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Now Is The Time with Rabbi Steve Berkson | Are You Covenanted? Part 41

Now Is The Time with Rabbi Steve Berkson | Are You Covenanted? Part 41

In one of his letters to the Corinthians Paul talks about the cup that Yeshua gave to his disciples and said, this is my blood of the renewed covenant. (1 Cor 11:25) Why was Paul talking about this cup? What does it have to do with the covenant? What was the issue in...

Dr Hollisa Alewine – Footsteps of Messiah 106 (Getting Stoned)

Dr Hollisa Alewine – Footsteps of Messiah 106 (Getting Stoned)

Getting Stoned

Biblically, that is.

Torah contains many commandments. Some of those are positive, “you shalls,” and some are negative, “you shall nots.” Most frequently, the negative commandments carry tangible punishments such as restitution, whiplashes, hanging, or even stoning. Sometimes no punishment is prescribed, or a vague phrase, “he shall be cut off from his people.” It has been speculated to be banishment or shunning, and some sources say this is a Divine punishment, not a human one.

Let’s take a closer look at stoneable offenses, which will help us to understand a Divine punishment in John’s Revelation.

“You shall also say to the sons of Israel: ‘Any man from the sons of Israel or from the aliens sojourning in Israel who gives any of his offspring to Molech, shall surely be put to death; the people of the land shall stone him with stones.’” (Le 20:2)
“Now a man or a woman who is a medium or a spiritist shall surely be put to death. They shall be stoned with stones, their bloodguiltiness is upon them.” (Le 20:27)
“Moreover, the one who blasphemes the name of the LORD shall surely be put to death; all the congregation shall certainly stone him. The alien as well as the native, when he blasphemes the Name, shall be put to death….Then Moses spoke to the sons of Israel, and they brought the one who had cursed outside the camp and stoned him with stones. Thus the sons of Israel did, just as the LORD had commanded Moses.” (Le 24:16, 23)
“Now while the sons of Israel were in the wilderness, they found a man gathering wood on the sabbath day…Then the LORD said to Moses, ‘The man shall surely be put to death; all the congregation shall stone him with stones outside the camp.’ So all the congregation brought him outside the camp and stoned him to death with stones, just as the LORD had commanded Moses.” (Nu 15:32-36)

Idolatry, dark arts, blasphemy, and desecration of the Shabbat are the most explicit of the commandments that carry a death penalty of stoning. An additional commandment against adultery is linked to idolatry:

Thus they went in to Oholah and to Oholibah, the lewd women. But they, righteous men, will judge them with the judgment of adulteresses and with the judgment of women who shed blood, because they are adulteresses and blood is on their hands. ‘For thus says the Lord GOD, ‘Bring up a company against them and give them over to terror and plunder. The company will stone them with stones and cut them down with their swords; they will slay their sons and their daughters and burn their houses with fire. Thus I will make lewdness cease from the land, that all women may be admonished and not commit lewdness as you have done. Your lewdness will be requited upon you, and you will bear the penalty of worshiping your idols; thus you will know that I am the Lord GOD.’” (Ezekiel 23:44-49)

The Ezekiel passage is addressed to two nations in their state of apostasy, Oholah (Northern tribes of Israel) and Oholibah (Judah). They are also called mystically “Babylon” and “Egypt” because they carried with them the adulteries/idolatries of Egypt and Babylon and continued to practice them. Their example was a message to other “women,” or nations.

The vital transition in Revelation is that first Israel is warned through the “moedic memos” to the Seven Assemblies of Revelation. Next, those nations from which they carried the adulterous idolatries are judged. The smaller to greater pattern may also be seen in Zechariah 14:17 when he prophesies that the commandment that initially was specific to Israel of going up to Jerusalem for the foot festivals of Passover, Shavuot, and Sukkot will extend to the other nations in the millennium.

It then explains why John prophesies in the Revelation to the world that they will suffer the same sentences applied to Israel for the “stoning” offenses. As those nations transition to King Yeshua’s rule over the earth, they, like Pharaoh, will suffer stoning for stubborness concerning control of Israel and the commandments of Adonai.

To understand how stoning was performed, we have to erase our memories of high school reading assignments such as “The Lottery” or news images of men stoning women in Afghanistan. While throwing stones at someone until they are dead is one way of stoning, the Biblical method is rarely explained outside of Judaism.

The Jewish understanding of how to perform stoning is rooted in Moses’ warning at Sinai to protect the people from the hailstones by which they would be stoned if they approached the mountain:

“And you shall set bounds around it for the people, saying, ‘Guard yourself from ascending the mountain or touching its edge; whoever touches the mountain shall surely die. A hand shall not touch it, for he shall be stoned or he shall be cast down; whether animal or person he shall not live; when the blast of the ram’s horn is drawing out, they will ascend the mountain.” (Ex 19:12-13)

Judicial orders of stoning in ancient times consisted of first, pushing the guilty one off a high place, such as a cliff. This was the “casting down.” If the person were to somehow survive the fall, then he or she would be stoned, sometimes placing a heavy rock on the chest to prevent breathing. First the fall, second the stones.

Exodus 9:25 was a plague of hail in Egypt which affected unbelieving man and beast: “Now therefore send, bring your livestock and whatever you have in the field to safety. Every man and beast that is found in the field and is not brought home, when the hail comes down on them, will die.”’” (v. 19)

This is just after a pestilence upon the beasts of Egypt (but not of the prepared Hebrews) which knocked them off their feet (Re 2:22-23). Likewise, those following the idolatrous teaching in Thyatira, which corresponds to the fourth feast of Shavuot, will be thrown on a sickbed and afflicted with pestilence for eating things offered to idols. Egypt and Babylon. Fallen, fallen. The unprepared “believers” and the rebellious world: fallen, fallen.

This equivalency sounds very familiar from the Revelation of John, which describes those who conform themselves to the image of the beast.

The nations are judged at the blowing of the shofar at Yom Teruah in the fall, whereas Shavuot, the conclusion of Pesach, is the warning to the righteous among all nations to prepare. If prepared by “holiness and washing” (Ex 19:14), they will be prepared to cross the boundary and ascend the mountain at Yom Teruah without fear of stoning or being cast down.

Put that in the context of ascending into the cloud, “going up” as the resurrection, then it makes sense why Israel could not ascend until a specific shofar was heard, the Great Shofar of Yom Teruah that accompanies Yeshua’s return.

It is the plague of the Seventh Angel, corresponding to Shabbat and Sukkot, that stones the nations of the earth. If we read the context of Revelation 16, it references Babylon, recalling the Tower of Bavel when mankind agreed to challenge the boundary of heaven to achieve eternal life. Their attempt to approach the mountain without holiness and washing results in this:

“And huge hailstones, about one hundred pounds each, came down from heaven upon men; and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail, because its plague was extremely severe.” (Re 16:21)

Egypt and Babylon were the sources of the idolatry-adultery of Israel and Judah. Egypt handed off the authority of the serpent to the first beast kingdom, Babylon. Israel and Judah will be judged first. The righteous among them will wash themselves and their “clothes” (garment of salvation, robes of righteous deeds) and be prepared to go up to the mountain at Shavuot (not saying they will).

The nations and the lukewarm among Israel and Judah will hear the Great Shofar at Yom Teruah, yet not be prepared to ascend. If they try, they will be “stoned.” What would keep them from ascending, or worse yet, being “stoned”?

Adultery/idolatry, dark arts, blaspheming, and profaning Shabbat are all associated with the punishment of stoning.

Warn, judge, cast down, stone.

Yeshua uses the language of Yom Teruah, when he comes like a thief in the night, to warn the world to be “awake” on Judgment Day. Yom Teruah is the opening of the books, and Yom HaKippurim is the closing ten days later, a period known at the Terrible Days, the Great and Terrible Day of Adonai:

“Behold, I am coming like a thief. Blessed is the one who stays awake and keeps his clothes, so that he will not walk about naked and men will not see his shame.” (Re 16:15)

The preparation for Shavuot at Sinai to receive the Torah included washing one’s clothes. This warning was given through Moses. The Torah.

The clothes must then be “kept,” or guarded, shamar. This guards the person’s body. Likewise, the preparation for Yom Teruah is to stay awake: “Awake you sleeper, arise from the dead…”  The warning is to “keep” one’s clothes, which were washed to prepare for Shavuot, all the way to the Great Shofar, the Resurrection of the Dead at Yom Teruah.

Discerning the Body of the Bride on Shabbat is to guard the first of the moedim, to guard one’s clothes. Guarding one’s clothes from Re 16:15 has a Hebrew cognate, shamar, which is also used in the “wedding ring” of Shabbat as shamor et yom ha-shabbat:

“Observe the sabbath day to keep it holy, as the LORD your God commanded you.” (Dt 5:12)

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It is because of this warning of stoning at Shavuot that Jewish scholars scrupulously read guidelines concerning stoning offenses in the Torah. “He shall be stoned or he shall be cast down” (Ex 19:13 Artscroll) explains how the death sentence is executed. 

If a person is observed committing a stonable offense, he should be warned, just as the Israelites were warned to wash and keep themselves and their garments until the Presence was revealed on the mountain.

The beast will try to “ascend” in rebellion, not obedience, with the stonable offense of blasphemy:

There was given to him a mouth speaking arrogant words and blasphemies, and authority to act for forty-two months was given to him. And he opened his mouth in blasphemies against God, to blaspheme His name and His tabernacle, that is, those who dwell in heaven. (Re 13:5-6)

Adultery/idolatry, dark arts, blasphemy, Sabbath-breaking.

The rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands, so as not to worship demons, and the idols of gold and of silver and of brass and of stone and of wood, which can neither see nor hear nor walk; and they did not repent of their murders nor of their sorceries nor of their immorality nor of their thefts. (Re 9:20-21)

The offender is warned first. If he does not repent (stop), then he is judged. When he is found guilty, he is stoned. The very presence of believers who obey the Word of Adonai and proclaim Yeshua’s testimony serves as a warning to the nations. Those “lukewarm” believers who are a little like obedient Israel and a little like the rebellious world will be assigned a place with unbelievers, at least for a time. (Lk 12:46)

They failed to warn the idolators, magic-workers, blasphemers, and Sabbath-breakers. Maybe they’ve even engaged in it themselves like the Thyatirans. What we do, how we walk before others is the testimony of Yeshua that can warn the world and protect them from falling down and from the hailstones of judgment. Why wouldn’t the Master be angry when He returns if His own witnesses have treated His Shabbat casually?

Those sentenced by the court to be stoned are

First pushed down from a high stoning place. The fall may kill them.
Should he survive the fall, he will be stoned with stones.

Yes, as Israel is judged, so will the nations follow quickly:

“The great city was split into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell…” (Re 16:19)

First they will be warned like Pharaoh with plagues. Then they will fall. Then they will be stoned.

Have you entered the storehouses of the snow,

Or have you seen the storehouses of the hail,

Which I have reserved for the time of distress,

For the day of war and battle? (Job 38:22-23)

The message to Laodicea, the Seventh Assembly, is to not think that being “lukewarm” concerning the Shabbat would adequate covering to survive the Presence that is encountered at the resurrection of the dead in the cloud on the Mountain.

It isn’t.

It wasn’t in the wilderness, and it won’t be when we hear the Great Shofar. Yeshua gives the warning:

“I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot. So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth. Because you say, ‘I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,’ and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked, I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire so that you may become rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness will not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see. Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; therefore be zealous and repent.” (Re 3:15-19)

Every Shabbat could be the most important Shabbat of your life. We’ve been warned. Don’t get stoned. Why else would the most important number in Revelation be seven? We’ve seen the Words. We’ll hear the sound. Soon, we will see the sounds.

Mark Call – Parsha “Tazria” teaching from Shabbat Shalom Mesa

Mark Call – Parsha “Tazria” teaching from Shabbat Shalom Mesa

Here's another one of those paraschot that just seems to be SO "old testament," and that has perhpas even been used as a poster child for "done away with." After all, it's a 'disease' that hasn't been seen for centuries, except in a few Bible movies, and isn't really...

Calming Harp Episode #168

Calming Harp Episode #168

This week we will look at a Psalm that isn't in the book of Psalms. Habakkuk 3 starts out by calling it a prayer or song, and then uses the formats and style of the Psalms of David. This Psalm ends by asking it to be given to the singers and instrumentalists for the...

SONGS & SINGERS OF REVELATION Pt2

SONGS & SINGERS OF REVELATION Pt2

The Song of Moses, the Song of the Lamb & the New Song. We know that the Song of Moses is found in Deuteronomy, but where can we find the Song of the Lamb?  How about the New Song that can only be learned by the 144,000?  Are there clues in scripture as to what the New Song will be?  What might we learn ABOUT the singers of these songs with regard to their whereabouts (during the tribulation and wrath) from the songs they sing?  You might be surprised!  This is part 2 of a 2 part introductory series.  Then we plan to dig into the details of the New Song & 144,000 that sing it!

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