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Start Your New Week with a Word of Edification, Exhortation and Comfort from Daniel Botkin

Welcome to the Gates of Eden Blog ~ New posts weekly at 8PM following Shabbat

January 26, 2020

About 25 years ago the pastor of the congregation I attended preached a sermon telling Bible believers why they should not celebrate Halloween. Afterwards I told the pastor that it was an excellent sermon, and I commended him for taking a bold stand. Then, as respectfully and as lovingly as I could, I told him that all the good reasons he gave to urge Christians to shun Halloween were the very same reasons I shun Christmas. If the pagan origin of Halloween traditions makes Halloween un-kosher for Christians, then should not the pagan origin of Christmas traditions make Christmas just as un-kosher as Halloween? Why is it that so many conservative Christians are willing to shun Halloween because of its connection to pagan superstitions and idolatry, but are not willing to shun Christmas?

January 19, 2020

According to the Bible, spring marks the beginning of the year. “This month [Aviv, the month of Passover] shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you” (Ex. 12:2). In ancient times, not only the Israelites but also the Gentiles regarded spring as the beginning of the year. For Jews the first day of the year was Aviv 1. Gentiles used April 1 as New Year’s Day. Then in 46 B.C., Julius Caesar revised the calendar and decreed that henceforth, the new year would begin on January 1. Those who continued to regard April 1 as New Year’s Day were considered fools. This is the popular explanation for the origin of April Fool’s Day, though there is no actual historical proof of this.

January 12, 2020

"And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is His name? what shall I say unto them? And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and He said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me to you." -Ex 3:13f When Moses asked God what His name is, God replied, "I AM THAT I AM. Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you." This sometimes confuses people, because God is never again referred to or addressed as "I AM THAT I AM" anywhere else in the Bible. Throughout the Hebrew Scriptures God is usually referred to and addressed as "Yahweh," never as "I AM." So what did God mean when He told Moses that His name is "I AM"? When speaking about someone's name, we must remember that the English word name (as well as its Hebrew equivalent, shem) has...

January 5, 2020

“To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven....” (Eccl. 3:1) From Ecclesiastes chapter 3, we learn that the Creator has specific times and seasons for different things. We see this truth about times and seasons manifested in the life cycle, in human experience, in nature, in agriculture, and even in history. There was a specific time in history to conquer Canaan. It could not be done in Abraham’s time, “for the iniquity of the Amorites [was] not yet full” (Gen. 15:16). There was a specific time in history when the Messiah was scheduled to come. “When the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son” (Gal. 4:4). In the Parable of the Wheat and the Tares, Yeshua used agricultural

December 29, 2019

The gospel of Jesus Christ (the good news of Yeshua the Messiah) does not begin with a manifestation of the Messiah Himself. The gospel begins with a messenger and a message to prepare the way for the Messiah. "The beginning of the gospel of Yeshua the Messiah, the Son of God; As it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send My messenger before thy face, which shall prepare the way before thee. The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make His paths straight" (Mark 1:1-3). Before Yeshua was manifested to Israel as the Messiah and Son of God at His First Advent, the spirit and power of Elijah had to prepare the way for His appearance. Before Yeshua is manifested to the world a second time as the Messiah and Son of God, the spirit and power of Elijah must again prepare the way for His appearance. "Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of Yahweh" (Mal. 4:5). In New Testament ti...

December 22, 2019

The Hanukkah story is found in the Book of Maccabees, a Jewish inter-testamental book. The Jews, to whom "were committed the oracles of God" (Rom. 3:2), never considered Maccabees to be Divinely-inspired, authoritative Holy Scripture. Nonetheless, Maccabees is an important book in Jewish history.

   The Book of Maccabees is not inspired, but it is inspiring, which is probably the reason it was included, along with a few other apocryphal books, in the original KJV Bible.

   Curiously, the historical events in Maccabees, though not included in the Biblical canon, are in fact prophesied in the Bible. To understand this extra-Biblical book from a Biblical perspective requires a familiarity with the Book of Daniel and some knowledge of history.

   In Daniel chapter 2, Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, had a dream in which he saw a great image of a metallic man. The head was of gold, the breast and arms of silver, the belly and thighs of brass, the legs of iron, and the feet part of ir...

December 14, 2019

Among Christians there are two extreme views of speaking in tongues. One extreme view is the belief that people who never speak in tongues are lost and on their way to hell. This view is based on the notion that the initial external evidence of receiving the Holy Spirit is speaking in tongues, and if a person has never spoken in tongues, that is evidence they do not have the Spirit and therefore do not belong to Christ, because “if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his” (Rom. 8:9). Brethren, I, like Paul, speak in tongues more than ye all. And like Paul, I would that ye all spake with tongues. Nevertheless, I reject this false notion. The opposite extreme view of speaking in tongues is the notion that all modern-day manifestations of speaking in tongues are deceptions and delusions, inspired either by people’s fleshly wishful thinking, or by demonic spirits.

December 8, 2019

With some help from his mother, Jacob tricked his father Isaac into giving him the blessing that Isaac had planned to bestow on his firstborn son Esau. “And Esau hated Jacob because of the blessing wherewith his father blessed him: and Esau said in his heart, The days of mourning for my father are at hand; then will I slay my brother Jacob” (Gen. 27:4). Rebekah, the mother of Esau and Jacob, heard about Esau’s anger. She told Jacob to flee to Haran and stay with her brother Laban until Esau cooled off and it was safe to come home. What was supposed to be a relatively brief visit with his Uncle Laban turned into twenty long years of exile for Jacob.

December 1, 2019

What was nailed to the Cross? Cheirographon, that’s what. It might be Greek to you, but it's a Greek word you should know if you want to understand what was nailed to the Cross in Colossians 2:14. Many Christians erroneously believe that "the handwriting of ordinances" (cheirographon tois dogmasin) in Colossians 2:14 refers to the Old Testament Law of Moses. According to this misinterpretation, God's Law was "against us" and "contrary to us" because it was a heavy yoke of bondage. It was an impediment, a hindrance to man's attempt to be reconciled to God. Therefore God had to "take it out of the way" and get rid of it. He did this by nailing it to the Cross. In other words, we are reconciled to God by Christ's abolition of His Father's Law. So says this popular misinterpretation of Colossians 2:14.

November 24, 2019

It is a Jewish custom to recite a psalm before saying grace after meals. On the six weekdays, Jews recite Psalm 137: "By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept when we remembered Zion. We hanged out harps upon the willows...How shall we sing the LORD's song in a strange land?" On the Sabbath, a different psalm is recited, Psalm 126: "When the LORD turned again the captivity of Zion, we were like them that dream. Then was our mouth filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing..." These are two contrasting psalms. One describes the grief of the Jews who were carried away into the Babylonian Captivity, and the other

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