In this week’s teaching Ross covers the final climactic confrontation between Egypt and the children of Israel. Ross begins by stating the clear purpose for these events – namely the making known of Yehovah in the earth. He works through the basic story of the crossing of the sea and then turns his attention to the words of the song contained in Exodus 15. Ross shows that the language of the Song of the Sea suggests that while it clearly speaks of the Exodus of Israel in the days of Moses, it also uses language that implies prophetic insights as well. Based upon the words of phrases contained in the final stanzas of the Song, Ross weaves prophetic texts into his discourse to shed light on the coming, greater Exodus spoken of by the ancient prophets of Israel. He shows that these texts point to the establishment of the Kingdom of God on earth. You will not want to miss this teaching!
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In this week’s teaching Ross begins by speaking of the importance placed on time, even in our current culture. Torah reading Bo declares that the departure from Egypt represented a new beginning for the children of Israel and the time of this exodus was to be a beginning of months. Ross concentrates on the distinction between secular time and sacred time and then points his listeners back to the point of origin for the redemption known as the Passover. He narrows in on the ancient oath sworn to Abram. In the process of teaching about the coming redemption Ross explains that the coming salvation of Israel can be described as a separation between those who chase righteousness and seek YHVH and those who do not. He refers back to Abraham and the reason for his being chosen and encourages his listeners to be like him, possessing a faithful heart. You will not want to miss this teaching.
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In this week’s class, the second teaching from the book of Exodus, Ross covers the beginning of the departure from Egypt. He points out and then seeks to show from the prophets that this former exodus provides clues for the prophesied second exodus. Pharaoh is repeatedly told to “send forth the people of Israel” for a stated purpose – namely, so that they can serve YHVH! Ross covers these passages and then explains that the exodus was a way to make YHVH known to Pharaoh as well as the children of Israel. Throughout this teaching Ross demonstrates that covenant language is used and he works through these words and phrases, highlighting the similarities between ancient Israel and the modern day descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Central to this teaching is the idea that Israel has an inheritance that remains in many ways unclaimed. The Hebrew word morasha is translated as “possession.” Two things are declared the possession of Israel. What are the things declared to be the morasha of Israel? Ross goes on to teach that the modern descendants presently serve one other than YHVH and have forgotten and forsaken the Torah of Moses. You will not want to miss this class.
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This week Ross begins his teaching series on the book of Exodus, or Shemoth as it is called in Hebrew. During this season, when the world is talking about the birth of a deliverer, Ross shares an ancient version of the same. Ross shares a story about the birth of Israel’s greatest deliverer. He points out that this child barely escaped an attempt to take his life as an infant. By working through the texts of the Torah, Ross explains that this figure would be referred to as “God,” that he would die on a mount, that his grave and burial are surrounded in mystery, and that his words would live forever. Ross also teaches on the subject of Shemoth (or names). From the reading, Ross shows that this first section of Exodus reveals the name of God as well as the name of His son. All of this is presented in the context of the prophetic plan. How well do you know the original story of the deliverer’s birth? You will not want to miss this teaching.
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In this week’s class Ross covers the third in his 4 part series of the Joseph Saga. Ross begins with a story from recent history to set the stage for his teaching on Joseph revealing himself to his brothers. He then carefully works through the texts of Torah reading Vayiggash pointing out prophetic hints provided by the story. What is the main point of these stories? Do they provide insights into the prophetic unfolding of future events? According to Ross, this is precisely the case. Ross proposes that within these stories we get a glimpse of what is to come. The ancient rabbis associated this Torah reading with prophecies in the 37th chapter of the prophet Ezekiel. What did they see in these words that made them make this association. You will not want to miss this teaching.
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This week, Ross covers the second of 4 lessons from the Joseph Saga. Again the theme of dreams plays an important part and once again Ross demonstrates that these ancient stories possibly contain prophetic clues. Ross puts forth the idea that the Hebrew people have always been the people of the dream. He presents examples of various stages of the prophetic plan being communicated by dreams and suggests that this is perhaps more important than we have realized. From the first appearances to the patriarchs we have elements of the plan delivered through dreams. What makes us believe that the same will not take place in the latter days? Ross also provides two examples of world leaders having dreams and Hebrews being called forth to give the meaning. The obvious question then becomes, will this happen again? And will the rise of present-day Joseph be preceded by the disturbing dream of a world leader? You do not want to miss this class.
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This evening across the globe millions of Jews are preparing for the advent of Hanukkah, the eight day Festival of Dedication, which begins at sundown tonight (Wednesday, November 27th). This year the American holiday of Thanksgiving falls on the Thursday, the 1st day of Hanukkah for the first time ever–and it will likely never happen again:
On average, we would expect the 19-year Jewish cycle and the 7-year Thanksgiving-on-November-28 cycle to coincide about every 19×7 years, which is to say, approximately every 133 years. And they sort of do. One-hundred and fifty-two years ago, in 1861, the first day of Hanukkah and the 4th Thursday in November were both on November 28th. But there was no Thanksgiving back then…and they will never again coincide. (See the complex but most informative explanation of this by Joel Hoffman, “Why Hanukkah and Thanksgiving Will Never Again Coincide.”
What might be lost is the historical grounding of the feast of Hanukkah itself, which seems to actually derive from the day before–that is Kislev 24 or the 24th day of the 9th month of the Jewish calendar, which is today, Wednesday, November 27th. Notice carefully this historical background:
The book of the prophet Haggai comes to us from the 2nd year of the Persian King Darius, late summer, August, 520 BCE. It is one of the most precisely dated books in the Hebrew Bible, much like its sister Zechariah, and its twin Malachi. The three go together, like peas in the pod, both coming from that crucial time of the “restoration” of Judah to the Land following the Babylonian captivity. Collectively they are our LAST WORD from Yehovah in terms of how the redemption is to unfold. It is very likely, based on Haggai 1:13, where the Prophet is called the “messenger of Yehovah,” that Haggai is in fact the author of the book we call Malachi, as this book is just named “My Messenger,” and the name of the prophet who wrote it is not given. Both Haggai and Zechariah address their contemporary situation, as one would expect, and are concerned that the Temple be rebuilt and that the constitution of the new state of Judah be ordered according to the Torah. However, if read carefully, both clearly understand that this restoration of Judah is only a preliminary, even symbolic step, to a coming GREAT restoration of Judah and ALL Israel. Even though there is a Priest (Joshua), and a Governor (Zerubbabel) of the Davidic line, there is no anointing of the BRANCH figure of whom both Isaiah and Jeremiah had spoken. One way of putting this is to say that Haggai and Zechariah are working in the tall shadow of JEREMIAH (see especially chapters 30-31), and they know, from his clear and powerful prophecies, that the final days have not come with this tiny little beachhead return of a portion of Judah to the land. But they do believe that this return of Judah is a “sign” of things to come, and a guarantee that the Plan of Yehovah, to fill the earth with justice and righteousness, through Abraham’s seed, is not to fall to the ground.
And that leads us to the curious and fascinating references to the 24th day of the 9th month–Kislev 24 in modern Jewish parlance.
Notice, reading the book of Haggai is sequential, it takes you through the last months of the year. It begins with the Rosh Chodesh of the 6th month (August), takes you through the 21st day of the 7th month (2:1), which is the last day of Sukkoth (October), and then into December–with the 24th day of the 9th month. Haggai’s third and fourth messages come on this very day. It is a short book, and if you skim it through you will see the building sequence.
Kislev 24 is mentioned FOUR times in the second chapters, verses 10, 15, 18 and 20. Twice it is emphasized that “from THIS DAY FORWARD I will bless you,” and twice Haggai gets a special Word from Yehovah, on this very day. You have to read the whole chapter to get the context, but the message is basically that Yehovah will “SHAKE the heavens and the earth and ALL NATIONS,” overthrowing their power, anoint the chosen one (symbolized in that day by Zerubbabel), and essentially make Jerusalem the new world capital. For the DETAILS you need to go back, of course, to Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Micah in particular, as they set forth the entire agenda to which Haggai only briefly alludes.
This message is addressed to the two “messiahs,” the Priest and the “King” or Governor, Joshua and Zerubbabel, respectively (2:4-5). They become “signifiers” of things to come. They are not the final anointed ones, and Zechariah picks this up in his visions, especially chapters 4 and 6. These symbolic figures, as well as the promised presence of the Holy Spirit (see 2:5 and Zech 4:6!), are the guarantee that Yehovah will bring about these promises.
Notice, Zechariah begins getting his visions and messages in the 8th month of that same year (Zech 1:1), or mid-November. He has EIGHT night visions, they are all quite difficult to follow, but prophetically important in forecasting the redemptive future. There is much more detail in Zechariah, but the two, Haggai and Zechariah, should be read in tandem, as one explains the other. Now, note carefully, Kislev 24 is not specifically mentioned in Zechariah, but it is alluded to in chapter 4:8-10. It is the famous “day of small things,” that one might be led to “despise,” because after all, this tiny little remnant of Judah, beginning to lay the foundation of a nondescript temple, under the mighty thumb of the Persian empire, was hardly even worthy of the name of a city-state, much less a world kingdom, and yet had HOPES and DREAMS and promises of world dominion!
Chapters 7-14 of Zechariah, which he gets two years later, are quite different. They are straightforward and fairly plain, laying out, likely in some sequential order, both the preliminary events, and the detailed climax, of the “time of the end.”
So, what about Kislev 24?
It seems to have a three-fold meaning. First, in the time of Haggai and Zechariah, it was the day MARKED for the promise that the redemption would ultimately come about, not by power, nor by might, but by the Spirit of Yehovah–but “in its time.” Second, subsequently though history, this day seems to be one upon which key events take place, perhaps only a few of which have been recognized down through history. And finally, it might well turn out that on some Kislev 24 in the future, that date will serve as a “countdown marker” for the unfolding of the mysterious 1260/1290/1335/2300 days of Daniel’s visions, which interested Sir Isaac Newton so much.
During the period of the Maccabees, when Syrian ruler Antiochus IV unleashed his great persecution against the Jews of Judea/Palestine, it was on Kislev 24 that the enemy was defeated and the Temple freed from its desecration. That is why the festival of Chanukah is celebrated beginning at sundown, at the end of Kislev 24. In other words, it is NOT so much Chanukah that is important, as its marker date: Kislev 24. It seems to become a kind of banner date in history that marks any kind of “signal” of future redemption.
Fast forward to December 9, 1917. General Allenby, leading the British forces (remember Lawrence of Arabia), liberates Jerusalem for the first time in centuries from Turkish/Muslim rule. The date on the Jewish calendar–you guessed it: Kislev 24! That evening the Jewish soldiers in the British army celebrated Chanukah and went to the Wall in openness and freedom. The Torah reading that week was Mikketz (Gen 41), where JOSEPH is raised to power and saves Judah. And the Haphtorah reading, for the special Sabbath of Chanukah, as it is today, is the fascinating Zechariah 2:14-4:7! Note how it begins: “I have returned to Zion,” which seems to be the essential meaning of THIS DAY.
It is doubtful that Allenby was aware, during the heat of the battle, of even Chanukah, but certainly he knew nothing of Kislev 24.
If we begin checking in history over the past 2520 years (remember that number), there have been numerous times when Kislev 24 has played a large part, and even a smaller more symbolic part, in the unfolding of redemptive history. For example, no matter what one’s view of Yeshua might be, it seems in all likelihood that Yeshua was conceived on this day, nine months before his birth in September 3 BCE.
Some UIWU officers also noticed some years ago that the encounter David Horowitz had at the cave with his teacher Moshe Guibbory, as recounted in his autobiography, Thirty-three Candles, was on Friday night, December 16/17, 1927–and again, you guessed it, this was Kislev 24th. The Torah reading was Vayeshev, which begins the Joseph cycle, and the Haphtorah was Amos 2:6-3:8, which seems quite appropriate. Horowitz had no idea of this until over 50 years later when it was pointed out to him by others.
Now, a tiny bit on the numbers. Note, these important visions came in the year 520 BCE. The year 2000/2001 marks 2520 years since that first Kislev 24 vision of Haggai. The number 2520 is interesting, it has several mystical mathematical properties, but one most obvious one is that it is 7 x 360, or seven “prophetic years.” A prophetic year in the Bible is 360 days, thus we get in the books of Daniel and Revelation the period of 1260 days for 3.5 years. There are a number of indications, both in the Torah and Prophets, especially Ezekiel, that a kind of “day for a year” principle applies in Prophecy, and accordingly, the official “Exile” of Joseph and Judah would last 2520 years. Perhaps this is the meaning of the phrase “after two days” and “on the third day” references in Hosea 6. Now Judah was essentially “restored” in type at least, in the year 520, but the full restoration, and the union of things between Judah and Joseph is yet to come, “after two days” according to Hosea (a day is a “thousand years” in these prophetic texts). The point is, based on this chronology, we are “in” the third day, as of the year 2000. And indeed, it does appear we have begun to experience a “shaking of all things.” Whether this is the ultimate upheaval to which Haggai refers remains to be seen.
It is also worth noting, in terms of Kislev 24, that if you add 2300 days (the figure in Daniel 8) to that day, you always, on the Jewish calendar, come to the last day of Unleavened Bread, oddly something like 6.3 years later. In other words, it is sort of a strange figure. And there are then various interesting ways, too complicated to go into here, that the periods of Daniel (1260/1290/1335) fit in, taking one to Shavuot of any given sequence of years. We do know for certain that the 2300 “days” was fulfilled as a “day for a year” running from Alexander’s defeat of Darius in 334 BCE (June 7), to the day, to June 7, 1967–when Jerusalem was liberated by the Israelis in the Six Day War. The point seems to be that Alexander’s march to Jerusalem began a period of 2300 days/years of the trampling of Jerusalem. So what this seems to indicate is that there is a larger (day for a year) fulfillment of these periods, as well as a shorter “day for a day” fulfillment, once the “countdown” begins.
One might conclude then, from these indications, that on some Kislev 24, at some year “on our days and in our time” (whether past or future), people will come to recognize that Haggai’s “shaking” did indeed begin. It does not seem likely that time has quite yet come, but every year at this time one’s thoughts go to this date, given such an important designation by Haggai and Zechariah. On a personal level, it seems it can always be a date of “renewal” for any of us, and a time of new beginnings, looking to both the past and to the future.
In this week’s lesson Ross begins to teach the Joseph Saga. As we enter the final four classes of our Genesis series the focus is shifted to Joseph. Who was this son of Rachel and what does his story tell us about the latter days? The prophet Ezekiel speaks of the joining of two sticks: the stick of Judah and the stick of Joseph. The identity of the stick of Judah is not a mystery, but who are those represented by the stick of Joseph? The revelation of the identity of Joseph unlocks the entirety of the plan for those that have eyes to see. This class is the first of four teachings meant to do just that. Our story ends today with Joseph presented as separated from his family, stolen from the land of the Hebrews, and forgotten. Ross begins to set forth the idea that this ancient story describes the descendants of Joseph and their present state. In future classes he will continue to explore the identity of Joseph. You will not want to miss these classes.
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