Many years ago Rachmiel Frydland (an outstanding Polish-born Messianic Jew and survivor of the Warsaw Ghetto) once told me in Yiddish: “If we give the rabbis the right to define who is a Jew, then we will also be giving them the right to define who is the Messiah.” His pearl of wisdom has remained with me to this day.
When is a Jewish New Year not a Jewish New Year?
Many dear friends have recently celebrated what the rabbis call ‘the Jewish New Year.’ It might be surprising to some that the Book of Exodus defines the real Jewish New Year as occurring at Passover time: “Now YHVH said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, ‘This month shall be the beginning of months for you; it is to be the first month of the year to you. Speak to all the congregation of Israel, saying, “On the tenth of this month they are each one to take a lamb for themselves, according to their fathers’ households, a lamb for each household” (Exodus 12:1-3).
So how did the biblical New Year date (around April) get moved to that of the Babylonian New Year (around September)? You might enjoy reading “Raiders of the Lost Jewish New Year” from September 8, 2018 at http://www.davidstent.org to find out.
Leviticus 23:23-35 refers to the fifth, sixth and seventh holy convocations as falling in the seventh month of the Hebrew calendar year (called Eitanim –‘the strong ones’ in Hebrew – see 1 Kings 8:1-2). When Israel returned from Babylonian Exile, according to Rabbi Hanina bar Hama (d. 250 A.D.) “the month names came up with them [with the exiles] from Babylon” (Jerusalem Talmud, Rosh HaShanah 1:2, 56d). After the days of Ezra and Nehemiah, Babylonian names were gradually switched for the original Hebrew names. Today eight of the twelve original Hebrew names of the months have disappeared. These Babylonian month names are for the most part names of Babylonian demons (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Babylonian_calendar), even as most modern Western months (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_calendar) are based on Roman deities, while European days of the week are taken from Norse and Germanic gods (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Names_of_the_days_of_the_week). The Babylonian royal calendar began its year in Tishrei (biblical Eitanim); the Jewish people gradually adjusted themselves to this international calendar.
The influence of the Exile and our sojourn in Babylon have indeed shaped medieval and modern Jewish history. The primacy given to Babylonian cultural influences gradually led to a weakening among the Jewish people regarding staying faithful to biblical patterns and expressions. But a day is coming when YHVH will bring full restoration to His Jewish people, He will re-tweak our calendars and our feast days, as Zechariah prophesied in Zechariah 7:1-6; 8:18-19. Part of that restoration will involve a return to YHVH’s original calendar in Leviticus 23:2: “Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, ‘YHVH’s appointed times which you shall proclaim as holy convocations – My appointed times are these…” As Paul says, “For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable” (Romans 11:29).
On September 15, 2022 five red heifers arrived in Israel. These were raised and brought to Israel with the help of Byron Stinson, a Texas rancher, fundraiser and advisor for the Boneh Israel organization. Stinson is involved as well in the Father’s House Educational Foundation. Stinson is described as a devout Christian searching for and breeding cattle for a sensational purpose – the potential use of their ashes in purifying Levitical priests for ministry in what is called the future Third Temple. The purification ritual is described in the Book of Numbers: “Then YHVH spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying, ‘This is the statute of the teaching which YHVH has commanded, saying, “Speak to the sons of Israel that they bring you an unblemished red heifer in which there is no defect and on which a yoke has never been mounted” (Numbers 19:1-2).
The heifers arrived to a ceremony at Ben-Gurion Airport where Temple Institute officials participated in the ceremony, alongside Stinson and Jerusalem and Heritage Ministry Director-General Netanel Isaac. The Temple Institute actively seeks to fashion implements for use in the Third Temple, while educating Jews on how to proactively “act to bring the Holy Temple back to the world [as] a ‘House of prayer for all nations’ . . . Isaiah’s promise [is] that the Third Temple is the secret of world peace and harmony and the hope of all mankind . . . We truly hope and pray for a time of unparalleled world peace and harmony with the re-building of the Third Temple.”
The Boneh Israel’s website posts links including ‘What You Can Do To Help In The Redemption Process’ and ‘Let’s put out into the universe that we want world peace, the Third Holy Temple & the Red Heifer.’ On Stinson’s website he presents graphics and scriptures commonly used by the new form of Replacement Theology known as ‘Two House’ or Ephraimite teaching. Stinson describes his beliefs on his website: “Byron Stinson and his wife Tammy are Judeo-Christian believers in the God of Abraham and His Messiah from the line of David.” Stinson’s motivation is clearly stated: “The Bible says to bring a red cow to purify Israel, and I may not understand it, but I am just doing what the Bible said . . . The prophecies came true, and the Jews are back in Israel. Now they need to build a Temple. But it’s like buying a really nice car. If you don’t have the key, you aren’t going anywhere. The red heifer is the key to making the Temple work like it’s supposed to.”
In Nicole Jansezian’s pertinent article in All Israel News, she notes that “as a Christian, Stinson believes that it is his obligation to support the Jewish sacrifice even if that is not what he believes himself, because the ‘purpose of the red heifer is to let the veil be lifted.’ Stinson said he is motivated by one main purpose: to foster unity between Christians and Jews.”
Rachmiel Frydland’s proverb (mentioned above) brings us back to reality here. Will the House of prayer for all nations be established by rabbinic authority? Will the Third Temple usher in unparalleled world peace, harmony and the hope of all mankind? Which biblical prophecies describe the Third Temple and what is the outcome of its construction?
There are three extraordinarily clear passages in the New Covenant which describe the building of the Third Temple in foreboding terms. The first is 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12, which tells us that ‘the man of lawlessness’ (what is commonly called ‘the anti-Christ’) will be revealed to the nations in the rebuilt Third Temple:
- Now we ask you, brothers, regarding the coming of our Lord Messiah Yeshua and our gathering together to Him, that you not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit, or a message, or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. No one is to deceive you in any way! For it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the Temple of God, displaying himself as being God. Do you not remember that while I was still with you, I was telling you these things? And you know what restrains now, so that he will be revealed in his time. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is removed. Then that lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will eliminate with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming; that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and false signs and wonders, and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not accept the love of the truth so as to be saved. For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false, in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness.
The second relevant passage is Daniel 9:27, which describes the ‘man of lawlessness’ as connected to the functioning of the sacrificial system in the Third Temple:
- And he will confirm a covenant with the many for one week, but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on the wing of abominations will come the one who makes desolate, until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, gushes forth on the one who makes desolate.
The third passage is Matthew 24:15-16, where the abomination of desolation is described as standing in the holy place of the Third Temple:
- Therefore when you see the abomination of desolation which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place – let the reader understand – then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains.
For followers of Yeshua to aid in the construction or purification of the Third Temple, in cooperation with Orthodox groups who are zealously opposed to Messianic Jews and the Messiahship of Yeshua, is not helping to fulfill prophecy. To the contrary! It is doing fundraising and public relations for the anti-Christ’s ministry.
Over the years we have met Evangelical Gentiles who deeply want to be accepted by Orthodox and ultra-Orthodox Jews. In their way of thinking, the Orthodox and ultra-Orthodox are ‘the real Jews.’ Such Evangelicals stay far away from Messianic Jews and do not share their faith with the Jewish people – all in an attempt ‘to foster unity between Christians and Jews.’ This is a false unity which flies in the face of Ephesians 2:11-22:
- Therefore remember that previously you, the Gentiles . . . were at that time separate from Messiah, excluded from the people of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of the promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Messiah Yeshua you who previously were far away have been brought near by the blood of Messiah. For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, by abolishing in His flesh the hostility, which is the Teaching composed of commandments expressed in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two one new person, in this way establishing peace; and that He might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the hostility. And He came and preached peace to you who were far away, and peace to those who were near; for through Him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Messiah Yeshua Himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.
There is a need for clear biblical thinking here, for spiritual deliverance and revelation, and for repentance for muddying the clear truth of Yeshua’s good news.
It causes sadness to see some Evangelical Gentiles and Jews getting deceived by the red herring of this deceptive ‘Peace Train.’ Neither funds nor prayers should be given to such endeavors which “encourage mankind to support the rebuilding of the Holy [Third] Temple in Jerusalem.”
The Bible speaks prophetically and positively of a Fourth Temple yet to be constructed during the Days of Messiah. Ezekiel 40-48, Isaiah 2:1-4 and 56:7, Zechariah 8, etc., describe this glorious prophetic vision.
How should we then pray?
- Pray for YHVH to pour out increased discernment on all believers regarding the need to stick to the Scriptures
- Pray for God to impart razor-sharp discernment and courage about these issues to leaders in the body of Messiah
- Pray for God to impart repentance and spiritual breakthrough for believers and non-believers caught up in these deceptions
- Pray for the raising up of Ezekiel’s prophetic Jewish army throughout the earth
Your prayers and support hold up our arms and are the very practical enablement of God to us in the work He has called us to do.
In Messiah Yeshua,
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