In Matthew’s gospel, Yahusha Ha’Mashiach (Jesus) told weary disciples that the rest he offered could be compared to an easy yoke and light burden. In this period, the Pharisees, which Yahusha often referred to as the synagogue of Satan, strove to maintain a seemingly dead religious system of forgiveness that laid heavy burdens on the people beyond the original instructions handed down by Moses by Yahuah (God).
Come to me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.
Matthew 11:28-30 NKJV
What does this passage about Messiah’s easy yoke and light burden mean? How is it applicable today? What does this passage look like from a Bible-believing Torah perspective? These are questions this writer hopes to answer.
Easy Yoke and Light Burden — A Clash of Opinions
There is no shortage of teachings available on the Web discussing Matthew 11:28-30. Many teachers correctly point out that the passage means we are to submit ourselves daily to Yahusha (Jesus) and walk side-by-side with him doing the excellent work of the Kingdom. However, by contending that the Law (Torah) is a burden that was done away with, they nullify this assertion by taking this passage out of context.
Others suggest that, under the grace doctrine, our relationship with Messiah demands nothing of us. They maintain that Yahusha did all the work based on a flawed interpretation of Psalm 55:22, which refers to Yahusha bearing the burden of our iniquities (sin) on the cross.
“Cast your burden upon the LORD and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous be shaken.”
Believers have a role to play in working out their salvation in conjunction with Yahusha, our High Priest. Let us pause, revisit, and unpack the contextual interpretation of Matthew 11:28-30 to understand its application, then and now.
“Come to me all you who labor and are heaven-laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
The word for labor used here is the Greek word kopiao (G2872) which can mean: to grow weary, tired, or exhausted (with toil or burdens or grief). It can also mean to labor with wearisome effort; to toil. Although this speaks of the natural and physical labors of mankind, in this instance it applies to legal and spiritual burdens.
The Greek word used here for burden is phortion (G5413). It is defined as a burden, load, (of the freight), or lading of a ship. It can also be defined as a burdensome rite as in the obligation Christ lays upon his followers. Compare and contrast this to the precepts of the Pharisees who laid oppressive burdens on the people. More on this later.
First, let’s take a look at how modern-day dictionaries define the word burden. According to Merriam-Webster, a burden is something that is carried – a load; duty, responsibility; something oppressive or worrisome; the bearing of a load; capacity for cargo as in the phrase “beast of burden.”
Interestingly, the definition speaks of duty and responsibility, which correlates to a believer’s duty and responsibilities of keeping and following the teachings of Yahusha by following Yahuah’s commandments.
The Heavy Burden of the Scribes and Pharisees
In the twenty-third chapter of Matthew, Yahusha points out the hypocrisy of the scribes and Pharisees. Although they taught the Word of Moses from a position of authority, they did not obey it. Instead, they added rules and regulations to Torah which became a veritable ‘yoke’ of insufferable servitude.
Then יהושע (Yahusha) spoke to the crowds and to His taught ones, saying, “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on the seat of Mosheh. Therefore, whatever they say to you to guard, guard and do. But do not do according to their works, for they say, and do not do. “For they bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men’s shoulders, but with their finger, they do not wish to move them.”
Matthew 23:1-4 TS 2009
The yoke mentioned in Matthew 11:29 is the Greek word zygos or zugos (G2218). As defined, it is the yoke or coupling device that is put on draught cattle. The term can be used interchangeably as a metaphor for any burden, bondage (slavery), or troublesome laws imposed on people.
the wooden bar (or frame) that joins two draft animals together at the head or neck in order to work together
an arched device placed on the neck of a defeated person
a frame that is fitted to a person’s shoulders enabling them to carry a load in two equal portions
servitude, bondage, tie, or link — especially: marriage
In the biblical context, the yoke analogy only fits with possibly two of these definitions and biblically aligns more closely with one.
It is evident in the passage that this invitation from Yahusha is prompting us to be yoked to him. We are invited to come and be joined to him in his life walk. His life walk served as an example of following Yahuah’s (God’s) laws in purity and simplicity without the added burdens of the law which the Pharisees had imposed. In the process, we learn from Yahusha and follow his gentle direction down the narrow path which leads to life everlasting.
And now if you will indeed hear my voice, and keep my covenant, ye shall be to me a peculiar people above all nations: for the whole earth is mine. Exodus 19:5 LXX Septuagint
The concept of covenant is a rather interesting notion. Unlike a contract, covenants are very personal. From a biblical perspective, a covenant is a relationship between two people who make binding promises to one another with the objective of realizing a common goal. The party of the first part is Yahuah. The parties of the second part are believers in Messiah – the peculiar1 people spoken of in Exodus 19:5.
The Ten Commandments are the standard by which we can measure whether we are truly living righteously. When we walk in obedience to these commands we can (by faith) reach the common goal of resurrection and eternal life in the Father’s Kingdom. Those committed to keeping Yah’s covenant and obeying these commandments are therefore considered to be His peculiar people.
The Character of Peculiar People
The word “peculiar” in Greek is periousios (G4041).It means that which is one’s own, belonging to one’s possessions, or a people selected by God from the other nations for His own possession. The Hebrew word for peculiar is segullah (H5459). It can mean a treasure, something special, a jewel, or valued possession.
Peculiar people have certain characteristics:
They deny ungodliness and worldly lusts.
They live sober, righteous, and godly lives.
They are filled with joy and love for Yahuah, Yeshua, and their neighbors.
They walk by faith.
Their blessed hope is in the first resurrection.
Teaching us that by denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people zealous of good works.
Titus 2:12-14 KJV
The Ten Commandments provide the fuel for denying ungodliness and set the standard for sober, righteous living. Unfortunately, many believers are being told by pastors that they are under a new covenant and the Ten Commandments no longer apply.
It is ironic however that even the secular judicial system uses the last five commandments as the basis for criminal convictions every day. A person choosing to break “the law of the land” ends up facing a judge – a stranger – who will decide their fate. The bottom line is every living, breathing person is subject to some kind of law.
The Ten Commandments provide the structure we need to live godly lives. Following this set of standards for sober, righteous living will help save us from a criminal conviction and keep us in covenant with Yah Most High.
The Destiny of Peculiar People
Peculiar people have a spiritual destiny rooted in faith and obedience.
They anticipate the coming Kingdom of Yah and His Son here on earth.
They will someday be ordained into Yeshua’s royal priesthood.
They have been beneficiaries of the mercy of Yah.
They take comfort in the fact that they are chosen people.
And ye shall be to me a royal priesthood, and a holy nation: These words shalt thou speak to the children of Israel.
Exodus 19:5-6 LXX Septuagint
But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people, that ye should shew forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of the darkness into His marvelous light: which at times were not a people but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.
1 Peter 2:9-10 KJV
The word “mercy” is used twice in verse ten. It is the Greek word “eleeo” (G1653). It can mean“to have mercy on, to help one afflicted or seeking aid, to help the afflicted, to bring help to the wretched, or to experience mercy.”
Peculiar People Obey the Ten Commandments
The first three of the Ten Commandments teach us to honor our Creator.
He is El Shaddai (Almighty God) the most powerful of all. We should have no other gods or false deities before Him.
Yahuah is the only True Eternal Living Elohim and man should not make nor bow down and worship any man-made idols or false deities.
We should not take Yahuah’s name in vain. Peculiar people give Him glory, honor, praise, and respect at all times.
The best place to start practicing peculiar behavior is to learn how to love the Almighty, His Son, and others. Hurting people may also need to forgive and learn to love themselves.
A fruitful life full of love, forgiveness, mercy, and grace is certainly doable for those who remember what Yeshua said in Mark 9:23 —
If you can believe, all things are possible to him that believes.
Peculiar people honor the fourth commandment which governs the seventh day of the week.
Remember the Sabbath dayto keep it holy.
Yahuah kept the Sabbath2 when He finished His six days of creation. Angels in Heaven guard (keep) the Sabbath along with our Heavenly Father and Yeshua, our High Priest.
And on the seventh day, God had finished His work of creation, so He rested from all His work. And God blessed the seventh day and declared it holy because it was the day when He rested from all His work of creation.
Genesis 2:2-3 NLT
And all the angels of the presence, and the angels of sanctification, these two great classes- He has bidden us to guard the Sabbath with Him in heaven and on earth. And He said unto us: Behold, I will separate to myself a people from among all peoples, and these shall guard the Sabbath, and I will sanctify them unto Myself as My people and will bless them; as I have sanctified the Sabbath day and do sanctify it unto Myself, even so, will I bless them, and they shall be My people and I will be their God.
Jubilees 2:18-19 R.H. Charles Translation
And thus He created therein a sign in accordance with which they should guard the Sabbath with us on the seventh day, to eat and to drink, and to bless Him who has created all things as He has blessed and sanctified unto Himself a peculiar people above all peoples and that they should guard the Sabbath together with us. And He caused His commands to ascend as a sweet savor acceptable before Him all the days.
Jubilees 2:22-23 Cepher
Complete rest is found by building a faithful relationship with the Father and His Son by following the Ten Commandments and other Torah instructions found throughout the scriptures. These include the fifth commandment which says to honor your father and your mother.
Yeshua (Jesus) says:
“If you keep My commandments, you will remain in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and remain in His love.
John 15:10 NASB
The good news for those living under the bondage of a sinful life is they can call out to Yahuah through His Son Yeshua our High Priest, and receive much-needed help. This perfect free aid package is the covenant found in Exodus 19:5-24:8. It is available to everyone seeking truth and mercy from our Heavenly Father and His Son. Peculiar people understand and trust these promises.
1 Most new translations use “special” in place of peculiar.
The Gospel of the Kingdom is the ageless story of when the Kingdom of Heaven comes to earth. The event known as the Day of Yahuah (Day of the Lord) was a key component of Yeshua’s Gospel message from day one of his ministry. This unique day in history was written about by Enoch, prophesied by Isaiah, envisioned by John, and authored by our heavenly Father before the creation began.
At his first coming, Yeshua’s mission was to proclaim the eternal benefits of his Father’s Kingdom to come. He said it would be a place devoid of disease, poverty, hunger, thirst, fear, or sin. Peace would abound. Citizenship in this Kingdom will ultimately be granted to those who put their faith in him as their Redeemer.
The Gospel of the Kingdom unlocks the mysteries of heaven, speaks of Yeshua’s high priesthood, explains the ministry of angels, and speaks of the eternal destiny of the righteous.
Most of us have understood the Gospel to mean Yeshua’s death on the cross and his resurrection from the dead. But there is more to this amazing story. Much more.
The Feasts Proclaim the Gospel of the Kingdom
Our heavenly Father never intended for his children to be left stumbling in the dark, confused about their future. He left us evidence of his plan to redeem mankind within the pages of our Bibles. When you thumb through chapter 23 of Leviticus, you will discover how this Gospel of the Kingdom is proclaimed during appointed times and feast days. Read on.
Then Yahuah said to Moshe, speak to the Israelites and say to them, “These are My appointed feasts, the feasts of Yahuah that you are to proclaim as sacred assemblies.”
The twenty-third chapter of Leviticus gives us a detailed outline of the annual appointed times and holy convocation assemblies we are expected to honor as covenant keepers.
These are Yahuah’s appointed feasts, the sacred assemblies you are to proclaim at their appointed times.
This goes beyond ritual. These assemblies encourage spiritual discipline, obedience, and brotherly/sisterly love – integral components of Kingdom life.
For six days work may be done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of complete rest, a day of sacred assembly. You must not do any work; wherever you live, it is a Sabbath to Yahuah.
Kingdom Key: The seventh day Sabbath rest is a hallmark of the Gospel of the Kingdom promises. The Sabbath represents the covenant promise of resurrection given to us by Yahuah.
The weekly Sabbath is a perpetual weekly reminder of what’s in store for those who endure until the end. Amongst other things, it teaches us how to rest in the promises of our heavenly Father as we walk in obedience to his commandments.
It is a holy convocation whereby we are told to assemble for worship and study of the scriptures.
The Passover to Yahuah begins at twilight on the fourteenth day of the first month.
The Hebrew word for passover is pesach or pesah (#H6453) which is derived from pasach or pasah (#H6452). Some have defined this word to mean to “pass over” or protectively cover the houses of the Israelites when the destroyer was sent out that fateful night in Egypt. (Exodus 12:23(b), Hebrews 11:28).
Pasach or pasah can imply the merciful passing over of a destructive power or outcome. This occurred in ancient history when the destroyer killed the firstborn of those without blood on the doorposts of their homes.
Take a cluster of hyssop, dip it into the blood in the basin, and brush the blood on the top and sides of the doorframe. None of you shall go out the door of his house until morning. When Yahuah passes through to strike down the Egyptians, He will see the blood on the top and sides of the doorframe and will pass over that doorway; so He will not allow the destroyer to enter your houses and strike you down.
Exodus 12: 22,23
That you will say, It is the sacrifice of Yahuah’s Pesach, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt when he smote the Egyptians and delivered our houses. And the people bowed their heads and worshiped.
The etymology implies that when the Messiah returns to earth with his warrior angels, he will “pass over” first resurrection believers who are being taken up to New Jerusalem. This is the moment when saints are literally passed over while in the air until after the “indignation has passed.” (Isaiah 26:19-21)
For Yahuah will descend from heaven with a loud command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will be the first to rise. After that, we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will always be with the Lord.
I Thessalonians 4:16,17
Come, my people, enter your chambers and shut your doors behind you. Hide yourselves a little while until the wrath has passed. For behold, Yahuah is coming out of his dwelling place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity. The earth will disclose her bloodshed and will no longer conceal her slain.
The New Testament Greek word pascha (#G3957) can either refer to the actual paschal lamb that was slain at twilight on the fourteenth day of the first month, or the Passover itself.
Kingdom Key: Passover represents the moment Yeshua returns and resurrects us. His wrath passes over us as he descends to battle the wicked.
Passover and Unleavened Bread point to Messiah’s death. His death was necessary so this Lamb without spot or blemish could be resurrected and enter into his High Priesthood. As our High Priest, he is now able to mediate with the Father on our behalf and ultimately resurrect us from Sheol.
Feast of Unleavened Bread
On the fifteenth day of the same (first) month begins the Feast of Unleavened Bread to Yahuah. For seven days you must eat unleavened bread. On the first day, you are to hold a sacred assembly; you are not to do any regular work. For seven days you are to present an offering made by fire to Yahuah. On the seventh day, there will be a sacred assembly; you must not do any regular work.
Kingdom Key: The feast of Unleavened Bread represents the glorified, sinless bodies we will receive and the clearing out of the wicked from the geographical Promised Land.
And Yahuah said to Moshe, speak to the Israelites and say, “When you enter the land that I am giving you and you reap its harvest, you are to bring to the priest a sheaf of first fruits of your harvest. And he shall wave the sheaf before Yahuah so that it may be accepted on your behalf; the priest is to wave it on the day after the Sabbath.
This is a special offering but is not to be placed in the category of a “holy convocation” feast assembly. (The greater harvest comes 50 days later during the wheat harvest.)
A way to understand this dichotomy is to look at the timing of spring harvest seasons. Deuteronomy 8:7-8 tells us that Israel’s major crops were olives, figs, grapes, pomegranates, honey, wheat, and barley.
During the Spring the most important crops harvested were barley and wheat, which were planted during Autumn. Since the barley harvest came first, a sheaf of this first fruit would be waved by the priest on the “day after the Sabbath” following the feast of Unleavened Bread.
Kingdom Key: Yeshua is a type of the early yield of first fruits. Our wonderful Redeemer is symbolic of the first fruits of the harvest of righteous souls to come.
But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ, all will be made alive. But each in his own turn: Christ the firstfruits; then at His coming, those who belong to Him.
1 Corinthians 15:20-23
Shavuot/Feast of Weeks/Feast of First Fruits
From the day after the Sabbath, the day you brought the sheaf of the wave offering, you are to count off seven full weeks. You shall count off fifty days until the day after the seventh Sabbath, and then present an offering of new grain to the LORD.
Kingdom Key: This is a dual feast. It represents us fully receiving the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) upon resurrection during the “wheat” harvest of righteous souls, which takes place when the Day of Yahuah commences. This is the first resurrection event. It is during this holy convocation that the covenant with Yahuah is renewed each year.
And He gave Noah and his sons a sign that there should not again be a flood on the earth. He set His bow in the cloud for a sign of the eternal covenant that there should not again be a flood on the earth to destroy it all the days of the earth. For this reason, it is ordained and written on the heavenly tablets, that they should celebrate the feast of weeks in this month once a year, to renew the covenant every year.
And this whole festival was celebrated in heaven from the day of creation till the days of Noah – twenty-six jubilees and five weeks of years [1309-1659 A.M.]: and Noah and his sons observed it for seven jubilees and one week of years, till the day of Noah’s death, and from the day of Noah’s death his sons did away with (it) until the days of Abraham, and they eat blood. But Abraham observed it, and Isaac and Jacob and his children observed it up to thy days, and in thy days the children of Israel forgot it until ye celebrated it anew on this mountain.
Shavuot did not begin with Moses. It has been celebrated since creation.
Yahuah also said to Moses, “Speak to the Israelites and say, ‘On the first day of the seventh month you are to have a day of rest, a sacred assembly announced by trumpet blasts. You must not do any regular work, but you are to present an offering made by fire to Yahuah.’ ”
Kingdom Key: At the sound of the last trumpet, believers in Yeshua will be resurrected and/or translated if still alive on earth at this time. The “wheat” of the second harvest will be escorted by angels into barns while the “tares” will be burned.
His winnowing fork is in His hand to clear His threshing floor and to gather His wheat into the barn, but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”
And He will send out His angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather His elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.
Day of Atonement
Again the LORD said to Moses, “The tenth day of this seventh month is the Day of Atonement. You shall hold a sacred assembly and humble yourselves,f and present an offering made by fire to the LORD. On this day you are not to do any work, for it is the Day of Atonement when atonement is made for you before the LORD your God. If anyone does not humble himself on this day, he must be cut off from his people. I will destroy from among his people anyone who does any work on this day. You are not to do any work at all. This is a permanent statute for the generations to come, wherever you live.
Leviticus 23: 26-31
At last! This day marks the final and complete forgiveness of all our sins. We are given resurrection bodies made of water and spirit that will be incapable of ever sinning again.
Yeshua answered, “Truly, truly, I tell you, no one can enter the Kingdom of Yahuah unless he is born of water and the Spirit.
Kingdom Key: With our redemption complete we will be able to fully participate in Yeshua’s Melchizedek priesthood. In our resurrected state we will be ordained as priests with the law written on our hearts.
Sukkot/Feast of Tabernacles
And Yahuah said to Moses, “Speak to the Israelites and say, ‘On the fifteenth day of the seventh month the Feast of Tabernacles to Yahuah begins, and it continues for seven days. On the first day, there shall be a sacred assembly. You must not do any regular work.
Kingdom Key: Sukkot points to the time when Father and Son will tabernacle with us in the Kingdom of Heaven on earth – The New Jerusalem. We will be joined by those righteous angels who remained faithful to the Most High and their mission to minister to those of us who were destined to inherit eternal life. We will also serve those who survive the Great Tribulation and who will learn Torah during the Millennial reign of Messiah.
Feast of the In-Gathering/Addition/The 8th Day
For seven days you are to present an offering made by fire to Yahuah. On the eighth day, you are to hold a sacred assembly and present an offering made by fire to Yahuah. It is a solemn assembly; you must not do any regular work.
Kingdom Key: This 8th Day is symbolic of the second resurrection event and the time when death and Sheol will no longer exist. It is a time of great joy which comes at the end of the Millennium as we enter the eternal age. These will be days of rest that will be never-ending.
In the Book of Jubilees, Jacob is credited with adding this extra day to Sukkot.
And he celebrated there yet another day, and he sacrificed thereon according to all that he sacrificed on the former days, and called its name ‘Addition,’ for this day was added. And the former days he called ‘The Feast.’ And thus it was manifested that it should be, and it is written on the heavenly tablets: wherefore it was revealed to him that he should celebrate it, and add it to the seven days of the feast. And its name was called ‘Addition,’ because it was recorded amongst the days of the feast days, according to the number of the days of the year.
Although covenant promises will not be made real until the resurrection, how we behave now matters.
Our behavior is evidence of our faith in Yeshua’s ability to redeem us from the penalty of sin. It is also a sign that we truly belong to him.
The Torah of Yahuah is eternal and has not been “done away with.” When we obey the commandments to honor feast days and appointed times, we are living the Kingdom life now.
As you prepare to welcome a new biblical year, we pray you will appreciate the Gospel of the Kingdom signposts that have been embedded in Yahuah’s calendar.
Many of us are familiar with the story of how Ezra led the second wave of Yahudim captives in Babylon back to Jerusalem. (Ezra 7:1-7) It was through Ezra’s efforts, and faith in the Most High, that Torah was once again elevated to a place of prominence among Yah’s people.
On the first day of the first month he began his journey from Babylon, and on the first day of the fifth month he came to Jerusalem, according to the good hand of Yahuah upon him. For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the Torah of Yahuah, and to do and to teach statues and ordinances in Israel.
The book of Ezra records how the man whose name means “helper” led one of the most important spiritual revivals of his day. The reforms instituted by this amazing prophet, scribe, and priest helped the people reestablish their covenant relationship with the Almighty.
When reading through the book that bears his name it is hard to miss this man’s faith and humility. Because the hand of Yah was on him, he was able to accomplish the impossible.
Ezra, whose name is transliterated as Esdras in Latin, possessed an insatiable curiosity regarding end times, the destiny of mankind, Yah’s promises to his people, and the Creation itself.
Ezra’s Creation Story Echoes Genesis, Jubilees, and Enoch
The scriptures inform us that we get back what we invest when it comes to spiritual maturity and discernment. Those who desire to know more about the Kingdom of Yahuah benefit the most when they are willing to spend time in prayer and study.
It is the glory of Yahuah to conceal a matter, and the honor of kings to search it out.
In the apocryphal book of 4 Ezra (2 Esdras), we are privy to an exchange Ezra has with Uriel,1 an angel acting as an agent2 of the Most High. Following a seven day fast, Ezra the scribe articulates his version of the creation event.
When you compare the six days of creation as described in 4 Ezra with the accounts in Jubilees and Genesis, the similarities are undeniable. Additional verses from Job, Amos, 1 Enoch, and Psalms imply a creation model that supports biblical cosmology.
This article is written for those who are willing to throw off the shackles of mind controlled religion and dip their toe into “extra biblical” waters — namely, certain ancient manuscripts that were removed from our western Bibles. The creation accounts in 4 Ezra and Jubilees3 are posted so you can draw your own conclusions as to their compatibility with the Genesis narrative. After you’ve compared these creation accounts, ask yourself if this extra effort paid off in terms of helping you acquire a greater understanding of biblical cosmology, certain end times events, and the importance of observing Yah’s feast days.
Creation Day one
The first day of creation is characterized by seven great works. The Creator brings order out of chaos and light is separated from darkness. This evident in the Genesis, 4 Ezra, and Jubilees accounts.
However, Ezra gives us this nugget of information that is missing from both the Genesis and Jubilees accounts: the light mentioned here is taken from Yahuah’s treasuries or storehouses. These storehouses are also repositories of natural phenomena such as snow, hail, and wind. (Psalm 135:7, Job 38:22, Jeremiah 10:13)
And I said, O Lord, you spoke from the beginning of the creation, even the first day, and said this: Let heaven and earth be made; and your word was a perfect work. And then was the spirit, and darkness and silence were on every side; the sound of man’s voice was not yet formed. Then you commanded a fair light to come forth of your treasures, that your work might appear.
4 Ezra (2 Esdras) 6:38-40
The Jubilees account is even more intriguing. Angels were created on day one and given and assigned classes. Angels of the Presence and angels of Sanctification made up the higher orders, while other classes of angelic beings were put in charge of natural phenomena.
For on the first day He created the heavens which are above and the earth and the waters and all the spirits which serve before him – the angels of the presence, and the angels of sanctification, and the angels of the spirit of the winds, and the angels of the spirits of the clouds, and of darkness, and of snow and of hail and of hoar frost, and the angels of the voices and of the thunder and of the lightning, and the angels of the spirits of cold and heat, and of winter and of spring and of autumn and of summer, and all the spirits of his creatures which are in the heavens and on the earth, (He created) the abysses and the darkness , eventide, and night, and the light, dawn and day which He hath prepared in the knowledge of His heart.
Creation Day two
On day two we are given information regarding the structural foundation that holds up the heavens (firmament layers). This was such a massive undertaking that it was the only thing created on this day. Pillars of heaven and earth, apparently buttressed by winds, support these firmaments which also divide the waters above from the waters beneath.
He spreads out the heavens like a vault; upon the waters has he founded it.
4 Ezra (2 Esdras) 16:59
Again, on the second day, you did create the spirit of the firmament, and did command him to divide and separate the waters, that one part might move upward and the other part remain beneath.
4 Ezra (2 Esdras) 6:41
O Lord who inhabits eternity, whose eyes are exalted and whose upper chambers are in the air4,
4 Ezra (2 Esdras) 8:20
And on the second day He created the firmament in the midst of the waters, and the waters were divided on that day – half of them went up above and half of them went down below the firmament (that was) in the midst over the face of the whole earth. And this was the only work (God) created on the second day.
Here is what the prophet Amos, Job, and Enoch have to say:
He builds His upper rooms in the heavens and founds His vault upon the earth. He summons the waters of the sea and pours them over the face of the earth. Yahuah is His name..
He stretches out the north over empty space; He hangs the earth upon nothing. He has inscribed a horizon on the face of the waters at the boundary between light and darkness.
I then surveyed the receptacles of all the winds, perceiving that they contributed to adorn the whole creation, and to guard the foundation of the earth. I surveyed the stone which supports the corners of the earth. I also beheld the four winds, which bear up the earth, and the expanse of heaven. And I beheld the winds occupying the exalted sky. Arising in the midst of heaven and of earth, and constituting the pillars of heaven.
1 Enoch 18:1-510 Cephyr
Creation Day Three
Four great works were done on day three:
the dry land appeared
the waters (under the heavens) are gathered to form seas
vegetation and fruit bearing trees appear
the Garden of Eden appears
Upon the third day thou didst command that the waters should be gathered in the seventh part of the earth: six parts hast thou dried up, and kept them, to the intent that of these some being planted of God and tilled might serve thee. For as soon as thy word went forth the work was made. For immediately there was great and innumerable fruit, and many and divers pleasures for the taste, and flowers of unchangeable color, and odors of wonderful smell: and this was done the third day.
4 Ezra (2 Esdras) 6:42-44
And on the third day He commanded the waters to pass from off the face of the whole earth into one place, and the dry land to appear. And the waters did so as He commanded them, and they retired from off the face of the earth into one place outside of this firmament, and the dry land appeared. And on that day He created for them all the seas according to their separate gathering-places, and all the rivers, and the gatherings of the waters in the mountains and on all the earth, and all the lakes, and all the dew of the earth, and the seed which is sown, and all sprouting things, and fruit-bearing trees, and trees of the wood, and the garden of Eden, in Eden and all plants after their kind. These four great works God created on the third day.
Both 4 Ezra and Jubilees are consistent with the Genesis account of what happened on the third day.
Then Yahuah said, Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear; and it was so. And Yahuah called the dry land earth, and the gathering together of the waters He called seas. And Yahuah saw that it was good. Then Yahuah said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the her that yields seed, and the fruit tree that yields fruit according to its kind, whose seed is in itself, on the earth; and it was so.
Creation Day Four
On day four of the creation week the Sun, Moon, and stars appear. These three heavenly timekeepers will set the boundaries of night and day, and calibrate months and years, the seasons, and feast days. The Sun, called the greater light, is pre-eminent. It is appointed to be the great sign that will govern sabbaths, appointed times, jubilees, and seasons of the year. This is covenant calendar language.
The Moon and stars are the lesser lights that govern the night. (Psalms 136:9) All three are said to be located in the firmament.
On the fourth day you commanded that the sun should shine, and the moon give her light, and the stars should be in order: and gave them a charge to do service unto man, that was to be made.
4 Ezra (2 Esdras) 6: 45,46
And on the fourth day He created the sun and the moon and the stars, and set them in the firmament of the heaven, to give light upon all the earth, and to rule over the day and the night, and divide the light from the darkness. And God appointed the sun to be a great sign on the earth for days and for sabbaths and for months and for feasts and for years and for sabbaths of years and for jubilees and for all seasons of the years. And it divides the light from the darkness [and] for prosperity, that all things may prosper which shoot and grow on the earth. These three kinds He made on the fourth day.
Jubilees 2: 8(b)-11(a)
Then Yahuah said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and sasons,a nd for days and years; and let them be for lights in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth; and it was so. Then Yahuah made two great lights: the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night. Hemade the stars also. Yahuah set them in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth, and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness. And Yahuah saw that it was good.
Creation Day Five
Birds and sea creatures are created on the fifth day and told to be fruitful and multiply. But Ezra tells us that it was on this day that two other beings were given life, and a purpose. According to Ezra, Behemoth and Leviathan were among the first fleshly creatures that were created. Behemoth5 occupied land where there are a thousand hills while Leviathan lived in the sea. (Psalm 104:26)
Behold now behemoth, which I made with thee; he eats grass as an ox. Lo now, his strength is in his loins, and his force is in the navel of his belly. He moves his tail like a cedar: the sinews of his stones are wrapped together. His bones are as strong pieces of brass; his bones are like bars of iron. He is the chief of the ways of Elohim: he that made him can make his sword to approach.
Job’s description of Leviathan is equally as fascinating.
Can you draw out leviathan with a hook? or his tongue with and cord which you let down? Can you put a hook into his nose? or bore his jaw through with a thorn?
Shall the companions make a banquet of him? shall they part him among the merchants? Can you fill his skin with barbed irons? or his head with fish spears?
Who can open the doors of his face? his teeth are terrible round about. His scales are his pride, shut up together as with a close seal. One is so near to another, that no air can come between them. They are joined one to another, they stick together, that they cannot be sundered.
When you dig a bit deeper into the destiny of these two amazing creatures, you may come to realize that they were created for a specific purpose. There will be survivors of the Great Tribulation who will see New Jerusalem descend from above and flock there for medicine, food, and mercy. These two creatures could be on the menu — the ultimate surf and turf meal that will serve as rations for the hungry and destitute until the food supply can be replenished.
You break the heads of Leviathan in pieces, and gave him to be meat to the people inhabiting the wilderness.
And Behemoth shall be revealed from his place and Leviathan shall ascend from the sea, those two great monsters which I created on the fifth day of creation, and shall have kept until that time; and then they shall be food for all that are left.
2 Baruch 29:4-6
Upon the fifth day you said to the seventh part, where the waters were gathered that it should bring forth living creatures, fowls and fishes: and so it came to pass. For the dumb water and without life brought forth living things at the commandment of God, that all people might praise thy wondrous works. Then you did ordain two living creatures, the one thou called Behemoth, and the other Leviathan; And did separate the one from the other: for the seventh part, namely, where the water was gathered together, might not hold them both. Unto Behemoth you gave one part, which was dried up the third day, that he should dwell in the same part, wherein are a thousand hills: But unto Leviathan you gave the seventh part, namely, the moist; and has kept him to be devoured of whom you will, and when.
4 Ezra (2 Esdras) 6: 47-52
And on the fifth day He created great sea monsters in the depths of the waters, for these were the first things of flesh that were created by his hands, the fish and everything that moves in the waters, and everything that flies, the birds and all their kind. And the sun rose above them to prosper (them), and above everything that was on the earth, everything that shoots out of the earth, and all fruit-bearing trees, and all flesh. These three kinds He created on the fifth day.
Jubilees 2: 11(b)-13(a)
Creation Day Six
The animal kingdom and man are created on day six. In the Genesis account we are told that the animals were labeled “living creatures according to its kind: cattle and creeping things and beasts of the earth.” Man was created to have dominion over the entire earth. He was created in Yahuah’s image.
Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness, to rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, and over all the earth itself and every creature that crawls upon it.” So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
The Hebrew word selem (#H6754) is translated in English as image. The word can mean a physical representation of something. The term is suitable when used in the context of idolatry. However, when we are told that man is made in Yah’s image (selem) and likeness (demut), the meaning refers to man’s intended purpose — given to him by his Creator. He was to have dominion over the entire creation as a type of vice-regent.
God’s image obviously does not consist in man’s body which was formed from earthly matter, but in his spiritual, intellectual, moral likeness to God from whom his animating breath came. The emphasis of the prohibition of idols is that they are all material created things. This spiritual aspect of man has been damaged by the fall and is daily tarnished by sin. But it was seen in perfection in Christ and will be made perfect in us when salvation is complete.
Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament R. Laird Harris, Gleason L. Archer, Jr., Bruce K. Waltke, p. 768
Upon the sixth day you gave commandment unto the earth, that before you it should bring forth beasts, cattle, and creeping things: and after these, Adam also, who thou made lord of all your creatures: of him come we all, and the people also whom you have chosen.
4 Ezra (2 Esdras) 6:53,54
And on the sixth day He created all the animals of the earth, and all cattle, and everything that moves on the earth. And after all this He created man, a man and a woman created He them, and gave him dominion over all that is upon the earth, and in the seas, and over everything that flies, and over beasts and over cattle, and over everything that moves on the earth, and over the whole earth, and over all this He gave him dominion. And these four kinds He created on the sixth day. And there were altogether two and twenty kinds. And He finished all his work on the sixth day –all that is in the heavens and on the earth, and in the seas and in the abysses, and in the light and in the darkness, and in everything.
The 7th Day Sabbath Rest
And on the seventh day Yahuah ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because on that day He rested from all the work of creation that He had accomplished.
Unfortunately, the Genesis mention of Yah’s resting on day seven does not go far enough in my opinion. The Father’s seventh day rest was intended for mankind as well. It was set-apart for us so we would have a day to rest from our work (labor) and reconnect with our family and our heavenly Father.
This sabbath day of rest was not something strictly mandated for “the Jews.” It was a way to identify true covenant keepers. Jubilees tells us that the Father makes note of those who honor the sabbath day (the 7th day of the week).
And He finished all His work on the sixth day — all that is in the heavens and the earth, and in the abysses, and in the light and in the darkness, and in everything. And He gave us a great sign, the Sabbath day, that we should work six days, but keep Sabbath on the seventh day from all work. And all the angels of the presence, and all the angels of sanctification, these two great classes — He hath bidden us to keep the Sabbath with Him in heaven and on earth. And He said unto us: ‘Behold, I will separate unto Myself a people from among all the peoples, and these shall keep the Sabbath day, and I will sanctify them unto Myself as My people, and will bless them; as I have sanctified the Sabbath day and do sanctify (it) unto Myself, even so will I bless them, and they shall be My people and I will be their God.
This seventh day Sabbath6 rest was given to believers of all biblical ages from Adam to Yeshua, and will continue into the eternal ages to come. Yeshua and his disciples kept the Sabbath and we are expected to honor it too. Keeping the Sabbath is a sign or a mark that identifies true believers.
Ezra Kept Asking, Seeking, and Knocking
The point of this re-examination of the creation event is to inspire followers of Yeshua to emulate Ezra — a man who wanted to go deeper with Yah. The Father always rewards believers who desire to know more about Him and matters related to the Kingdom. We have to think for ourselves as we walk out this very personal salvation. We live in an age where we can no longer be satisfied with spoon-fed “traditional” church doctrine.
For those brave believers who are ready to break away from the religious doctrinal herd mentality and determine for themselves whether books like Jubilees, 1 & 2 Esdras, 1 Enoch or Baruch deserve consideration, we hear you. The Study Tools section of this website is loaded with resource links to help you along your way. And, as usual, we encourage you to always seek the wisdom and guidance of the Holy Spirit. Maranatha!
1 Uriel is one of four archangels mentioned in 1 Enoch 8:1 and is credited with being the angel who enlightened the scribe Ezra through many visions. Uriel, as one of the angels of the Presence, was sent by Yah to Lamech to warn Noah (his son) concerning the impending world-wide flood with instructions on how to escape this judgment. (1 Enoch 10:1-4)
2 For information on the role angels play in ministry and agency, see The Gospel Worth Dying For Chapter 9, “Agency and Prolepsis.”
3 The R.H. Charles translation.
4 Deuteronomy 10:14 (LXX): “Behold, to Yahuah your Elohim belong the heavens, even the highest heavens, and the earth and everything in it.” Yah dwells in the highest part of the firmaments – the Heaven of Heavens. This is why He is sometimes regarded as the Most High.
5 The word behemoth (Strong’s #H930) is the same in English as it is in Hebrew and is the plural form of the word behemah (Strong’s #H929). Behemah can mean beast, cattle, or large quadruped (four-legged) animal. It is interesting that this creature is connected to a location where there are “a thousand hills.” Just speculation, but is there a connection to Psalms 50:10 which states: “For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle (behemah) upon a thousand hills?”
6 The Sabbath is NOT Sunday, which is the first day of the week. The Emperor Constantine made Sunday a day of rest from labor and the Roman Catholic Church made this change. Unfortunately many Protestant denominations followed suit. See the article, “Who Changed the Sabbath to Sunday?” (Linking to this article is not an endorsement of this website or its ministry. It is for research purposes only.)
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