The Day of Atonement — The Day of Final Judgment

When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. 32All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. 33And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. 34Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world’

[Matthew 25:31-34]

At sundown on Tuesday October 4 through sundown October 5, God’s people all over the world will be observing the Day of Atonement — the most holy of God’s divine appointments.

The Lord Jesus is our Great High Priest who was raised from the dead and entered the heavenly temple to offer His own blood once and for all, partially fulfilling the Day of Atonement.

However, Jesus will finally fulfill this divine appointment when He returns as King of heaven and Judge of all the earth.

Even today, we as God’s people have a unique opportunity once a year to deny ourselves, examine our hearts, confess sin, and ask God for forgiveness and mercy, as we prepare to stand before the Judge of all the earth.

To discover more about the most holy day on God’s calendar, check out my latest video teaching on the Day of Atonement, posted through Regeneration Radio. As always, if you find this study helpful, be sure to like and subscribe for my most recent content, and help me spread the good news by sharing this in your own personal network!

In the Beginning … Session 14 — The Giants of Genesis 6

The Nephilim (giants) were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of man and they bore children to them. These were the mighty men who were of old, the men of renown.

[Genesis 6:4]

Who are the Nephilim?

Did giant hybrid beings actually walk the earth at one time?

How does the Bible account for the origin and identity of these giants?

How do the giants of Genesis play a central role in the violence and evil in the world before the flood of Noah?

To discover the answer to these questions and more, be sure to check out my latest session in my Genesis Study.

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If you would like to have access to the entire study, you can download the Kindle version through Amazon by clicking the link here — In the Beginning — A Foundational Study of Genesis 1-11.

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In the Beginning … Session 13 — Another Divine Transgression in the Days of Noah

When man began to multiply on the face of the land and daughters were born to them, 2the sons of God saw that the daughters of man were attractive. And they took as their wives any they chose. 3Then the LORD said, “My Spirit shall not abide in man forever, for he is flesh: his days shall be 120 years.” 4The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of man and they bore children to them. These were the mighty men who were of old, the men of renown.

[Genesis 6:1-4]

Who are the sons of God in Genesis 6, and what were they doing with the beautiful daughters of men?

Distant View of Mt. Hermon, which according to Enoch was the place where the watchers descended in the days of Jared.

How can we explain the fact that the earth was filled with a hybrid race of giants called the Nephilim in Noah’s day?

How are the giants connected to the violence on the earth and God’s ultimate judgment by way of the flood?

To discover answers to these questions and more, you can access all the digital resources in my Genesis study below. God bless and enjoy!

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If you would like to have access to the entire study, you can download the Kindle version through Amazon by clicking the link here — In the Beginning — A Foundational Study of Genesis 1-11.

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The Feast of Trumpets and The Return of the King

And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other … But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only.

[The Lord Jesus — Matthew 24:31, 36]

We are fast approaching the fall Feasts of the LORD and the high holy days, beginning with the Feast of Trumpets at sundown on September 25.

CHECK OUT MY LATEST VIDEO ON YOUTUBE HERE!

Just as the Lord Jesus fulfilled the spring feasts in astonishing detail during His first coming, I am convinced that Jesus also will fulfill the fall feasts at His second coming to the very day.

God’s covenant people were commanded to keep and celebrate these divine appointments each and every year as dress rehearsals in preparation for the prophetic fulfillments through Messiah. Furthermore, we get to continue to celebrate these amazing holy days in perpetuity as we gather together to worship King Jesus!

The Feast of Trumpets is unique in comparison to all the other appointed times because it is the only feast that does not have a predetermined date on the calendar. On the contrary, the Feast of Trumpets can only be announced upon the official sighting of the new moon in the evening sky, which designates the beginning of the seventh month. Because the observation of the new moon is required before Trumpets can begin, this appointed feast arrives “on a day and at an hour that no one knows.”

Does that sound familiar?

It should because those are the exact words that the Lord Jesus uses in His most popular teaching about His second coming.

Contrary to popular belief, when Jesus says that no one knows the day or the hour when He will return, He is not referring to some secret rapture event in which He could return at any moment to whisk away the church without a trace, leaving the rest of the world behind in bewilderment.

Many in the church have grossly misinterpreted this passage to say something that it does not, primarily because we have forgotten the Feasts of the LORD, and without a Biblical context, we cannot understand Jesus’ teaching.

Jesus was making a direct reference to the Feast of Trumpets in the Olivet Discourse, as the day and an hour that no one knows. Jesus tells His disciples to know the signs and the general season of His second coming, so that we should be aware when His return is very near — even at the door!

Jesus knew better than anyone that as the beginning of the seventh month drew near, there would be at least a two-day window of waiting and watching before the new moon would appear. So in regard to the Feast of Trumpets only, Jesus is saying that we may not know which day or the precise hour of His return, but on the other hand He commands us to know when His coming is near.

To learn more about this amazing Feast, Be sure to watch my latest video on Regeneration Radio by Clicking the link below!

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Maranatha!

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In the Beginning … Session 12 — Old as Methuselah

Enoch lived sixty-five years, and begot Methuselah. 22After he begot Methuselah, Enoch walked with God three hundred years, and had sons and daughters. 23So all the days of Enoch were three hundred and sixty-five years. 24And Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him.

[Genesis 5:21-24]

Did the inhabitants of the pre-flood world actually live to be 800 or 900 years old?

What was different about the pre-flood environment that would have been conducive to longer lifespans?

Who was Enoch and what does it mean that God “took him?”

To discover answers to these questions and much more, check out Session 12 in my Genesis study!

Methuselah — one of the oldest trees in the world.

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In the Beginning … Session 11 — My Brother’s Keeper

For this is the message that you heard from the beginning, that we should love one another, 12not as Cain who was of the wicked one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his works were evil and his brother’s righteous.

[1 John 3:11-12]

Where did Cain get his wife?

Were there other pre-Adamic humans alive who had evolved on the earth?

Can the Biblical account of history be trusted?

Why did God accept Abel’s offering and not Cain’s?

Discover answers to these and much more in Session 11 of my study of Genesis.

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In the Beginning … Session 10 — The Seed

And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”

[Genesis 3:15]

An ancient war has been raging for millennia and it has everything to do with the battle between the forces of good and evil and the ultimate redemptive plan of God through Messiah!

We first discover God’s prophetic promise of this seed war in the book of Genesis, and we see the fulfillment of this promise in the virgin birth of the Messiah.

This war will not reach its conclusion, however, until Jesus returns to crush the head of the Serpent on that great and terrible Day of the LORD!

To learn more about the significance of this seed war, be sure to access the digital resources below for Session 10 in my Genesis study.

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In the Beginning … Session 9 — The Curse

For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. 20For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; 21because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.

[Romans 8:19-21]

How consequential and catastrophic was Adam’s sin in the garden?

What happened to mankind as a result of sin and the curse?

How has all of creation been subjected to this bondage to corruption?

And most importantly, how does Jesus, the Second Adam, reverse the curse once and for all?

To discover the answers to these questions and more, be sure to check out my latest teaching in Genesis.

If you find this study helpful, feel free to share it and spread it throughout your own personal network. Also, be sure to subscribe for my most recent content.

If you would like to have access to the entire study, you can download the Kindle version through Amazon by clicking the link here — In the Beginning — A Foundational Study of Genesis 1-11.

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Returning to Torah — Part 6 — Does Torah Endorse Slavery?

An ambitious young Christian heads off to university ready to change the world. As he settles in to his first freshman sociology class, he is confronted with a seasoned professor who makes it clear from day one that he not only is antagonistic toward the Bible but also finds great satisfaction in dismantling and destroying the Christian faith.

After his opening rant about the absurdity of religion and the imbecilic nature of anyone who would believe such nonsense, the professor pulls out a Bible from his desk to prove his point. He turns to Exodus 21:20 and reads aloud with disdain for the text.

“Anyone who beats their male or female slave with a rod must be punished if the slave dies as a direct result, 21but they are not to be punished if the slave recovers after a day or two, since the slave is their property.”

The professor looks up and then drives home the proverbial nail in the coffin.

“So for all you Bible believing Christians out there who claim that this is somehow the Word of God … tell me, how can you explain the indisputable fact that your “God” endorses the buying and selling and the beating of human slaves as property? Anyone? Anybody want to defend your God and your Bible now,” asks the professor as he tosses the Bible in the trash can. “I didn’t think so. I utterly reject your God and your Bible and any forward-thinking, intelligent person who wants to pass this class would be wise to do the same.”

The young Christian feels himself shrinking and sinking down into his seat, fighting back a flood of emotions welling up within him — confusion, anger, fear, and discouragement. The seed of doubt now firmly planted in his heart, the young student begins to question everything he has ever known and finding no adequate answers, he eventually abandons his faith altogether.

Unfortunately, such a scenario is all too common today, and I believe it is mostly due to the “church” neglecting the Scriptures for centuries and becoming ignorant of the foundational truths contained within the Torah.

Only by returning to God’s good instructions and eternal value system can we recover the true faith that was once and for all entrusted to the saints.

So does God and the Bible condone slavery? Let’s return to Torah to find out.

Context is Key

Before I answer this most important question, I must make a distinction and address a common misunderstanding surrounding the word “endorse.” When skeptics and opponents of the faith attack the Scriptures, they often will intentionally use language, such as, “the Bible endorses or promotes or condones or justifies slavery.”

But nothing could be further from the truth.

This why context is key. We cannot understand anything without proper context. One of the skeptic’s favorite tricks is to lift obscure verses right out of their original context and violate the meaning of the text. For example …

Any cursory reading of the Bible reveals that there is a significant difference in what the Bible generally describes and what God specifically prescribes or commands. There are plenty of social constructs and personal examples of gross misconduct mentioned in the Scripture that clearly do not qualify as condoned behavior. This is precisely why God revealed His law to begin with — as the standard of love and righteousness.

God never endorsed, justified, or promoted slavery, but knowing that social cast systems inevitably would be a part of human civilization, God provided good laws and righteous instructions to protect slaves, promote justice, and preserve basic human rights. These laws both are radically unique and morally superior in comparison to the other Ancient Near Eastern cultures and the pagan world at large.

The heart of Torah is to love God and love our neighbors, and all the laws pertaining to slavery in the Torah are put in place by God Himself to promote His values and His standards. Slavery was conceived out of the sinful desires for men to lord their power over others, yet God reveals the remedy by showing us how to redeem all human relationships — including between servants and their masters. Torah is rooted in loving and serving one another — not oppressing them — and bringing life to a broken system with equal protection and basic provision for both the slave and free man.

Furthermore, the very meaning of the Hebrew word used for “slave” — ebed — is more accurately translated “servant” within it’s original context. Our modern ears naturally recoil at the word slave and automatically associate it with the horrors of the North American and African slave trade. Biblical slavery did not even closely resemble this extreme example of chattel or plantation slavery, but rather is more accurately defined as voluntary indentured servitude.

Basically, when the Torah speaks of a “slave,” it is almost always referring to a debtor who cannot pay off his debt and therefore willingly and contractually sells himself as an indentured servant to work it off, much like working off a loan. There was no alternative recourse in the ancient world to pay off debt, so God made the very best of an imperfect situation and provided the very best option both for the individuals and the community at large. The boss/lender could still be financially compensated while the debtor/servant maintained his human dignity– being afforded the opportunity to regain his freedom and be elevated in society.

Once again, the Biblical context of slavery in no way resembled the egregious chattel or plantation slave trade that characterized colonial America for generations. As you will see, God’s word strictly forbid all forms of kidnapping, murder, rape, abuse, and mistreatment of anyone in His Kingdom, whether slave or free.

Quite the contrary. The Torah provides the only recourse in the ancient world that offers protection and human rights for the most vulnerable in society — such as the widows, the orphans, the divorced, the poor, the sick, the sojourner and the servant (aka slave).

Does Torah Endorse Slavery?

One may be surprised to discover that the Torah not only holds masters accountable to a higher standard, but also offers servants equal protection under the law. As I have already emphasized, the overwhelming majority of servants in the ancient Biblical context were voluntary indentured servants who entered into a legal contract to work off a debt and were given the same basic rights and privileges as free men. [*NOTE — On the rare occasion that God’s people took prisoners of war from nations outside the land, Israel was permitted to take the male captives as indentured servants or “vassal” subjects to subdue or thwart any threat of revolt or rebellion (see Deuteronomy 20), but even these servants were still treated with dignity and respect under the Torah.]

Just consider the following provisions and protections under Torah.

Equal Rest under the Sabbath

The Law of Moses commanded that servants, of whatever origin (Gentile or Hebrew), were to be treated as human beings who were part of the family household and covenant community. Unlike any other ANE society, the Law of Moses commanded that servants enjoy at least one day a week free from every kind of labour, participating in the Sabbath day of rest together with the same status as the free members of the community.

It was unheard of in the ancient world to give a slave a paid vacation day of rest, every week no less.

But the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God; on it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter or your male servant, or your female servant, or your cattle, or the resident foreigner who is in your gates.

Exodus 20:10

But the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. On that day you must not do any work, you, your son, your daughter, your male slave, your female slave, your ox, your donkey, any other animal, or the foreigner who lives with you, so that your male and female slaves, like yourself, may have rest.

Deuteronomy 5:14

Equal Protection under the Law

The Torah is unique in offering servants the same rights as the rest of society.

  • Same law for applies to everyone.

One law and one rule shall be for you and for the stranger who sojourns with you.” [Leviticus 15:16]

“You are to have the same law for the foreigner and the native-born. I am the Lord your God.” [Leviticus 24:22]

  • Kidnapping and human trafficking (slave trading) are forbidden and punishable by death in the Torah.

Exodus 21:16 — “He who kidnaps a man and sells him, or if he is found in his hand, shall surely be put to death.

Deuteronomy 24:7 — “If someone is caught kidnapping a fellow Israelite and treating or selling them as a slave, the kidnapper must die. You must purge the evil from among you.

  • Murdering (killing) a slave incurred the death penalty.

Exodus 21:12 — “Whoever strikes a man so that he dies shall be put to death.” 

Exodus 21:20-21 — “Anyone who beats their male or female servant with a rod must be avenged if the slave dies as a direct result …” [the word avenged explicitly refers to the death penalty]

  • Servants automatically were released if they suffered physical abuse leading to permanent damage or harm.

Exodus 21:26-27 — “When a man strikes the eye of his slave, male or female, and destroys it, he shall let the slave go free because of his eye. 27If he knocks out the tooth of his slave, male or female, he shall let the slave go free because of his tooth.

  • In the case of abuse, servants who escaped and fled from their master could not be forced to return and were considered free citizens to given protection and provided refuge in the community.

Deuteronomy 23:15-16 — “You must not return an escaped slave to his master when he has run away to you. 16 Indeed, he may live among you in any place he chooses, in whichever of your villages he prefers; you must not oppress him.

Once again, the Torah made no provision for any involuntary slave trade. It was permissible to purchase men and women who voluntarily sold themselves into indentured service, but not to sell them (Exodus 21:2, Leviticus 25:39, 42, 45, Deuteronomy 15:12). Taking men and women and enslaving them against their will, or selling them into slavery, was expressly forbidden on pain of death (Exodus 21:16, Deuteronomy 24:7).

Indentured servants could own property, get married, start a family, move and trade freely in the community, observe Sabbath, celebrate the Feasts [Exodus 12:46-50], participate in society, and ultimately regain their freedom.

If a fellow countryman, native citizen, or sojourner voluntarily sold himself into servitude, he would become a valued member of the master’s household, as it was to the master’s overall blessing and benefit to treat his servants well with dignity and respect. After 6 years of service, a servant would be given the option to stay with his master and basically be permanently grafted into the family or leave a free man much better off than he started.

“If your brother, a Hebrew man or a Hebrew woman, is sold to you, he shall serve you six years, and in the seventh year you shall let him go free from you. 13And when you let him go free from you, you shall not let him go empty-handed. 14You shall furnish him liberally out of your flock, out of your threshing floor, and out of your winepress. As the LORD your God has blessed you, you shall give to him. 15You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the LORD your God redeemed you; therefore I command you this today. 16But if he says to you, ‘I will not go out from you,’ because he loves you and your household, since he is well-off with you, 17then you shall take an awl, and put it through his ear into the door, and he shall be your servant forever. And to your female servant you shall do the same. 18It shall not seem hard to you when you let him go free from you, for at half the cost of a hired worker he has served you six years. So the LORD your God will bless you in all that you do.

Deuteronomy 15:12-18

Clearly God and His Torah in no way endorses, promotes, or condones human trafficking and slave trading — but on the contrary provides the very principles and laws that offer equal protection to servants and regard all people worthy of love and human rights as bearing the image of God.

By returning to Torah, we don’t see an archaic, oppressive legal system that permits slavery, but rather a progressive, radically unique value system that elevates slaves to equal citizens and provides them the opportunity to regain their freedom and elevate their social status in the broader community.

A Few Last Words

It is worth noting that Jesus and the Apostles fully agree with Torah that slave trading, kidnapping and human trafficking of any kind is forbidden, just in case their was any question.

“We know that the law is good if one uses it properly9We also know that the law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, 10for the sexually immoral, for those practicing homosexuality, for slave traders and liars and perjurers—and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine.”

[1 Timothy 1:8-10]

“Were you a slave when you were called? Don’t let it trouble you—although if you can gain your freedom, do so22For the one who was a slave when called to faith in the Lord is the Lord’s freed man; similarly, the one who was free when called is Christ’s slave. 23You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of human beings.

[1 Corinthians 7:21-23]

Now let’s take one last look at our opening passage from Exodus 20:20-21.

“Anyone who beats their male or female slave with a rod must be punished if the slave dies as a direct result, 21but they are not to be punished if the slave recovers after a day or two, since the slave is their property.”

Now that we understand the Biblical context of this verse, we can easily answer the hostile professor.

All that Exodus 21:21 is saying is that if a servant is beaten close to death (which is not God’s desire but only a potential description of what could happen), the master cannot receive the death penalty, but he risks incurring significant financial loss and criminal charges. The Torah puts the following provisions in place.

  1. Any slave trader that kidnapped and trafficked another human being was to be put to death.
  2. Any servant that was physically abused and permanently harmed was to be released as a free man.
  3. Any cruel master who beat or abused his slave was a considered a wicked man and guilty of violating the law.
  4. A good master loved and treated his servants with dignity and was obligated to eventually release the servant with an abundance of provisions and personal property.
  5. Any master who murdered his servant was to be put to death. Equal life for life.
  6. Any slave that escaped his master’s house was to be provided protection, provision and refuge und the Torah and could not be forced to return.

As you can see. Torah redeems the broken systems of this sinful world and breathes life into the oppressive structures of society until the Day that Christ returns and eradicates all sin, suffering, slavery, and sickness in the Kingdom to come!

In the Beginning … Session 8 — The Serpent

So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.

[Revelation 12:9]

Enter the Dragon.

We are introduced to the Prime Rebel, the Arch Enemy of God at the very beginning of the story.

Who is the mysterious serpent who entices Eve and usurps Adam’s authority on the earth, effectively leading mankind into ruin?

Why does it seem like the serpent was right where he was supposed to be in Eden, the garden of God –the holy mountain of the assembly?

What does the rebellion of Satan have to do with the collapse of the entire creation?

To discover answers to important questions like these and more … Feel free to explore Session 8 in my Genesis study.

If you find this study helpful, feel free to share it and spread it throughout your own personal network. Also, be sure to subscribe for my most current content.

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