Studies

Shemini Atzeret (שְׁמִניִ עֲצֶרֶת)

The Festival of Sukkot contains an enigma: is it prescribed in the Torah to be 7 days long or 8?  The text in Lev 23 seems a bit ambiguous: (vv. 33-36):

“Again Adonai spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the sons of Israel, saying, ‘On the fifteenth of this seventh month is the Feast of Booths for seven days to Adonai. ‘On the first day is a holy convocation;
you shall do no laborious work of any kind. ‘For seven days you shall present an offering by fire to Adonai. On the eighth day you shall have a holy convocation and present an offering by fire to Adonai; it is an assembly. You shall do no laborious work.”

The festival is specifically detailed as lasting seven days, yet a command is given regarding the eighth day. This is reiterated a few verses later in Lev 23: (v.39):

“‘On exactly the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when you have gathered in the crops of the land, you shall celebrate the feast of Adonai for seven days, with a rest on the first day and a rest on the eighth day.

In fact, this eighth day is referred to as “an assembly” or a “holy assembly,” which is עצֲרֶֶת in the Hebrew of Lev 23:36, and thus שְׁמִניִ עֲצֶרֶת , Shemini Atzeret means “eighth-day assembly.” Atzeret is from the root עצר (‘atzar) which means “to restrain, hold back,” and thus, the Sages understand the designation to be referring to a “holding on to the festival” so as to restrain it from ending—making the festival last for yet another day. But since the text clearly states that one is to dwell in the Sukkah for 7 days (not 8), the eighth day was understood by the Sages as a separate festival, yet one which is, in every way, connected to the 7 days of Sukkot, and maintains the character of Sukkot……

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Study through the Book of Romans 2:26-29 With Audio!

A Study Through Paul’s Epistle to the Romans notes by Tim Hegg
Romans 2:26–29

The Context

• Paul’s mission: “… to bring about the obedience of faith among all the
Gentiles for His name’s sake” 1:5
Paul’s teaching in the previous context:
– The gospel is the power of God resulting in salvation to those who
accept it by faith.
– All are in need of salvation because all, Jew and Gentile, are guilty
before God.
~ This is obvious with regard to the Gentiles because of their immorality and idolatry.
~ But it is equally true of Jewish people who, though religious, fail
to live out what they know is true.
• Our present text continues Paul’s words to the Jewish community
regarding their need of salvation.
• Paul is, therefore, addressing Jews in our text, not Gentiles.

…being manifested that you are a letter of Messiah, cared for by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. (2Cor 3:3)
… Who also made us adequate as servants of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit giveslife. (2Cor 3:6)

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Study through the Book of Romans 2:17-24 With Audio!

A Study Through Paul’s Epistle to the Romans notes by Tim Hegg
Romans 2:17–24

Roman 2:17–20
But if you bear the name “Jew” and rely upon the Torah and boast in God, and know His will and approve the things that are essential,  being instructed out of the Torah, and are confident that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, a corrector of the foolish, a teacher of the immature, having in the Torah the embodiment of knowledge and of the truth,
• It is clear that in this paragraph that Paul is addressing Jewish people,  and particularly those of the Pharisaic sect.
• All of the things Paul lists here are, in and of themselves, honorable  and even desirable.
• Yet it is clear that Paul is listing things that highlight some level of  hypocrisy.
“If you bear the name ‘Jew’”
• “Jew” (ἰουδαῖος, ioudaios) originally meant “of the tribe of Judah.”
• By the 1st Century BCE, “Jew” designated those people of Israel who  lived in Judea, and who worshipped at the Jerusalem Temple.
• Eventually the name “Jew” came to be equivalent with “Israelite” or  “people of Israel.”
“rely upon the Torah”
• “rely” = ἐπαναπαύομαι, epanapauomai used only here and in Lk 10:6, “If a man of peace is there, your peace will rest on him; but if not, it will return to you.”
• To rely upon the Torah means to believe that obeying the Torah was how one remained within the covenant.
“boast in God”
• Paul taught that it is right to “boast in God”

 “But he who boasts is to boast in Adonai.” (2Cor 10:17, paraphrasing Jer 9:24)

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