Ponder Scripture Newsletter Archives
Newsletter #24: Saul, Samuel and the Witch of Endor
Bible topic that recently came up during a recent Shabbat meeting is that of whether or not the dead prophet Samuel truly conversed with King Saul in the account known as “Saul and the Witch of Endor” (I Samuel 28:1-19). Was it really Samuel or did the witch conjure up a demonic counterpart? Although I was familiar with the story, I hadn’t really ever considered whether or not it was the “real Samuel,” primarily because I was more interested in the lesson we should learn instead of the means by which the lesson is taught. Without question, Saul’s decision to consult with a witch was an ill-advised decision, especially in view of the fact that it goes not only against the grain of Torah, but even against Saul’s own orders banishing such individuals from his kingdom. By now, the prophet Samuel was dead and awaiting the resurrection of the just. Would Yahweh grant Saul’s wish to consult with the spirit of the dead prophet? Or would a demonic spirit play the role of the now-departed Samuel? More ....
Newsletter #22: Calendrical Hypocrisy
n the April-May 2018 edition of Sacred Name newsletter Beginning Anew (which we received in early March), the group alerted its readers to be on the lookout for the upcoming "critical" new moon of March 18th because IF the sufficiently-ripe "Abib barley" was to be found in Jerusalem, then that upcoming new moon would mark the countdown to Passover. The contingency about barley being found in Jerusalem as the criterion for using the upcoming new moon to begin the countdown to Passover was intriguing to us because most groups claiming to go by the "green ears of barley" as observed prior to the new moon sighting are content to go with barley anywhere within the state of Israel. So was sufficiently-ripe "Abib barley" found in Jerusalem prior to the new moon sighting on March 18, 2018? More ....
Newsletter #21: What Do 1,000 Manuscripts With "Yehovah" Prove?
n January 2018, a friend sent us a link to a posting on Nehemia Gordon’s “Nehemia’s Wall” web site because he wanted to know our opinion about Nehemia’s jubilant claim that he and his team, through diligent research, have now found over 1,000 Hebrew manuscripts in which the Tetragrammaton (יהוה) is vowel-pointed so as to be pronounced “Yehovah.” This, they claim, “ends the controversy” over how the Creator’s name is pronounced because surely 1,000 manuscripts can’t be wrong: The scribes who so diligently copied those manuscripts left us with the “true pronunciation.” Or so they claim. We know there are many gullible believers out there who will fall for the above reasoning. A few, however, may be a little skeptical and if you are just a tiny bit skeptical of Nehemia’s conclusion based on his team’s “research,” then this is something for you to consider before reaching your conclusion. More ...
Newsletter #20: Striving About Words
he time we spend “striving about words” that ultimately can’t even be traced to idol worship and therefore cannot make one individual any more spiritual than anyone else takes us away from the real issues that matter. Our focus should be drawing closer to our Heavenly Father. A part of deepening that relationship does involve words because I maintain that research bears out that words such as “God” should never be applied to the creator of the universe. If we’re going to criticize someone’s choice of words, let’s base it on honest research, scholarly inquiry and respectful sharing of ideas and beliefs. More ...
Newsletter #19: Tribute to Worley Maynard
ne of the first things you will encounter upon embracing a life of Torah observance (or in our case striving to be Torah observant) is that truth is not popular. It is a challenging challenge to manage a Torah observant lifestyle while simultaneously cultivating meaningful relationships with those who don't. In my case, I have learned to settle for not being a "go to" person when it comes to questions about faith in a creator and the lifestyle changes brought about by recognizing His Son as the Savior of the world because people typically just don't want to hear truth. I guess I've settled for a "quiet faith." People in general do not want to change their torahless lifestyles and the average person doesn't really care about calling on the creator of the universe with the name that He gave to Himself. There was a man whose life crossed our spiritual path and he exhibited his own special way of dealing with indifference to truth. Don't get me wrong: Worley Maynard was far from perfect; that's a character flaw that those who didn't like him would expect me to remind our readers. I won't go into that side of Worley's life because I know there was another side that needs to be shared. I would also remind our readers that no one is perfect and even a man known as being "a man after Yahweh's heart" was guilty of some pretty grievous sins. The quality I admired in Worley was his indifference to indifference. He didn't care who you were, he had a knack of striking up a conversation with virtually anyone and it would initially flow as one of the most pleasant of conversations you could have with a stranger, when without the other party realizing what was happening, the topic would drift to religion. If Worley introduced you to a doctrinal belief that made you feel a bit uncomfortable, you'd better brace yourself because he wasn't going to give you any breaks. More ...
Newsletter #18: Cold Love
A Handicapped Woman Rides the DART Train in Dallas, TX
s I weaved through the throng of passengers making our way to the DART (Dallas Area Rapid Transit) shuttle bus, I heard a noisy, screeching metal-on-stone sound that interrupted the otherwise peaceful procession. “What on earth IS that?” I wondered to myself. Looking around, I spotted an old woman determinedly pushing her walker through the crowd. The walker had front wheels, but the rear rubber pads in back had long since been ground away and the woman was making do with what she had, noisy or not. More ...
Newsletter #17: How Do We Know if We Accept the King's Invitation?
We all know that man's calendar is nothing like the one established In Scripture -- but does it really matter?
don’t know about you, but if I knew that my family and I reckon the new year in the spring of each year and that this “new year” coincides with the timing ordained by the Creator in His Word, plus if I knew that there is a prophecy about a futuristic “horn” that would dare think to change “times and laws,” I would be very, very, very hesitant about declaring that the new year, going forward, will begin in the winter instead of the spring. Everyone has been invited to marriage supper of the Lamb, which will take place in the Kingdom of Heaven and you would think that everyone wants to be there; however, the reality is, many folks either don’t believe the marriage supper of the Lamb will ever actually take place or else they don’t give it enough thought to take it seriously. More ...
Newsletter #16: Name of the Messiah: Accepting Dialectal Variety – With An Asterisk*
t's 2015 and an issue that seemingly won’t go away has already taken up a sizeable chunk of our time this year. I’m referring to the topic of the Messiah’s name. Ever since June and I began referring to Him by the name Yeshua instead of Yahshua, we’ve been criticized, ostracized and occasionally condemned by various members of the Sacred Name Movement. We cover this fact in-depth in chapter 3 of our study Name of the Messiah. The primary point of contention is the vowel in the first syllable of His name and if you don’t get it just right by Sacred Name Movement standards, you are regarded as being among those who remove the Father’s name from the Son’s name. The first syllable of the Father’s name is Yah, and it is this same first syllable that, according to Sacred Name Movement adherents, must be written and pronounced as the first syllable of the Messiah’s name. More ...
Newsletter #15: Does Yahweh Worship = Jupiter Worship?
hen it comes to being a truth seeker, one of the first things we come to grips with is the name we use in reference to our Heavenly Father. Many believers are coming to the realization that you just cannot improve on the name that our Creator gave to Himself. Sadly, that realization leads to unnecessary division amongst the very individuals seeking to emulate the One they worship because now we are faced with several opinions as to how that name is "correctly" pronounced. So on the one hand, we are unified in our drive to call upon our Heavenly Father by the name He gave to Himself, but on the other hand we're divided over how to vocalize it. The latter cancels out the former. June and I do understand that there is a reasoning process that gets each of us to the current understandings that we all have. We do understand that we may each come up with differing conclusions. What we don't understand is the apparent need that some folks have to demonize or otherwise denigrate ... More ...
Newsletter #14: Charlie, the Media and Freedom of Speech: Where do we draw the line?
he current events dominating world news (01/11/2015) are focused on the horrific tragedy in France where terrorists stormed the office of a weekly newspaper called Charlie Hebdo, brutally executing its editor and eleven others, including staff members and two police officers. Eleven others were wounded, some seriously. The Islamic terrorists who perpetrated this atrocity did so as an act of revenge for their prophet Muhammad, whose image had been spoofed and mocked repeatedly by the newspaper. In a worldwide show of support for the newspaper's right to satirize and mock individuals of their choice in the name of "Freedom of Speech," world leaders joined French citizens and defiantly displayed signs of solidarity that read, "JE SUIS CHARLIE," which is translated "I AM CHARLIE." Our hearts grieve for the loss of life and the sorrow felt by those left to mourn their loved ones. Whenever a life of another is taken, one of the questions that is often asked (and it needs to be asked) is, "Why?" While I do not pretend to have all the answers, I am nevertheless persuaded that I have some of the answers and at the risk of coming across as arrogant, I am persuaded that if everyone would put my proposed solution into practice, most, if not all, of these unspeakable horrors would be a thing of the past. More ...
Newsletter #13: Can a Scriptural Month Have Only 28 Days?
are persuaded that the Scriptural month of Adar 2014 only consisted of 28 days. While we had often wondered if a 28-day month might be possible, it wasn’t until 2014 that we found out that it is. We understand that many believers may have a difficult time accepting the possibility of a 28-day Scriptural month. This may be due to having been indoctrinated with the understanding that Scriptural months can be no shorter than 29 days and no longer than 30 days. For what is considered normative Judaism, it is an outright teaching that months can only have 29 or 30 days – no more, no less. What does Scripture say? Does Scripture make allowance for months to contain fewer than 29 days? More ...
Newsletter #12: Should Hanukkah Be Memorialized?
am writing this essay on December 7, 2013, a day that many memorialize as "Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day," the day the Japanese perpetrated an attack on Pearl Harbor, killing more than 2,400 Americans. I don't mean to seem harsh, but those who express opposition to memorializing Hanukkah may as well also express opposition to memorializing Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day. There are many sources you can turn to for information about Hanukkah, so a study that June and I authored ten years ago is only one of many that brings out the fact that Hanukkah memorializes a Jewish triumph over an evil tyrant named Antiochus Epiphanes, who was responsible for massacring 40,000 Jews within the space of three days and selling 40,000 others for slaves to neighboring nations (2 Maccabees 5:11-14). We are persuaded that Yahweh used a man named Yehuda (the Maccabee) and his 3,000-man unit (I Macc. 4:6) to defeat an army of 65,000 (I Macc. 4:28) in retaliation for that massacre and other atrocities inflicted on their fellow Jews. Yehuda and his men then cleansed the temple from the swine's flesh that had been sacrificed there and rededicated it to the worship of Yahweh on the 25th day of Casleu. More ...
Newsletter #11: Should We Translate Names?
ne of the great mysteries in life, to me at least, is how we can live in a world that, for the most part, does not call upon the Creator by the name He gave to Himself. While June and I are persuaded that the name our Heavenly Father gives to Himself is Yahweh, there are others who refer to Him as “Yahwah,” “Yahuwah,” “Yehovah,” etc. Such a controversy wouldn’t exist if the “Ineffable Name Doctrine” had not been perpetrated. The “Ineffable Name Doctrine” is promoted by Judaism and holds that the Almighty’s name is “too sacred to pronounce.” It is not a Scriptural doctrine, especially when one considers the fact that the name Yahweh (יהוה) is used some 6,823 times in what is known as the Old Testament. It only makes sense that those who love the Almighty and seek to have a relationship with Him would also want to know and use His name in a reverent way. Nevertheless, this is not what is being promoted by today’s churches and assemblies. More ...
Newsletter #10: Update on the 2013 Calendar Feud
ast month at this time we were on the receiving end of several e-mails explaining why the only workable Scriptural calendar is one that is based on first observing the green ears of barley in Israel, then sighting the subsequent new moon. June and I have been reckoning the Scriptural calendar from the new moon that is sighted on or after the vernal equinox since 1999, so we’ve been exposed to all the arguments, and since we went by the green ears of barley reports prior to using our current method, we pretty much know all the pros and cons of both arguments by now. In last month’s newsletter, we addressed how untrustworthy the current green ears of barley reports from Israel are and we continue to harbor that same sentiment this month! More ....
Newsletter #9: Spring of 2013 – The Calendar Wars Continue: "Green Ears of Barley" vs. the Vernal Equinox
ell, today is March 9, 2013 and we again find ourselves in the midst of that awkward transition time between late winter and early spring, which coincides with that time of year when people send calendar articles designed to let the reader know why their view is correct and all the others are wrong. So far this month we've heard from at least five different individuals, none of whom (to the best of my knowledge) have taken the time to read the two studies that June and I have already composed on this subject. We wrote Balancing the Calendar back in 2005, then Balancing the Calendar II five years later. To date, not one person has ever let us know of the errors of our reasoning, yet they still apparently expect us to read their own studies, which will apparently help us to "come to our senses" about the true Scriptural calendar. More ...
Newsletter #8: Bul 2011 Pagan Associations: Have You Gone Back Far Enough?
Newsletter #7: Elul 2011 Creation Evidence in the Midst of Drought Conditions
Newsletter #6: Ab 2011 Why Do We Use the Form Yeshua When Referring to the Messiah?
Newsletter #5: The "Pre-First Day" of Creation: Did the Sabbath That Occurred After Creation Fall on the Eighth Day of the Month?
Newsletter #3: Ziv 2011 -- Should Women Wear Tassels?
Newsletter #2: Abib 2011 -- Should We Kill a Lamb for Passover?
Newsletter #1: Shebat 2011 -- Should We Pray That Our Flight Not Be On the Sabbath Day?
anuary 2011 marked the 25th anniversary of Sabbath observance for June and me. We have lots of memories of our journey since that venture into the unknown. I remember that not long after June and I made the decision to observe the weekly Sabbath, we made the mistake of sharing our new-found truth with several of our best friends. Some might say our mistake was in forcing our view on others and expecting them to believe us "or else." But no, we expected them to study this issue on their own and let us know what they came up with, just in case we had reached a premature and incorrect conclusion. We were (and are) willing to pursue scholarly inquiry with anyone who wanted to study this topic with us. Even today, 25 years into Sabbath observance, June and I often find ourselves challenged by others on various Scriptural topics. How do we respond? More ...
This is the name of our Creator, Yahweh, sometimes called the Tetragrammaton. It is given here in (A) the Phoenician script, (B) the Ivrit Kadum (Paleo-Hebrew) script, and (C) the Modern Hebrew script (a stylization of Aramaic).
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