Torah Pearls #32 – Behar (Leviticus 25:1-26:2)

Lemon orchard in Upper Galilee of IsraelIn this episode of The Original Torah PearlsBehar (Leviticus 25:1-26:2), we discuss we discuss when is Shemitah (the Sabbatical Year) and whether it should be observed outside of Israel, whether the Yovel (Jubilee Year) is in the 49th or 50th year, and we proclaim the “Lord of sabaoth” our Redeemer! Oh, and somewhere in there we mentioned Martin Luther. Michael wrote: “This Torah Portion. WOW brother PREACH IT!

I look forward to reading your comments!

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Torah Pearls #32 - Behar (Leviticus 25:1-26:2)

You are listening to The Original Torah Pearls with Nehemia Gordon, Keith Johnson, and Jono Vandor. Thank you for supporting Nehemia Gordon's Makor Hebrew Foundation. Learn more at

Jono: It is time for Pearls from the Torah Portion with Keith Johnson and Nehemia Gordon. G’day gentlemen!

Keith: G’day Jono!

Nehemia: G’day Jono, it’s great to be here from Jerusalem, and I want to give a shout-out to all the people who are sharing the Torah Pearls over on Facebook. Please keep sharing it, we want to get the message out.

Jono: Thank you very much. And today we are in Behar, which is Leviticus 25, verse 1, to chapter 26, verse 2. It’s about a chapter long, it’s so short.

Keith: Let’s get started.

Jono: It begins like this, “And Yehovah spoke to Moses on Mount Sinai.”

Keith: Nehemia, when you hear that, what does that make you think about? When it says, “And Yehovah said unto Moses on Mount Sinai,” what does that make you think of?

Nehemia: Well, so that’s interesting. So, the word “beh,” which is the Hebrew word that means “in,” or “at,” is what it says here. So literally you could translate this, “And Yehovah spoke to Moses at Mount Sinai, or in Mount Sinai.” He’s not necessarily at the top of Mount Sinai; he could actually be at the foot of Mount Sinai, camped there for possibly years it sounds like in one of the places. Sounds like they actually camped at Sinai for a number of years.

So, this isn’t part of that revelation at Sinai when Moses went for 40 days and 40 nights. What we’re dealing with here is the situation where Yehovah would call to Moses and he would speak to him in the tent of meeting. They would set up that tent. He would speak to him, or He’d speak to him from the cherubim, from between the keruvim. So, this is one of those revelations that took place over a period of 40 years. One of the things that we’ve talked about, and we’ll talk about more when we get to the book of Numbers, is that the whole myth that the Torah was given at Mount Sinai…that’s not what the Torah says.

The Torah was clearly revealed over a period of 40 years. It’s a series of revelations, and each one was written down on a separate scroll, at some point, and then they were put together. They weren’t always put together in chronological order. In that respect, they’re very similar to the Torah Pearls because people may think that we get together and record these each week, but actually the Torah Pearls aren’t really…

Jono: I thought that, actually, you know, I thought we got together and recorded it.

Keith: Yes.

Nehemia: No, but not in chronological order. Because actually the last episode we just recorded was in the book of Numbers, and now we’re back in Leviticus.

Jono: How did that happen?

Nehemia: So, it’s actually very similar to the way the Torah itself was revealed to Moses, in that, God might have revealed to him Numbers 19, and then next week He may have revealed to him Leviticus 25. Then later they were put together, these different sections, for all kinds of reasons…the ordering was put together. One of them was simply the principle of association; that there might be a word in one section that then is referenced in the next section, and that’s how they would remember it.

Jono: Do you reckon that maybe it ever happened that Yehovah was speaking to Moses and telling him stuff and he’s writing it down and then, later on, he’s collating it all. And Moses says, “You know, I know I put this scroll somewhere, I’m sure I read that part. It’s here! I’ve got a scroll all written out, but there’s nothing written on it. I’m sure I had one that’s…”

Keith: Yeah.

Nehemia: Yeah.

Jono: …we might have to do that one again.

Keith: Well, let me say this; one thing that excites me when I read this, I’m always reminded of both personal experience and really the significance of this whole idea of “at” or “in” Mount Sinai. Just the beauty of our Father, calling out a people, bringing them to a place, even though they were there for that period of time, and whenever it was written, just this idea that He speaks to him and He tells him something. I still can’t get used to the idea that we actually have access to the living word of God and that we’re able to open it and to read it and to, in a sense, experience what Moses experienced. And He called in the morning and He said, “Keith, come to your Torah and open the Torah.” And He speaks to us. It’s just, I don’t know guys, I’m always excited about stuff, but I get excited about that.

Jono: And there He is. And in verse 2, He’s speaking. It says, “Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them,” and this is one of the most controversial phrases, “When you come into the land.”

Keith: I love it.

Jono: That’s what it says.

Nehemia: Why is that controversial?

Jono: Well, because.

Keith: It’s controversial, Nehemia, let me say right now why it’s controversial - because you’ve got people that live in places like Australia and other parts of the world who basically don’t understand that the significance of the land determines the time of the land. But I think it’s really important that it says, “When you enter the land I’m going to give you,” and then we get into this issue of counting.

Nehemia: Amen.

Keith: So, I get really excited about this.

Jono: “‘When you come into the land which I give you, then the land shall keep a sabbath to Yehovah. Six years you shall sow your field, and six years you shall prune your vineyard, and gather its fruit; but on the seventh year there shall be a sabbath, a solemn rest for the land, a sabbath to Yehovah. You shall neither sow your field nor prune your vineyard. What grows of its own accord of your harvest you shall not reap, nor gather the grapes of your untended vine, for it is a year of rest for the land. And the sabbath produce of the land shall be food for you: for you, your male and female servants, your hired man, and the stranger who dwells with you, for your livestock and the beasts that are in your land; all its produce shall be for food.” Now, the question is, Nehemia, the question is, is it just when you come into the land? Is it just for Israel, the Shemitah year?

Nehemia: Well, the way this has definitely been understood historically is that, and based on what it clearly says, is that this applies to the land. That’s always how it’s been understood, that when there were Jews living outside the land of Israel, they didn’t observe the Shemitah. It does seem that there’s a holiness to the land of Israel and this is part of observing that holiness, is that every seventh year you let the land rest.

Then it talks about, we’re going to hear about how, if you don’t let the land rest, then, we’ll read that in Leviticus 26, verses 34 and 43, it talks about if you don’t let the land rest and then you sin against God, He’s going to send you off into exile. And it says, “Then the land shall rest for Sabbaths all the days of its desolation when you are in the land of your enemy. Then the land shall rest, and her Sabbath shall be,” you can translate it as, “shall be accepted.”

So basically, there’s going to be a situation where Israel sins, and this actually happened, we know that this happened, that Israel was sent into exile for seventy years. And now, we’re in a very long exile. In the book of Chronicles, it talks about the 70 year exile in Babylon, in 2 Chronicles 26:31, it says, “To fulfill the word of Yehovah according to the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had fulfilled her Sabbaths all the days of desolation of her Sabbaths, to fulfill the seventy years.” That’s almost a verbatim quote of Leviticus 26, verses 34 and 43, and so this was predicted in the Book of Leviticus, sometime around 1450 BCE. Then it actually came to pass in the 6th century BCE, which is what, like, I’m bad at math, but that’s something like 800 years later. I mean, that amazes me that this actually came to pass, and this is actually a very important aspect of our relationship with God in the land of Israel.

So, what some people have done, that I have seen lately, is they’ve said, “It’s not just the land of Israel, it’s anywhere in the entire world.” They are, of course, entitled to that opinion. As a Karaite Jew, my motto is, “Search well in the Scripture and don’t blindly follow others’ opinions.” So, you can say that, but it seems to me pretty clear that this is about the rest of the land. It says, “When you come into the land,” and it seems that this is specific to the land of Israel. I don’t know; what do you think, Keith? Do you stop your gardening over there in Charlotte?

Keith: No, no, no. Here’s the thing that I just think’s amazing. I want to say this, and we’ve talked about this before, ladies and gentlemen - Jono, myself and Nehemia - and we’ve tried our best to dig into this information with some integrity. But I wanted to say that this idea of the land is not something that we can just pass over. When you talk about the God of Israel, the people of Israel, the land of Israel, the Scriptures that were brought from…that’s no small thing. And the things that actually happened that, like I like to say, are hard-wired into the land of Israel, God’s time, us knowing what time it is, God’s holy days, those days wherein He said, listen, when these holy days come, come to Me in the land, in Jerusalem, where My name is placed forever. Where is His name placed? Right there in the land.

Jono: Amen.

Keith: So, I don’t think we can just pass over this. I do know that people have spent extensive time and research and energy, and all sorts of things to try to figure all this out for how this fits with America and how it fits with England and all that stuff, but I really, really believe, as I’m reading this, and as we’ve talked about it before, that this is an issue that’s kind of like, if I can use this word carefully, a ground zero. This is the spot. This is the place. This is the navel. This is the belly button. This is where life comes from. I mean, it’s like…

Jono: Sure.

Keith: You know, the land has got to be central to us understanding the Scriptures, and I don’t think we can pass it up. What we’re talking about here is what’s focused…is the land. And so, I just want to put my stake in and say that I believe that’s a very important aspect regarding understanding this whole issue of the Sabbath year.

Jono: So, I think we have touched on this before, but it seems right to mention it again, and that’s Genesis 41, verses 34 and 35. Joseph is telling Pharaoh what he should be doing. He says, “Let Pharaoh do this, and let him appoint officers over the land, to collect one-fifth of the produce of the land of Egypt in the seven plentiful years.” And it goes on to say, “And let them gather all the food of those good years that are coming and store up the grain, under the authority of Pharaoh and let them keep it in the city.” So obviously, at least in Egypt at that time, it certainly seems that they didn’t observe a Shemitah year.

Keith: Oh, no.

Jono: So, it’s worth pointing out perhaps. Okay.

Keith: One of the things that I wanted to ask was how this is laid out in the land of Israel regarding this idea of the land resting. It’s my understanding, as I’ve been there and hearing from my friend, Nehemia, that there is an attempt to say, hey, these were crops that were not taken during this year. And so, Nehemia, you’ve actually experienced this.

Nehemia: So yes and no. So what most, I would say most, Jews who try to observe this, and the way they usually attempt to observe it is they’ll say, “Well, this is the Sabbatical year, but I’ve got a mortgage, and I’ve got bills to pay, and I’ve got a loan on my farm equipment, so I just can’t not harvest the stuff this year, because the bank isn’t going to say, ‘Yeah, you’ve got a year off.’” Even though that’s what we’re going to see it says in Deuteronomy. So, what they’ll do is they basically create a legal fiction, a loophole, that allows them to continue to harvest the grain. That’s what most Orthodox Jews will do, in Israel, who try to observe this.

So, when you actually go to just about any…certainly in Jerusalem…about any produce store where they have fresh fruits and vegetables, you’ll see a sign that says, “This produce is not from the Sabbatical year,” and it’s certified by a rabbi. But you’d have to really read the small print, or ask the rabbi, to find out that actually it is from the Sabbatical year, but because of the loophole they’re allowed to do it. They’re allowed to harvest that grain; they have some kind of permission to do it.

In any event, I think there’s a bigger issue for me. Which isn’t, how to keep the Sabbatical year, because to me it’s pretty obvious how to keep it. The problem for me is when to keep it. It says we’re supposed to count every seven years, and if we compare the weekly Sabbath to the yearly Sabbath it’s not just any count. You know, with the weekly Sabbaths, it’s not just, work any six days and rest on the seventh. There’s a perpetual, unbroken cycle going back to creation.

Jono: Amen.

Nehemia: If you look at the ancient Jewish sources, you don’t find anyone who’s ever called that into question, in Jewish sources. You don’t find anyone who’s ever suggested, “No, it’s actually Tuesday, or no, it’s actually Friday.” Nowhere. There’s a complete consensus in ancient Jewish sources, and even modern Jewish sources, about the weekly cycle. Now, compare that to the yearly Sabbath, where you work the land for six years and you rest on the seventh year. Try to figure out on which seventh year do we rest, and you’ll find that any given year has been proposed by different Jewish sources as the year. There are debates that go back and forth about it.

So, for example, there is a statement in the Talmud that says, the Temple was destroyed in the going out of the Sabbatical year. Well, that’s great, now we can figure out when the Sabbatical year is. We know the Temple was destroyed in 70, going out of the Sabbatical year, presumably that means…well, what does that mean, actually? So that’s a Hebrew idiom, and that can mean one of two things. It can mean that the year 70 was actually a Sabbatical year, and it was towards the end of the year. Or, it could mean 69 was a Sabbatical year and then 70 was the going out of the Sabbatical year.

We have the phrase, “going out of the Sabbath,” that we use like, on a daily basis you hear that in Israel. Motza'ei Shabbat, which means Saturday night, after the Sabbath is over, the going out of the Sabbath. So, which one is the going out of the Sabbatical year? This is something that has been debated since ancient times. Now, to complicate matters, if you look in rabbinical sources, they actually think the Temple was destroyed in the year 68, or possibly the year 69. So, which one of these is the Sabbatical year; 68, 69, 70, or 71? Who knows? That’s the problem. We don’t really know.

Keith: Take your pick.

Nehemia: Then there are even other theories about it, or other information about it. So, there are these tombstones from a place called Sohar, or Zohar, in southern Israel. Actually, it’s on the shore of the Dead Sea, the southern end of the Dead Sea, and they found over a dozen tombstones that say on them, “such-and-such year, from the destruction of the Temple, which is such-and-such of the Sabbatical year.” And you think, okay, well, this is the clue, this is what we need to figure out what the true Sabbatical year is. But if you put all those together, and I’ve done this, I’ve done extensive research on it, you end up with the conclusion that we really don’t know when the Sabbatical year is. That’s the conclusion I’ve come to; that unlike the weekly Sabbath, where there’s no question in Jewish sources about it, when it comes to the yearly Sabbath it’s anybody’s guess. So, what I say is, when the Messiah comes, he’ll tell us when the true Sabbath is for the year.

Jono: Amen. And so, it goes on to say that, “‘you shall count seven sabbaths of years for yourself, seven times seven years; and the time of the seven sabbaths of years shall be to you forty-nine years. Then you shall cause the trumpet,” Keith, “the trumpet of the Jubilee to sound on the tenth day of the seventh month; on the Day of Atonement you shall make the trumpet to sound throughout all your land.” Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur. Okay.

Nehemia: Amen.

Jono: “And you shall consecrate the fiftieth year,” Now, I’ve got a question. Okay, so the Yovel year, the Jubilee year, is it every 49 years? Or is it every 50 years?

Nehemia: Well, it’s clearly every 50 years.

Jono: Okay, so I’ve heard people say that the 50th year is also the first year of the next counting of the 49.

Nehemia: Okay, so that’s a legitimate debate that goes on in the Jewish sources as well, and the Rabbis will give different opinions about that. And the one that won out in their sources is that, in fact, exactly what you said. I say that when the Messiah comes, he’ll tell us which one it is. But look, like I’ve said, there are people who have done a lot of research on this, they’ve come to different conclusions, and I recommend that people go and check out the research that they’ve done and decide for yourselves. I know from the research I’ve done; I just say, I don’t know when it is. I think it’s interesting, especially when you do compare it to the weekly, I’ll go back again to the issue of the weekly Sabbath, which is that, if you look in other languages, people have preserved…you know, we call it in English, “Saturday.” Which some people say, well, that’s the day of Saturn. But in Hebrew it’s not called Saturday; you know, we number the days. We have first day, second day, third day, fourth day, fifth day, sixth day, and then the seventh day is called, “Yom HaShabbat.” Now, in many languages, it’s also called “Yom HaShabbat.” In Spanish, it’s Sábado, in Arabic, it’s Yom El Sabt, and in over 100 languages it’s called something like Shabbat, Sabbat, a form of the word “Shabbat.” Now, compare that, again, to the yearly Sabbath, and it’s anybody’s guess.

Jono: Sure.

Keith: I’ve got to tell you guys something, you know, it’s interesting, Nehemia and Jono, I was in Rome, I had a priest that I talked to, and he said, “hey, if you get a special ticket and you’re able to come and see the Pope, you’re going to hear it in 7 different languages.” Long story short, I got this ticket, got to the place, seven different languages, and what happens is a priest stands up, he reads his language, and then he sits down, and then the Pope does his sermon on that language.

So, for example, they will do it in Latin, and they’ll do it in German, and they’ll do it in Spanish, and they’ll do it in French…and one of the coolest things that happened while I was there, is that the priest says to me, “oh, yes, he’s probably going to preach from the Psalms,” or something like that, and so I’m kind of sitting there, and I’ve got people around me, some people have fallen asleep, and I’m sitting there listening, and all of a sudden, I hear in the German language, the word Sabbath. And then my ears perk up, and I’m like, what was that? I’m not a real German guy, but I know what the word Sabbath is.

So, then the guy gets up in Spanish, and I hear, again, the word Sabbath. At this point, I’m thinking, are you telling me that the Pope’s going to preach about the Sabbath? I mean, because listen, you guys, you’ve got to understand something; that Nehemia’s right. So I’m sitting there, and I’m listening, and I’m telling you, seven different languages in the hot sun outside, listening to a guy, it’s going to be dull, it’s going to be a long day - until I kept hearing in the seven languages, the word Sabbath. But anyway, Nehemia, I just want to confirm with you; it’s really cool to hear the word Sabbath in different languages.

Nehemia: We’ve got to go back to the Sabbatical year and talk about exactly what we’re allowed to do and what you’re not allowed to do. Because some people think that you’re not allowed to eat produce of the land from the Sabbatical year, from the Jubilee year, and that’s actually not what it says. If we go back to verse 6, it says, “And it shall be the Sabbath of the land for you for food.” Meaning, whatever grows of itself, you are allowed to eat. It says, “for you; for your male slave and your female slave, and your hired worker, and your…”

Jono: “…and the stranger who dwells with you.”

Nehemia: “…and your resident who lives with you.”

Jono: Yeah. And the livestock.

Nehemia: “And for your animal and the wild animals that are in your land, it shall be its produce to eat.” The point is, what you can’t do, what you’re forbidden to do, is this concentrated harvest where you take it all for yourself and then you sell it to the stranger, and you give it to your animals. What it’s talking about is everyone can come into the field and take what they need and then eat. There’s actually an interesting passage that kind of alludes to this fact, which is in the book of Amos. Can we jump over to the book of Amos real quick?

Keith: Yes.

Jono: Let’s do that.

Nehemia: Where it talks about…so it’s Amos chapter 8, and the key verse is verse 5. But let’s talk even before that; maybe you could start reading in verse 4. Could you do that?

Jono: “Hear this, you who swallow up the needy, and make the poor of the land fail, saying, ‘When will the new moon be passed, that we may sell grain? And the Sabbath, that we may trade wheat, making the ephah small and the shekel large, falsifying scales by deceit.’”

Nehemia: So, this is really cool, because there are a couple of things going on here. First of all, we have the play on words. There’s a word pun over in verse 4. It says in your translation, “to make the poor fail,” and the word there is “le-hashbit.” It’s the verb of the word Shabbat; so, you could translate this as, “to make the poor Sabbath.” Now, what does that mean, “to make the poor Sabbath”? What it’s really talking about is, the poor are going out into the fields and taking whatever they want. Because what he’s talking about here is a Sabbatical year, and in the Sabbatical year, the field’s open to everybody.

Keith: Come on with that.

Nehemia: And they’re saying, “Oh, man, we want the new moon to pass.” Why the new moon? Because that’s the beginning of the Hebrew year when the first day of the first month, that’s when the new year begins…and I’ve heard this from some people, is that what they’ll say is, “you can’t work on the new moon day.” They get that from this verse; it says, “When will the new moon pass that we may sell grain”?

Keith: Right.

Nehemia: But in the context…first of all, there’s no commandment anywhere in the Torah that says the new moon is a day of rest. The Torah’s very specific. There are seven annual days that are days of rest, in addition to the weekly Sabbath, and those are the first day of Unleavened Bread, the last day of Unleavened Bread, Shavuot, the Feast of Weeks, which is a one-day holiday, you’ve got Yom Teruah, which is the Day of Trumpets, or Day of Shouting…

Keith: Come on.

Nehemia: …Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement…

Keith: Come on.

Nehemia: …you’ve got the first day of Sukkot, and the last day of Sukkot. That’s seven days.

Keith: Somebody say seven, Jono.

Jono: Seven.

Keith: Somebody say seven.

Nehemia: Seven. So, you’ve got seven days in which you are required to rest, and it says very specifically for each one of those, do not work on those days; no work may be done. On the new moon, it says nothing of the sort. So, to say that Amos is telling us we’re not allowed to work on the new moon…well, if that’s true, then Amos is a false prophet.

Jono: There you go.

Nehemia: Because Amos, he can’t add to the Torah.

Keith: Come on.

Nehemia: Deuteronomy chapter 4, verse 2, “You shall not add, and you shall not take away.” Deuteronomy 12:32, “You shall not add, you shall not take away.” In the Hebrew, it’s not 12:32. If you look in the Hebrew Bible that’s Deuteronomy 13, verse 1, “Do not add, do not take away.” Then it continues to talk about, even if a prophet comes and performs miracles, don’t listen to him if he’s telling you to worship another god. That includes if he tells you to worship a god who adds or takes away commandments to the Torah; that’s a false prophet.

Jono: Amen.

Keith: Right.

Nehemia: So, I don’t believe Amos is a false prophet. I think if we understand Amos in his context, with the word pun that he’s performing here, that he’s talking about a Sabbatical year. And when he says, “when will the new moon pass that we may…” literally you could translate as, “that we may trade in produce, and the Sabbath, that we may sell grain.” So, the Sabbath he’s talking about is the annual Sabbath, not the weekly Sabbath. And the annual Sabbath ends on the first day of the first month.

So as soon as that day has passed, then they can start selling the grain and making the money. Until then, God’s giving it away for free. And they’re like, how are we going to make money if God’s giving it away for free? So, they want to swallow up the poor and pause on the Sabbath, because they’re going into the fields and collecting whatever they need. These are the people that have the big storehouses. These are the people who sell the grain and rip the people off. They do price gouging and they have unequal weights and measures, quite literally. You know, they’d have a big weight when they’re buying, or selling, or whatever. They would mess with the weight so they would always benefit.

Keith: Right.

Nehemia: They’d use a small weight when they were selling and a big weight when they were buying. So, these are the rich people with the storehouses; they don’t want the poor out there collecting whatever they want. They wanted the Sabbath.

Keith: Exactly.

Nehemia: So, this is referring back to what we’re talking about in Leviticus 25. Now, I’m not going to name names, but I heard about this group of people over in the United States, I guess in some place like Pennsylvania. I’ve got to give them credit because they were trying to keep the Sabbatical year. But what they ended up doing was really, I believe, turning this whole thing into legalism. What they did is they said, “Well, we can’t eat from the produce of the Sabbatical year.” It doesn’t say that, by the way, but that’s what they said. And they said, “We really shouldn’t even be eating animals that have grazed on the produce of the Sabbatical year.” Did you catch that?

Jono: Clearly it says in verse 7, “for the livestock and the beasts that are in your land.”

Nehemia: It explicitly says that. So, what they would do is, the leader of this group would raise animals that would eat produce that was grown before the Sabbatical year. Of course, he would sell that for a very high premium, because how many animals do you have in the world that didn’t eat the grain from the Sabbatical year, or the grass from the Sabbatical year? I mean, basically, just his. So, he created this man-made law, this commandment of men learned by rote, and then he used it to exploit the people. That’s exactly what Amos was talking about. It’s not supposed to be about that.

Jono: No.

Keith: Exactly.

Nehemia: So, I hear that stuff, and it gets me upset. I’m sorry, I’m on a tangent here.

Keith: No, I love it.

Jono: Keith?

Keith: I love it. No, I just think, again what’s beautiful about what we’re trying to do, and I want to say this, I want to take just a moment to say this. I think that what’s beautiful about what we’re trying to do, the three of us, is to find out - history, language, and context - bring this Torah to the people, ask the question, how we can apply it today. Now, again, I want to tell those folks that have worked so diligently in this area, one of the things I appreciate about it is that people would take it that serious. And I think it should be taken that serious. But again, if we’re taking it that serious, and we lose context, or we lose language, or we lose history, or we lose purpose, or we lose application, then what we’re doing is actually adding commands, and we don’t want to do that.

Jono: Amen.

Keith: So I just want to say, again, it’s awesome, and again, when I was over in Israel, one of the beautiful things about the Orthodox community that I appreciate personally is just the amazing way that they will see something, however it is interpreted, sometimes interpreted wrong, sometimes interpreted right but applied wrong, wherein they say, “how can we do this, because we’re in the land, we’re God’s people, how can we do this? We want to have fear and trembling before him and do this.” Again, the beautiful thing about it is the intent; the difficult thing about it is the result.

Jono: Sure.

Keith: And the result sometimes ends up being really more of a problem, adding more loads to people than they could even bear. That sounds familiar. But anyway, that’s what I wanted to say about that.

Jono: It’s not unusual in our tradition, either. Verse 14, “And if you sell anything to your neighbor or buy from your neighbor’s hand, you shall not oppress one another. According to the number of years after the Jubilee you shall buy from your neighbor, and according to the number of years of crops he shall sell to you. According to the multitude of years you shall increase its price, and according to the fewer number of years you shall diminish its price; for he sells to you according to the number of the years of the crops. Therefore, you shall not oppress one another, but you shall fear your God; I am Yehovah your God.”

Keith: Amen. And isn’t it amazing that that’s the application? Isn’t it amazing that in the end, the statement is, and I’ll use my little NIV, the Methodist Bible over here, verse 17, “Do not take advantage of each other, but fear your God; I am Yehovah, your God.”

Wow. Wait a minute, “Do not take advantage of each other.” Why? “Fear Yehovah.” Why? And again, I talked about this before with us, and I want to do it again here today, because when I read this, the thing that hits me is that I go to the book of James, it’s a New Testament issue, I know that different people don’t want to hear that, but what I love about James is he wasn’t accepted by some of the Church Fathers. And any time the Church Fathers don’t like something that’s usually something that I want to look at. So, for example, when the Church Fathers looked at James, they said, “wait a minute, hold on, James sounds too ‘Tanakh-ish’, sounds too ‘Old Testament-ish’, it sounds too much like it’s something that doesn’t have enough grace in it.” And so, I want to just do, and Jono you’re awesome at this, I want to know if you would do it…if you would go to James for us real quick and read just one little section?

Jono: Sure.

Keith: And then Nehemia, you can kind of hold your ears, shut your ears or you can comment. I think you’ll probably comment, on this. So, I want you to read, if you would, James Chapter 5, just the first part out loud.

Jono: James 5, okay.

Keith: Chapter 5, just the first part.

Jono: Chapter 5, “Come now, you rich, weep and howl for your miseries that are coming upon you! Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver are corroded, and their corrosion will be a witness against you and will eat your flesh like fire.” Wow. “You have heaped up treasures in the last days. Indeed, the wages of the laborers who move your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out; and the cries of the reapers have reached the ears of the Lord Sabaoth.”

Keith: Amen. And the reason I just wanted to bring that one verse, Nehemia, I know you’re going to say something here, hold on.

Nehemia: What?

Keith: It says, “The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty. Do not take advantage of each other but fear your God. I am the Lord your God.” “The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty. Do not take advantage of each other but fear the Lord your God.” It’s almost like James is peeking with one ear over here in this section, saying, “you know, there’s some application here for us.” And I think there’s an application for us even in this year that we live in, three different continents. What does it mean to not take advantage of each other but to fear Yehovah, for He is God? I mean that, to me, it just jumps off the page, and you know, go ahead.

Nehemia: Now, on a grammatical note, what’s really interesting here is, you’ve got in your translation Jono, it says, “Lord of Sabaoth.” Which, of course, is a direct translation, because Sabaoth doesn’t mean anything in Greek, but it says in Greek, “Sabaoth.” This is a transliteration of the Hebrew, which in the Hebrew you see repeatedly. In the Hebrew, it says Yehovah-Tzvaoth, Yehovah of Hosts. And “the Hosts,” they say are, “the Hosts of Heaven.” Or possibly meaning that, “Host,” is a large number of something, a large number of angels. So “Yehovah of the Tzvaoth,” of the many angels, or possibly, of the many people of Israel. So anyway, when it says in Greek, “kurios Sabaoth,” that’s Lord of Tzvaoth, that obviously is a translation that originally at some point must have said, “Yehovah Tzvaoth.”

The proof of that is…I’ll do a quick search of my computer here…I see Romans, chapter 9, verse 29. There in Romans he’s quoting the book of Isaiah. He says, “and Isaiah said before, ‘unless the Lord of Sabaoth has left us a seed.’” So there again in the Hebrew, it’s obvious. I mean, you can prove it, in the Hebrew of Isaiah, it says, “Yehovah Tzvaoth.”

Apparently, James here, who isn’t quoting anything, who’s speaking some original words here, even though they’re obviously not original concepts, but he’s speaking something that isn’t a direct quote from the Old Testament, he’s still saying, “Yehovah Tzvaoth.” What excites me is that they came through and every place that said, “Yehovah,” in the New Testament, they changed it to “Lord.” But they messed up, they missed this little thing here. They left Tzvaoth here in the Greek and that’s like a little trace that, originally, even in the Greek of the New Testament, it said “Yehovah.”

Jono: How about that.

Keith: There you go.

Jono: And you know what? Next to this little passage here in my New King James Study Bible, I’ve actually got a word focus. Can I read that out?

Keith: Here he comes with his little commentary.

Jono: Here’s my little commentary, it’s got a little word focus here. It says, “Lord of Sabaoth.” It says, “The name means ‘the Lord of Hosts,’ ‘the Lord of Armies,’ or ‘the Master of Creation.’ It was suitable for James to use this familiar Old Testament title.” And then it has in brackets a cross-reference to Psalm 24:10, I’m going to go there in a minute, “in a letter to Jewish Christians, for they would have understood that the choice of this particular name of God was especially appropriate in this context. The rich oppress the poor because they think no one will stand up for them. But the Lord of all the hosts of heaven and earth is their defender, and He is coming back to make all things right.” Amen?

Keith: Amen.

Nehemia: Amen. Whoo!

Jono: Amen. That’s something we can all agree on.

Keith: So, Martin Luther…

Nehemia: Psalm 24:10; can I read that in the Hebrew? Psalm 24:10 in the English says, “Who is this King of Glory? The Lord of Hosts, he is the King of Glory! Selah.” In the Hebrew, it says, “Mi hoe zeh melech hakhavod?” “Who is this King of Glory? Yehovah Tzvaoth, hu melech hakhavod.” Yehovah of Hosts. Yehovah Tzvaoth, he is the King of Glory.

Jono: Amen.

Nehemia: Can I get a selah?

Keith: Amen. Selah.

Nehemia: Whoo!

Keith: So, listen, I want to say this, and again, I want to be tough on people like Martin Luther, who probably didn’t have the King James Study Bible where he could see that, but he knew enough to know that James was writing to a group of people who absolutely understood what it was that he meant and where he got it from. And that particular group of people, Martin Luther said, “hey, that’s not a group of people we want to highlight, we want to have nothing to do with the Jews, we want to have nothing to do with those that would believe in Yehovah Tazvaoth, we want to create a new God and a new opportunity and a new religion.”

And funny, it’s interesting, I’ll leave Martin Luther alone, I guess. But I want to say one thing. I was reading some historical information, and they were talking about this issue of time, since we’re in Leviticus 25, talking about time, understanding the times, when the time was, when was the Sabbatical year, when was the 49th and the 50th year. And Martin Luther actually said at one point when they were having this conversation, he said, “There is no room in my church for this issue of time.”

Nehemia: Oh! He didn’t say that.

Keith: He did say that, and his point was, “you guys talking about 49 and 50 years, six days or seven days, when is Passover, when is Pesach, when is the seven times of rest, there’s no room in my church for that; let’s just get to the good news.” And you know what, you guys? That’s why today when we’re sitting and talking about this, there are some people that would say, why are you guys wasting your time in Leviticus Chapter 25? No, Leviticus Chapter 25 is the very Word of God as it is connected throughout from Beresheet, through this entire Torah portion on this entire Torah series we’re going to do. Those five books of Moses, those books that some people say have been done away with, this is the living word of God, where there is Yehovah Tzavaoth. He is the one that’s going to step in.

Jono: Amen.

Keith: So that’s as much as I’m going to say about Martin.

Jono: No. And let me answer that. We can’t let him go that easily. If I remember correctly, Keith, I do believe he called James “the Epistle of Straw.” He put it in the back of his translation, and he was even thinking of leaving it out altogether.

Keith: That’s what I was waiting for, Jono.

Jono: If I remember correctly.

Keith: I was begging for you to help me. Can you help me, Jono?

Jono: Now, just remind me, I think you once mentioned to me that you memorized the book of James entirely.

Keith: Absolutely, I did, it was one book. And listen, I used to do Scripture memory. Psalm 119, it says, “I’ve hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” So, at a very young age, I started learning this idea of Scripture. I know other people who’ve done this. But there’s only one New Testament book that I memorized from beginning to end, and I don’t even know why, it was the book of James. And it was something that just resonated with me, and I never knew why until about 10 years ago, when I finally got a chance to understand that there was this idea that the Tanakh, the Torah, is the Word of God, and it is something that He wants to go around the world, so that’s why it’s awesome to be doing this right now, because fulfillment of “ki mitzion tizeh torah vedevar Yehovah me-Jerushalaim,” For the one…

Nehemia: Amen.

Jono: From Zion.

Keith: From Zion, yes, Isaiah.

Nehemia: Real quick, Keith, because I know you have a Master’s of Divinity from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, so just real quick for our younger listeners, who don’t know who Martin Luther is because, I mean, you may laugh, but I’ve actually had this conversation where I’ve mentioned something about Martin Luther, and they thought I was talking about Martin Luther King.

Jono: Okay.

Nehemia: So, I’m not trying to be funny, but could you just real quick tell the people who Martin Luther is and who Martin Luther King was?

Keith: Just in a very little quick…they know who Martin Luther King is, what are you talking about?

Nehemia: No, let’s assume they don’t. Let’s assume that they’re from…you know, I don’t know.

Keith: Martin Luther, the man that I’m talking about happens to be the founder, if I can say, of the Protestant Reformation, in that he was the one that said to the Catholic church, “hey, you guys are doing some things that I don’t agree with, and so what I want to do is get away from that.” So, he started the Lutheran, you know, whatever you want to call it. The Lutheran denomination is actually from this man Martin Luther.

If I can say this, in one good sense he said, I want to get away from the traditions of what the Pope was trying to put on him, and then he swung and said, here’s how we’re going to do it. The problem was, those that have taken Martin Luther’s words and theology, etc., also took that part of him that was very anti-Semitic, that he went from loving the Jews, the language of the Jews, the Hebrew Bible, wanting to convert the Jews, and once he couldn’t, he started to hate the Jews and hate their Hebrew Bible and hate everything about them and wanted to actually wipe them out. And he was the spiritual advisor to one man named Hitler, which is actually a fact.

But Martin Luther was a man that attempted to get away from traditions, but then started some other traditions that ended up doing just as much damage, in my opinion.

Jono: Well, no, frankly I mean it’s been said many times that he was the founder of the Nazi movement. I mean there are people who have speculated and said as much.

Nehemia: It’s really interesting because I’m going through some old papers, and I came across something that was sent to me by a lady from the Lutheran World Federation. This was probably back in ’07, or something like that, when Keith and I were doing some research on the Lord’s Prayer and we were talking about Martin Luther. Can I read what she sent? It’s really interesting. I know, it’s totally off topic, but it had to do with the issue of Martin Luther being an anti-Semite. I’m glad you clarified that Keith, for those who don’t realize. They think Martin Luther, we’re saying he’s an anti-Semite, but he fought for black rights, right? No, that’s Martin Luther King in the 1960s.

Jono: Amen.

Keith: Right.

Nehemia: Martin Luther, without the King, just Martin Luther, he nails his 95 theses to the door of the church in 1517 or something like that. Then the Nazis later looked to him as…not that he was literally the spiritual advisor of Hitler, but they definitely looked to him and his writings…

Keith: What are you talking about? They called him the spiritual advisor.

Nehemia: …as inspiration. So maybe from Hitler’s perspective he was, but Martin Luther was dead at the time for 300-400 years or 450 years.

Jono: Let me give you a quote. While we’re bashing Martin Luther, let me just give you a quick quote. I do recall in one of his latter books, there is a quote that says, “If I were to baptize a Jew, I would tie a millstone around his neck, take him to the nearest bridge and push him off.”

Nehemia: Oh, boy. Although, what’s interesting about Martin Luther as a historical figure is that he starts out loving the Jews. He actually, in one of his early writings, he says something to the effect of…you know, he says, I’m embarrassed at the way the Catholic church has treated the Jews. He says something like that in one of his earlier writings.

About 10 years later, when he saw he couldn’t convert the Jews, then he started to hate them. And I call that the spirit of Martin Luther when we have…I mean, I see this today, people who say, “Oh, we love the Jews so much, we love Israel.” But then when they actually interact with real Jews and they see that we won’t roll over and convert to their beliefs, that we want to remain Jewish, then they start hating us. What that led to, you guys are right, no question, that led to the Holocaust. Martin Luther formulated this plan to exterminate the Jews in a book called, “The Jews and Their Lies,” and that was actually taken as a blueprint for the Nazis and used by them. That’s actually something that’s been repudiated by the Lutherans today.

Keith: Yes.

Nehemia: Meaning no one, not even the Lutherans, are defending Martin Luther any more. They see, wow, this is what this led to.

Jono: True.

Nehemia: The quote I’m looking for, which I know we quoted in, “A Prayer to Our Father,” that’s the book that Keith and I wrote on the Hebrew Origins of the Lord's Prayer, it says something to the effect there of how, basically, what they’ve done in addition to hating Jews, they’ve also deprived themselves of part of their own heritage by hating Jews. They’d forgotten that their teacher, Jesus of Nazareth, was a Jew. They’ve been disconnected from the Jewish roots of their own faith. They’ll read something that Jesus taught, they’ll say they believe in him. But when it comes to actually reading what he said, they don’t know what he’s talking about because they’ve completely cut off any connection to Jewish things and hatred of everything Jewish. To the point, what they’re really hating is everything that…or not everything, but a lot of things that Jesus represented and taught, and the cultural context, certainly in which he was active.

So, Martin Luther is kind of like a controversial figure. Like, on the one hand, he’s loving the Jews, and ten years later he’s hating them. I think a lot of people, a lot of Protestants especially would say, well, what do you mean? He’s great. He set the Protestants free from the shackles of Catholicism. Before that, anybody who spoke out against Catholicism was put to death, was burned at the stake. Martin Luther spoke out, and he managed to get people the freedom to express what they actually wanted; more or less, I should say. They more or less had the freedom to believe other things and do other things than what the Catholic church was saying. In that sense, we know a lot of people say, that’s wonderful what he did, he was a great man. But then, on the other hand, there was this dark side of him. I think it’s one of the interesting things when you look at heroes in history, you’ll find out that the heroes often have a dark side.

I think one of the things I think is so beautiful in the Tanakh is, when we have our forefathers and our kings, and our prophets, we don’t whitewash them. We don’t say that King David was great; King David did a lot of bad things. But he was faithful to Yehovah and he paid for his crimes, and so he’s got a good side and he’s got a bad side. I don’t think we need to…I think even those Protestants who want to look to Martin Luther as a hero from their perspective, they don’t need to whitewash him and deny what he did.

Jono: Amen.

Nehemia: I think what you need to do is what the Lutheran World Federation did, which is to denounce the anti-Semitic teachings of Martin Luther. Even they have done that, so…

Jono: Amen.

Keith: Amen.

Nehemia: …so there it is.

Keith: And can I say, Jono, just one thing in closing. I always hesitate to open up these discussions, because who knows, we might go for three hours on this, but it’s awesome to have it. But let me just say this, I want to say that one of the things that really blessed me, and I actually have it on my YouTube channel, a little message on Martin Luther. I actually did it in a Lutheran church. And the reason I did it in a Lutheran church is that I wanted to be able…I don’t like to just talk about these things on the radio where it’s safe, and I’m in the United States, Nehemia’s in Israel, you’re in Australia, we can say whatever we want. This is stuff that is real.

And so what I decided to do is to go into a Lutheran church and to explain to them about this; what was beautiful was this particular Lutheran church in Minnesota actually not only embraced what it was that I was saying, but they have actually ended up being a sponsor to Hebrew Roots movement, right there in Minnesota, and have hosted that conference in Minnesota. So, I’ve been back to Minnesota at that church, where these people are saying, well, we do want to understand context, we do want to understand language. So, I believe, personally, that there are a lot of people that are coming to the place of understanding and they’re willing to look at the dark side and then also understand where the light is.

Jono: Amen.

Keith: And so, hopefully…

Nehemia: Can I stop you here for a minute, Keith? So, you just said about how even these Lutherans are opening themselves up to the Hebrew Roots of their faith. That’s basically what you just said; is that right?

Keith: I don’t know what I said, I was preaching for goodness sakes!

Nehemia: That’s what I understood there, that you talk about how they’re embracing the Hebrew Roots movement as Lutherans. I think that’s really interesting because, what you’re saying is, you can be a Lutheran, and I’m not Lutheran and you’re not Lutheran, but whatever, right? You could be a Lutheran and still be open to realizing, “Okay, our faith has Hebrew roots.” I think that’s important because a lot of people hear about Hebrew roots and say, “Okay, I’ve got to stop going to my church, and I’ve got to join a Messianic congregation, and I’ve got to start wearing the kippah and the ‘zeezits.’” What you’re saying is, you can actually…

Keith: Did you say, “zeezits”?

Nehemia: I did, because I was making fun of the way they pronounce it. The kippah and “zeezits.” What you’re saying is that there are people out there, maybe they’re not supposed to be doing this, but there are people out there who are Lutheran who are turning to the Hebrew roots of their faith. That excites me.

Jono: Yeah.

Keith: Awesome.

Jono: Absolutely, and g’day to all the Lutherans in Minnesota.

Nehemia: And I’m not knocking the other people either. I mean, what they’re doing is…each of these people is trying to have a relationship with the Creator of the universe and understand that what they’re trying to follow has these Hebrew roots. Let’s understand those roots so we can have some kind of coherent faith that’s based on something historical.

Keith: There it is.

Jono: There it is.

Jono: Verse 18, “So you shall observe My statutes and keep My judgments and perform them; and you shall dwell in the land in safety.” That’s an important verse. “Then the land will yield its fruit, and you will eat your fill, and dwell there in safety. And if you say, ‘What shall we eat in the seventh year, since we shall not sow nor gather our produce?’ Then I will command My blessing on you in the sixth year, and it will bring forth enough for three years. And you shall sow in the eighth year and eat old produce until the ninth year; until its produce comes in, you shall eat of the old harvest.”

Keith: I’m going to tell you what excites me about this.

Jono: Keith?

Keith: You guys, let me just say this…I just think…and this is a touchy subject, so I want to be careful about it, but I just want to focus on this idea of what we do to bring provision and what God does to bring provision. And what the powerful thing about this to me is just this idea that He knows what we need, He knows what we’ve got to have. And He says, “now, look, if you listen to me, now, for this period of time, you’re going to ask this question, ‘but what will we eat?’” And He’s like, “Look, I’ve got that, just do what I’m asking you to do. I’ve got that.”

Jono: That’s right.

Keith: And now, I want to say that there are a lot of people who have been in this state of mind where they don’t ever think that they can rest from their labor, so that when the Sabbath comes they don’t rest, they keep working, they keep trying to get, they keep trying to do, they keep trying to do more, more and more. But I would challenge people to take this approach specifically regarding the Sabbath, that on one day out of seven, where we would rest and say, “On that day we’re not going to be doing the work, and let’s see how Yehovah provides for us in the midst of that.”

Jono: Yeah.

Nehemia: Amen.

Jono: And it’s reminiscent, isn’t it, of Exodus 16? In regard to the weekly Sabbath, you see a similar thing.

Nehemia: A similar portion.

Jono: A double portion there.

Keith: Yes.

Nehemia: Okay, so verse 22, the reason it’s important, and I think this is maybe what you’re trying to get me to say…so it says, “And you shall plant in the eighth year and you shall eat from the old produce until the ninth year.” Well, why in the ninth year? The reason is that in the land of Israel, the planting and growing cycle is such that you’re always sowing your grain in the late fall; or in the fall, in any event. You’re sowing it in the fall, sometime around September-October, and then you’re harvesting it in March-April, and if it’s wheat, even into May and June.

The thing is, the year begins in the month of the Aviv, which is usually around March. So, what ends up happening is, the eighth year begins and that grain that was planted last year, you’re not allowed to harvest. And by the way, we’re dealing with the eighth year, because it’s a Sabbatical year. So, we’ve got the regular six years of work, and then the seventh year is the Sabbatical year, and then the eighth year is the Jubilee year.

In that Jubilee year, we basically have a grain that was maybe growing from the previous years. We’re not harvesting the grain in that eighth year, but we are planting it that year. The reason we’re planting it is because, if we don’t plant it in the eighth year, it won’t grow; we won’t have a large amount of produce in the ninth year. And that’s the point; that you’re planting at the end of the eighth year of this Jubilee year so that it will then grow at the beginning of the ninth year. So, then you come to the month of the Aviv of the ninth year and you’ve got a full crop that was planted the previous year.

That’s important because, in the rabbinical calendar, what they’ve done is, they make the years begin in the seventh month, in the month of Tishrei. Whereas in the Hebrew calendar, in Scripture, it’s very clear that it begins at the first day of the first month, which is the month of…

Jono: Amen.

Nehemia: …you know, in Babylon, it was called the month of Nisan. In the Torah, it’s called the month of the Aviv. And this confirms it; this confirms very clearly that the Jubilee cycle is based on the counting from Nisan to Nisan, or from the month of the Aviv to the month of the Aviv, and that’s why you’re planting in the eighth year. It’s the eighth year in the fall.

Keith: Amen.

Jono: There it is. “And the land shall not be sold permanently, for the land is Mine,” it says. “For you are strangers and sojourners with Me. And in all the land of your possession, you shall grant redemption of the land. If one of your brethren becomes poor, and has sold some of his possessions, and if his redeeming relative comes to redeem it, then he may redeem what his brother sold.”

Nehemia: Whoo!

Jono: And it talks about the redemption of the land.

Nehemia: Wow, I love that. I’m so excited for that. What it’s talking about…we’ve got here three times in verses 25 and 26, or four times, excuse me, we have the word “ga’al,” to redeem, “goa’lo,” his redeemer, “ga’al,” he redeemed, “go’el,” the redeemer, “gulato,” his redemption. Four times it has this verb, gimel, alef, lamed; to redeem, redemption.

Here it’s being used in a literal sense. What it’s talking about is, somebody who’s poor, he sells off his land. And remember, the idea here is that the land doesn’t belong to you personally, it belongs to God, and then God gives it to your line. That happens in the book of Joshua; that they divided the land, and everybody gets a piece of land. Then it’s inherited, it’s passed onto their children, and their children pass it on to their children.

What he’s saying here is that you can’t go sell your land. Even if you sell your land, you’re really only leasing it up to 49 years, and then it goes back at the Jubilee year. So, three years before the Jubilee year, you sell your land, you’re essentially only selling it for three years and then it goes back to you. Now, what it’s talking about in verses 25 and 26 is, if a person sells that land and wants to redeem it before the Jubilee year, he has a redeemer, and the redeemer, in your translation, Jono, says, “a redeeming relative.”

Jono: Yes.

Nehemia: In the Hebrew, it just says, “a redeemer who is close to him.” So, someone comes and redeems it for him, and that’s somebody who probably is a relative. The relative is thinking, “I want to keep it in this family.” But he’s also doing a selfless act because that redeemer never gets to use the land. He’s essentially paying the price for that person; for the poor person. He’s paying the price so the poor person can get his land back; so that poor person’s land can be redeemed.

The reason this excites me is that this concept of redeemer is then used metaphorically later on in Scripture to refer to the Creator; to refer to Yehovah. We can see that in a number of places. Isaiah loves this image. For example, Isaiah Chapter 43, verse 1, “But now thus says Yehovah, who created you, O Jacob, who formed you, O Israel, ‘Fear not, I will redeem you; I have singled you out by name, you are mine.’” I love the image that he has there. What does it mean that he will redeem them?

If we read on, he says in verse 3, “I, Yehovah, am your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior; I give Egypt as ransom for you, Ethiopia and Seba in exchange for you.” That is a really cool image, because we actually had that happen in the modern state of Israel recently. One of our soldiers was taken captive by terrorists in Gaza, a man named Gilad Shalit. He was held there for five years, and we had to ransom him, we had to redeem him, and we gave people in exchange for him. We gave something like a thousand terrorists…

Jono: A thousand terrorists, yeah.

Nehemia: …in exchange for this one Israeli soldier. Yehovah is saying He’s going to do that for His people. He’s saying, “I’ll give Egypt as a ransom for you, Ethiopia and Seba in exchange for you, because you are precious to me and honored.”

Jono: Amen.

Nehemia: “And I love you, and I give men in exchange for you and peoples in your stead.” So, he’s saying, I am going to redeem you. Yehovah will be our redeemer. “Fear not,” he goes on in verse 5, “for I am with you. I bring your folk from the East; will gather you out of the West. I say to the north, give back, to into the south, do not withhold, bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the end of the earth.”

Keith: Yes, sir.

Nehemia: “All who are linked by My name,” I’m going to read that again. “All who are linked to My name, who I have created, formed and made for my glory.” Whoo! “Setting free that people, blind though it has eyes and deaf though it has ears.” And he’s saying, “My people aren’t perfect; they’ve got ears, but they don’t hear what I’m saying, and they’ve got eyes, but they don’t always see what I’m saying. But I promise I’m going to redeem them from the four corners of the earth,” and that excites me!

Keith: Amen.

Jono: Amen.

Keith: May it be.

Jono: May it be. Amen.

Nehemia: Whoo! He is the redeemer! Hallelujah. I’ve got to catch my breath here. Isaiah 44, verse 6, I’ll read a couple more.

Jono: Please.

Nehemia: “Thus says Yehovah, the King of Israel, the Redeemer.” Same word. And there’s the concept; remember, the original, literal concept is, “I’ve sold away my land, someone’s going to come and pay the price for me.” Yehovah is paying the price for us. He’s redeeming us.

Jono: Amen.

Nehemia: “The Redeemer, Yehovah of hosts. I am the first.” Say first.

Jono: First.

Keith: First.

Nehemia: “And I’m the last.” Say last.

Jono: Last.

Keith: Last.

Nehemia: “And there is no God but me.” Woohoo!

Keith: Amen.

Nehemia: “I wipe away your sins like a cloud, your transgressions like mist.” Now, think of the image; there’s a mist over the earth and it gets real hot, and it just evaporates, it’s gone. “I wipe away your sins like a cloud, your transgressions like mist. Come back to me, for I redeem you.” They haven’t even repented yet, and He’s saying, come back to me, return to me; I’m going to wipe away your transgressions. “Repent and come to Me, for I redeem you. Shout O heavens, for Yehovah has acted, shout aloud O depths of the earth, O shout for joy, O mountains. O forests with all your trees, for Yehovah has redeemed Jacob, He has glorified himself through Israel. Thus says Yehovah, your Redeemer.” Say redeemer.

Jono: Redeemer.

Nehemia: “Who formed you. It is I, Yehovah, who made everything. Who, alone, stretched out the heavens and, unaided, spread out the earth.” He is going to be the redeemer. He doesn’t need any help, he says, I am the only God. And you know…look, this is interesting, because he was talking at a time…Isaiah here is speaking. You know, he talks about Cyrus in the next chapter, where they believed in two gods. There was the good god and the evil god. And he said, “Yehovah is the only God, there is no other God.”

Keith: Amen.

Nehemia: He doesn’t have a rival and doesn’t have a helper like the Zoroastrians believed. Yehovah is the Creator. And then, the last one and then I’ll stop. Isaiah 47:4, “Our Redeemer, Yehovah of hosts is his name…”

Jono: Amen.

Nehemia: “…is the Holy One of Israel,” Isaiah 47:4.

Jono: There it is. So, wherever we are around the world, whether we’re in Australia, or if we’re in Jerusalem, or we’re in Charlotte in the US, or wherever we may be, we are redeemed, if we are faithful unto Him. Amen?

Keith: Amen.

Nehemia: If you are linked to His name, He promises…

Jono: Linked to his name.

Nehemia: …He will redeem you.

Jono: There it is. He is the redeemer.

Keith: Wow.

Jono: “Nevertheless, the city of the Levites and the houses of the cities of their possessions, the Levites may redeem at any time. And if a man purchases a house from the Levites, then the house that was sold in the city of his possession shall be released in the Jubilee; for the houses in the cities of the Levites are their possession among the children of Israel. But the fields of the common-land and their cities may not be sold, for it is their perpetual possession.” So, there it is. So of course, the Levites didn’t have land, but they did have the cities, is that right? Okay.

Nehemia: Well, so they had 48 cities, 6 of which were then given to the Kohanim, the priests. So really the Levites only had 42 cities. There was a certain strip of the land, what’s called the “migrash”, where the animals kind of lived, and that was around the city…that was the first approximately 1,000-3,000 cubits outside the city, and everything beyond that was the fields. So, this “migrash”, this area surrounding the city, has a certain status, and it’s saying they can’t sell it. This is all they’ve got; you can’t take it from them. They don’t have much, they’ve got very little, you know, just let them have that.

But if you’re a regular Israelite in a city and you sell your house, that doesn’t go back to you at the Jubilee in the way that the fields do. But then it talks about the unwalled cities, which basically means you’re building a house out in the fields. And so, in that case, it does go back at the Jubilee year.

Jono: There it is.

Nehemia: Now, here’s the thing. I’ve got to ask this, and I’m kind of thinking out loud. I do that sometimes. But I want to ask this question. The people who say that the commandment of the Jubilee applies not just to the land of Israel, it applies to the entire world. So, what exactly are they saying? That in the entire world, that when you sell a field, that it then goes back to the person who originally inherited it? I mean, does that even make sense?

Jono: I don’t know, that’s far too confusing for me to fathom.

Nehemia: That would be the ramifications; if it’s not just the land of Israel, if it’s the entire world, that means every time somebody owns a field and they sell it, then it’s only up to 49 years…

Jono: Yeah.

Nehemia: …and it goes back at the Jubilee to that original person.

Keith: I wish that was the case in the United States because the bottom line is, in the United States…

Nehemia: And then the Indians would get it all. What are you talking about?

Keith: Listen, I’m living in a house right now that they say I own the house. But the truth is, I don’t own the house, I pay taxes on the land, I’ve got to continue to pay taxes on the land. See, the point being that no matter what - I could pay the house off. In the end, I still owe money to the government, and it’s not for 49 years, it’s not for 50 years, it’s forever. There’s no such thing as anyone owning anything over here.

Nehemia: So, in Israel, there’s no pretense. They come out and tell you, you don’t own the land, the government owns all the land, and you lease the land from the government for 49 years. That’s actually what you do when you buy a house. They say, “There’s 22 years of the lease left, and presumably the government will renew it after 49 years,” but they could come after 49 years and say they won’t renew it.

Keith: One of the things I like about Israel, and you know, listen, I know there’s a lot we could say, what the Orthodox do or what the rabbis do or what the people do or what the government does and who likes who and whatever. But just to even be in a place that acknowledges that such a thing exists; just to be in a place that acknowledges that we’re going to go by the 49 years. We don’t know what year it is, but you’ve got 49 years. We don’t know what the timing is, but this is the deal regarding…I mean that to me is, I don’t know, something about that is kind of cool.

Jono: And we know it’s going to be restored, and we look forward to that.

Nehemia: Amen.

Jono: “If one of your brethren becomes poor, and falls into poverty among you, then you shall help him, like the stranger or a sojourner, that he may live with you. Take no usury or interest from him; but fear your God, that your brother may live with you. You shall not lend to him your money for usury, nor lend him your food at a profit. I am Yehovah your Elohim, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, to give you the land of Canaan and to be your God.”

“And if one of your brethren who dwells by you becomes poor, and sells himself to you, you shall not compel him to serve as a slave, as a hired servant and a sojourner. He shall be with you, and he shall serve you until the year of Jubilee.” And so once again, the year of Jubilee comes, and the slave goes free.

It’s not so, though, with the foreigners, right? We go to verse 44, and it says, “And as for your male and female slaves whom you may have from the nations that are around you, from them you may buy male and female slaves. Moreover, you may buy the children of the strangers who dwell among you, and their families who are with you, which they beget in your land; and they shall become your property.” How about that? They become your property.

And it says, “And you may take them as an inheritance to your children after you,” and so it’s continual, “to inherit them as a possession; they shall be your permanent slaves. But regarding your brethren, the children of Israel, you shall not rule over one another with rigor.” Keith, I don’t know about you, but I don’t see that one easily preached from the pulpit, that’s not one that really flies in the tradition that I came from.

Keith: Well, here’s the thing, this is the pick-and-choose mentality of the church, the pick-and-choose mentality of nations. When it’s convenient, we’re the Israelites; this is why we can have slaves. When it’s not convenient, we don’t know anything about Israel. The point is there’s sort of this pick-and-choose, and so, for example, in the times of the American process of slavery, this would be a verse that they’d say - those of you that don’t understand, here God says, this is what we can do. Of course, separating it from context, separating it from the land, separating it from the people, we’re the new Israelites, we’re the new church, and so now we can enslave Africans, and we have a biblical base for it. Really? So, there’s always this attempt that when it’s convenient, call forth Israel. When it’s not, we don’t have anything to do with it. So, it’s a pick-and-choose mentality. That’s my simple opinion.

Jono: It has been. Nehemia, can I ask, so what does it go on to say, so if a sojourner…can a foreigner own an Israelite as a slave? As a permanent possession?

Nehemia: Well, there’s actually a couple of different things being described here. Basically, you have kind of three different categories of people living in the land of Israel, and we talked about this when we dealt with Exodus 12, I think it was 43 through 49. We’ve got the native-born Israelite, we’ve got the sojourner, in Hebrew that’s called a “ger,” and you’ve got the “toshav”; the “toshav” is a resident. He’s a gentile who lives in the land of Israel. He’s not circumcised. He doesn’t want to join Israel, he doesn’t want to be part of Israel, and he remains essentially as a separate category.

So, we’ve got here…it’s talking about both the “ger” and the “toshav.” What it’s basically saying is if someone is sold to them, even though one of them is someone who has entered into the covenant and the other one is someone who is not even in the covenant, they can still be redeemed. You have to treat their purchase of an Israelite the same way as if one Israelite purchased another Israelite…

Jono: Right.

Nehemia: …and you can redeem them.

Jono: And so, the reason for that, right, is explained in 55.

Nehemia: Yeah.

Jono: It says, “For the children of Israel are servants to Me.”

Nehemia: Right.

Jono: Okay. So, in the same way, He says in regarding the land, that the land is mine, that the land shall not be sold permanently. “The land is Mine; for you are strangers and sojourners with Me.” And then it says in 55, “For the children of Israel are servants to Me; they are My servants whom I brought out from the land of Egypt: I am Yehovah your Elohim.”

Nehemia: Amen.

Keith: What I want to say, and again, I know we’re going to probably backtrack a little bit, but again, there are some tough passages that the people of Israel had to have listened to. Once every seven years they’d come and they would stand and hear the entire Torah being read, and there would be these tough passages, I mean difficult. “Here’s what you’re going to have to do about this. Let’s just be honest, here’s what you’re going to have to do about the land; here’s what you’re going to have to do about the people.”

And what is so cool to me is this, what I call, this mile marker. The mile marker that keeps coming up. And the mile marker is this: “I brought you out of Egypt, I am Yehovah your God.” Here’s a tough passage. “I brought you out of Egypt, I am Yehovah your God.” Here’s something I’m asking you to do for you to get a blessing that might seem difficult or inconvenient for you, “I am Yehovah, I brought you out of the land of Egypt.”

Jono: Amen.

Keith: So, when I see that line, I can even hear Yehovah saying, “Look, this might be a little tough for them right now, but I’m going to remind them of who they are, and whose they are, and who I am.”

Jono: There it is. And now, the last two verses, in fact, of this Torah portion, is the first two verses of this Chapter 26, we’re going to go there now. Are you ready?

Keith: Yes.

Nehemia: Let’s do it.

Jono: “‘You shall not make idols for yourselves; neither a carved image nor a sacred pillar shall you rear up for yourselves; nor shall you set up an engraved stone in your land, to bow down to it; for I am Yehovah your Elohim. You shall keep My Sabbaths and reverence My sanctuary; I am Yehovah.”

Keith: So obviously, this very thing, and again, I don’t want to throw people under the bus, but to mess around with His Sabbaths and to try to change His Sabbaths and to try to come up with other systems and plans and ideas and processes for His Sabbaths, I don’t think it’s something you really want to mess with.

Jono: No.

Keith: I think one of the things we know is that we can understand His Sabbaths, we can actually know when they are, we can count the time. I’m not talking about the whole discussion regarding when the Sabbath year is regarding the land, but in terms of the seven-day Sabbath and how we can count the beginning of the year, the sighting of the new moon, and know when his holy days are. I think that’s something that we should take very, very seriously and be very sober about it, and attempt, to the best of our ability, to get on his time to know when His Sabbaths are so that we can have a reverence for them.

Jono: Amen.

Nehemia: Amen.

Jono: So, there it is, my dear listeners, and next week we are in Bechukotai. Did I do that right?

Nehemia: Mm-hm.

Jono: Yay!

Keith: You always do it right.

Jono: Woohoo! Leviticus 26, verse 3, to 27, verse 34. Until then, dear listeners, be blessed and be set apart by the truth of our Father’s word. Shalom.

You have been listening to The Original Torah Pearls with Nehemia Gordon, Keith Johnson and Jono Vandor. Thank you for supporting Nehemia Gordon’s Makor Hebrew Foundation. Learn more at

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  • Igor says:

    When Yeshua (Jesus) began with his mission at 27 AC, he decided to read it from Isaiah 61: 1 “The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, Because the LORD has anointed me To bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to captives And freedom to prisoners..” So maybe that was a year of a Jubilee

  • Ted Craven says:

    It seems to me that observing the Sabbatical Year might yield very practical benefits via the reduction of insect pests. The pest populations would build up for six years and then in the seventh year there would be very little in the way of cultivated crops for them to eat. So most of the crop-eating pests would probably starve that year. And any stray crops that came up in the seventh year would have to contend with a large number of very hungry pests. The would be a strong selective advantage for pest resistance, likely leading to the creation of new pest resistant varieties.

    It seems possible that in an era before pesticides, the reduction of pest populations via Sabbatical cultivation practices might result in higher overall production than continuous cultivation. You would have no crops one year in seven, but in the other six years the higher yields due to reduced pest populations might very well make up for the lost year. And you would get a year’s vacation every seventh year to boot.

    Of course, it would need to be done over a large area. If only a few farmers did it, pests from neighbor’s fields would invade their fields and they would not get any benefit from it.

    It is a shame that Israel never tried this. Israel is isolated from its neighbors by sea on the west and desert in the east and south so it would actually be the perfect place to try out this practice.

  • auntganny says:

    Just listened to this twice, and loved the whole discussion! But the one that made my heart overcome (!) with worship and love (while making cookies and chili : )), is the part on redemption, and the picture Yehovah has given to us in redeeming us through his Messiah, Yehoshua. This kitchen becomes a sanctuary of joy and worship just listening to these wonderful truths about Yehovah and what He has done for us!!!!

    And I suspect that all these requirements that Yehovah has given to Israel in the Sabbatical years, is to show the nations that He is able to provide for the needs of His people even when they don’t do the expected sowing and harvesting.

    These laws may not have been required of the whole world, yet we watch Israel, and when we see them obeying Yehovah without question we get a deeper knowledge of what the Lord Yehovah is like. Yehovah intended to reveal Himself to us through Israel if they would only be willing to walk with Yehovah in faith and obedience. What an honor for a special and chosen people. If they could only embrace that as a nation, yet I know it will come to pass because the prophets prophesied it. We truly look forward to that day!

  • justin says:

    About the verses in Amos 8 – did the people of Israel actually keep the land sabbath? It sounds from this passage like they did, but I thought they were put into exile 70 years (in part at least) so the land could keep her sabbaths which they had failed to keep

  • Marilyn Nave says:

    So please answer this question. When YHVH says He will stop all Feasts days, new moons and sabbaths, (Hosea 2:11), how in the world did He manage to do so and not be a liar? What does the context of Hosea tell us that confirms the original instructions for all of these laws?

    You know my point, I think. Being thrown out of the land is the way YHVH stopped all these things. It is undeniable (Hosea 9). So why are people today declaring that YHVH is a liar and unable to stop them from doing the very things He said He stopped?

    Please post this and not ignore it or delete it. This is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT.

    • As well, to all who claim that feasts were kept before entering the land, there is no biblical substantiation for this. The passover was slain in Egypt and a year later at Sinai. A month later, Israel set out for their wilderness journey. No feasts were kept at all. Feasts were commanded to be celebrated once they crossed over and not before. There was no feast of unleavened bread yet, There was no first fruits nor was there tabernacles. In fact, Joshua 5 admits that even the passover was not done for the the last 40 years of wandering. So unless we read the bible without adding things into it that are not there, we are simply answering questions with dishonest bias.

      Feasts ceased when Israel was thrown out of the land the first time. This is irrefutable. Lamentations 1:4 confirms as well as the book of Ezra. Why? Besides the fact that YHVH said so……….He accomplished His word by removing Israel from the only place in which feasts can be kept. He is not a liar. He wasn’t then and He is certainly not now in this 2nd dispersion.

  • Pauline Reardon says:

    Shalom Gentlemen, Wow what an interesting podcast! Thank you for sharing. There were so many interesting points that I’d like to comment on but I don’t think you’d have time to read a novel, so I’m going to only share with you a few highlights and a short story of the enormous blessing I received for my obedience to Yahuah during the last Shemitah/Land Rest, which my husband and I kept in Australia. The following is a copy of a letter I wrote to Joseph Dumond and gave him permission to publish. I also give you permission to share my story. I hope it is a blessing to you and encourages yourselves and others to continue seeking Yahuah’s blessings through obedience to His Torah.

    On a side note, it is with humble respect for your combined plethora of years of study and research that I encourage you to dust off the books Joseph gave you personally and read them. Then you will know when 2 Kings 19:29 took place and will no longer need to rely on faulty information for your timeline anchor point. May I also kindly and so humbly point out that the ‘whole world’ is Yahuah’s and He is going to judge the ‘whole world’, not just Yahudah or Israel (all tribes).

    I don’t think these following few scriptures or my story will convince you, but I do hope that you will see that this is an enormous subject that requires your further attention. You have just six years to study this out properly before the next land rest and plenty of time to teach it to those who listen to you.

    Exo 19:5  ‘And now, if you diligently obey My voice, and shall guard My covenant, then you shall be My treasured possession above all the peoples – for all the earth is Mine’

    Psa 98:9  For He shall come to judge the earth. He judges the world in righteousness, And the people in straightness.

    Isa 66:1 Thus said יהוה, “The heavens are My throne, and the earth is My footstool. Where is this house that you build for Me? And where is this place of My rest?

    Exo 12:49  “There is one Torah for the native-born and for the stranger who sojourns among you.”

    Also, please notice that the Israelites were expected to keep all the feasts outside of the promised land. Firstly, it was given to them outside of the land at Mt Sinai. Secondly, they had to keep all the feasts before entering the land. They were at Mt Sinai for approximately 2 years, during which 7 Set-Apart appointments took place each year. As we know they didn’t obey Yahuah’s instructions and hence were punished. Just like we’re being.

    Following is the short story of Yahuah’s blessing for my obedience.


    Regarding: Deut 15:1 “At the end of every seven years you make a release of debts. 2  “And this is 
    the word of the release: Every creditor is to release what he has loaned to his neighbour, he does not 
    require it of his neighbour or his brother, because it is called the release of יהוה.

    There has been so much bad news lately that I thought I’d share some good news with you. News of Yahuah’s, goodness, faithfulness and blessing upon a poor wretched sinner like me!

    As you are aware, this year my husband and I have been keeping the Shemitah for the first time ever. We’ve also been doing the feasts of Yahuah for the first time and that includes the forgiveness of debts owed to us. This year we made a particular point of identifying any debts that were owed to us. There wasn’t much. In fact it was so little that we could have ignored it and mentally written the debt off, as it was owed by one of our (adult) children. The amount was so insignificant that, well, we had to question: was it worth turning the debt into ‘something’ just so we could be obedient? The child in question had forgotten about it and it was only $50 so, really, who cares, right? It’s too small to be concerned with. Right?

    Well, we decided not to write it off and forget about it in the usual way. Instead I had a conversation with the child that the debt was with. To make a long story short, the small debt was forgiven and the page on which the debt had been recorded (in my little black book LOL) was torn out and ripped up. I sent a photo to the child to show him that the debt was gone. That happened shortly before Sukkoth 2016.

    Now, let’s move on to what this story is really about. The goodness, faithfulness and blessings of being obedient in the small things.

    Psa 32:5  I acknowledged my sin to You, And my crookedness I did not hide. I have said, “I confess my transgressions to יהוה,” And You forgave the crookedness of my sin. Selah.

    I’ve never admitted this shame before so publicly and it’s difficult to do so, but will continue because there maybe a lesson from Yahuah for someone reading this; as I give Joseph permission to share my story. 

    I’m ashamed to say that I have a substantial debt with the New Zealand Inland Revenue Department (IRD) because of a student loan (SL). When I left NZ in 2000 I also ran away from my SL debt. I have done everything wrong with regard to this debt and am due everything that the NZ IRD might want to throw at me. I, like the true sinner that I am, have a myriad of excuses and reasons as to why I have not met my student loan obligations. As of December 2016 my loan balance was in the ballpark of $100K. That amount was made up of the amount I’d borrowed plus fines and compounded interest. 

    In recent years the overall situation of unpaid student loan debt with the IRD has become so great that the NZ government has, and is, taking drastic action against people like me. The IRD are now interconnected with the Australian Taxation Department and they have identified approximately 57,000 Kiwis living in Australia with unpaid SL obligations. There have been occasions this past year where ex-pats have travelled to NZ to visit family, or other, and have been arrested whilst on NZ soil, due to unpaid obligations. It is also now possible for a Kiwi to be arrested in Australia for unpaid NZ student loan obligations. 

    Approximately 2 years ago (2014) I came before Yahuah holding the IRD letters/statements in my hand and, with my shame before me, I pleaded with Him to help me. 
    Due to my plethora of excuses and having my head in the sand for years, I was now facing a situation for which I was out of my depth. It was time to take action. 
    Whatever it was going to take, I was willing to be obedient and take my punishment from the IRD and follow their instructions. But please, Yahuah, see my repentance and obedience to Your Commandments and my willingness to learn the Ways of your Ancient Path! Please Yahuah, be merciful!

    I began making payments as I was able.

    After that prayer I was instructed by the IRD to make an application for hardship due to my being unemployed and I did so. After a long period of not hearing from them I made contact. They’d lost my application. I had to make another application and was given an extension of time because I was able to prove I’d sent the forms in on time, due to email date stamping. The second application was received and after a long wait I was instructed to make loan applications with two banks to cover the outstanding balance. I did so via internet banking but was unable to lodge an application due to not meeting the minimum criteria. I contacted the IRD by the due date and sent them the info from the banks. Weeks later I received a letter informing me my application for hardship relief was declined; because I hadn’t done what was required. On reading this I rang the IRD to find out what I hadn’t done, as I thought I’d done everything. 

    At this point in time we are now 3 months after the forgiveness of debt according to the Shemitah as mentioned above (2016).

    Early December 2016, I spoke with a woman at IRD who was very polite. She went away and read my case file and came back with further instructions on what to do. Despite my financial situation, I was to walk into two banks and make a loan application because I had to send them a scan of the actual decline letters. I was also given an extension until 21 December 2016, because I was at this stage, a full-time Uni student; due to complete on 11 December. I promised her I was no longer running from my obligation, that I’d made changes in my life and was going to do what she had asked. The lady said she’d set a reminder in her calendar to expect a call from me on 20 December or she’d contact me to see how things were going. 

    12 December, my husband and I walked into two separate banks. We explained the situation and were kindly granted permission to make the loan applications even though the staff would be completely wasting their time. (Thank you Yahuah!) We were told they couldn’t print the decline letter out. They would be computer generated and posted to me via snail mail.

    Waiting, waiting, waiting.

    19 December the first letter finally arrived! HalalluYahuah! 

    Mail comes around 3pm, NZ is 3 hours ahead of Brisbane, IRD office closes at 4.30pm NZ time. No time left to wait for the next mail delivery.

    20 December: I better call them! Which I did. 
    She was happy to hear from me as she was waiting to see if I called her before she rang me. 21 December was to be her last day at work before the holidays. If the second bank letter arrives she’ll be able to talk to her supervisor about my application and will make a decision tomorrow.

    Afternoon of 20 December, the second letter arrives. (Alright! Happy dance! Thank you Yahuah!!!!) I scanned it and emailed it to the IRD right away.

    21 December I receive a phone call from IRD. They have received my email and need to ask me some further questions. This is when I find out that they have complete access to our bank accounts. I’m transparent.  We hang up. About 40 minutes later the IRD ring me. It’s the same lady, she’s out of the meeting and a decision has been made. 

    They decided to approve my application! Not only that but…
    They have decided to wipe ALL my arrears!!! 
    ALL the fines! 
    ALL the interest on the fines and ALL the compounded interest upon the other interest! 
    From 2008 to 2016 – all gone! 
    I can hardly breathe! Tears are welling up in my eyes as I write this. I’m speechless! Which is so unusual! They have also cancelled my 2017 obligation of $4,000. Payments under the new arrangement will begin 2018.

    Yahuah wiped away approximately $45,000 dollars from my SL debt! Practically halving what I owe! I’m now back to a manageable loan amount. On top of that, Yahuah has given my husband and I employment and I now have a way to pay the SL obligation moving forward. And Yahuah has saved me from the threat of being arrested! What an enormous weight has been lifted off my shoulders and off the shoulders of those that love me and also don’t want me to be arrested. 
    Thank you יהוה!

    OH MY יהוה! You are amazingly kind to this unworthy sinner! 

    Crying with gratitude and so humbled. 

    For anyone reading this and thinking to themselves how ‘lucky’ I am. Please know that there was NO luck about it at all! 
    It was Yahuah!

    Deu 30:19-20 “I have called the heavens and the earth as witnesses today against you: I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. Therefore you shall choose life, so that you live, both you and your seed, to love יהוה your Elohim, to obey His voice, and to cling to Him – for He is your life and the length of your days…”

    Approximately two weeks later, the child who’s debt to us was forgiven, was also blessed. He received more hours at his work. In fact, his hours were more than doubled.


    • auntganny says:

      Pauline, what a beautiful and encouraging testimony!!! Thanks so much for sharing every detail. You have taught us something about Yehovah…or at least proven to us that if we are committed to following Him and doing His Will, he will make even our ‘enemies’ to be at peace with us, sooner or later. Just as He said. I am overcome by this wonderful story of what Yehovah did in honoring His Words even to someone who did not live in the land of Israel…Yehovah heard the cry of your heart for help to do His Will and answered! I think the heart of every true believer will always be or come to this point…”Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him.” Even if I ‘die’ doing His Will, He is worthy of my full and complete obedience. Thanks so much for sharing!!! It has strengthened my faith, too!

  • UKJ says:


    Sabbath rest Reflections
    Jeshua said that the Sabbath was made for man and man wasn’t made for the Sabbath Mk 2:27

    Yehovah said But in the seventh year shall be a sabbath of rest unto the land, a sabbath for the LORD: thou shalt neither sow thy field, nor prune thy vineyard.That which groweth of its own accord of thy harvest thou shalt not reap, neither gather the grapes of thy vine undressed: for it is a year of rest unto the land.

    I take this to mean that everybody and everything needs a rest.

    Yehovah (For he rested on the seventh day) and also the people and the land he created..

    Apparently and interestingly enough, plants get 80% of their nutrients from the air, so when a farm is left out for a year the vegetation that naturally grows wild …

  • UKJ says:


    This is quite fascinating , in particular when considering a farmer’s aspects of letting the land rest

    Most farmers would agree on rotating the crops, this has great benefits for the land and crops.

    Yehovah commands the people to rest the land every six years. This begs the question of the type of soil which exists in Israel? Maybe it’s soil sets the land apart? Certain type’s of soil may benefit from a rest? Just a thought..I am no expert, just wondering.

    In my view, when Yehovah says something there is always a good reason.

  • Donna Dozier says:

    Re the comments on Martin Luther: Years ago, while I was working on my Ph.D. , my mentor sent me the first recording I ever heard of Nehemia — the one in which he was so tickled at the lady that asked him “what is a Karate Jew?” I later went to the Messianic congregation where he recorded that, and the speaker was introducing the congregation to the marvelous Martin Luther. When he finished he asked me if I had anything to add. I said I only thought he was going a bit easy on Martin Luther due to his antisemitism. The Rabbi of the group got really angry with me, and said I was “church bashing.” I later learned that he was upset because there were new visitors to the group that actually thought I meant Martin Luther King. You were right. It is difficult for some of us to imagine that there are many people who do not even know the most basic history of the church and the church fathers. I doubt that many of your listeners would fall into that category, but it is possible. Glad you explained it.

  • Timothy R Adcock says:

    UNDERSTAND, ELOHIM, DOES “NOT” GO BY OUR PAGEN CALENDAR; HE NEVER HAS AND HE NEVER WILL. The Scriptures PLANLY tell us ELOHIM Calendar. Genesis 1:14 tells us ELOHIM Calendar. Day began at sundown, Exodus 12 The MONTH (in Yisrael) began with the FIRST Light of the NEW MOON, the YEAR, when the Barley is AVIV, AND ELOHIM SHABBAT’S, EXODUS 16, ELOHIM SHABBAT’s are on the 1, 8, 15 (full moon), 22, & 29. ACCORDING TO THE MOON. AMOS 8:5, Somewhere in Isaiah & Ezekiel (From New Moon to New Moon & From Shabbat to Shabbat), and then the 5th FEAST. LEVITICUS 23 TELLS US THAT THE SHABBATS ARE “SET, FIX, CAN’T BE MOVED”, The Sun, Moon & Stars, are SET, FIX, CAN’T BE MOVED”. ELOHIM gives us a NEW START Every Day, Month and Year. HIS Shabbat’s will fall on every PAGEN day, twice a year; Saturday & Sunday are PAGEN and HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH ELOHIM, NEVER HAS, NEVER WILL. THIS IS HIS WAY, NOT OUR’s.

  • Amber Munson says:

    Hearing you preach with such passion on my favorite passage from Isaiah was truly inspiring! I think I’ll listen to it again before the day is over…..

  • James M. Miller says:

    Thank you! Todah Raba

  • John says:

    Deut 18:9-12
    When thou art come into the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not learn to do after the abominations of those nations.
    There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. For all that do these things are an abomination unto the LORD: and because of these abominations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee.
    Here is a verse that is saying ‘come into the land’ but very obviously is not ‘land connected’ i.e. a command you don’t have to worry about if you are not in the land.

    • The use of that phrase in Deuteronomy references back to Dt 12:8 which says in the desert they were not fully following the Torah. They were living by grace until they entered the Land. He’s telling them in Deuteronomy when they enter the Land they won’t be able to continue to do “each man that which is right in his own eyes”, but will be required to obey commandments such as Deuteronomy 18 and others. The usage in Leviticus is different. It’s speaking about commandments dealing with the Land itself.

      • Margie Loubser says:

        praise Yahshua brother, firstly i type better and faster in upper case and don’t accidently type Yahshua’s name in lower case which i refuse to do. so please don’t go at me once again no one is shouting just typing. please show others the patience that you expect to receive. secondly i don’t agree with you on many things but i do credit you with the fact that you allow people the space to serve the creator. conclusion on that issue is we all need to work out our salvation with fear and trembling and we have only one chance to do it and that is while we have breath to praise the almighty el elyon. the shemitah is something that must be practiced by all. my application is this, even though yisrael/the land practices the shemitah the best they can the punishment factor fornot keeping the shemitah has far reaching consequences and the consequences are right where everyone feels it and that is financialy. the stock market experts have even noticed it and call it the seven year cycle. if it only concerns yisrael then we should all be safe yet we are not every seven years there is a nice release of funds because we choose not to release debts. now we could say that it is because we do not release debts hence we loose money, but the land resting only concerns yisrael but that is not correct as that is selective application and that is out. the torah instruction on the shemitah starts with the land resting and then moves on to debt release so how can the consequences of disobedience effect one aspect and not the other. the timing of the shemitah is correct as the consequences. even yisrael’s time pattern agrees, the return to the land etc. there is a 1200 rabbi that prophesies on the occupation of yisrael according to jubilees and it is exactly correct. nothing is left to chance. the reason why the 29 elul time factor is applied i believe is a secondary consequence of attributing the the rosh ha shannah to that date. we are still in the shemitah and it will end on 1 aviv 2016 i stay on a type of moshav /small holding in this country and my land is resting until 1 aviv. in february my second harvest of almonds will be given away as i started my shemitah on the 29 elul 2014 and will end it on 1 aviv 2016 the extra bit of time is a offering to my elohim. the tsit tsit is a commandment, so stop making light of it just because you do not obey it and it is for all benei yisrael and yisrael is who ever chooses to serve elohim. the windinds point to torah through gramatia so iam quite comfortable with that. the blue cord is essential and must be applied no matter what as long as the dye is clean ie vegetable etc. i don’t believe a snail should be used it is unclean so it should not be used to represent torah. anyway please leave the posting on line and let elohim have his way. if you are right may he bless it, if what has been laid on my heart is right may elohim bless that. in closing most people where i stay did not and do not folow the shemitah and i stay in the wheat farming part of our country, well one of them anyway. this year 2015 you will pick the date up from the posting if it is displayed. speaking in the sense of time factors this posting is shabbat 7th november 2015. anyway our area is experiencing the worst drought in 45 years so i have been told, as i have only been here for four odd years i would not know. the quality of the wheat here is poor, yet two to three hundred kilometres from here they have had a bumper crop of the same crop. wheat. coincidence? i do not think so. jonathan cahn wrote about this shemitah and while many are critics on what he said, my question to those critics is, were you sleeping? people lost trillions during the unfolding of the year and are still loosing, china had problems, greece did, your friend warren buffet, your home grown money man who has invested a lot into yisrael lost hundreds of millions. earth quake esscalation etc. in short the shemitah has too many far reaching consequences to take it so lightly. in short, time to wake up. may Yahshua bless you and your family. shalom my brother. [all-caps removed by website editor]

  • I’m confused. We’re listening to a discussion on Behar, when I thought that the parshah was Emor. How has this happened?

    • We are using the reading cycle of Israel. Some Jews in the Diaspora follow a different cycle, that is sometimes one week off. It’s all tradition of when to read what when.

  • Bill says:

    I heard you guys laugh about Tzitzits as if it was a joke. I was very offended. One hour earlier I was at the dry cleaners getting them put on my last pair of shorts. I am not Jewish, I am from Dan, an Israelite. Yahweh gave not one but two commands on this subject and I gave the dry cleaner a copy of the two commandments. I wear them on the four corners inside of all my pants because I am not Judah and I am reminded of all of Yah’s commands when I put them on and take them off. If one is a physical Israelite it is not a joke, it is the instruction and desire of our Yah.

    • Anthony Garcia says:

      Hello Bill, In your written note, you explained your understanding of the instructions to place tzitzit’s was for Judah and not for Dan. Yet, it was in Numbers which the instructions went out to Israel. And to ‘look upon it’ was the reminder, so In my own opinion, based on the written instructions, I would place them on the outside of your pants, and not hide them anymore. Just a thought. Don’t get offended that quick. Shalom

    • Linou K-C says:

      Why on the inside of your trousers? According to Num 15 you are is to wear them as a reminder to look upon them to see them…

  • Re: This Torah Portion. WOW brother PREACH IT!