Good morning. Iím Jack and this is Straight Talk about God, reaching all the computers world side, from KMUD-FM in California. Is anyone in Australia listening today? Weíre continuing in the neat study of the Garden of Eden, the two Trees, Life & Knowledge, the Crucifixion and the two Passovers. ďOh, you mean thereís more than one Passover?Ē Well, weíll get into that.
Now last time, just by way of a little review here, we placed the Garden of Eden on Mt. Moriah, where Jerusalem is, and also this is the same place where Jacob had his dream of the ladder with the angels going up and down to heaven. And later on Abraham set up a sacrifice altar for Isaac, on that same Mt. Moriah. And even later still, god directed Solomon to put the Temple there. So, all of this kind of fits together to say, thatís where
The Holy of Holies was and the Ark was, and that says two things about the Garden of Eden. Thatís a very special, a very special place for God. Very special things happened on Mt. Moriah. Itís Godís Place. Itís Godís House. Thatís what Jacob named it, the area. The House of God. He said, ďThis is the House of God, here.Ē Itís a very special place for God. And so was the place where the Tree of Life was, in the Garden. And the authors, and I go along with it very easily, the Tree of Life was there in the Holy of Holies. Where the Holy of Holies was placed in the Temple, thatís the spot where the Tree of Life grew. And because the Ark was there, and that was where God said, I will meet you and talk to you people, itís likely that the Tree of Life, in that spot, the same spot where God talked to Adam. He met him and talked to him, where the Tree of Life was, midst of the garden.
So another thing we found out, that when Adam was thrown out of the garden, it was to the east, but it was probably at least 3,000 feet Ė or 2,000 cubits was the figure that we came across a lot last time Ė 3,000 feet from the Tree of Life, from the Holy of Holies, and that becomes the Mount of Olives. And another piece of evidence that goes into that is that thatís the place, over there on the Mount of Olives, where the red heifer sacrifices always took place, thatís the main sin offering for the whole year, always took place over on the Mount of Olives. So it also says that Adam built an altar over there. Thatís where he did his sacrificing. And it turns out that in Jewish custom law, the ritual tradition, all of those things, there is this 2000-cubit distance. And any place within 2,000 cubits of the ark itself Ė whether itís in the temple or not Ė is holy, so you donít do a sin sacrifice inside that area. So the red heifer is always more than 2,000 cubits away from the Holy of Holies. And it stands to reason that Adam could never come closer than that either. He couldnít come closer than 2,000 cubits to the Holy of Holies. And again, that turns out to be the Mount of Olives. When you go to the east 2,000 cubits, itís the top of the Mount of Olives. So it all fits together real well. And because thatís where the main sacrifice for sin was always held, thatís where the Crucifixion occurred too. Because thatís the actual substance of the shadow thatís thrown backward into the types of the red heifer and the sin sacrifice. All those were just types of Jesusí final and ending the whole process of the sacrifice at the Crucifixion.
Additionally, we went into detail about the fact that there are these two traditional sites for the tomb and the Crucifixion. They donít fit all the references that we have to look at in the Bible and this Jewish law tradition stuff about the 2,000 cubits and so forth, and the presence of God was in there. It rules out all those two other sites. And the evidence confirms the Mount of Olives for the Crucifixion and the place of the tomb.
So today itís two trees and two Passovers. Those are the main points that we have. But weíre getting into some details here. A lot of people have wondered at some time or other, and then just dismissed it, because how can you know, what kind of tree was it? What kind of an apple? Was that an apple that Eve ate or not? Oh, well, who cares whether it was even an apple or a banana. It was just disobedience. But nobody that Iíve ever heard has really gotten into the evidence that is available to show what kind of tree that might be, except this book that Iím reading out of here. Itís Peter Michas again, and itís The Rod of the Almond Tree in Godís Master Plan. He gives it away right here in the title.
The Fig Tree and the Origin of Sin
The forbidden fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of good and evil is generally portrayed as an apple. But is this an accurate representation, or can it be traced to another source? Itís known that in Greek mythology, the apple represented knowledge and was associated with Athena, the goddess of wisdom. Certain ancient statues of Athena even show her holding an apple in her hand. So therefore, it seems probable that the notion of the apple being the forbidden fruit of knowledge originated from Greek mythology rather than Hebraic sources. In order to determine the actual fruit involved, letís examine the biblical and the Hebraic sources.
Scripture states that they were ashamed. This is in Genesis 3:6-7. And they sewed fig leaves together to hide their nakedness. Now, I donít know whether they did that in a hurry or not, but the authorís conjecture is that they picked the closest leaves available to them at the time, the fig leaves of the tree from which they had just eaten. That seems reasonable, even though it might seem like a reach. But he goes on to say, it does not seem likely that Adam and Eve went running through the garden in their shame looking specifically for a fig tree because of the size of its leaves. Certainly there had been many other varieties of leaves to pick from, including even larger ones. I mean, fig tree leaves arenít that big. Maple leaves are a lot bigger than that. So from this we might be able to deduce that the Tree of Knowledge of good and evil was actually a fig tree. And in parentheses heís got here, this is consistent with the concept of Jerusalem and not Mesopotamia as the site of the Garden of Eden. Because the fact is that the fig tree is indigenous to the land of Israel, but not to Mesopotamia. Over there east of the Tigris and the Euphrates Rivers and over in the Indus Valley, they donít have fig trees, but they do in Israel.
Building on the concept of Jerusalem as being the center of the Garden of Eden, the Tree of Life grew on Mount Moriah in the exact spot of the Holy of Holies, as we mentioned earlier, of the temple. Here God had manifested His presence as He fellowshipped with Adam and Eve before they had sinned. Given this point of reference, Adam and Eve were expelled east of Mount Moriah to the Mount of Olives. Adam erected a sacrificial altar, and he and Eve sinned. Now, youíre not going to find that in the Bible, but you will find that their kids did bring a sacrifice. That wasnít a one-time event. That was something set up by their father. The authors believe that this altar was placed on the summit of the Mount of Olives, eventually becoming the place where the sin sacrifices were burned.
Inside the Holy of Holies of the tabernacle and the temple was the Ark of the Covenant, covered by the Mercy Seat, where God manifested His presence. In the garden, the Tree of Life, grew in this same spot, and it was where God manifested His presence to Adam and Eve. The Holy of Holies also marks the future throne of the future Messiah Yeshua when He returns to set up the millennial kingdom on earth.
Now, significantly, he calls Jesus ďYeshua,Ē so donít be confused by that. Significantly, when Yeshua entered the city of Jerusalem the week of the Passover, He singled out a particular fig tree and cursed it. He stated that He never wanted anyone to eat of its fruit again. Thatís in Mark 11. And, seeing at a distance a fig tree and leaf, He went to see if perhaps if He would find anything on it. When He came to it, He found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. Iím going to stop here and say Jesus knew that. He knew that it wasnít time for figs to be on the tree at all. So it wasnít He got mad because there werenít any figs and there were supposed to be; He knew there werenít supposed to be figs on it yet. Verse 14 says, ďAnd He answered and said unto it, May no one ever eat fruit from you again.Ē Well, that starts to make sense when you make it a fig tree, as the Tree of Knowledge of good and evil. The authors believe that Yeshua cursed the type of the tree whereby sin had entered into the world, the fig tree. The fig tree He cursed was where? It wasnít in the Temple, it was on the Mount of Olives. They were on their way in from Bethany. And you cross across the Mount of Olives to go to the Kidron bridge and go into the city of Jerusalem, and then straight into the temple from there.
Here is kind of a wrap-up of the chapter here. Given the insight that the biblical feast days, the holy days God ordained represent a prophetic timetable, it is virtually assured that Yeshuaís Second Coming will coincide with one of these feast day periods. Since the Jerusalem fig ripens in late September, early October, it seems probable that the Lord will return for His Bride Ė the believers as the body Ė during one of the fall festivals: Rosh Hashanah or Succoth. (Succoth is Tabernacles, and Rosh Hashanah is the Feast of the Trumpets.) However, it is impossible to determine the exact day, because both feasts span a period of more than one day.
Letís get into the two trees now. We have the Tree of Life, and the Tree of Knowledge of good and evil. We already saw that thatís probably a fig tree. That was in the garden some place; it says ďthe midst.Ē These authors donít think it was in the same place as the Tree of Life. But out of all of the trees in the garden, the Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge of good and evil were the only trees to be singled out by name. The Tree of Life will be seen to have played a central role, both literally and symbolically in humankindís redemption and spiritual restoration with God. Oh, thatís pretty good!
Let me stop here and just throw a little something in for free here. Adam, at that particular time, before he was thrown out of the garden, Adam couldnít die. He was eternal. And after Eve was created, so was she. They would never have died. But thatís what kept saving them. They were there at the Tree of Life; they could eat freely of the Tree of Life. When they were kicked out of the garden, two cherubim were set up at the gates so that they couldnít eat of the Tree of Life. Thatís stated very clearly in there. And also remember that on the veil of the Holy of Holies, and on the ark, were two cherubims, symbolic of the garden cherubims that were set up by God to keep people out. The veil kept people out of the Holy of Holies where the ark was. And the two cherubim kept people out of the ark itself, which was God inside.
Mount Moriah in Jerusalem is identified with the site of Jacobís dream. We said that already, in Genesis 28:19. We know that Mount Moriah was called Bethel at this time. House of God, thatís what it means. But at an earlier time it was known to be Luz, and thatís in Scripture. Therefore, we know that Bethel and Jerusalem refer to the same site, and the site of the Garden of Eden. What does Luz mean? Watch this: An essential clue relating to the Tree of Life was found in the earliest known name for Mount Moriah, Luz. It means almond tree! It means almond tree in Aramaic, Arabic and Ethiopic. According to the Torah Anthology, the city of Luz was associated with an immense almond tree. Later, God instructed Solomon to build his house, the temple, where he had fellowshipped with Adam and Eve. The Holy of Holies was built directly over the place where the Tree of Life had grown. And the veil, embroidered with two cherubims, as I mentioned, placed in front of the Holy of Holies, was patterned after the actual cherubim assigned to the garden to guard the Tree of Life.
The Rod of God Ė A Branch from the Tree of Life
A fascinating connection may exist between a branch from the Tree of Life and a rod mentioned several times in the Bible. This rod had been variously referred to as the rod of God, the rod of Moses, Aaronís rod is another one, the one that budded. According to Scripture, it miraculously budded, blossomed, and bore ripe fruit. Thatís in Numbers 17:8. I left out a word there. See, you go to Numbers 17:8, youíre going to find out what kind of blossoms and fruit it had. It was almond! It was a branch off an almond tree. And overnight it miraculously grew leaves and blossoms. At the time of Adamís expulsion from the garden, God gave the rod to Adam. Thatís according to the Jewish Encyclopedia. From Adam, the rod was passed down through the generations until it came into the possession of Moses. Interestingly, one story claims that Mosesí rod as having come from the Tree of Life. And thatís in the Jewish Encyclopedia. Tying these various bits of information together, a link to the story of Luz and its unique almond tree emerges. The conclusion drawn by the authors is that the rod of God is, in actuality, a branch from the Tree of Life, which was an almond tree. Still donít believe that, right?
Well, hereís some more evidence. Weíve got a lot of evidence coming up, too. In light of this conclusion, itís highly significant that the Tree of Life was represented by the menorah, which is the seven-branched candelabrum made in the form of tree branches. And itís decorated with blossoms. But itís not just any old tree, itís almond branches, and decorated with almond blossoms. It says so right in Exodus 25. Moreover, the golden menorah was placed in the Holy Place of the Temple on Mount Moriah, where the original Tree of Life would have grown. So thereís the Tree of Life. But now letís follow this rod of God thing. This is really neat stuff, too.
Apparently, the rod was handed down by Adam to Enoch. Enoch was the seventh patriarch. And then from Enoch to Methuselah. And from Methuselah it would have been transferred to Shem, the son of Noah and the perpetuator of the righteous line after the Flood. Shem was also the head of an academy teaching Godís knowledge and was Abrahamís tutor. Well, now, you Bible students arenít going to believe that! But thatís what it says in the Jewish Encyclopedia, and also it indicates that very strongly in Jasher. Because in Jasher it says that at the age of ten, until he was fifty, Abraham lived with Noah and Shem. And he wasnít out playing in the swings all that time, okay? Thatís why he got picked by God to be the progenitor of all the nations of Israel, because he learned from God. He tithed to his spiritual teacher, Shem. Shem was Melchizedek in the Old Testament.
The Rod of Moses
According to Exodus 3:1, Moses was shepherding Jethroís flocks when he came to Horeb, Mount Sinai, the mountain of God. Thatís where the burning bush was, right? There is a scriptural connection between Mount Sinai and Jethroís garden, therefore. So it was right near there, Mount Sinai, where Moses acquired the rod of an almond tree. See, Moses had this special rod, and he threw it down, and it became snakes, and it ate up the magic snakes that Pharaohís wizards, when they threw down their rods, they became snakes. And then it became a rod again in Mosesí hand. He had that rod at the burning bush. He had the rod with him. Where did it come from? It came from Jethroís garden. In fact, the Arabic name for that mountain, Mount Horeb, is Jabal al Lawz. Does ďLawzĒ sound anything like ďLuzĒ? It means ďmountain of the almond.Ē Isnít that neat? The Bedouins living in this area know that this is the mountain where Moses had an encounter with God, as the story being passed down through the generations. How remarkable that even in the Arabic name for this extraordinary mountain, we have a tangible connection between the rod of an almond tree and the rod of God. And the real Mount Sinai. So what that means is that, almost assuredly, the mountain where the burning bush was was the place they came back to and got the Ten Commandments.
According to Godís command, this perpetually budding almond rod, which became known as Aaronís rod, was placed ďbefore the testimonyĒ Ė thatís another word for the ark, the ďtestimony.Ē Numbers 17:10 says that without any mistake. This meant that it was to be placed in front of the ark. See, itís generally taught and assumed that the Ark contained a bowl of manna, the tablets, the second unbroken tablets of the law, the Ten Commandments, and Aaronís rod that budded. But Scripture says that it was placed in front of the testimony, which makes more sense.
This rod also was the one that Moses used to put a brass snake on when the Israelites got into a bunch of trouble and God sent some fiery serpents on them, he held up the rod, and if they looked at the rod, they wouldnít die and they were healed from the bite, because they would die if they were bit by these fiery serpents, whatever they actually were. It was that same rod. It saved them. It was that same rod that Moses used to part the Red Sea, that saved them from Pharaoh. It was that rod that he used to make blood flow in the rivers and to make the snakes, as I mentioned earlier. It was all that same rod that was instrumental in saving them from Egypt in the first place. And it went on to do that in different places because he hit the rock, and water came out. He hit the rock with the rod, and water came out. It watered them all forty years in the desert.
Now, what happened to this miraculous rod, which was an implement of Godís redemption and a symbol of His authority? Subtle scriptural clues, understood within the context of the law, seem to indicate that the rod that was planted by Jethro was replanted by David. [[note: Jasher also says the Jethro took Ēthe stick of JosephĒ and planted it in his Garden. That ďstickĒ would have been the one that Jacob passed on to Joseph when he died]] As the rod had been preserved until the Exodus to become the instrument of redemption of the nation of Israel, the authors believe that it likewise was preserved until the Crucifixion, to become the instrument of redemption of all mankind. See, that rod was just a type of Christ the whole time, all of its redemption and sacrifice and stuff.
Letís examine the pivotal event, which seems to mark this crucial replanting of the divine almond rod. Itís known that Davidís son, Absalom, attempted to usurp his fatherís authority. David was caught off guard and was forced to flee for his life, and as he did so, he fled over the Kidron Valley Ė and let me remind you again, this isnít a big valley; itís a deep gorge, but they call it the Kidron Valley Ė and ascended the Mount of Olives to the summit. Thatís in 2 Samuel 15. Verse 23: King David passed over the brook Kidron. Zadok also came, and all the Levites with him, carrying the ark of the Covenant of God. And the king said to Zadok, Return the ark of God to the city, if I find favor in the Lordís sight, then heíll bring me back. So they went back with the ark.
Now, from previously quoted Scripture, it is known that Aaronís rod was positioned in front of the ark in the Holy of Holies. It is also known that whenever the ark was moved, the rod was moved in conjunction with it. And significantly, the area contained within a radius of 2,000 cubits of the ark was considered holy. In fact, whether the ark was moving or stationary, this 2,000-cubit perimeter was carefully maintained. Heís got that footnote; that comes straight out of Jewish law. The idea is supported by Joshua 3:4 and Numbers 35:5. Surely the rod would have been kept within this holy perimeter surrounding the ark, whatever the arkís position. Therefore, itís reasonable to assume that the ark and the rod could not be separated from each other by a distance exceeding 2,000 cubits (thatís about 3,000 feet), which happens to be a significant number, because thatís how far they could travel on a Sabbath day. If they went any farther than that, it was considered work, and you canít work on the Sabbath. So three-fifths of a mile, and you couldnít do anything. It was an established distance. It didnít just fall out of the sky.
Now, David must have left the rod near the summit so that it was not taken outside of the holy area, as designated by the arkís location, as seems to be indicated. As a matter of fact, the summit, which is ďthe place where God was worshipped,Ē in the presence of God,Ē was just over this 2,000-cubit limit, and this is the place well known as the site of the red heifer sacrifice, as I mentioned a couple different times. Was David given a vision of these events, and then directed by God to plant the rod, knowing that it would become the instrument of the redemption of all humankind? Hmmm!
Well, hereís some more confusion. People just automatically spiritualize and say that every time it says that Jesus was hung on the tree Ė well, the tree refers to that cross that we always see. They just say, thatís a different word that theyíre using for that cross. Not so. The Bible should be taken first literally, at face value. Assuredly, the Creator guaranteed the preservation of the rod of God until He would use it as an instrument of His ultimate redemptive work. God planted the original Tree of Life in the garden. See, it was created wherever it was, but He took it out of wherever it was, the garden, the Paradise of God, heaven, and planted it down in there. Under His guidance, a branch from this almond tree was planted in the garden by Jethro. Once again, it was replanted by David in another garden. The garden of Gethsemane, maybe? On the Mount of Olives. And the tree grew from this almond rod.
The Crucifixion Tree
Iím sure you can see where this is going. The traditional Crucifixion scene depicts three Roman crosses, with Messiah in the middle and a criminal on either side. Youíve seen that picture. And those guys have to be at least eight feet apart, just their heads, probably more like ten, in the memory that I have of the vision. And Jesus is in the middle, and the two guys are on the outside, the criminals. However, nowhere does Scripture state that there were three Roman crosses. In fact, thereís evidence to the contrary. Now, the reader is going to respond, ďOh, what difference does that make?Ē" The answer is that Godís design is supremely elegant, down to the smallest prophetic detail. And for the most important reason. Not only to show that Heís true, I might add, but to point unequivocally to the only true Messiah, Godís stamp on things to prove that Jesus was who He said He was.
As God designated prophetic pictures and patterns to reveal His Messiah, He also gave His word for man to understand their meaning and spiritual significance. Deep study of Scripture, with the Holy Spirit of truth to bring understanding, reveals Godís beautiful and precise plan. Knowing who our Creator is and what our Savior has done for us is a solid foundation of truth, not blind faith. Total trust in God comes from knowing who He is and what He has done for us. As I say every week, right? I say that every time. God is real, and He keeps His word. The greater our understanding, the greater our trust will be and the closer our personal relationship with Him will be.
Now he doesnít go into detail with this, but let me get ahead of the story a little bit. It says that they broke the legs of the two criminals, and then they came to Jesus, and He was already dead. Now picture that three-cross scene. It doesnít make any sense for this Roman soldier to get this big club in his hand and go to tree number one, letís say on the left side facing us; he goes to the left-side criminal and breaks his legs. And then he goes all the way to the right, to the second criminal, breaks his legs. Then he goes back to the middle and looks up and says, ďOh, Jesus is dead already,Ē so he doesnít break his legs. Thatís not natural movement. Now, keep that in mind.
The traditional concept of the three Roman crosses is not supported by Scripture. In fact, certain versions of the Bible, such as the King James and the New International Version, more accurately translate the following Scriptures by referring to the Crucifixion tree:
Acts 5:30: The God of our fathers raised Jesus from the dead, whom you had killed by hanging Him on a tree.
Acts 10:39: We are witnesses of everything He did in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They killed Him by hanging Him on a tree.
Acts 13:29: When they had carried out all of what was written about Him, they took Him down from the tree and laid Him in a tomb.
Galatians 3:13: Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written, Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree.
1 Peter 2:24: He Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree.
The Greek word xulou, or xulon, is translated ďtreeĒ in each of the above passages. Now this Greek word can Ė thereís a few different meanings here Ė but it can mean a living tree, not a Roman cross. And maybe youíve even seen some depictions of Jesus on the way to the Crucifixion with just a crossbar. He just has the crossbar across His shoulders. He doesnít have the whole cross. Well, thatís where that comes from. Even as Yeshua was going to His Crucifixion, He made a direct reference to this act being carried out, ďWhen the tree is green.Ē Well, the cross canít be green. Thatís in Luke 23:31. The deceptive Greek word means ďfull of sap.Ē Green, full of sap.
There is a very interesting passage, which leads to another aspect of the Crucifixion. Jesus, therefore, because it was the day of Preparation Ė itís important that you know that for later on Ė the Jews, so that the bodies should not remain on the cross Ė tree Ė cross, it says, singular, on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), they asked Pilate that their legs might be broken and that they might be taken away. Note that the word ďbodiesĒ is plural, whereas the word ďcrossĒ is singular. Well here, the word stauros in Greek is translated ďcross,Ē but it refers to the tree with the three attached crossbars. Iím not sure about that, but if you look up the definition, youíll find some stuff on that.
Scripture indicates that the two criminals were crucified to Yeshuaís right and left. We know that from Luke 23:33. However, nowhere does Scripture state that they were crucified on three separate crosses. Suddenly the picture becomes clear. Yeshua and the two men were crucified on the same tree, an actual tree, a growing tree, a big tree. One man was crucified on His right side, and one crucified on His left side. The symbolic picture represented by this arrangement is truly significant. In such close proximity, it was possible for these men to speak to each other. See, try now to get the picture of a great oak tree, that youíre familiar with, instead of an almond tree, whose trunk, at the level of eight or ten feet, is seven or eight feet in circumference. See, maybe itís two and a half feet, maybe 30 inches in diameter. Well, you can put three people around that, nail their crossbar to that tree, and their heads wonít be more than three feet away from each other. They could talk pretty easily. In close proximity it was for these people to speak to each other, in spite of their great agony. And now we can clearly visualize how the soldiers broke the legs of the first two condemned men, first going to one criminal and then the other, and lastly, as they walked around the tree, they came to Jesus and found He was dead already. It makes perfect sense. So what it says in the plain text, the face value of Scripture, turns out again to make sense in light of some little thing that we donít even think about, some traditional view has obscured our vision.
Thereís a lot of Old Testament references to crucifixion on a tree. In regard to Yeshuaís Crucifixion, Paul makes a statement, Cursed is everyone who hung on a tree. And thatís a direct reference to Deuteronomy 21, verse 22. It says there ď If a man has committed a sin worthy of death, he is to be put to death, and you hang him on a tree.Ē Thereís a couple other places where it outlines that. According to the Temple Scroll, column 64, those found guilty of certain capital offenses were killed by hanging on a tree. The Temple Scroll isnít talking about Roman crosses. It was in existence before there was a Rome. So keep that in mind. ďIf a man informs against his people, delivers up his people to a foreign nation and does harm to his people, you shall hang him on a tree and he shall die. If a man has committed a crime punishable by death, you shall hang him on a tree.Ē
Itís interesting to note that Melito, the eminent bishop of Sardis during the second century, referred to the tree as an instrument of crucifixion: ďJust as from a tree came sin, also from a tree comes salvation.Ē There it is! Apparently early Christians were aware of the fact that Yeshua was crucified on a tree. Itís also a matter of historical record that before 326 of the Common Era (A.D.), the cross did not exist as a Christian symbol. It was derived from paganism. When Constantine Christianized the Roman Empire and just transplanted a whole bunch of pagan ritual and doctrine into the Christian frame, so everybody could worship together.
Significantly, the same Greek word, xulon or xuluo, that refers to the Crucifixion tree, is also used to refer to the Tree of Life in the book of Revelation. And he who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. ď To him that overcomes I will grant to eat the Tree of Life, which is in the Paradise of God.Ē Thatís an actual tree. And way down in chapter 22, it says, ďon either side of the river was the Tree of Life, yielding its fruit every month, and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.Ē
Lifting Up of the Messiah
Yeshua was lifted up on the same standard. Remember the rod of Aaron that Moses held up with the brass snake on it? Brass symbolizes judgment, by the way. He held up that same rod with the brass snake. Well, Jesus will be held up on that same rod, lifted up on that same rod, only now it was a tree. Yeshua was lifted up on the same standard. As the serpent was lifted up so high so that all could see, likewise, Yeshua was lifted up on the highest place in Jerusalem so that all could see Him. You see, the Crucifixion could be seen directly in the line of sight from the Temple, because itís higher. The Mount of Olives is up higher than the Temple. And the slope down into the gorge of the Kidron Valley allows you to look straight into the Temple from the Crucifixion site. And they used that fact with the red heifer. They faced the red heifer toward the Temple so it would be ďin the presence of GodĒ when it got sacrificed.
And hereís a neat little thing too. When Abraham was sacrificing Isaac, the ram that would take the place, which symbolized Christ later on, he was caught in a bush. But it wasnít just an unnamed bush. What kind of a bush was it? It was a thorn bush. And what kind of a crown did they give Jesus? A crown of thorns. As Yeshuaís blood was shed upon the tree, a symbolic parallel was evident in the Yom Kippur sacrifice. Hereís what it says in Leviticus 16:14: ďMoreover, he (the high priest) shall take some of the blood of the bull and sprinkle it with his finger on the Mercy Seat on the east side, also in front of the Mercy Seat he shall sprinkle some of the blood with his finger seven times.Ē Now, remembering that Aaronís rod was placed in front of the Mercy Seat of the ark, it becomes clear that the sprinkling of the blood would have fallen upon the rod. And remarkably, Yeshua bled predominantly from seven different places: two hands, two feet, head, back and side where the spear went in. And the blood ran down the tree. So all the little details fit in with the Crucifixion.
The Two Passovers
ďOh, the Bible is wrong. It contradicts itself all the time. Look at that, it says the Passover is on the 14th, and here it says Passover is on the 15th. God canít even make up His mind! Are you kidding me? Letís go to Reno and get drunk!!Ē A lot of people argue like that!
The Passover, there were two Passovers. Thereís only one real Passover, but people get in there and they say, well, this is inconvenient. Letís have Daylight Saving Time. It would be more convenient. Passover, at the time of Yeshua, through today, is observed on the 15th day of the month, according to the Jewish sacred calendar. If Passover was observed on the 15th of Abib (the name of the month), why does Leviticus 23:5 state, ďin the first month (thatís Abib, the first spiritual month) on the 14th day of the month at twilight is the Lordís Passover.ď Clearly, the Lord originally established Passover on the 14th of Abib. Thatís in Exodus, too, by the way. And this date is verified both in Exodus and Numbers.
Well, itís important to make the distinction between these two dates, which mark two separate events. Passover, the night the Passover lamb was eaten, and the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the night the Israelites left Egypt. As previously mentioned, at some point, observance of these two events was merged on the 15th of Abib. Understanding this change, itís possible to discern the subtle meaning of Lukeís statement, ďNow the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which is called PassoverĒ Ė wait a minute, is it called the Passover or the Feast of Unleavened Bread? I thought the two were separate. Iíve had that confusion myself. I mean, are they separate or arenít they separate? It says in one place they are, and now he says it isnít. What does he mean? Heís got to be telling the truth, but what does he mean?
In other words, even though Passover was originally observed the day before the Feast of Unleavened Bread, it was now observed the same day as the Feast of Unleavened Bread, on the 15th of Abib. So a significant consequence of this Passover shift was the associated shift of the Passover Preparation day. Remember that term, Preparation day? Preparation day was the day before Passover; n other words, the afternoon of the day prior to sunset of Passover. Passover starts at sunset. To prepare for sunset on that day they would kill the lamb and get all ready the day before that. And that was the day when all the lambs were sacrificed. In conjunction with the shift in Passover from the 14th to the 15th, the Preparation day was moved from the 13th to the 14th. This change in the calendar would prove to be of great prophetic significance. There had been a great controversy as to whether or not Yeshua ate the Passover meal. Iíve heard that a lot of times. Iíve even said, they were celebrating the Passover. They didnít have the lamb there; I knew that, because if they had had the lamb, then Jesus might have said, ďYou see this piece of lamb? This wine represents the blood of the lamb, but this piece of lamb here represents my body. Now, eat a little bit of this and every time you have Passover, you eat a little bit of the lamb.Ē He didnít have that; He used bread. He said, ďThis bread is my body, broken for you.Ē Because there wasnít a lamb there.
The synoptic Gospels, Matthew, Mark and Luke, seem to make reference to Yeshua eating the Passover meal. But a Passover lamb is never mentioned in any of the New Testament accounts. Moreover, Johnís account clearly states that the Passover meal was not eaten until the next evening after the Crucifixion. In regard to this controversy it has been suggested that there were two different dates for the observance of the Passover. One, according to the Pharisees on the 15th, and the other according to the Sadducees. They were always at each otherís throats anyway. That was on the 14th. In fact, the authors previously believed this to be the case. And it seems a definite possibility in light of the conflicts between the Pharisees and the Sadducees, as well as the fact that from the time of Yeshua to today, the Samaritans follow the original date of the 14th. All the nation of Israel follows the 15th. However, after additional study by Peter Michas, the authors are now convinced that the Last Supper was not a traditional Passover meal with the lamb. So the apparent discrepancy between the synoptic Gospels and Johnís Gospel is resolved in understanding that the Last Supper was a ďmemorialĒ Passover meal in remembrance of the Exodus Passover on the 14th. And my guess is that there were a lot of people who did that exact thing. And then the next day they ate their lamb anyway.
Yeshua followed the original date as ordained by God in Exodus, Leviticus and Numbers. There was no lamb at this meal precisely because Messiah Yeshua presented Himself as the Lamb of God, as promised to Abraham and Isaac, for the redemption of all mankind, and that wasnít done until the next day. The disciples had prepared everything for the Passover except the lamb, because the lambs werenít to be sacrificed until the following day. After His arrest, trial and conviction, Yeshua was crucified on the day of the 14th, Preparation day, for the Passover on the 15th. And according to the first century historian Josephus, the lambs were slain on Preparation day between 3:00 and 5:00 p.m. And then they take them home and cook them up for Passover. Therefore, Yeshua, the Lamb of God, died precisely Ė as He died at 3:00 in the afternoon Ė precisely at the time that the sacrifices began. What at first appears to be a contradiction in Godís word, namely, two different dates for the Passover, in actuality reveals divine design. For no human agency could have foreknown the prophetic events that would unfold at some distant time in the future. Pretty good stuff, huh?
Well, as usual, even the smallest details fit perfectly into the stuff that God does. If God set up a restaurant, the number of toothpicks in the holder at the register would have some kind of symbolic meaning Ė I mean, it works out that way!! And additionally, the undoubted symbolism would point to Christ. See, because thatís what the whole Bible does. All of those stories and the names and everything, all point to Christ, Christ and salvation by faith. It always gets down to that, because thatís Godís message. You canít find this kind of stuff on the natural level.
God is real, and He keeps His word. If He wasnít, none of this stuff would be there!
Additional notes that didnít make it into the broadcast:
In Revelation 2:7, Yeshua states, ďTo him who overcome will I grant to eat of the Tree of Life, which is in midst of the paradise of God.Ē Well, this Scripture seems to indicate that at the time of John, that John recorded the book of Revelation, the Tree of Life was in heaven. The ďparadise of GodĒ is what it says, which perhaps was also the source before being placed into the earthly Garden of Eden. In the future, the Tree of Life will appear on the earth in New Jerusalem that descends from heaven. And because Adam was alive for the first 300 years of Enochís life, it figures very easily that he gave the rod to Enoch. Enoch was Godís first scribe. He was the one who wrote down all the astronomy and all the earth sciences. He was the one that wrote that all down and then gave it to Noah to bring through the Flood.
You might have found it interesting if you did any study of Sumeria after the Flood. Thatís the oldest civilization that we find on the earth is the Sumerian civilization. They come into existence with a full-blown system of astronomy, which takes centuries and millennia to construct. I mean, youíve got to be around for hundreds of years before you can track a star or a planet. They knew all twelve planets, in order, by size. Where did they get that knowledge? They didnít know that knowledge. They didnít have a telescope! It came through the Flood with Noah; thatís who it came from. And Shem was responsible after Noah. And Methuselah, Enochís son, lived to the end of the pre-Flood age. Adam started the pre-Flood age; Methuselah ended it. Thatís what Methuselahís name means; when he dies, the end comes. And he lived the longest of anybody and died a year before the Flood happened. When he died, the Flood happened, and they were on the other side.
Now, Methuselah was still alive for the first hundred years of Shemís life. So he easily could have passed it to Shem. And Shem and Noah studied together for 400 years before Abraham came on the scene. 400 years, Noah and Shem were together. And again, Shem, his son, wasnít playing on the swings. Then Abraham showed up, and Shem Ė just to show you how long he lived Ė he was still alive for the first 47 years of Jacobís life. These guys arenít separated by much. They lived a long time. Donít you think that a person like Shem who went and conquered Ham in Egypt and then set out with his company to found the city of Jerusalem and was the high priest of God when Abraham was around, donít you think that sometime or other that Jacob and Isaac and Abraham all went and saw Shem, visited with him sometime or other? I mean, Jacob was 47 before Shem died.
So itís easy to see how that rod could have been passed down way past the Flood. And maybe, maybe even Shem deposited that rod of God in the area of Midian on his way back from defeating Ham to found Jerusalem. And he planted it in there with the high priest, at that time, of Midian.
I love mail.