Category Archives: Messianic Symbolism

Reversing Hermon in Matthew 1

Regular readers of my blog are aware of the inspired genius Matthew concealed in the lineage of Yeshua when he wrote that intriguing list of names.  As I’ve explained over the years, that list of 41 names is an important key to understanding the significance of the Bible’s messianic symbolism as it relates to the Old Testament’s sacrificial system, the Bible’s lunar/solar calendar, Daniel 9, and YHWH’s redemptive plan for mankind. As I’ve briefly discussed in several blog posts, that list also has a larger context related to Old Testament chronology, the Shemitah, and the jubilee cycles.

This past week I was thrilled to learn that Dr. Michael Heiser’s new book Reversing Hermon: Enoch, the Watchers & the Forgotten Mission of Jesus Christ also showcases the messianic significance of Matthew 1 in a thrilling new way. I’ll get to Dr. Heiser’s information in a moment, Continue reading

The Congruency of the Bible’s Messianic Message

Why did the Old Testament require a specific number of sacrifices for each of the Bible’s seven holy days? What was the Messianic significance of the apostle Paul’s “middle wall of partition”? Did the apostle Matthew arrange Yeshua’s lineage to show a connection between the Bible’s calendar, the Torah’s sacrificial system, and the prophecies of a coming Messiah?

This week I will answer these questions in a new video presentation which takes you on a thrilling exploration of the Bible’s Messianic symbolism. Starting with the basics of Bible prophecy I explore the Biblical feast days, the significance of the number and order of the sacrificial system, the thrilling Messianic symbolism of Matthew 1, and our Creator’s heavenly “Rolex” – all within the context of the Spirit of Prophecy. Like never before, you’ll see the congruency of the Bible’s message of YHWH’s salvation, our Yeshua. Continue reading

The Unknown God

Temple-Minerva-AthensEach time Friday the 13th rolls around I can’t help but think of the Apostle Paul and his speech to the men of Athens. By all accounts, Paul was quite a character. I can just picture him standing on the ancient Areopagus (Mars Hill) of Athens nearly two thousand years ago calling out to those gathered at the famous altar to the Unknown God:

“Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious.”

I admit, I would like to have been there for that speech. To see Paul in his billowing robes challenging the highly educated Atheneans about their unfounded superstitions would have been quite a sight.  Anyway, Paul goes on to explain to the men of Athens that the God they ignorantly worship was the living God of the Bible.

If the Apostle Paul was here today, I can just see him chiding our generation with similar advice. Let’s take the number 13 for example. Even among Christians this number has a certain evil connotation about it. Have you ever wondered why the number 13 has such a superstitious aura?  What if I told you, that like the ignorance of those men of Athens concerning the altar to the Unknown God, the superstitions surrounding the number 13 are but the vestiges of a similar story that involves that same “Unknown God”? Continue reading

The Flood & the Coming Messiah

Noah-offering-sacrifices

Noah Offering Sacrifices

In my last blog post, Halloween and the Bible, we looked at the fascinating history of Halloween and the flood of Noah. Today I want to share with you how those events are related to Israel’s exodus from Egypt, the Biblical calendar, and the promise of the coming Messiah. David Jesse, a blogger I read, has a saying which I really love. He says “Context makes the Bible come alive”. Today I want to share with you some unique historical facts about Egypt and Israel’s exodus in the hope that this information will make the Bible come alive for you in a new way.

The Descendants of Seth
First let’s travel back to the time of Christ and a Jewish historian named Josephus. Nearly two thousand years ago Josephus had this to say about the flood:

Now this Seth, when he was brought up, and came to those years in which he could discern what was good, became a virtuous man; and as he was himself of an excellent character, so did he leave children behind him who imitated his virtues…

They also were the inventors of that peculiar sort of wisdom which is concerned with the heavenly bodies, and their order. And that their inventions might not be lost before they were sufficiently known, upon Adam’s prediction that the world was to be destroyed at one time by the force of fire, and at another time by the violence and quantity of water, they made two pillars, {e} the one of brick, the other of stone: 

they inscribed their discoveries on them both, that in case the pillar of brick should be destroyed by the flood, the pillar of stone might remain, and exhibit those discoveries to mankind; and also inform them that there was another pillar of brick erected by them. Now this remains in the land of Siriad [Egypt] to this day…. (Antiquities of the Jews 1:68-71)

Interestingly in Isaiah 19:19 such a pillar is mentioned in the land of Egypt in a future messianic context. Here take a look:

In that day shall there be an altar to YHWH in the midst of the land of Egypt, and a pillar at the border thereof to YHWH. And it shall be for a sign and for a witness unto YHWH of hosts in the land of Egypt: for they shall cry unto YHWH because of the oppressors, and he shall send them a saviour, and a great one, and he shall deliver them. (Isaiah 19:19-20)

XVIII_700pixYou see, nearly two thousand years ago the Great Pyramid in Egypt was already considered a monument built by the descendants of Seth to monumentalize a warning to mankind that judgement was coming. Some even claim this pillar has messianic significance. A discussion of whether this tradition is true or not will have to wait for another article, but we do know from the evidence of the Great Pyramid itself, that it was built in such a way that it marked the first day of November (and the Flood) in a very special way. I’ll get to that in a moment, but first let me describe this monument in a little more detail. For context’s sake keep in mind that Goshen, where the children of Israel lived for several hundred years, was only fifty miles or so from this great monument. In a moment you will see why the Great Pyramid was known to the ancient Egyptians as Ta Khut “The Light” and why it is still one of the greatest manmade wonders of the world.

Now let me paint you a picture of the Great Pyramid as it was during the time of Israel’s sojourning in Egypt. The base of the Great Pyramid was 365.24 cubits squared covering 13 acres. This stone structure was laid out in relation to the cardinal points of the compass with the precision of a modern observatory. Its base circumference was 36,524 inches and its height was 5813 inches or nearly 484 feet. Quite literally, it was a manmade mountain. For perspective, you could take the stone mass of the Great Pyramid and it would make a wall one foot thick and four feet high stretching from New York to San Francisco. Now that is big!

Air_Photograph_Showing_HallWhat really stood out about the Great Pyramid was its covering. The four slightly concave triangular sides of this incredible monument were covered with a casing of pure white polished limestone and fitted with such precision that even today engineers and archeologists have no conclusive idea how the task was accomplished. Oddly enough, the capstone or ‘head corner stone’, as it might be called in Biblical terms, was never placed on the Great Pyramid. In antiquity it was considered a stone rejected by its builders.

The Greek historian, Diodorus Siculus, observed that in his day (56-60 BC) the Great Pyramid was complete without any decay, but it lacked its capstone. (Diodorus Siculus, Book I, 63.4-64.14)

The Greek geographer Strabo who lived as a contemporary of Siculus is said to have stated that, “It seemed like a building let down from heaven without the aid of human hands.”

So we have a massive manmade structure with highly reflective sides fixed precisely to the cardinal points of the compass. This arrangement then produced reflective beams of lights and shadows marking the limits of the astronomical year with a brilliant display, hence the Egyptian title, “The Light”. Among its many characteristics the Great Pyramid was in fact an astronomical almanac. This purposeful design marked the 1st of November and the sowing season with a specific reflective effect which was used by the Egyptians to begin their agricultural cycle as well as their New Year. The chart below comes from Davidson’s Pyramid Records and it shows what the children of Israel likely saw during their captivity. In the far right of the chart note the reflective design which was seen on the 1st of November.

Egyptian_Calendar_Year_And_

So okay, this is all a neat bit of history you might be thinking, but what does this have to do with Israel? Well, this is where it gets really amazing in my opinion. The Great Pyramid defined Egypt’s agricultural calendar and seasons with its reflective effect. This was the calendar system under which all Egypt operated during Israel’s captivity, one which reminded them of a great destruction of mankind.

After the exodus of Israel from Egypt one of the first things YHWH did was change Israel’s calendar from what they were familiar with in Egypt to a new calendar which began in the spring and commemorated the events of the Exodus.

And YHWH spake unto Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying, This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you. Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for an house;

…And ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening. And they shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses, wherein they shall eat it…. And thus shall ye eat it; with your loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and ye shall eat it in haste: it is YHWH’s passover. (Exodus 12:1-11)

Thou shalt keep the feast of unleavened bread: (thou shalt eat unleavened bread seven days, as I commanded thee, in the time appointed of the month Abib; for in it thou camest out from Egypt: and none shall appear before me empty:) (Exodus 23:15)

You see, Israel, while in slavery to Egypt (which can also be seen as a symbol of mankind’s slavery to sin), kept a calendar which immortalized the righteous judgment of God on a sinful world. After the exodus, YHWH directed Israel’s focus away from a remembrance of the flood and towards a calendar which celebrated their deliverance from Egypt and foreshadowed their redemption through the coming Messiah. A messiah who became “the lamb of God which taketh away the sins of the world.” Now how awesome is that!

Noon_Reflections_SummarThe Ark and Deliverance
But there is more. Remember how the Bible describes the flood as occurring on the 17th day of the second month of the pre-flood calendar, a day which modern tradition observes in ignorance as Halloween. Have you ever thought about the day Noah’s ark finally rested on the mountains of Ararat? Well, that day was just as symbolically important? Here take a look:

And the waters returned from off the earth continually: and after the end of the hundred and fifty days the waters were abated. And the ark rested in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, upon the mountains of Ararat. (Genesis 8:3-4)

Yes indeed, the ark rested on a date which YHWH, hundreds of years later, would commemorate as Feast of Unleavened Bread. So in wonderful prophetic symbolism Noah and his family were delivered from the flood on the 17th day of the 7th month which according to Israel’s religious calendar after the exodus became the 17th day of the1st month. In modern calendar terms this would be our March or April. In other words, the ark rested on the mountains of Ararat on the same day in which Israel was delivered from Egyptian bondage. Then over a millennium later on that very same day, Yeshua the promised Messiah, rose from the grave and became the firstfruits of them that slept, thus delivering mankind from their bondage to sin.

But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming. (1 Corinthians 15:20-23)

You see, the Israel that lived in the shadows and reflections of the Great Pyramid was only reminded of the judgment of God. The Israel that left Egypt was given the promise of a coming redeemer. How’s that for a new perspective on the Flood and the Exodus!

The Flood and Daniel 9
The above context provides a rather unique perspective on Israel’s calendar system and the promised Redeemer but there is another aspect to the flood story and the Messiah. In Daniel 9 we have the most important messianic prophecy in the Bible. Commonly called the Prophecy of 70 Weeks, its importance lies in the fact that it is the only prophecy in the entire Bible which gives a specific and datable timeline for the coming of the Messiah.

Daniel 9:25 tells us that after 7 “weeks” the Messiah will come. Keep in mind that the term weeks in Daniel 9 comes from the Hebrew Shabuwa and simply means sevens. The period of time intended by the prophecy is never stated.

Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks [sevens],… (Daniel 9:25a)

I won’t go into all the details in this article, but in Daniel 9:26 the prophecy goes on to tell us that the Messiah will be “cut off”. We know in retrospect from both the Old and New Testaments that the Messiah would have a dual role in the affairs of mankind. He would be both a suffering servant as described in Isaiah 53 and a future king as described in Luke 1:31-33. Here in Daniel 9:26 though we have a description of the Messiah as a suffering servant.

And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: (Daniel 9:26a)

VIII_1000pixNotice in the passage above, it says that the Messiah will be “cut off, but not for himself”. This is where we find an amazing connection between the promised Messiah and the flood of Noah’s day. You see the term “cut off” in Daniel 9:26 comes from the Hebrew karath which means to cut off or cut down. As many scholars have noted over the years, the first occurrence of a Hebrew word in the Bible often provides additional insights into its meaning. Here in Daniel 9:26 we find such an example because the first occurrence of the work karath comes to us from the flood story.

And I will establish my covenant with you; neither shall all flesh be cut off [karath] any more by the waters of a flood; neither shall there any more be a flood to destroy the earth. (Genesis 9:11) 

Take a moment to read Daniel 9:26a once again. Notice it says the Messiah will be karath “but not for himself”. Contrast that with Noah’s day were we are told that nearly all mankind was cut off (karath) because of their sins. In Noah’s day mankind paid the required price for their sins. Daniel prophesied that a day would come when the Messiah would pay that price (karath) in place of mankind, it was his blood which would atoned for the sins of humanity.

Not for Himself indeed!

Let me give you a few examples from the Biblical record illustrating how the Messiah was cut off for the sins of mankind:

Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. (Isaiah 53:4-5)

And one shall say unto him, What are these wounds in thine hands? Then he shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends. (Zechariah 13:6)

So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation. (Hebrews 9:28)

For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison; Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water. The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ: Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him. (1 Peter 3:18-22)
Did you catch the analogy Peter made above? The same waters which “baptized” the world and removed sin also lifted the ark and brought deliverance from the death. In a like manner it was Yeshua’s resurrection which brings salvation and deliverance from sin.

And the waters prevailed, and were increased greatly upon the earth; and the ark went upon the face of the waters. (Genesis 7:18) 

Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. (Romans 6:4)

Noon_Reflections_Solstice60The Flood and the Messiah
So next time you’re thinking about Israel and their exodus from Egypt remember the last surviving wonder of the ancient world. Remember a monument which Strabo described as, “…a building let down from heaven without the aid of human hands.” A megalithic wonder which reminded all Egypt of YHWH’s judgment on a sinful world. A monument which in its own way points mankind to the promise of a coming redeemer.

In that day shall there be an altar to YHWH in the midst of the land of Egypt, and a pillar at the border thereof to YHWH. And it shall be for a sign and for a witness unto YHWH of hosts in the land of Egypt: for they shall cry unto YHWH because of the oppressors, and he shall send them a saviour, and a great one, and he shall deliver them. (Isaiah 19:19-20)

A Berean’s Challenge
For those Bereans out there who love to dig deeper into YHWH’s word, I have a challenge for you. In Daniel 9 there are three Hebrew words which the Bible first uses in describing the events of the flood. We already looked at the word karath which was used to describe mankind being “cut off” from the earth. The other two words are gabar (prevail) and beriyth (covenant). It was no accident that all three of these words found in Daniel 9 are first found in the flood story and the destruction of mankind. See if you can find the connection.

Book2_400x600YHWH willing, in a couple of weeks I will be releasing Book II in my Prophecy and Patterns series, Daniel’s 70 Weeks: The Keystone of Bible Prophecy. In the book we’ll search for an answer to these intriguing questions and many others as well. Remember if you are a blog subscriber you’ll receive a complimentary digital copy of the book when it is released. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy your own Biblical treasure hunt for the wonders YHWH has hidden for us to find.

 It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out a matter. (Proverbs 25:2)

Authors note: All the charts in this article come from Davidson’s Pyramid Records (1924)

If you appreciate these types of articles I encourage you subscribe to my blog: Where History and the Bible Meet. Subscribers receive a free digital copy of my new book: The 13th Enumeration: Key to the Bible’s Messianic Symbolism.

What are the Odds?

 

What are the Odds?

1,099,511,627,776 is a pretty big number. This number is equal to the odds a coin toss would produce only heads 40 times in a row. To give this number a little perspective you could place one dollar bills end to end and 1.1 trillion of them would reach to our sun. In the 2nd Temple era something of equal improbability took place. Traditionally, on the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) a “lot” consisting of a white or black stone was randomly chosen to determine which sacrificial goat would be “for YHWH” and which one would be the “Azazel”, the scapegoat (Lev. 16). Up to 30 AD the results had been random. According to both the Jerusalem and Babylonian Talmud, during the 40 years after 30 AD until the temple was destroyed in 70 AD the black stone was chosen each time the lot was cast. This was quite an unusual occurrence to say the least. According to those same sources several other unexplained occurrences happened during those 40 years.

(The Yerushalmi, p.156-157) “Forty years before the destruction of the Temple, the western light (of the Lamp-stand,, the Menorah) went out, the crimson thread remained crimson, and the lot for the LORD always came up in the left hand. They would close the gates of the temple by night and get up in the morning and find them wide open”.

(Yoma 39a) “ Our rabbis taught: During the last forty years before the destruction of the Tempe the lot (‘For the Lord’) did not come up in the right hand; nor did the crimson-colored strap  become white; nor did the western most light shine; and the doors of the Hekl (Temple)would open by themselves”.

From a statistical standpoint that is pretty amazing odds, right?  Well, check this out.  In 2010, an event took place with odds that were even greater than those described above. On September 21, 2010, the Israel national Lottery or New Lotto drew the numbers 13, 14, 26, 32, 33, 36. Then a few weeks later on October 16, 2010, the New Lotto drew the same numbers only this time they were reversed. (36, 33, 32, 26, 14, 13) The news reports at the time stated the odds of this happening were in the range of 4 trillion to 1. Those same reports stated this had never happened in the history of world lotteries. Now that is a rare event indeed!

As you can imagine the results were challenged.  Lotto officials double checked the drawing and they were recertified, nothing untoward was found. Zvi Gilula, a professor at Hebrew University, was interviewed and he stated these types of odds were used to describe “the probability of life on Mars.”

The above was about the extent of the reporting on this strange event, but a little more context makes this unusual event even more intriguing.  In 2010, the Day of Atonement fell on the 18th of September. The New Lotto’s drawing took place 3 days later on the 21st of September. According to the Biblical calendar this would have been the 13th day of the 7th month. What is even more intriguing is from the 1st drawing on Sept. 21st until the 2nd drawing on Oct. 16th there are 26 days. (2 x 13).

Take a look at these numbers another way.
13+14+26 = 53
32+33+36 = 101

A table of prime numbers:

101 is the 26th prime number. 13, 53, and 101 are the 6th, 16th, and 26th prime numbers respectively.

(For those who like such things here is a little Biblical trivia: In the Old Testament (according to my Bible concordance) YHWH’s name is used 6519 times. In Hebrew the name YHWH has the numerical value of 26.  The prime factors of 6519 are 3, 41, 53.)

Now consider this: During those 26 days, between the two Lotto drawings, the feast of Tabernacles (Sukkoth) was celebrated. The feast of Tabernacles has some unusual instructions. If one were to check out the number of sacrifices and their order during those 7 days you will find a combination of the numbers 13, 14, and 26 (among others).

As described above the lottery tickets include numbers that can be understood within a bigger Biblical context. The odds of just the double drawings by themselves are so high they border on the incredible. Add context, time, and place and it could be argued it moves beyond probability to intent.

Here are a few final points to consider. As in the examples above there is some association between 13, 14, 26, and the Biblical / Hebrew religious calendar. Today the Biblical calendar is still based on the lunar cycle, and the visible light of the moon. Each month the visible reflected light of the moon, for several thousand years of recorded history, has waxed for 13 or 14 days and waned for 13 or 14 days.

On Saturday March 19th, 2011, the moon reached the 13th or 14th day of observable waxing light. This day also marks the closest the moon has been to the earth in the past 19 years. Meton of Athens observed that you could synchronize the lunar and solar calendar (within 2 hrs.) every 19 years. This 19 year intercalary cycle was called the Metonic cycle. In Biblical times this intercalary synchronization of the solar/lunar calendar was accomplished by adding a 13th month every 3 years or so.

The sum of the numbers 13, 14, 26, 32, 33, and 36 equals 154. 154 days from the last drawing of those numbers on October 6th  brings us to Saturday March 19th, 2011, the day of the “supermoon” and closet approach of the moon in the past 19 years.

I’ll let you decide if it means anything but I am left wondering, what are the odds?

A source for the news article on the New Lotto drawing: http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/299169

A source for the Metonic cycle: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metonic_cycle

 

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If you would like to know more about the numbers 13 & 14 and their Messianic significance in the Bible, subscribe to my blog and you’ll receive a complimentary copy my book, The 13th Enumeration: Key to the Bible’s Messianic Symbolism.

 

 

 

 

The 14th Sacrifice

Authors Note:
Based upon the Bible’s calendar today is the 14th day of the 1st month. Nearly 2000 years ago about this time Yeshua of Nazareth became “the lamb of God which taketh away the sins of the world”.  Later today many of us will celebrate Passover in rememberance of Yeshua’s sacrifice on our behalf. With this in mind I thought it appropriate to share some little known symbolism associated with this wonderfully symbolic Biblical holyday. The following is taken from my book The 13th Enumeration: Key to the Bible’s Messianic symbolism.

 

The 14th Sacrifice  
Altar-of-burnt-offering600Yet it pleased YHWH to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of YHWH shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.
—Isaiah 53:10–12

I’m continually thrilled by the Messianic symbolism YHWH has hidden in the Scripture for us to find. To me, it’s the ultimate treasure hunt, with each new find bringing additional depth and beauty to our Creator’s plan of reconciliation for all mankind through Yeshua.

Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. (1 Corinthians 5:7–8)

 It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these . . . So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation. (Hebrews 9:23–28) 

For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect . . . we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. (Hebrews 10:1–10)

 A Wonderful Puzzle

Right up front, I’ll admit my bias: I believe the Bible to be the inspired words of YHWH. When there are passages that don’t make any sense or seem downright funky—passages like Matthew 1—I like to look at these parts as a wonderful puzzle to solve.

Another good example of what I’m talking about is the order and number of sacrifices prescribed during the biblical feast days. I mean, have you ever looked at the numbers of the sacrifices YHWH commanded Israel to offer? For instance, why were two bullocks, one ram, and seven lambs required to be offered during the Feast of Unleavened Bread? Doesn’t that seem just a little unusual to you? Their number and order are obviously specific—but why?

For those who have looked, you would have to say it is almost like a code. If there is a symbolic or coded message in the number of sacrifices prescribed in the Old Testament, could it somehow be related to the Messianic symbolism we have already found in the biblical holy days—or to Matthew 1? What are the chances the 13th Enumeration could be the key? Let’s take a look and see.

 Scape-goat-sacrifice600The Book of Numbers

What better place to start than the book of the Bible the Jewish people call Bemidbar, “in the desert”—probably better known to you and me as the book of Numbers. The fourth book of the Bible, Numbers gives more details about the biblical sacrifices prescribed during the feast days than any other place in the Scriptures.

The first biblical feast day begins in the spring, with Passover, on the 14th day of the first month at “even.” In biblical timekeeping, evening, or sundown, begins the day. In this case, the evening of the 14th is the start of the 15th day of Nisan. Fourteen days earlier, the Torah honors the start of the biblical calendar with the following instructions:  

And in the beginnings of your months ye shall offer a burnt offering unto YHWH; two young bullocks, and one ram, seven lambs of the first year without spot . . . and one kid of the goats for a sin offering unto YHWH shall be offered, beside the continual burnt offering, and his drink offering. (Numbers 28:11–15)

You know, I still ask myself how I missed it all these years:

2 bullocks (burnt offering)
1 ram (burnt offering)
7 lambs (burnt offering)
1 kid of the goats (sin offering)
2 lambs (continual burnt offering)

13 total sacrifices

 

Right there in the book of Numbers, the biblical calendar begins with 13 sacrifices. How awesome is that! 

And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour. (Ephesians 5:2) 

But the symbolism doesn’t stop there. Numbers 28 and 29 go on to prescribe 13 sacrifices each day for the entire Feast of Unleavened Bread, as well as during Shavuot, Yom Kippur, and the 8th day of Tabernacles.[1] As we will see in the next chapter, the sacrificial instructions for the first seven days of the Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkoth) are nothing short of amazing!

But before we get to that, there is a hidden treasure yet to be discovered in the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Unleavened Bread is a feast of seven days which began with the Passover supper. In order to see the wonderful symbolism here, a little history of Israel’s exodus from Egypt is required.

 Modern-Jewish-Passover600The Passover and the Exodus

Few Old Testament stories capture our imaginations like the exodus of Israel from Egypt. From Moses’s confrontation with Pharaoh to the plagues, the angel of death, and finally the crossing of the Red Sea, the imagery is captivating, sobering, and finally triumphant. The events described in the book of Exodus set a pattern or shadow, if you will, which the New Testament sees fulfilled in the death and resurrection of Yeshua.

Most of us know the story of the Passover. Every Israelite household was instructed to kill a lamb and mark the doorposts with its blood. This sacrifice is described in the Bible as “YHWH’s Passover.” The angel of death would “pass over” any house upon which this blood was found, thus sparing the inhabitants the death of their firstborn in Egypt’s most terrible plague.

The order and timing of these events are fascinating, not the least because they mark the Passover with the symbolism of the numbers 13 and 14. Let’s take a look:

And they 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. For the Egyptians buried all their firstborn, which YHWH had smitten among them: upon their gods also YHWH executed judgments. (Numbers 33:3 4)

The above passage gives us an excellent fixing point in the chronology of the exodus. Verse 3 makes it clear that the exodus from Egypt began on the 15th day of the first month. Further, it informs us that this same day, the Egyptians were busy burying their firstborn dead. Exodus 12 fixes the chronology even further with the instructions concerning the Passover lamb. They were to keep this lamb until the 14th day, kill it in the evening (sundown) of the 14th day, and then eat it that night, which began the 15th of Nisan—the same night the angel of death passed over Egypt.

 Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year . . . And ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening. And they shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses, wherein they shall eat it. And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and unleavened bread; and with bitter herbs they shall eat it. Eat not of it raw, nor sodden at all with water, but roast with fire; his head with his legs, and with the purtenance thereof . . . And ye shall let nothing of it remain until the morning; and that which remaineth of it until the morning ye shall burn with fire.

And thus shall ye eat it; with your loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and ye shall eat it in haste: it is YHWH’S passover. For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am YHWH. (Exodus 12:5–12)

And it came to pass, that at midnight YHWH smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt . . . And Pharaoh rose up in the night, he, and all his servants, and all the Egyptians; 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 . . . And the Egyptians were urgent upon the people, that they might send them out of the land in haste; for they said, We be all dead men. (Exodus 12:29–33) 

Trespass-offering-poor600Based upon the above chronology, the Passover lambs were killed on the 14th of Nisan just before or right at sundown, which began the 15th day of the month. This passage makes it clear that the sacrifice was not eaten until that “night,” the very same night the angel of death “passed over” the land of Egypt. Remember, a new biblical day begins at sundown.

And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day. (Genesis 1:5)

Now consider once again the instructions of Numbers 28 in light of this chronology. Numbers 28 requires 13 sacrifices to be made on the 15th of Nisan, the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. But there is a 14th sacrifice as well. The Passover lamb, killed on the 14th, was to be eaten “in that night,” which began the 15th of Nisan. So in fitting symbolism, just as Matthew 1 showed Yeshua as both the 13th and 14th Enumerations, the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the very biblical holyday which represents Yeshua’s atonement on our behalf, requires 13 sacrifices to be made, but in fact 14 are consumed! This brings new meaning to the words of Paul in his epistle to the Corinthians:

Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us. (1 Corinthians 5:7)

 

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 For more on Yeshua’s Passover Week chronology please see the following articles:
* The 14th Sacrifice
* “The Feast Day”: Judas’ Betrayal
* Defiled on the “Passover”
* The “Preparation” Day
* The “3rd Day”
* “The Sign of Jonah

And thou shalt say unto them, This is the offering made by fire which ye shall offer unto YHWH; two lambs of the first year without spot day by day, for a continual burnt offering. —Numbers 28:3–4

 “and in the fourteenth day of the first month is the passover of YHWH. And in the fifteenth day of this month is the feast: seven days shall unleavened bread be eaten . . . But ye shall offer a sacrifice made by fire for a burnt offering unto YHWH; two young bullocks, and one ram, and seven lambs of the first year . . . and one goat for a sin offering, to make an atonement for you. Ye shall offer these beside the burnt offering in the morning, which is for a continual burnt offering. After this manner ye shall offer daily, throughout the seven days, the meat of the sacrifice made by fire, of a sweet savour unto YHWH: it shall be offered beside the continual burnt offering, and his drink offering. —Numbers 28:16–24 

Also in the day of the firstfruits . . . But ye shall offer the burnt offering for a sweet savour unto YHWH; two young bullocks, one ram, seven lambs of the first year . . . and one kid of the goats, to make an atonement for you. Ye shall offer them beside the continual burnt offering, and his meat offering, (they shall be unto you without blemish) and their drink offerings. —Numbers 28:26–31

[1] The Feast of Trumpets, according to Numbers 29, also requires 13 sacrifices, but if the new-moon sacrifices of the first month are included, they make for 24. Leviticus 23 includes two peace offerings for the feast of Shavuot that are not included in the sacrifices of Numbers 28. This would make for 15 if both instructions were combined. It is also important to note that any day that fell on a Sabbath required two additional sacrifices.

 

 

 

Nowruz (new light) on 13

Author’s Note: With the Persian new year (Nowruz) beginning in a few days I thought it appropriate to share a little bit of Persian and Jewish history related to the subject. The following is taken from my new book: The 13th Enumeration: Key to the Bible’s Messianic Symbolism.

Of Superstitions, Heroines, and April Fools

Hadassah by Poussin

“Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you.”—Acts 17:22–23


Any investigation of the number 13 in biblical or secular history would be incomplete without looking at the superstitions surrounding it. We’re all familiar with the fear and “bad luck” associated with this number around the world. What’s the deal? Why 13? With all the biblical symbolism pointing to the Messiah, what makes this number so infamous?

By now you’ve probably realized that it would be to our adversary’s advantage for the world to associate the number 13 with evil in some way. I mean, what better way for Satan to cover up a great biblical truth than to hide it in plain sight beneath a superstition? But what about the superstition—does it have any basis in historical fact?

Every really good deception has a kernel of truth. Let’s look and see if we can find the truth behind the ill omens and bad luck surrounding the number 13. I think the history may surprise you.

Back in Time

Let’s go back in history to one of the first associations between the number 13 and bad luck. Back before Mary Kay become engrossed with the number 13; before Napoleon Bonaparte, J. Paul Getty, Herbert Hoover, and Franklin Delano Roosevelt became superstitious; before 13 became associated with American Masonic lore; before Jacques de Molay was murdered on Friday the 13th; before the Knights Templar; before Yeshua and His 12 apostles—back five hundred years to a biblical story of revenge, betrayal, heroism, and the number 13.

Casting Pur

This is the story of a young Jewish woman who risked her own life to save her people from certain destruction, a story that began in the first month of the twelfth year of the Persian King Ahasuerus, when a villain named Haman started casting pur (lots) to find a good day to kill all the Jews in the kingdom of Persia. Twelve months later, Haman approached King Ahasuerus with a story that a certain people group in his kingdom were subversives. If it pleased the king, Haman would solve the Jewish problem in the kingdom of Persia once and for all.

In the first month, that is, the month Nisan, in the twelfth year of king Ahasuerus, they cast Pur, that is, the lot, before Haman from day to day, and from month to month, to the twelfth month, that is, the month Adar. (Esther 3:7)

 

And the king said unto Haman, The silver is given to thee, the people also, to do with them as it seemeth good to thee. Then were the king’s scribes called on the thirteenth day of the first month, and there was written according to all that Haman had commanded unto the king’s lieutenants, and to the governors that were over every province, and to the rulers of every people of every province according to the writing thereof, and to every people after their language; in the name of king Ahasuerus was it written, and sealed with the king’s ring. (Esther 3:11–12)

 

King Ahasuerus listened to Haman’s advice, and the following month, in the 13th year of King Ahasuerus’s reign, on the 13th day of the 13th month from when the first lot was cast, Ahasuerus granted Haman permission to destroy the Jewish people. So the decree was sent out and the date of destruction was set for the 13th day of Adar in the 13th year of Ahasuerus.

We know from the biblical account that Hadassah (Esther) intervened, Haman was hanged, and the king issued another decree that allowed the Jewish people to defend themselves from their enemies. So instead of a day of sorrow and loss, the 13th day of Adar became a day of deliverance and joy. But the story doesn’t end there. Hadassah petitioned the king to allow the Jewish people who lived in the Persian capital of Shushan to pursue their enemies on the 14th day as well.

Wherein the king granted the Jews which were in every city to gather themselves together, and to stand for their life, to destroy, to slay, and to cause to perish, all the power of the people and province that would assault them, both little ones and women, and to take the spoil of them for a prey, upon one day in all the provinces of king Ahasuerus, namely, upon the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month Adar. (Esther 8:11–12)

But the Jews that were at Shushan assembled together on the thirteenth day thereof, and on the fourteenth thereof. (Esther 9:18)

So 2500 years ago, the 13th and 14th days of Adar in the 13th year of a Persian king became one of the most celebrated events in Jewish history. In the festival of Purim, these days commemorate the deliverance of the Jewish people by the hand of YHWH through the efforts of a young Jewish queen of Persia.

On the thirteenth day of the month Adar; and on the fourteenth day of the same rested they, and made it a day of feasting and gladness. But the Jews that were at Shushan assembled together on the thirteenth day thereof, and on the fourteenth thereof; and on the fifteenth day of the same they rested, and made it a day of feasting and gladness. (Esther 9:17–18)

And Now for the Rest of the Story . . .

About the same time this biblical story was unfolding, a Persian tradition records the commemoration of a day of ill omen and bad luck. The Persian New Year celebration of Nowruz, literally “new light,” begins in the spring about the time of the spring equinox. This New Year’s celebration is twelve days long, leading up to the 13th day of the Persian new year. On this day, Persians celebrate Sizdah-bedar, which literally means “getting rid of” or “getting past” 13. You see, they believed that if they could get past the 13th day without anything bad happening, they were home free for the rest of the year. In modern times, Persians celebrate the day by visiting the countryside and playing practical jokes on each other. This has led some to speculate that this day may be the origin of April Fool’s Day.

An April Fool

In stunning irony, Sizdah-bedar was likely the very day upon which King Ahasuerus granted Haman permission to kill all the Jews of Persia. In true April Fool’s fashion, the joke was on Haman. An entire race of people were marked for death on Sizdah-bedar, the day of “getting rid of 13,” due to the hatred of one man—a man we now know as history’s greatest April fool.

So next time April Fool’s Day comes around, give a thought to an ancient Persian superstition regarding the number 13 and how YHWH used a pur to mark this day in infamy. A day meant for the death and destruction of the Jewish people was instead turned into a celebration of deliverance that has been commemorated every year, for the past 2500 years, on the 13th, 14th,, and 15th days of Adar.

The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof is of YHWH. (Proverbs 16:33)

 

Not Given to the Spirit of Fear

I think there is a lesson to be learned from this little bit of history. As believers, we shouldn’t be afraid of unreasonable fears, superstitions, or unfounded conspiracy theories. As we’ve seen, the ill omens and bad luck surrounding the number 13 are merely a deception or veneer used by Satan to cover up one of the most profound examples of Messianic symbolism found in the Bible.

“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”

—2 Timothy 1:7

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The 13th Enumeration: Key to the Bibles Messianic Symbolism