Rosh HaShanah

Rosh HaShanah (Head of the Year = New Year):

B'resheet (Genesis) 21:1-34 B'midbar (Numbers) 29:1-6 Sh'mu'el Alef (1 Samuel) 1:1-2:10 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

Genesis 21 1 Adonai remembered Sarah as he had said, and Adonai did for Sarah what he had promised.

• That the LORD “remembered” does not mean that He had forgotten, but that here He chose to call to mind both Sarah and what He had said

• the promise is specific in Genesis 17:19-22:

God answered, “No, but Sarah your wife will bear you a son, and you are to call him Yitz'chak [laughter]. I will establish My covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him. 20 But as for Yishma'el, I have heard you. I have blessed him. I will make him fruitful and give him many descendants. He will father twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation. 21 But I will establish My covenant with Yitz'chak, whom Sarah will bear to you at this time next year.” 22 With that, God finished speaking with Avraham and went up from him.

• The promise is then reiterated in Genesis 18:10 and 14:

He said, “I will certainly return to you around this time next year, and Sarah your wife will have a son.” … Is anything too hard for Adonai? At the time set for it, at this season next year, I will return to you; and Sarah will have a son.

◦ The LORD can be taken at His word, and yet for our sakes the promise is repeated for emphasis and the surety of it.

2 Sarah conceived and bore Avraham a son in his old age, at the very time God had said to him.

• The LORD does not do things according to our timing

◦ but, He is always “on time”

▪ because He alone is Eternal, Omniscient, Omnipotent, Sovereign ….

• He has made everything suited to its time; also, He has given human beings an awareness of eternity; but in such a way that they can't full comprehend, from beginning to end, the things God does. (Eccl 3:11)

• And He said to me, “It is done! I am the 'A' and the 'Z' [Α and Ω (Alpha and Omega); א and ת (Aleph and Tav)], To anyone who is thirsty I Myself will give water free of charge from the Fountain of Life. (Rev 21:6)

3 Avraham called his son, born to him, whom Sarah bore to him, Yitz'chak. 4 Avraham circumcised his son Yitz'chak when he was eight days old, as God had ordered him to do.

• The cutting away of a tender and intimate part of the flesh involved in reproduction symbolizing a tender and intimate relationship with HaShem that is to be reproduced and carried on

• Many claim that there is no medical reason for circumcision and no reason for it to be performed on the eighth day, however many who deny the existence of God will also ignore evidence that supports the authority and accuracy of God's Word. Though the following citation is “old” by some standards, that does not mean it is “outdated.”

◦ “In 1935, H. Dam proposed the term vitamin K for a factor in foods which would prevent hemorrhaging in chicks. Vitamin K is known to be synthesized in the human intestinal tract by bacteria. Subsequently, vitamin K is responsible for synthesis of prothrombin by the liver. If vitamin K is deficient, there is a corresponding prothrombin deficiency and hemorrhaging may occur. Since vitamin K is synthesized by bacteria in the intestinal tract, newborn infants are particularly disposed to suffer from vitamin K and prothrombin deficiencies. These deficiencies occur because newborn infants have not had time to become contaminated with bacteria.

“Nathan Scanzillo has prepared a paper in which he indicates that the rise of vitamin K and prothrombin levels in infants reaches its peak around the eighth day. Thus, he points out that circumcision is best performed on that day. Prothrombin levels rise to 30 percent on the third day of life, and to 110 percent the eighth; thereafter, it levels off to 100 percent. The eighth day is the best day to circumcise and avoid hemorrhaging. … “There are also some medical advantages in circumcision. Recent surveys show that gentile women have 8.5 percent times more cancer of the cervix than Jewish women. Careful studies indicate that the bacterium known as Mycobacterium smegmatis (smegma bacillus) inhabits the external genitourinary tract, but they tend to build up in the uncircumcised male. These bacteria can convey cancer of the cervix to women. “Circumcision is used in Scripture in the spiritual sense as well as in the physical sense. 'Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no more stiffnecked' (Deuteronomy 10:16). 'And the LORD thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live' (Deuteronomy 30:6).” Dr. Jean Sloat Morton, Science in the Bible. Chicago: Moody Press, 1978, pp. 243-244. 5 Avraham was one hundred years old when his son Yitz'chak [laughter] was born to him. 6 Sarah said, “God has given me good reason to laugh; now everyone who hears about it will laugh with me.” 7 And she said, “Who would have said to Avraham that Sarah would nurse children? Nevertheless, I have borne him a son in his old age!” • Keil and Kelitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament Jehovah did for Sarah what God had promised in Gen 17:6 (cf 18:14): she conceived, and at the time appointed bore a son to Abraham, when he was 100 years old. Abraham gave it the name of Jizchak (or Isaac), and circumcised it on the eighth day. The name for the promised son had been selected by God, in connection with Abraham's laughing (Gen 17:17 and 19), to indicate the nature of his birth and existence. For as his laughing sprang from the contrast between the idea and the reality; so through a miracle of grace the birth of Isaac gave effect to this contrast between the promise of God and the pledge of its fulfilment[sp] on the one hand, and in incapacity of Abraham for begetting children, and of Sarah for bearing them, on the other; and through this name, Isaac was designated as the fruit of omnipotent grace working against and above the forces of nature. Sarah also, who had previously laughed with unbelief at the divine promise (18:12), found a reason in the now accomplished birth of the promised son for laughing with joyous amazement; so that she exclaimed, with evident allusion to his name, “A laughing hath God prepared for me; every one who hears it will laugh to me” (i.e. will rejoice with me, in amazement at the blessing of God which has come upon me even in my old age) …. 8 The child grew and was weaned, and Avraham gave a great banquet on the day the Yitz'chak was weaned. • Through propaganda, and also through ignorance, many in Western culture have wrongly considered nursing to be old-fashioned, unsophisticated, embarrassing, unhealthy, and at best only for the very young baby. Helpful and insightful organizations such as the La Lache League work to educate people as to the well documented benefits of nursing. Not only is human milk the absolutely best milk for baby humans, nursing promotes parent-child bonding, and feelings of warmth, security, love, and belonging that have life-long impact. That children may be nursed well beyond infancy is obvious when we understand that the “average age of weaning around the world is 4.2 years.” (Ester Davidowitz, “The Breastfeeding Taboo,” Redbook (July 1992): 114, cited in Baldwin, Elizabeth N. Esq., Extended Breastfeeding and the Law, La Leche League International,, accessed 22 Sept. 2014, emphasis added.) 9 But Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, who Hagar had borne to Avraham, making fun of Yitz'chak • In looking at what this might have been about, the Jewish sages relate a story in which Ishmael claimed to be more loved than Isaac because he was circumcised at the age of 13: as an “adult” who had a choice. “... But you were circumcised as a baby and had no choice in the matter.” 10 So Sarah said to Avraham, “Throw this slave-girl out! And her son! I will not have this slave-girl's son as your heir along with my son Yitz'chak!” • Culture and custom dictated that the firstborn son receive a double portion of the inheritance. • Culture and custom also allowed for a slave-girl who had been involved with her master sexually to be set free / turned away without needing to pay for her freedom (cf Ex 21:10-11). ◦ Turning Hagar out, along with her son, would allow her to go free without needing to pay for her freedom, but it would also remove Yishma'el from any direct inheritance. 11 Avraham became very distressed over this matter of his son. 12 But God said to Avraham, “Don't be distressed because of the boy and your slave-girl. Listen to everything Sarah says to you, because it is your descendants through Yitz'chak who will be counted. 13 But I will also make a nation from the son of the slave-girl, since he is descended from you.” • Yishma'el's name means “God pays attention.” Even though Yishma'el is not mentioned by name in this chapter (his name is absent from chapters 18-24), God is paying attention and will watch over him for Avraham's sake. 14a Avraham got up early in the morning, took bread and a skin of water and gave it to Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, and the child; then he sent her away. ... • It seems to have been Avraham's habit to get up early in the morning, especially when something important had to be done (cf. Gen. 19:2, 27; 20:8; 22:3) • Before sending them off, he gave them some basic provisions, including bread and water ◦ putting it on her shoulder, and the child (who was 13 years old when Yitz'chak was circumcised, so Yishma'el may have been 17 or 18 by now) 14b After leaving, she wandered in the desert around Be'er-Sheva. 15 When the water in the skin was gone, she left the child under a bush, 16 and went and sat down, looking the other way, about a bow-shot's distance from him; because she said, "I can't bear to watch my child die." So she sat there, looking the other way, crying out and weeping. 17 God heard the boy's voice, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, "What's wrong with you, Hagar? Don't be afraid, because God has heard the voice of the boy in his present situation." • she left the child under a bush - with the scarcity of shade in the desert, the idea of resting and even napping "under a bush" is not surprising • Hagar went about a bow-shot's distance away, sat there, looking the other way, crying out and weeping, but G-d heard the boy's voice - it appears Yishma'el was doing more than weeping and crying out; looks like he, at least, was praying to the G-d of Avraham 18 “Get up, lift the boy up, and hold him tightly in your hand, because I am going to make him a great nation.” 19 Then God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water So she went, filled the skin with water and gave the boy water to drink. • Hagar receives the same assurance Avraham had received about Yishma'el (Gen 17:20). • “God opened her eyes” to what was either unnoticed or invisible before, as with ◦ Avraham in Genesis 22:13, and ◦ Geichazi (Gehazi) in 2 Kings 6:17 20 God was with the boy, and he grew. He lived in the desert and became an archer. 21 He lived in the Pa'ran Desert, and his mother chose a wife for him from the land of Egypt. • Gen. 16:11-12 "The angel of Adonai said to her [Hagar], 'Look, you are pregnant, and you will give birth to a son. You are to call him Yishma'el [God pays attention] because Adonai has paid attention to your misery. 12 He will be a wild donkey of a man, with his hand against everyone and everyone's hand against him, living his life at odds with all his kinsmen." ◦ even so, at this point anyway, "God was with the boy ...." • פָּארָן (Pa'ran) means ◦ Strong's: ornamental ◦ BDB: “place of caverns” ◦ from פָּאַר meaning ▪ Strong's: to gleam, i.e. (causatively) embellish; figuratively, to boast; also to explain (i.e. make clear) oneself ▪ BDB: to glorify, to beautify, to adorn 22 At that time Avimelekh and Pikhol the commander of his army spoke to Avraham. They said, "God is with you in everything you do. • Avimelekh => אֲבִימֶלֶךְ is a compound name meaning אֲבִי "my father" מֶלֶךְ (is) king ◦ Avimelekh was a king of Gerar in Abraham's time (Gen. 20:2), and a king of Gath in David's time (Ps. 34:1) -- this may have been a title for a line of Philistine kings. This was also the name of a son of Gideon by a concubine (Judges 9:1). • Pikhol => פִיכֹל = "strong" appears to also be a compound name from פִּי meaning "mouth," and כֹל meaning "all." This makes sense because the person who is the "mouth of all" (speaking for all the people) would have to be "strong"; and in this case was the commander of Avimelekh's army. This may have been a title for the Philistine commanders. 23 Therefore, swear to me here by God that you will never deal falsely with me or with my son or grandson; but according to the kindness with which I have treated you, you will treat me and the land in which you have lived as a foreigner. 24 Avraham said, "I swear it." • Whether or not Avimelekh believed in God, he knew that Avraham did. Since he wanted Avraham to swear, it was important that he swear by his God. • A wise and caring parent will look out for more than just their own interests. If this pagan king does this, how much more should the people of יהוה ! • Even though you lived as a "foreigner" here I treated you well. I "sowed" kindness into your life: do the same for "me and the land." 25 Now Avraham had complained to Avimelekh about a well which Avimelekh's servants had seized. 26 Avimelekh answered, “I don't know who has done this. You didn't tell me, and I heard about it only today.” 27 Avraham took sheep and cattle and gave them to Avimelehk, and the two of them made a covenant. • This complaint and answer are the types of notations that substantiate the fact this is a historical document: Scripture being with unique and unparalleled credentials. • "made" a covenant is actually "to cut" a covenant => the root word being כָּרַת [kah-raht]: to cut off, to cut off a body part, to behead; to cut down; to hew; to cut (make) a covenant ◦ Genesis 15 gives a snapshot of this practice. Verse 10 tells us Abram "cut the animals in two and placed the pieces opposite each other; but he didn't cut the birds in half." ◦ In cutting a covenant, the larger animals involved were cut in two with the halves places opposite each other with a sort of trench in between. The blood of the sacrifices would flow into the trench. Once the terms of the covenant were agreed upon both parties would walk between the pieces, through the trench. The idea being, if I do not fulfill my part of this covenant, may what happened to these animals happen to me. ◦ This helps us understand the seriousness with which a covenant was entered into and what happened later in Genesis 15; understanding that Avram was being brought to cut a covenant with יהוה , verse 12 tells us that “horror and great darkness came over him.” ▪ He knew, there was absolutely no way he could ever possibly fulfill this covenant the LORD was making with him. He knew, if he dared to even put a toe in that trench, he was a dead man! ◦ In verse 17 יהוה , in the form of "a smoking fire pot and a flaming torch appeared, which passed between these animal parts." ▪ This covenant, the outworking of it, and its fulfilling was (and is) totally a work of the Sovereign LORD. * For more on what was involved in making a covenant and God's covenant with us see There is a wealth of information on this website for every student of Scripture, put together by Bible scholar / historian Ray Vander Laan. 28 Avraham put seven female lambs from the flock by themselves. 29 Avinelekh asked Avraham, “What is the meaning of these seven female lambs you have put by themselves?” 30 He answered, You are to accept these seven female lambs from me as witness that I dug this well.” 31 This is why that place was called Be'er-Sheva [well of seven, well of an oath] – because they both swore an oath there. 32 When they made the covenant at Be'er-Sheva, Avimelekh departed with Pikhol the commander of his army and returned to the land of the P'lishtim. • בְּאֵר [beh-ār] ◦ Strong's: a pit, especially a well ◦ BDB: a well, a pit, a spring • שֶׁבַע [sheh-vah] ◦ Strong's: a primitive cardinal number; seven (as the sacred full one); also (adverbially) seven times; by implication, a week; by extension, an indefinite number; from ▪ שָׁבַע [shah-vah] • Strong's: properly to be complete, but used only as a denominative from שֶׁבַע; to seven oneself, i.e. swear (as if by repeating a declaration seven times) • BDB: to swear, to adjure ◦ (Qal) sworn (participle) ◦ (Niphal) to swear, to take an oath; to swear (used of Jehovah (Yahweh) by Himself); to curse ◦ (Hiphil) to cause to take an oath; to adjure ◦ BDB: seven (cardinal number): as ordinal number; in combination, 17, 700, etc. 33 Avraham planted a tamarisk tree in Be'er-Sheva, and there he called on the name of Adonai, the everlasting God. 34 Avraham lived for a long time as a foreigner in the land of the P'lishtim.  Keil and Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament Here Abraham planted a tamarisk and called upon the name of the Lord (vid., Gen 4:26), the everlasting God. Jehovah is called the everlasting God, as the eternally true, with respect to the eternal covenant, which He established with Abraham (Gen 17:7). The planting of this long-lived tree, with its hard wood, and its long, narrow, thickly clustered, evergreen leaves, was to be a type of the ever-enduring grace of the faithful covenant God. Sh'mu'el Alef (1 Samuel) 1:1-2:10 5 ... he loved Hannah, even though Adonai had kept her from having children. 6 Her rival taunted her and made her feel bad, because Adonai had kept her from having children. • the comments that "Adonai had kept her from having children" reflect a trust, a faith, even a conviction that even though ... ◦ I don't understand ◦ I don't feel His presence ◦ I don't see His hand ... ... the LORD is still sovereign, present, and working ▪ my part is to seek, follow, trust and obey Him • as finite creatures, we are currently locked into both time and space • the Eternal, Omnipresent LORD (Who created time and space) has plans for us that transcend both ◦ the creator of any thing must logically be known as outside of, and greater than, the things created or the confines of them -- in this case "time" and "space" ◦ said to have been found after World War II inscribed on a wall of a concentration camp: ▪ I believe in the bird, though it may not sing I believe in the sun, though it may not shine I believe in the LORD, though He may be silent 6 Her rival taunted her and made her feel bad .... • the LORD's plan and design for marriage was, from the beginning, one man and one woman ◦ Gen. 1:27 So God created humankind in his own image; in the image of God he created him: male and female he created them. ▪ "male" and "female" here are both in the singular in the original Hebrew ▪ each carries with them certain aspects of the nature and character of HaShem that can not be fully seen in either individually ◦ Mt. 19:4 He [Yeshua] replied, "Haven't you read that at the beginning the Creator made them male and female, 5 and that he said, 'For this reason a man should leave his father and mother and be united with his wife, and the two are to become one flesh'? 6 Thus they are no longer two, but one. ... ("male" and "female" are both strongly emphatic in the original; I emphasized "two") ◦ the one man and one woman -- in a unique and special way -- complete, balance, and fulfill one another so that, together, they can better reflect the love and character of their Creator ▪ adding to that God-ordained relationship (i.e. another wife / more wives) breaks down the God-image / reflection of the relationship, and their ability to whole-heartedly love one another • in a two-part epoxy, the proper mix is an equal amount of both parts for an optimum bond (1 + 1); if the mixture is out of balance (i.e. 1 + 2 or 1 + 3), to the extent it is out of balance, not only is optimum bonding is impossible, often there is no bond at all • In another way of looking at it, I once saw a video where the speaker used duct tape to symbolize the "stick-tuitiveness" of the sexual relationship. She took a piece of duct tape and put it on her arm, pressing it down, explaining how sexual intercourse binds two people together in spirit, soul, and body. She then pulled off the tape and handed it to the first person in the audience. They were to press the tape on their forearm, then pull it off and pass it down the row, where everyone in the row was to do the same thing. It did not take long for the tape to lose its ability to stick. The more people involved, the less able the tape is to stick, because a part of each person is torn away and stays with the tape. ▪ The LORD designed sex to be enjoyed by both within the mutually exclusive relationship of marriage between one man and one woman. Within the safety of this God honoring, loving relationship, the two are bound together in a way that God intended would last a lifetime; and He can bless it. Anything less is outside the parameters He set, and sex is degraded to lust and selfish desire. • Talking with Anne about the situation, she shared a woman's perspective: ◦ If she were the first wife and her husband took another: ▪ What about me isn't good enough for him? ▪ Or is no longer good enough? ▪ Did he really love me, or was he just using me? ▪ There will aways be questions; How I could ever feel secure in our relationship, and how can I ever trust that he won't keep looking for more wives? ◦ If she were the second wife: ▪ What about the first wife isn't good enough for him? ▪ Was he just using her, and is now going to simply use me? ▪ If he really loved her, how can he really love me? ▪ There will aways be questions; How I could ever feel secure in our relationship, and how can I ever trust that he won't keep looking for more wives? ◦ It is impossible to whole-heartedly devoted to more than one person. 8 Her husband Elkanah said to her, "Hannah, why are you crying, and why aren't you eating? Why be so sad? Am I not better to you than ten sons?" • a lot can happen "behind the scenes," so Elkanah might not have been aware of all that was happening between his two wives, yet he seems to have an idea because he asks "Am I not better to you than ten sons?" ◦ children were generally the only type of "social security" aging parents would have ◦ children represented life and the continuance of life ◦ God's command to "be fruitful and multiply" (Gen. 1:28; 9:1; 35:11), and the blessings and curses of Deuteronomy 28 (e.g. 4 and 18) continue, so Hannah may have been seen by others as cursed by God (and felt that way herself) ◦ but a question remains: what if (remembering that asking too many 'what ifs' can drive you crazy!) -- what if Elkanah had said something like, "Hannah, you are better to me than ten sons"? 10 In deep depression she prayed to Adonai and cried.  “deep depression” here is מָרַת נָפֶשׁ in the Hebrew  מָרַת is the feminine construct form of מַר meaning:  Strong's: bitter (literally or figuratively); also (as noun) bitterness, or (adverbially) bitterly  BDB: as an adjective: bitter, bitterness: used of water or food; used of harlot's end, end of wickedness, cry (figurative); used of pain (substantive): as an adverb: bitterly  נָפֶשׁ [nah-fehsh] is the feminine singular pausal of נֶפֶשׁ [neh-fehsh] (PAUSAL: 1: of, relating to, or occurring at a pause (as at the end of a clause or sentence); 2: of, relating to, or constituting the form taken by a word or vowel before a pause (as in Hebrew)., accessed 17Sep15.)  Strong's: properly, a breathing creature, i.e. animal of (abstractly) vitality; used very widely in a literal, accommodated or figurative sense (bodily or mental); from נָפַשׁ [nah-fahsh]  BDB: a soul, self, life, a creature, a person, an appetite, a mind a living being, a desire, an emotion, a passion: what breathes, the breathing substance or being, a soul, the inner being of man; a living being; a living being (with life in the blood); the man himself, a self, a person or an individual; the seat of the appetites; the seat of emotions and passions; the activity of mind (uncertain); the activity of the will (uncertain); the activity of the character (uncertain)  נָפַשׁ  Strong's: to breathe; passively, to be breathed upon, i.e. (figuratively) refreshed (as if by a current of air)  BDB: (Niphal) to take a breath, to refresh oneself  trying to translate the depth of emotion involved various translations have rendered מָרַת נָפֶשׁ as “bitterness of soul,” “greatly distressed,” “deep anguish,” “deeply distressed,” “deep depression”  Any, or all of these may be used to try to describe a state of being that can be brought on by loss, hormones, trauma, drugs, demonic activity, etc., or nondescript or unknown causes. Depending on its cause(s) depression can last for minutes or years. Each case needs to be dealt with individually as there are no “stock answers,” but praying for the LORD's guidance, wisdom, and discernment, along with healthy doses of compassion and patience are always in order.  Hannah “prayed to Adonai and cried”  Praying is always best and should be a priority.  For many, crying is a natural, normal way to “de-stress.”  Before Anne and I got married she had me watch a movie with her in which the main character was a woman television reporter with a very stressful job. Every so often she would get a box of tissue, sit in the middle of her bed, and make herself cry as a way of dealing with (and getting rid of) the stress.  While there may not be any one thing “wrong,” a good cry can help “de-stress” and be very cathartic. 11 Then she took a vow; she said, “Adonai-Tzva'ot, if You will notice how humiliated your servant is, if You will remember me and not forget your servant but will give Your servant a male child, than I will give him to Adonai for as long as he lives; and no razor will ever come on his head.”  “then she took a vow” in the Hebrew is וַתִּדֹּר נֶדֶר [vah-ti-dōr neh-dehr]  וַ [vah] commonly prefixed to Hebrew words, ו usually means “and”  תִּדֹּר [ti-dōr] is the Qal (verb form) imperfect 3rd person feminine of נָדַר [nah-dahr] meaning  Strong's: to promise (pos., to do or give something to God)  BDB: to vow, to make a vow; (Qal) to vow a vow  נֶדֶר [neh-dehr] is the noun; the vow itself, or the thing promised  in Hebrew, when two forms of the same word are used right after each other it emphases the point (makes it emphatic)  Adonai-Tzva'ot is often translated LORD of Hosts  Adonai or LORD is a rendering of יהוה , the holy Name of God, sometimes referred to as the tetragrammaton  Tzva'ot or Hosts is a rendering of צְבָאוֹת [tzeh-vah-ōt], plural of צָבָא [tzah-vah] meaning  Strong's: a mass of persons (or figuratively, things), especially reg. organized for was (an army); by implication a campaign, literally or figuratively (specifically, hardship, worship)  BDB: what goes forth, an army, a war, warfare, a host; an army a host (a host (used of an organized army; used of angels); used of sun, moon, and stars; used of whole creation; a war, warfare, service, go out to war; service  “if You will notice” here is another doubling, an emphatic construction, in the Hebrew:  אִם־ רָאֹה תִרְאֶה [im rah-oh tir-eh]  אִם־ is the hypothetical participle  רָאֹה is the Qal infinitive absolute of רָאָה [rah-ah]  תִרְאֶה is Qal imperfect, 2nd person, masculine, singular of רָאָה which means  Strong's: to see, literally or figuratively (in numerous applications, direct and implied, transitive, intransitive and causative)  BDB: (Qal) to see; to perceive; to have vision; to look at, to see, to regard, to look after, to see after, to learn about, to observe, to watch, to look upon, to look out, to find out; to see, to observe, to consider, to look at, to give attention to, to discern, to distinguish; to look at, to gaze at 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 This is one of the great passages dealing with the rapture. The word “rapture” is not in Scripture, but is used to describe a Biblical concept. (The same is true for the word “trinity” – but that is a lesson for another day.) [NOTE: some of the ideas presented here will be challenging to some, but let's remember that the idea of Yeshua returning twice, or one near-coming plus a return, once for part of His bride and again later for the rest of His bride (often called a “pre-tribulation rapture” {popularized by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins in their “Left Behind” novels}, or a “mid-tribulation rapture”) has a questionable biblical basis and no historical basis earlier than the mid-1800s in the United States. The idea that believers will escape tribulation is unknown in most of the world (e.g. North Korea, China, Russia, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Pakistan, Indonesia, Algeria, Libya, Chad, Somalia, Viet Nam, Laos, Cambodia, …..) . How the LORD will work out the final events of history are His prerogative. He alone is Sovereign, Eternal, All-Knowing … . The fulfillment of prophecy can most clearly be seen in retrospect.]  “... Indeed, all who want to live a godly life united with the Messiah Yeshua will be persecuted” (2 Tim. 3:12). Consider also:  “Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name.” (Mt. 24:9)  “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we also have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God. 3 And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; 4 and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; 5 and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” (Rom. 5:1-3)  “Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 Just as it is written, 'For your sake we are being put to death all day long; we were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.' (Ps 44:22) 37 But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 not height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom. 8:35-39)  “Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; 11 not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; 12 rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, 13 contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality.” (Rom. 12:9-13)  “You also became imitators of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much tribulation with the joy of the Holy Spirit” (1 Thes. 1:6) Vs 13 Now, brothers, we want you to know the truth about those who have died; otherwise, you might become sad the way other people 14 do who have nothing to hope for. For since we believe that Yeshua died and rose again, we also believe that in the same way God, through Yeshua, will take with Him those who have died. • the truth of the resurrection of Yeshua gives us a future and a hope; even if these bodies we are in may die 15 When we say this, we base it on the Lord's own word: we who remain alive when the Lord comes will certainly not take precedence over those who have died. • what we say, we base on what the Lord said 16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a rousing cry, with a call from one of the ruling angels, and with God's shofar; those who died united with the Messiah will be the first to rise; 17 then we who are left still alive will be caught up with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and thus we will always be with the Lord. 18 So encourage each other with these words. The culture of the time, and in many places even now, is to go out to meet a dignitary or even a friend, greet them, and escort them back (into your home, etc.) The base word from the original Greek manuscript here is ἀπάντησις [ap-an-te-sis] meaning: Strong's: “a (friendly) encounter” and to “meet” someone. Thayer's: “a meeting” and “to meet one.” Matthew 25:6 “ It was the middle of the night when the cry rang out, 'The bridegroom is here! Go out to meet [ἀπάντησις] him!” And after the five wise bridesmaids met the bridegroom? Matthew 25:10 “... Those who were ready went with him to the wedding feast, and the door was shut.” The entire wedding party, family and friends, were with the bride and groom for the duration of the feast. (The bridegroom did not return to the village for the rest of his bride; some part left behind.) The only other use of ἀπάντησις in the B'rit Chadashah (New Testament) is in Acts 28:15, “The brothers there had heard about us and came as far as Appian Market and Three Inns to meet us. When Sha'ul saw them, he thanked God and took courage.” As was Yeshua's custom, (and that of other rabbis and Pharisees of the time,) the parable in Matthew 25 is drawn directly from everyday life of Second Temple period Jewish custom. Once a man and woman were betrothed (an engagement that could only be broken by death or divorce), they would separate for a time. The couple was legally considered married, but not allowed to consummate the relationship until their wedding day. We see this custom in Mt. 1:18-19. Miryam (Mary) was engaged / betrothed / pledged to Yosef (Joseph). Before they had come together / were married (before the relationship had been consummated), she was found to be pregnant from the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit). Yosef, being a righteous man, wanting to do what was right, and not expose her to public shame that would have led to her being stoned to death (Deut. 22:20-21), made plans to break the engagement / divorce / put her away quietly. Because of the “bride price” paid, the betrothed woman would be said to have been “bought with a price” (1 Cor. 6:20) and would need to be ready at a moment's notice for the return of her bridegroom: she did not know the day or the hour of his return (Mt. 25:13). During this “engagement period” the young man would return to his father's house to build a type of room addition for his bride and future family. He went to prepare a place for her, and would certainly come again. Each son would do this around a common courtyard, so that in the father's house there might be many rooms (Jn. 14:2-3). The groom would work on the project until it passed the father's inspection. No one knew the day or the hour everything would be “checked off” and he would be given the "go ahead" to retrieve his bride: only the father was in the know (Mt. 24:36, Mk. 13:32). Once everything was ready, the father would tell his son, who would, in turn, gather his friends and head to the young woman's house. With the sound of a trumpet (shofar) the bridegroom and his entourage would come (1 Thes. 4:16-18), and every young woman who had been bought with a price would look with anticipation to see if it was their groom coming for them. The bridegroom would come once for his bride who had made herself ready (Rev. 19:6).

by Messianic Teacher Dr. Daniel Boley