The Cultural Context of Zechariah 12:2-3 PART 3 OF 6

And What it Means to Our World Today—Right Now!

By Dr. Richard Booker

PART 3 OF 6

“Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of drunkenness to all the surrounding peoples, when they lay siege against Judah and Jerusalem. And it shall happen in that day that I will make Jerusalem a very heavy stone for all peoples; all who would heave it away will surely be cut in pieces, though all nations of the earth are gathered against it” (Zechariah 12:2-3).

The Threshold Blood Covenant

In order to show devotion to their god, people would dedicate their dwellings to the deity they worshiped. They did this by making a blood covenant sacrifice at the threshold entrance to their house, at the threshold entrance to their cities (the city gates around the city) and at the threshold borders of their country. They would then call upon their god to protect their property and provide for their needs. The blood-stained threshold was a reminder they were in a sacred covenant with their god.

Since the borders and boundaries served as the threshold to the national borders, people would set up landmarks in the form of boundary stones or plant trees and dedicate the boundary markers to their gods. When the people went in and out of their territory, they would make a sacrifice to their god at the borders asking for protection when crossing into the territory of a different deity. They would do the same when crossing back into their territory. Because boundaries and borders were a place of worship, they were considered sacred. To move a landmark was not only stealing property from your neighbor, more importantly it was diminishing the territorial domain of their god.

When making a blood covenant sacrifice, the parties would split the animal down the middle and divide the two bloody halves of the animal. Each half of the animal represented the people making the blood covenant. Since this was a sacred covenant, the parties making it would look down at the bloody half of the animal and say, “May our god cut us in pieces like this animal if we try to break the covenant.” The same curse was put on any enemy who attempted to cross the threshold (take your property, heave away the boundary markers, etc.) of the personal dwelling, the city gates or the national borders.

Since the blood-stained threshold was an altar, the people were careful not to step on it. They would leap over it as they entered their dwelling. This is the story of Passover in Exodus. Since the word Passover means “to leap,” Passover was originally referred to as the Threshold Covenant or the Crossing-Over Covenant. The prophet Zephaniah speaks about God judging those who would “leap over the threshold” with evil intentions of violence against the rightful owners of the property (Zephaniah 1:9).

Regardless of their evil intentions, the Word of the Lord is sure, “For surely I will shake My hand against them [the nations], and they shall become spoil for their servants. Then you will know that the LORD of hosts has sent me. Sing and rejoice O daughter of Zion! For behold, I am coming and I will dwell in your midst says the LORD of hosts. Many nations shall be joined to the LORD in that day, and they shall become My people. And I will dwell in your midst. Then you will know that the LORD of hosts has sent Me to you. And the LORD shall take possession of Judah and his inheritance in the Holy Land and will again choose Jerusalem” (Zechariah 2:9-12).

I will explain Jerusalem a Cup of Drunkenness in Part 4. Be looking for it.

 

The Cultural Context of Zechariah 12:2-3 PART 2 OF 6

And What it Means to Our World Today—Right Now!

By Dr. Richard Booker

PART 2 OF 6

“Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of drunkenness to all the surrounding peoples, when they lay siege against Judah and Jerusalem. And it shall happen in that day that I will make Jerusalem a very heavy stone for all peoples; all who would heave it away will surely be cut in pieces, though all nations of the earth are gathered against it” (Zechariah 12:2-3).

The Sacred Nature of Property

The most important thing we need to know is that ancient people considered the geographic region (property lines) in which they lived as the domain of the gods they worshiped. This included their personal dwelling, their cities and their nation. In their minds, their property not only belonged to them but it also belonged to their gods. This means there was a sacred nature to their property. It was the obligation of the deities to protect their domain from foreign invaders. If the borders were moved or the land divided, the gods would be humiliated because their glory and reputation was challenged by the “greater god” of the conquering invaders.

Before God brought the Hebrews into the land, He gave them the following instructions and reminder of who owned the land, “the land shall not be sold permanently, for the land is Mine; for you are strangers and sojourners with Me” (Leviticus 25:23).

God told of His anger against the nations for trying to take His land. Read this carefully as this could very well happen in 2017. This certainly sounds like the UN declarations against Israel led by the US. “Therefore says the LORD God, ‘Surely I have spoken in My burning jealousy against the rest of the nations and against all Edom [Arabia], who gave My land to themselves as a possession, with wholehearted joy and spiteful minds in order to plunder its open country” (Ezekiel 36:5).

God said He would judge the nations because, “They have also divided up My land” (Joel 3:2). Could it be that America is now so divided because our government continues to divide up God’s land?

To remove boundary lines and landmarks was not only an attack against neighbors, cities and countries; it was also an attack against their gods. This means if your property was diminished, your god was diminished. If an invader took your personal property, conquered your city or changed your national boundaries, your god was defeated by the god of your enemies who would be considered the greater god.

To possess the gates of the city of your enemy not only meant that you defeated the enemy but also their god. This means that wars in biblical times (Zechariah’s time) were basically spiritual in nature. The question was not whose army was the most powerful but “Whose god was the greatest?” This is why Islamists shout “A-l-l-a-h Akbar” when they kill people in the name of their god. They are saying their god is greater than the God of the Bible. Are you getting the idea?

No matter what they say, here is what the Word of God says, “This they shall have for their pride, because they have reproached and make arrogant threats against the people of the LORD of hosts. The LORD will be awesome [a terror] to them, for He will reduce to nothing all the gods of the earth; people shall worship Him, each one from His place, indeed all the shores of the nations” (Zephaniah 2:10-11).

I will explain The Threshold Blood Covenant in Part 3. Be looking for it.

 

The Cultural Context of Zechariah 12:2-3 PART 1 OF 6

And What it Means to Our World Today—Right Now!

By Dr. Richard Booker

“Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of drunkenness to all the surrounding peoples, when they lay siege against Judah and Jerusalem. And it shall happen in that day that I will make Jerusalem a very heavy stone for all peoples; all who would heave it away will surely be cut in pieces, though all nations of the earth are gathered against it” (Zechariah 12:2-3).

Americans were shocked when our President and State Department abstained in the declaration by the United Nations stating that Judea and Samaria, and even Jerusalem, should be taken from the Jews and given to the Arabs. We were further outraged when Secretary of State John Kerry delivered his hostile and distorted speech blaming the Jews for lack of peace with their neighbors. Now with the “Peace” conference scheduled in Paris for January 15, concerned Israelis and Americans are bracing for even more anti-Israel declarations and demands.

This has caused both Jews and Christians to open their Bibles to see if the Word of God says anything about this. And it says plenty. The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the One True God, says over and over, and over and over, that He will preserve a remnant of the Jewish people in the nations and bring them back to their ancient land. While secular people may not understand this, you cannot be a faithful Jew or Christian without realizing that the modern ingathering of the Jewish people to a restored Israel is a work of God in fulfilling His Word. This is one of the major themes in the Bible which brings us to the prophecy of Zechariah.

Zechariah’s Prophecy

Zechariah’s name means, “Yahweh Remembers” and the theme of his prophecies was to encourage the people that “the Lord remembers Zion.” That should tell us something, don’t you think? He prophesied in the years of 520-475 B.C. to the Jews who had returned to Jerusalem from Babylon/Persia in 536 B.C. with the approval of King Cyrus. How ironic considering the issue of today’s Temple Mount that Zechariah’s primary message was to encourage the Jews who had returned to their land to rebuild the Temple. Think about that!

But Zechariah’s prophecies were not limited to his time and circumstances. He looked into the future and spoke about the time when Jews would return from all the nations. He spoke about our times but he did so using the cultural expressions of his time that we do not understand in our modern world. We must study the culture of the Bible to understand Zechariah’s words as his listeners would have understood them and their meaning for us today. Understood in their cultural context, his words are much more profound and have much more power than we realize. Their fulfillment will shake the nations and change the world. It may happen sooner than we think.

I would need to write a book to fully explain the depth of the cultural background and meaning of his words. In this presentation I can only share a brief, simplified overview. I am available to give the full lecture if anyone is interested.

I will explain the sacred nature of property in Part 2. Be looking for it.

AN URGENT PROPHETIC WORD

 

On December 29 during the night while I was sleeping, the Lord gave me a prophetic word for our times. He did not wake me up but gave me the revelation in my sleep that He put into my mind. Here is what He said. You judge for yourself. If you think it important, please share with your contacts.

In the Book of Genesis, chapter 10, the descendants of Noah had seventy descendants who gave birth to what became the seventy primary nations of the Bible. In the Book of Numbers chapter 29, seventy bulls were offered for the seventy nations at the Feast of Tabernacles. The Feast of Tabernacles is the Feast for all the nations.

The recent UN vote against Israel at which time the US abstained, was at Hanukkah making the US betrayal even more diabolical. We are reminded that the small band of Maccabeus defeated the Superpower of their day led by Antiochus Epiphanes. The descendants of the Maccabeus, the little State of Israel, will also defeat the modern Antiochus’s and Superpowers of our day that tries to divide the sacred land of Israel. A few days later, Secretary of State John Kerry, representing the US, gave the most distorted anti-Semitic speech imaginable. It was like the man has just consumed a bottle of “hate Israel” alcohol and was so drunk he couldn’t make any sense.

On January 15, Secretary of State Kerry is scheduled to give another speech at a conference in Paris. It is believed that Kerry will declare US support for a Palestinian state with conditions that would destroy the State of Israel if implemented. It is also believed that Kerry, will push for another UN resolution in support of his plan before January 20 when President-elect Trump will take office.

Now here is what God brought to my attention. Guess how many nations are scheduled to be at the meeting on January 15? If you guessed SEVENTY, you are right. The seventy nations attending represent all the nations of our time.

So what does this mean? It means that the fulfillment of Zechariah 12 is at hand. The God of Israel writes for our times through the pen of Zechariah, “Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of drunkenness to all the surrounding peoples; all who would heave it away will surely be cut in pieces though all nations of the earth are gathered against it” (Zechariah 12:2-3).

Am Yisrael Chai – the People of Israel Live!

HAPPY HANUKKAH TO THE PEOPLE OF THE BOOK

Wishing everyone a happy Hanukkah which begins Christmas Eve this year.

Hanukkah is definitely a holiday for both Jews and Christians that we should celebrate together.

Christians may ask why should they be interested in Hanukkah? Let me give you five quick answers.

1. Without Hanukkah there would most likely be no Jews and no Jesus/Yeshua as they would have all been murdered or assimilated.

2. Jesus/Yeshua was most likely conceived by the Holy Spirit in Mary (Miriam) at Hanukkah.

3. Jesus-Yeshua celebrated Hanukkah called the Feast of Dedication in John 10.

4. Christians are grafted into the Jewish people and are part of the Commonwealth of Israel.

5. We often hear the phrase, “What would Jesus do?” He would celebrate Hanukkah. What do you think you should do?

Hag Hanukkah Sameach – Happy Holiday,
Richard and Peggy Booker

 

When was Jesus Really Born?

This year, 2016, the first day of Hanukkah and Christmas are both on December 25 with Hanukkah beginning the evening of December 24. While the Jewish people have celebrated Hanukkah and the Christians have celebrated Christmas, Jesus celebrated Hanukkah as we learn in John 10:22-23. In this text Hanukkah is referred to as the Feast of Dedication because this was the day when the Jewish people rededicated the altar to God after Antiochus had desecrated it. Of course Jesus did not celebrate Christmas as there was no such holiday.

While the New Testament records the birth of Jesus, it does not record the specific date of His birth. Unlike modern times, people in Bible times, and for the first three centuries, did not celebrate birthdays because that was a pagan custom. So how did we decide on the birth date of Jesus?

When Antiochus desecrated the Temple by offering a swine on the holy altar of God in 167BC, he chose December 25 as the date because this was the birthday of Zeus. Zeus was the high god of Greece and considered the incarnation of the sun. Together with his goddess-mother, Rhea (the Queen of Heaven), they represented the Greek version of the mother/child cult of Babylon which easily transitioned into Mary worship and Jesus so the pagans could accept Roman Christianity.

December 25th was the winter solstice, when days began to lengthen. In view of this, the ancient world of pagan sun-worshippers celebrated December 25 as the birthday of the sun. For example, to the Romans, Zeus was known as Jupiter. He was the Roman high god of the sun. The Romans celebrated December 25th (the birthday of Zeus/Jupiter) as Dies Natalis Invicti Solis, “the Day of the Nativity of the Unconquered Sun.”

In the fourth century of our era, after Constantine “Christianized” Rome, he chose December 25 as the day to celebrate the birth of Jesus so that the pagan Romans would accept the new Christian religion of Rome. Constantine, himself a sun-worshipper, may have believed Jesus to be an incarnation of Jupiter, the sun god.

Because of the obvious pagan origins, many segments of Christianity condemned the observance of December 25 due to its connection to sun worship. In fact, our Pilgrim Fathers did not celebrate Christmas knowing that is was a pagan holiday that Rome had Christianized. Furthermore, the Puritans actually banned Christmas from being celebrated in the Colonies. The ban was later overturned when those less pious came to the Colonies in larger numbers.

So when was Jesus born? The Bible gives us the clues if we would only search it out for ourselves. Backing up nine months, Jesus was probably conceived during Hanukkah and born at the Feast of Tabernacles. Luke gives us the clues.

According to Luke 1:5, Zecharias was a priest of the division of Abijah. Luke 1:8 says that Gabriel appeared to Zecharias when he was serving as a priest in the temple.

We learn from 1Chronicles 24:10, the division of Abijah served as priests during the second half of the fourth month on the Jewish religious calendar. This would be late June when Zecharias served in the temple and when Elizabeth conceived John the Baptist. This means that John the Baptist was born the next year around Passover.

Luke gives us more clues. He says, that Mary conceived Jesus by the Holy Spirit in the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy (Luke 1:24-26). This means that Jesus was conceived during the latter part of the Jewish month of Kislev or late December (Hanukkah), on the Gentile calendar.

Jesus was born nine months later, possibly on the first day of the Feast of Tabernacles when God tabernacled among us. He was circumcised on the eighth day (Luke 2:21) at the end of the Feast of Tabernacles to show a new beginning of redemption for mankind.

Oh by-the-way, John the Baptist was not a Baptist,
Mary was not a Catholic and Jesus was not a Christian.
THEY WERE ALL JEWS!

HAPPY HANUKKAH AND MERRY CHRISTMAS

 

THE PILGRIMS AND THE FIRST THANKSGIVING

pilgrims

Because of the popularity of the Thanksgiving holiday, all Americans have heard of the Pilgrims. Anyone who has studied American history knows something about the Puritans.

But who were the Pilgrims and Puritans? They were Bible believing Christians who did not like the fact that the secular British government, ruled by a secular king, also ruled over the Christian Church of England. The king dictated church doctrines and practices that benefited him and forbade those that didn’t. As you would expect, this corrupted the organized Church of England. That is why it is important, that from an organizational control standpoint, political and religious institutions are not governed by the same entity. This is what Thomas Jefferson meant by the separation of church and state – no state church.

The Puritans and Pilgrims didn’t like a secular king telling them what they could believe and how they could practice their Christian faith. They wanted to study the Bible for themselves, establish their own beliefs as they understood the Bible, and decide for themselves how to live out their faith.

Separation of Church and State Not God and State

In other words, they did not want freedom from religion; but freedom of religion. They did not want the government to have a government church. They acknowledged God as their sovereign; not the King of England. They wanted freedom of conscience to believe and live as they understood the Bible; and not what the King of England told them to believe and do. They would never have thought of kicking God out of the government but wanted to kick the government out of the church. They wanted God to rule the government not the government to rule the church.

Of course this desire for freedom of conscience threatened the king who was not going to tolerate this dissent. King James I vowed to “make these deviants conform or he would harass them out of the land or else do worse.” The more they sought religious freedom; the more the king persecuted them. Using biblical terms, we might say that God hardened the King of England’s heart.

The Puritans thought they could purify the corrupted Church of England from within. The Pilgrims believed otherwise. They didn’t see any hope for change as long as the king was the head of the church. So the Pilgrims separated themselves from the Church of England. This is why they were called Separatists.

The Pilgrim Exodus

Because they were persecuted, the Pilgrims fled England to Holland and then twelve years later they left Holland, bordered a ship called the Mayflower and sailed to America on September 6, 1620. Sixty six days later they arrived at Cape Cod and at Plymouth Rock on December 11. Over the next twenty years, 16,000 Puritans crossed the ocean and founded the Massachusetts Bay Colony.

The Pilgrims were totally connected to the Hebraic roots of Christianity. They saw themselves as reenacting the Exodus from Egypt except they were fleeing the King of England and crossing the ocean to a new promise land. They identified with the Hebrew people, the Hebrew Bible and the Hebrew language. For example, it is likely that the Thanksgiving celebration of the Pilgrims was based on the Feast of Tabernacles in Leviticus 23:39. It was this connection that brought Judeo-Christian morals and ethics to America that made America great. No matter who is in the White House, we must return to our Judeo-Christian heritage to “Make America Great Again.” This will require intense spiritual warfare and much civil unrest because those who hate God would rather destroy the country than bow to God.

 

[For further information on the Hebraic roots of the Pilgrims, please order my book, Christians, Jews and Israel: Standing Together in Troubled Times available at www.rbooker.com.]

 

The First Thanksgiving

pilgrims2

Of the 102 passengers on the Mayflower, only 53 survived the first winter. In the fall of 1621, they celebrated their survival and a successful harvest that we know of as the “First Thanksgiving.”Along with the Pilgrims, ninety Native Americans, including King Massasoit, came to the feast that lasted for three days. Ladies, can you imagine preparing for and feeding this many people for three days?

There are two descriptions of that first thanksgiving from eyewitness accounts, both written in King James English. The first is from Edward Winslow who writes:

“Our harvest being gotten in, our governor sent four men on fowling, that so we might after a special manner rejoice together, after we had gathered the fruits of our labors; they four in one day killed as much fowl, as with a little help beside, served the Company almost a week, at which time amongst other Recreations, we exercised our Arms, many of the Indians coming amongst us, and amongst the rest their greatest king Massasoit, with some ninety men, whom for three days we entertained and feasted, and they went out and killed five Deer, which they brought to the Plantation and bestowed on our Governor, and upon the Captain and others. And although it be not always so plentiful, as it was at this time with us, yet by the goodness of God, we are so far from want, that we often wish you partakers of our plenty.”

William Bradford was the governor of the Colony. He writes:

“They began now to gather in the small harvest they had, and to fit up their houses and dwellings against winter, being all well recovered in health and strength and had all things in good plenty. For as some were thus employed in affairs abroad, others were exercised in fishing, about cod and bass and other fish, of which they took good store, of which every family had their portion. All the summer there was no want; and now began to come in store of fowl, as winter approached, of which this place did abound when they came first (but afterward decreased by degrees). And besides waterfowl there was great store of wild turkeys, of which they took many, besides venison, etc. Besides, they had about a peck of meal a week to a person, or now since harvest, Indian corn to that proportion. Which made many afterwards write so largely of their plenty here to their friends in England, which were not feigned but true reports.”

There are some teachers and writers who claim that the Pilgrims stole land from the Native Americans and treated them harshly. This is not true. The Pilgrims and the Native Americans in their neighborhood signed a peace treaty of mutual respect and friendship that lasted fifty years. How many treaties do you know that last fifty years? It was only later that less honorable people from both sides violated the trust between the parties.

A Miracle of Survival

Of the original 102 Mayflower passengers, 29 were women. Eighteen were married, ten were children and one was single. Of the eighteen married women, fourteen died in the first winter leaving only four surviving married women. These were Mary Brewster, Susanna White, Elizabeth Hopkins, and Ellen Billington. Symbolically, America was born from the womb of these few godly women who had a Judeo-Christian, Hebraic faith and worldview. Think about it!

Bradford acknowledged the divine providence of God with these words, “Thus out of small beginnings greater things have been produced by His hand that made all things from nothing, and gives being to all thing that are; and, as one small candle may light a thousand, so the light here kindled hath shone unto many, yea, in some sort to our whole nation; let the glorious name of Jehovah have all the praise.”

In 1650, Bradford writes, “Of these 100 or so of persons who came over first, more than half died in the first general sickness. Of those that remained, some were too old to have children. Nevertheless in those thirty years there have sprung up from that stock over 160 persons now living in this year 1650; and of the old stock itself, nearly thirty persons still survive. Let the Lord have the praise, Who is the High Preserver of men.”

 

 

 

 

A WINDOW OF MERCY

I told Peggy many times that if Donald Trump was elected president it would be an act of God. Otherwise, there was no possibility for him to win against the establishment. I taught statistics in college and knew that the probability of him winning was beyond the human realm of accomplishment. It would have to be “divine intervention.” Regardless of your political views, he won “against all odds.”

The Word of God confirms this view, “Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, for wisdom and might are His. And He changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and raises up kings; He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding. He reveals deep and secret things; He knows what is in the darkness and light dwells with Him” (Daniel 2:20-22).

When it was clear that Donald Trump won the election, Peggy said it best, “God has given us a window of mercy.” This window will only stay open if the people of God humble themselves and turn away for the distractions of the American bread and circus of “freebies,” shopping, leisure, pleasure entertainment and sports, and seek God in repentance for lukewarmness and cultural distractions.

Just as there has been a political tsunami and transition, there must be a spiritual and moral tsunami and transition. Ministers must stop preaching feel-good entertaining sermons and start preaching righteousness. They must stop emphasizing buildings and numbers and start emphasizing people and community loving and serving one another.

Likewise, the people of God must return America to our Judeo-Christians heritage in order to make “America Great Again.” We must transition from being cultural converts to being disciples. There will not be revival in the White House until it is first in the Church House. Let us keep the window of mercy open for a fresh wind of God to blow through it into our lives and our nation.

 

 

 

BIBI AND THE BIBLE

There is hope yet!

The new school year has begun in Israel, and Prime Minister Benjamin (Bibi) Netanyahu had two related messages for students: “study the Bible and seek peaceful coexistence.”

At a cabinet meeting on August 30, 2016, Bibi also told his cabinet that he wants to “carry out an education revolution based on two things: excellence and Zionism.” Central to achieve that is the study of the Bible, the Prime Minister explained: “First of all, the study of the Bible,” Bibi told his ministers. “This is the basis for why we are here, why we have returned here, why we stay here.”

Has the Prime Minister been reading Jeremiah 31:10, “Hear the word of the LORD, O nations, and declare it in the isles afar off, and say, ‘He who scattered Israel will gather him, and keep him as a shepherd does his flock.’”

For Out of Zion Shall Go Forth Torah

Not to be out done, Israel’s Education Minister Naftali Bennett said that the Bible is the most important topic children should learn in school, “Even thought Israel is a high-tech superpower and exporter of knowledge and innovation to the world, we must also be a spiritual superpower and export spiritual knowledge to the world.” He went on to say that Israel’s primary mandate was “to be a light to the nations.” He further said that “It is not enough to be solely the nation of the startup. We must also be the people of the Bible for out of Zion shall go forth Torah and the word of God from Jerusalem.”

While the American government takes God and the Bible out of the schools, Israel is putting God and the Bible in their schools. Guess which nation God is going to bless.

Sid Roth’s It’s Supernatural

Dr. Booker on
Sid Roth’s It’s Supernatural

  • We wanted to let you know that Dr. Booker has been interviewed on Sid Roth’s program, It’s Supernatural. This program is seen by millions of people around the world.
  • In a mini re-enactment, Dr. Booker shares his encounter with God in 1974 as well as about the Feast and Israel and the church in the End Times in Prophecy
  • His radio broadcast schedule with Sid is also listed below. It has a listening audience in the hundreds of thousands.
  • Please mark these dates on your calendar and share with your elist and social media friends.

Dr. Booker’s interview on “It’s Supernatural” will air the week of September 19/September 25, 2016 on the following networks:

images

Sky Angel, Daystar, Church Channel, GEB, God TV, Impact Network, TLNNET, WHT, WORD.

In Canada: HOPE TV, Daystar Canada

The interview will also air on TBN on Friday, September 23, 2016 at 7:00pm Eastern time/ 6:00pm Central time and 4:00pm Pacific time.

You may go to the Sid Roth website www.sidroth.org to get a complete listing of the TV stations/networks and the airing dates.

Dr. Booker’s It’s Supernatural/Audio Broadcast will air as the featured one hour internet radio broadcast at www.sidroth.org/radio the week beginning: September 19-September 23, 2016. It will be available to access in the radio internet archives any time after that.

The show also airs nationally on the website OnePlace at:

http://www.oneplace.com/ministries/messianic-vision/