. 14:3).” 

Israel could not have gone farther in its line of march. Pharaoh had them bottled up in front of the Pihahiroth range of mountains! Did God make a mistake in leading them by the hand of Moses? 

Israel ended up on an area at the upper portion of the Red Sea by the Gulf of Suez where there is a huge mountain range that comes right down to the sea. When they got into this area, it was like entering a bag. They could not go any farther by land. The only place they could go was out into the water because the mountain range comes right down to the seashore. 

Opposite Pihahiroth was Baalzephon. This must have been a city where Baal was worshipped. Zephon means “the north.” This was “Baal of the North” — the Baal that comes down from the north pole, clad in red and white every December 25! This was the ancient seat of Santa Claus worship. 

They also camped near Migdol. Where was it? 

Trumbull, in his book called “Kadesh Barnea,” page 377, reveals something about the city of Migdol: “A short distance to the northwest of Suez … there is a station, or a pass, known as El Maktal” — the Migdol. “It is directly on the line of the Hajj route.” The HAJJ is a modern Arabic term for “the way of the Red Sea.” The modern El Maktal is “near the track noted … as the ‘Way of the Bed’ween into Ancient Egypt.'” “Wilkinson judged ‘from its name and position,’ that this represents ‘the Migdol of the Bible.'” 

As they encamped before Pihahiroth, which is a mountain range, and Baalzephon, then Baalzephon was on the north, and Pihahiroth was the mountain range on the south. Then between Migdol, in the west, and the Red Sea, in the east, there is an area large enough for the children of Israel to be bottled up. 

The Red Sea is nearly 8 miles across here! There is a very extensive area — many thousands of feet wide — which could have opened up for the children of Israel to cross. 

Crossing the Red Sea 

Let’s continue with Exodus 14:3: “For Pharaoh will say of the children of Israel, They are entangled in the land, the wilderness hath shut them in.” And God hardened Pharaoh’s heart, “And he took six hundred chosen chariots, and all the chariots of Egypt, and captains over every one of them. And the Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and he pursued after the children of Israel.” Pharaoh overtook them camping by the Red Sea on what probably was the sixth day of Unleavened Bread. 

The Israelites were now frightened. They said in verse 12, “Let us alone, that we may serve the Egyptians. For it had been better for us to serve the Egyptians, than that we should die in the wilderness. And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever. The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace. And the Lord said unto Moses, Wherefore criest thou unto me? speak unto the children of Israel, THAT THEY GO FORWARD” — into the water? No! 

Notice: “But lift thou up thy rod, and stretch out thine hand over the sea, AND DIVIDE IT: and the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea.” 

The miracle was wrought when Moses stretched his rod forth. The sea parted thousands of feet wide! Then the winds came in to drive back the waters and to build them up as a wall on either side! 

Now verse 21: “Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the Lord caused the sea to go back.” It was a miracle! Contrary to seasonal weather a strong wind blew “all that night, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided. And the children of Israel WENT INTO THE MIDST OF THE SEA UPON THE DRY GROUND: and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left. And the Egyptians pursued, and went in after them to the midst of the sea, EVEN ALL PHARAOH’S HORSES, HIS CHARIOTS, AND HIS HORSEMEN. And it came to pass, that in the morning watch the Lord looked unto the host of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and of the cloud, and troubled the host of the Egyptians, And took off their chariot wheels, that they drove them heavily: so that the Egyptians said, Let us flee from the face of Israel; for the Lord fighteth for them against the Egyptians. And the Lord said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand over the sea, that the waters may come again upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots, and upon their horsemen. And Moses stretched forth his hand over the sea, and the sea returned to his strength when the morning appeared; and the Egyptians fled against it.” 

Here was an area wide enough for 600 chosen chariots of the Egyptians to race through, beside a great many troops in order to capture the nearly 2,000,000 Israelite men, women and children. Verse 28, the waters “returned, and covered the chariots, and the horsemen, and all the host of Pharaoh that came into the sea after them; THERE REMAINED NOT SO MUCH AS ONE OF THEM. But the children of Israel walked upon dry land in the midst of the sea; Egyptians; and Israel saw the Egyptians dead upon the sea shore. And Israel saw that great work which the Lord did upon the Egyptians: and the people feared the Lord, and believed the Lord, and his servant Moses.” 

Egypt Left Desolate 

Pharaoh’s army was slain. There was not one left (Psalm 106:11). Read Exodus 15:4: “Pharaoh’s chariots and his host hath he cast into the sea: his chosen captains also are DROWNED in the Red Sea. The depths have covered them: they sank into the bottom as a stone. Thy right hand, O Lord, is become glorious in power: thy right hand, O Lord, hath dashed in pieces the enemy. 

God won the battle for the children of Israel. They were delivered out of the land of Egypt. They now rested on the peaceful shores of Sinai, where even today such names as “Ayn Musa” and “Ras Musa” testify to the Exodus. Not one of the Israelites perished, but all the Egyptians who pursued were overthrown. 

Josephus adds some vivid details to the same story! “The number that pursued after them was six hundred chariots, with fifty thousand horsemen, and two hundred thousand footmen, all armed. They also seized on the passages by which they imagined the Hebrews might fly, shutting them up between inaccessible precipices and the sea; for there was … a [ridge of] mountains that terminated at the sea, which were impassable by reason of their roughness, and obstructed their flight; wherefore they there pressed upon the Hebrews with their army” (“Antiquities Of The Jews,” Josephus, page 76). 

A few verses in Psalm 77 are worth reading at this point. “I will remember the works of the Lord: surely I will remember thy wonders of old. I will meditate also of all thy work, and talk of thy doings” (verse 11). What were God’s doings? 

We find them in verse 16: “The waters saw thee, O God, the waters saw thee; they were afraid: the depths also were troubled. The clouds poured out water: the skies sent out a sound: thine arrows also went abroad. The voice of thy thunder was in the heaven: THE LIGHTNINGS LIGHTENED THE WORLD: THE EARTH TREMBLED AND SHOOK. Thy way is in the sea, and thy path in the great waters, and thy footsteps are not known. Thou leadest thy people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron.” 

Thunder and rain and great lightning shook the land that night. In early morning the waters just poured in on PHARAOH AS HIS CHARIOT BECAME STUCK IN THE MUD AT THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA — AND HE IS THERE TO THIS DAY! 

Psalm 78 also tells us a little about it. Verse 12: “Marvelous things did he in the sight of their fathers, in the land of Egypt, IN THE FIELD OF ZOAN.” The word “field” here is properly translated elsewhere as “country” or “kingdom.” 

The “land of Egypt” is “the field,” or “the country,” or “the kingdom of Zoan.” Zoan gave its name to Egypt because it was the earliest city built in Egypt (Numbers 13:22 says that it was built 7 years after Hebron and was apparently the first city built in post-flood Egypt). 

The country of Egypt was named after Zoan just as Israel was often named after SAMARIA, or Judah was named after JERUSALEM. 

The miracles that God wrought WERE IN THE LAND OF EGYPT — in the land of Zoan. They mean the same thing! These miracles did not occur in some obscure field outside the city of Zoan near the Mediterranean! 

Egypt’s Historians Admit What Happened 

That is the story of the miracle of the Red Sea. And it is corroborated from the Egyptians’ own record of history! 

From the Exodus forward, Egypt was for almost four centuries overrun by Amalekites (or Hyksos, the Egyptian word for “shepherds”) and punished for having enslaved the Israelites. Even as late as the days of Saul and David the Amalekites dominated Egypt. 

In I Samuel 30 David meets an Egyptian slave left by his Amalekite master to die in the wilderness. “And David said to him, To whom belongest thou? and whence art thou? And he said, I am a young man of Egypt, servant to an Amalekite; and my master left me …” (verse 13). 

The ancient Egyptian historian Manetho admits all this: “There was a king of ours whose name was Timaus [the Greek form of Thom, a king of the 14th dynasty]. Under him it came to pass, I know not how, that God was averse to us, and there came after a surprising manner, men of ignoble birth out of the eastern parts [the Amalekites], and had boldness enough to make an expedition into our country, and with ease subdued it by force, yet without our hazarding a battle with them …” (“Against Apion” by Josephus, Book I, Part 14). 

So the historical record of Egypt, when rightly understood, CONFIRMS THE BIBLE. There was neither Pharaoh nor army left to defend the country! They disappeared in the Red Sea without leaving a trace. Not until the days of King Saul did Egypt recover her former power (See “Ages In Chaos,” Vol I). 

The miracle of the Red Sea did happen! The Bible is true! And the same living God who delivered ancient Israel from the world will intervene miraculously for us today to deliver us from our enemies. If we trust him and wait upon him, we, too, “shall see the salvation of the Lord.” 

Source: Good News, July 1959, Vol. VIII, Number 7, Herman L. Hoeh 

How Leaven Pictures Sin — An Important Reminder

The apostles were jolted! First, the sound of a violent windstorm filled the house where they were meeting. Then, almost before they had time to think, glowing flames of fire began leaping upon them. God’s Holy Spirit had entered them, and the power of that Spirit was far greater than the forces of nature they had witnessed.

To their amazement, they could now speak words they had not spoken before. Quickly the news spread — here were men who could speak many languages. Thousands speaking different languages eagerly gathered to hear the apostles. What they heard shocked them. Many were deeply convicted by their guilt in the death of their Savior, Jesus Christ.

A mighty urge to do something stirred within them, and they asked the apostles, “What shall we do?” The reply echoed loud and clear: “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38).

Those early Christian converts began something that God’s true Church still practices — baptism for the forgiveness of sin. But how, exactly, should a true Christian deal with sin, both before and after baptism? This question brings us to our subject, the Days of Unleavened Bread.

To understand this Festival and its meaning and application to our lives, let’s go back in history. These days are commanded Because of famine, the descendants of the patriarch Israel ended up in Egypt more than 3,000 years ago. There they became slaves (Ex. 1:8-11). Through a series of miracles, God finally released the Israelites from bondage. Among the miracles was the death of the Egyptian firstborn. To protect their own firstborn, the Israelites were required to begin keeping the Festival called Passover (Ex. 12:3-14). For Christians today, this Festival pictures our acceptance of Jesus Christ’s sacrifice for the forgiveness of our sins.

Just after the Passover, God instituted another festival — the Days of Unleavened Bread (D.U.B.). This seven-day festival pictured the release of Israel from Egypt (verses 15-17). The D.U.B. were held yearly during Abib, which is the first month of the Hebrew calendar. This month corresponds to the time of the Roman calendar months of March and April.

Both the 15th and 21st of Abib, the first and last days of the Feast, are “holy convocations” — days of rest and worship (Lev. 23:6-8). These days are still kept by true Christians today, and will also be kept after Jesus Christ’s Second Coming (Ezek. 43:2, 7, 45:21). This year (2009) they fall on April 9 and 15.

Leaven symbolizes sin During this Festival, all leaven and leavened foods are to be put out of the home and off the property (Ex. 12:15, 13:7). This includes yeast, baking soda, baking powder — all leavening agents, substances that produce fermentation and cause dough to rise.

The products of leaven are bread, cake, some crackers, certain cookies and some prepared cereals and pies. A few candies and other foods also use leavening agents. Of course, there is nothing sinful about these products themselves. Removing them from our homes is merely a symbolic enactment of removing sin from our lives.

Instead of eating these leavened foods, replace them with unleavened products (Ex. 12:15, 19-20, Lev. 23:6). These include matzos, hardtack and a number of flatbreads. But beware: Some foods that are sold as “kosher for Passover” contain leavening agents. If you are in doubt about whether a product is leavened, check the list of ingredients on the wrapper. If you are still unsure, ask someone experienced or don’t eat it. Remember: “Whatever is not from faith is sin” (Rom. 14:23). Whenever you eat bread during these days, it should be unleavened.

Far beyond the physical uses of leaven are the significant spiritual meanings. After being jeered at and tempted by the hypocritical Pharisees and Sadducees, Jesus said to His own disciples, “Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees” (Matt. 16:6). The disciples didn’t know what He meant. Do you? The disciples thought Jesus was talking about physical bread, but He wasn’t. He was talking about the doctrine of the religious authorities, which led people into sin (Matt. 16:11-12, 23:13).

By way of analogy, this leaven of false doctrine has spread through the whole world as a tool of Satan’s deception (Rev. 12:9)! The apostle Paul also used leaven as a symbol for sin. A certain Church member was committing a serious sin and making no progress toward repentance. Paul said this person was like a little leaven that would affect the whole lump — other Church members — with his sinful way of life. The person was put out of the Church. Since Paul wrote to the brethren during the Days of Unleavened Bread, they would have already put out the physical leavening from their homes. Now he encouraged them to put out the leaven of malice and wickedness — sin. He told them to eat the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth — righteousness (I Cor. 5:1-8).

Sin versus righteousness

When you consider the nature of both leavened and unleavened bread, you can see several spiritual comparisons with sin and righteousness. Let’s notice them:

  • Living in sin is easy; being righteous is hard. Because of its soft texture, leavened bread is easier to eat than unleavened bread. Likewise, going the way of sin is easier than living righteously (Matt. 7:13-14). Obeying God is difficult even for a Christian, because you still have a carnal nature that wants to sin (Rom. 7:14-25). 
  • Sin exalts the self, righteousness builds humility. Leaven puffs bread up. The same is true of sin. It puffs up the sinner — his desire is to exalt himself rather than allow God to rule him (Ps. 10:3). When you choose to live God’s righteous way of life, you abase selfish desires. 
  • Sin’s pleasures are temporary; the benefits of righteousness endure. Leavened bread left out soon becomes hard and moldy. Unleavened bread lasts much longer. Spiritually, the pleasures of sin soon pass away (Job 20:12-16). The end result is eternal death (Rom. 6:23). Righteousness, in contrast, brings both temporal and eternal blessings (Deut. 28:1-13, Ps. 15). 
  • Sin spreads easily; righteousness is built slowly. It doesn’t take long for leaven to spread throughout a loaf of bread. This is the way sin is — it spreads rapidly (Gal. 5:9), whereas building right character takes a lifetime. 
  • Sin is based on deceit; truth is the basis for righteousness. What you see is not what you get with a loaf of leavened bread. Air pockets give the impression that there’s more in the loaf than there really is. Sin also appears to be something it isn’t, deceiving the sinner into thinking he is getting something worthwhile when he is only earning the death penalty (Heb. 3:13). With righteousness there is no deceit, only truth (Ps. 119:151, 172).
  • Sin is more prevalent than righteousness. Most people prefer leavened bread because they find its tastes more desirable. Is it really better? Not necessarily — just more common. People are accustomed to it. Spiritually, the same is true. Most people prefer to live in sin. But you must reject sin, and choose to live a righteous life (Deut. 30:19).
  • Sin builds a false image; righteousness builds true character. As you have seen, leavened bread gives a false impression. So does the sinner. He may appear impressive on the outside, but is he? Read Matthew 23:27. True character is based on much more than outward appearance. It involves righteous living based on obedience to God’s Word (I John 2:5). Grow in righteousness 

What God is showing us through the analogy of leaven and sin, particularly at this time of the Days of Unleavened Bread, is clear: He wants you to escape the clutches of sin and lead a righteous life. But how can you eliminate sin and grow in righteousness? The following “three Rs” — recognize, resist and repent — can help.

  • Recognize sin. Can you recognize sin? Many cannot. Why? Most people overlook God’s simple, clear definition for sin: “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law” (I John 3:4, Authorized Version). 

Discerning sin is a matter of applying God’s law. At the basis of God’s law are the Ten Commandments (Ex. 20:1-17, Deut. 5:6-21). Do you know what the Ten Commandments are? If not, how can you possibly expect to overcome and put sin — spiritual leaven — out of your life? God’s laws are real, working forces that guarantee good results when you are in harmony with them. They were given to be lived and acted upon, not ignored or outrightly rejected!

Beyond the basic commandments, God requires obedience to biblical principles referring to one’s conduct. While some things are not written in the form of a direct command, the underlying principle or spirit of the law is nonetheless just as binding (Matt. 5:17-48, Rom. 13:9)!

Under this category fall aspects of God’s civil laws and statements made by His apostles and patriarchs. Examine yourself, as II Corinthians 13:5 commands, and see how God’s laws expose the “leaven” in your character. Are you REALLY putting God first in EVERYTHING? Are you humbly submitting to His authority? Can you admit when you’re wrong?

  • Resist sin. We have already seen through the analogy of leaven that sin spreads quickly and easily. Therefore you must resist temptation before it turns into sin (Jas. 1:13-15). 

Doing this requires self-control — actively resisting wrong thoughts and replacing them with right thoughts (II Cor.10:4-5): In struggling against sin you may reach a point when you grow so battle weary that darts of self-pity and injustice pierce you. At such times it’s easy to think you’ve done all you can. Don’t be fooled. You can do more (Heb.12:4).

Throughout the Bible we see the number 7 used as a symbol of completeness (Gen. 2:2, Josh. 6:16, Rev. 16:17). In relationship to the Days of Unleavened Bread, the number 7 pictures the complete elimination of sin. You should earnestly strive to eliminate sin from your life (II Tim. 2:19).

  • Repent of sin. Even when you recognize sin and resist it, you will still find yourself falling into sin (I John 1:8). When this happens, what should you do? Strive not to sin, but when you do, seek God’s forgiveness. Upon real repentance — abandoning the wrong way and beginning to live the right way — God promises to cleanse you from all unrighteousness (I John 1:9).

Some would say not to try so hard — to just rely on grace. But what does God say? “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?” (Rom. 6:1-2). Will you overcome all sins all at once? Absolutely not! Some sins are so deeply and habitually rooted that they may take years to totally overcome. Don’t use that as an excuse to continue, but don’t dismay either. Ask yourself, Am I sinning as often as I once did? Does this sin have as much control over me as it once did? If the answer is no, you’re growing — making progress.

Today the world is in misery because of sin. Yet humanity rejects the very Festival — the Days of Unleavened Bread — that pictures the process that would lead them out of their sins. What about you? Are you going to keep these special days as God has instructed His people to? Will you be learning the many important lessons that the Days of Unleavened Bread are meant to teach you’? If you do work at ridding your life of sin, you will be greatly blessed, now and in the future as a member of God’s Family: “In the way of righteousness is life, and in its pathway there is no death” (Prov. 12:28).

 

Source:  The Good News, March 1984, By George M. Kackos

March 27, 2009

First Day Of The Week: Sunday Or Saturday?

There was a theory circulated among certain Sunday-keeping groups that Sunday became the Sabbath after the resurrection of Christ. As supposed proof, they mistranslate the original Greek phrase, usually rendered “first day of the week,” as “first of the sabbaths.” They claim that the first Sunday after the resurrection became the first “Christian Sabbath” — and that Saturday was the “Jewish Sabbath.

This idea is absolutely FALSE! No competent Greek scholars accept such a translation. But let the Bible itself disprove this fable. If the Sunday after the resurrection were the first “Christian Sabbath” — which it never could be — then any Sunday thereafter could not be the “first of the sabbaths,” but would of necessity be either the “second or third … or hundredth of the sabbaths!”

Look at Acts 20:7. The event recorded here occurred in 56 A.D. — 25 years after the resurrection! Yet the same original Greek phrase, translated “first day of the week” in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, occurs here! This could not be the “first of the sabbaths” 25 years after the resurrection — since, by their theory, the first of the “Christian sabbaths” would have already occurred 25 years before the event recorded in Acts 20:7. Obviously the Greek cannot mean what they say it does!

Now look at I Corinthians 16:2. This letter was written in the late winter of 55 A.D. — almost 24 years after the resurrection — and the same Greek expression occurs here. This certainly was not the “first of the Christian sabbaths!” It would be 24 years too late! The answer is that the only proper idiomatic rendering of the Greek phrase is “first day of the week,” not “first of the sabbaths.”

But, it may be objected, is not the Greek word sάbbaton, translated “week,” the same word often translated “sabbath”? Of course it is, but the inspired Greek word may also mean “week” — because the sabbath determines the length of the week. The Greeks had two words for “week”: hebdomad and sάbbaton. Only the word sάbbaton is used in the New Testament. It comes from the Hebrew word meaning “rest,” “sabbath,” “week,” “seven.”

In Luke 18:12 the Greek word sάbbaton is translated properly as “week,” not “sabbath.” The Jews fasted “twice in a week,” Monday and Thursday, not “twice on a sabbath.” That would be foolish! This verse alone proves that the Greek word sάbbaton may mean “week.”

But there is even more proof. The English expression “first day of the week” comes from two different Greek idioms. In Mark 16:9, the original Greek is prootee sabbάton. It has only one meaning: “first [day) of [the] week.” In this verse sabbάton is the Greek singular possessive form of sάbbaton — and means “of the week.” Prootee means “first.” But in all other cases (Mat. 28:1; Mark 16:2; Luke 24:1; John 20:1, 19; Acts 20:7; I Cor. 16:2) the Greek word sάbbaton, which may mean either “sabbath” or “week,” is in the plural.

The Greek expression translated “first day of the week” is, in these verses, mia toon sabbάtoon. It is an idiom and cannot be translated literally into English. It, too, means “the first day of the week,” but it refers to one particular “first day” — the Sunday upon which the wave sheaf was offered — the Sunday AFTER two sabbaths! Since the Greek word sάbbaton in these verses is in the plural, it may mean either “weeks,” or “sabbaths.”

Professor Sophocles, a Greek scholar, indicates in his Lexicon, p. 43, par. 6, that the expression means “[day number] one after the sabbaths.” Which sabbaths? The first high day or annual sabbath and the weekly sabbath falling within the Days of Unleavened Bread!

Here is the proof! The same plural form — sabbάtoon – is found in the Greek Septuagint translation of Leviticus 23:15. In this verse the Greek for “the morrow after the sabbath” is epaύrion toon sabbάtoon and means idiomatically “the day after the sabbaths.” The Greek translators understood that you begin counting Pentecost from the Sunday after the weekly sabbath during the Days of Unleavened Bread. They used the plural word sabbάtoon, meaning “sabbaths,” to make plain that the Sunday on which the wave sheaf was offered followed BOTH the first annual sabbath AND the weekly sabbath in the Days of Unleavened Bread.

In other words, every New Testament writer was making especially plain which particular Sunday followed the resurrection — the Sunday after the two sabbaths, which in that year fell on Thursday and, of course, Saturday. In all these verses the original Greek, loon sabbάtoon, means idiomatically “AFTER the sabbaths” — and cannot be taken literally to mean “of the sabbaths.” It is a Greek idiom which uses the possessive plural with the meaning of “after.” The Greek translation of Leviticus 23:15 proved it!

Even in Acts 20:7 and I Cor. 16:2, the day referred to was the day the wave sheaf was offered. In 56 A.D., when the events in Acts 20 occurred, the Passover occurred on a weekly Sabbath. The Days of Unleavened Bread extended from Sunday through the following Sabbath. The day of the wave-sheaf offering in that year immediately followed the Days of Unleavened Bread. That was the day Paul preached until midnight — beginning Saturday night immediately after the Festival was over (Acts 20:7).

Some translations incorrectly insert in Acts 20:7 the pronoun “we.” The overwhelming majority of New Testament Greek manuscripts have “they,” not “we.” The original Greek of Acts 20:13 indicated that Paul “had left arrangements,” prior to Luke’s arrival at Troas, for Luke to proceed in ship to Assos in order to pick up Paul.

I Cor. 16:2 also refers to the day the wave sheaf was offered at Jerusalem — just another indication that what was laid in store was fruit of the field, not money in a church offering-plate! The time those Christians began to harvest was “upon the day after the sabbaths” — upon Sunday after the early-morning offering of the wave sheaf. This precise history, not usually understood, clearly indicates that the New Testament Church continued to observe the sabbath and the annual festivals God gave, and that they always regarded Sunday as a work day.

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