Matthew 2 Questions and Proposed Answers

Matthew 2

Questions and Proposed Answers

(See Accompanying Matthew 2 Literally Rendered on this site. Thank you, Janie, for text editing!)

Note: This document has not been finely edited. It is written during studies. Please expect to find errors in spelling, words missing, etc. If you use the document and desire to participate in editing it, please do so. I will need the number-letter address along with a partical quote of the error, and what you know or think it should say. Please send it to

1. a) How long after the birth of Yeshua did the Magi arrive? They arrived about a year and a half after the birth. I figured this based on Herod’s determination to slaughter all the male children from two years and down; else he might miss the child. Verse 8 refers to a little child, a distinction from a baby.

1. b) What are Magi? They are astrologers.

1. c) What does Beth-Lehem mean? It means House of Bread.

1. d) What is fitting about the city being called House of Bread? Yeshua Himself is the Bread of Life.

1. e) Where in the east did the Magi originate? The text does not say. It was far enough away that it took them perhaps a year or more (discounting the arrangements time for traveling).

1. f) What transportation did they use? The text does not say. Assuming they used camels is an error. Assuming they didn’t is an error. If they used camels, they would have been two-humped, not one. They could have used horses, asses, or any combination. They may have used animals during part of the journey, sold them, and obtain different animals for the terrain. They had stuff to carry, but they also may have had slaves to help. So many things are not described, and assuming any one of them is an error.

2. a) How did they know that the one born was specifically king of the Jews? They read the constellations. The information of the birth of the King of the Jews was clearly written in the constellations, and they could them. The information about the specific location within Israel was not evident to them in the constellations, so they had to ask for His location.

2. b) How can one read constellations? In what school can a person learn to accurately read constellations to only derive Truth and no error? Learning to read any pictorial language is not more difficult than reading a language of symbols. What is required is a good teacher who can perfectly read the pictorial representations. Yehovah was the writer of the pictures in the constellations; He is therefore equipped to instruct in constellation reading. He taught someone or someones who in turn taught others, the same way we learn to read English characters (letters). An astrologer was one who studies the constellations to read Truth from them. Modern astrologers read the constellations in the same way that modern pastors read the Bible: non-literally with their own opinions and whatever keeps others from the Truth. Thus, there is no practical difference between the word of modern astrologers and nearly all modern pastors/preachers/teachers, etc. Those who are truly called of God will speak what is infallible; the rest will speak the same falsities that they were taught, just as modern astrologers. Yehovah has condemned the lies of astrologers, and astrologers of Israel are under the death penalty. How much is this also true of pastors, preachers and teachers who teach lies about the God of Israel and lead others to death?

If this is true, Yehovah could easily instruct anyone in infallibly astrology today, were that necessary. It is necessary in some lands where Bibles are illegal and where obtaining copies is nearly impossible and at risk of death.

These magi learned to read the constellations infallibly.

2. c) Whom were they asking? They were asking residents of Jerusalem.

2. d) Why were they asking residents of Jerusalem? They assumed that such a momentous event would be common knowledge among a people whose King was of the stature of God! They must have been very surprised to find that their question was not answered among the common residents!

2. e) Were these wise men born of God? I propose that their faith in the infallible Hope of God invested in Israel showed that they strongly believed. Yehovah made sure to protect them. They greeted the Messiah of Israel in Israel when the Israelis were unaware. I have no evidence that they were anything but born of God.

2. f) Was Yeshua actually born king of the Jews? We know from other texts that Yeshua was born the Saviour; His Name means Salvation.

John 18:37 Pilate therefore said unto Him, “Art thou a king then?” Yeshua answered, “Thou sayest that I am a king! I was born to this end and I came into the world for this cause, so-that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the Truth hears my voice.”

Yeshua was indeed born King of the Jews. He will take up the throne in the Millennium. His kingdom is in exile in the heavens. He is King, but He is not exercising His kingly prerogative over the Land of Israel and the earth at this time. The kingdom is not here.

The astrologers knew that Yeshua’s being King was from birth! They knew what few readers of the Bible have understood.

2. g) Is His being King of the Jews distinct from His being King of the Israelis (referring to the split between Israel and Judah)? No! The term Jews does not make that distinction automatically. His being King is over all Israel.

2. h) How was that star His star? They were able to understand this from what they knew from the constellations. Yehovah made that star special, and made its identification in a way that these astrologers understood it. They read the constellations because Yehovah put that knowledge into their brains. They knew that star identified with the newly born King of the Jews.

2. i) Did they know that the newly born King of the Jews was named Yeshua? No text (that we have seen) indicates this. Had they known His Name, they would have specified that. Had they specified Him by name, they would have endangered Him and everyone around Him! Herod would have used this information to get a solid lead on Yeshua and His mother and His stepfather, and would probably have pursued them into Egypt to assassinate Him.

2. j) They saw His star in the east. Does that mean that they followed that star all the way to Israel? The texts do not indicate this. Rather, once they see the star again, they greatly rejoice. That tells the reader that the star they saw in the east was not with them on their journey to the Land of Israel. They knew to go to Israel; they needed no star to inform them of their destination in general. They needed help when it comes to the specific city.

2. k) Exactly how would they worship Him? They would prostrate themselves before Him. Worship is always prostration: lying down flat before another.

2. l) What is the benefit of worship? These men had no concern regarding their own ranks in life. They desired to physically demonstrate their willingness to serve the child who is King. Thus, they determined to make a declaration before that King that they are willing to serve. One who is truly humble will sometimes show that humility through the act of prostration. That does not mean that only humble folks worship; many arrogant folks will prostrate before Messiah.

2. m) Did it seem odd to these travelers that others didn’t also want to go and worship the one born king? We spoke earlier on this. They did seem somewhat mystified by the lack of response among the Israelis to their own King.

3. a) Why was all Jerusalem troubled? They were concerned about King Herod. He was a violent man. If he suspected that the Jews had a secret king, he would go violent, and many would die. If Herod was unhappy, everyone would be unhappy.

3. b) Why was Herod troubled? He was called a king; he didn’t desire another to take his position!

3. c) How did Herod hear? He had spies everywhere, folks who would inform him.

4. a) Why did Herod inquire when the Messiah should be born instead of ‘the king of the Jews’? I propose that Herod knew that the Messiah of Israel would later become king. He didn’t desire to actually call this child a king lest he lend credibility to that child’s rank, making it equal or greater in legitimacy than his own rank. Thus, he chose what would be considered an inferior title (Messiah) in his view, while still finding the person he needed to assassinate.

4. b) How much trouble did Herod’s servants have to gather all the chief priests and scribes of the Israeli people? This took a great deal of effort and trouble. Herod was a dangerous man. He was on a very serious and deadly mission.

4. c) What information would the chief priests have regarding this issue? The chief priests would know the Torah if they knew anything. They would also know prophecies.

4. d) What information would the scribes have regarding this issue? They would know every word in the copies of the scrolls they copied! Thus, they would be a quick resource for this information.

4. e) Did the chief priests and scribes know the answer to his question? Yes! They knew, indeed! Yet they hadn’t moved to find Yeshua.

4. f) If this is the case, why didn’t they also go on the quest to find the Messiah? I propose that they didn’t know the timing of Messiah’s birth. I also propose that once they knew that the timing was now, they didn’t want to be identified with worshiping him lest they become targets of Herod’s assassinations.

5. a) Were they right in their location? They were right regarding the location of His birth. They were not necessarily right regarding His present location. The text does not state where Miriam, Joseph and Yeshua were living at this time. Luke does:

Luke 2:39 And when they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city Nazareth. 

5. b) How far is Nazareth from Bethlehem? As the bird flies, it is about 70 miles. As animal or person walks, it must be about 100 miles, which is at least two days journey, and more like a solid three days. She went on this journey while in her last month of pregnancy. Folks were tough!

5. c) Where is it written?

Micah 5:2 But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.

5. d) How can these two quotes be reconciled? –

Micah 5:2 But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel.

And thou Bethlehem, land of Judah, in no wise art least among the governors of Judah. For a leader shall go forth out of thee who shall shepherd my People Israel.


A literal rendering of Micah 5:2 is the following:

And thou, House of Bread: I-will-make-her-fruitful. Little to be in the thousands/alufs of Judah. He will go forth from thee to me to be a ruler in Israel.

The last part about His being a shepherd is combining other texts. Since this text mentions “the prophet,” I ended the quote where I did. Genesis was written by Moshe, while Micah wrote Micah.

Genesis 49:24 But his bow abode in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob. (From thence is the shepherd, the stone of Israel.)

6. a) This text states that Bethlehem is “land of Judah” while the Micah text calls it “Ephrata”. Which is correct? Both are correct. Bethlehem is in the land of Judah, and it is also specifically known by its longer title, Bethlehem Ephrata. That literally means, House-Of-Bread I-Will-Make-Her-Fruitful.

6. b) Why was this location named House of Bread? A number of locations in Israel were named House of Bread. This is an appropriate name for a bakery. It could also be a storage location for grain: a silo. Chances are good that where there would be a silo/storage facility for grain, there would be a bakery.

6. c) Is this name House of Bread significant? Yes! It is the right place for the Bread of Life to be born.

6. d) Was there a question about Bethlehem being least among the governors of Judah that necessitated Yehovah to explain that this city was not the least? Was Bethlehem a governor? The location and its leader are often combined in thought and address. Thus, one speaks of President Bush when thinking of Washington, or one speaks of Washington when referring to President Bush or the government. Thus, Bethlehem is the seat of a government, but it was considered very small and unimportant compared to other districts. Yehovah is speaking of a future event when Bethlehem’s importance will be great, because Bethlehem will produce a leader (and a shepherd) Who will lead and Shepherd Yehovah’s People Israel.

6. e) When will that leader go forth out of Bethlehem? That will be at and after the end of the Tribulation, unless it is referring to Yeshua’s visits during the Tribulation.

6. f) How will He shepherd them?  When will He shepherd them? He will shepherd them in the Millennium, certainly, But He will also shepherd them during the Tribulation, as the 23rd attests. He will shepherd them by directing them in the way they must go, by tending their needs, by providing protection, by doing all things necessary for their welfare.

6. g) What does “my people Israel” indicate? It indicates that the Israelis are His people. No other people or mixture of peoples has taken that spot.

6. h) Will this leader shepherd any Gentiles? Yes, He will shepherd some. Those who desire to do good and who desire Truth will need shepherding during the Tribulation. This text doesn’t mention these folks because they are not part of the topic of this text.

7. a) Why did Herod call the magi secretly? He plotted to kill the child king. If he had made such an inquiry in public, some hearers would have easily guessed what he had in mind, and would have been able to warn residents of Bethlehem. He also promised to “do homage” (bow down) to the child king. Enemies hearing of this promise would have caused Herod to be kicked off his throne.

7. b) Why did Herod desire to know the time of the appearing of the star? He could figure how old the child king was in order to kill only the children of that age.

8. a) What did Herod think that the astrologers would have to do to find the child, once they had arrived in Bethlehem? They thought the astrologers would have to ask residents to identify where this child lived. He thought they would have to determine the birth date and then ask citizens of the area.

8. b) What does do homage mean? It means bow down to another, often with the idea of expressing good things to the object of the homage or about the object of the homage.

9. a) Did they agree to do as King Herod said? The text doesn’t indicate that they agreed.

9. b) Had that star been with them the entire time of their journey? The text does not indicate this. They saw the star in the East, and they knew where to travel: that is, to Israel. They did not need the star to guide them to the Land of Israel. They understood the message in the constellations so that they knew the Land of Israel as being the birthplace of the Messiah. Once the star appeared, that was the signal to travel. Again, I propose that they didn’t need to follow a star; they knew the trade routes to Israel.

9. c) Why is the text worded, “the star… pro-led them”? This indicates that the star is now in a position for them to follow.

9. d) Does this mean that the star moved as they moved? The text’s wording does not rule this out, but it also does not substantiate this. There will be movement in the next phrase. The text states that the star stood over where the little child was. This indicates that the star did move at least at the end, if not during the trip. The very rotation of the earth would have made following stars useless if those stars followed the normal night-sky course. This star acted like a high-motion satellite or like an alien space ship.

9. e) How can a star ‘stand’ over anything? Yehovah has no problem designing the light rays so that they are directly perpendicular to the ground below, and so that it is obvious.

9. f) What information does the wording, “little child” express to a reader? He is no longer an infant; he is a small child.

10. a) Why were they so excited about the reappearance of the star? They knew they had come to the right place, and that star had not been with them on the entire journey. Its reappearance reassured them that they had traveled to the correct place.

10. b) Why didn’t Yehovah supply them with the star during the entire journey? They were tested regarding faith. This also kept that star from being seen by others who would interpret it in their own ways.

10. c) Their seeing the star again in the sky was equivalent to what experience in the Bible? It would be akin to an appropriate cross-reference. They are reading infallible information from that star. An appropriate cross-reference is an infallible cross reference in the Bible. That star was the Word of Yehovah.

11. a) Did they just walk in, or did they knock? The wording indicates that they just walked in. The animals upon which we have supposed that they journeyed, or their walking by feet would have given away their arrival. We don’t know the custom. The wording, however, indicates that they came in, and they found.

11. b) Did these folks speak Hebrew? We also have no indication that they knew the Hebrew language or Hebrew customs. Herod likely would have had interpreters in his court, since businessmen who traveled would have known the languages of places where they bargained. The text only indicates that the prostrated themselves, and that they presented gifts. These acts need no spoken language.

11. c) Where was Joseph? The text doesn’t indicate that he was home. He is in the next text.

11. d) Why did they worship Him? They knew who He was.

11. e) Did they take the child into their laps? It doesn’t say.

11. f) Did they bless the child? It doesn’t say that they spoke.

11. g) How many were in this group? The text doesn’t say. It uses the plural, indicating that there were two or more. The number of the gifts is no indication of the number of the bearers.

11. h) Were there any women in the group? The text doesn’t say. The journey was long, and women are very capable. Assuming that all the astrologers were men is assuming that Yehovah did not have women who could read the stars. We do not know if the astrologers were accompanied by helpers, slaves, etc. Those details are not important.

11. i) Why did they give gold? It was valuable. The gifts were prophetic and needed. Messiah and His family were about to travel. They were poor; they needed the funds, and Yehovah knew it. Gold itself is a type. We have proposed that it typifies immortality because it doesn’t tend to rot.

11. j) What is frankincense? It is the rosin (sap) from a desert bush, not unlike pine sap, but with a different fragrance. It is used as incense to deodorize an area or as a pleasant fragrance. It is activated by placing it on a very hot surface (like a piece of hot coal or a hot rock, or on heated metal), and it smokes with a pleasant smell. It is not highly perfumed, so that its smell is not sickening, but it is a pleasant fragrance.

11. k) Why did they give frankincense? The text doesn’t say. Frankincense was valuable, and it still is. It was useful in life or for the selling.

11. l) What is myrrh? Myrrh is just like frankincense, but from a different bush. It is also rosin, and it is activated the same way. Its smell is different, but it curiously can mask the odor of death much more than frankincense.

11. m) Why did they give myrrh? I propose that gave myrrh for the same reasons as frankincense (it was valuable), but also as a picture of death. Frankincense is intimately connected with sacrifice. Thus, the three, gold, frankincense and  myrrh end up being types: incorruptibility, sacrifice and death.

12. a) Why is the word withdrew used? This shows the opposite of an advance. They not only left, but they specifically gave their space back as if they were an army that has left the area. It wasn’t as if they were on a trip with another destination. They had come as far as they desired. They then went back in a withdrawal form. This is a different picture from one in which they merely return. A withdrawal can be done in secret. They pulled out, getting away from danger.

12. b) How far did they withdraw? They went back to their own country located in the East. This withdrawal could have been for more than 1500 miles. They had traveled for 1½ years to arrive. Their return was probably faster.

12. c) From how many countries did these travelers come? They came from one country.

12. d) Was one person in this company given a dream, or were two (or more) given the warning dream? The dream was singular. How many saw the dream is another issue. The text doesn’t say.

12. e) Who instructed them in the dream? We don’t know whether it was Yehovah in some form or an angel, but we know the source: this was from Yehovah. The Greek word does not permit a proof that God did it.

12. f) What would have happened had they reported back to Herod? Yeshua would have been targeted for death. Yehovah would have still saved the child, but many others might have died in the encircling of Yeshua to kill Him.

13. a) Who was this angel of Yehovah? This was an angelic messenger, since messenger and angel are exactly the same word in Greek (and are the same different word in Hebrew). The text doesn’t say. Gabriel or Michael could certainly be the angel, but Yehovah could use any angel.

13. b) Why would an angel have to tell anyone to flee? Wouldn’t advance warning have been preferable? No advance warning would have helped; it would only have increased anxiety and risk.

13. c) Why is Egypt chosen? This is so that prophecy will be fulfilled. Verse 15 shows this: “what was spoken… might be fulfilled, saying, “I have called my Son out of Egypt.” That will occur when Israel and Messiah Yeshua as one Son of Yehovah are called physically out of the Land of Egypt. We have proposed that this will be the fulfillment of the Succot event (Booths or Tabernacles).

13. d) What did they use for travel expenses? They had those gifts. The frankincense and myrrh could have been used to make them appear as traveling merchants. This disguise would not alert Herod. The gold could purchase apparel that disguised them. Coming from the village in which they lived would have marked them as quite poor.

13. e) Who is thee in “be there until I tell thee”? This refers to Joseph. He is the one having the dream.

13. f) How old is the little child? He is about 1½ years old. That is why Herod will kill all the males from 2 years and down, making sure that he gets them all.

13. g) Why didn’t Yehovah just protect the child in place? These actions were for future prophetic events; they were miniatures of events to come. Yehovah will protect when that is appropriate, but He will also warn when that is appropriate. Yehovah at times will neither protect nor warn, as future verses here will show. If Yehovah’s character were to stop all the bad effects of sin, His character would also be to put a halt to sinful man. Yehovah does not usually kill doers of evil. They will be routed in the judgment when they are consigned into the Lake of Fire.

13. h) Why didn’t Yehovah just strike Herod dead? Yehovah rarely does that. Sinners are given opportunity to either turn or to accrue more sin.

13. i) Why did Herod desire to even do anything to Yeshua? He felt threatened. Even though Yeshua was a very small child, even the claim that a child king was in the territory would give boldness to some who would use it as a pretext to challenge the government. There have been child kings in various places.

13. j) Would Herod have succeeded in destroying Yeshua, had he caught up with Him? The danger was real, and not artificial. Herod would have destroyed the child had he caught Him, apart from miraculous intervention or the help of others. We see the danger with Yeshua during His entire ministry, but we also see Yehovah or Yeshua using miraculous forces to forestall the time of Yeshua’s death until the time was right.

14. a) Why did he need to arise? He was in bed when he had the invasive dream.

14. b) What did he take? He took his family and whatever they needed for the trip.

14. c) The text states that they withdrew into Egypt. What does this word mean? It is pulling out.

14. d) Why did they leave at night? They needed to be unobserved by their neighbours.

14. e) Why did the text use “and His mother” instead of “and his wife”? I don’t know the reason, but I can suppose that this shows Joseph in a supportive role for the Child and His mother, that role superceding the role of husband and (adoptive) father. In a normal consideration of a marriage, the husband-wife relationship supercedes the father-child and mother-child relationship. That is not the case in this text.

15. a) Did they have to stay in Egypt until the death of Herod? Verse 20 explains that the answer is yes. They had to stay there, because Herod was determined to kill him until Herod died. Yehovah did not call for their return until Herod died.

15. b) What can these events show about not being presumptuous? They obeyed, taking the warning seriously, and not presuming to return before they were told. This is vital information for folks living during the Tribulation, so that they won’t be presumptuous. Many religious folks (perhaps all) are presumptuous by nature and practice. If presumption is assumption with arrogance, religion teaches arrogance: that is, it teaches an elevated position before and in front of the True and Living God. Thus, religious folks think that they stand right before whatever god/God they think they worship and trust. Folks usually have much confidence, which amounts to arrogance if they are wrong, since humility (the opposite of arrogance) is knowing where one stands in rank and responsibility before God and man, and living that way. Religious folks do not practice this type of humility. They can’t. They have another god that stops them from concentrating on the real One. Arrogance makes for obstinacy.

Joseph and Miriam were not presumptuous. They did what they were told, and waited to hear from the same source before returning to the Land of Israel. Folks who live during the Tribulation will include some who are not presumptuous, and who hearken. They will live.

15. c) Explain “might be fulfilled”: These expressions are common in the Bible. The form of the verb in the ‘New Testament’ is an aorist passive subjunctive. That means that the verb has no tense assigned to it, like gerunds in English: “The rolling ball hit the wall.” The word rolling has no tense with it, but instead looks at a point in time. That is supposedly how the Greek aorist works. The passive state of the verb shows that the verb is doing its work on the subject. Since the verb is might be fulfilled is passive, the action is to the subject, “what was spoken”. Don’t ever trust the Greek subjunctive. The subjunctive form indicates possibility or the possibility that it won’t occur. The English language sometimes uses if with the subjunctive that is contrary to fact, as in, “If I were a rich man…” If we believe that the Greek subjunctive is ‘iffy’, the Bible is also ‘iffy’ and therefore not Truth. I propose that the subjunctive in the Greek usually is an emphatic indicator with certainty, not an uncertain and ‘iffy’ situation.

Thus, “might be fulfilled” is more like “in order to be fulfilled” in its flavour. It still holds the idea that it is dealing with a future event. In other words, it is not saying that this event fulfilled a prophecy, but rather that this event sets the stage for a future fulfillment.

Consider the original text of “Out of Egypt I have called my son”:

Hosea 11:11 For Israel is a youth. And I loved him. And I called to my son from Egypt.

This text could mean one of two things: that the speaker was in Egypt, and called to his son from Egypt, or that the speaker called to his son to leave Egypt. This text is an End Times text, and the son in the text is Israel.

Yehovah did not call to Yeshua; He called to Joseph to bring Yeshua out. Thus, the Hosea text cannot be fulfilled by what happened to Yeshua.

What happened to Yeshua wasn’t the fulfillment of any prophecy, but instead was the set-up for the fulfillment of a specific prophecy.

Had the text been declaring that Yeshua’s experience was a fulfillment of prophecy, the wording would have been more akin to “and was there until the death of Herod to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet, saying, ‘I called to my son from Egypt.’”

15. d) Who is the son in this text? It is Israel!

15. e) Which is true? Is Yehovah calling to His son Israel while Yehovah is in Egypt, or is He calling His son Israel to come out of Egypt? Since this is an End Times text, and since a portion of Israel will necessarily find shelter in Egypt, then again, since that portion will have to leave Egypt, being called out from Egypt, both are true.

16. a) Did the Magi mock Herod? They didn’t do what he asked them to do. They avoided obedience. Herod saw that as mockery: making a fool of him. He was very enraged.

16. b) Who are these Magi? They are the astrologers listed above.

16. c) Did the Magi do wrong by not obeying Herod? No; they did right.

16. d) Why did Herod choose to kill boys? He was attempting to kill a king, not a queen.

16. e) Why did Herod choose boys 2 years and under to slaughter? He had diligently sought the time the star appeared (see verse 7). That would have been exactly when the child-king was born.

16. f) Why didn’t Herod instead fear because of the star? Herod didn’t see the star. While he definitely believed the message of the star, he didn’t fear God; he feared competition. He knew that word of a king sent from heaven would bring many to participate in a rebellion. Herod feared the movement that the Israelis supported.

16. g) Why did he choose Bethlehem? Prophecy had identified Bethlehem as the source city.

16. h) Did the Magi have anything to do with Herod’s believing that the child king was legitimate or a threat? Yes, they had everything to do with that. The Magi would not have made that long trip if they hadn’t believed that Yeshua was a king. Their presence stirred up the messianic fervour and the messianic movement among the Israelis.

16. i) Did the Magi do wrong by stirring up the messianic fervour? No, they did no wrong.

16. j) Why did Yehovah give no warning to the parents of the children slaughtered in this text? Didn’t He love those children and care about their parents? All through history, Yehovah has refrained from stopping many slaughters of innocent folks. Had Yehovah been doing the work of stopping sinners from hurting the innocent, history would have been different. This is the very reason why many have turned from Biblical faith. The understanding that Yehovah knows in advance appears to make Yehovah seem guilty by refraining to do anything. Indeed, He will hold others guilty in the ‘Sheep/Goat Judgment’ for not having done things to help the innocent.

View it from this angle. Had Yehovah stopped the terrible consequences of sin before they occurred from the beginning of this planet, you would not exist to ask this question. Yehovah’s withholding and refraining from action in many cases is exactly why you are here. Most would have been slaughtered. Or, Yehovah would have been so often intervening, that humans would have found it outrageous. This is exactly what happens in the Millennium. Yehovah will intervene. Most humans will so hate His intervention, that they will delight in the opportunity to overthrow Yeshua and Jerusalem (during the Millennium.) The complaints against Yehovah will be greater then than during the time of Ramah’s vicious slaughter.

It appears that Yehovah is careless (that is, that He doesn’t care) by not stopping violence against the innocent. It is because He does care that He will not enforce such a rule until He can oversee it in person as King. Consider the consequences. If Yehovah were to stop all violent crime, violent criminals would seek out followers of Yehovah to slaughter them even if they thought they might not succeed. Setting up the Millennium before Messiah is King would be a worse disaster.

16. k) Why did Herod also do this slaughter in all the borders of Bethlehem? He wanted to be certain that he got him and killed him.

18. a) Where is Rama? According to the Greek lexicon, it is “a town of the tribe of Benjamin, situated about 5 miles (8 km) north of Jerusalem on the road to Bethel.”

18. b) Who is Rachel? Apart from some other unidentified woman, she is one of the wives of Jacob. Rachel childed two sons: Joseph and Benjamin.

18. c) What does Rama have to do with the tribes of Joseph and Benjamin? The supposed location of Rama is five miles north of Jerusalem, and is in the area of Benjamin’s possession. Thus, Rachel’s children’s children’s children’s… children were slaughtered.

18. d) Why use Rachel’s name when she was long dead? How would she be weeping? The only way I could construct this and have it make sense at this point in what I understand about details in the Bible was to view Rachel (Raquel) in Sheol. Both Saints and non-saints were in Sheol at this time. I cannot state which side she occupied. She could have been weeping on either side. When this slaughter occurred, she saw her children descend into Sheol, and word of what happened spread in Sheol. Remember that these were children on the surface of the earth, but once in Sheol, all are adults. There are no children in Sheol. Thus, they arrived as adults. She heard what happened, and she mourned for these innocent offspring, and she refused to be consoled. If this is true, it gives another view of events in Sheol. It shows that folks in Sheol have emotional displays just like with the rich man who used to give crumbs to the Lazarus at his gate.

18. e) Why did she refuse to be consoled if these children who died became adults who were in the Lamb’s Book of Life? Two events of very different proportion and timing are colliding in this text. Consider the greater text:

Jeremiah 31:15 Thus said Yehovah, “A voice in Rama was heard: lamentation, weeping of bitternesses. Rachel is weeping concerning her sons. She is refusing to be consoled concerning her sons. For they aren’t!” 16So said Yehovah, “Refrain thy voice from weeping and thine eyes from a tear. For there is a wage to thy act,” declared Yehovah, “and they shall return from the land of an enemy!”

This shows a much greater-scaled slaughter that will occur during the Tribulation. The land of an enemy may be a reference to Babylon.

These folks (whether now in the heavens or in torments in Sheol) are aware of what is occurring, and some are suffering over the violence on earth as they see they other side of the terrible results.

18. f) Why did Yehovah design the Bible so that some texts (the number is not low) require a great deal of thought before they even make sense? Why did Yehovah make some texts so difficult? Yehovah gave man many things to study and consider. Many discoveries come only after a great deal of thought and careful research. But then, why did He make His Word so much like research, since this would seem to eliminate the vast majority of folks from understanding it? If anyone has a love for the truth of the Word, that person will search and will try to find the answer. Another text guarantees that Yehovah will research that for the person!

1 Chronicles 28:9 “And thou, Solomon my son, know the Gods of thy father. And serve Him with a heart of peace and with a being of desire. For Yehovah researches all hearts, and He understands every formation of thoughts. If thou wilt research Him, He will find to thee! And if thou wilt forsake Him, He will cast thee to onward!”

This corresponds with “Seek, and ye shall find.”

Thus, the most difficult text in the Bible that the most simple person truly desires to know will be obtainable and understandable because Yehovah will find the answer to that person and will supply it. The two requirements in that text are also given to Solomon: serving Him with a heart of peace and with a being of desire. Anyone who expects to obtain an answer from Yehovah who has no intention of a heart (mind) of peace as an end result and a being of desire to Yehovah if He is the Truth will be disappointed. Consider this text to back this up:

James 4:3 Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.

James 1:5 If any of you lacks wisdom, he shall ask from God Who liberally gives to all and doesn’t upbraid. And it shall be given him. 6But he shall ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he who wavers is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. 7For that man shall not think that he shall receive anything from Yehovah. 8A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways.

19. a) What angel of Yehovah appeared to him in a dream? It is unspecified. It cannot be Yeshua, since He is a child at this time.

20. a) Why again did the angel appear to Joseph, the adopted parent, rather than to Miriam, the true mother? Joseph was the head of the family and was responsible for their welfare to the degree he was able. Yehovah did not diminish Joseph’s position in all this, but underscored it.

20. b) Why did the angel specify, “take and go … with the little child and his Mama” instead of “and your wife”? The accented relationship was with the child and his mother rather than with Joseph and his wife, then the child. Joseph had a responsibility. The other would not have shown responsibility, but the superiority of the marriage relationship.

20. c) The Bible calls that land “the Land of Israel”. Others refer to it nowadays as ‘the Land of Palestine.’ Was it the land of Palestine? The Land of Israel was never given to the Palestinians. Gaza and Ashkelon did and do belong to the Palestinians. They are coastal towns within the present border of Israel. The term Palestine for all Israel was coined by enemies of Israel, and does not reflect Yehovah or His Word.

20. d) Who sought the life of the little child? Herod did. But since the Bible refers to a plurality, Herod wasn’t alone. He was one of at least a group of two (if not two hundred) all at the same time.

20. e) What happened to all who sought Yeshua’s life? They died.

20. f) Who would these folks who sought the little child’s life be? Some would be those who are under Herod’s authority. Others would likely be among the Israelis who later determined to kill Yeshua. Nothing indicates that the plot to kill Yeshua commenced once He started His open miracles. They may have been determined to kill Him from the time they heard from the wise men. Herod and all of Jerusalem were upset over Yeshua’s birth because of Yeshua’s identity as king.

22. a)  Where was he afraid to go? He was afraid to go where they had lived before. The text doesn’t say. The text makes it sound like he was afraid to go into the Land of Israel as instructed by the angel, but that isn’t the case. The angel will give more specific instructions in verse 22.

22. b) Where are “the parts of the Galilee”?

Map of Galilee

Find the Sea of Galilee on the map, in the north central part of Israel. The word galeel in Hebrew means wheel from the verb to rotate. The sea is shaped like a wheel. Cities are located around it; it is a very nice property. The fishing is good and the fish are good. Bananas are now frequent along the sea shore. Thus, the parts of the Galilee are the parts of the wheel.

22. c) Was Archelaus a threat? Joseph thought he was, and the angel didn’t tell Joseph to not fear. Archelaus was a threat. The angel divinely instructed Joseph to go into the Galilee area. That is where Nazareth is located. This way, Joseph didn’t have to fear Archelaus. (If Archelaus had heard that Yeshua is a king growing up in Israel, he also would have sought Yeshua to kill him.)

The Galilee area was a wild Gentile-Jewish-mixed set of neighbourhoods where anything went. It was not known for spirituality, but instead for moral decadence.

23. a) What does Nazareth mean? One Hebrew word is run, netzer meaning a shoot, sprout or branch. The following text refers to Yeshua:

Isaiah 11:1 And a twig will exit from the stump of Jesse. And a shoot from his roots will fruit. 2And the Spirit of Yehovah will rest upon him—Spirit of Wisdom and Understanding, Spirit of Counsel and Valiance, Spirit of Knowledge and Fear of Yehovah! 3And His fragrance is in the Fear of Yehovah! And He will judge—not to the appearance of His eyes. And He will correct—not to the hearkening of His ears. 4And He will judge poor ones via righteousness. And He will correct via straightness for humble ones of land. And He will smite land with the staff of His mouth! And He will kill the Culpable-one via the Spirit of His lips! 5And righteousness shall be the belt of his loins. And the Faith is the belt of His arming!


Matthew 3 Literally Rendered

Matthew 3 Literally Rendered

(See Accompanying Matthew 3 Questions and Proposed Answers on this site.)

Matthew 3:1 Now in those days, Yokhanan the Immerser comes proclaiming in the wilderness of Judaea 2and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of the heavens has drawn near! 3For this is he who was spoken of by Isaiah the prophet, saying, ‘A voice is calling in the desert! Turn ye the Way of Yehovah! Straighten-ye in the steppe a highway for our Gods!’” 4And Yokhanan himself had his raiment of hair of a camel, and a girdle of leather about his loins, and his food was locusts and wild honey.

5Then Jerusalem went out to him, and all Judea, and all the country around the Jordan, 6and were immersed by him in the Jordan, confessing their sins. 7But having seen many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his immersion, he said to them, “Offspring of vipers! Who forewarned you to flee from the coming wrath? 8Therefore produce fruits worthy of repentance! 9And do not think to say within yourselves, “We have father Avraham!” For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Avraham from these stones! 10But the axe is already also applied to the root of the trees! Every tree not producing good fruit, therefore, is cut down and is cast into fire! 11I indeed immerse you with water to repentance, but He Who is coming after me is mightier than I, of whom I am not fit to bear the sandals. He will immerse you with the Holy Spirit and with fire, 12of whom the winnowing fan is in His hand. And He will thoroughly purge His floor. And He will gather His wheat into the granary, but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire!”

13Then Yeshua comes from Galilee to the Jordan to Yokhanan to be immersed by him. 14But Yokhanan was hindering Him, saying, “I have need to be immersed by Thee! And Thou comest to me? 15But Yeshua answering said to him, “Permit now. For thus it is becoming to us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he permits Him. 16And having been immersed, Yeshua went up immediately from the water. And behold, the heavens were opened to Him. And he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove, and coming upon Him. 17And behold, a voice is out of the heavens, saying, “This is my Son the beloved in Whom I have thought-well!”




Matthew 3 Questions and Proposed Answers

Matthew 3

Questions and Proposed Answers

(See Accompanying Matthew 3 Literally Rendered on this site.)

Note: This document has not been finely edited. It is written during studies. Please expect to find errors in spelling, words missing, etc. If you use the document and desire to participate in editing it, please do so. I will need the number-letter address along with a partical quote of the error, and what you know or think it should say. Please send it to

1. a) What was Yokhanan proclaiming? He was proclaiming a command: Repent and information: The kingdom of the heavens has drawn near.

1. b) Was Yokhanan a Baptist? He was not a Baptist. No Baptist existed until the Anabaptists who were against infant baptisms. Yokhanan was a Jewish son of a high-ranking priest, and was thus in line for a ranking priesthood.

1. c) Why would Yokhanan have any success making a proclamation in the wilderness versus in the city? First, the wilderness of Judaea is not far from the city. Secondly, folks were drawn to hear him. The wilderness was quiet, had hills (so that Yokhanan had an acoustic podium), and lacked trees to interfere with sight. Thirdly, Yokhanan’s message was about a voice calling in the desert; therefore, he needed to call in the desert (which is what the wilderness actually is). Yokhanan had a great drawing; many folks desired to hear him and responded to his call. In the city, Yokhanan would be subject to authorities that might not like his influence. They didn’t have authority over the desert areas that Yokhanan used.

1. d) Why did Yokhanan use the wilderness (desert) of Judaea instead of other locations besides the reasons given above? Its proximity to Jerusalem, the true capitol of all Israel is very important.

2. a) From what were the Israelis being commanded to repent? The Israelis were confessing their sins (see verse 6). Thus, repentance was from sin.

2. b) What does repentance mean? The Hebrew word means to turn or to return. The difference between the two is whether the person had been there in the first place, or whether this was a new change. Verse 6 indicates that they confessed their sins.

2. c) What is a kingdom? It consists of a king (a monarch), the king’s subjects, a land, and a rule of law.

2. d) What is the kingdom of the heavens? This is a kingdom whose ruler is temporarily located in the heavens. Thus, it is identified by location.

2. e) What is the kingdom of God? This is the kingdom that belongs to God. While the wording is the same as in kingdom of the heavens, the heavens don’t own the kingdom. The Whitehouse of Washington, D.C. is not owned by Washington, D.C. The Whitehouse of the president, while not being owned by him, is for his usage during his administration. Thus, when the president speaks, some will report it by saying, “Today, the Whitehouse declared that illegal aliens…” The two kingdoms are one and the same, but the descriptions (kingdom of God, kingdom of heaven) are distinct and vital.

2. f) In what respect had the kingdom of the heavens drawn near? Yokhanan made the legitimate offer of the kingdom arriving in Israel in his day if certain conditions were met. If they were not met and the kingdom still came, Israel would be destroyed, in which case Messiah could not come (because of His promises). The conditions include all Israel (still alive) coming to faith and righteousness. Thus, the kingdom had drawn near in the respect of time and location.

2. g) Did the kingdom of the heavens arrive in or after Yeshua’s day? It hasn’t yet arrived.

2. h) If the above is true, why didn’t Yeshua bring the kingdom as He promised? Yokhanan didn’t promise the kingdom in his day, but instead announced that it had drawn near. Yeshua didn’t bring it because of the terrible slaughter of the vast majority of Jews that would necessarily take place immediately after its arrival. The kingdom of the heavens is incompatible with sin. The entire book of Ezekiel includes a description of the Spirit of Yehovah going into exile because of Israel’s sin.

Yeshua elsewhere stated,

Matthew 21:43 Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.

The nation mentioned in this verse is Israel. No other text replaces Israel in the plan of Yehovah. Thus, Israel will be that nation.

2. i) Did Yokhanan expect that the kingdom of the heavens would arrive in his day? He certainly did. This was the reason why he was so shaken when it didn’t arrive even to his arrest and execution. Yokhanan lost his faith over this issue. Had he read texts carefully and literally, he would not have made that error. He read as most today read, thinking themselves the center of the fulfillment of the plan of God. He found out that this was not the case when Yeshua would not even ask for his life.

3. a) Who is ‘he’ who was spoken by Isaiah the prophet? Yokhanan is the fulfillment of that text.

3. b) What text is in mind?

Isaiah 40:3 A voice is calling in the desert: “Turn ye the way of Yehovah! Straighten-ye in the arid-region a highway for our Gods! 4Every valley shall be lifted and every mountain and hill shall lower. And the crooked-item is to a straight-item. And the rough-terrains are to a cleft [in the mountains: a pass]. 5And the Glory of Yehovah will be revealed. And they shall see─all flesh─together. For the Mouth of Yehovah spoke!”

3. c) What voice would be calling in the desert? That is the voice of Yokhanan the Immerser.

3. d) What is that voice calling? He is calling for the Israelis to turn the way of Yehovah and to straighten a highway for ‘our Gods’ in the steppe.

3. e) Why is the voice in the desert? The proposed answer is given above; the terrain is best for sound being carried. It is also where Yokhanan resided. A desert is noted for the difficulties finding ready food and ready water. If the Israelis who find themselves in the desert will obey this command, Yehovah will supply them.

3. f) What does “Turn ye the way of Yehovah” mean? This means to turn from any other way (which is a sinful or unprofitable way) to the one single way of Yehovah (which is a way of righteousness). This will also refer to the literal way they need to go to survive and arrive at Mount Zion.

3. g) What is this way? It is the way of righteousness according to Yehovah’s standards. It is the way of life, the way of everlasting life. It is describing a clearly marked place for one to walk, the Biblical description of how one leads his or her life. It obviously has an ending: a destination, and that is not the destination described in Pilgrim’s Progress, since that book set the destination as the ‘Celestial City’. Heaven is not a proper destination; the Millennium is a proper destination, and the New Earth is also. Yet, Mount Zion is the physical destination, and the only way to come to Mount Zion during the Tribulation will be to turn the Way of Yehovah. Yokhanan was addressing folks in history. The Spirit of Yehovah through him was addressing those who will respond in the future.

3. h) What steppe is in mind in this text? Since a steppe is flat, semiarid and often grassland, this doesn’t describe much of Israel, though part of the eastern side adjacent to Jordan is steppe. I propose that this is the steppe mentioned here.

3. i) Why must the steppe in particular be the location of the future straightened highway? This is part of the gathering, but a different part. This is where the Gods of Israel will travel on His way to Mount Zion. Thus, this text is giving away this information for readers who will carefully consider it. Yeshua will be coming from the city of Botzrah when He is heading for Zion. His garments will be covered with blood from the slaughtering He will do (Isaiah 63).

3. j) How can a group straighten a highway? This is accomplished by curve removal. Much straighter highways have replaced many curvy highways.

3. k) What is the need for highway straightening? If this is the Way of Yehovah, and if folks will be turning the Way of Yehovah (that is, entering into it in order to be saved from physical death and enemies), the highway that is for the Gods of Israel will be used by the returners. They don’t need an inefficient and curvy road system; they need one that is the shortest route and the easiest to see potential enemies. I propose that this route will be for returners who use the very way Yeshua will follow.

3. l) Why construct a highway? What is wrong with just marking trails? It is to keep returners from floodwaters! A highway is essential in order to avoid being washed to death during a flood.

3. m) The pronouns ye and our appear to refer to different groups. Identify ye and our. Yokhanan is the voice; he is the speaker in this text. He spoke to the Israelis, calling them ye. The Israelis are responsible to do the highway straightening. Our seems to refer to a larger group, but of the same group of Israelis. Thus, the ye in that case would be a subgroup of the ‘our’ constituents. Both would then be Israelis. Yet, I cannot exclude the non-Jewish Saints from our in this text. If that is true, the subgroup of the Israelis are responsible to build this highway so that non-Jewish Saints can accompany Jews making returns to Mount Zion.

3. n) If the good guys are fleeing during the terrors of the Tribulation and the enemies on their tails, how in the world will they have the equipment, the time, and the desire to participate in physical road building? I propose that returners will come to obstacles that they will not be able to circumvent while they are being chased by enemies. They will therefore ask Yehovah to move mountains and do other such things, including walking on water, and He will. If He can part the Red Sea when enemies are chasing the Israelis, He certainly can do the same during the Tribulation.

4. a) Why did Yokhanan wear camel’s hair, of all materials to wear? I propose that this was a poor man’s material. Light garments would have been extremely expensive, whereas skins that could be acquired when an animal died would be far less expensive.

4. b) Why wear a leather girdle, and what is this girdle? I also propose that this is another way to describe a belt, and perhaps one with back support, since he did much walking. The terrain required some form of belt in order to avoid snagging cacti.

4. c) What are these locusts? They are grasshoppers. They are not related to the tree by the same name.

4. d) Why did he eat wild honey? The locusts provided protein, and the wild honey provided carbohydrates. His diet was very good for hard desert work.

4. e) What does this diet tell about Yokhanan? He was a desert ‘mountain man’. He lived off the land, and he was not dependent upon cities.

4. f) How did Yokhanan come to be a desert dwelling hermit? He wasn’t truly a hermit at least later in life; he had contact. It appears that his parents died early in his life. His family may have been the target of assassination, since he was legitimately in the priestly line. Murders in the priestly line had begun around this time. (I don’t have proof of this.)

5. a) Why did Jerusalem and all Judea, etc. go out to him? Yokhanan spoke and ‘preached’. This reputation spread. The Israelis were looking for something Spiritual to happen. They also tended to believe in reincarnation. Yokhanan was a haunting and preaching character who spoke the truth with authority. His messages were exciting, and his calls touched their hearts. They were ready (or so they thought) for some type of interaction from God.

5. b) Why didn’t the text indicate that all Jerusalem went out to him? Jerusalem is inside Judea, so that all Judea going out to him would include all Jerusalem.

5. c) What ‘country’ was around the Jordan? The word country means territory. This is the Jordan River; the country of Jordan didn’t exist at that time. There were settlements where water could be found. Folks came from up and down the Jordan River areas to hear Yokhanan.

5. d) What does Yokhanan mean? It means “Yo (Yehovah) favours.”

6. a) What was the purpose of Yokhanan’s immersion?

Mark 1:4 Yokhanan did baptize in the wilderness, and preached the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.

This baptism is not akin to any form of modern-day ‘Christian’ baptism, though a number of denominations will think that it is. These folks were repenting of specific sins before they were immersed. A repentance baptism is not the type of baptism declared in Acts or in Matthew at the end.

They were immersed as a separation from their former sins. It was not associated with salvation.

6. b) Was this baptism for remission of sins? It was not for remission of sins; that would be a form of blasphemy.

Sin remission is the full payment of justice for sins committed. It is like a remittance in business. A person makes a purchase, then is billed. The person then (if honest) sends a check with the remittance copy. A receipt is then returned, indicating that the debt has been remitted.

Acts 2:38 was wrongly rendered from Greek into English:

Acts 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.”

This expresses a theological error. A proper rendering would be worded like this:

Acts 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus, the One anointed for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.”

This indicates that Jesus (actually, Yeshua) is the One anointed for sin remission. The term Christ (from the Greek, Christos) either refers to a title or to an assignment. If the title is used rather than the assignment in a text, the text will give error. Yeshua was the One anointed by Yehovah to bring sin remission.

The baptism itself only accomplishes what the person being baptized has determined to do. It is an act and a declaration of a point of cut-off from former sins. Its benefit is to the person, not to anyone else, if the person truly refuses to return into sin.

Yokhanan was immersing folks whom he knew were not born of God. This immersion cannot be compared with immersion of folks in faith. They are not the same. Some were in faith, and were immersed by Yokhanan, but their own immersions were not the normal immersion that Yokhanan did. Anyone who is not born of God can be immersed after repenting (including turning) from sin. That doesn’t affect any salvational change, and it doesn’t require salvation.

Yokhanan knew they were not born of God (with a few exceptions); that was not a problem to him and to his disciples, because the issue was whether Israel even in unbelief would obey the Torah while in the land. That is was is necessary for Yehovah to do benefits to Israel.

In order for Salvation to come, the person must meet certain absolute prerequisites. These include:

  • A Biblical and proper fear of the Biblical Yehovah
  • Faith in the Word of Yehovah (all of it)
  • Hearkening to the Word of Yehovah
  • The request for Salvation
  • Turning to Yehovah from idols or whatever the person had or didn’t have as an object of faith
  • Receiving a love of the Truth


Plus, Yehovah must also do certain things, including:

  • Immersing the person into the Body of Messiah (an act that is invisible, and isn’t related to any water or physical form of baptism)
  • Applying His Grace to that person for Salvation
  • Recreating that person
  • Giving that person a love of the Truth

6. c) What is the benefit and purpose of sin confession? Verbal sin confession can be the first step to turning from that sin. It can be; that doesn’t mean that it is. A person who confesses sins is sometimes demonstrating the type of humility that a person who won’t admit a problem doesn’t have. Those who have sins that they won’t confess also have areas they hide, showing that they may desire to do the sin again, and don’t desire others to know about it.

6. d) Did all who confessed their sins truly mean what they were doing? It isn’t likely. If all had meant what they said, Yeshua would have had many more faithful followers, and Israel would have been ready for the Kingdom of God.

7. a) What is a Pharisee? This is an Israeli who is a separatist (being the meaning of Parosh, Pharisee in Hebrew) from the world and sin. In other words, a true Pharisee believed in being righteous at all times in behaviour, belief and word. All who are born of God must follow the same supposed standards of the Pharisees. That doesn’t mean that all Pharisees were righteous; some were not. Some were. Considering all Pharisees as hypocrites, evildoers, etc. is wrong. Yeshua Himself told the Israelis to do as the Pharisees said, because He said that they sit in Moses’ seat.

Matthew 23:1 Then Yeshua spoke to the multitude and to His disciples 2saying, “The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. 3All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do!”

7. b) What is a Sadducee? This is an Israeli who claims to be part of a righteous group (the meaning of Sadducee in Hebrew) that only acknowledged the Torah (first five books), didn’t believe in a resurrection of the dead, and proved to be very liberal in Biblical interpretation. Some of the Sadducees challenged Yeshua and His literalness. Thus, we can safely say that modern Christianity follows the teachings of the Sadducees (without the Torah, and thus, without anything) in practice, practicality, and decisive lack of literal views of many texts.

7. c) What are distinctions between Pharisees and Sadducees? Those distinctions include how literally the Bible should be taken, what books are the Word of God, whether or not there is a resurrection of the dead, and what type of life should a believer lead (righteous or not). The Pharisees had among them true Saints. The Sadducees had among them truly violent rebels who succeeded in bringing on the ire of the Roman empire to the degree that the Temple was burned.

7. d) Why would a Pharisee come to John’s type of immersion? These particular ones didn’t recognize that they had a sin problem at all, so their reasons for coming didn’t include a heartfelt desire to confess sins and be immersed. It was to look good in the community; it was only for outward appearances. They had no stock on John’s immersion. (Other Pharisees who were born of God were quite the opposite, and knew the vital importance of John’s position and his work.)

7. e) Why would a Sadducee come to John’s type of immersion? It would be for the same reason as the Pharisees. That is why John prophetically put them in the same category. Anyone at this time who openly spoke against John would be greatly diminished in the eyes of the common Israelis. This was politically stupid.

7. f) Why wasn’t John pleased that these two highest-ranking groups came to his immersion? It was more of a mockery than anything spiritual. They had come, among other reasons, to see (as in, to spy) what John was doing and teaching and to be seen. They also demonstrated their spiritual insincerity.

7. g) Who is John calling a viper? John is referring to their parents.

7. h) Why did John call their parents vipers (instead of calling them vipers)? He was indirectly calling them vipers, but he was insulting them in a far worse manner by indicating that they came from viper stock. This is far more hard-hitting than calling them vipers, since folks often think fondly of their parents. It is worse than calling them ‘sons of bitches’. This means that their very nature was viprous.

7. i) Was John doing right to call them and their parents by such terms? He was right, because he was speaking prophetically: he was quoting Yehovah. Yeshua said similar things.

7. j) Why didn’t they respond by killing John (perhaps in secret)? John was very popular and respected by the best of the land and by the common folk. (Anywhere there’s a big crowd, a politician will show up.)

7. k) Were they forewarned of the coming wrath? They didn’t believe the Word of God, so they took no forewarnings. Thus, the answer is that they were not. That is not why they had come. (Again, I am referring to a subgroup of the Pharisees that wasn’t righteous, and all the Sadducees.) Yet they were, because the Bible stated it clearly (if one takes the Bible literally). Nothing is clear in the Bible if it isn’t literally read.

I am proposing that John’s question is rhetorical in nature: they didn’t come to flee from any wrath; they thought they were in cozy with God.

7. l) What wrath is this? It is the wrath of Yehovah, referring to the Tribulation. I do not understand this to refer to everlasting wrath of the Lake of Fire and Sulfur.

7. m) Is fleeing from the wrath to come appropriate? It is appropriate if the person’s flight is to Truth and to Yehovah. That is literally what folks will be doing during the Tribulation who go to Mount Zion and who help others on the way.

7. n) What was John’s view of the timing of this coming wrath? John thought that it was right around the corner, and thus involved these specific Pharisees and Sadducees (as well as all Israelis who were not right with Yehovah). His timing problems will lead to the destruction of His faith in Yeshua at a later time.

8. a) Can the Pharisees and Saducees of the ‘viper’ ilk produce fruits worthy of repentance? Yes, since they are commanded by the Spirit of God to do so. Yehovah never commands what cannot be done through His own power. They cannot in their present states with their present mindsets.

8. b) Can anyone produce fruits worthy of repentance? Yes; if one has truly repented, that person will produce fruits worthy of that repentance. This is not a text indicating that John believed that fruits worthy enough would be necessary first before repentance. Everyone born of God has this responsibility and privilege.

Yet, producing fruits worthy of repentance before repentance cannot be ruled out, otherwise the Sheep/Goat Judgment (Matthew 25:31 and following) would be ruled out.

8. c) What is repentance? It is turning from a particular set of actions to an opposite set of actions. A person can repent from sinning to righteousness, but a person can also repent from righteousness to sinning. It isn’t a verbal issue; it isn’t the same as confession. This is a matter of true turning.

8. d) What are some impetuses for repentance?

  • Some will repent once they become filled with sorrow for the destruction their sins have wrought.
  • Some will repent once they gain a hatred for sin and its consequences.
  • Some will repent out of a newly acquired fear of Yehovah.
  • Some will repent because they fear the wrath of Yehovah.
  • Some will repent because they now understand how their ways and their beliefs were false, and how the ways and teachings of Yehovah are Truth.

8. e) To what is therefore attached in texts above? It is attached to sentence before it. Supposedly the Pharisees and Sadducees that John excoriated had come in order to flee from the wrath to come. If that is the case, they would thus begin to produce fruits worthy of repentance. If they came for some other reason, however, they would not produce such fruits.

9. a) What logic did the supposed spiritual leaders use to circumvent repentance and doing works worthy of that? They used their being from an ancestor, Avraham in order to declare themselves in a good light before Yehovah.

9. b) Would God ever raise children to Avraham from stones? First, the text declares His ability. I don’t think that many outside of liberal camps would doubt Yehovah’s ability to turn stones into children of Abraham. So this question has to do with what God would do rather than with His ability.

Consider the following:

  • All humans are made from soil.
  • Stones are made from soil.
  • Thus, humans are made also of stones in the soil.
  • Stones are not living. Non-saints are not alive in the Biblical use of everlasting life; they are dead while they live. (Stones are not really dead. They have no life.)
  • The Bible refers to Jewish Saints as living stones. Yeshua is also called a stone. Thus, if Jewish Saints are living stones, and are built into the House of God, the same is true of non-Jewish Saints, for they are also part of the same Body.

One thing must be established in order to answer this question: “Would there ever be a need to do so?” If the answer is, “Yes!” then Yehovah would do it. He only does what is needful and useful for His plan and for the benefit of His creation. John stated this prophetically. In other words, I suspect there will be a need.

10. a) What trees are these? These trees refer to humans. The Bible often enough has tree personifications. Psalm 1 uses the simile: the man is like a tree… Thus, this is not an easily misunderstood picture.

10. b) What axe applied to the trees? Identify the axe… An axe is a tool. It is used in this case to cut down a tree. Since a person is a tree, this axe is a tool in Yehovah’s hand to cut down persons. We have not identified how this tool will appear, but many in this human forest will die when it is applied.

10. c) Why is the axe applied to the root? That is where life is. If the axe were used higher than the root, the tree might come back again.

10. d) What forest is this with these trees in this simile? This is the forest of Israel. We are still in Matthew, and John’s prophetic warnings are still to the Jews.

10. e) What event occurred in John’s day that would indicate that the axe is already applied? I know of no event that occurred in John’s day. The man was a prophet, and he prophesied of things to come. Yet, he was mistaken about timings, and thought that wrap-up events would occur in his own day. I suspect that these very words are the ones that entrapped him later when he thought that Herod, Herodius, etc. should be among the chopped trees, when he himself ended up dead, and not them. The axe is applied, but I do not see any chopping in Yeshua’s and John’s day; that chopping awaits the Tribulation. That is when roots will especially be chopped. Every holocaust, in the meantime, is also an obvious chopping. Consider how many genetic lines of Israel were cut permanently during the Holocaust. Yehovah has instituted intentional thinning of the forests of Israel by the cutting of millions of individuals (each being ‘a tree’) at one time.

10. f) If the tree thinning is Yehovah’s judgment against Israel in a cycle of holocausts, does this mean that trees bearing good fruit will be spared the cutting by the axe? This axe is in Yehovah’s hand. He never misses His target, and He never targets the innocent. Thus, the axe will not come against the trees bearing good fruit. That does not mean that enemies of Yehovah and of the Saints won’t manage to kill the righteous; they will, but they are not inflicting the justice of Yehovah in the process.

Yehovah gives warnings before swinging that axe. Those who heed the warnings must leave “the forest” during that cutting time, or take the risk of being collateral damage at the hands of evildoers in order to benefit a few.

10. g) What constitutes good fruit? Good fruit is always nourishing and beneficial ‘for eating’ and thus, for providing sustenance for life. It also contains the seed in itself that can sprout and produce another tree that will produce good fruit. Thus, keeping alive comes from eating good fruit. Therefore, whatever makes for true and good life that one can give to another, and that contains the seed in itself for producing another fruit-producing tree will be good fruit.

Many examples of good fruit are found in the Bible, but yet this concept is one that is harder to grasp than most Biblical concepts.

Consider the following examples of producing good fruit:

  • Moshe did as Yehovah commanded. The intention was to give life by challenging Pharaoh’s false gods.
  • Moshe took the Israeli slaves out of cruel slavery; that was a good work.
  • Caleb feared Yehovah and did what was right: he believed Yehovah. That was a good work.
  • Joseph did a good work in Egypt, saving the entire Middle East from starvation. He did good works as a slave and as a prisoner. He saved them regardless of their being pagans. He did a good work.
  • Sarah did a good work. Hebrews chapter 11 describes the various good works of some. She herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged Him faithful who had promised.

Many more examples exist. All good works are the product of good fruit.

10. h) Can a non-saint produce good fruit? Yes. If good fruit could save, they would be saved.

10. i) Will one who is born of God always do good works? There are cases where they haven’t. This answers the question in a sad way. That will make for the great distinctions in rank in the Kingdom of the heavens.

10. j) Can one who is born of God continuously not do good works? (This includes not doing bad works.) This text states that any tree not producing good fruit most certainly will be ‘axed’ and cast into fire. That is damnation as clearly as daylight.

10. k) What if a fearer of Yehovah doesn’t have occasion to do good works? Consider a tree. It doesn’t move (except during earthquakes and big winds), and it may not have a single human visitor. Yet, it can produce an abundance of excellent fruit that just falls to the ground and is ingested by organisms.

In the same light, a person will always have occasions (seasons) to bring forth good fruit whether anyone picks it or not. Fruit production is seasonal.

The owner of all trees is Yehovah. Any tree that would have produced good fruit, but never had the means would be able to blame Yehovah for that.

10. l) What is this fire? This is the Lake of Fire and Sulfur.

10. m) Why did Yehovah need to add sulfur to the Lake of Fire? Why wouldn’t fire be enough? Sulfur burns hot, and it is cleansing. Thus, the picture is that of persons who are always unclean.

10. n) Does Yeshua love everyone, according to this verse? John’s introduction of the Lake of Fire and cutting folks down like they are deadwood shows only contempt.

11. a) What was the purpose of John’s baptism, according to this verse? His baptism was specifically unto repentance. This wasn’t rededication.

11. b) From what were these Israelis repenting? They were repenting from sins they actually had done. Their violations were of the Teaching (Torah).

11. c) Why was water associated with repentance? Water is associated with a barrier. When the Israelis exited from Egypt, they went through a dried water barrier through which the Egyptian army could not pierce. That was a baptism. All baptisms have a barrier in mind through which the one being baptized goes.

The most common ‘Christian’ baptism is a death baptism: being immersed into Yeshua’s death. Death is a barrier taking one from slavery (to sin) to freedom (which is slavery, since it always includes responsibility) to righteousness.

In the same way, John’s baptism had a barrier in mind: sin itself. Repentance was the crossing of that barrier if and only if the person quit sinning.

11. d) Where folks repetitiously immersed after sinning again? I cannot prove this, but I don’t think John or his disciples would have tolerated that great violation.

11. e) Why did so many desire to come to John to turn from sin (repentance) publicly? He was a priest of the Levitical order. He spoke Truth. His speeches attracted many. Some came because of the glamour, but others came because of the conviction. Life under Roman occupation drove many Jews to look for some brightness during a terrible, frightening, mentally torturous time. Some wanted to know what was necessary for Yehovah to be pleased enough to turn Israel from Israel’s present dire state. It was a setup for a ‘revival’.

11. f) Who is coming after John? This is Messiah Yeshua.

11. g) In what way is Yeshua mightier than John? Yeshua is all-powerful (omnipotent). He is more powerful in every sense of the word.

11. h) What is the pertinence of Yeshua being mightier than John in this text? John was not as Jacob. Jacob wrestled with Yeshua, and prevailed. John will disagree with Yeshua, and will not prevail. Jacob did prevail, and insisted upon a blessing. John’s faith will fail.

11. i) Why is John not fit to bear Yeshua’s sandals?

First, which is higher, Yeshua’s sandals, or His image? His image is far higher than His sandals.

Who is fit to carry Yeshua’s image? All humans are fit in the view of Yehovah Who placed that image on every human. Therefore, with that image comes responsibility. Anyone with the image of God must render to God what is His property: the image. Thus, each has a responsibility to give himself/herself to God.

He will not carry out his responsibilities before Yehovah by giving Himself to Yeshua in faith in Yeshua. His faith will destruct. The man was a prophet. He spoke infallibly while prophesying. He said things about himself that were not only true, but were Truth. He wasn’t just being self-effacing; he was giving the ‘low down’.

John expected Yeshua to arrive as a mighty king. That will be true when Yeshua comes to Mount Zion in the future. John was totally confused about timings and events of arrivals. John thought the kingdom was coming at that very time.

John was expressing the greatness of rank of Yeshua above himself, and how unworthy John was to carry even His sandals. He was also expressing the omnipotence of Yeshua as a contrast to John’s own weak power. John is saying who the Messiah is, and that He is coming. John and Yeshua had mamas who loved each other and who visited each other. It seems obvious that John and Yeshua would have been children together at various times, and that they heard and knew that Yeshua is the Messiah.

John was deflecting the great attention given to himself toward Yeshua who really was and is the important One of Israel’s history. Folks may have thought that John was the one (the Messiah). He determined to apprise them that he is not the Messiah.

11. j) Why are sandals mentioned in particular? In the Middle East, even today, the bottoms of shoes are considered the dirtiest part of a person’s dress and person. They are left at the door, and in some traditions the bottoms are never elevated toward another’s face unless to insult that person with great intent. Carrying sandals for another person, then, would be an act of great humiliation.

11. k) Is being immersed with the Holy Spirit and with fire good? These are two opposite immersions. They are not connected as one immersion. Since they are opposite, the combination is not good and not bad, but both: very good and very bad. This refers to a division of where Israeli folks will end up.

11. l) What is the purpose of being immersed with the Holy Spirit? This is to take a person from death into everlasting life.

11. m) Define spirit as used in the Bible: The essence of God is not physical. He is a spirit: that is, He is a being that is real, and incorporeal: non-physical. A spirit is a living entity or is a life-giving entity. Everything that has a spirit is alive. Removing the spirit is removing life. Therefore, the spirit is the object in which life exists or through which life exists.

God is spirit; therefore He is the source of life as well as life itself.

11. n) Define Holy Spirit: Holy means owned. Spirit is defined above. Thus, a Holy Spirit is an owned, incorporeal living entity that also is able to give life, and is the Life. A better expression than ‘Holy Spirit’ is ‘Spirit of the Holy-One’ referring to the Spirit of Yeshua, the Holy One of Israel. (In truth, every spirit, demonic or otherwise, is holy by definition; each one belongs to someone or to Yehovah. And then, every spirit in the universe comes from Yehovah—referring to its source, not to its disposition—and every living thing owes its life to the Owner of all life in the universe: to Yehovah.)

11. o) What is the purpose of fire immersion? This is the judgment of the damned. The purpose is to truly punish those who defiled the image of God to their deaths.

12. a) What is a winnowing fan? It is a fan used for chaff separation (winnowing).

12. b) If the winnowing fan is in His hand, what does the chaff represent? The chaff represents the bad guys, as Psalm 1 reports:

Psalm 1:4 The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind drives away.

12. c) How much respect does Yeshua have for the ungodly in this judgment? He has the amount of respect that folks looking for wheat have for chaff; He has none.

12. d) What is His floor? This text contains a picture common to the Israelis: that of a winnowing of grain. When grain is winnowed, chaff that is very easily separated from the husk (wheat kernels) is blown. The process is accomplished by throwing the wheat into the air; the kernels fall quickly and the chaff spins slowly. When a hand fan is moved, the chaff blows away from the kernels. This process is repeated until the kernels are close to chaffless. The floor is a section beneath ground level outside so that the chaff is blown out of the floor area, but the kernels fall back into that floor area.

This picture is used to describe how Yeshua will separate the wheat (the Israelis who are or will be born of God) from the chaff (the Israelis who will never believe) using Yeshua’s fan. His fan will blow the chaff Israelis into a flame, burning them up, while the wheat Israelis will be gathered to Mount Zion.

The floor, then, is the location of the separation (or the locations of the separations).

13. a) Why did Yeshua come to be immersed by John? Yeshua came to fulfill all righteousness. Being immersed by John or one of his students was part of righteousness. Yehovah had sent John. John’s messages were important, and being immersed by him was vital.

13. b) What was the purpose of John’s baptism?

Mark 1:4 John baptized in the wilderness and preached the baptism of repentance unto remission of sins.

The word unto indicates direction and the final goal. The baptism was of repentance. Those desiring to repent from sin were baptized. Their sins were not remitted. If their baptism was serious and they feared Yehovah, the next step would be to obtain sin remission. This is more clearly seen in the following text where the word christos in Greek is translated instead of transliterated:

Acts 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, “Repent! And every one of you be baptized in the Name of Yeshua, the One-anointed for the remission of sins! And ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit!”

This baptism is not the same as John’s baptism; their purposes are different. John’s baptism was a repentance baptism; the baptism that Peter addressed was into Yeshua, the One that the Israelis had not yet known.

Sin remission is never by water; it is only valid when it is by the blood of a worthy and perfect sacrifice.

14. a) Was John’s hindering Yeshua in respect? Yes. John felt his own personal lower rank than Yeshua, and thus he determined to hinder Yeshua because of his own unworthiness.

14. b) Did John really hinder Yeshua in the way we understand hindering? We see hindrance as being far more drastic. John was determined (at first) to reverse the baptism so that Yeshua would immerse John. That is his hindrance; he isn’t immediately cooperating with Yeshua by immersing Yeshua.

14. c) Did John need to be immersed by Yeshua with the baptism that John himself performed on others? I believe John! He needed that immersion for repentance; only, Yeshua immersed no one. (We propose that this is to avoid judging each one’s salvation: those whom Yeshua would refuse will be damned, and those whom Yeshua would immerse will be or are born of God. This would have made idols out of those who were immersed by Yeshua, and this would throw into disrepute any baptism done by others after Yeshua’s time. Yeshua will not judge before the time.

John 12:47 And if any man hears my words and doesn’t believe, I don’t judge him. For I didn’t come to judge the world, but to save the world.

14. d) Why was John so taken aback that Yeshua would come to John to be immersed? John had preached repentance. For what did Yeshua to repent? It made no sense to John.

15. a) Why would Yeshua say, “Permit now” as if He is acquiring something akin to permission from John? The expression appears to be more a command than an acquisition of permission. Yeshua was telling John that this must occur.

15. b) Identify us in this text: They must be the Israelis. It is always becoming to the Israelis to fulfill all righteousness.

15. c) What does becoming mean? It means a combination of appropriate and attractive.

15. d) What is becoming to the Israelis in this text? It is becoming to the Israelis to fulfill all righteousness! Anything short of that isn’t becoming; it is totally ugly and inappropriate.

15. e) What did Yeshua’s being immersed by John have to do with the Israelis fulfilling all righteousness? Yeshua is classifying Himself as being one of the Israelis. (Every other Israeli must do likewise: that is, fulfill all righteousness in order for anything to be done right.)

15. f) Why did John concede and ‘permit’ Yeshua to come to him for immersion? He did what he was told; his respect for Yeshua was very high and total (at this time).

16. a) Did Yeshua repent before He was immersed? He had nothing for which to repent.

16. b) Why did He go immediately up from the water after His immersion? The only reason I could consider why He would not have immediately left the water would be to make a speech. Yeshua made no speech. Yeshua had no intention of detracting from John’s ministerial work.

16. c) Why were the heavens opened to Him? The heavens opened so that He (and folks around Him, if they also were permitted to see) could see the Spirit of God descending.

16. d) Were the others able to see the opening of the heavens? If they heard the voice in verse 17 (which they did), they also saw the heavens opened.

16. e) Like what does the opening of the heavens appear? We have no idea. This event would be frightening.

16. f) Who saw the Spirit of God descending? We know that at least one being saw the Spirit of God: John. We haven’t established whether others saw this or not. The Bible notes that the Spirit of God visibly appeared, but that doesn’t mean that others saw this event.

We proposed that the crowd needed to see the Spirit of Yehovah descend, since John had been speaking of Yeshua in a special way, and this would give some confirmation to John’s claims about Yeshua’s rank.

16. g) Why did the appearance of the Spirit of God come in the form of a dove (of all animals or representations)? The text does not state that the Spirit of God appeared in the form of a dove. It stated that the Spirit of God descended in the same manner that a dove descends.

16. h) How does a dove descend? Is it straight down? It flutters down. It is not a rapid descent.

16. i) What does this slow descent demonstrate? A slow rate of descent is easier to see. It is also more gentle. Had the Spirit of Yehovah descended like an eagle or like lightning, a very different characterization of the Spirit of Yehovah would have resulted. A child will rarely be afraid of an item descending slowly like a dove.

16. j) What was the appearance of the Spirit of Yehovah, and how did those who saw the Spirit know that this was the Spirit of Yehovah? If the appearance is the same as in other places in the Bible, the Spirit appeared as a cloud. This is how the Spirit of Yehovah physically appeared with Israel after leaving Egypt. The Spirit was a cloud by day and fire by night.

17. a) What is the source of the voice? The source must be Yehovah the Father.

17. b) Why did Yehovah identify the source in the text? He did by saying, “This is my Son.” No more identification is necessary.

17. c) What does beloved mean? The Greek root, agapao, traces to the Hebrew ahavah meaning to pant after with great desire, but not necessarily involving lust. It is the strong Hebrew word for love, for seeking the highest, best interest for another without regard to self.

17. d) Why did Yehovah need to think well of Yeshua? First, think well is a verb indicating that Yehovah had very good regard for Yeshua. Of course, He would, since Yeshua is part of Him.

Yeshua volunteered to life mortally, suffer sickness, die painfully, be brutalized, and shed His own blood, being despised by His own in order to accomplish Salvation, Redemption, and not having to pour the cup of wrath (that filled up from the sins of Israel) on Israel.

Yeshua is therefore a hero before Yehovah. Yehovah sees heroism, and records it, as well as declaring it. Yehovah needed to think well of Yeshua, since Yeshua will be the ultimate example of a hero who refused to sin and who refused to become bitter against those determined to kill Him. He instead provided everlasting life for them and for all by His heroism.


Some Observations on the Book of Revelation

7 Churches of Revelation

The book of Revelation is a greatly misunderstood volume. It isn’t that it is difficult to read or understand; it is one of the simplest books in the Bible. Those who state (usually emphatically) that it is difficult express what they have heard, and what they have been erroneously taught. Those who have read the book with just a little care, ignoring all commentaries, have found that the first several chapters may represent a mystery, but once the book turns to the judgments, the flow and clarity is usually quite simple.

Continue reading “Some Observations on the Book of Revelation”